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Language, Culture, and Communism

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Soviet cogitations: 9
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 01 Sep 2011, 17:13
Ideology: Left Communism
New Comrade (Say hi & be nice to me!)
Post 02 Jun 2012, 18:53
I think most people, especially fellow Communists, would agree that the various cultures and nationalities across the globe are important, indeed vital, to the over-reaching human culture and are the color of the human race itself. Every people in the world (by 'people' I mean ethno-cultural groups such as can be defined in terms of their uniqueness in language, cuisine, cultural mores, &c.) contributes something to the human race, and though they all go through the same stages of development, the end results are unique and special.

However... in the Communist Manifesto, Marx and Engles write:
"Working men have no country. We cannot take from them what they have not got. Since the proletariat must first of all acquire political supremacy, must rise to be the leading class of the nation, must constitute itself the nation, it is, so far, itself national, though not in the bourgeois sense of the word.

National differences and antagonisms between peoples are daily more and more vanishing, owing to the development of the bourgeoisie, to freedom of commerce, to the world-market, to uniformity in the mode of production and in the conditions of life corresponding thereto."

Restated, they assert that the various peoples of the world are in fact getting more and more similar and losing their identity, as a result of imperialism, and the bourgeoisie coercing them into assimilation (consider how 'westernized' Japan or China have become in the last century). However, they also say that "working men have no country." Do I take this to mean that the final destiny of the world under Communism is a complete loss of cultural distinction? Will there be a balance between 'Workers of the World Unite' and keep one's cultural identity intact? Will we all speak the same language some day?

I apologize for not giving a single, basic question - I'd just like to hear others' opinions on this issue or group of issues. I have my own opinions on the issue, but I'm open to hearing others. Otherwise I wouldn't have posted this.
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Soviet cogitations: 4415
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 07 Oct 2004, 22:04
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
Resident Soviet
Post 02 Jun 2012, 21:52
meigwokyan wrote:
I think most people, especially fellow Communists, would agree that the various cultures and nationalities across the globe are important, indeed vital, to the over-reaching human culture and are the color of the human race itself. Every people in the world (by 'people' I mean ethno-cultural groups such as can be defined in terms of their uniqueness in language, cuisine, cultural mores, &c.) contributes something to the human race, and though they all go through the same stages of development, the end results are unique and special.


I don't think you can make that generalization when talking about communists in the Western world. Many of them seem to subscribe to cosmopolitan ideas, and support globalism (though not its neoliberal variant). This is especially true among Trotskyists, left communists and libertarian socialists. People subscribing to these substrata of radical Left thought take quotes by Marx and Engels like the one you've presented as evidence of this being the correct approach to cultural or national questions, though in practice most socialist states historically have incorporated the contributions of Lenin and Stalin when considering these issues, leaving them with generally antagonistic perceptions of liberal globalism and of the radical leftists who see no intrinsic value in any local culture. I think the quote can be interpreted in two ways; in the 'inevitable destruction of national differences', but also as a critique of capital's assimilationism and cultural relativism. Personally I subscribe to the latter view, as I believe that national culture, its preservation and development is important.
"The thing about capitalism is that it sounds awful on paper and is horrendous in practice. Communism sounds wonderful on paper and when it was put into practice it was done pretty well for what they had to work with." -MiG
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