Socialist Studies Socialist Studies

Labour's Nationalism

Nationalism is at the top of the list of political idiocy. Nationalism is a set of ideas and beliefs which encourage workers to believe they are part of a nation rather than a class. Nationalism is used by governments to persuade workers to fight and kill and to support wars in which the working class has no interest.

Socialists have a simple solution for the problems associated with nation states, borders, artificial boundaries, border guards, barbed wire, the plight of immigrants and those fleeing capitalism's wars. And that is to establish world socialism with no artificial boundaries, so people can live peacefully wherever they are or wherever they want to go.

Socialists agree with, Marx and Engels who wrote:

"The Communists are ... reproached with desiring to abolish countries and nationality. The working men have no country. We cannot take from them what they have not got. (THE COMMUNIST MANIFESTO, 1848)

Workers own no country. We are not part of any 'national history'. Books like OUR ISLAND STORY by H. E. Marshall given away to schools by The DAILY TELEGRAPH in its celebration of a conservative conception of history, is nothing more than historical pornography, with its train of Kings and Queens and subservient peasants and workers. Workers, no matter where we live, are all part of a world working class with in interest in establishing world socialism.

The poisonous injection of nationalism into the working class is a policy shared by both the Conservative and the Labour Party. Both political parties use nationalist ideas of "flag and country" to bind the diametrically opposed interest of the working class with the capitalist class.

Labour and Tory Governments use racist ideas and beliefs to split the working class; to force workers to see those from other countries as a threat to jobs, housing, health services and way of life. There is no threat from other workers. The economic and social problems faced by workers, on a daily basis, are caused by capitalism.

Labour Party has a long history on pursuing racist and anti-immigrant policies for votes. We should not forget Jim Callaghan's racist Immigration Act to gain the support from non-socialist workers. Nor New Labour's "war on immigrants", on which the Tories have built their immigration policies over the last fifteen years. Nor Gordon Brown's dog-whistle: "British Jobs for British workers". Nor Ed Milliband's branded mugs that promised "controls on Immigration".
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There can never be "British Jobs for British workers". The phrase was racist. It had been used by the British National Party and the National Front in the 1980s. Workers are not entitled to employment. They are only employed if capitalists can extract, what Marx called, 'surplus value' from them. Workers are only employed if they can be profitably exploited. British capitalists would not hesitate to move production abroad if it meant cheaper wages and less employment legislation.

The workers pandered to by Tory and Labour politicians for their votes are not socialists although they should be. They are unfortunately infected with the poison of nationalism, falsely believing that they have a "stake" in the country in which they find themselves exploited; many of these workers are anti-immigrant and voted for Brexit along these lines in the 2016 EU Referendum. The antidote for the poison of nationalism is socialism.

As for the so-called "red-wall", which came to prominence at the last General Election, it is made up on non-socialist workers who once used to give their votes, if they bothered voting at all, to the Labour Party. Voting for Labour was just a vote for capitalism. The problems of poor education, lack of health services, bad housing, all caused by capitalism, has remained from one generation to the next, no matter who was in government.

The lives of these workers have been ravaged by capitalism's periodic crises and trade depressions. Rather than focus on capitalism, these desperate workers mistakenly blame other workers for the situation in which they find themselves.

The Labour Party needs these non-socialist votes to win the next election. Labours opportunism know no limits. They will do or say anything for these votes. "Tell us what to do to get your vote" they ask voters in focus groups.

Instead of being fed a constant drip- feed of nationalist poison, workers should consider becoming socialists; to understand there is a viable and practical socialist alternative beyond the profit system. It is a hard task. Yet for socialism to be possible they will have to become socialists. There is no alternative. Without a socialist majority there can be no socialism. Socialism has to be established by a socialist majority not by political leaders.

If workers remain tied to capitalist political parties and political leaders by periodically voting them into power they will always remain a subject and exploited class. The needs of workers will never be met; they will continue living lives of mediocrity, poverty and hardship.

Workers must come to recognise they live in a class divided society, that they are engaged in a class struggle over the intensity and extent of class exploitation, and that to create a society that meets the needs of everyone requires a socialist working class majority to politically and democratically replace the profit system with socialism: the common ownership and democratic control of the means of production and distribution by all of society.

Socialism will be a global social system without nation states, boundaries and border guards. One planet: one human species.

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