Friday, January 10, 2020

Reject Nationalism

Capitalism has now become a single world economy in which international capital finds the frontiers which divide the world into 170 or so political states irrelevant. Governments are forced to take this economic reality into account by pursuing policies that allow the free movement of capital. Marxists drew the conclusion that this meant that nationalism no longer had any progressive role to play and so should be opposed by socialists. They see nationalism as a political creation imposed on people by states (and various liberation movements seeking to set up states) in the interest of the ruling class (or would-be ruling class) of those states. 

Nationalism is at the top of the list of political illusions used to blinker working people. We do not own very much of a country, so why should we care which section of the class of thieves owns which national portion of the world? Workers have a world to win, not nations to struggle and sacrifice for. 

The Socialist Party does not take sides in the contest between national capitalism and global capitalism. We are not just against capitalist globalisation but capitalism in all its various forms.

The Socialist Party stands for a united world society, a cooperative commonwealth. Our aim is to create a world free from all national division. We want to abolish borders, not establish new ones. Workers have no country - no nation to defend but a world to gain.

 The obsession about nationalism is one which socialists confront all the time. We confront it from leftists who divide their time between paying lip service to the idea of workers of the world uniting and supporting all manner of nationalisms. We face it from many fellow-workers whose sense of frustration about the poverty and indignity of working-class life often leads them to a sense of misplaced patriotism about a cause which would do them no more good than it did other workers who won the battle and gained the right to be exploited by local capitalists instead of foreign ones. We confront it whereever workers are constantly abused and threatened by an occupying or repressive armed presence and regard counter-violence as the only alternative to the violence. In short, socialists can understand why workers become obsessed with the national question. However, what we are asking them to understand is why they should take a world, and never a national, view of society.

The poverty of workers, the unemployment and the suffering caused by squalid living conditions which many face, the threat which they share with all workers on the planet of being blown to bits in a war, or destroyed by the effects of environmental destruction, the oppression which they suffer from the bosses and the state these are all effects of capitalism. If there was no profit system there would be no working class whose social function it is to be repeatedly robbed for profit. The problems of workers are the problems of wage-slaves everywhere and they will not be solved separately from the rest of the working class.

Nationalists argued that workers would be better off in their own country, free from foreign rule. The Socialist Party regard it as an irrelevance. It is our duty to warn our fellow-workers of the futility of nationalist “cures.” Nationalism is a "disease" (Einstein).

 National divisions are a hindrance to working-class unity, and national jealousies and differences are fostered by the capitalists for their own ends. There is no answer for the oppressed in changing a foreign robber for a native-born one. The person of the robber does not matter — it is the fact of the robbery that spells misery. Let the robbers fight their own battles. National sentiment and traditional cultures are being exploited by the so-called leaders in the interests of capitalism, and the workers are being used to fight the battles of their oppressors. Nationalism arises from a desire to see a united community. The aspiration to have a nation which belongs to you is in reality a desire to have a society which is yours — which you can feel a part of because it belongs to you. These are not really movements by workers wanting capitalists to dominate them — although that would be the effect — but of alienated exploited workers who want neighbourhoods, communities and a society which they can call their home. People are right to want a society which we can call their own, a planet which belongs to humanity and a place which we can take pride in. Let us unite as one and share everything in common and allow many cultures to develop and flourish.

There is but one hope and is to join with the World Socialist Movement to make common cause with the fellow-workers of all lands for the end of all forms of exploitation: saying to the capitalists: “A plague on all of you."

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