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    Russian-Georgian conflict



    Number of posts : 3
    Registration date : 2009-09-08

    Russian-Georgian conflict

    Post  Sigesige00 on Wed Sep 09, 2009 10:44 am

    I am interested in the Luxemburgist position on the Russian-Georgian conflict. What position should be taken?

    Number of posts : 341
    Group : Réseau Luxemburgiste International/International Luxemburgit Network
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    Registration date : 2008-04-16

    Re: Russian-Georgian conflict

    Post  ElIndio on Thu Sep 17, 2009 4:27 pm

    I do not pretend to represent the "official" Luxemburgist position (there is no such thing). As you may know Luxemburgism has remained quite marginal throughout most of history (but you do find basic positions we defend held by millions of workers during May 68 in France without calling themselves "Luxemburgists" for example

    I think this conflict reflects the tensions between imperialist powers, namely Russia and NATO. The Russians (state and ruling class, not the people of course) used nationalism to destabilize the North of Georgia, a strategic (and small) area. On the other hand the Georgian government, backed up by Nato, sent its army in the region without caring about the "colateral" damages it may cause... This gave the opportunity for Russia to intervene... until the Americans and the Europeans, via diplomacy, stop them from going further.

    Are we to take side between imperialist powers? In the past, many revolutionnaries (including Trotskysts) made the mistake to defend the "socialist" camp. Like I said in the other thread, there was no such "socialist" camp.

    What is your position?


    Number of posts : 3
    Registration date : 2009-09-08

    Re: Russian-Georgian conflict

    Post  Sigesige00 on Sun Sep 27, 2009 3:11 am

    ElIndio wrote:I do not pretend to represent the "official" Luxemburgist position (there is no such thing). As you may know Luxemburgism has remained quite marginal throughout most of history (but you do find basic positions we defend held by millions of workers during May 68 in France without calling themselves "Luxemburgists" for example

    Are we to take side between imperialist powers? In the past, many revolutionnaries (including Trotskysts) made the mistake to defend the "socialist" camp. Like I said in the other thread, there was no such "socialist" camp.

    What is your position?

    I think that the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia should be recognised, since without ending the national conflict a new class struggle cannot find its way. This is not support for any imperialist camps, but about basic rights of peoples.


    Number of posts : 120
    Registration date : 2008-06-01

    Re: Russian-Georgian conflict

    Post  mondialiste on Sun Sep 27, 2009 8:05 am

    Actually, Luxemburg did write about the Caucasus, to show the absurdity of the so-called "right of nations to self-determination". Her argument was that the various nationalities in the area were so mixed up that separating them into separate states just didn't make sense and, we can now add, could only lead (and has led) to ethnic cleansing. Her solition was cultural autonomy.

    Anyway, here's the extract Section III of “The National Question and Autonomy”, first published, in Polish, in 1908-9.

    A French version can be found here:

    Rosa Luxemburg on the Nationality Problem in the Caucasus

    Another outstanding example of the difficulties encountered by the problem of nationality autonomy in practice is to be found in the Caucasus. No corner of the earth presents such a picture of nationality intermixture in one territory as the Caucasus, the ancient historical trail of the great migrations of peoples between Asia and Europe, strewn with fragments and splinters of those peoples. That territory's population of over nine million is composed (according to the 1897 census) of the following racial and nationality groups (in thousands):

    Russians 2,192.3; Germans 21.5; Greeks 57.3; Armenians 975.0; Ossetians 157.1; Kurds 100.0
    Caucasian mountaineers: Chechens 243.4; Circassians 111.5; Abkhaz 72.4; Lezgins 613.8.
    Kartvelians: Georgians, Imeretins, Mingrels, etc 1,201.2.
    Jews 43.4.
    Turco-Tartars: Tartars 1,139.6; Kumyks 100.8; Turks 70.2; Nogays 55.4; Karaches 22.0.
    Kalmuks 11.8.
    Estonians, Mordvinians 1.4.

    The territorial distribution of the largest nationalities involved is as follows: The Russians, who constitute the most numerous group in the whole Caucasus, are concentrated in the north, in the Kuban and Black Sea districts and in the northwest part of Tersk. Moving southward, in the western part of the Caucasus the Kartvelians are located; they occupy the Kutai and the south-eastern part of the Tiflis gubernias. Still further south, the central territory is occupied by the Armenians in the southern portion of the Tiflis, the eastern portion of the Kars and the northern portion of the Erevan gubernias, squeezed between the Georgians in the north, the Turks in the west and the Tatars in the east and south, in the Baku, Elizabetpol and Erevan gubernias. In the east and in the mountains are located mountain tribes, while other minor groups such as Jews and Germans live, intermingled with the autochthonous population, mainly in the cities. The complexity of the nationality problem appears particularly in the linguistic conditions because in the Caucasus there exist, besides Russian, Ossetian, and Armenian, about a half-dozen languages, four Lezgin dialects, several Chechen, several Circassian, Mingrel, Georgian, Svans, and a number of others. And these are by no means dialects, but mostly independent languages incomprehensible to the rest of the population.

    From the standpoint of the problem of autonomy, obviously only three nationalities enter into consideration: Georgians, Armenians, and Tatars, because the Russians inhabiting the northern part of the Caucasus constitute, with regard to nationality, a continuation of the state territory of the purely Russian population.

    The relatively most numerous nationality group besides the Russians are the Georgians, if we include among them all varieties of Kartvelians. The historical territory of the Georgians is represented by the gubernias of Tiflis and Kutai and the districts of Sukhum and Sakatali, with a population of 2,110,490. However, the Georgian nationality constitutes only slightly more than half of that number, i.e., 1,200,000; the remainder is composed of Armenians to the number of about 220,000, concentrated mainly in the Akhalkalats county of the Tiflis gubernia, where they constitute over 70 percent of the population; Tatars to the number of 100,000; Ossetians, over 70,000; Lezgins represent half of the population in the Sakatali district; and Abkhazes are preponderant in the Sukham district; while in the Borchalin county of the Tiflis gubernia a mixture of various nationalities holds a majority over the Georgian population.

    In view of these figures the project of Georgian nationality autonomy presents manifold difficulties. Georgia's historical territory, taken as a whole, represents such a numerically insignificant population—scarcely 1,200,000—that it seems insufficient as a basis of independent autonomous life in the modern sense, with its cultural needs and socio-economic functions. In an autonomous Georgia, with its historical boundaries, a nationality that comprises only slightly more than half of the entire population would be called on to dominate in public institutions, schools, and political life. The impossibility of this situation is felt so well by the Georlan nationalists of revolutionary hue that they, a priori, :relinquish the historical boundaries and plan to curtail the autonomous territory to an area corresponding to the actual preponderance of the Georgian nationality.

    According to that plan, only sixteen of Georgia's counties would be the basis of the Georgian autonomy, while the fate of the four remaining ones with a preponderance of other nationalities would be decided by a "plebiscite" of those nationalities. This plan looks highly democratic and revolutionary; but like most anarchist-inspired plans which seek to solve all historic difficulties by means of the "will of nations" it has a defect, which is that in practice the plebiscite plan is even more difficult to implement than the autonomy of historical Georgia. The area specified in the Georgian plan would include scarcely 1,400,000 people, i.e., a figure corresponding to the population of a big modern city. This area, cut out quite arbitrarily from Georgia's traditional framework and present socio-economic status, is not only an extremely small basis for autonomous life but moreover does not represent any organic entity, any sphere of material life and economic and cultural interests, besides the abstract interests of the Georgian nationality.

    However, even in this area, the Georgians' nationality claims cannot be interpreted as an active expression of autonomous life, in view of the circumstance that their numerical preponderance is linked with their pre-eminently agrarian character.

    In the very heart of Georgia, the former capital, Tiflis, and a number of smaller cities have an eminently international character, with the Armenians, who represent the bourgeois stratum, as the preponderant element. Out of Tiflis's population of 160,000 the Armenians constitute 55,000, the Georgians and Russians 20,000 each; the balance is composed of Tatars, Persians, Jews, Greeks, etc. The natural centres of political and administrative life as well as of education and spiritual culture are here, as in Lithuania, seats of foreign nationalities. This circumstance, which makes Georgia's nationality autonomy an insoluble problem, impinges simultaneously on another Caucasian problem: the question of the autonomy of the Armenians.

    The exclusion of Tiflis and other cities from the autonomous Georgian territory is as impossible from the standpoint of Georgia's socio-economic conditions as is their inclusion into that territory from the standpoint of the Armenian nationality. If we took as a basis the numerical preponderance of Armenians in the population, we would obtain a territory artificially patched together from a few fragments: two southern counties of Tiflis gubernia, the northern part of Erevan gubernia, and the north-eastern part of Kars gubernia, i.e., a territory cut off from the main cities inhabited by the Armenians, which is senseless both from the historical standpoint and from the standpoint of the present economic conditions, while the size of the putative autonomous area would be limited to some 800,000. If we went beyond the counties having a numerical preponderance of Armenians we would find the Armenians inextricably mixed in the north with the Georgians; in the south—in the Baku and Elizabetpol gubernias—with the Tatars; and in the west, in the Kars gubernia, with the Turks. The Armenians play, in relation to the mostly agrarian Tatar population which lives in rather backward conditions, partly the role of a bourgeois element.

    Thus, the drawing of a boundary between the main nationalities of the Caucasus is an insoluble task. But even more difficult is the problem of autonomy in relation to the remaining multiple nationalities of the Caucasian mountaineers. Both their territorial intermingling and the small numerical size of the respective nationalities, and finally the socio-economic conditions which remain mostly on the level of largely nomadic pastoralism, or primitive farming, without an urban life of their own and with no intellectual creativity in their native language, make the functioning of modern autonomy entirely inapplicable.

    Just as in Lithuania, the only method of settling the nationality question in the Caucasus, in the democratic spirit, securing to all nationalities freedom of cultural existence without any among them dominating the remaining ones, and at the same time meeting the recognized need for modern development, is to disregard ethnographic boundaries, and to introduce broad local self-government—communal, urban, district, and provincial—without a definite nationality character, that is, giving no privileges to any nationality. Only such a self-government will make it possible to unite various nationalities to jointly take care of the local economic and social interests, and on the other hand, to take into consideration in a natural way the different proportions of the nationalities in each county and each commune.

    Communal, district, provincial self-government will make it possible for each nationality, by means of a majority decision in the organs of local administration, to establish its schools and cultural institutions in those districts or communes where it possesses numerical preponderance. At the same time a separate, empire-wide, linguistic law guarding the interests of the minority can establish a norm in virtue of which national minorities, beginning with a certain numerical minimum, can constitute a basis for the compulsory founding of schools in their national languages in the commune, district, or province; and their language can be established in local public and administrative institutions, courts, etc., at the side of the language of the preponderant nationality (the official language). Such a solution would be workable, if indeed any solution is possible within the framework of capitalism, and given the historical conditions. This solution would combine the general principle of local self-government with special legislative measures to guarantee cultural development and equality of rights of the nationalities through their close cooperation, and not their mutual separation by barriers of national autonomy.
    Nestor Makhno

    Number of posts : 96
    Registration date : 2008-08-11

    Re: Russian-Georgian conflict

    Post  Nestor Makhno on Mon Sep 28, 2009 4:01 pm

    I'm agree with the possitions of "El Indio" and "Mondialiste". The data give by modialiste are very clear: ¿How you could support an abstract "right of self-determination" in a multinational territory. ¿How is the oppressor? ¿How is the opressed? ¿The country that opposes NATO? ¿The "natural" nation? NO, its impossible.
    We must have a meta-possition. We are away from national disputes. There's no possibility of progresive nationalism. Internationalism is the only way.
    Nestor Makhno

    Number of posts : 96
    Registration date : 2008-08-11

    Re: Russian-Georgian conflict

    Post  Nestor Makhno on Mon Sep 28, 2009 4:04 pm

    Sorry, where I writed "how", I wanted to write "who".

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