Sources Directory     A to Z Index     Topic Index News Releases     RSS Sources Select News RSS Feed     Sources Calendar    



Thinking About Self-Determination

Diemer, Ulli

Publisher:  Canadian Dimension / Ulli Diemer, Canada
Year Published:  1994  
Resource Type:  Article

Does that familiar canon of the left, 'the right to self-determination', actually mean anything, or is it an empty slogan whose main utility is that it relieves us of the trouble of thinking critically?

Abstract:  According to Ulli Diemer, the "right to self-determination" as promulgated by much of the left is in fact nothing more than mindless cheerleading for bourgeois nationalism. By contrast, socialists like Karl Marx and Rosa Luxemburg argued that it was necessary to analyze the political, economic, and class content of nationalist movements on their individual merits, and support them only if they were progressive.
The kind of serious political analysis advocated by Marx and Luxemburg -- perhaps because it requires intellectual effort -- has become decidedly unpopular on the left, to be replaced by an uncritical acceptance of bourgeois concepts of nationality and the nation-state, devoid of class or socialist content.
The accepted dogma now seems to be that each nationality and each ethnic and language group needs, and is entitled to, its own nation-state. In the real world, however, it is rarely possible to draw political boundaries that correspond with nationality. Nearly every nation-state and aspiring nation-state contains its own national minorities with conflicting nationalist claims on the same territory. These national groups are usually intermingled and intermarried, sharing the same physical territory, the same cities and towns, the same streets, the same bedrooms..
As a result -- except in those rare instances where a national group constitutes a homogeneous society united in its desire for national independence within uncontested borders -- "self-determination" for the majority frequently amounts to denying minorities their "right to self-determination".


Sources is an online portal and directory for journalists, writers, news editors, researchers. Use Sources to find experts, media contacts, spokespersons, scientists, lobbyists, officials, speakers, university professors, researchers, newsmakers, CEOs, executive directors, media relations contacts, spokespeople, talk show guests, PR representatives, Canadian sources, story ideas, research studies, databases, universities, colleges, associations, businesses, government, research institutions, lobby groups, non-government organizations (NGOs), in Canada and internationally.
© Sources 1977-2015. The information provided is copyright and may not be reproduced in any form or by any means (whether electronic, mechanical or photographic), or stored in an electronic retrieval system, without written permission of the publisher. The content may not be resold, republished, or redistributed. Indexing and search applications by Ulli Diemer and Chris DeFreitas.

    Sources, 812A Bloor Street West, Suite 201, Toronto, ON M6G 1L9.Phone: (416) 964-7799 FAX: (416) 964-8763