Nationalism & Patriotism: TOTEM IDENTITIES & POWER (part 1)

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At a centenary memorial service for the victims of the First World War, Emmanuel Macron warned of the dangers of nationalisms whilst praising the virtues of patriotism. The nuances separating the two terms are important: nationalism is based on cultural and linguistic or even, in the worst-case scenario, racial or ethnic ties, whilst patriotism is nurtured by the values and beliefs of the state. Nationalism is more aggressive to foreign states and foreigners than patriotism is. When nationalisms clash there is always a threat of war, whilst patriotisms use diplomacy in conflicts to find peaceful outcomes to conflicts. Nevertheless, both terms generally represent the same thing. One might be seen as the ‘good cop’ and the other the ‘bad cop’, but both are cops, or, if we look at it from humanity’s point of view, both belong to the same mafias we call Nation States.

Nationalism or patriotism, against the measuring rod of Humanity they are both segregating and oppressive forces. Yet, it’s hard to imagine a world without countries. After all, they have always been here, haven’t they? And the hardest thing to imagine away is that which has been around, seemingly forever.

Certainly they’ve been here, in a simplified form, ever since the first societies gathered around the first totems. Each one with their own symbolic deity. These totem-cultures then gathered together into city states, under the protection of a unifying divine entity that began to take the totemic form of a divine statue. These city-state countries would expand and create larger states and even empires, regimes that needed ever more powerful totems … until they discovered the One, which was the mightiest totem of all, demanding that all must bow to its omnipotent symbols.

But even before reaching the One, the totem went through many metamorphoses: the pyramid shaped ziggurats and the pyramids themselves. In the first city, the Sumerian Uruk, the temples and land were considered properties of the gods. Divine properties which certain families were placed in charge of, as if by divine will. So we see, even at the very beginning of civilization, how religion was used to justify an enhanced privilege over the others.

The first concentration of power was assumed by the priestly caste. Once the people had been indoctrinated into identifying themselves with the totem representative of the gods that were supposed to control and even predetermine their fate through the power of concepts like destiny, it was a simple step to mould them into servants of the totem. Only the priests had access to the gods’ thoughts and motives. It was through the priests and the unsullied, pure character of the High Priestess, that the gods gave their laws to men.

Through the totem, therefore, the individual surrendered his voice in the community and allowed all voices to be concentrated in the singular decrees of the priest-kings. Community, as such, died with the totem that was set up to build it, and a new anti-human history was born that became a process of maintaining class distinction and privileges for the few at the expense of the manipulation and exploitation of the many.

Patriotism might be the good cholesterol that the nation state needs to preserve itself, but the nation state itself is a powerful virus that has put humanity into a coma for millennia. It’s time now, not to be good patriots but to see the virus for what it is, and dismantle the nation state in order to resuscitate what we really are: humanity.

CONTINUED AT: https://pauladkin.wordpress.com/2018/11/26/nationalism-patriotism-totem-identities-power-part-2/

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Patriotism, Fascism, and the Death of Democracy

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Our Civilisation of Wealth has used very different kinds of political ideologies to sustain itself but its ugliest version is undoubtedly Fascism. That a vulgar and fascistic, personality-cult leader has now become President of the USA is shocking, but not so surprising if we consider that the fascism has always been there in a latent form.

The Great War against Fascism of 1939-45, that we call the Second World War, did not actually defeat fascism. Yes, it defeated Hitler and Mussolini and the personality cult regime in Japan, but it did not defeat fascism. It did not defeat fascism because it did nothing to eradicate the patriotic pride of the national states. There were victors and losers in the war: one way of perpetuating the patriotic spirit defeat another manifestation of those sentiments; in the Second World War “democratic” fascism defeated “authoritarian” fascism with the help of the national-socialist regime of Joseph Stalin.   

Authoritarian fascism is best defined by the term National Socialism and the key word in fascism is National. The patriotic spirit behind the democratic forces that defeated Hitler were nationalistic and therefore fascistic forces. All forms of wall building and border defining ideologies are inherently nestling fascist frameworks. All nationalism and patriotic feelings are essentially fascist sentiments. Even the great bridge building ventures since World War II, like the European Union and Globalisation have always clung on to the maintenance of state sovereignty, and by doing this we have maintained the roots of fascism under every progressive tree.

The problem of fascism is that, once the National State establishes its power it needs to extend its boundaries if it wishes to keep progressing. The fascist state is always a little empire, and the Fatherland Empire will always want to expand into neighbouring Fatherlands. The same expansionist need is also an essential part of neo-liberal capitalist growth. However, the capitalist powers that defeated Hitler, knew that they did not need the muscle of dictatorship to perpetuate itself and its growth, in fact, they understood that tyranny was counterproductive to expansion. Fascism had to be subtler, and democracy was a far more efficient machine for allowing the rich to get richer and for Wealth to legitimise itself. Civilian upstarts like Hitler, or military reactionaries like Franco were themselves a bigger threat to Wealth than the pseudo-freely elected parliamentary systems. Control from the unquestionable legitimacy of the ballot-box, contained within an easily controllable patriotic ambience, is the apotheosis of power that Wealth needs to maintain itself.

In theory, Democracy should be the system that favours the masses, but by restricting it within the patriotic bubble this is hardly ever the case. The seemingly illogical results of the Brexit referendum, the Colombian peace referendum, or the seemingly impossible election of a fascist president in the emblem of the Free World that has been the USA, seems to indicate that the democratic process no longer works. But, really, veiled with the mask of patriotism, democracy has always been an easily manipulated motor for the National Socialisms that pull the strings.

As for the United States, where democracy is so widely revered, a heavy paradox has always lain over that system; for an idea of politics favouring the masses is associated there with the “evils” of socialism, that most Americans think is an un-democratic process. By rejecting socialism, the Americans reject the role of the people in democracy. When the will of the people rejects the power of the people, then the situation lies in an essential paradox that is profoundly absurd and invites dangerously ridiculous solutions like authoritarian fascism.