National Question

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National Question is a general term used for issues relating to nationalities, nationalism, and nations. The term usually refers either to the various theories about dealing with national questions or to any particular national problem that manifests itself somewhere in the world. National questions have emerged around the world, including in the United States, Canada, and the Middle East.

Marxist views on the national question[edit]

There are various views and theory about how to explain, deal and eventually solve issues regarding nationalities. The question is of particular importance to Marxists.

Joseph Stalin, leader of the Soviet Union from 1924 to 1953, wrote a text on the national question, entitled Marxism and the National Question.[1] In it, Stalin lays out his definition of a nation, which impacted the work of the Soviet Union in organizing the multitude of nationalities within the former Russian Empire. His definition identifies the key elements of a nation as "a historically constituted, stable community of people, formed on the basis of a common language, territory, economic life, and psychological make-up manifested in a common culture."[2]

National Questions in the United States[edit]

Because of its mixed ethnic and national population, many historians, analysts and revolutionaries have proposed that one or several national questions exist in the United States.

For instance, the history of chattel slavery of blacks in the United States led many former slaves, civil rights activists and revolutionaries to recognize an African-American nation in the United States. Martin Delaney, an African-American abolitionist and the first black field officer in the United States Army during the civil war, believed that African-Americans constituted a separate nation within the US. Delaney is commonly recognized as the father of black nationalism in the US.[3] Communists and black nationalist leaders, like Malcolm X and Elijah Muhammad, have also upheld the existence of an African-American national question. The Communist Party USA, for instance, upheld the right of the African-American nation in the Black Belt to secede from the US in the 1920s and 1930s.[4]

Other national questions recognized in the US include the Chicano national question over the territory of Aztlan in the southwest and the Hawaiian national question over the islands taken by the US in the Pacific Ocean.

In the 21st century, several revolutionary organizations uphold the belief of one or several national questions in the United States. Chief among these groups is the Freedom Road Socialist Organization (FRSO), which continues to organize around the African-American, Chicano and Hawaiian national questions.[5] The FRSO publishes several pamphlets and statements on the African-American national question in the Black Belt,[6] and they uphold the right of national self-determination for all three up to and including the right of secession.[7] Ray O. Light, a Hoxhaist group in the US, also recognizes the existence of an Appalacian nation in the eastern US.

Particular cases of this issue around the world[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Stalin, Josef. "Marxism & the National Question". International Publishers. Retrieved 2/7/13.  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  2. ^ Stalin, Josef. "Marxism & the National Question". Retrieved 2/7/13.  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  3. ^
  4. ^ Sherman, Vincent (2012). Nations Want Liberation: The Black Belt Nation in the 21st Century
  5. ^ Staff (February 11, 2014). Fight Back! News Racism, national oppression of African Americans at the core of Jordan Davis killing
  6. ^ Freedom Road Socialist Organization (May 2006). The Third International and the struggle for a correct line on the African American National Question
  7. ^ Freedom Road Socialist Organization (March 2012). FRSO Program: Immediate Demands for U.S. Colonies, Indigenous Peoples, and Oppressed Nationalities