Friday, October 12, 2012

For World Socialism

There is a system called capitalism, and it is simple – increase capital from constant reinvestment of capital, invest profits to regenerate more profits.  The Socialist Party  is  against all forms of capitalism: private, state and self-managed.  It makes no difference whether the capital is domestic or foreign, who personifies it, how big and small it is. Capitalist exploitation occurs despite all of them.

 We are for communism, which is a classless society in which all goods are distributed according to need. We are opposed to all ideologies which divide the working class, such as religion, sexism and racism. And we are against nationalism and patriotism. Cultural freedom and diversity should not be confused with nationalism. That specific peoples should be free to fully develop their own cultural capacities is not merely a right but a requirement. The world would be a drab place without its magnificent mosaic of different cultures.

Nationalists argue that people long to have their very own country. Nationalism, though it is a seemingly noble effort to realize social unity, is the twenty-first century's great plague. Nationalism continues to hypnotize us with unrealistic visions of heaven-on-earth. Nationalism divides human beings territorially, culturally, and economically.  National identity is used by the state to legitimize its actions. Nationalism is regressive.

 Nineteenth-century socialism supported national liberation movements of oppressed people because they promised to take on bourgeois-democratic features, because in socialist eyes these national-bourgeois-democratic revolutions were no longer strictly capitalist revolutions. They could be utilized if not for the installation of socialism itself, then for furthering the growth of socialist movements and for bringing about conditions more favorable to the latter. Consequently, Marx supported the unification of Germany (for them, national unification was a preliminary task of the German democratic revolution.) and Italy, and national independence for Poland and Ireland. In regards to Irish nationalism, British workers, he held, were so greatly imbued with nationalist pride and arrogance toward the Irish that they had developed a false consciousness, binding them to the dominant classes of Britain.This impasse could be broken only by direct support for Irish national independence on the part of the revolutionary elements within British labour, something that would also serve to reunite labour within Britain, with Irish immigrant workers. He compared the attitudes of the British workers toward the Irish to those of the poor whites of the American South, who had too often united with the white planters against their fellow black workers.

 Yet Marx opposed the national movements of the Czechs and Slavs: "Because the Czechs and the Southern Slavs were then 'reactionary nations', 'Russian outposts' in Europe, outposts of absolutism." National movements were to be supported as a means to an end, but ever as ends in themselves. The support that Marx and Engels did lend to “national liberation” struggles was essentially strategic, stemming primarily from their geopolitical and economic concerns rather than from principle, whereas, members of the Leninist Left have so often raised support for such struggles into a mindless article of faith. Once capitalism had performed its historically progressive function, nationalism became reactionary. Nationalism is a failed cause.  Many countries toppled colonialism and set up their national governments.  Some overthrew puppet regimes allied to imperialist powers through revolution or military coups and established their “independent governments.”  Others nationalized their national resources, industries, banks and etc.  However, the lives of people in the countries under their “national and independent governments” did not change for the better, and in some cases, they got worse. The ruling bourgeoisie elite in these countries, despite their complaints against “the unfair international economic system” continue to benefit from the same system, prosper greatly, and fill their pockets at the expense of their own people. 

Does national aspirations  hasten the end of capitalism by weakening the capitalist class or do they inject new life into capitalism? Contrary to expectations, nationalism could not be utilized to further socialist aims, nor was it a successful strategy to hasten the demise of capitalism. Rather, nationalism destroyed socialism by using it for nationalist ends.

 Nations may gain independence, yet their formal independence does not release them from economic and political rule. They cannot escape this overlordship. The international division of labor as determined by private capital formation implies the exploitation of poorer by richer countries and the concentration of capital in the larger capitalist nations. There is no way of escaping competition on the international scene. So nationalism, the need to superimpose the unifying myths of the nation-state, is not only generated by the bourgeois agenda of controlling and regulating the space of its market, but also by the imperative of seizing markets and resources outside territories and peoples. The defense of the nation is the defense of the ruling class. 

Against current national aspirations and imperialist rivalries lies the actual need for world-wide organization of production and distribution beneficial to humanity as a whole.The Earth is far better adapted for occupation by men organized on a world-wide scale, with maximum opportunity for free exchange of raw materials and finished products the world around, than by men who insist upon building barriers between regions even so inclusive as a nation or an entire continent such as the EU. Social production can only be fully developed and  free human society from want and misery by international cooperation without regard to particularistic national interests.

"The “Internationale,” the shared anthem of social democrats, socialists, and anarchists alike up to and even after the Bolshevik revolution, ended with the stirring cry, “The ‘Internationale’ shall be the human race.” The Left singled out the international proletariat as the historic agent for modern social change not by virtue of its specificity as a class, or its particularity as one component in a developing capitalist society, but by virtue of its need to achieve universality in order to abolish class society ― that is, as the class driven by necessity to remove wage slavery by abolishing enslavement as such. Capitalism had brought the historic “social question” of human exploitation to its final and most advanced form. “Tis the final conflict!” rang out the “Internationale,” with a sense of universalistic commitment ― one that no revolutionary movement could ignore any longer" - Murray Bookchin

Calls for tribal "identity" negates the spirit of the “Internationale” . There is no place in a free society for nation-states, either as nations or as states.

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