Please read the short essay, or just click the answers to these simple questions. You may need to *enable popups.
*If popups don't work when you click on the answers, you will probably get a yellow line across the top of your screen. Click on it and choose "temporarily enable popups."
The "National Question" and the Democratic Rights of Minorities
Communist Party Leader Jarvis Tyner wrote an excellent paper on the national question and the rights of minorities during the Bush anti-democratic rampage of 2002. The subject has been debated throughout our history. Under Lenin, the Soviet Union went so far as to guarantee homelands for the many oppressed nationalities from Tsarist Russia. Many important Americans, including CPUSA at one time, have felt that the best solution to the persecution of African Americans was to carve out a separate nation, either in Africa or in the Southern United States.
Groups of people with distinct culture, history, and language in common are usually referred to as nationalities. The definition of some nationalities, especially African Americans, have been clarified in America by super racism and oppression. Not all national groups are oppressed. Not all oppressed national groups are minorities (Apartheid South Africa, for example). Not all oppressed groups (women, LGBT, for example) are nationalities, but many of the problems and solutions are the same.
Defense against oppression is deliberately mis-used and confused by our ruling class and its agents. For example, if a public figure mentions race in any context, as Supreme Court candidate Sonia Sotomayor once did, right wingers like to raise charges of racism. Backward people like to bring "reverse racism" cases to court. They particularly like shout the nonsensical claim that the American descendants of white Europeans are an oppressed minority!
Racism and national oppression are the ruling class' favorite tools for dividing the working class and its progressive allies. Such divisions have paid off handsomely for them in extremely lower wages and in destroying attempts to organize.
Nationalism, or extreme patriotism, which can often be an extremely negative influence, is not to be confused with the problem of national oppression. Like oppression, nationalism can be a very useful tool for the capitalists. Every case needs separate and careful consideration.
Progressives believe that a unified working class, working with its allies, is the way forward. Attaining that unity entails standing up for every sector oppressed by capitalism.