Otto Bauer (1882-1938) was a leader of the Austrian social democratic party and one of the major marxist intellectuals before the first world war. Confronted by the realities of the deep national divisions among the working classes in the Austro-Hungarian empire, he argued against the mainstream of marxist thought, expressed most forcefully by Karl Kautsky, which dismissed the appeal of nationalism in terms of internationalism. Strongly influenced by positivist writings about the progress of humanity, Bauer attempted to reconcile marxism with a remarkably modern vindication of the legitimacy of cultural nationalism in a multinational state. A nation’s inherited qualities are nothing other than the sedimentation of its past, its history frozen, so to speak. Ancestors’ ways of life affect their children necessarily as by the process of natural selection they determine which qualities will be passed on and which gradually lost. The effect of natural selection is perhaps strengthened by the fact that the qualities the ancestors acquired due to their specific living conditions are also passed on to their descendants. Whatever the case may be, inherited character is determined by nothing other than history, the ancestral past. This means that the members of a nation are physically and mentally similar, for they are descendants of the same ancestors and have therefore inherited all those qualities developed by their ancestors through natural and sexual selective breeding in the struggle for survival, and perhaps also those acquired by their ancestors’ efforts to support themselves. This is how we understand the nation as a product of history. If one wants to study the nation as a natural community, it will not suffice to see a certain substance-such as a

germ plasm passed on from parents to children-as the substratum of the nation. Instead one needs to study the history of ancestral conditions of production and exchange and seek to understand the qualities passed on to descendants from their ancestors’ struggle for survival.