Tuesday, July 26, 2022

The Fetish of the Flag


The whole world is in a crisis. Everywhere society is in chaos and ferment. Unemployment and hunger; recessions and war are shaking up the thinking of millions of  workers and impelling them on the road of struggle against the system which oppresses them and drives them toward catastrophe. Socialism is our only hope. Marxism is the science of human society which supplies the key to the development of social existence, past and present, and projects the direction in which it is moving – must move if it is to survive. It is the theory and practice of working class action, of social revolution.

In small communities the principle of all for each and each for all is not entirely lost. There was a time when the regions of  Britain were separate political entities. Even today the distinction between these districts are embodied in sport in which, Geordies, Scousers, Mancunians, Londoners and so on  respectively boast of their football, rugby or cricket virtues. The Socialist Party confidently hold that such trivial rivalries and differences will be reflected in the future when the dividing lines between existing nation-states in a world commonwealth disappear. The cause of the working class is lost if they allow itself to be caught  permanently in the snare of nationalism. The sentiment of “My country right or wrong” will be seen for the abomination that it is. If it is possible to love a city, a nation then surely our love can be spread wider to humanity itself. The perpetuation of hatred of foreigners based on distinction of nationality is  obviously  subservient the selfish interests of the profit-makers of those rival countries and by no means of the peoples. The Socialist Party embraces all humanity. Revolutionary socialists  will have neither to keep its ancient national identities nor to constitute new ones because by becoming free the whole world will be its home. We are convinced that separate countries have had their time.

Socialism groups people, poor against rich, working class against the capitalist class, without taking into account the differences of race and language, and especially the artificial frontiers created by accidents of history. The Socialist Party will not fight to defend existing countries nor to bring new ones into being but we will fight if we need to bring about socialism or to defend it as soon as we have succeeded in establishing it. The class war is the only war which brings some real hope to the exploited of all countries. The class-conscious proletariat, in its fight against the employer class, still more the Socialist Party cannot consistently hold an attitude of loyalty to  ones own capitalist State to the detriment or disparagement of other peoples. If there is one doctrine fundamental to socialism it is that of the class struggle as supersedes the national struggle. We are patriots for mankind as a whole, but not for any particular section of mankind.

Patriotism consists in giving loyalty without considering right or wrong. “Love of country” becomes unquestioning obedience to the country’s government. Patriotism is particularly dangerous because it both isolates and confuses us. Patriots feel good about themselves. It fills something missing in their life. People have a need for community. The churches used to offer it. Sports stadiums have turned into cathedrals and music festivals have become a substitute to the religious jamboree. However, sectional devotion to a more or less mongrel population, even if they all speak varying dialects of the same language, is cant and humbug. The bulk of the population of Britain is as unknown to me as the population of Outer Mongolia.

Workers cannot espouse a narrow nationalist attitude. What happens to the workers in one country has its effect on workers elsewhere and is the concern of socialists everywhere.

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