>>93597>These are good points anon.
Thanks. I'm far from some theoretical mastermind, but I've found the basic ML concepts to click together pretty easily, like the notion that ideas and politics and beliefs arise from definitive historical and material circumstances and in turn shape / influence society; i.e. historical materialism. When humans settled down and began growing food, and used annual floods to fertilize their crops, they began praying to gods with alligator heads which they believed would help give them good floods – they didn't do that before they relied on annual floods from a river inhabited by alligators, so it stands to reason that human beings created gods than the other way around.
I think nations are like modern-day gods, that replaced the older gods when the economic base of society changed. The nation is like a god that people worship and they engage in various rituals. In the U.S., people hold their hands to their hearts and stand up when the national anthem plays before football games, and politicians regularly talk about the American nation in religious terms.
Or you could see gay pride parades and MAGA rallies as a similar thing. People who have been made to feel ashamed of who they are gather en masse at rallies and parades, and they wear costumes and wave flags around, and that makes them feel better, and then they go home and act like normal people again. Gay pride I suppose is like a post-national identity and MAGA is a national identity, either way, these things are "real" in a sense because people believe in them, even though they are socially constructed and historically contingent phenomena. A tank division after all is also socially constructed but it's still "real" and can run you over.
You didn't bring this up specifically but I'm just using it to illustrate a point that you can't make people disbelieve in these things by oppressing them, that just causes them to double down harder. And class societies can become very antagonistic, it's antagonism in all directions about every "superstructural" contradiction, since class societies cannot solve the fundamental class antagonism that exists such as between workers and owners, but can only transfer / transform / externalize them. I think the British Empire prevented socialist revolution at home for example by externalizing internal contradictions, in effect outsourcing them by creating a big empire, so it's like Britain vs. the world. That's a contradiction.
There are contradictions in every thing. There was a contradiction between imperialist countries, and also between imperialist countries and colonized countries. So, socialists and communists would seek to dialectically "negate" these contradictions – a revolution – that would create a new society in which there would be no imperialist countries and no colonized countries. You could argue that happened in China, which is why China was able to develop. They have a strong state guided by a Communist Party. Whereas in other countries, decolonization occurred, and it was no longer possible for the imperialist countries to rule in the same way, but instead you now have a kind of neocolonialism and indirect rule through international financial institutions like the IMF and World Bank. Poor countries want to develop, but they can't, because to raise the capital required, they have to take out loans which preclude the sort of state-directed, protectionist measures that China has successfully used. That leaves these countries in debt, and when there's an economic crisis, which is inevitable in capitalism, they have to go back to the IMF and World Bank to bail them out on condition of further suppressing wages, cutting state spending, etc. etc. etc. That keeps these countries poor, it keeps them producing cheap goods for export to rich countries.
So you could say there is a contradiction today between the developed Western countries and the poor countries. There is a superstructural contradiction between the West's liberal value system vs. multipolarity. The West universalizes its own value system, Western liberal ideology serves a hegemonic role and only countries that follow the Washington Consensus and obey its rules are "legitimate" and so forth. But Marxists recognized a long time ago that this is about justifying the continued exploitation of the world in a different form than the old-style direct colonialism.