define nation, nationalism, national liberation movement

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MJ
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Jun 6 2007 22:02
define nation, nationalism, national liberation movement

John. says that nationalism has absolutely nothing to do with nation-states:

John. wrote:
Your definition of "nationalism" I assumed you tried to formulate so that people NEFAC wouldn't be "nationalist." To do this, I thought, you put "nation-state" in there, as opposed to just "nation" because that would exempt lots of "oppressed nations" which don't have their own states. But as you've just demonstrated with your England example, nationalism for nations without states is no different from nationalism for nations without official states.

[...]

John. wrote:
Smash Rich Bastards wrote:
I would think any meaningful definition of "nationalism" would imply a support for, or identification with, a nation-state. Fuck's sake, that's the root of the word ("NATIONalism").

I would think any meaningful definition of "nationalism" would imply a support for, or identification with, a nation. Fuck's sake, the root of the word isn't "NATION-STATalism"

and at the same time, wangwei says that nationalism has everything to do with nation-states:

wangwei wrote:
There is support of nation states within NEFAC because of their members support for national liberation movements, black nationalism, cloaked trotskyism [...]
wangwei wrote:
I'm not the one that has a problem with nationalism. Nationalism is the religion of the state. You can't support nationalism in ANY form, and then say that you oppose the state in all forms. That's a formal, nondialectical, contradiction.

Could we use this thread to develop some kind of consensus terminology? It's pretty frustrating to have posters snipe at us from completely separate directions.

I have a further request: that everyone's first response in this thread be:

- a proposed definition of the word "nation"
- a proposed definition of the word "nationalism"
- a proposed definition of "national liberation movement"

Thanks...

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Jun 6 2007 22:06

Nation: Anything that can be used to malign platformism
Nationalism: Anything NEFAC, ZACF, FdCA or the WSM like
National Liberation Movement: Wayne "The Hammer" Price taking a crap

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Jun 6 2007 22:41

i think its a bit naive to bellieve that nationalism does not entail a desire for, and an identifaction with, a state

the nationalism of nations without states, have one principal aim, to acheive a state to wrap their nation in

the nationalism of nations with states look to the power of the state to protect, propogate and perpetuate the nation, and they realise that without the organised power of the state they wouldn't be able to do this

also a third category of states without nations, they still use the state to try and create a nation to give legitmacy to the state itself, britain at the moment is an example of this, as are most african states, and you can see the beginning of it in the EU as well

i'd be surprised at any marxist/communist who sees nationalism as anything other than a political project to either obtain a state, or a harness the power of a state to throw behind the nation

it's not exactly a coincidence that nationalism & the growth of the modern state appeared and grew up at the same time, post 1789 (with a few exceptions like england prior to this period)

i agree with john though about not making a distinction about the nationalism of nations who have their own state and that of those who don't, the power at disposal is obviously a lot more in the former than the latter, but the end game and goals are the same in both case, both strive to gel together a cross class cultural collective through either the use of existing state power, or achieveing state power to do so

fair enough if you think the world would be marinally better with a lot of little states rather than a few big ones, then support the nationalism or national lliberation movements of nations who seek their own states, but don't think it achieves anything other than that

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Jun 6 2007 22:44

btw on a pedant side point, the correct definition of a nation-state is one where the nation is conterminious (don't know if i've used the right word there) with the state, so in reality none really exist, maybe iceland or japan but that's about it, so an oxy-moron really

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Jun 6 2007 22:59

i think i misread what john posted actually, so i probably do disagree with him in a way

he says nationalism only has an identifcation with a nation (and not a state), which is fair enough if you leave it at that, but as noted above, in reality the only way a nation in the modern age is realistically able to strengthen itself, propogate itself and its myth or origin etc... is by harnassing the power of the modern state behind it to do so, to use the state organs to distil the idea & imagery of the nation into people, fair enough this could be done to a much lesser degree without the power of the modern state, but nationalsts are no fools and realise that they need a state to keep their nation going, so on that basis nationalism is well and truly tied to the identification with, and desire for, a state. at least certainly the type of nationalism that we've seen since the birth of capitalism (which as we all know nationalism was it's midwwife), any that are not, imo, are not actually nationalist/nationalism, as once you strip nationalism of it's political project, it's not nationalism anymore

lem
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Jun 6 2007 23:02

my opinion fwiw: i find it so fuckin' tiresome that i've been here for nearly 2 years and still the exact same number of individuals support nationalism. state or not, 'communism' structly entails that people do not latch onto the struggle of nations. cos imo, 'communism' includes a strict theory on how to make communism more effective. i'm almost tired of hearing stateless collectivists trying to gain graeter social significance by equating themselves to a philosopher that didn't even like anarchists (probably like). imo, fwiw.

cheers.

Admin - multiple off-topic posts in a row deleted.

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Jun 6 2007 23:19

I'd like to point out that so far we've only got thugarchist's definition to go on. Everybody 'kay with that?

Let's remember, the thread isn't entitled "waffle on about shit and insert some words that are constructed from the word root of nation."

For as far as I see it, every time that somebody points out that they think it's okay for people to resist brutal militarised repression against them by the global ruling class they have a fair chance of being denounced as a nationalist around here. It'd be nice to know what is meant by this.

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Jun 6 2007 23:26
gurrier wrote:
I'd like to point out that so far we've only got thugarchist's definition to go on. Everybody 'kay with that?

Let's remember, the thread isn't entitled "waffle on about shit and insert some words that are constructed from the word root of nation."

For as far as I see it, every time that somebody points out that they think it's okay for people to resist brutal militarised repression against them by the global ruling class they have a fair chance of being denounced as a nationalist around here. It'd be nice to know what is meant by this.

Yeah. No ones going to agree on what it is so everyone might as well accuse one another of being nationalists up front and get it over with. Shit. Apparently nationalism doesn't even have anything to do with nations!

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Jun 7 2007 05:20
gurrier wrote:
Let's remember, the thread isn't entitled "waffle on about shit and insert some words that are constructed from the word root of nation."

fucking hell, do you police conversations in real life as strictly as this

i'd say a nation is a human collectivity which shares some of the following

conscious of forming a community, elements of a shared culture, attached to a clearly demarcated territory with historic links to it, having a common past, shared historical memories, common ancestry myth, and sharing a common project for the future, claims a right to rule itself, some measure of solidarity

so in all, it brings in psychological, cultural, terrotorial, political and historical elements, all of which can either be seen as actually existing and real, or created by political elites for their own agenda

i'd say nationalism is a name for the political principle which aims to either gain state power to perpetuate & propogate the elements of the nation mentioned above, or to harness/use existing state structure to do so

at the risk of being castigated by gurrier again, i'd add that nationalism creates nations, not the other way around, this quote from gellner pretty much sums it up for me

Quote:
It is nationalism which engenders nations, and not the other way round." Admittedly, nationalism uses the preexisting, historically inherited proliferation of cultures or cultural wealth, though it uses them very selectively and it most often transforms them radically. Dead languages can be revived, traditions invented, quite fictitious pristine purities restored

i'd also add that although most marxists believe, correctly, that nations are constructed from above by elites, in order to understand them they have to be analysed from below in terms of peoples popular beliefs, sentiments, hopes, fears and longings as regardless of the whether a nation is constructed/artificial or not, it's the popular participation of the mass public itself within the nation that makes the nation (pretty much exactly the same as religion btw)

this view, for me is summed up also in these two quotes about wales

Quote:
In reality, Wales is now and Wales has always been now. Wales is not an event, it is not a moment, it is not a mystical presence ubiquitous through our history like some holy ghost. Wales is none of these things. Wales does not exist and cannot exist outside the Welsh people as they exist and as they existed, on the ground, warts and all. Wales is not a thaumaturgical act, it is a process, a process of continuous and dialectical historical development, in which human mind and human will interact with objective reality. Wales is an artefact which the Welsh produce; Welsh make and remake Wales day by day and year after year. If they want to
Quote:
There is no historical necessity for Wales; there is no historical necessity for a Welsh people or a Welsh nation. Wales will not exist unless the Welsh want it. It is not compulsory to want it. ……. One thing, however, is clear from our history. If we want Wales, we will have to make Wales
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Jun 7 2007 09:06
MJ wrote:
John. says that nationalism has absolutely nothing to do with nation-states.

What are you talking about? I never said anything approaching that. You even quoted what I said, which was:

John. wrote:
nationalism for nations without states is no different from nationalism for nations [with] official states.

I corrected the word without there because I accidentally put it twice, instead of "with," but it should be clear anyway.

I was stating the obvious, which is you can be a nationalist for a nation without its own state, like an English nationalist, a Basque nationalist, etc.

Quote:
Could we use this thread to develop some kind of consensus terminology?

I posted the dictionary definition of nationalism, which i think is perfectly adequate.

Quote:
na·tion·al·ism

noun
Definition:

1. desire for political independence: the desire to achieve political independence, especially by a country under foreign control or by a people with a separate identity and culture but no state of their own

2. patriotism: proud loyalty and devotion to a nation

3. excessive devotion to nation: excessive or fanatical devotion to a nation and its interests, often associated with a belief that one country is superior to all others

By that definition, some members of NEFAC, WSM, etc. are clearly nationalist, because they support national liberation. MJ you tried to come up with a new definition, but it was one that didn't make sense.

In any case the semantics don't matter - I think that national liberation struggles are anti-working class, whether you call them "nationalist" or not. And like I said most of the world who aren't in NEFAC or the WSM do.

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Jun 7 2007 09:21

i wouldn't say patriotism is the same as nationalism, there's no necessary political content inherent in patriotism

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Jun 7 2007 10:09
John. wrote:
Quote:
1. desire for political independence: the desire to achieve political independence, especially by a country under foreign control or by a people with a separate identity and culture but no state of their own
...

By that definition, some members of NEFAC, WSM, etc. are clearly nationalist, because they support national liberation. MJ you tried to come up with a new definition, but it was one that didn't make sense.

Err no for at least two reasons
1. No member of the WSM supports national liberation - we don't use that formulation - this has been pointed out many times already
2. One member of NEFAC uses the formulation of critically supporting national liberation movement which is similar enough to what you claim to get away with. However this is not the same as what your dictionary calls nationalism. Desire and support are not the same word and particularly in this context are not interchangable. As an example a straight man can support the desire of two gay men to have sex without prosecution without that therefore meaning he desires to have sex with a man himself.

Basically - and as usual - your method is the dishonest one of simplfying what one person wrote to remove a good chunk of its political nuance, and then making a chain of false this equals this linkages.

As I've told you before you would be much better served addressing your own English nationalism then pursuing witch hunts against anarchists elsewhere on such false premises. Its particularly rich to have an English nationalist like yourself spending so much time accusing Irish anarchists of being nationalist - in particular as unlike yourself we have put considerable effort into critiquing the nationalism of our own 'nation'. Go do the same.

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Jun 7 2007 10:12
JoeBlack2 wrote:
As I've told you before you would be much better served addressing your own English nationalism then pursuing witch hunts against anarchists elsewhere on such false premises. Its particularly rich to have an English nationalist like yourself ...

Ha ha amazing! grin I was wondering when your "big nation nationalism" formulation would turn into just calling people English nationalists. Is Devrim an English nationalist too? Or is he a Turkish nationalist?

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Jun 7 2007 10:28
John. wrote:
JoeBlack2 wrote:
As I've told you before you would be much better served addressing your own English nationalism then pursuing witch hunts against anarchists elsewhere on such false premises. Its particularly rich to have an English nationalist like yourself ...

Ha ha amazing! grin I was wondering when your "big nation nationalism" formulation would turn into just calling people English nationalists. Is Devrim an English nationalist too? Or is he a Turkish nationalist?

No as you well know I have actually posted saying I don't consider Devrim to be a nationalist. I do consider you to be an English nationalist and I have told you why at length a couple of times. The very idea you seem unable to accept that big nation nationalists exist is a further demonstration of your own nationalism - nationalism appears to be something confined to small nations in your mind.

There is nothing new here - I've said all this to you on a few occasions already. Don't try and hide behind Devrim or anyone else on this - I'm talking about your views.

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Jun 7 2007 10:32
JoeBlack2 wrote:
nationalism appears to be something confined to small nations in your mind.

i'm pretty sure John.'s aware of the BNP, for example

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Jun 7 2007 10:37
Joseph K. wrote:
JoeBlack2 wrote:
nationalism appears to be something confined to small nations in your mind.

i'm pretty sure John.'s aware of the BNP, for example

The BNP? Mais ouis!

JoeBlack2 wrote:
I do consider you to be an English nationalist and I have told you why at length a couple of times.

Before you seemed to just call me a "big nation nationalist" in order to make your claim look slightly less preposterous.

Quote:
The very idea you seem unable to accept that big nation nationalists exist is a further demonstration of your own nationalism - nationalism appears to be something confined to small nations in your mind.
Don't try and hide behind Devrim or anyone else on this - I'm talking about your views.

I'm not trying to hide behind anyone Joe, there's no need to when you're talking such absolute bollocks. Seriously I bet even everyone else in the WSM will think you're talking shite on this. Except gurrier, but who listens to him anyway.

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Jun 7 2007 10:42


John.'s secret shoes

lem
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Jun 7 2007 11:07

my witty and incisive abolishing of gurrier has been removed sad

anyway: he is into scientism n that.

if admins still think i am posting off topic today i suggest that they explain the concept more fully. i don't have this problem on urban/anywhere tbh. i will work on multiple posts tho.

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Jun 7 2007 12:16

I think its quite revealing that much of the proletarian camp is incapable of recognising the nationalists in their own ranks. Suddenly when it comes to big nation nationalists apparently its impossible to be a nationalist unless your a skin fascist type. I actually used English rather than British nationalist to try and minimise this but up it pops all the same.

Ha ha

Anyway John willing to at least acknowledge that your attempt to pass off 'critical support' as meaning the same as 'desire 'was less than honest?

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Jun 7 2007 12:29

so let me get this straight, John. calling sectarian death squads in iraq 'murdering bastards' makes him definitely an english nationalist. you calling for a united ireland in no way opens you to charges of nationalism. genius grin

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Jun 7 2007 12:34

Except that neither of the words you try putting in my mouth above were accurate as you obviously know. I find it interesting that you feel unable to defend his actual position.

revolutionrugger
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Jun 7 2007 12:37

Its funny Joeblack. Flint and I were just talking about this on the phone last night. It does seem that the strident reductionism of folks like john sets up a defacto Anglo or Western beligerence (i won't call it nationalism). Its really disturbing to watch it unfold from a working class commitment into the vulgarities like the dismissal of queer issues, women, minority languages, third world struggles, and racism. Its like watching a beautiful man draw an ugly painting...

As far as nationalism and nationstates. Here in the US there are many nationalist struggles which aren't neccesarily tied into nation states, yet are clearly national liberation struggles. The Mohawks are the obvious example. I refuse to call open councils of grandmothers a State. I think we should look at examples like the Mohawks, because they force us to transgress categories of national liberation which have become reified into rhetorical devices for dead ideologies. whether trotskyite or ultra-left in their uselessness.

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Jun 7 2007 12:40
Joseph K. wrote:
so let me get this straight, John. calling sectarian death squads in iraq 'murdering bastards' makes him definitely an english nationalist

No, I called people who blow up pubs full of workers 'murdering bastards', and that's why I'm an English nationalist.

Your fumbling about 'critical support' vs 'desire' is irrelevant.

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Jun 7 2007 12:42
JoeBlack2 wrote:
Except that neither of the words you try putting in my mouth above were accurate as you obviously know. I find it interesting that you feel unable to defend his actual position.

you did clearly just call him an english nationalist, did you not? that's one of them. the other - i'm pretty sure the WSM calls for an end to partition does it not? if so, that looks like two out of two.

what is his actual position (according to you)? i don't remember following that thread very closely so enlighten me ...

edit: ^ my mistake on who were the 'murdering bastards', like i say don't remember following that thread too closely

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Jun 7 2007 12:51
revolutionrugger wrote:
The Mohawks are the obvious example. I refuse to call open councils of grandmothers a State. I think we should look at examples like the Mohawks, because they force us to transgress categories of national liberation which have become reified into rhetorical devices for dead ideologies.

Well they sound clearly anti-working-class. Haven't you learned anything from this board? "either it produces the negation of nationalism or it remains an infinite loop of national liberation, continuely fuelling the primitive accumulation of nationalist identities, as oppressed nation moves to oppressor nature and so on."

lem
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Jun 7 2007 12:53

revolutionrugger: do you think that not supporting a progressive social movement is inherently ugly? even if the oppression gets sorted out by the implementation of communism?

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Jun 7 2007 12:54
revolutionrugger wrote:
As far as nationalism and nationstates. Here in the US there are many nationalist struggles which aren't neccesarily tied into nation states, yet are clearly national liberation struggles.o The Mhawks are the obvious example. I refuse to call open councils of grandmothers a State.

Right, so you are agreeing with me, and disagreeing with MJ then.

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Jun 7 2007 13:03
John. wrote:
revolutionrugger wrote:
As far as nationalism and nationstates. Here in the US there are many nationalist struggles which aren't neccesarily tied into nation states, yet are clearly national liberation struggles.o The Mhawks are the obvious example. I refuse to call open councils of grandmothers a State.

Right, so you are agreeing with me, and disagreeing with MJ then.

Hey I'm willing to adopt whatever terminology we decide on.

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Jun 7 2007 13:24
John. wrote:
Joseph K. wrote:
so let me get this straight, John. calling sectarian death squads in iraq 'murdering bastards' makes him definitely an english nationalist

No, I called people who blow up pubs full of workers 'murdering bastards', and that's why I'm an English nationalist.

So you managed to dig out half the equation. Of course this half doesn't explain why I would call you an English nationalist, care to also inform people of the other half so they can make their own judgement?

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Jun 7 2007 13:26
revolutionrugger wrote:
Its funny Joeblack. Flint and I were just talking about this on the phone last night. It does seem that the strident reductionism of folks like john sets up a defacto Anglo or Western beligerence (i won't call it nationalism).

In case its not clear I'm not claiming everyone of the witch hunters is some sort of nationalist. I think Johns arguments reveal that he is - a couple of the others have also come out with some pretty dodge defences of aspects of English nationalism but his was by far the clearest. I'm amazed he is still daft enough to try and defend his position after all this time.

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Jun 7 2007 13:53
revol68 wrote:
I'll put in basic pratical terms, how likely were you to win over an IRA volunteer to an 'anti war' position than say your average squaddie?

The British Army has been on ceasefire for a decade, disarmed and mostly disbanded? Because if it hasn't you've got a pretty good answer to that question.