“Nationalism is an infantile disease. It is the measles of mankind.” – Einstein
The toxic virus of nationalism is spreading. Socialists, whose country is the planet Earth, do not underestimate the importance of cultural diversity. The notion of the whole world conforming to one uniform way of life is far from appealing. It is the profit system, with its inevitable cultural imperialism whereby those with the dollars dictate what we listen to, how we speak, what we read and where we travel, which reduces culture to lifeless conformity to the cheap and nasty offerings of a culture industry.
Socialism is a global solution to a global problem. The problem is that the Earth and all its abundant resources belong to the minority, not to the human community as a whole. The minority abuse the planet Earth for the purpose of making profits. Socialism will end minority ownership and control, place the world in the hands of everyone and produce goods and services solely for need. This will require global organisation and not national fragmentation. Socialism will put an end to every border; nation-states will be abolished immediately.
The working class has no countries. The British do not own Britain any more than the Russians own Russia, the Ukrainians Ukraine, or the Serbs Serbia. We, who produce the world’s wealth, must cast off the chains of nationalist illusion. The message of socialism is worldwide. It reaches across the artificial national boundaries erected by politicians.
Evolutionary natural selection insured that only those within social groups which had developed collective solidarity and mutual aid in the form of tribal bonds or extended families could survive. However, with the rise of class rule, this cooperative impulse became subordinate to the class interests of the rulers. It becomes corrupted. As soon as the people become a slave class, the land of their fathers is theirs no more. Patriotism and loyalty become a fraudulent thing. The “country” is now that of their masters alone. Nevertheless, the communal instinct is too deep-seated to be eradicated so easily, and it becomes a deadly weapon in the hands of the rulers against the people themselves. Kinship became transformed into political subservience.
What then of the land of our fathers? Our fathers came from many different parts of the world. The political division of the world in which we live is an artificial entity. The land has been wrested from other peoples. The nation they call “ours” is the result of a conquest over original inhabitants, and over ourselves, by successive ruling classes. We possess no country. Only by rejecting the myths of national and racial identity can the world be won by and for all of its inhabitants. every human being on earth today enjoys community. We all love to sing together. We all love to dance together. We are human. This doesn’t mean that we kill those who are different. We enjoy differences. That makes us human. Politicians, generals and other functionaries of capitalism are without community. They exploit our fears to make themselves great. Our brothers and sisters in Iraq, India or anywhere else have our best wishes and hopes. We are without nationalism, religion or racialism. We are socialists. We are in the process of becoming truly human. That is the appeal and attraction of socialism.
Always there are sentimentalists ready to respond to this trick of personifying countries, ready to give sympathy and assistance to the weak or small nation bullied or downtrodden by the great and powerful. Yet it is all a sham. Countries are not persons, but geographical units of the all-embracing capitalist system of society. In the small, just as much as in the large, there is the oppression of the weak by the strong, coercion of the poor and dispossessed by the rich and powerful who control the State, the organ of coercion. Those who help Ukraine against the encroachments of neighbouring Russia are helping nobody but the Ukrainian ruling class. It is all a gigantic racket, worked by the forces of capitalism, using muddle-headed sentimentalists as their tools and dupes. When the avowed enemies of socialism, or its false friends, tell you that socialists have a hand in this business you will know that they are lying. Socialists are not supporters of nationalism anywhere or at any time. The capitalist interests, which use patriotism, national independence, and love of the traditions of particular geographical areas as a means of provoking national hatred, are not concerned at all with the interests or convenience of the working class, working but only with protecting their own property, markets, investments, and so on.
While we constantly hear that we live in a globalised world, national sovereignty still resonates with many people. As socialists, we reject the concept absolutely. The delineation of national boundaries within a system of world capitalism is just a reflection of the nationalist consciousness that currently prevails amongst the people of this planet. The celebration of national days, the support of the national team at international football tournaments, the organised remembrance of common history etc. are all manifestations of the constant encouragement to us to make identification with our fellow countrymen as the primary determinant of our political consciousness. This is a false proposition. As socialists we say the only political allegiance we should give is to our fellow workers and our objective should be to finish with countries.
We are the international working class and we have a common interest. To unite against ruling classes everywhere and to establish a world community based on the Earth’s resources being the common heritage of all humanity where every human being will no longer be a subject of one or another artificial state but where, wherever we live or work or whatever our language or culture, we will all be citizens of a united world.
It is time to end the socially created barriers which divide the world into nations. The world now is not the vast, relatively unconquered planet of the sixteenth century when nation-states first began to flourish in Europe. We are now living in a global village. Capitalist trade, and the technology of mass communication which has been created to facilitate it. have made worldwide production and distribution networks a thing of the present. Socialists do not need to dream of a future worldwide production system — capitalism has brought that into being and has then hindered the benefits which can be gained from it by maintaining the fetters of nationalism. Natural boundaries are no longer a barrier to travel or cultural interaction.
The World Socialist Movement believes that human beings, wherever they are from, are much more similar than they are different. All of us have certain needs and socially produced desires that, by cooperating as humans, we can satisfy. Socialism, which can only be established worldwide, presents the possibility of people from different backgrounds and with different cultures combining our abilities to jointly provide for our common needs. To do this we must socialise the means of producing and distributing wealth by placing them in the hands of the democratically organised world community. Within a socialist society, decisions will be taken at various geographical levels, depending on the nature of the decision to be made. Whatever difficulties the organisation of world society, based on production solely for use, will create, it will be a far more harmonious society than capitalism can ever possibly hope to be. World socialism offers an alternative to those whose minds have been narrowed by the ideology of nationalism. Ending capitalism, with its national frontiers, is a matter of urgency because every frontier has an army and every army has possession of lethal weaponry and that weaponry threatens to destroy us all. There is no way to obtain a world without war without creating a world which is united by the common interests of its inhabitants and there is no way to achieve such an identity of interests except by