We live in a contradictory society in more ways than one. The contradiction of the day which we will look at is that of nationalism. What do I mean by nationalism? The idea that for some metaphysical reason I have more in common with the people who live inside invisible boundary lines than I do with the people outside of them. Furthermore, that I have a deeper connection with the people who speak my same language. In addition, the government that rules the land deserves my allegiance. All of these ideas merely strengthen the hand of the rich and powerful and keep the poor and oppressed powerless and divided.
The rich and powerful know that nationalism is a myth. Where is the nationalism of the CEO of General Motors when he sends the jobs of thousands of American workers to Mexico so he can make more profit? It does not exist. Where is the nationalism of the rich who send their money to Swiss bank accounts so they can protect it from taxes which would go to help different people groups in their home country? It is nowhere to be found. The rich of America have far more in common with their counterparts in Europe and the world than they do with the poor and oppressed in America. In fact, it is through the exploitation of the poor and oppressed, American and non-American, that the rich accumulate their wealth.
So, why continue promoting the myth of Nationalism? Simply put, it keeps the poor divided which consolidates the power of the wealthy. Does the American arms manufacturer who builds weapons for Russia, who then sends the weapons to Syria so they can crush the rebellion of the people, weep when he hears the National Anthem? I doubt it, unless it reminds him of his fortune. Capitalism has destroyed nationalism, but nationalism is useful in keeping the poor of each nation divided against the poor of other nations as well as making the poor of each nation obedient to their own ruling class.
In the 1960’s the United States government sent poor black men, oppressed at home, to fight the Viet Cong in a so called “war for democracy”. We set our poor who were fighting non-violently at home for civil rights and freedom, to fight the poor of another country who were in essence fighting (albeit, not non-violently) for the very same thing. The poor were fighting a war for the capitalists not for democracy. And the two are not synonmyous.
What a glorious system for the rich of the world. They dominate through economic oppression and political power while the poor fight one another over a myth. The truth is, I have more in common with the poor Venezuelen laborer than I do with Barak Obama or Mitt Romney. I have a deeper connection to the unemployed strikers in Greece than I do to the idiots who can’t even create a national budget in our National Congress. I refuse to divide from anyone based on language, skin color, or invisible boundary drawn up by the powers that be.
There is a reactionary movement in America that wants to move us back to a deeper nationalism. They want to get America out of world involvement, and in some ways are correct. It is true that America’s military needs to get out of other nations. It’s true that we have spent far too much money on military expenditures. But the answer is not for a more deeply entrenched nationalism. Why? Because my enemies are not overseas, they are within the boundaries of my nation. The parasites who suck the blood of my neighbor and eat the plasma of my brother are in my very city (although in a different neighborhood, no doubt). Nationalism is not the answer. Capitalism has exposed this myth. But the answer is not to move back as many right libertarians would like to do. The answer is to move forward. We must embrace, “Internationalism”. We must see the world as our nation, every human as our sister/brother. Defy nationalism; Embrace Internationalism. No doubt, Uncle Sam won’t thank you.