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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/32787

Title: Nationalism and Internationalism: Theory and Practice of Marxist Nationality Policy from Marx and Engels to Lenin and the Communist Workers’ Party of Poland
Authors: Kasprzak, Michal
Advisor: Wrobel, Piotr
Department: History
Keywords: Marxism
nationalism
Karl Marx
Friendrich Engels
Communist Workers’ Party of Poland
European socialism
Soviet nationality policy
Comintern
Issue Date: 30-Aug-2012
Abstract: The dissertation examines the roots of modernity at the turn of the 20th century through the prism of the relationship between nationalism and internationalism. This seemingly incompatible affiliation between the two ideological archenemies has produced one of the most intriguing paradoxes of modern history. While theoretically attempting to reject nationalism as a transient product of capitalism, Marxism has in practice oftentimes exploited its appeal and utilized its extensive institutional repertoire. The study traces the evolution of Marxism’s conceptualization of the nationality question—a slow shift from an outright rejection of nationalism to an acceptance of its progressive features, complexity, varieties and influences. Interweaving intellectual and cultural studies in history with the political and intellectual history of the European Left, the study offers an intricate narrative of the crossroads of two important ideologies in theory and practice. The dissertation’s comparative and transnational approach reveals several important hitherto superficially explored aspects of Marxism’s difficult dialogue with nationalism. Firstly, it re-evaluates Karl Marx and Friedrich’s views on the nationality question, from its outright denial to limited acceptance and application. Secondly, it re-examines the multitude of Social Democratic responses to nationalism before the Great War. The advent of mass politics and the popularization of Marxist ideas produced a range of diverse socialist responses to the national conundrum throughout Europe. A comparison of Western (French and German), East Central and Eastern European (Austrian, Polish and Russian) and Soviet attitudes highlights some of the startling similarities and differences between the various groups’ ideological constellations. Finally, the dissertation uses the case study of the Communist Workers’ Party of Poland (Komunistyczna Partia Robotnicza Polski, KPRP) to reveal certain insights about the cumulative heritage of Marxist thought on nationalism. An analysis of the KPRP reveals a lot not only about a national party’s struggles with nationalism (challenging many historiographical questions), but also about the diverse conceptualizations of Marx and Engels’ thought on nationalism, about European Social Democracy’s debates about the phenomenon, and about the Soviet nationality policy (within and outside the Soviet Union).
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/32787
Appears in Collections:Doctoral

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