Episode 82: Ukrainian National Self-Determination: Answering Today’s “Imperialist Economism” and Campism

The co-hosts discuss the Ukrainian people’s fight for national self-determination against Russian imperialism, drawing lessons from V. I. Lenin’s responses to “imperialist economists” within his party as well as Rosa Luxemburg, who all claimed that national self-determination is unachievable under imperialism. After reviewing what “imperialist economism” meant at that time, Brendan and Andrew discuss parallels today in the pronouncements of Noam Chomsky and followers of Luxemburg, plus a new variant that Lenin did not have to confront––campist imperialist economism. They then discuss what “national self-determination” means and doesn’t mean, how claims that it is unachievable rest on a distorted definition of the term, and how national self-determination is indeed achievable––even in the context of inter-imperialist conflict, as in Ukraine today. Finally, drawing on Hegel’s critique, they discuss how arguments (made by ultraleftists and others) that national self-determination is unachievable misuse the axiomatic method.

Owing to the special nature of the above discussion, this episode does not include a distinct current-events segment.

The next episode of Radio Free Humanity is scheduled to air starting on December 23, not December 16.

Radio Free Humanity is a podcast covering news, politics and philosophy from a Marxist-Humanist perspective. It is co-hosted by Brendan Cooney and Andrew Kliman. We intend to release new episodes every two weeks. Radio Free Humanity is sponsored by MHI, but the views expressed by the co-hosts and guests of Radio Free Humanity are their own. They do not necessarily reflect the views and positions of MHI.

We welcome and encourage listeners’ comments, posted on this episode’s page.

Please visit MHI’s online print publication, With Sober Senses, for further news, commentary, and analysis.

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December 3, 2022


  1. Thanks for mentioning my previous comment from some months back in this edition of the podcast. The current edition of the podcast does clarify your position somewhat. However, I do not think you have dealt with all the objections that can be raised against the notion of the right of nations to self-determination. I don’t think website comments sections are a productive means of discussing such issues, but if I was to write a short text (say 750-1000 words) would you be willing to look at it and share some responses, either publicly or as private correspondence?

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