5
INTRODUCTION
 

p As can be seen from its title, this book is devoted to the interrelated subjects of nations and internationalism. Each of these can, of course, be an object of separate study, yet we feel that they appear in a new perspective when viewed together, revealing new features which are of urgent contemporary interest. The ideological, political and historical interrelation of these subjects, and the socio-economic basis of their relationship can only be understood if we regard them as a whole.

p In this book the author sets out to give a theoretical exposition of these issues, discussing them in the context of world history and of the diverse forms of the human community.

p Extraordinarily high dynamism in every field of human activity is the hallmark of the present epoch, and internationalisation of productive forces and of economic, foreign, political, cultural and other relations is one of the most significant characteristics of our times.

p Developing consolidation processes in world history are general and consistent and are based—for all the great diversity of the specific forms and life styles of individual human communities—on a succession of socio-economic formations. Pre-socialist consolidation processes stem, in the final analysis, from the conflict between the productive forces and relations of production on which this succession depends. At a certain stage of history which, however, does not everywhere occur simultaneously, there arise such human communities as ethnic groups, nationalities and nations.

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p Before attaining its present stage, mankind passed through fairly extensive periods of pretribal, pre-class development, each considerably longer than the next. The formation of national communities is an intricate and manifold process involving all strata and classes of society.

p In considering the historical and social aspects of the question of nations and internationalism we are able to define scientifically the stage at which national communities emerge—usually in the period of late feudalism, while the socioeconomic foundation of nations is provided by the capitalist relations, which mature in the bowels of a decaying feudal system.

p Bourgeois nationalism, as the ideology and policy of the bourgeoisie, emerges simultaneously with the bourgeois nations. European bourgeois nationalist concepts came in on the crest of anti-feudal revolutions, although at first they usually bore the specific imprint of popular democratic movements. As soon as the bourgeoisie becomes the ruling class, these conceptions begin to develop in accordance with the class nature of the different sections of the bourgeoisie. It should also be noted that bourgeois nationalist theories were closely bound up with the colonial policies and expansion of capitalism.

p In appraising nationalism Marxism-Leninism invariably exercises a concrete historical approach. The nationalism of an oppressed nation is not to be identified with racialist and chauvinist nationalism, out to crush and exploit other nations, as the striving of oppressed peoples for independence played a prominent part in bringing about the collapse of the imperialist colonial system. From that standpoint this was a progressive movement, and was therefore vigorously supported by the working class of all countries, which is itself internationalist.

p Proletarian internationalism, the world outlook and policy of the working class, was from a 7 historical, politico-economic and philosophical point of view a fundamentally new step forward in the development of consolidation.

p The Great October Socialist Revolution of 1917 was a heroic deed of international significance, performed by the workers and the poorest peasants of Russia. It breached the chain of world imperialism and ushered in a new era in the development of mankind, thus inaugurating a new civilisation. The October Revolution was a turning point in world history. It marked the beginning of the transition from capitalism to socialism which is the essential characteristic of our epoch.

p The sixty years of the Soviet Union’s existence have incontrovertibly shown that when the exploitation of man by man is abolished, all national strife, oppression and the enslavement of one nation by another will also disappear. The dialectics of the international and the national alters, and the life of society, with its changing relations between nations and nationalities, becomes subject to new, previously unknown, objective laws.

p The national question is a major problem for any socialist revolution. In the Soviet Union it could not be solved without far-reaching social and economic reforms. Consistent implementation of Leninist national policy has helped to establish a permanent unification of all classes, nations and nationalities in the Soviet Union, a genuine brotherhood between peoples, which attests to the viability of the Marxist-Leninist teaching on internationalism.

p On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Soviet Union, the General Secretary of the CC CPSU and Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, Leonid Ilyich Brezhnev, observed: ’Communists have always viewed the national question through the prism of the class struggle, believing that its solution has to be subordinated to the interests of the Revolution, to the interests of socialism. That is why 8 Communists and all fighters for socialism believe that the main aspect of the national question is unification of the working people, regardless of their national origin, in the common struggle against every type of oppression, and for a new social system which rules out exploitation of the working people.’  [8•* 

p Concrete historical study of the Soviet Union’s approach to the problems of national development at certain periods over the past decades reveals a range of objective laws first disclosed in the course of the revolution and the building of socialism. Following Lenin’s ideas the Soviet Union has succeeded in bringing the backward peoples to the level of the more advanced. The broad mass of the people of all the country’s nations and nationalities were drawn into building socialism—such has been the sum and substance of the national policy of the Soviet state throughout its history. Each of the fraternal peoples has enjoyed equal opportunity in social, economic and cultural socialist development, irrespective of economic and cultural level, size of population or territory, religion, etc.

p Bourgeois and revisionist ideologists in the West allege that the significance of the Soviet experience holds good only for the USSR and is a special, if interesting, case. This merely overemphasises specific national factors at the expense of international factors, and thrusts aside all that has become the property of all the Soviet peoples and has served as a model for other peoples. Of course, every people will tackle the tasks before it in it’s own way, in the light of its own social and political circumstances—however that which has been accomplished in one-sixth of the globe will always remain a worthy object of profound study.

p The entire socio-economic and political development of Soviet society—during the abolition of the exploiting classes, during the last world 9 war and also during the building of developed socialism—has been of a consistently internationalist character. In the process of this development the unity and fraternal friendship of the peoples of the Soviet Union were strongly manifested, and the patriotic and internationalist consciousness of the masses raised to a new level. Broad sections of working people of all nations and nationalities in the Soviet Union have developed an awareness of the Soviet people as a new historical community and consider themselves part of it. The emergence of this community is an essentially new stage in the universal historical process of consolidation, which is closely related to today’s great social upheavals and scientific and technical revolution.

p The progressive historical tendency towards the internationalisation of the economic and cultural life of society is realised in the operation of a whole range of new objective laws which govern the development of socialism as a world system. The international relations of fraternal cooperation and socialist mutual assistance constitute a new and higher type of international relations, which demonstrate that the essence of the socialist world system is an ..integral social formation which is not reducible to a simple totality of socialist states. The gradual drawing together of the socialist countries is today clearly seen as an objective law.

p The socialist countries are inhabited by roughly a third of the world’s population. Here social ownership of the means of production is predominant, while exploitation and national inequality do not exist. Internationalist views and morality are the property of all working people.

p The socialist world system, the community of socialist states—an entirely new and unprecedented product of this epoch—makes a deep imprint on modern life as a whole. Leonid Brezhnev said: ’Development of the socialist countries, their greater might, and the greater 10 beneficial influence of their international policy— this is now the main direction in mankind’s social progress.’  [10•*  Developing and advancing, based on the activity of millions of free men and women, relying on ever greater socialist economic integration and the international socialist division of labour, the socialist countries are working tirelessly for further social progress, for lasting peace and international security. This is internationalism in action.

p A great wave of national liberation revolutions destroyed the imperialist colonial system. The national liberation movements of our times substantially differ from those of the past. No longer local or isolated, these movements are a great international force. The intensity and the great scope of the anti-imperialist struggle waged by the peoples of the developing countries in support of their rights and against colonialism and neocolonialism are characteristic of this movement.  [10•** 

p Guided by the principles of proletarian internationalism, the USSR and other socialist countries give total support to the developing nations, while not seeking thereby to gain any benefits or concessions, military or economic, which is conducive to greater friendship and cooperation with the developing countries.

p In the developing countries internationalisation manifests itself primarily in a vigorous united effort to oppose imperialism and its international 11 economic system. Simultaneously, intricate processes of social delimitation develop and there is stronger gravitation towards socialism as the only possible path to modern civilisation.

p The modern capitalist world is in a profound crisis which extends to every aspect of life. In the struggle for social pr9gress, freedom, democracy and socialism, the historic role of leader of the working people devolves on the working class. Associated with the most advanced forms of social production, the international working class is the chief exponent of the ideas of proletarian internationalism.

p The Soviet Union and fraternal socialist countries undeviatingly adhere to the principles of internationalism in both their home and foreign policy. The key results of this policy in the international sphere are briefly: intensive multilateral development and improvement within the socialist community; a growth and consolidation of the ties between the USSR and the countries which have rid themselves of colonial dependence; a further strengthening of fraternal ties between the Soviet working class and the working class in other parts of the world; a development of more effective and active cooperation between the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and the fraternal parties of all countries.

p A consistent and untiring struggle for a lasting, just and democratic world peace is one of the highest expressions of the internationalist character of Soviet foreign policy. Primarily thanks to the efforts of the Soviet Union and the socialist community, the menace of another world war has been averted, and international relations are moving from confrontation to cooperation. The most prominent changes are occurring in Europe, which has long been the scene and source of terrible, almost incessant wars. At the conclusion of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, held in Helsinki in 1975, a multilateral international legal document was issued, which 12 defined, for the first time in ’history, the principles and rules for the peaceful coexistence of states with different social systems. This document has been signed by thirty-three European countries, and also by the USA and Canada.

p The road to a new life is hard and perilous. But world socialism brightly illuminates this road for all peoples, though to see it clearly one must be well acquainted with the development of mankind from its beginnings to the present time.

The period of social antagonisms is but a very brief stage in the history of mankind. The intricate, rapidly changing pattern of events in the last quarter of the twentieth century, the accelerated pace of development of society, science and technology, indicate a rapid growth in the internationalisation of material and intellectual life, the limitless creative potential that is now developing in every nation and nationality on earth.

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Notes

[8•*]   L. I. Brezhnev, Following Lenin’s Course, Moscow, 1975, p. 55.

[10•*]   Documents and Resolutions. XXVth Congress of the CPSU, Moscow, 1976, p. 33.

[10•**]   Many developing countries have been greatly hindered economically, and their situation further impaired by the ruthless exploitation, pillage and discrimination to which they are subjected as a part of the capitalist world market. During his trips in Asia and Africa the author often had the impression that he was travelling in a time machine: alongside mining and other modern enterprises one sees poor peasants and semi-proletarians engaged in the natural economy, and observes some primary forms of capitalist and even pre-capitalist economic relations, including usury and pre-capitalist forms of commodity exchange.