- The notion of internationalism was strongly embraced by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, and is expressed in the slogan of the Communist League “Proletarians of All Countries, Unite!” Marx and Engels saw class identity, interests and struggle as crossing national frontiers, and they sought to promote internationalism as much as possible, for example, through the creation of the First International. However, this did not prevent them from also supporting nationalist movements, for example in Poland and Ireland, since they believed that the struggle of the proletariat and bourgeoisie first takes a national form. National proletarian revolutions, though, could not succeed if they did not rapidly spread to other countries to become truly international revolutions.Vladimir Ilich Lenin continued to advocate internationalism while also allowing for national self-determination, but under Josef Stalin the Soviet Union, while ostensibly supporting international communism through the Communist International, grew more nationalistic pursuing its own interests through the Communist International and denying self-determination to other nationalities. Support for anti-colonial independence movements around the world by the Soviet Union and China might be seen as evidence of a commitment to internationalism, but the rivalry and outright conflict between different Marxist countries points to a continuing tension between nationalism and internationalism within Marxism.
Historical dictionary of Marxism. David Walker and Daniel Gray . 2014.