Nationalism and the International Labor Movement: The Idea of the Nation in Socialist and Anarchist…

Paperback | June 5, 2007

byMichael Forman

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The resurgence of nationalism accompanying the decline of Communism has been taken to indicate the failure of socialist theory to grasp the nature of this phenomenon. Against both those who argue that the radical tradition has ignored and underestimated nationalism and those who accuse it of economic reductionism, this careful analysis of the idea of the nation as it was developed in the work of the major thinkers of the international labor movement reveals evidence of how seriously they grappled with nationalism.

Each of the main sections of the book focuses on the most influential theorists of the international labor movement as it became organized and grew: Bakunin, Marx, and Engels and the concern of the First International (1864–1876) with class solidarity across political borders; Lenin, Luxemburg, and Bauer and the preoccupation of the Second International (1889-1914) with socialism in ethnically plural societies; Stalin and Gramsci in relation to the substitution by the Third International (1919–1943) of nation-building and national liberation for the old class project.

In the conclusion, the author examines the relationships among ethnic and civic nationality, national self-determination, republican institutions, and the process of globalization from the perspective of the post-Soviet era and in the light of social theory and Kant's ideas about cosmopolitan right.

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The resurgence of nationalism accompanying the decline of Communism has been taken to indicate the failure of socialist theory to grasp the nature of this phenomenon. Against both those who argue that the radical tradition has ignored and underestimated nationalism and those who accuse it of economic reductionism, this careful analysis...

Michael Forman is Visiting Assistant Professor of Politics at Whitman College.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:224 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.52 inPublished:June 5, 2007Publisher:Penn State University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0271030143

ISBN - 13:9780271030142

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“Against those who argue that socialist theorists have historically underestimated nationalism and hence its place in the politics of nation building, Forman skillfully interprets the ideas of the most famous thinkers of the international labor movement to reveal that these theorists did indeed take the concepts of nation and nationalism seriously, and that within their writings one can end the theoretical basis for a new, reinvigorated international labor movement. As such, Nationalism and the International Labor Movement represents not only an important and innovative contribution to the literature on nations and nation building but an effective effort to communicate the principles and language of a new cosmopolitan vision of a future where social and economic justice and institutional accountability can finally be realized on a global scale.”—Mark Gobeyn, New Political Science