National Problems in India and Pre'r evolutionary Russia
ALTHOUGH FIRMLY wedded to the principle of internationalism Marxists since the time of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels have always paid the closest attention to the national question. In this there is nothing paradoxical: at least three fundamental reasons exist for the special importance attached to national problems.
First, no nation, as Karl Marx used to emphasize, can be free that oppresses other nations. In other words, the proletariat of the oppiessing nation will find itself handicapped in its fight against its own bourgeoisie as long as the latter continues to draw tributes from other oppressed nations and to utilize the divisions between the toilers of the oppressing and the oppressed nations in the bourgeoisie's own interests.1
Secondly, lack of democratic and political rights of the oppressed nations "can only serve to retard the free development of the intellectual forces of ihe proletariat of subject nations"2 and, hence acts as a brake on its struggle for self-emancipation as a class.
Thirdly, and above all, national oppression diverts the attention of large strata of the population from social questions, questions of the class struggle, to national questions,, questions 'common5 to the proletariat and the bourgeoisie. And this creates a favourable soil for lying propaganda regarding 'harmony of