Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Awake! Arise! Organise!

A second referendum on Scottish independence "must happen next year", Nicola Sturgeon has told the SNP conference. Sturgeon confirmed that she will ask the UK government for formal consent by the end of this year. Clearly buoyed up by polls that show something of an increase of support for independence - not least among those who voted Remain, the SNP now want an early independence referendum.

Capitalism to-day extends over the major portion of the habitable globe, and includes practically all those territories usually termed "nations." Hence it is international. Capitalism is controlled by the capitalist class. The establishment of socialism is the historic mission of the working class; but socialism can only be established by abolishing capitalism. From this it follows that the interests of the capitalist class are in direct opposition to those of the working class. These two classes, as classes, have no national boundaries—not only because they exist wherever capitalism reigns, but also because both capitalists and workers wander all over the globe, the one in search of profits, the other in search of a living, through the medium of work. To establish socialism the working class have to wrest power from the capitalist class, and therefore the fight for socialism, and its establishment, must be international.

Although socialists sympathies are always with the oppressed, it is not the function of the Socialist Party to support nationalism.

National aspirations are not socialist aspirations. Nationalism holds the illusory hope that working people can improve their conditions through national independence. Yet national self-determination has not emancipated the labour. Nationalism has always been the tool of the bourgeoisie, historically, the constant handmaiden of the ruling class. Hence to speak of Scottish or Welsh (or English, for that matter) nationalism as a progressive force is to play the game of the bourgeoisie. Nowhere can nationalism, play a progressive role. Nationalism is a product of the capitalist production process, like the toxic pollutants in our water, air, animals and people. It is a poison.

Unlike the left-nationalists, the Socialist Party does not follow behind, nationalist movements or parties but resolutely struggles against them while propagating socialism, in order that our fellow-workers shall not be side-tracked. The revolutionary process will abolish both class and national divisions. World socialism will triumph. We constantly hammer home that SNP and PC and their like are nothing but tools of the ruling class. Socialism and nationalism are mutually exclusive. Class-conscious workers should fight hard against every kind of nationalism which preaches splitting up of the workers’ cause, the workers’ organisations and the working-class movement according to nationality

The concept of nationalism is a historical category. It grew up in the epoch of the rise of capitalism and the overthrow of feudalism. The bourgeoisie was then the revolutionary class, and part of the bourgeois ideology included nationalism. We now live in the epoch of the socialist revolution – the rise of world socialism and the overthrow of world capitalism. There is no middle road between the capitalist system and socialism. There is no ideology above the class struggle; there is no ideology that serves the interests of both the bourgeoisie and the working class. There is only one revolutionary ideology able to guide the working class to victory: socialism.

What is nationalism? The common answer is that of a particular people expressing a common desire to determine their own destiny. Such analysis contains no class analysis of nationalism. Nationalism is the class outlook of the capitalists that preaches to the people of a nation or national group that regardless of class they have more in common with one another than they do with the people of other nations. Nationalism helps bind the working class to the ruling class of its nation. It says: We (together with our masters have a common common interest to determine a common destiny. Nationalism ties the working people to their own employers and exploiters; socialist internationalism unites the working people of the world against their rulers. We say that working people and the capitalist, neither native nor foreign share a common interest. We say that the international working class must rid itself of the ideology of its class enemy. To the extent that the working class holds nationalist ideas, it is allowing its destiny to be determined by others. One cannot sacrifice the interests of the world revolutionary movement for the sake of some spurious reforms. 

Socialism is characterised by the materialist understanding of history: This says that the motives of historical movements are the interests, in particular (but not only) material ones, of individuals and groups. Within a nation there is a “national class” that serves the interests of the nation by serving its own. The class-conscious workers do not advocate separatism. They know the advantages and potential power of large the amalgamation of great numbers of workers. Most people support the capitalist basis of our society, even though they might oppose certain aspects that they do not realise is the inevitable result of capitalism (like poverty and wars). Sadly, socialist ideas are having have a harder time getting heard, while the nationalist rhetoric is becoming louder.

Fighting capitalism for the only possible alternative - socialism - means not falling for the nationalist game. It is not the birth of new nations that is the order of the day, but a new World, a new society - the socialist revolution.

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