In Marxist theory, bourgeois nationalism is the ideology of the ruling capitalist class which aims to overcome class antagonism between proletariat and bourgeoisie by appealing to national unity. It is seen as a distraction from engaging in class struggle and an attempt to impose interests of capitalists on the proletariat by constructing capitalist interests as "national interests". Internationally, it aims to create antagonism between workers of different nations and serves as a divide-and-conquer strategy. The bourgeois nationalism is contrasted with left-wing nationalism and proletarian internationalism.


Soviet Union

See also: Soviet anti-Zionism and Ukrainian nationalism

Leonid Brezhnev

After the October Revolution, the Bolshevik government based its nationalities policy (korenization) on the principles of Marxism. According to these principles, all nations should disappear with time, and nationalism was considered a bourgeois ideology.[1] By the mid-1930s these policies were replaced with more extreme assimilationist and Russification policies.[2][3][4] The term was used indiscriminately to smear national groups opposed to Russian centralism.[5]

In his Report on the 50th anniversary of the formation of the USSR, Leonid Brezhnev emphasized: "That is why Communists and all fighters for socialism believe that the main aspect of the national question is unification of the working people, regardless of their national origin, in the common battle against every type of oppression, and for a new social system which rules out exploitation of the working people."[6]

In the Soviet Union throughout its existence, the term generally referred to Ukrainian, Estonian, Latvian, Armenian, Kazakh and other types of nationalism that were propagated by the Soviet Union's non-Russian minorities. The Soviet leadership saw their struggle for independence as a threat to the entire existence of the USSR's communist regime.[7][8][9]


Liu Shaoqi

Bourgeois nationalism as a concept was discussed by China's president, Liu Shaoqi as follows:

The exploitation of wage labour, competition, the squeezing out, suppressing and swallowing of rivals among the capitalists themselves, the resorting to war and even world war, the utilisation of all means to secure a monopoly position in its own country and throughout the world - such is the inherent character of the profit-seeking bourgeoisie. This is the class basis of bourgeois nationalism and of all bourgeois ideologies. [...] The most vicious manifestations of the development of bourgeois nationalism include the enslavement of the colonial and semi-colonial countries by the imperialist powers, the First World War, the aggression of Hitler and Mussolini and the Japanese warlords during the Second World War, and the schemes for the enslavement of the whole world undertaken by the international imperialist camp, headed by American imperialism.[10]

Jews and Zionism

In 1949, the Communist Party USA declared the Zionist movement to be a form of "Jewish bourgeois nationalism".[11]

Writing for People's World, the leftist activist John Gilman referred to Jewish bourgeoisie nationalism as having multiple varieties, including Jewish assimilationism and Zionism.[12]

See also


  1. ^ Khiterer, V. (2004). "Nationalism in the Soviet Union". Encyclopedia of Russian History. Macmillan Reference USA.
  2. ^ Nicolaïdis, Kalypso; Sebe, Berny; Maas, Gabrielle (2014-12-23). Echoes of Empire: Memory, Identity and Colonial Legacies. Bloomsbury Publishing. ISBN 978-0-85773-896-7 – via Google Books. Elsewhere in the USSR, the late 1930s and the outbreak of World War II also saw some significant changes: elements of korenizatsiya were phased out... the Russians were officially anointed as the 'elder brothers' of the Soviet family of nations, whilst among historians Tsarist imperialism was rehabilitated as having had a 'progressive significance'
  3. ^ Chang, Jon K. "Tsarist continuities in Soviet nationalities policy: A case of Korean territorial autonomy in the Soviet Far East, 1923-1937". Eurasia Studies Society of Great Britain & Europe Journal.
  4. ^ Nikolayets, K. (2011). "Vplyv uyavlenʹ pro sotsialistychnyy sposib zhyttya na spryamuvannya suspilʹno-politychnoyi aktyvnosti naselennya Ukrayiny: istoriohrafiya" Вплив уявлень про соціалістичний спосіб життя на спрямування суспільно-політичної активності населення України: історіографія [The influence of ideas about the socialist way of life on the direction of social and political activity of the population of Ukraine: historiography]. Naukovi Zapysky Z Ukrayinsʹkoyi Istoriyi: Zbirnyk Naukovykh Pratsʹ Наукові записки з української історії: Збірник наукових праць [Scientific notes on Ukrainian history: Collection of scientific papers] (in Ukrainian). 26: 293. Archived from the original (PDF) on 20 June 2012.
  5. ^ "Nationalism". Retrieved 1 June 2023.
  6. ^ Brezhnev, L. I. (1972). The 50th Anniversary of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Moscow. p. 10.((cite book)): CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  7. ^ Khiterer, В. (2004), "Націоналізм в Радянському Союзі" , в Енциклопедії російської історії, М. довідник США
  8. ^ Фролов М. О. Сталін і Україна: особливості стосунків між кремлівським диктатором, українським народом, керівництвом УСРР і КП(Б)У в 1920-х рр. ст. / Наукові праці історичного факультету Запорізького національного університету. — Запоріжжя: ЗНУ, Історія України 20–30-х рр. XX, 2011. — Вип. XXX. — 368 с. ISSN 2076-8982
  9. ^ Науковий і культурно-просвітній краєзнавчий часопис “Галичина” Науковий журнал / Василь Жупник «Протистояння ОУН і УПА та радянських органів влади на території Волині і Галичини (1944–1953 рр.) в радянській історіографії», 2008, Ч.14
  10. ^ Shaoqi, Liu. "I. The Bourgeois-Nationalist Concept of the Nation". Internationalism and Nationalism. Retrieved 5 April 2015 – via Marxists Internet Archive.
  11. ^ Schwartz, Harry (31 March 1949). "COMMUNISTS HERE TO FIGHT ZIONISM; Freiheit Association Apologizes for Not Embracing Stand of Ehrenburg Earlier". The New York Times. Retrieved 2023-05-06.
  12. ^ "Zionism what it does and does not mean". People's World. 16 January 2003. Retrieved 2023-05-06.

Further reading