Monday, 11 August 2008

Self-determination for all peoples

A big geopolitical battle is underway in that most problematic of regions, the Caucasus. I don't know much about South Ossetia, in fact until this week I'd never heard of it.

This blog advocates secession as a way of breaking down the empires and as a way to a decentralised and diverse world. Ossetians are an ethnic group in the own right with their own language and culture, but their wish to join the Russian Federation must be respected. It is also important to remember that 30% South Ossetia's population is Georgian. We don't want a repeat of the Bosnian scenario. The people of Abkahazia too, are flexing their muscle. Both they and the Ossetians seem close to the Russians, and some Georgian commentators are saying the Kremlin intends to gain back all the old territories of the USSR - that old imperialist monster! However, it seems Abkhazia is more independently minded that Ossetia. If full secession is not possible as it will lead to war, death, rape, misery - then semi-autonomy for ethnic minorities in Georgia is the way forward. It's something that could happen in a united Ireland, semi-autonomy for the Protestants or 'British-Irish' as the CPGB (PCC) would have it. There are countless other states where ethnic minorities have their own political parties and representation in government. Ethnic Italians have their own voice in Switzerland, ethnic Germans in Romania have theirs. Serbs in Slovenia have theirs - where these exist we do not hear about ethnic cleansing.

In Moldova, Transnistria, which is mainly populated by ethnic Russians, is an autonomous region, although it sadly cost a thousand lives in the battles of 1992.

Can this sort of thing happen in the UK with Leicester and Bradford? Ethnic homelands can only happen within existing states if the population share a meta-ethnicity and where cultures are not too different.

This blog will follow the Georgian crisis with concern and interest in the possible remedies.

In the meantime: