What is nationalism?

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What is nationalism?

Post by DSN on Fri May 11, 2012 4:06 am



Just thought this might be worth posting here for noobs or whatever. If only more people understood this kind of stuff about nationalism, especially leftists.


Last edited by DSN on Mon May 20, 2013 2:04 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: What is nationalism?

Post by Celtiberian on Fri May 11, 2012 9:43 am

I think his definition of nationalism as the right to exist and of self-determination is an adequate summary, but I believe he places too much emphasis on ethnicity. A nationality can also consist of different ethnic groups who nevertheless all identify with a common national culture and identity. For example, an individual of Greek ancestry who is born in Russia most likely identifies more strongly with Russian culture than that of his ethnic group. The only appropriate basis for determining nationality, in my opinion, is to allow people the right to democratically decide the matter for themselves.

Thank you for posting the video, though.

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"Nationality. . . is a historic, local fact which, like all real and harmless facts, has the right to claim general acceptance. . . Every people, like every person, is involuntarily that which it is and therefore has a right to be itself. . . Nationality is not a principle; it is a legitimate fact, just as individuality is. Every nationality, great or small, has the incontestable right to be itself, to live according to its own nature. This right is simply the corollary of the general principle of freedom."
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Re: What is nationalism?

Post by DSN on Fri May 11, 2012 4:32 pm

Celtiberian wrote:I think his definition of nationalism as the right to exist and of self-determination is an adequate summary, but I believe he places too much emphasis on ethnicity. A nationality can also consist of different ethnic groups who nevertheless all identify with a common national culture and identity. For example, an individual of Greek ancestry who is born in Russia most likely identifies more strongly with Russian culture than that of his ethnic group. The only appropriate basis for determining nationality, in my opinion, is to allow people the right to democratically decide the matter for themselves.

Thank you for posting the video, though.

Well as he said, the problem arises when you try to define an 'ethnicity'. I agree though, as I'm in the sort of situation you explained. Despite being Greek Cypriot, Irish and English blood-wise, I was raised English and feel more comfortable around a group of (culturally) English people than a group of Greek or Irish people. I don't reject who/what I am (kind of hard to with such an obvious name lol), though. I enjoy what Greek culture I can, but I don't try to force it on England. I've grown up in a very Asian area full of Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, Indians etc. (mostly Muslim) and don't appreciate having a mosque behind my house with an entrance next to it, nor do I appreciate the barber around the corner from my house not being able to speak a full sentence of decent English despite having lived here for at least 5 years. This is why I don't understand the term "multi-culturalism", as it seems to be a cover up for immigrants who have no interest in the culture they are living on top of. I too would emigrate if I were in their situation, but I would make an effort to adhere to that country's culture. The issue of race/ancestry was what worried me at the thought of left-wing nationalism when I first heard of it (through this site).

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Re: What is nationalism?

Post by priviet02 on Fri May 11, 2012 9:16 pm

a very informative video thanks for the posting

one thing i have trouble with ...does this mean that british nationalism is a paradox then because of its imperialist past and for many they have a lack of acknowledgement for the english people for example
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Re: What is nationalism?

Post by Admin on Fri May 11, 2012 10:34 pm

priviet02 wrote:a very informative video thanks for the posting

one thing i have trouble with ...does this mean that british nationalism is a paradox then because of its imperialist past and for many they have a lack of acknowledgement for the english people for example

Virtually all presently recognized 'nations' have been involved in imperialistic exploits and/or international conflicts. Moreover, the fact that disparate national identities can coexist within a single 'national' population at the same time underscores the problematic nature of the national question. I am firmly convinced that the sorts of contradictions the arbitrary character of national identity engender can only be resolved through the implementation of policies that conform to a framework of left-wing nationalism.

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Re: What is nationalism?

Post by Celtiberian on Fri May 11, 2012 10:45 pm

DSN wrote:This is why I don't understand the term "multi-culturalism", as it seems to be a cover up for immigrants who have no interest in the culture they are living on top of. I too would emigrate if I were in their situation, but I would make an effort to adhere to that country's culture.

Since immigrants overwhelmingly leave their homeland for reasons of economic betterment, they logically wish to retain their cultural identity to the greatest extent possible. The higher the immigrant rate is in a given location, the longer it will take for the group to culturally assimilate into the host population. If demographics alter considerably, assimilation can be postponed indefinitely. For example, I was born and raised in Miami, Florida, which is a very diverse city. Expatriates from Cuba established a presence in the city throughout the 1960s (they were largely petit-bourgeois refugees fleeing from Castro's regime), and since there were so many of them, they were able to preserve a significant amount of their cultural heritage. There wasn't even an economic incentive for them to learn English because bilingual Cubans opened their own businesses catering to Cuban customers, thereby enabling work to be conducted primarily in Spanish. Subsequent waves of (non-Cuban) Latin American immigrants were able to abstain from learning English as a result. Today, it's virtually impossible to get a job in the city without being fluent in Spanish.

Socialism will remedy this situation because the demand for immigrant labor will evaporate following the revolution. Would-be immigrants will then have to cease viewing the solution to the troubles in their own countries as something to be handled individually (e.g., by way of emigration), and instead seek collective—preferably revolutionary—solutions with their compatriots.

priviet02 wrote:...does this mean that british nationalism is a paradox then because of its imperialist past and for many they have a lack of acknowledgement for the english people for example

"British" identity was forged by imperialism, but then so were many other national identities (e.g., "Spanish" and "French"). The critical issue to left-wing nationalists is whether or not the populations encompassing contemporary Great Britain identify as being British. If separatist movements gain traction in Northern Ireland, Scotland, or Wales, the people should have the right to democratically secede from the United Kingdom.

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"Nationality. . . is a historic, local fact which, like all real and harmless facts, has the right to claim general acceptance. . . Every people, like every person, is involuntarily that which it is and therefore has a right to be itself. . . Nationality is not a principle; it is a legitimate fact, just as individuality is. Every nationality, great or small, has the incontestable right to be itself, to live according to its own nature. This right is simply the corollary of the general principle of freedom."
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Re: What is nationalism?

Post by DSN on Sat May 12, 2012 12:57 pm

Celtiberian wrote:Socialism will remedy this situation because the demand for immigrant labor will evaporate following the revolution. Would-be immigrants will then have to cease viewing the solution to the troubles in their own countries as something to be handled individually (e.g., by way of emigration), and instead seek collective—preferably revolutionary—solutions with their compatriots.

This is what I think a lot of leftists don't understand. "Nationalism is a bourgeois idea!" they say, but don't realise that mass immigration and "multi-culturalism" is largely the result of capitalism. I don't see why even half the Asians or Eastern Europeans living in my town would be here if they had the same opportunities back home as they have here. More importantly, I wouldn't even be here if it weren't for my non-English grandparents searching for work.

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Re: What is nationalism?

Post by Celtiberian on Sat May 12, 2012 4:05 pm

DSN wrote:This is what I think a lot of leftists don't understand.

As I often say, we can thank the ideological hegemony cosmopolitanism has in the contemporary Left for that misunderstanding.

"Nationalism is a bourgeois idea!" they say, but don't realise that mass immigration and "multi-culturalism" is largely the result of capitalism.

The fundamental problem is they either aren't aware that there are different conceptions of nationalism, or intentionally fail to make the distinctions between them. Nationalism can obviously be used by the bourgeoisie to advance reactionary interests—usually by cultivating mindless state worship in the proletariat—but national sentiments themselves are endogenous and most certainly not bourgeois.

I don't see why even half the Asians or Eastern Europeans living in my town would be here if they had the same opportunities back home as they have here. More importantly, I wouldn't even be here if it weren't for my non-English grandparents searching for work.

Were opportunities equal across the entire world, I'm quite sure that very little (if any) immigration would occur. Immigration laws would almost become superfluous. Since capitalism produces uneven rates of development, however, the best approach for socialist nations to take in the future is to assist one another through fair trade and international development projects.

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"The dogma of human equality is no part of Communism . . . the formula of Communism: 'from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs', would be nonsense, if abilities were equal."
—J. B. S. Haldane Hammer Sickle

"Nationality. . . is a historic, local fact which, like all real and harmless facts, has the right to claim general acceptance. . . Every people, like every person, is involuntarily that which it is and therefore has a right to be itself. . . Nationality is not a principle; it is a legitimate fact, just as individuality is. Every nationality, great or small, has the incontestable right to be itself, to live according to its own nature. This right is simply the corollary of the general principle of freedom."
—Mikhail Bakunin Red Star
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