Friday, November 15, 2019

Patriotic Poison

The virus of nationalism is spreading. Welsh and Scottish nationalist tricksters preach independence from the UK as some sort of panacea for ending poverty. The global capitalist economy is in a crisis. Millions are feeling the hardship and misery of living under a system which puts profits before needs. Not understanding the capitalist system, they seek someone to blame. Deceived by their masters, they seek security in isolationist policies behind fortified borders. In Britain, Brexiteer nationalists wrap their Union Jack around them and give thanks that they are not born foreigners.

Plaid Cymru argue that it is “London government” that causes our problems. The solution, apparently, is Cardiff government. This is nonsense. Our problems are not caused by London government but, as elsewhere, by the class monopoly of the means of production, in short, by capitalism. Their solution lies not in nationalism, which is a delusion and a snare, but in world socialism.

Is nationalism about freeing an oppressed people, liberating them from exploitation. Catalonia is Spain’s wealthiest region—but half of the income tax and value-added tax generated in the region, along with a percentage of some other taxes, goes to Spain’s government. According to Reuters, the region pays $12 billion more to Spain than it gets back—the equivalent of five percent of its regional economic output. So it’s all about refusing to share its prosperity with the disadvantaged regions of Spain.

The obsession about independence 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 the nationalism of this or that “people”.

Can revolution today come wrapped in the Scottish Saltire or a Welsh dragon as the left nationalists suggest? Should workers be motivated by a desire to “save Scotland or Wales from its rulers? Are the leftists the real patriots? Or is any form of nationalism class betrayal as the Socialist Party asserts?

The words in the Communist Manifesto that ’the workingmen have no country’ are today truer than ever before. It is not the function of socialism to support nationalism, even though the latter battles imperialism. But to fight imperialism without simultaneously discouraging nationalism means to fight some imperialists and to support others
In opposing Welsh and Scottish nationalism, socialists make it absolutely clear that we stand in bitter hostility to the arrogant nationalism of the so-called loyal Unionists, whose pathetic submission to a Queen who would not let her corgis live in some of the conditions the poor have to endure.

The Socialist Party, whose country is the planet Earth, does not underestimate the importance of cultural diversity. Socialism is a global solution to a global problem. The problem is that the Earth and all its abundant resources belong to the minority, not to the human community as a whole. The minority abuse the planet Earth for the purpose of making profits. This will require global organisation and not national fragmentation. Socialism will put an end to every border; nation-states will be abolished immediately. We, who produce the world’s wealth, must cast off the chains of nationalist illusion. We have a world to win.

All nationalist movements arises from a confused 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. The same is true of Scottish and Welsh nationalism: these are not really movements by workers wanting Scottish and Welsh capitalists to dominate them — although that would be the effect of their unlikely success — but of alienated workers who want a society which they can call their own. Workers are right to want a society which we can call our own: a planet which belongs to humanity and local areas which we can take pride in as people who are no longer the tenants in a capitalist-owned world. To workers who are obsessed by nationalism The Socialist Party appeals with all of the passion which the nationalists use in their address to the working class: Come, let us unite as a class which has everything in common, everything to gain, a variety of cultures to develop — let us, indeed, have the world for the workers.

The working class must free themselves from the chains of nationalism and tackle their class problem on the basis of socialist understanding. Nationalism is a cloak that covers the real aims and interests of the ruling class of the major capitalist countries and is a hindrance to the development of a socialist movement. International solidarity and comradeship for a socialist world may seem at the moment a long way off; but it must come if we are to survive.

The only things that working people need to embrace are the undeniable truths that capitalism cannot work in our interest and the nationalist message is everywhere poisonous and divisive, embracing the notion that capitalism is somehow better when administrated locally. We do not notice that even now, today, we are standing on the very threshold of that post-scarcity world. All we have to do, as individuals, is take one step.

In Cardiff Central, Brian Johnson, is the Socialist Party candidate.
In Folkestone & Hythe, the Socialist Party candidate is Andy Thomas

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