Nationalism, Communism and the Politics of Identity

  • Walter A. Kemp


This concluding chapter will point out that Communism’s 150-year experience of trying to come to terms with nationalism (particularly the 74 years between the October Revolution and the dissolution of the Soviet Union) raises fundamental questions about the nature of socialism and Communism, offers some important lessons for our understanding of the role of nations and nationalism in the international system, and invites discussion about the treatment of nationalism in the study of International Relations.


International Relation National Identity National Consciousness National Minority October Revolution 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Vincent Cable, The Worlds New Fissures: Identities in Crisis (London: Demos, 1994), p. 53.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Richard Pipes, Communism the Vanished Spectre (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994), p. 75.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Tom Nairn, The Break-Up of Britain: Crisis and Neo-Nationalism (London: NLB, 1977), p. 329.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    See Paul James, Nation Formation: Towards a Theory of Abstract Community (London: Sage, 1996), p. 179, in which he picks apart every significant theory of nationalism and yet admits at the end that his own text ‘has not elaborated anything like a comprehensive alternative to the theories it has examined’.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Charter of Paris for a New Europe (Paris, 1990), p. 13.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Walter Kemp, The OSCE in a New Context (London: Royal Institute of International Affairs, 1996), p. 15.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Michael Ignatieff, Blood and Belonging: Journeys into the New Nationalism (London: BBC Books, Chatto & Windus, 1993), p. 2.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    See Charles A. Kupchan, ‘Nationalism resurgent’, in Charles A. Kupchan (ed.), Nationalism and Nationalities in the New Europe (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1995), ch. 1.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    See Conflicts in the OSCE Area (Oslo: Peace Research Institute Oslo, 1995).Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Vojin Dimitrijevic, ‘Democracy versus nation: the post-Communist hypernational state and the position of its “ethnically different” citizens’, Helsinki Monitor, 5 (special issue 1994), p. 16.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Even Anthony D. Smith has made this argument saying ‘nations and nationalisms are unlikely to disappear, at least until all areas of the globe have made the painful transition to an affluent and stable modernity, on the Western model’, Nations and Nationalism in a Global Era (Cambridge: Polity Press, 1995), p. 4.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Georges Berthoin, ‘Together we need balanced counsel to guide our sovereignties’, International Herald Tribune (20 December 1995), p. 8.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    See Mark Franklin, Michael Marsh and Lauren McLaren, ‘Uncorking the bottle: popular opposition to European unification in the wake of Maastricht’, Journal of Common Market Studies, 3/4 (December 1994), 455–72.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Regis Debray, ‘Marxism and the national question’, New Left Review, 105 (September–October 1977), p. 31.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Vincent Cable, ‘Globalisation: can the state strike back?’, The World Today, 52(5) (May 1996), pp. 133–7.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    ‘Why geography still matters’, The Economist (30 July 1994), p. 16. See also Vincent Cable, ‘Culture, Community and Territory: Ethnicity and Nationalism in an Era of Globalization’, as presented at the Workshop on Ethnicity and International Relations, the Royal Institute of International Affairs, 23 November 1995; and Tuomas Forsberg, ‘Beyond sovereignty, within territoriality: mapping the space of late—modem (geo)politics’, Conflict and Cooperation, 31/4 (December 1996), pp. 355–86.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Gerd Behrens, ‘Love, hate and nationalism’, Time (21 March 1994), p. 64.Google Scholar
  18. 19.
    Tom Nairn, ‘Nationalism after the Deluge’, Legal Conference Paper, Glasgow, 6 September 1991.Google Scholar
  19. 20.
    Edward Mortimer, ‘Identity to cling on to: in a world of dissolving states, nations matter more than ever’, Financial Times (6 April 1994), p. 18.Google Scholar
  20. 21.
    Alex Callinicos, The Revenge of History: Marxism and the East European Revolutions (Oxford: Polity Press, 1991), p. 140. See also Laurence Harris, ‘Why I remain a small “c” communist’, Manchester Guardian Weekly (14 January 1990), p. 5.Google Scholar
  21. 22.
    Geoffrey Stem, ‘Eastern Europe — after Communism’, The Ethical Record, 97/2 (March 1992), p. 6.Google Scholar
  22. 23.
    ‘Pope cites “good things” achieved by Communism’, International Herald Tribune (3 November 1993), p. 2, taken from an interview in La Stampa. Google Scholar
  23. 24.
    For a stinging critique of a possible socialist revival see Ralf Dahrendorf, Reflections on the Revolution in Europe (London: Chatto & Windus, 1990), particularly pp. 44–71, who writes ‘Socialism was an intellectual invention, from Saint-Simon to Lassalle, from Marx to Gramsci, and through hundreds of byways of Marxism which are all ending in the sewers of discarded history’, p. 68.Google Scholar
  24. 26.
    Martin Woollacott, ‘2000 AD — time to start anew’, The Guardian (30 December 1995), p. 21.Google Scholar
  25. 28.
    James Mayall, Nationalism and International Society (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990), p. 145.Google Scholar
  26. 29.
    Geoffrey Stern, The Structure of International Society (London: Pinter, 1995), p. 288.Google Scholar
  27. 32.
    Heinz Gartner, State, Nation, and Security in Central Europe: Democratic States without Nations (Laxenburg: Austrian Institute for International Affairs, 1995), p. 24.Google Scholar
  28. 33.
    See Max van der Stoel, ‘Minorities in transition’, War Report, 48 (January–February 1997), pp. 16–17.Google Scholar
  29. 34.
    Jurgen Habermas, ‘Citizenship and national identity: some reflections on the future of Europe’, Praxis International, 12/1 (1992), p. 21.Google Scholar
  30. 35.
    Edward Hallett Carr, The Future of Nations (London: Trubner & Company, 1941), p. 49.Google Scholar
  31. 36.
    Gidon Gottlieb, among others, has discussed the merits of having a second look at Nationsrecht. See Nation Against State: A New Approach to Ethnic Conflicts and the Decline of Sovereignty (New York: Council on Foreign Relations Press, 1993), particularly pp. 36–7.Google Scholar
  32. 37.
    William Bloom, Personal Identity, National Identity and International Relations (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990), p. 161.Google Scholar
  33. 39.
    Yael Tamir, Liberal Nationalism (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1993), p. 156.Google Scholar
  34. 40.
    George Schopflin, ‘Nationalism and ethnicity in Europe, east and west’, in Charles A. Kupchan (ed.), Nationalism and Nationalities in the New Eumpe (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1995), p. 48.Google Scholar
  35. 41.
    Richard Devetak, ‘Postmodernism’, in Scott Burchill and Andrew Linklater et al., Theories of International Relations (New York: St Martin’s Press, 1996), p. 179. See also Alexis Heraclides, ‘Ethnicity, secessionist conflict and the international society: towards normative paradigm shift’, Nations and Nationalism, 3/4 (December 1997), pp. 493–520.Google Scholar
  36. 42.
    See Dan Smith, ‘The field of study in International Relations’, European Journal of International Relations, 2/2 (June 1996), pp. 259–69.Google Scholar
  37. 43.
    Martin Hollis and Steve Smith, Explaining and Understanding International Relations (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1990), p. 88.Google Scholar
  38. 46.
    Vojin Dimitrijevic, ‘Democracy versus nation: the post-Communist hypernational state and the position of its “ethnically different” citizens’, Helsinki Monitor, 5 (special issue, 1994), pp. 13–24.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Walter A. Kemp 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Walter A. Kemp

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations