Friday, November 06, 2020

The “Nagorno-Karabakh” problem and the Left's Answer

 The dispute over  “Nagorno-Karabakh” continues and remains a threat to the region. It is promising that some on the left understand what is at stake.

"...There is no ‘victory’ in the war of competing nationalisms — except for those who profit from it. The glorification of war is deeply rooted in the patriarchy, the perpetuation of which depends on the very existence of nationalist war and its ideological hegemony. Another war means another wave of hate, closing doors to reconciliation and trust...", a left-wing group in Armenia has stated. 

Their aspiration is "...of a post-nationalist, pluralist and sustainable cohabitation for the people of Caucasus within a life-oriented political ecology, through the creation of internationalist self-governed and autonomous communities in the region."

This concurs with the position of  Rosa Luxemburg who had this to say why “self-determination for nations” was impossible in that part of the world. She pointed out that the only practical solution was administrative autonomy at the local level:

“Another outstanding example of the difficulties encountered by the problem of nationality autonomy in practice is to be found in the Caucasus. No corner of the earth presents such a picture of nationality intermixture in one territory as the Caucasus, the ancient historical trail of the great migrations of peoples between Asia and Europe, strewn with fragments and splinters of these peoples …

The territorial distribution of the largest nationalities involved is as follows: The Russians, who constitute the most numerous group in the whole Caucasus, are concentrated in the north, in the Kuban and Black Sea districts and in the northwest part of Tersk. Moving southward, in the western part of the Caucasus the Kartvelians are located; they occupy the Kutai and the south-eastern part of the Tiflis gubernias. Still further south, the central territory is occupied by the Armenians in the southern portion of the Tiflis, the eastern portion of the Kars and the northern portion of the Erivan gubernias, squeezed between the Georgians in the north, the Turks in the west and the Tatars in the east and south, in the Baku, Elizabetpol and Erivan gubernias. In the east and in the mountains are located mountain tribes, while other minor groups such as Jews and Germans live, intermingled with the autochthonous population, mainly in the cities. The complexity of the nationality problem appears particularly in the linguistic conditions because in the Caucasus there exist, besides Russian, Ossetian, and Armenian, about a half-dozen languages, four Lezgin dialects, several Chechen, several Circassian, Mingrel, Georgian, Sudanese, and a number of others. And these are by no means dialects, but mostly independent languages incomprehensible to the rest of the population. …

Thus, the drawing of a boundary between the main nationalities of the Caucasus is an insoluble task.…

The only method of settling the nationality question in the Caucasus, in the democratic spirit, securing to all nationalities freedom of cultural existence without any among them dominating the remaining ones, and at the same time meeting the recognized need for modern development, is to disregard ethnographic boundaries, and to introduce broad local self-government – communal, urban, district, and provincial – without a definite nationality character, that is, giving no privileges to any nationality. Only such a self-government will make it possible to unite various nationalities to jointly take care of the local economic and social interests, and on the other hand, to take into consideration in a natural way the different proportions of the nationalities in each county and each commune.

Communal, district, provincial self-government will make it possible for each nationality, by means of a majority decision in the organs of local administration, to establish its schools and cultural institutions in those districts or communes where it possesses numerical preponderance.”

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