Left-wing nationalist support for internationalism

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Left-wing nationalist support for internationalism

Post by DSN on Fri Mar 30, 2012 8:18 am

So apparently many of the nationalists on this website also support internationalism, but I was wondering if someone could explain this to me. I think I understand, but I'd rather hear it from the horse's mouth. Does it simply mean keeping cultures to themselves whilst still sharing advancements and concerns with other nations?

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Re: Left-wing nationalist support for internationalism

Post by Isakenaz on Fri Mar 30, 2012 11:17 am

I won't even try to speak for others. It is a subject that bothered me in the recent past. For me it's a culture thing, I am more than happy to accept anothers culture as long as they are happy to accept mine.
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Re: Left-wing nationalist support for internationalism

Post by Celtiberian on Fri Mar 30, 2012 1:19 pm

Despite the utter confusion this causes cosmopolitans and reactionary nationalists, there is absolutely no contradiction in espousing left-wing nationalism and internationalism simultaneously. As John Spargo (prior to his abandonment of radicalism) explained,

"Our guiding principle in all that concerns our relations to the people of other lands is internationalism. We are internationalists and anti-militarists.

But internationalism does not mean for us anti-nationalism. Nor has it anything whatever to do with the vague doctrine of world-organization, for which no accurately descriptive name exists, symbolized by the picturesque ceremony of a flag burning. This much exploited ceremonial was a crude attempt to symbolize a conception of a nationless world.

We repudiate the claim made by some that loyalty to this nation is inconsistent with true internationalism. Those who say that Socialism involves the view that the working class has no nation to call its own, that all nations are alike, that there is nothing to choose between a militarist autocracy and a democratic republic, do not preach Socialist Internationalism, but pernicious reactionary nonsense.

"Internationalism presupposes nationalism. It is the inter-relation of nations. The maintenance of national integrity and independence is an essential condition of internationalism. This principle has never in the past been seriously questioned in our movement. It has been the guiding principle of our policies in the Socialist International
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John Spargo quoted in Victor L. Berger: Hearings Before the Special Committee, Vol II, p. 627 (emphasis added).

I would add that internationalism, in the sense we mean the term, is meant to be strictly applied between socialist nations and revolutionary organizations throughout the world. What this would entail is fair trade, the sharing of information and technologies, a foreign policy of peaceful co-existence, etc.

This history of internationalism has been lost and/or forgotten by most socialist and communist parties, which explains the ideological hegemony cosmopolitanism currently has in such organizations. Thus, we left-wing nationalists aren't so much creating a new conception of internationalism as we are rekindling the one which used to be widely accepted on the Left.

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Re: Left-wing nationalist support for internationalism

Post by DSN on Sat Mar 31, 2012 4:43 pm

Isakenaz wrote:I won't even try to speak for others. It is a subject that bothered me in the recent past. For me it's a culture thing, I am more than happy to accept anothers culture as long as they are happy to accept mine.

I understand this, I was just unclear about the connection between the two.

Celtiberian wrote:Despite the utter confusion this causes cosmopolitans and reactionary nationalists, there is absolutely no contradiction in espousing left-wing nationalism and internationalism simultaneously. As Victor L. Berger explained,

"Our guiding principle in all that concerns our relations to the people of other lands is internationalism. We are internationalists and anti-militarists.

But internationalism does not mean for us anti-nationalism. Nor has it anything whatever to do with the vague doctrine of world-organization, for which no accurately descriptive name exists, symbolized by the picturesque ceremony of a flag burning. This much exploited ceremonial was a crude attempt to symbolize a conception of a nationless world.

We repudiate the claim made by some that loyalty to this nation is inconsistent with true internationalism. Those who say that Socialism involves the view that the working class has no nation to call its own, that all nations are alike, that there is nothing to choose between a militarist autocracy and a democratic republic, do not preach Socialist Internationalism, but pernicious reactionary nonsense.

"Internationalism presupposes nationalism. It is the inter-relation of nations. The maintenance of national integrity and independence is an essential condition of internationalism. This principle has never in the past been seriously questioned in our movement. It has been the guiding principle of our policies in the Socialist International
."
Victor L. Berger: Hearings Before the Special Committee, Vol II, p. 627 (emphasis added).

I would add that internationalism, in the sense we mean the term, is meant to be strictly applied between socialist nations and revolutionary organizations throughout the world. What this would entail is fair trade, the sharing of information and technologies, a foreign policy of peaceful co-existence, etc.

This history of internationalism has been lost and/or forgotten by most socialist and communist parties, which explains the ideological hegemony cosmopolitanism currently has in said movements. Thus, we left-wing nationalists aren't so much creating a new conception of internationalism as we are rekindling the one which used to be widely accepted on the Left.

Thanks for clearing this up for me, this is indeed what I thought it meant. I did hear someone who was supposedly an internationalist mention how internationalism refers to the inter-relation of nations as opposed to abolishing nations all together which many anti-nationalist leftists seem to think it does.


Last edited by DSN on Sun Mar 17, 2013 12:55 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Left-wing nationalist support for internationalism

Post by Rev Scare on Sun Apr 01, 2012 2:37 am

Nationalism upholds identification with one's national group. This is a vital component of solidarity, in my estimation. Left-wing nationalism seeks to extract the positive qualities of nationalism whilst abandoning the negative; it is founded wholly upon socialist principles. Internationalism is a foreign policy that nation states adopt, and it therefore presupposes the existence of nations. Internationalism should not be confused with cosmopolitanism, which is a nonsensical ideology that neither appreciates the reality of diversity nor values its existence. There is nothing at all incompatible between internationalism and left-wing nationalism.

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Re: Left-wing nationalist support for internationalism

Post by Isakenaz on Mon Apr 02, 2012 3:37 pm

Is nationalism compatible with internationalism?

Unfortunately the terms have come to suggest something mutually exclusive. And much of it comes from the interpretation of the term ‘nationalist’. If the term is applied to a reactionary, racist, bigot (as it usually is), while internationalism constrains its usage to the cosmopolitan idea of ‘one worldism’, then yes they are. However, as others have suggested, it is possible to see yourself as nationalist while at the same time espousing international co-operation.

Nationalism has become synonymous with Hitler and the NSDAP, simply because they used the ‘national’ precursor. But let’s face facts if one nation makes war on another, whatever the excuse, invades that nation and steals their resources, then they are building an empire, and that’s what Hitler was doing building a German Empire. Oh he couched it with honeyed words, claimed he was restoring the Aryan race (something that never existed), argued that it was all for Germany (probably in the same way that the British Empire was all for Britain), but in the end he was empire building for himself and his elite.

It is this ‘baggage’ that has been attached to the term nationalism, and become so fixed in peoples conscience as something ‘evil’ that must be opposed at all costs, that set me against the term ‘left wing-nationalism’ in the first place (a viewpoint that I still hold). There are many members on here that have many valid points, yet they must waste valuable time and effort trying to explain the ideas behind the term, while on forums like revleft, any half-brained fool can make stupid accusations, based on an acceptable, in their minds, idea that nationalism and fascism are two sides of the same coin.
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