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. The revulsion at the sight of self-proclaimed socialists cheerleading organisations like Hamas, chanting “we are all Hezbollah” at ‘anti-war’ demonstrations, and supporting regimes which repress workers’ struggles, imprison and execute working class activists, oppress women and persecute gays and lesbians is entirely justified. The fact is, theres a lot more happening in Palestine than a simple 'resistance'. However, we were unimpressed by the way in which support for the ‘Palestinian resistance’ – in other words Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Al-Aqsa Martyrs brigade and the other proto-state forces in the region - became mixed in with the legitimate revulsion felt as the bombs and shells fell onto the heads of ordinary Gazans. This started with a brutal territorial war with the Khmer Rouge, who had come to power following the savage US bombing of Cambodia, resulting in the occupation of that country by Vietnamese troops. To conflate the struggle of workers with that of nationalists and to accuse those who support the former but not the latter of "sectarianism" is the same as asking "When have you stopped beating your wife?" But during this period there was no clear definition of what made a ‘people’. When we say, for example, that we are British, Polish, Korean or Somalian we feel that we are describing an important part of ourselves and how we relate to the world around us, giving us commonality with some people and setting us apart from others. What an offensive assumption! There had been occasional and limited attempts at telling national origin stories in earlier centuries – such as the stories circulating in Sixteenth century France about the descent of the French (i.e. And this support has to mean total hostility to all those who would oppress and exploit them –the Israeli state and the Western governments and corporations that supply it with weapons, but also any other capitalist factions who seek to use ordinary working-class Palestinians as pawns in their power struggles. The anarchist communist opposition to nationalism must be vocal and clear. Of course, class struggles are rarely pure and unsullied things, and they can be overlaid with bigotries and factional interests of various kinds. The Italian Nationalist and philosopher Giuseppe Mazzini would pose the formula ‘every nation a state, and only one state for each nation’ to resolve ‘the national question’. It functions to create an imagined community of shared interests and in doing so to hide the real, material interests of the classes which comprise the population. They often downplay the threat of climate change, or even label it a “hoax” (ignoring the scientific consensus, and championing fringe pseudoscience). It is also true that we cannot call on ‘our’ state to reign in Israel. These deserve our support. In the post-war period, this consolidation of leftism with patriotism determined the left character of various colonial national liberation movements, making nationalism a key component of the left internationally, and the left the midwife of nationalist movements around the world. In many western countries, official multiculturalism is a key part of civic policy and a corresponding multicultural nationalism has developed alongside it. Israel is the occupying power in the West Bank and is blockading Gaza (making Israel the occupying power in Gaza under international law). This does not mean that pointing to flaws in the British argument is iniquitous. However, trying to set up your own state is not part of this. Hamas used violence and intimidation against the teachers' and hospital workers strikes in 2006. Presumably you don't support the workers in these cases? 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. We do not see a world of nations in struggle, but of classes in struggle. Though leftists may be capable of criticising nationalism in their own back yard, they are incapable of doing it when faced with exotic foreign movements. But the phenomenon did not fall from the sky upon the storming of the Bastille[1], it was nurtured and developed as capitalism itself evolved and matured. A consciousness of and allegiance to the ‘fatherland’ or ‘motherland’ was developed became commonplace through the European nation-states of the final third of the Nineteenth century. The same applies to less exotic locations too. Hence the likelihood that nationalism will lead to war depends on context – the nature of the nationalist group(s) in question as well as the political and socio-economic environment; a wealthy, politically-stable nation state that holds ‘healthy’ nationalist sentiments is less likely to turn to violence than a politically unstable, poor and nationalist state or group. It undoubtedly fosters these things, and mobilised them through history. Published in September 2009, an analysis of nationalism, where it comes from, and why anarchists fundamentally oppose it. The same period of history which created the nation-state and capitalism also created something left out of nationalist accounts – the dispossessed class of wage-workers whose interests stand in opposition to those of the capitalist nation state: the working class. Refusing to side with one faction by this logic is effectively the same as siding with the other. In Madagascar, the ‘Madagascan people’ is in fact a localised mix of populations of African and Austronesian settlers. However, ‘national oppression’ has nothing to do with class struggle, and the support for regimes which are active in the suppression of ‘their’ workers and the persecution of minorities in the pursuit of ‘anti-imperialist’ politics is completely reactionary. Nationalism is one of their greatest weapons in this regard, and has consequently served an important historical purpose. Internationalism does not mean the co-operation of capitalist nations, or national working classes, but the fundamental critique of the idea of the nation and nationality. They have escorted striking teachers back to work at gunpoint, and have closed down medical facilities where staff attempted to strike. There are plenty of locally-led struggles over things like access to land, resources, work, water etc which are essentially class struggles and which should be supported accordingly. We must stand staunchly against militarism, nationalism and war, and agitate on a practical basis accordingly. In the struggle towards that ultimate aim, we are firm in our stance that workers have no country, that the working class must unite across all divides, and that solidarity of all workers is the principle on which any future victories rely. This rhetoric is assumed even in states which do not bother to claim legitimacy through representative democracy. With hundreds dead and thousands wounded, it has become increasingly clear that the aim of the military operation, which has been in the planning stages since the signing of the original ceasefire in June, is to break Hamas completely. This was joined and compounded by the wave of Third-Worldism in the 1960s which was in many ways a reflection on the failure of the unrest of that period to materialise into a revolutionary movement, happening as it did at the same time as the decomposition of Western colonialism. Similarly class solidarity exists not because people are charitable but because solidarity is in their interests. And I find that alliance strange and very shortsighted on the part of many rightwing Israelis and rightwing Jews in the United States. It was now a right of ‘peoples’, defined in whichever way, to a state of their own. This class which is obliged to fight in their interests against capital are not a ‘people’, but a condition of existence within capitalism, and as such transcend national borders. of fifteen arguments for liberalism and the second part being an overview of fifteen arguments against it. Class struggle is part of the fabric of capitalism, including despotic state-capitalism of the Bolshevik model, and this will be the case irrespective of whether the ruling class faced at any particular time are drawn from ‘native’ ranks or not. The principle of taking a class line, rather than a national line, must also inform our politics in the countries we reside in. It’s a really repugnant ideology. The point is that it is a democracy. Anarchists recognise as much in their opposition. The usual prerequisites are a shared language and culture. Even non-productive workplaces are shaped by these rules, as they are the fundamental principles of capitalist society. Workers in China or Bangladesh occupying factories and rioting against the forces of the state are not necessarily doing it because they have encountered revolutionary theory, but because the conditions of their lives mean they have to. The revolution would build on this nation of subjects to create the nation of citizens; the nation became those capable and willing of the conditions of citizenship, expressed through the state. Following their consolidation of power during the civil war, Bolshevik policy swiftly took on the nationalist character that could be expected. ‘Good nationalism is a certain specific solidarity based on the things you have created together, as a nation.’ Photograph: Workers' Photos / … Even when jobs are available, they often involve precarious job security, uncertain working hours, zero-hour contracts, etc. Both were dominated by the Stalinist Greek Communist Party, which attempted to take power after the German defeat. Undoubtedly there are imperialist policies that are much more successful than others. How could we? This was the first stage in the use of support for ‘anti-imperialist’ ‘national liberation struggles’ as Bolshevik geopolitical strategy. It seeks to "secure the existence of our [white] people and a future for white children" (14 words, which is a somewhat common slogan among white nationalists).We can for example see this in the Charlottesville Statement by Richard Spencer.. Finally, we're clear on stating that we don't think ethnicity grants any moral rights to lands. It’s, you know, Jews have to control Israel, because that is one more step towards Armageddon. I think AIW has pretty much proved the AF are FULL NAZIS and COMPLETELY CULPABLE FOR THE HOLOCAUST, and youse should all be ashamed. (See the film Arna's Children) Comparisons with Western comfortable, if exploited, lives are less relevant than comparisons with Apartheid South Africa, with the Warsaw Ghetto, or with the film Inglorious Bastards. 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. The appearance of national flags at demonstrations, pickets and rallies around the world is not uncommon. In Nationalism: A Short History (Brookings Institution Press), … Hamas’ record of repressing the attempts of workers to improve their living conditions is well known. They showed no willingness to carry out a ‘resistance’ on behalf of their masters which would have meant certain death. This understanding of the role of the state stood in contrast to the absolutism of earlier periods. Against the left, and its proposed reorganisation the capitalist world of nation-states, we stand firmly for a world without borders, without nations and without states, for a world based on free access to the products of human activity, for the satisfaction of human needs and desires; a co-operative, stateless world in which human beings can realise their full potential as creative beings. Now it was the ‘people’ who were sovereign, not the person of the divinely ordained ruler. 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. and i'm sorry but Israel simply isn't waging a war of extermination. The language spoken by elites remained an irrelevance to an illiterate subject population. 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. These polemics will increase the depression of Palestinians and their supporters. In many advanced economies, real incomes have stagnated or even fallen since the Great Recession of 2007-2009. At home, its function is to domesticate those within a society who can pose antagonism with it – the working class. We can already see the results in the proto-states that have been established under the Hamas / Fatah regimes. Nationalism can be liberal, cosmopolitan and tolerant, defining the ‘common interest’ of ‘the people’ in ways which do not require a single ‘race’. [7] The Versailles treaty ended the war – with the terms being dictated by the Allies and the redrawing of Europe taking place using principles of nationality where feasible. ‘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. For the Trotskyists, various historical schemes were developed explaining why imperialism was, as described by Lenin, the highest form of capitalism, and why the defeat of imperialism by national liberation forces was in the interests of the socialist cause. There are no observable rules to clearly define what makes a national ‘people’, as opposed to other forms of commonality. This is not terminal as we already know; circumstances can force people to act in their interests, and through this process ideas develop and change. As a result, nationalism can overlay and distort class struggles; material struggles can become struggles in the defence of the national interest, struggles for the reorganisation of the nation through the application of a different form of government and against other sections of the working class defined on national, racial or sectarian grounds. 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. Anarchist communists do not simply oppose nationalism because it is bound up in racism and parochial bigotry. When attempts at definition did occur at this stage, such as during the second half of the Eighteenth century, nations were understood on the basis of their domination by specific states. It is an organised parochialism, designed to split the working class - which as a position within the economic system is international - along national lines. In this video, I outline five arguments against ethnic nationalism. They put the word ‘martyr’ in quotes; a massive insult to all those killed in the anti-fascist struggle. This is to turn the justified horror felt against such wars on its head, and to move from a position against war to a position for war – as waged by the underdog side. Their trade in the plunder of the colonies – both riches and slaves – would make them vital to the workings of their economies, and the progressive dominance of European imperialism swelled their numbers, wealth, and political significance. The second paragraph of the pamphlet says as much. 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. Which is exactly what we argue. There were also, depressingly, actions with clear anti-Semitic overtones. All feedback can be directed to: shicks@rockford.edu. Under international law, what is happening in parts of Palestine is technically ethnic cleansing, under the UN definition: "rendering an area ethnically homogeneous by using force or intimidation to remove from a given area persons of another ethnic or religious group". For some time Marx and Engels supported the ‘national liberation’ of Poland (and consequently a movement for independence led by aristocrats) for strategic reasons – striking a blow against autocratic Russia and, in their view, defending capitalist development and therefore the preconditions for socialism in Western Europe. e.g. Similarly, anarchists should counter the nationalist myths which hinder practical working class solidarity; lies about immigrants stealing jobs and housing should be opposed with the reality of the situation, that the reasons for our day-to-day problems lie in the fact that the capitalist system does not function to meet our needs, and isn’t supposed to. The influence of this development on the left throughout the world was profound, compounding the place of support for ‘national liberation struggle’ as a basic part of the ‘common sense’ of the workers’ movement. On the contrary. In what is still the sole book-length philosophical study of thesubject, Stephen Nathanson (1993, 34–35) def… Why do anarchists oppose nationalism? Afghanistan was occupied by the British and Russians for similar strategic reasons. Any “solution” that means endless cycles of conflict, which is what nationalism represents, is no solution at all. The interests of capital are directly opposed: to get more work out of us for less, and to cut corners and costs, in order to return a higher rate of profit and allow their money to become more money more quickly and efficiently. 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 . The French Encyclopédie, a work usually understood as encapsulating enlightenment thought prior to the revolution and published in volumes in the 1750s and 60s, defined nations in such a way. Natural Monopoly. The argument was that the government would be able to run the industries in the best interests of society. Of course, with the crushing of the Russian revolution by the state-capitalist regime under the control of the Bolsheviks, who systematically destroyed or co-opted both the organs of self-management the working class had developed for themselves and the revolutionaries who defended them (such as the anarchists), the question was rendered null, as the Bolsheviks’ sole consideration was their own power. The shared ‘national culture’ comes to be official multiculturalism itself, allowing for the integration of ‘citizens’ into the state without recourse to crude monoculturalism. The ruling class are fully aware of these issues, and are conscious in acting in their interests. Anarchist Federation members were involved in a range of ways, being present on street demonstrations and involved in a number of occupations. yes exactly. 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. This dynamic takes place regardless of whether elaborate theories are constructed around it. If you are quoting Fredy Perlman to counter our argument then you clearly haven't read The Continuing Appeal of Nationalism properly: In fact the entire argument of that pamphlet is similar to ours: nationalism is and always has been a vital weapon in capital's arsenal, that there is nothing "progressive" in "national liberation movements", and that "liberated nations" throughout history have shown themselves as capable of brutality as their oppressors. I've not seen any evidence of these various very serious charges. The second quote in your post has no bearing on any of the posts above or the argument of the pamphlet, so I'm not sure what your point is supposed to be. It'd be helpful if you'd explain how the pamphlet isn't about principles - is the analysis wrong? The absence of Western imperialism does not bring peace, and national liberation does not lead to self-determination, an impossibility in the capitalist world. The pressures of capitalism transformed the imperialism which preceded and nurtured it. I really don't believe fewer people will die. If you don't have permissions to post content yet, just request it here. It is therefore not simply a puppet of ‘corporate interests’, but is an interested party in its own right. 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. 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. Even if the ‘one state solution’ became a reality, the Palestinian working class would remain an underclass of cheap labourers. Nationalism is packaged and sold as another commodity, it is a spectacle of participation in a society that is defined the separation between our needs and desires and the reasons for our day-to-day activity. But not the groups who call on Palestinians to be slaughtered on their behalf by one of the most advanced armies in the world, and who wilfully attack civilians on the other side of the border. SOLIDARITY WITH THE VICTIMS OF WAR (25th January 2009). AI W., Fredy Perlman was an internationalist, against all nationalisms, including those of "oppressed" nations, like Django and the people who run the site. 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. Secondly, anarchists have always been involved in anti-militarist and anti-war activism. Secondly, the forms of exploitation set up by ‘native’ rulers after struggles of national liberation are in concrete terms in no way preferable to the methods of the ‘foreigners’. The only real solution is one which is collective, based on the fact that as a class, globally, we ultimately have nothing but our ability to work for others, and everything to gain in ending this system – capitalism – and the states and wars it needs . 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. Moreover, simply in practical terms, the principle of nationalism has no end; the new, ‘independent’ states always contain minorities whose own ‘national self-determination’ is denied. For example, these asymmetries are today often expressed through phenomena such as regional monopolies, unequal exchange, restricted capital flows, and the manipulation of monopoly rents. Yes it is true that Palestinian workers lead lives that are significantly more "nasty, brutish and short" than those of many Western workers, yet Palestinian workers aren't being ethnically cleansed because of the geographical and historical uniqueness of their situation, but because they live in a class society. Revolutionary consciousness comes about as a result of mass struggle, and class struggle is immanent to capitalism. The Roman Empire was different to the British Empire; contemporary imperialism is different still. 1. The class nature of that society can't ever be anything like what there is in the West, because Western workers are only mildly exploited labour aristocrats while Palestinian workers are the victims of genocide. The invention of patriotism filled this need. Though in earlier periods there had been some ethnic or linguistic groups which understood themselves as in some way distinct from their neighbours, the translation of this into the need to have a nation-state of each and every grouping was a new phenomenon. As the bombs rained down every party and group put forward their vision for ‘fixing’ the problem and their vision of the future for Palestinians. This resistance is often carried out by members of organisations such as the Al-Aqsa Martyrs brigade; as in the film Arna's Children. Its certainly true that Gaza and the West bank are typical third world capitalist economies with a high rate of unemployment due to the Israeli/Egyptian blockade. 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