Yeah, nationalism sucks...

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zarathustra
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May 13 2008 20:21
Yeah, nationalism sucks...

admin - locked. revol, oisleep, georgestapleton and guydebordisdead temp banned for a few hours

-- Bigotry and xenophobia: belief that one's people are superior to others, dislike or hatred of foreigners.

-- Identification with ruling class: belief that the interests of the nation and of the ruling class are the same.

As far as I can see, that pretty much sums up what nationalism is. I totally and utterly oppose it, as do many people, if not most.

Can we agree on this definition so we can all agree we oppose it and move on to fruitful discussion?

JM
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May 13 2008 21:11

"Nationalism" by Marxistische Gruppe

The most stable ideology in the whole world: http://www.ruthlesscriticism.com/nationalism.htm

Sean Siberio
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May 13 2008 23:22

I presume this is in response to Humanitarian "war" thread, and that "unfruitful" discussion is going on because we (myself and others) disagree with you. It's not that I think you're some closet fascist, but I do think your ideas on what defines nationality and its connection to geo-political entities is loopy as all get out.

zarathustra
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May 14 2008 02:11

That's fine, Sean. The left-communists are trying to say I'm a fascist, which i naturally resent. Just trying to get some basic understanding across the board, so nobody is arguing (unintentionally) at cross purposes!

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Devrim
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May 14 2008 04:51
zarathustra wrote:
The left-communists are trying to say I'm a fascist, which i naturally resent.

Actually, they are not. I, personally, called you a 'national anarchist'. I think it is a fair description. I don't accept your definition of nationalism, but then again I have no interest whatsoever in debating it with you.

Devrim

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georgestapleton
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May 14 2008 10:06
revol68 wrote:
zarathustra wrote:
That's fine, Sean. The left-communists are trying to say I'm a fascist, which i naturally resent. Just trying to get some basic understanding across the board, so nobody is arguing (unintentionally) at cross purposes!

socialism within a nationalist framework is what exactly...

National Socialism!!!

OMG! Now I understand how Chavez is no better than hitler! It makes so much sense.

breakout
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May 14 2008 15:18

topical

http://aserne.blogspot.com/2008/05/falsificiones-ideolgicas.html

BulimicMind
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May 14 2008 22:11

I, for one, can agree. Nationalism is stupid.

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waslax
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May 15 2008 08:34
georgestapleton wrote:
revol68 wrote:
zarathustra wrote:
That's fine, Sean. The left-communists are trying to say I'm a fascist, which i naturally resent. Just trying to get some basic understanding across the board, so nobody is arguing (unintentionally) at cross purposes!

socialism within a nationalist framework is what exactly...

National Socialism!!!

OMG! Now I understand how Chavez is no better than hitler! It makes so much sense.

It's called State Capitalism, and any genuine enemy of capitalism should be equally opposed to it, whether it is being run by Chavez, Castro, Hitler, Stalin or Mao. This is really basic stuff.

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oisleep
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May 15 2008 08:43

i think to be opposed to something, you first of all have to understand that thing properly, and i think that's one thing that many on boards like this seem to gloss over, the fact that millions of people will happily kill or be kill for their nation (or their religion) but not for a lefty progressive cause is something that's never really wrestled with, in terms of motivations, aspirations fears, psycological drivers etc... that makes people do this in the first place, most of the time we just get a cold logical (and correct) analysis that nationalism is wrong because etc.. etc.... but this a fairly idealist argument which ignores the material realities of it's continued perennial existence and very real influece both as a positive & negative source in people's lives (just like religion again)

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cantdocartwheels
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May 15 2008 09:08
oisleep wrote:
i think to be opposed to something, you first of all have to understand that thing properly, and i think that's one thing that many on boards like this seem to gloss over, the fact that millions of people will happily kill or be kill for their nation (or their religion) but not for a lefty progressive cause is something that's never really wrestled with, in terms of motivations, aspirations fears, psycological drivers etc... that makes people do this in the first place, most of the time we just get a cold logical (and correct) analysis that nationalism is wrong because etc.. etc.... but this a fairly idealist argument which ignores the material realities of it's continued perennial existence and very real influece both as a positive & negative source in people's lives (just like religion again)

Are you going to give us all a run down of all the ''motivations, aspirations, fears and psychological drivers'' that make up British nationalism then? Or are you pontificating? tongue

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May 15 2008 09:32

I think oisleep has a point. It's not enough to rail against either nationalism or religion. This was one of Marx's main criticisms of the bourgeois critique of religion: it was able to indentify that religion was an incorrect interpretation of the world in a fomal sense, but was unable to move beyond this to understanding the real social origins of the religious spirit.

I don't think an analysis of nationalism is completely lacking on the boards, however. But perhaps we need to do more of it.

I've always found this pamphlet from the ICC, Nation or Class?, really interesting. It's a good introduction to the way the national question has been dealt with by the marxist wing of the workers' movement in the past.

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OliverTwister
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May 15 2008 09:57
revol68 wrote:
zarathustra wrote:
That's fine, Sean. The left-communists are trying to say I'm a fascist, which i naturally resent. Just trying to get some basic understanding across the board, so nobody is arguing (unintentionally) at cross purposes!

socialism within a nationalist framework is what exactly...

Maoism?

lrnec
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May 15 2008 11:34
BulimicMind wrote:
I, for one, can agree. Nationalism is stupid.

Nationalism is an infantile disease. It is the measles of mankind.
-Albert Einstein

Deezer
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May 15 2008 11:49

"belief that the interests of the nation and of the ruling class are the same."

What interests does the "nation" have other than those constructed by it for the ruling class? Nations are after-all imagined 'communities'. The interests they are accredited with are those of the ruling class or a ruling class waiting in the wings. Also to imagine that your nation has specific interests is to set those interests above those of other nations - hard to see that being maintained without at least some level of xenophobia and superiority complex being involved.

Apparently the appeal to nationalism has been described in terms of its ability to 'tell better stories', it doesn't matter that these stories bear only passing resemblance to reality, and where they are accurate they are selective - they are also deliberately emotive and by necessity based on the existence of a threatening 'other'. Talk of social and economic injustice pales in comparison to remembered battles, sacrifices, and injustice utilised in promotion of the concept of the nation - either by underdog nationalisms or functioning nation states.

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Demogorgon303
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May 15 2008 12:25

I don't think it's a question of better stories, although that's certainly part of it. The fundamental reason why these stories resonate with the working class is because of the point Marx made repeatedly: the ruling ideas of any epoch are the ideas of its ruling class.

The ruling class of capitalist society developed that class rule by overthrowing the divisions of feudal society and establishing centralised and modern nation states. However, the centralising and socialising tendencies of capitalism can never reach their logical conclusion because of the fundamental basis of capitalism in private property and competition. Centralisation thus tends to exacerbate competition rather than ameliorate it until its reaches a final synthesis in the paroxysms of imperialism and war.

The working class - alongside the bourgeoisie - first appears in a national context but unlike the bourgeoisie its economic relations aren't rooted in private property and nor does it have any "culture" of its own. While this is the necessary precondition of the proletariat as an exploited class it also provides the objective material basis for internationalism.

The problem is the process of development of class consciousness. We can see that in periods when the revolutionary proletariat takes control of its own destiny that its more than capable of producing its own "stories" even if these are explicitly political rather than mythological. The Russian Revolution was a real beacon for the proletariat across the world for many years, even after the Revolution had had its real content stripped from it by the Stalinists.

Because it lacks a material basis in society, the proletariat can only come to consciousness of its real interests through the class struggle. The theoretical understanding of the proletariat is not an understanding based on passive study but on the active struggles of the working class against capitalism. Even in simple struggles, workers who only yesterday were deriding foreign workers or those from other racial groups, will quickly make common cause with those very same workers in order to advance the struggle. Its through this praxis that the proletariat comes to understand itself as an international class that can only be hampered by any shred of national feeling. As the struggle grows, these tendencies towards unity will more and more smash aside the constraints of bourgeois society, including all ethnic, regional and national barriers.

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Devrim
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May 15 2008 15:32

No, I think 'national anarchist' is exactly the term I was looking for. As you know I have had many disagreements with the WSM on the national issue, but would not characterise them as national anarchists. I know what I mean.

Devrim

zarathustra
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May 15 2008 18:50
Boulcolonialboy wrote:
"belief that the interests of the nation and of the ruling class are the same."

What interests does the "nation" have other than those constructed by it for the ruling class? Nations are after-all imagined 'communities'. The interests they are accredited with are those of the ruling class or a ruling class waiting in the wings. Also to imagine that your nation has specific interests is to set those interests above those of other nations - hard to see that being maintained without at least some level of xenophobia and superiority complex being involved.

That's quite an incredible claim. Anarchists and wont to talk about people defending their communities, taking pride in their communities, etc. an it would be ridiculous to claim that these activities constitute chauvinism or are phony. The organic nation is simply a community which, along with all other communities of people, should have rights, freedoms, etc.

lrnec
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May 15 2008 19:03
Boulcolonialboy wrote:
Apparently the appeal to nationalism has been described in terms of its ability to 'tell better stories', it doesn't matter that these stories bear only passing resemblance to reality, and where they are accurate they are selective - they are also deliberately emotive and by necessity based on the existence of a threatening 'other'. Talk of social and economic injustice pales in comparison to remembered battles, sacrifices, and injustice utilised in promotion of the concept of the nation - either by underdog nationalisms or functioning nation states.

A lot of nationalism is the tribal mentality, the fear that a stronger bigger tribe is going to take what’s your’s so to speak. Safety in numbers, us against them mentality.

It’s been argued that modern day nationalism was constructed during the period of “enlightenment” when the strength of religion, the divine right of kings and things like that faded and that nationalism replaced it in order to maintain the status quo.

Although in counter to that nationalism’s been used as an anti-imperialist and pro-imperialistic tool at well, it just depends on the question of what constitutes a nation?

zarathustra
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May 15 2008 19:06
georgestapleton wrote:
revol68 wrote:
zarathustra wrote:
That's fine, Sean. The left-communists are trying to say I'm a fascist, which i naturally resent. Just trying to get some basic understanding across the board, so nobody is arguing (unintentionally) at cross purposes!

socialism within a nationalist framework is what exactly...

National Socialism!!!

OMG! Now I understand how Chavez is no better than hitler! It makes so much sense.

wall

The irony that I'm being lumped with these "anarcho"-fascists is delicious, having personally been promised physical harm by self-same scumbag keyboard warriors. I think that in these troubled times it's not simply enough to wave the red flag and quote Marx and sing the Internationale, because if you do that you'll find yourselves on your back watching history march by to a different tune. Are we going to let fascists and right-wingers and the odd leftwing nutjob be the only being talking about national identity? Or are we going to have a positive libertarian, fraternal vision that goes beyond nationalism. Unity through multiplicity, etc.

A global monoculture isn't an issue? Big Macs and Coca-Colas and Cold Play and Levis -- that's the triumphant cultural aspirations of the world proletariat? Is the bright socialist future one in which we sit around in identical blue overalls, eating generic foods, watching generic entertainment, and feeling generic? Brilliant. Most people, including myself, would say No thanks.

Deezer
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May 15 2008 19:25
zarathustra wrote:
Boulcolonialboy wrote:
"belief that the interests of the nation and of the ruling class are the same."

What interests does the "nation" have other than those constructed by it for the ruling class? Nations are after-all imagined 'communities'. The interests they are accredited with are those of the ruling class or a ruling class waiting in the wings. Also to imagine that your nation has specific interests is to set those interests above those of other nations - hard to see that being maintained without at least some level of xenophobia and superiority complex being involved.

That's quite an incredible claim. Anarchists and wont to talk about people defending their communities, taking pride in their communities, etc. an it would be ridiculous to claim that these activities constitute chauvinism or are phony. The organic nation is simply a community which, along with all other communities of people, should have rights, freedoms, etc.

Shit, that should have said "other than those constructed for it by the ruling class".

A 'community' at the level on which one can exist with any sort of common interest is quite illusory. This is particularly so at the level of the 'nation' - I'll say it again national 'identities' are and have been constructed and maintained by those interested in creating and/or maintaining nation states.

'Nations' do not and should not have rights, communities do no have rights, nor should they be necessarily granted freedoms. That many working class areas are geographically bound and segregated from other wealthier neighbourhoods is of course quite true but your use of a national 'community' ignores the social divisions in every capitalist society and instead groups people together on a level that has to be maintained through fiction, myth, half truths, manipulation, scapegoating of others and control.

Northern Ireland is far from unique but it is quite a good 'case study' in the faults of your approach. You really aren't very bright are ya?

zarathustra
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May 15 2008 19:56

I'd love to have a discussion, but seeing as I could get abused my people I know rather than by strangers on the internet, I'll turn down the opportunity to be called a dope.

I believe that the corollary to personal freedom is freedom for groups, associations, communities, nations, etc. This seems like a fairly common sense attitude to me.

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our use of a national 'community' ignores the social divisions in every capitalist society and instead groups people together on a level that has to be maintained through fiction, myth, half truths, manipulation, scapegoating of others and control.

wall Yup, that's me alright. The fact that I specifically didn't denounce social divisions within capitalist society obviously means I support social divisions within capitalist society. Are you a lawyer, by any chance?

Your simplistic approach simply will not wash. People are fed up with having their communities, their countries, and their world sold down the river. So far the only people to step up and say "Take your country back!" are right-wing scumbags. And until we address this issue the right-wing will grow more and more and more powerful. This myopic approach won't work. We have to, as i said, defend a libertarian, non-chauvinistic vision that draws on plain common sense. I'm simply referring back to folks like Bakunin, Kropotkin, Landauer, Connolly, etc.

zarathustra
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May 15 2008 19:58

Seeing as you're Irish, I thought you'd have appreciated James Connolly? wink

But then again, that revol68 feller compared him to Adolph Hitler...

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Volin
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May 15 2008 20:45

He was also really Scottish, not that any of you Irish lot ever bring that up.

There's an interesting use of nationalistic pride for ya -'Yeah it was one of our lot that contaminated socialism with nationalism, and don't you forget it!' wink

Sean Siberio
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May 15 2008 21:39
Quote:
Your simplistic approach simply will not wash. People are fed up with having their communities, their countries, and their world sold down the river. So far the only people to step up and say "Take your country back!" are right-wing scumbags. And until we address this issue the right-wing will grow more and more and more powerful. This myopic approach won't work. We have to, as i said, defend a libertarian, non-chauvinistic vision that draws on plain common sense. I'm simply referring back to folks like Bakunin, Kropotkin, Landauer, Connolly, etc.

The fact that the right wing has a certain amount of success with the way they market themselves doesn't mean that we need to ape it. The means, after all, determines the ends, and nothing is more true than in these situations. Especially when we talk about "countries" and "communities" being "sold down the river"; where exactly are they being sold? According to many xenophobes we are "Destroying our community" by allowing immigrants in, by allowing "our jobs" to be "out-sourced" to countries such as India and China.

When you're thinking terms of ethnic, racial, or national divisions, as opposed to class divisions, its very easy to get into sectarian fights over whom is getting the "better' in a totalizing system that puts the screws to ALL in the working class, regardless of their ethnic, racial, or national classification. Thats why things such as nationalization, protectionist tariffs, and other things don't get to the root of the problem i.e. capitalism. Those similar things are sold consistently as ways to protect "us" against the ravages of the boogeyman of "globalized" capitalism in the effort of a "State capitalist" system. But it does not paper over the fact thats its still capitalism, and will still take its pound of flesh.

JM
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May 16 2008 01:16

New on Ruthless Criticism: "National Identity"

How plausible is commitment to a homeland?: http://www.ruthlesscriticism.com/identity.htm

tsi
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May 16 2008 04:48
zarathustra wrote:
A global monoculture isn't an issue? Big Macs and Coca-Colas and Cold Play and Levis -- that's the triumphant cultural aspirations of the world proletariat? Is the bright socialist future one in which we sit around in identical blue overalls, eating generic foods, watching generic entertainment, and feeling generic? Brilliant. Most people, including myself, would say No thanks.

Remove Capital and Hierarchy from the picture and I don't really see what there is to fear in a sandwich or a drink. What is offensive about Big Macs and Levis is Capital's endless dialogue about itself, the marketing, advertising, and the psychological manipulation of people to create fetishisms about these things above and beyond their social usefulness. Libertarian Socialism aims to enable us all to grow and develop our full potential in all areas... bearing this in mind, I highly doubt we have much to worry about in being bored with the world. I don't think that a zillion radio stations all playing Coldplay is a realistic thing to fear coming from Anarchist-Communist Internationalism.

Insofar as people through grassroots-democratic institutions decide that it would be great if we all made and simultaneously wore blue coveralls we could do it, but I think it's highly unlikely, and there's no reason to be terribly afraid of the prospect.

And isn't aversion to the "generic" equally a fetishistic product of our relationship to Capital?

Sean Siberio
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May 16 2008 08:09

Speaking of which, there was an amusingly ironic quality to a comment made by Madeline "500,000 thousand babies are worth it" Albright in reference to the "Mass Games" that seemingly occur every week in North Korea that "It takes a dictator to get 100,000 people to dance on command". Clearly shes underselling the epic potential of capitalism to get people to do the exact same thing.

Either way, as tsi mentioned above, I don't imagine some sort of boogeyman Socialist Realism coming to the fore in the dream scenario of some sort of large scale lib-communist revolution. I DO see a melding and mixture of things due to avenues of communication and expression opening up between previously segregated aspects of the world and I can see this certainly producing a broader, world culture. What zara fears would be some sort of monoculture (which brings to mind a forced cultivation of a specific artistic expression), would be infact the authentic dialog of the world's people.

Is there the possibility of some sort of ossified, ingrained culture taking hold? Certainly, and thats something people will have to be mindful of, but thats no different than the need to be mindful of hierarchical forms becoming rooted again anyways.

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cantdocartwheels
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May 16 2008 09:45
zarathustra wrote:

A global monoculture isn't an issue? Big Macs and Coca-Colas and Cold Play and Levis -- that's the triumphant cultural aspirations of the world proletariat? Is the bright socialist future one in which we sit around in identical blue overalls, eating generic foods, watching generic entertainment, and feeling generic? Brilliant. Most people, including myself, would say No thanks.

Mono-culture is mythical nonsense, in general the popularity of culture is a product of the relationship between supply and demand. What is popular and what is not being defined by what people do, how much time they have the technology available, what groups of people they socialise with etc
I mean like i live in the UK, what imaginary part of my ''national culture'' do you imagine is being eroded

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oisleep
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May 16 2008 11:00
Quote:
what imaginary part of my ''national culture''

why imaginary? are you saying you are not a product of the (specific) environment you find yourself in, your consciousness (good, bad, progressive & reactionary), and thus the resultant language & culture which are manifestations of your consciousness are not formed through the everyday life activties of you and those around you, you transcend all this

i;m not arguing that the erosion of certain things is necassiry bad in itself, but to deny they existed in the first place puts you on a rather idealist footing which is odd ground for a marxist/communist/anarchist (whatever you call yourself)

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Bob Savage
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May 16 2008 12:45
zarathustra wrote:
A global monoculture isn't an issue? Big Macs and Coca-Colas and Cold Play and Levis -- that's the triumphant cultural aspirations of the world proletariat? Is the bright socialist future one in which we sit around in identical blue overalls, eating generic foods, watching generic entertainment, and feeling generic? Brilliant. Most people, including myself, would say No thanks.

People in my own CITY don't all dress the same and watch/listen to the same stuff. we are already all very different individuals as it is. the dismantling of nationalist ideas has absolutely nothing to do with the erosion of cultures. but the idea that we're only defined by the nation that we're apart of, and we wouldn't have this identity without the nation, is ridiculous. there are SO many different cultures in each country, and i've never come across someone who's specifically "British" in my life.

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