The Freedom Socialist Organiser brings you two pieces about important but partial wins in the courts for Indigenous people — one in the High Court of Australia and other in the Swedish Supreme Court. Both set precedents.
In recent years, the term First Nations has grown in popularity. This term highlights the struggles by Indigenous communities to throw off the shackles of national oppression. There is a clear pattern when comparing the experiences of Indigenous peoples. All have long histories of connection to their land. They have a traditional livelihood and their own language and a distinct culture. All have suffered colonisation, with predatory forces stealing land, exploiting resources, imposing an entirely different economic system and brutally repressing language and culture.
Lenin wrote extensively on the national question in the early 20th century. The Tsarist empire was expansive and included many different nationalities, including the Sami living on the Kola Peninsula in the northwest of Russia. Oppressed nations comprised 57% of the population of the Russian Empire. Lenin was most insistent that the Bolsheviks have the correct orientation to the various nationalities and not make chauvinist mistakes that would drive these nationalities away from the revolution and into the arms of reaction.
As capitalism evolved to its imperialist stage, Lenin warned that this would intensify all the contradictions of the capitalist system, and inevitably lead to an exacerbation of national rivalries — especially those between oppressive and oppressed nations, the imperialist powers and their colonies. He stressed that Marxists support the right of oppressed nations to self-determination, forecasting that national liberation and anti-colonial movements would play a key role in the struggle against capitalism.
Today, we see First Nations people leading the resistance, especially against multinational mining and energy corporations. For example, mass demonstrations and blockades continue across Canada in support of the Wet’suwet’en Nation fighting to stop the Coastal GasLink pipeline. It’s essential to build alliances between First Nations, trade unions and social justice movements. To build unbreakable alliances forged through bonds of trust, the sovereign rights of oppressed nations to self-determination are not negotiable.