National communism

National communism

The term National Communism describes the ethnic minority communist currents that arose in the former Russian Empire after Vladimir Lenin's Bolshevik Party (formed from the left wing of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party) seized power in October 1917.

Left-wing socialists in Ukraine and the Muslim areas of the former tsarist empire also developed distinct variants of communism that continued in the USSR until 1928. Ukrainian and Muslim varaints differed from each other on two points in particular. The Muslims believed the fate of world revolution depended on events in Asia not Europe. They also argued alliances with the national bourgeoisie were necessary for the duration of the liberation struggle. Class divisions had to be ignored,otherwise the national bourgeoisie would turn away from national liberation, ally with their imperial counterparts and thus ensure the ultimate collapse of any revolutionary struggle and national liberation. In its Muslim variant it was a synthesis of nationalism, communism and anarchism as well as religion. Muslim communists included people from both left and right wing groups which predated the Revolution, joining the (Russian Bolshevik Party) between 1917 and 1920—some of whom later were Narkomnats, under the People's Commissar Joseph Stalin.[citation needed]


In Ukraine

In 1918, the book Do Khvyli (translated into English as On The Current Situation in the Ukraine, P. Potichnyj ed. [1970]), written by the Ukrainian communists Serhii Mazlakh and Vasyl' Shakhrai, challenged what they saw as Russian domination over Ukraine under Bolshevik rule. The analysis was extended in the 1919 letter of the Ukrainian Communist Party to the Third International.[citation needed]

In Muslim regions of the former Russian Empire

Open conflict between prominment Muslim theorists such as Sultan Galiev Mirsäyet Soltanğäliev and Lenin and Stalin broke out in 1919 at the Second Congress of the Communist International over the autonomy of the Muslim Communist Party as well as at the Congress of the Peoples of the East and the First Conference of the Turkic Peoples' Communists of the RSFSR and significantly at the 10th Congress of the Russian Communist Party (b) (April 1921). The crisis resulted in the purge of the Communist Party of Turkestan in December 1922 and the arrest of Sultan Galiev in 1923. Galiev was the first bolshevik party member to be arrested by Stalin. The immidiate cause of his arrest were his comments on the 12th Congress resolutions regarding concessions to non-Russians. Stalin was enfuriated that Galiev rejected his juxtapositoin of "great power chauvinism" with "local nationalism." Reaction to great-power chauvinism Galiev explained was not "nationalism". It was simply reaction to great power chauvinism. Nine days later he was arrested. During this time however, Soltanğäliev, Turar Ryskulov, Nariman Narimanov and Ahmed Baytursan were very influential especially through the Communist University of the Toilers of the East which opened in 1921 and was very active until its staff was purged in 1924. Communists from outside the Soviets such as Manabendra Nath Roy, Henk Sneevliet and Sultan Zade also taught there, formulating similar political positions. Students of the university included Sen Katayama, Tan Malaka, Liu Shaoqi and Ho Chi Minh.

The great purge in the Muslim republics began in 1928 with executions of Veli Ibrahimov of the Tatar Communist Party and Milli Firka followed by the leaders of Hummet, Tatar Communist Party and even the Tatar Union of the Godless. It also happened in Azerbyjan, Kazakhstan and the Young Bukharians.




General references

  • Bennigsen,A., Muslim national communism in the Soviet Union : a revolutionary strategy for the colonial world (1979).
  • Mace, J., Communism and the dilemmas of national liberation : national communism in Soviet Ukraine, 1918-1933 (1983).

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