David Garcia on Thu, 7 Apr 2016 17:21:57 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> salafi easter and finis europae: let's break the loop

Alex wrote:

> if europe was over with the end of schengen, now it's deader than
> dead. we're no longer europeans, but french, germans, italians,
> spaniards (and catalunyans), belgians (whatever it means in a country
> split along language lines with autonomous brussels being claimed
> by flemish politicians altho it is increasingly french-speaking -
> b4 the attacks merkel quipped that michel had better worry about an
> ever-closer belgium rather than the ever-closer europe cameron is
> pulling out of - but the two are coterminous). this is ominous because
> the nation-state is intrinsically discriminatory toward minorities and
> immigrants and has consistently been a recipe for confrontation and
> war since its origins in the mid-19th century.

This picture that Alex paints of the allegiance that most people feel
for nations expressed through the nation state as: -an ominous
landscape- has like all  caricatures some truth. But still it is a
caricature and reflects a wider problem for the left. 

Benedict Anderson described the problem in 1983 in his classic -Imagined
Communities- where he defined the nation as -an imagined political
community- imagined as both inherently limited and sovereign-. It is
IMAGINED - he continues- because members of even the smallest nation
will never know most of of their fellow members, meet them or even hear
from them, yet in the mind of each lives the image of their communion..

It is partly Benedict?s background as a thinker with strong Marxist
background that drives his desire to come to terms with the fact that
-nationalism has proved an uncomfortable anomaly for Marxist theory and
precisely for that reason has been elided rather than confronted?.  At
the time he was writing -every successful revolution since WW II has
defined itself in national terms the People?s Republic of China, the
Socialist Republic of Vietnam etc etc..-The reality according to
Anderson was plain: the end of the era of nationalism, so long
predicted, is not remotely in sight? 

If it was true when Anderson wrote this in 1983 its even truer now.

As a consequence those of us in the UK facing the very real prospect of
Brexit and with the Labor party running the limpest conceivable
campaign. (Not only is the campaign barely visible but Momentum, which
represents Corbyn?s grass roots support has declared itself neutral).
This means that those of us in the UK fighting for a yes vote must admit
that with the excepton of Caroline Lucas the major thrust of the remain
campaign are in the hands of Cameron and Osbourne. And those of us who
align ourselves (to a degree) with Diem cannot afford to simply dismiss
the fears of loss of national sovereignty expressed by the Brexiteers as
though it were merely some atavistic throw back. 

Like the Marxists described by Benedict, many of us share a dirty little
secret with the neo-liberal bureaucrats and decision makers of Brussels.
We have consistently underestimated the too readilly dismissed the deep
alegiance people feel to nationess. Even the aspirations that supressed
nationalist movements are invariably expressed through the desire for a
nation state - whether in Scotland or Catalunya. 

When Varoufakis went to Brussels to fight for justice on behalf of
Greece, it was not just -as he insisted- based on a democratic mandate.
It was the mandate of votes cast by the Greek people. If it was one
person = one vote accross the EU the actions of the troika in Greece
(however inhuman) may have been endorsed. Varoufakis?s argument for
greater democracy only works if the basis is not democarcy and the
political economy alone but a renewed version of these principles
refracted through the lense of a collective of individual nation states.


d a v i d  g a r c i a

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