It does not mean that there are no ethnical differences between people, but that it is not possible to define … Nonetheless, nationalism is a poison to be resisted tooth and nail. The argument against nationalism is both political and strategic: we don’t believe in valuing life on the basis of nationality, and so we cannot use that idea to achieve our end goals. As we know, this system broke apart following the Second World War and during the period of decolonisation through the second half of the Twentieth century. Anarchists take a very different view. did you read what I said? Luxemburg recognised that the matter of ‘national independence’ was a question of force, not ‘rights’. As the form of the state in an agrarian slave society is different to that of a developed capitalist society, so too is the imperialism of that state. Firstly, the state will not concede anything to us unless the working class – the vast majority of us who can only live off our ability to work for others – is in a confident enough position to force those concessions through collective action. The fact is, theres a lot more happening in Palestine than a simple 'resistance'. the fact Hamas, Fatah and the rest have shown themselves perfectly willing to repress and murder the very palestinians they claim to be liberating shows that, be they political opponents, gays, prostitutes trade unionists etc. But understanding what we can’t do is the first step to understanding what we can. The principle of ‘self-determination’ of ‘peoples’ once accepted, has no end, hence the rapid diffusion of antagonistic minority nationalisms throughout the world, with few countries untouched by them. Thank you for the link, which points to an atrocity by the Al-Aqsa Martyrs brigade in Gaza. The understanding of nationality in terms of ethnic, cultural and linguistic distinctiveness came later, in the course of intellectual debates about what made a nation, and what ‘nations’, however defined, deserved expression through a nation-state. By the last decades of the Nineteenth Century, the idea that each ‘people’ had a moral right to their own nation-state was solidly established. ‘Imperialism’ has a long history, with its forms and varieties stretching back as far as the forms and varieties of the state and class society. in Northern Ireland. of fifteen arguments for liberalism and the second part being an overview of fifteen arguments against it. It'd be helpful if you'd explain how the pamphlet isn't about principles - is the analysis wrong? contra the Jewish Peace News piece, being an occupying power doesn't stop you being a democracy. Struggling from a class position – advancing the material interests of the working class, rather than fighting on the terrain of nationalism, is what stands to break free of the binds of nationalism. I really think that would be an excellent addition to the pamphlet, not to mention this site and the internationalist argument as a whole. Supporting the underdog side - the ‘resistance’ - forms a substitute. Like capitalism itself, the idea of the modern nation-state didn’t appear from nowhere, but developed out of pre-existing conditions. The only state which has any ability to reign in Israel is the US. Organising against them is a key part of anarchist politics. Contrary to the fantasies of nationalists, who see the shared language as the basic bond on which the nation-state is based, a common national language was the creation of the developing modern state. [1] The inhabitants of Paris attacked the notorious fortress-prison in 1789 to secure gun-powder, sparking off the French Revolution. On one level, it defines itself. Like its Western rival, the USSR used the rhetoric of ‘self-determination’ and ‘independence’ to expand its own sphere of dominance. There are sectors of Palestinian society which are not dominated by the would-be rulers – protests organised by village committees in the West Bank for instance. I support the refugees right to return and see this as consistent with opposition to borders. These things seem to be as obvious a part of ourselves as eye colour or blood type, and more often than not go unquestioned. It lines us up behind our enemies, and demands we ignore our own interests as members of the working class in deference to those of the nation. At the same time, Marx and Engels shared the standard liberal-nationalist view of the time that the principle of nation-building was consolidation, not disintegration. Ultimately, we have to come up with other ways of attaching people to a common good and generating solidarity in a way that isn’t hostile to difference. 1. Its power lies in the way it is presented as a natural state of things, and the assumption that national divisions and national determination are a natural part of human life, always have been and always will be. We would clearly both be involved in the resistance or dead in that situation. Fascism is a pretty specific kind of politics though and a kind of society its pretty easy to identify - a one party state, a corporatist system, a dictator figure, extreme nationalism, myths of national decline, etc. Consequently, there is no single ‘people’ within the ‘nation’, and there is no shared ‘national interest’ which unifies them. I don't support any Nationalisms but I do defend communities rights to defend themselves. Every nationalism has its own special pleading as why it is special and not as bad as all the others. Similarly the Kuomintang – the Chinese nationalist movement - were extended Soviet support, leading to the slaughter of insurrectionary workers in Shanghai. No One Is Illegal's 2006 reprint of the first known leaflet against immigration controls, produced by Jewish textile workers in 1895. You can’t spell “economic nationalism” without “nationalism”. This is the normal functioning of the world economy, and is visible for example in US mobilisation of the International Monetary Fund and World Trade Organisation to the benefit of US financial industries or in Chinese manoeuvres in sub-Saharan Africa. Nationalism can offer nothing except further rounds of conflict, which look set to increase in number and severity as national competition over the world’s dwindling energy resources increases. Finally, we're clear on stating that we don't think ethnicity grants any moral rights to lands. These polemics will increase the depression of Palestinians and their supporters. When faced with national liberationist arguments and nationalist responses to war, we should be engaging with the justified revulsion felt when faced with war, but opposing nationalist analysis with an internationalist, class perspective. You know, there is no respect for Judaism in and of itself. These are simply unfortunate misrepresentations of the conflict's appearance (which indeed sometimes does remind one of the brutality of Nazi Germany), but they only obscure its real causes. Both were dominated by the Stalinist Greek Communist Party, which attempted to take power after the German defeat. A Palestinian state, should one ever arise, will wallow in the blood, sweat and misery of the masses just like every other national state. The Continuing Appeal of Nationalism - Fredy Perlman, Chris Hedges on “American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War On America”. Many more examples are not difficult to find. Kedourie’s passionate arguments against nationalism gained both the admiration and support of a coterie of loyal followers but also drew some harsh criticism. And I find that alliance strange and very shortsighted on the part of many rightwing Israelis and rightwing Jews in the United States. People within the nation share a commonality with one another which they lack with foreigners. One thing is absolutely clear about the current situation in Gaza: the Israeli state is committing atrocities which must end immediately. A voice from the aliens: about the anti-alien resolution of the Cardiff Trade Union Congress, guide to using ebook readers with libcom.org, The Illusion of State Intervention in the Economy: The Eternal Anti-Working Class Weapon of Reformism, Ang Anarkistang Koreano ng Rebolusyonaryong Shinmin, No to Eviction! Class struggle is the competition between these interests. Propaganda is useful and necessary, but its purpose is to build political minorities which can join in struggles, winning respect for anarchist ideas and applying them in practice. When we travel, turn on the television, open the paper or make conversation, the categorisation of people into one of several hundred varieties of human being looms in the background, often taking centre stage. They are real organised forces with their own aims and goals – to set up a particular form of exploiting state, with particular factions in control of it. These deserve our support. This makes it impossible for the international community to protect properly the human rights of those living under oppression and dictatorship. If thats the case then I don't see how you can (consistantly) disagree with our arguments from a class struggle position. as soon as you view the world as divided fundamentally into nations (instead of or in addition to classes), such problems are inevitable as an understandable sense of solidarity with people being bombed and murdered leads to support for unsavory ruling class factions from their 'nation.' Following the logic of support for national liberation struggles, and the need to discover a proxy to support, leftists will often cheer-lead the regimes of states which are subject to the machinations of Western Imperialism. It is an organised parochialism, designed to split the working class - which as a position within the economic system is international - along national lines. If anarchists do not line up alongside the left in supporting national liberation struggles, and in demanding national self-determination, what is it that we support? They in no way indicated a modern, popular ‘national consciousness’. These interests are furthered by maintaining, defending and manipulating inequalities which exist within capitalism across geographical space. You have the right passport, the right entitlements, or you don’t. The shared ‘national culture’ comes to be official multiculturalism itself, allowing for the integration of ‘citizens’ into the state without recourse to crude monoculturalism. This understanding of the role of the state stood in contrast to the absolutism of earlier periods. In this video, I outline five arguments against ethnic nationalism. There are no observable rules to clearly define what makes a national ‘people’, as opposed to other forms of commonality. It was during this period that the ethnic and linguistic definition of the ‘nation’ came to dominance over earlier forms. But despite the multitude of changes the world has since undergone, the state remains the actor of contemporary imperialism. The direct British government of India after the mutiny put its interests in jeopardy is one early example (previously it had been ruled by a British company), and the ‘scramble for Africa’ from the 1880s to the First World War represented the definitive transformation of the ‘informal Imperialism’ of earlier decades to a system of direct rule in which Imperialist powers carved up the world between them. States and national capitals which have an uneven relationship with larger powers will also have different asymmetric relations with other powers. The political theorist John Stuart Mill mulled over the criteria of common ethnicity, language, religion, territory and history. [8] EAM’ being ‘Greek People’s National Liberation Army’, ‘ELAS’ being ‘National Liberation Front’ and the organisation of which it was the armed wing. Any “solution” that means endless cycles of conflict, which is what nationalism represents, is no solution at all. NO STATE SOLUTION IN GAZA (20th January 2009). So are you disputing that there is a Palestinian Authority with a police force currently disputed between Hamas and Fatah and split between the two in Gaza and the West Bank? This is because, at heart, nationalism is an ideology of class collaboration. Though the imperial structure comes to be part of the apparatus of exploitation over the working class in the territory affected, the rearrangement of this exploiting apparatus in favour of a ‘native’ state is a reactionary goal. These rights were understood to be based on human nature. This had been the case for some time. They have escorted striking teachers back to work at gunpoint, and have closed down medical facilities where staff attempted to strike. CHRIS HEDGES: Well, the relationship between this radical movement and the radical right in Israel is one that really brings together Messianic Jews and Messianic Christians who believe that they have been given a divine or a moral right to control one-fifth of the world’s population who are Muslim. However the viability of this movement was regularly dismissed on practical grounds. If you didn't realise that, then you should probably read his stuff again. This principle reached its apogee in the First World War and the period following it. Controversial. Dr Julian Tang, Honorary Associate Professor in Respiratory Sciences, University of Leicester, said: I don't mean that there are not class differences in Palestine; I certainly don't mean that there are not class differences in England; I mean that your understanding of the class struggle in England can lead you to misleading conclusions about the struggle in Palestine. It was circular, and relied on the territory and population of existing states, as at this point there was little in the way of attempts to define national citizenship or ‘peoples’ on linguistic, cultural or racial grounds. It is also true that we cannot call on ‘our’ state to reign in Israel. THE "STABILITARIANS" A somewhat more plausible case against nationalism is made by "stabilitarians," or defenders of the present-day territorial status quo. Even the role of the ‘official’ languages had little in common with the status of modern national languages. Nationalism can be liberal, cosmopolitan and tolerant, defining the ‘common interest’ of ‘the people’ in ways which do not require a single ‘race’. To conclude, we here make some suggestions for the activities of anarchists when faced with nationalism in the countries they operate, and when faced with nationalism when engaging in anti-war activities. Undoubtedly there are imperialist policies that are much more successful than others. Nationality is its most fundamental category – determining what rights and privileges we have access to, whether we are inside or outside the community of citizenship which nationalism presumes, and ultimately whether we are a valid, ‘legal’, person. Not all neighbours are benevolent folks. The second paragraph of the pamphlet says as much. There were also, depressingly, actions with clear anti-Semitic overtones. I've not seen any evidence of these various very serious charges. For her, the discussion of the ‘rights’ of ‘self-determination’ was utopian, idealist and metaphysical; its reference point was the not the material opposition of classes but the world of bourgeois nationalist myths. I think it's interesting to notice that all pro-resistance leftists, even those who describe themselves as internationalists, subscribe to the Middle Eeast exceptionalism theory, which sees the conflict between Israel and the nationalist Palestinian resistance as somehow completely unlike any other in the world today (rightists believe this too actually, as demonstrated recently by "Super-Zionist" Ben). This reflects the powerlessness of the left. More recently, Murray Bookchin claimed in Society and Nature that “no left libertarian ... can oppose the right of a subjugated people to establish itself as an autonomous entity -- be it in a confederation . Nonetheless, imperialism is absolutely vital to the functioning of capitalist societies, and its success is inseparable from the success of leading powers. This means the most efficient number of firms in the industry is one. As anarchists, we are opposed to war, militarism and imperialism, and see a powerful movement against these forces as a vital part of internationalism in action and the process of building the confidence necessary for a social movement against the state and capitalism. Which is exactly what the nationalists in Hamas and Fatah do while repressing political opponents. However, these were limited to small literate circles and functioned to rationalise royal and/or aristocratic rights, rights which were defended much more frequently, effectively and popularly by claims to divine orders or to Roman precedent. But the nation-state has imperialism in its very blood. You're wrong to blame this on the commander of Al-Aqsa Martyrs brigade in the Northern West Bank. If you believe that Pearlman shared your opposition to "The Palestinian resistance" then we have certainly read his work differently. There was no assumption of ethnic, linguistic or cultural homogeneity – to the enlightenment theorists, a nation was nothing more than a great number of people defined by proper borders and all subject to the same regime of law. However, capitalism as a total economic system and the world of sovereign nation-states are historical novelties, standing in contrast to a long history of feudal and imperial state forms. When we use our passports, when we apply for a job, when we go to hospital or when we claim benefits, we come up against our national status and the possibilities or handicaps that follow. In Nationalism: A Short History (Brookings Institution Press), … It leads to the domestication of the working class, leading working class people to identify themselves in and through the nation and to see solutions to the problems they face in terms of it. This movement took the form of regular street protests in cities, a wave of 28 university occupations around the country and occasional attacks against companies supposedly implicated in the war. The invention of patriotism filled this need. Two Han Chinese are assumed to share a commonality as ‘Chinese’ and a natural solidarity on this basis even if they speak mutually incomprehensible ‘dialects’. Following the revolutions in France and America, the liberal conception of the state which laid the basis for nationalism solidified. My position is against all nations, proto-states (would-be nations) and resistances. Late nineteenth century jingoism was transformed into an ideology of total war, of mechanised slaughter between militarised national blocs. I think AIW has pretty much proved the AF are FULL NAZIS and COMPLETELY CULPABLE FOR THE HOLOCAUST, and youse should all be ashamed. Globalisation has left people behind. If everyone adopted “beggar-thy-neighbour” economic nationalism, then the experience of the 1930s shows it would be catastrophic. And we must stand against all those who would sacrifice them to their own ends. Nationalism, even that of ‘oppressed nations’ offers nothing but further rounds of violence and conflict, the division of the working class on national lines, and their sacrifice to the ‘national interest’, whether that of the existing state or those of states in waiting. Still, we have to define more precisely the phenomenon we are describing. The attack follows the crippling blockade throughout the supposed ‘ceasefire’, which has destroyed the livelihoods of Gazans, ruined the civilian infrastructure and created a humanitarian disaster which anyone with an ounce of humanity would seek an end to. Unfortunately, anarchists are not impervious to such views. The idea was articulated in French Declaration of Rights[4] of 1795 as follows: “Each people is independent and sovereign, whatever the number of individuals who compose it and the extent of the territory it occupies. An attempt was made to put the ideal of ‘every nation a state’ into practice, and the ‘Wilsonian idealism’[5] of ‘national self-determination’ was made a geopolitical reality. Although the term “nationalism” has a variety ofmeanings, it centrally encompasses the two phenomena noted at theoutset: (1) the attitude that the members of a nation have when theycare about their identity as members of that nation and (2) theactions that the members of a nation tak… Arguments against protectionism Economic Nationalism Economic nationalism describes policies to protect domestic consumption, jobs and investment using tariffs and other barriers to the movement of labour, goods and capital Class struggle, in the arena of war and in the antagonist nations is the only strategy we can support if we seek a world without wars – of national liberation or otherwise. I thought the point wasn't about democracy itself, but to point out that Israel's liberal democracy is not more fascistic than that of any Western country. We will return to this point later. e.g. Even if the ‘one state solution’ became a reality, the Palestinian working class would remain an underclass of cheap labourers. It states that "race matters", and "whites alone … See also: Zionist Collaboration with the Nazis by LENNI BRENNER. This did not just apply to the various breeds of state-socialists – the Trotskyists, Maoists and Stalinists, but also had its effect on some anarchists. Eligible new nations needed the economic or cultural basis to make them sustainable, as was the case with the creation of Italy and Germany in the second half of the Nineteenth century. Arguments against nationalism? He even explicitly mentions Palestinian nationalism! Its pretty clear though that Al-Aqsa Martyrs brigade are a nationalist force like any other, and would act like any other in the face of a militant working class (a situation that is unlikely in Palestine, unfortunately). And if that is the case, the fact that it is “easier” is irrelevant. SOLIDARITY WITH THE VICTIMS OF WAR (25th January 2009). They put the word ‘martyr’ in quotes; a massive insult to all those killed in the anti-fascist struggle. Arguments about the respective merits of free markets and free trade versus protectionism, industrial policy and economic nationalism more generally go back as far as Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations (1776) and the defense of a moderate mercantilism essayed by his fellow Scot, Sir James Steuart, in his Inquiry into the Principles of Political Economy (1767). This fact that nation-states often exhibit as much variation within their geographic bounds as across them is obvious in many postcolonial African states or in Indonesia for instance, and even in less exotic locales such as Switzerland. How could we? Firstly, class struggle anarchists should be organising in the workplace wherever possible, and engaging in the support of strikes and other actions which aid the development of class consciousness. All national forces share an interest in preventing independent workers movements, and ‘national liberation’ forces share a history of suppressing independent workers action – the IRA for example acted to maintain cross-class unity behind Irish republicanism by breaking strikes during the class struggles of the 1920s. At home, its function is to domesticate those within a society who can pose antagonism with it – the working class. Economic nationalists are also ideological fanatics who value political loyalty over competence, often attacking the media and their own government agencies in crusades against the “deep state”. When faced with brutal war and the slaughter of populations in distant parts of the world, a proxy is sought in response to their own lack of agency. Secondly, it is madness to expect Britain to impose ‘civilised’ behaviour on an ally such as Israel. A common question remains however. Such moralistic arguments ultimately put the horse before the cart. White people are a race: it is not true. If only the supporters of Palestinian nationalism would look at what national liberation has actually achieved throughout history, they would perhaps realize that the state is always violent and murderous. It is a responsibility of a nation's citizens to resist and defend a nation against tyranny and aggression. Even if a state wished to stay ‘civilised’ and avoid the dynamics of imperialist competition and conflict, it would be forced to defend itself against attempts to prey on this weakness by other powers, using methods of greater or lesser directness. The left and the ‘national question’. Nationalism uses what works – it utilises whatever superficial attribute is effective to bind society together behind it. In Britain the enclosure of common land[3] , the development of industry under the pressures of commerce and the outcompeting of small producers by industrial capitalist pioneers would create a dispossessed working class with no choice but to labour for private employers – in other words it would lead to the establishment of capitalism proper. if there were Jewish nationalist groups in control of pseudo-states engaged in an asymmetrical war and willing to use violence against the working class then I'd oppose them. Israel's "Law of Return" is designed to maintain the state's "Jewish nature”. Every aspect of life was subsumed under the ‘national interest’; internal disputes had to be suspended for the sake of the nation’s supremacy and - given every combatant state claimed the war was a defensive one - survival. Following their consolidation of power during the civil war, Bolshevik policy swiftly took on the nationalist character that could be expected. The industrial capitalist would replace the merchant as the leading player of the bourgeois class. However, the idea that the LTTE is the guardian of Tamil national self-defence fades when it is remembered that among their earliest targets were rival Tamil nationalist and Communist groups, such as Tamil Eelam Liberation Organisation, which was effectively wiped out by the LTTE in 1986. The technological innovations associated with the earliest developments of capitalism laid the foundation for the subsequent evolution of nationalism. As a man of exceptional intellectual reputation with exacting standards in his thinking and scholarship, Kedourie was immensely influential on many modern scholars and his students alike (Salibi 1994: 4) and thus, ac… But the manner of thinking which allows for this to happen has a long pedigree. It didn’t work, for reasons which are integral to nationalism – these new states were not homogenous, and were themselves were full of new minorities. These are not small tasks, but they are vital ones, and must be central to the activity of the anarchist movement in the here and now. And there is a reason why economic nationalism is so heavily associated with white supremacists, alt-right conspiracy theorists, and neo-Nazi groups. Hamas used violence and intimidation against the teachers' and hospital workers strikes in 2006. If you are claiming that the AF hasn't been involved with anti-war activity around Israel/Palestine you are badly uninformed, as we've been heavily involved in demonstrations and occupations and have had members visit Palestine with the ISM. ADVERTISEMENTS: Arguments Against Globalization: The critics criticize globalisation as the corporate agenda—the agenda of the big business and the ideology the developed countries to dominate and control the international economic system in a bigger, deeper and more subtle and intensive manner. This does not mean that pointing to flaws in the British argument is iniquitous. This will inevitably lead to more conflicts elsewhere. In England, for instance, the elite language progressed from Anglo-Saxon, to Latin, to Norman, to the hybrid product of Norman French and Anglo-Saxon that was early English. So we come up against the question, ‘what is a nation?’. We have to be clear about the ways we can stop such atrocities happening. The Communist Manifesto, despite comprising a patently non-communist program, concluded with the famous call, ‘workers of the world, unite!’, expressing the internationalist opposition to the domestication of the working class by nationalism. By the late Nineteenth century, it was the imagined community of the nation, which demanded mass participation. The terrorised population of Gaza did not heed Hamas’ call to resist through ‘martyrdom’, or to undertake suicide attacks. The new ruling class in Russia extended their support to such anti-working class forces in the name of defending the revolution. A striking example is the leading role in the Greek resistance during the second world war of the Stalinist and patriotic EAM-ELAS , who were not above publicly decapitating anarchist militants and murdering rivals in the resistance and workers’ movements[8]. As the debate heats up - one thing is certain - politicians will seek to simplify the arguments. The war in Vietnam ran the risk of damaging short – term capital accumulation, but nonetheless formed part of a grander imperial strategy which stood to benefit the interests of US capital by securing the leading global role of the US and making the ‘free world’ safe for investment and exploitation. If you have an ebook reader or a Kindle, check out our guide to using ebook readers with libcom.org. That is the root cause of the conflict, not "islamo-fascism" or "zionazism." 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