Reconciling the Basic Contradiction

  • Walter A. Kemp


This chapter will examine the views of some of the major socialist theorists and look at how they tried to reconcile the basic contradiction between nationalism and communism, both ideologically and politically. It will become apparent that socialist theorists had difficulty defining and coming to grips with nationalism for the same reason sociologists do, namely that it is a diversified phenomenon that defies monocausal explanations.1 They suffered from the additional handicap of being uncompromisingly shackled to economic determinism which, because of its historico-materialist perspective, regarded nationalism as nothing more than an epiphenomenon of capitalism. Their inability to tackle nationalism head-on created a cognitive dissonance between the strict parameters of ideology and the complexities of reality: a gap which, as it widened, led to a paradoxical situation wherein the socialists hardened their ideological intransigence at the same time as they made political decisions which were inconsistent with these same ideological statements.


National Culture National Minority Social Democratic Party National Movement National Question 
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© Walter A. Kemp 1999

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  • Walter A. Kemp

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