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No to Nationalism

There is always a lot of myth and romanticism surrounding so-called nationalism offering a popular ‘solution’ of a sovereign state to workers. The working class would soon find out that this was no solution at all. For the Socialist Party which has no desire for yet more flags and frontiers and who anticipates that the setting-up of any new state will no more solve the problems of members of the  working class than has been the case with scores of other “successful” national struggles, the most promising line of action would seem to be to join with other workers to the early attainment of a class-free and border-free society. Such a socialist or communist society (they mean the same) will not only enable us to have free access to our material requirements but we shall democratically control the pace and nature of work that we freely choose to undertake. It would also be a way of life in which the language in which we express ourselves and the clothes we wear will be freely determined by each one of us. For the expropriated class of producers, nationalism has nothing intelligible to offer. We are but pawns in the game of life so long as that game is played by rival sections of the master class. Nationalism raises the national struggle above that of the class struggle.

The new era has begun to dawn. New and still bigger mega-fortunes are being made. The labour movement has to prepare itself for a further period of extremely bad weather and rough seas. Discontent and anger are characteristics of these times, animating waves of radical protest movements as well as the growing tide of nationalism. The current rise of nationalism and right-wing populism is a response to worries about immigration and national identity, coupled with genuine social injustices including economic hardship and unemployment, being exploited and manipulated so that in many countries they appear to be in the ascendency. Nationalism plays on notions of identity, encouraging allegiance to national and racial ideals rooted in the nation-state and in a world in which many people experience an alienated and fragmented feeling of loss, such nationalism appears comforting, offering a sense of belonging. But far from creating nationalism strengthens false notions of superiority, creating an atmosphere of distrust where a climate of fear can flourish. The ‘the other’, the ‘outsider, people from other nations, are seen as a threat, as rivals, and are viewed with suspicion, if not outright hostility. They are described in inflammatory terms in a process of dehumanization. Nationalism is tied to the ways of competition. it is a dangerous ideology which is being cynically used by politicians, who see widespread public discontent as an opportunity to gain power. It is detrimental to human development and has no place in our world.

We cannot unite with those “socialists” who preach reformism under the cloak of “anti-imperialism.” Although dressed up as very revolutionary its politics opposition to the working class, advocating constitutional change within the confines of the capitalist system rather than aiming towards revolution as the goal. The capitalists strive to possess the means of production and the market of their own country. And since their greed for profits knows no limits, they strive to expand beyond their own country, to seize foreign markets, sources of raw materials and areas for capital investment, thus subjugating other nations and exploiting them, squeezing out the rival capitalists of other countries. The exploitation of wage labour, competition, the squeezing out, suppressing and swallowing of rivals among the capitalists themselves, the resorting to war, the utilisation of all means to secure a monopoly position in its own country and throughout the world - such is the inherent character of the profit-seeking capitalist. This is the class basis of nationalism. 

Patriotism is a demonstrably one-way affair, which insists that the interests of the British capitalist class should be dominant but does not allow the same belief to patriots in, say, Russia and China about the interests of their capitalist class because they are obviously wrong minded. This prejudice extends into the field of economic rivalry. For example, people like lorry drivers and car workers should work very hard indeed because that is their lot under capitalism and, in any case, it is good for the country that they should do so. Workers who dare to strike are excoriated because strikes interrupt production. which is not good for the country, but it is quite acceptable for the capitalist to shut down factories which are unprofitable because this is the sort of interruption of production which is. mysteriously good for the country. We advocate the only solution that will enable people of different race to live in peace - socialism. And capitalism should be eradicated without further delay to enable us to enjoy all the beautiful things of the world without fear.
It is time of unease and insecurity certainly, but also times of great hope and opportunity for socialists. If humanity is to progress fundamental change in the way society is run is essential. Socialism encourages cooperation, tolerance and sharing and can serve as stepping stones to global responsibility; collective action in which the skills, gifts and abilities of the individual is used for the benefit and enrichment of all, and not just for the nation state. Socialism goes beyond racial and national identities. Humanity is one, albeit diverse, single unity.


Howard Moss said…
Spot on - from start to finish.

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