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the Socially-Acceptable
Form of Racism

How Nationalism
is Used to Replace
Racism in Society

By Punkerslut

From PeaceLibertad Blog
Image: From Anarchist Image Archives

Start Date: July 26, 2010
Finish Date: July 26, 2010

The Doctrine of Nationalism

"The glory and grandeur of a nation lie only in the development of its humanity. Its strength and inner vitality are measured by the degree of its liberty."
          --Mikhail Bakunin, ~1870's
          "Revolutionary Catechism"

     Belief in the nation as a superior form of community, society, and culture. This is the definition of Nationalism. It rejects the Nationalism of other countries. Similarly, it rejects the idea of sub-groups, or at least, believes them to have minimal impact on the patriotism of a nation. Minority ethnic or religious communities or local cooperative efforts, for instance, are not considered valid forms of allegiance. To the Nationalist, the citizen must praise the nation first and before any other possible organization in society. Nationalism also rejects the idea of any groups above the nation -- by its definition, it cannot accept the idea of a global, world community. Patriotism is the height of Nationalist sentiment.

     The purpose of Nationalism is not a positive one, or it has very limited positive aspects -- if any. It will ask the citizen to obey a government who considers imperialism and war to be profitable. It will ask the worker to obey their bosses who consider exploitation and oppression to be necessary. The interesting observation of Nationalism is that it takes a nation, and commands the majority to be the sheep of a very few. On this basis, Nationalism is strictly opposed to the general interests of any society of people. This philosophy calls the nation "the supreme thing," but in its conclusion, it calls the nation's mass of people to be "the most debased thing, needing authority and government." What is the justification? Because domination has been the founding principle of all modern nations, and therefore, it is infinitely tied up with the idea of Nationalism.

     The philosophy of Nationalism, then, is not based on any scientific or reasoned approach to social organization. It does not examine conflict between the different groups of society, even if it is the whole mass of people on one side and a King or Capitalist on the other. Rather, the nation should be organized on the basis of a dominating group, though, because this was the situation during the nation's founding. It is tradition. The only evidence offered for continuing this form of organization, then, that it was the original form that brought the nation into existence. Hence, Nationalism, Governmentalism, and Capitalism always work together and in concerted effort.

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The Patriotic History, According to Nationalism

"Every nation is a motley assemblage of different characters, and contains, under any political form, some examples of that variety, which the humours, tempers, and apprehensions of men, so differently employed, are likely to furnish."
          --Adam Ferguson, 1767
          "An Essay on the History of Civil Society," Part 4, Section III

     The ideals of Nationalism go back to the origins of the nation, whatever country is being considered. Whether it is French, German, Mongolian, or Australian Patriotism, it considers the nation to be the ideal worth worshiping; and, in this fascination, it always draws itself back to the forming roots of the modern country. It is here that we find Racism inherent in whatever form of Nationalism. Today, it is possible for someone to travel great distances, thousands of miles, even where there is great poverty. This is only a recent development; and for the first few thousand years of human society, very few people traveled more than fifty or one hundred miles in their entire life.

     This trend of communities being rooted in a piece of property had the effect of homogenizing the race of the local area. Members of the community were reproducing with each other for maybe millions of years. They were often ostracizing outsiders and being set up in conservative, family-organized marriages -- a trend that still persists in Indian culture. Whatever race it may be, though, it is certain that they have inherited their characteristics from nations formed earlier. Geography and climate also played a role in isolating communities, on top of the development of agricultural existence over nomadic existence.

     It is from these isolated communities spread over geographic areas that forms the basis for the modern nation. Whenever someone speaks of "those who founded our great nation," they are actually speaking of those who had lived there longer than before the coming of the nation. They are speaking of a society with a single, interrelated race. Naturally, when we look at the history of the first wars between these societies, they always inevitably result in one race dominating another.

     This is the history of all European states: Paris conquered the outlying terrain to form France, [*1] Madrid conquered Catalonia and the Basque County to form Spain, [*2] Rome conquered its neighboring counties to form Italy, [*3] and London conquered Scotland, Wales, and Ireland to form the United Kingdom. [*4] Spain even failed in its attempt to take Lisbon, therefore losing Portugal. [*5] Today, while people may believe that "Portuguese" and "Spanish" are their own ethnicity, this is incorrect, as they each break up into many smaller, intermixed ethnicities -- and, in fact, people would not consider them to be two different races today if the Castillian princes could have conquered Lisbon. It is a Nationalist interpretation, which divides races based on borders.

     In all of these cases, there always resulted a significant friction between different races, whether British and Irish, Roman and Corsican, or Castillian and Basque. These racial tensions did not represent any meaningful or significant differences between races; rather, they were the logical result of one people conquering another, and using the basis of race to distinguish conquerer from conquered.

     In the desire to conquer, there are the seeds of racism. But even under domination, one can still find the same seeds. Modern Netherlands was formed not by a desire to conquer, but by a desire to overthrow their Spanish masters. [*6] Germany, likewise, became a modern nation by its desire to overthrow their French masters towards the end of the 18th century. [*7] Russia shows a brilliant example of this, as well. For the past two centuries, Russian government under both the Communist Party and the Tzar was fervently anti-Polish in all of its policies. But this racist trend developed only after a defenseless Moscow was pillaged and burned by Polish troops. [*8] Today, Poland is now a self-governing nation, but this was only after widespread unrest against Soviet Russian domination in 1989. [*9] Here, too, "the liberty of the people" was achieved in "beating back" whatever race.

     Nationalist movements within Africa and Arabia show strong trends of this ideal as well. During the Algerian Revolution, the white skin of the French was equated with being an oppressor. [*10] The Vietnamese Revolution of 1975 may have been heavily motivated by "communism" and the ideal of "the international, proletarian revolution." But even with this understanding, they still equated white skin, whether American or French, with a being a murderous conquerer.

     We also see this with the formation of Spain. The modern Spanish country was formed by the Castillian monarchy of Madrid conquering nearby counties, but it had a strong force pushing it in that direction. The Berber Empire of North African had dominated Spain for centuries, and this gave the motivation of the local population to free themselves from foreign chains. [*11] This gave birth to a racism against those with black skin among the Spaniards, but their kings were not satisfied with independence from the Berbers. They responded by conquering parts of North Africa, forming the modern territory of Morocco This, in turn, led to the development of violent racism against the Spanish in Morocco [*12]

     One page of the history book turns to another, as one empire crumbles to make room for another. In the history of any nation, one will necessarily find one race dominating and controlling another, no matter how small the differences may be. The history of Nationalism is the history of Racism.

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The Ideology of Nationalism

"...the mission of those who, like us, wish the end of all oppression and of all exploitation of man by man, is to awaken a consciousness of the antagonism of interests between dominators and dominated, between exploiters and workers, and to develop the class struggle inside each country, and the solidarity among all workers across the frontiers, as against any prejudice and any passion of either race or nationality.

"And this we have always done. We have always preached that the workers of all countries are brothers, and that the enemy—the 'foreigner'—is the exploiter, whether born near us or in a far-off country, whether speaking the same language or any other. We have always chosen our friends, our companions-in-arms, as well as our enemies, because of the ideas they profess and of the position they occupy in the social struggle, and never for reasons of race or nationality. We have always fought against patriotism, which is a survival of the past, and serves well the interest of the oppressors; and we were proud of being internationalists, not only in words, but by the deep feelings of our souls."
          --Errico Malatesta, 1914
          "Anarchists Have Forgotten Their Principles"

     Tradition and the culture of the original people forming the country. This is the basis for Nationalist ideals. But in the worship of any nation, one will find Racism. Even for nations formed during the "Enlightenment Era," such as the United States, race continued to be the determinant of slave or master. Whether American, Russian, Polish, Italian, French, Spanish, African, Arab, Israeli, Mexican, or Australian -- in all of these traditions, remembering and worshiping the founding of the nation means remembering racists and worshiping racism.

     To value and pay respect "to the old ways" means valuing a society founded on racial oppression -- it means respecting people who treated racism almost as a religion. "The founders of the nation," whether American or African, have typically been born out of intense, racial ideals. There are a few exceptions, such as the American founder Thomas Paine, but even India's founder, Gandhi, had his own racist opinions of Africans and Jews. [*13]

     When someone states that they are a Nationalist, they are stating that they believe in the causes of their nation, especially the cause that led to its creation. Celebrating the past revolves back to celebrating a social organization based on valuing on those of particular race, and ignoring the rest of the world. Or, even where other races are present, they are always considered subordinate, controlled, dominated, or enslaved.

     To say "I love my nation" is to say "I love the causes and purposes laid out by those who created my nation." And in the history of nations, this typically leads to a view that cherishes one race and hates all others. Nationalism, then, is just a socially-acceptable way of believing in the superiority of one race over all others.



*1. "France: A Modern History," by Albert Guérard, published by the University of Michigan Press, 1959, pages 11-13.
*2. "Spain: A Modern History," by Rhea Marsh Smith, published by the University of Michigan Press, History of the Modern World, Edited by Allan Nevins and Howard M. Ehrmann, 1965, pages 60 and 66.
*3. "Lives of the Noble Greeks and Romans," by Plutarch, Written c. 75 A.C.E., Translated by John Dryden and A.H. Clough, section: "Romulus."
*4. "The Isles: A History," Norman Davies, published by Macmillan: London, 1999, ISBN: 0333692837.
*5. "Spain: A Modern History," by Rhea Marsh Smith, published by the University of Michigan Press, History of the Modern World, Edited by Allan Nevins and Howard M. Ehrmann, 1965.
*6. Treaty of Utrecht, 1713.
*7. "The Rise of Napoleon Bonaparte," by Robert Asprey, 2000, published by Basic Books: New York, ISBN: 0-465-04879-X.
*8. Polish–Muscovite War, 1605–1618.
*9. "Strike for Freedom: The Story of Lech Wałęsa and Polish Solidarity," Robert Eringer, 1982, published by Dodd Mead, ISBN: 0-396-08065-0.
*10. "The Battle of the Casbah: Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism in Algeria, 1955-1957," by General Paul Aussaresses, published by Enigma Books: New York, 2010, ISBN: 978-1-929631-30-8.
*11. "Spain: A Modern History," by Rhea Marsh Smith, published by the University of Michigan Press, History of the Modern World, Edited by Allan Nevins and Howard M. Ehrmann, 1965.
*12. "Spain: A Modern History," by Rhea Marsh Smith, published by the University of Michigan Press, History of the Modern World, Edited by Allan Nevins and Howard M. Ehrmann, 1965, pages 367-377, 392, 400, and 406.
*13. The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi, volume 3, page 255.

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