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50 Years Ago: Nationalist deception

It is one of the inherent deceptions of nationalist movements to proclaim the ideal of nationality as the basis of the independent capitalist state, i. e., that each country should contain citizens of one "nationality" only – Britain for the British, India for the Indians, Palestine for the Jews, Egypt for the Egyptians, etc.

But capitalism is by nature expansionist, and the capitalist lusts for more workers to exploit just as (and because) he lusts for more profit. Because of this, and because under capitalism war is always "in the air", each state seeks to acquire more territory and to hold strategically defencible frontiers. Consequently, except in cases where the capitalist group concerned is too weak to expand (in which case it is likely to have its territories encroached upon by other groups), all countries acquire outright, or acquire "spheres of influence" in, territories occupied by inhabitants belonging to other national groups. What for example is "British" or "Russian" or "American"? Each is a name covering widely divergent groupings of religion, language and place of origin, the common factor being merely citizenship of the same capitalist nation, and the governments in each groups are much involved with colonies or other financially and militarily dependant countries, as well as with military bases in various parts of the world.

(From "The African Workers – A Letter from a Reader", Socialist Standard, February 1952)