Comrade Motopu is not a fan of nationalism and did not enjoy the latest article by Angela Nagle.
Ethno-nationalist Angela Nagle has produced another atrocious article. In the very first sentence of her new piece at Unherd, she uses her go-to tactic of mislabelling internationalism as a pro-corporate belief. You see, educated Irish people hold the ideology of “the internationalist and multicultural open society values of Google.” You may recall that in her ridiculously mis-titled “The Left Case Against Open Borders” she made the case that open borders advocates on the left really just wanted what neoliberal economist Milton Friedman did. Never mind that Friedman’s conception of “open borders” demanded that migrant laborers be denied citizenship and remain “illegal” in their status so that they could be kept vulnerable and without labor rights or any access to welfare safety nets. Their presence as a vulnerable surplus labor pool would drive down wages for all and benefit the capitalist class. Nagle can’t seem to grasp that separating workers via capitalist borders doesn’t stop the movement of people. It just makes some “illegal” or at best “guest workers” or other categories that deny them access to most jobs and benefits.
If it’s not bad enough that she has to rely on weird lies from which she builds arguments. In the same first sentence she uses the term "open society" a thinly veiled reference to George Soros’ “Open Society Foundations,” This is a standard “Jew Banker” conspiracy dog whistle to her actual base readership on the far right. That’s just the first short paragraph.
Throughout this article she appeals to the "native Irish working class" (as against foreign) using the age old capitalist tactic of dividing and conquering workers with borders. She smears the "new generation of elite aspirants" who "parrot" the west and want to put people in "indoctrination camps" and "fill with poison" anyone who is not yet "woke" enough. Her position amounts to white nationalism because anyone who shows solidarity with Blacks in the US has to be under the control of an invasive foreign ideology.
She wants people to feel bitter, not about general capitalist exploitation, but over the fact that “young people in Dublin copied the Black Lives Matter protests from America.” The foreign contagion destroying the otherwise good nationalist capitalist project inside Ireland is coming through the conduit of “Ireland’s new young educated elite.” Nagle and her stupidpol progeny always want to posture against urban and coastal elites but they end up reading like some standoffish parent warning against the dangers of the “Negro Music” on offer from a “city-slicker” DJ in an Alabama roller skating rink in 1958.
Promoting the notion that elite traitors to the nation want to trick you into solidarity with Blacks has always been such a truly socialist idea.
She hammers on this concept of a new educated elite importing foreign and black ideas into the home country, eroding support for nationalism: “Ireland’s new young educated elite” are “parroting the imported language of ‘white privilege versus ‘people of colour’, and the dangers of nationalism versus the superior multinational capital-friendly values of openness.”
Yes, those ridiculous warnings against ethno-nationalism (and Nagle makes clear she is promoting specifically ethno-nationalism), which has been such a great thing in recent decades. Nagle reminds us that ethno-nationalism is actually a good thing when it comes to the Irish because they never practiced slavery or imperialism. She believes the Irish must avoid the “pathological self-hatred found across most of the liberal West today.”
Putting aside the fact that nationalism is built on cross-class collaboration and the repression of self-organized working class struggle against the ruling class, a country can achieve horrendous results with ethno-nationalism even if they were not among the white slave owning imperialists of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. In 1994 in Rwanda, in the name of ethnic nationalism, upwards of a million Tutsis were mass murdered in a genocide by ethnic-nationalist Hutus. The Rohingya people in Myanmar are made stateless, expelled in the hundreds of thousands, and murdered in the tens of thousands because of ethno-nationalism that is justified in part by borders created by British imperialism. This genocide has roots that go back decades or more, but it has been ongoing on a large scale since 2016. Nationalism is bad actually.
One wonders why young educated people in Ireland should not have solidarity with Black people toppling Confederate statues that were erected in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries to celebrate the defeat of Reconstruction, meaning the end of hope for real freedom and equality for Black people throughout the US, not just the South, until at least the 1960s. (And yes, obviously the goal of equality has not yet been fully attained.) The fact that the British developed a lot of their plantation system in Ireland before it was implemented in the North American Southern colonies might suggest a common ground of experience, making an awareness of and concern over ongoing racism desirable.
The idea that people have to ignore the suffering of white working class victims of capitalism in order to focus on Black Lives during the current black led uprisings throughout the US is ludicrous at best. Might Angela Nagle and others have missed the working class cross-ethnic cooperation in these riots? I thought cross-ethnic class solidarity was the goal of Marxists and even vulgar “anti-idpol” Socialists.
On the other hand, you can’t claim to be engaged in a class struggle approach to politics if you ignore the ways that race is central to the formation of class oppression in the US, and thereby globally at least since the Industrial Revolution. That revolution was fed largely by slave grown cotton from the American South. Bacon’s Rebellion and the beginnings of the solidifying of race laws in the US were part of the class struggle, even with the repugnant element of anti-Indian racism. The current struggle to make Black Lives Matter is part of a broader class struggle too.
It’s true that British colonialism and landlordism caused massive famines (a million killed in the Irish Potato famine of the mid nineteenth century) and out-migrations in Ireland. It’s also true that in recent history, British immigration law was racialized in a way that gave Irish people the right to enter into England while “non-whites” were legally excluded. In her book Home Rule: National Sovereignty and the Separation of Natives and Migrants, Nandita Sharma notes that “Nationals of the nation-state of Ireland (who were no longer British citizens after 1949 when Ireland left the Commonwealth) were made _exempt_ from these immigration controls, even though they were the largest group of people to come to Britain after WWII (R. Miles 1993, 133). Indeed, in 1961, approximately 645,000 people with Irish national citizenship lived in Britain. To avoid accusations of racism, the 1962 act granted formal powers to the government to control immigration from Ireland, but with the understanding, made clear in Parliament, that it had no intention in doing so (Hampshire, 2005, 20)” (Sharma, 2020, 191).
I bring this up to suggest that the focus on Black Lives Mattering can speak to many different aspects of the phenomenon of racism and capitalist exploitation globally. There is simply no reason people in Ireland should be described as dupes of an imperialist cold war psyop (see below) for taking up solidarity with US blacks and acknowledging and focussing on the ways racism seems to touch all things, including the class struggle, if you look hard enough.
Then Nagle sets her sights on the anarchists, whose real mission, she says is "indistinguishable from every elite institution, from academia to the NGO sector to the international capitalist class." To me though, it’s Nagle whose focus on foreign contagions sounds like she subscribes to a liberal nation-state ideology. After all, nation states are cross-class collaborationist projects, and nationalism is the ultimate form of identity politics, throwing out the issue of the class divide to preserve culture and the functioning of the capitalist “national bourgeoisie” who allegedly provide protection to the “national workers.” It’s pure garbage on its face.
For Nagle, capitalism is not the main threat, but "international" and "multinational" capitalism. In fact, the recent austerity and mass out migration can't be blamed on any fellow Irish, regardless of class, but should instead be pinned on the fact that "we were simply passing from one form of colony to another." Yes, it's "neocolonialism" that's the real problem. Nagle is signalling that Irish people should embrace their national identity and let the Irish national bourgeoisie off the hook for their part in destroying lives via economic methods. “Have you hugged your national bourgeoisie today?”
She also laments that "immigrants" will be taught to despise the "native population" and thereby not assimilate. But that's just another wedge she uses to divide the working class along national lines, her real goal. And the descriptions of capitalist exploitation inside Ireland are not blamed on the capitalist class there, but on the American Empire using "cold war psychological warfare" to create a "world dominating oligarchy."
The post WWII global capitalist order certainly was built with US capitalism in mind, and the global markets of ex-colonies of old empires were opened up to US capitalist investment and outflow of capital, eventually in the form of massive debts. One overlooked aspect of this is the way in which “national self-determination” is precisely what allowed for the creation of the new, capitalist states. Whether the liberation of states from colonial status was “given” or fought for, the capitalist governments that formed in the aftermath always enacted nationalist immigration controls and citizenship laws to define “National-Natives” as against “Migrants” those not belonging, not deserving of access to welfare, labor protections, full legal rights, benefits, etc. Revolutionary hopes for ending capitalist social relations in the newly liberated states were crushed by their new ruling classes. Many of those same ruling classes pointed to the foreign threat of colonialism as justification as they crushed unions, created one party states, or worse (Sharma, 2020, 141).
Angela Nagle’s ideology stems in part from this national bourgeoisie theory of neocolonialism. Ethno-Nagleism is bourgeois ideology.
July 15th, 2020