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The Question of Nationalities and Social Democracy

The Question of Nationalities and Social Democracy

Ephraim J. Nimni Volume Editor
Translated by Joseph O’Donnell
Foreword by Heinz Fischer
Copyright Date: 2000
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 344
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  • Book Info
    The Question of Nationalities and Social Democracy
    Book Description:

    Until now, The Question of Nationalities and Social Democracy was the only remaining work of classical Marxism not fully translated into English. First published in German in 1907, this seminal text has been cited in countless discussions of nationalism, from the writings of Lenin to Benedict Anderson’s Imagined Communities.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-8985-9
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Foreword
    (pp. ix-xii)
    Heinz Fischer

    In the first half of the twentieth century, Austrian Social Democracy produced two figures who achieved a significance that extended well beyond the borders of their own country: Karl Renner and Otto Bauer. Born on 5 September 1881 in Vienna, Otto Bauer was often regarded as Renner’s adversary within the Social Democratic movement, as indeed he was—at least on certain issues—above all during the period from 1920 to 1933.

    Although born into a solidly middle-class family, Otto Bauer became acquainted with the thought and the leading figures of Social Democracy and Austro-Marxism while still in his youth. Following...

  4. Translator’s Note
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
    Joseph O’Donnell
  5. Introduction for the English-Reading Audience
    (pp. xv-xlvi)
    Ephraim J. Nimni

    In the introduction to his important bookMulticultural Citizenship,Will Kymlicka argues that ethnic and cultural diversity is the norm for most contemporary states. This diversity, Kymlicka contends, gives rise to some important and potentially divisive questions related to issues such as language rights, regional autonomy, political representation, educational curricula, land claims, and, last but not least, immigration and citizenship.¹ Although Kymlicka is aware of the historical dimensions of ethnic diversity, other “postnational” writers with short memories argue instead that the internationalization of labor markets, decolonization, and expansion of the discourse of human rights that have occurred since World War...

  6. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xlvii-2)
    Ephraim J. Nimni
  7. Preface to the First Edition
    (pp. 3-4)
  8. Preface to the Second Edition
    (pp. 5-18)
  9. 1. The Nation
    (pp. 19-138)

    Until now scholars have almost entirely left the nation to poets, newspaper columnists, and speakers at public gatherings, in the parliament and the alehouse. In an era of great national struggles we barely have the beginnings of a satisfactory theory of the essence of the nation. And yet we are in need of such a theory. After all, we are all affected by national ideology, by national romanticism; few of us would be able even to say the word “German” without its resonating with a peculiar emotional overtone. Anyone seeking to understand national ideology or to criticize it cannot avoid...

  10. 2. The Nation-State
    (pp. 139-156)

    The state of the Middle Ages was founded on the feudal system. The vassal was under obligation to his lord to provide military service and to attend the latter’s court; in return, he was granted land in the form of a fief. The medieval state was based on this relationship, which was, according to customary right, hereditary in the case of both parties. The German king was the overlord of the princes, who were in turn the overlords of the other barons. Thus, it was the king who summoned the princes, the prince who summoned the barons to arms and...

  11. 3. The Multinational State
    (pp. 157-258)

    The Austrian state was a product of the great movement that led the sons of Germany’s peasants away from their home soil, where farmhouse increasingly pressed against farmhouse, to the northeast and to the southeast. The Austrian state was a late fruit of the colonization in the southeast, just as the Prussian state was a product of that in the northeast.

    German colonization of the area of present-day Austria had a diverse character. The settlement of what are today the German Alpine lands presents a different picture from that of the subjugation of the Slovene peasants of the south under...

  12. 4. National Autonomy
    (pp. 259-308)

    In what follows, we treat national autonomy in the first instance as a proletarian demand. Therefore, we pose this question: how would the proletariat, given that it was in possession of the power to do so, organize in detail the legal self-determination of nations, and through which legal institutions would it guarantee this?

    If we pose the question of the concrete application of the general principle of national autonomy, we are not induced to do so by the gratuitous pleasure derived from the play of the imagination that constructs states and destroys them in a vacuum. Rather, we seek to...

  13. 5. The Developmental Tendencies of the National Struggles in Austria
    (pp. 309-354)

    Up to this point we have examined which form of national autonomy the working class must demand. We will now turn to the question of whether, in the context of our social system, this demand will remain a utopia or whether it can be proved that the development of the nations and national struggles is moving toward a replacement of the centralist-atomist regulation with the organic regulation of national relations. We commence with an examination of the developmental tendencies within Austria, in the “kingdoms and lands represented in theReichsrat.”¹Thus, we are assuming that the Austrian nations will remain...

  14. 6. The Transformation of the Principle of Nationality
    (pp. 355-416)

    We have already explained how the principle of nationality has become an active force that has destroyed the traditional state forms of Europe. We concluded that a number of multinational states have nevertheless held their ground, after a fashion, against the onslaught of this principle, and we spent a considerable time considering one of these multinational states, Austria. However, we have not yet dealt with the question as to whether these multinational states will in fact be able to maintain themselves. Rather, we have merely inquired as to what form relations within the multinational state take as long as it...

  15. 7. The Program and Tactics of Austrian Social Democracy
    (pp. 417-456)

    Modern socialism first emerged in the great nation-states of Western Europe. It was thus the social structure and political position of these nations that initially determined modern socialism’s position regarding the nationalities question. In the first place, the working class of these nations opposes the national form of evaluation employed by the conservative classes with the rationalist form of evaluation. It opposes the ideal of the preservation of national specificity with the idea of the development of the entire people into a nation. Expressed in positive terms, the politics of the working class are thus nationalevolutionary politics; expressed in negative...

  16. Notes
    (pp. 457-488)
  17. Index
    (pp. 489-494)
  18. Back Matter
    (pp. 495-495)