Wednesday, July 27, 2022



Nearly all the sports practised nowadays are competitive. You play to win, and the game has little meaning unless you do your utmost to win . . . At the international level sport is frankly mimic warfare. But the significant thing is not the behaviour of the players but the attitude of the spectators: and, behind the spectators of the nations who work themselves into furies over these absurd contests and seriously believe—at any rate for short periods—that running, jumping and kicking a bill are tests of national virtue. George Orwell

Around the world, nationalism is on the march and the battle cry is “Independence.” What many people forget is that newly won sovereignty will be the freedom to administer capitalism. The joys of becoming an independent country are, by and large, illusory for the mass of the peoples of the “liberated” countries and not worth the effort and sacrifice so often involved in achieving it. This is what the Socialist Party has been saying throughout its history. Of course, this attitude brings us no popularity.

The workers to-day has nothing to fight for. The interests of the masters are not their interests. National prestige is not their prestige. What workers have to realise clearly is that the interests of their fellow workers in other lands are nearer to theirs than are those of the masters in their own country. The bonds which bind worker with worker, irrespective of nationality, are those of class solidarity. The truth is that the very essence of socialism is internationalism. 

When asked why we do not support struggles for Independence by fellow workers in other parts of the world, we point out that, at best, they will simply be exchanging one lot of masters for another. They may win or be allowed a little more freedom within the system but while it remains they must depend on the capitalists — state or private — for their subsistence. For workers, independence is merely a change of rulers. Nationalism is a ruse to lure workers into supporting the rights of the business class to make profits at their expense. Nevertheless, our rejection of nationalist delusions ought never to show insensitivity to the valid concerns of oppressed people. Moreover. it strengthens the appeal of socialism to show that in contrast to the imposed uniformity and centralisation of commodity production we aim for a way of life which, of its nature, fosters cultural freedom and diversity.

Most  people are more worried about the necessities of life: putting food on the table, a roof over their head, and other ultimately far more important considerations, than the name of the state they happen to live in. Different languages, skin tones, sexes, and customs pale next to the economic differences in a single country or ethnic grouping. The working class will never be served by nationalism or its bed-mate, racism. The only way out is to establish Socialism, which will organise the world so that everyone, whatever their sex or colour of skin, has free access to the world's wealth and stands equal to the rest of humanity. Independence solved none of the problems resulting from exploitation.  Independent governments are wedded to the same set of priorities and subject to the same constraints as any other capitalist government. Poverty in the midst of a potential for plenty remains a running sore, exploitation and massive disparities of wealth continue to exist, wars with neighbours claim the lives of those with no class interest in the outcome, environmental degradation continues virtually unabated. That is the lesson for workers to learn all over the world.

The Socialist Party calls for the end of exploitation and an end to the domination of the privileged few over the majority, not for its replacement by another, more local elite. We view our fellow-workers as the revolutionary force that could overthrow the tyranny of the capitalist system, freeing people and breaking their chains of wage-slavery, if only they can halt the virus of nationalism from spreading. Socialism needs to be placed at the heart of a new approach to living, locally, regionally, and globally. It is a unifying sharing principle that will encourage cooperation, which, unlike nationalism, brings people together and builds social harmony. Ours will be free unions of free people in free associations.  Democracy for socialists isn’t just the ballot, but the participatory democracy, revocable—delegated—social and economic democracy based on a world co-operative commonwealth. The message of socialism is world wide however. It reaches across the artificial national boundaries erected by politics. 

No comments: