Monday, April 02, 2018

Edinburgh Branch Meeting

Thursday, 5 April- 7:00pm
The Quaker Hall, 
Victoria Terrace (above Victoria Street), 
Edinburgh EH1 2JL

 Against All Nationalisms

The basic law of capitalism is you or I, not you and I.” Karl Leibnecht

Nationalism is a poison in the veins of the working class. Wherever we look nationalism and racism is on the rise. These are dangerous and unpredictable times. The rise of so-called populism and the far right has been a global trend.  The working class stands divided and helpless, riven by xenophobia. Nationalism and religion have been skilfully employed by the ruling class in destroying the most basic elements of class-consciousness and solidarity among the workers. Wherever you look the “patriot” card is being played more often. Nationalism isn’t “natural”. It is manufactured. Nationalists and populists if they are not fomenting wars or supporting one side or another in conflicts across the planet, they are calling for trade wars. The working class is being enticed by all kinds of reactionary political agendas. Nationalism, as has been demonstrated in every national liberation struggle, is no friend of the working class. The capitalists who control the nationalist movements (however “socialist” they claim to be) either become the cats paw of one or other super-powers or when they get into power they oppress and exploit the workers just as before. 

The working class has no country. We are, and always have been, a class of migrants.  The real issue for the world’s workers is that they face an increasingly dire future under whichever capitalist regime rules us. The world capitalist crisis has seen living standards falling across the planet. The aim is to divert attention from the real crisis onto the “other”, the foreigner. The politics of prejudice have always been part of the capitalist game but now the situation is more desperate. Finding a scapegoat is a lot easier than solving the real economic problem. As long as the workers spills their blood for a nationalist solution, they will always face class defeat. Our solidarity is our weapon and we cannot let anything undermine it. This is why our slogan is still “workers of the world unite.” The unification of the dispossessed for a society without classes or borders requires a return to the path of class struggle. This is the only solution to the perpetual devastation of war and to nationalistic self-interest. As Edinburgh-born James Conolly put it in 1910, nationalism of any kind is:
a movement which would lay aside class contentions to gain national ends, so enabling the bourgeoisie to prevent working-class expression.” (Connolly, of course, later capitulated to that very nationalism when he took part in the Easter Rising but his earlier words ring truer than ever.)

Capitalism has created the possibility of a world of abundance yet continues to inflict misery on millions, if not billions. The fundamental reason is to be found in the laws of capitalist production themselves. The same laws which drive capitalism on are also the ones which produce its crises.  Health and social security spending have been slashed. The only alternative is a job with low wages, zero hour contracts and no security. This is accompanied by media accusations that it is all the fault of “foreigners”. Either it’s those migrants who “steal our jobs” or it is some foreign government like Putin's Russia with its dirty tricks which is the cause of the problem. Racist and nationalist parties are playing on fear but they are nothing compared to the mainstream capitalist parties of both left and right who use it to divert attention from the real cause of our misery – capitalism.  Either we follow the logic of capitalism towards more and more warfare and the ecological rape of the planet or we reconstitute society anew on the basis of a common ownership of the world’s resources, a society without states, without borders, without money and without war based on the principle “to each according to their needs, from each according to their abilities”.  

Let’s not fall for nationalist nonsense. Whatever other differences we have, we are united as a class by the fact that we are all the exploited victims of capitalism. This makes the working class the internationalist class. Collectively it is the only force capable of putting an end to the infernal cycles of crises and war. Today it’s not so much that we have a world to win – we have a world to save from a system which offers only social and environmental devastation. Only the working class, once aware of its own interests, is capable of changing the world.  

No comments: