Why the Workers are Not Anti-Patriotic
A correspondent in Canada writes about the quotation from the pre-war Mussolini that “The proletariat is anti-patriotic by definition and necessity.” He points out that workers in all lands are in the main not at all anti-patriotic, although, the necessity exists all right.
As regards the quotation, its form makes it somewhat ambiguous. Although Mussolini (writing, of course, in his Syndicalist days) used the expression “The proletariat is anti-patriotic,” that was only intended as a concise way of saying that the proletariat, being a subject class, ought to recognise the necessity of being anti-patriotic.
The trouble is, that although the workers’ class position is such that their interests lie in internationalism and the fight to establish Socialism, in the main they do not realise this. All the trappings of state, the flag-wagging, uniforms, coronation ceremonies, are used to disguise the truth from the workers, and all of the capitalist parties and the churches help to keep the truth hidden. Not least dangerous among these agencies of confusion are the jumped-up Labour leaders and ex-Labour leaders, from Mussolini to J. H. Thomas, Clynes, etc. They have learned the trick of combining nationalism with pseudo-Socialism, as in Hitler’s National Socialist or Nazi movement, and the various patriotic so-called Labour Parties.
There is no cure for this except knowledge and experience on the part of the workers, but it is helped by the way in which, from time to time, every country witnesses brutal and open subjection of the workers and their organisations by the employers—with the help of the armed forces of the state. Even the most dazzling of flags fail to fill empty bellies.