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    Marx, Engels, Lenin, and the right of peoples to self-determination in International Law

    Bowring, Bill (2021) Marx, Engels, Lenin, and the right of peoples to self-determination in International Law. In: Ozsu, U. and O'Connell, P. (eds.) The Research Handbook on Law and Marxism. Research Handbooks in Legal Theory series. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar. ISBN 9781788119856. (In Press)

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    This chapter proceeds in three parts. First, I begin by considering recent orthodox accounts of self-determination in international law, which generally seek to downplay the importance and content of the right of peoples to self-determination. I pay particularly close attention to the role of Marx and Lenin—and also, paradoxically, the Soviet Union—in propagating the concept of self-determination and related political programmes. I also pay close attention to the success of the Soviet Union and other ‘socialist’ states in making self-determination a core element of international law after the Second World War. Second, I turn to the mid-life conversion of Marx and Engels to support national self-determination in the cases of Poland and Ireland, and the vexed question of whether this simply amounted to a rehearsal of the Hegelian (and Eurocentric) theory of historical and non-historical nations. Engels borrowed the concept of non-historical peoples from Hegel, who had identified nationhood with a tradition of statehood. Third, I examine Lenin’s principled support of the right of nations to self-determination, his return to Marx’s position, and his decisive role in placing the right at the centre of early Soviet policy and constitutionalism. Finally, I trace the role of the Soviet Union in helping to bring about a revolution in international law, and at the same time securing its own downfall.


    Item Type: Book Section
    Additional Information: This draft chapter has been published by Edward Elgar Publishing in 2021.
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): Matrx, Engels, Lenin, Self-Determination, United Nations, Marxism
    School: School of Law > Law
    Depositing User: Bill Bowring
    Date Deposited: 30 Jun 2021 10:29
    Last Modified: 10 Feb 2022 15:28


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