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Nationalism Divides Workers – Don’t Be Duped

Sturgeon, Scotland's SNP first minister, has said she wants another referendum on Scottish independence within the next two years if the UK leaves the EU.
The Socialist Party is not willing to give our support to political parties endorsing nationalist movements. As socialists we are opposed to the exploitation of the toilers either by foreign or native exploiters. As that exploitation can be ended only by the achievement of socialism through international working-class action, we are opposed to all nationalisms which has capitalist aims and is not deserving of working-class support. We are opposed to the capitalist system wherever it raises its ugly head, but we know that the solution to the workers’ subjective position under it is the same everywhere. The only road to salvation for our fellow-workers is the road to socialism, and they must travel along that road in solidarity and harmony with the members of their class throughout the world. The basic argument of nationalists is that our problems are caused by London government and the political link with England; that the London parties are bound to fail because they work within this system. The only solution, they say, is to set up a separate state in Scotland and Wales.
It is true Labour and the Tories are bound to fail but not because they they work within the so-called United Kingdom. They fail because they work within the economic system of the class ownership of the means of production and the profit motive. As long as they do this, it is the economic system that says what governments shall do, not the other way round, as the miserable failure of the governments shows with their record of continual backsliding on its promises in the face of economic pressures.
If you accept that it is the economic system, and not the political set-up, that causes our problems then the fallacy of nationalist policy is obvious. A separate state would not more solve them than a change of government in London. Any sovereign government in Edinburgh and Cardiff would be in the same position as any in London: trying to see that goods produced in its state sell as cheaply as possible on the world market.
Nationalism is a class outlook that preaches to the people of a nation or national group that regardless of class they have more in common with one another than they do with the people of other nations. Nationalism helps bind the working class to the ruling class of its nation. Internationalism unites the working people of the world against the capitalists. To the extent that the working class holds nationalist ideas, it is allowing its destiny to be determined by the ruling class.

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