1. Communists and the national question

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The nation state has outgrown itself – as a framework for the development of the productive forces, as a basis for class struggle, and especially as the state form of the dictatorship of the proletariat.” (Leon Trotsky, Nashe Slovo, 4 February, 1916)

The workers have no fatherland. Such is the basis for the communist analysis of the national question. Throughout this century millions of proletarians have been mystified, mobilised,’ and slaughtered under the banners of patriotism, national defence, national liberation. In world wars and local wars, in guerrilla clashes and confrontations between huge state armies, the workers of all countries have been called upon to lay down their lives in the service of their oppressors. Nothing has been more clearly demonstrated this century than the stark polarity between nationalism and the international interests of the working class.

But because the proletariat can only learn the lessons of history through its own experience in the historical process, communists can only analyse the national question in historical terms, in order to establish why it is that opposition to all nationalisms and national struggles has become one of the class lines separating proletarian from bourgeois organisations.