ISO Event: Marxism, Anti-Colonial Struggles, and Self-Determination

September 25, 2018 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Common Good Cafe (Downstairs at the University Temple United Methodist Church)
1415 NE 43rd St.
Puget Sound Socialists (ISO)
ISO Event: Marxism, Anti-Colonial Struggles, and Self-Determination @ Common Good Cafe (Downstairs at the University Temple United Methodist Church) | Seattle | WA | US

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One defining characteristic of our world today is imperialism and the brutal oppression of some nations by others, whether in the form of direct colonial control, war and occupation, or economic control through trade policies. A century ago, Lenin expanded on Marxist theory in his writings on the right of nations to self-determination. Drawing on Marx’s dictum that a nation which oppresses another cannot be free, Lenin argued that working-class unity could not be built without workers in the oppressor nation recognizing, and fighting for, the national rights of oppressed nations. Lenin’s views have implications for not only understanding national oppression and its relationship to the fight for socialism, but for approaching other forms of oppression under capitalism. Join us for a discussion about how Marxists analyze oppressed nations and how this relates to international politics today.

Recommended Readings:

* Tom Lewis, “Marxism and Nationalism: Part 1″ (
* Tom Lewis, “Marxism and Nationalism: Part 2″ (
* V.I. Lenin, “Draft Theses on National and Colonial Question” (

Recommended Audio/Video Resources:

* Pranav Jani, “Marxism, Colonialism, and Revolution” (
* Alan Maass, “What Do Socialists Say About Nationalism and National Liberation?” (

Study Questions:

1) Why did Marx and Engels see bourgeois nationalist movements against feudalism as progressive?
2) Why did Marx and Engels support Ireland’s fight for independence? How did they see this as advancing the international class struggle?
3) Why did Lenin oppose the Bund’s demand that it be the sole representative of Jewish workers?
4) Why does Lenin argue for oppressed nations right to self-determination?
5) Why does Lenin argue that socialist should support this right, but not necessarily endorse secession?
6) What is Luxemburg’s position on the national question and what are Lenin’s arguments against it?
7) Why does Lenin oppose the idea of national cultural autonomy and instead support international or cosmopolitan culture?
8) What is the significance of Lenin’s argument that socialist should maintain their independence in national liberation struggles and never give them communist coloration?

This meeting is part of our Summer Education Series. To see the rest of the series, visit