Saturday, November 09, 2019

Nationalism = Parochialism

'It seems to me that you are bound to assume that a self-governing Scotland is going to be immediately morally better, and I don’t see it unless there has also been a revolution.’ - novelist Naomi Mitchison to the Scottish nationalist Robert Muirhead in 1953.

 The responsibility of the Socialist Party is to state things as they are. The whole of  humanity to-day is divided into territorial and ethnical sections. This is a matter of fact which we all have to take account of whether we like it or not. But it need not affect socialist principles. The Socialist Party of Great Britain is no less a party for world socialism any more than its Manchester branch of the Party need not be for the promotion of Lancashire socialism. The Socialist Party is internationalist and cosmopolitan.

We have witnessed a rapid growth in and an intensification of nationalist movements. However, they are not to be confused with socialism. Nationalist movements are not desirable from a socialist point of view. The nationalist ideology leads to the pursuit of a class collaborationist reformist Utopia. A section of the Scottish capitalist class perceive the declining fortunes of British capitalism. They want to cut themselves free from the sinking British economy. To gain support they offer the prospect of a series of reforms frequently illusory to Scottish workers. The Socialist Party does not defend the integrity of the United Kingdom in any way. To do so is to line up with a predominant British nationalism in Britain today. That does not mean we are in favour of separatism. We do not spread the illusion among Scottish workers that independence would be any gain for them. We insist that a sovereign Scotland will leave the workers in exactly the same position as before. Perhaps even in a worse position  for we say nationalism threatens to poison relations between English, Scottish and Welsh workers. Class unity is about solidarity, which recognises no borders. Separatism will not miraculously end the many problems facing Scottish workers.

There exists left nationalists who project a scenario of a Scottish road to socialism. Such an event could only happen in conditions of massively heightened class struggle, but in how is it possible that a dramatic event would only take place in Scotland and not the rest of Britain? The socialist revolution is a global event. 

The nationalist campaign a diversion from the class struggle. The role of the Socialist Party is to oppose the expression of nationalist sentiments. Our aim is world socialism and the overthrow of world capitalism. Nationalism is completely reactionary. There is now only one class capable of overthrowing capitalism: the working class. There is no ideology that serves the interests of both the ruling class and the working class. With socialism, people will have neither to keep its ancient nationalities nor to constitute new ones, because by becoming free socialism will abolish classes: the world will be its mother land, its fatherland and everybody will become brothers and sisters.

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