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Does the
Nation Represent You?

By Punkerslut

By Punkerslut, Using CopyLeft Images
Image: By Punkerslut, Using CopyLeft Images

Start Date: October 23, 2009
Finish Date: October 23, 2009

"The principle of political or State morality is very simple. The State, being the supreme objective, everything that is favourable to the development of its power is good; all that is contrary to it, even if it were the most humane thing in the world, is bad. This morality is called Patriotism."
          --Mikhail Bakunin, ~1870's
          "Marxism, Freedom, and the State," Chapter 3

     In all of the mainstream news and media outlets, you will always find obsessions with the nation -- they're selling an identity based on country. "We are Americans, with American ideals, and American hopes!" This is the Patriotism of the United States, but in other countries, nationalism is precisely the same. It is an ideal that wants you to associate with "your" country, people, heritage, culture, way of life, or even language. When judging an act as right or wrong, your sole question is whether it helps or hurts the Nation. This is the morality of the Nationalist.

     But does the country really represent you? You're living here not by choice, but simply because you were born here. And, after having lived only a short while, you should have realized something. People from other parts of the world have the same thoughts that come to you; they grow and develop through many of the same sufferings, the same longings, and the same hopes. To be a Nationalist is to sympathize with the suffering of one people and not the suffering of another people -- to consider someone as a friend or a foe based on artificial, geographic borders.

     Where did the borders come from, anyway? Why is one area recognized as a county, another as a province, another as a state, and another as a nation or empire? The lines of a political map can be explained only through centuries and centuries of war. Those who considered wanted the glory of the nation sacrificed their own people in attaining it. This was the comradeship and mutual cooperation that existed between the masters of a nation and its poorest.

     In the Spanish American War, or the Mexican American War, or the Vietnam or Iraq War, we find wars of conquest; wars that took the youth from poor families, and gave wealth to the greatest property owners. During the World Wars, or the many wars preceding it, or the wars of the ancient world in the Mediterranean, or the African continent, or throughout a ten thousand years of Chinese history -- these wars swallowed families, communities, and entire cities, but they produced gold and riches to the wealthy.

     Where there is not a war, the Capitalist and landlord are still just as vicious, cruel, and unrelenting. Unemployment and poverty have always been rampant since the existence of property deeds. The common people seek to sustain themselves, as all animal-kind naturally seek. But where they desire this, they are held back. Land isn't used for farming and feeding the people, because it's "appreciating in value" in some real estate scheme. Factories stand idle, not because they can't produce value, but because "it would flood the market." You could be poor, starving, broke, and without any prospects for a job, and they'd let you starve, because it improves the bottom line.

     That is the real "solidarity" that the American Capitalists and American bankers have with you! Or the British, Italian, French, German, or Russian masters of industry. In all countries, a top, few elite hold control and domination over the majority of society. At any moment, they could open up the fields, and let the hungry produce and feed themselves; they could let the workers have the technology that they produced, and let them feed the world several times over. The labor is willing, but the possessor of land is speculating.

"All nationalists have the power of not seeing resemblances between similar sets of facts. A British Tory will defend self-determination in Europe and oppose it in India with no feeling of inconsistency. Actions are held to be good or bad, not on their own merits, but according to who does them, and there is almost no kind of outrage torture, the use of hostages, forced labour, mass deportations, imprisonment without trial, forgery, assassination, the bombing of civilians which does not change its moral colour when it is committed by 'our' side."
          --George Orwell, 1945
          "Notes on Nationalism"

     Then, looking all around the world, you should see it. Just as there is a domination by masters in all countries, so there are the dominated in all countries. In America, we have a vicious police force, and even with video taped evidence of torture and summary executions, the judicial system cannot be "bothered." But this isn't different from the police of Mexico, Brazil, the Soviet Union, Hungary, Ukraine, Chile, or Australia. There are different degrees of brutality -- varying rates of severity, but they are all the same type of uncontrollable authority.

     The hungry and homeless lining the streets of the major cities, with squats on the outskirts of the metro areas. The poor that try to sleep outside are quickly arrested in "sweeps," just as police raid the abandoned building where some homeless have decided to live. Unemployment and picket lines are quickly beaten down by rubber bullets, tear gas, tazers, pepper spray, and always, the baton. Millions beg for bread, while the few live off the anxiety of the struggling laborers. But then you realize, this is the condition of all nations. Whether it is Yugoslavia, Niger, Ecuador, or Madagascar. In all peoples, there are many who are exposed to the elements and left to die.

     We should see, then, that Nationalism is the opposite of any human morality. We should realize that we have everything in common with the poor of all nations. They may come with different religious dogmas effecting them, different characters of history guiding their thought, but essential, we are the same. We take orders from an economic master, in fear of not eating, and then we take orders from a political master, in fear of being imprisoned. We are employed and governed. Though we do not have the same diet or climate, we have the same social organization. And we suffer identical miseries because of it.

     We should not unite with those of the "American," "Irish," or "Lithuanian" cause -- we should unite with those of the World Cause!! Nationalism would ask you to believe that your enemy is foreign cultures and foreign ideas; but those are not what lead to your hunger, your poverty, your empty fields next to starving families. It is the masters of industry that cause your suffering, that set limits to your liberty, allowing you only as much luxury experience as you are "monetarily worth."

     By asking you to turn against other cultures, Nationalism asks you to make enemies out of natural allies. You have the enemy of your boss, just as across the border, they have the enemy of a local boss. A social movement is more powerful because of its size, so our unity would be the greatest tool to our own self-emancipation. And besides making enemies of those who suffer like you, Nationalism asks you to make friends with those who hurt you -- with the employing class. They make their fortune by the massive poverty of the people and by the dispossession of the masses.

     Your friend is the common people, those who suffer the tyranny of capitalism and the state, the worker, the citizen, and the subject -- of any country! And your enemy are those who make money by war contracts, by deceptive and unfair trade agreements, by violent conquest, oppression, and exploitation. Nationalism gives you the identity of the nation, making it your friend and all else your enemy... but Socialism gives you the identity of the great masses, forming a natural comradery, and exposing the real enemy as the world's exploiters and the oppressors.

"The fatherland does not exist.... What fatherland can the international banker and the rag-picker have in common?"
          --Peter Kropotkin, 1892
          "The Conquest of Bread," Chapter 9, Part V

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