today I witnessed quite a sight, a nazi getting into a fight with a german! well, I was standing in line waiting for free hare krishna food and some dude behind us was asking to get in front to get food sooner... well, soon this german was asking "what's this around your neck" and it was this
well the guy explained it to the german who immediately replied "well this is offensive where I am from because it is a nazi symbol."
"I hope you are offended by the hammer and sickle too," the guy said, "because the communists killed more people."
and so it began! highlights include him informing the german that "communists raped millions of german women" to dilute their race or whatever, the german asking with a straight face if he was a nazi, the guy claiming he is not a nazi while wearing a national socialist black metal sweatshirt, and so on. by the end of it they were getting heated and the german was like "well I don't TALK TO RACISTS" and so on. but the moment I chimed in was when the nazi was like "well communists don't believe in nationalism."
HOW WRONG YOU ARE MY FRIEND!
left wing nationalism exists! it sure does! lenin advocated the self-determination of oppressed nations. this was within the scope of czarist russia that he called "a prison of nations" but can be related to somewhat with black nationalism and indian liberation movements. stalin advocated a "revolutionary patriotism". mao was a nationalist. nationalism is not incompatible with leftism! and it better not be!
why? well, I've encountered quite a few anti-nationalists here during my time in europe and mark my words they are all leftists and mainly all germans. it is understandable historically for leftist germans and europeans in general to feel a slight queasiness when it comes to flag waving, but it is an emotion they better get over. people like waving flags, especially when they're under attack, and will rally around one whether you like it or not. and when they think crazy stuff like "leftism has no room for nationalism" and you agree with them, they're gonna go wave a flag with the EDL.
the working class is under attack worldwide and will not gather around one flag because the one flag concept is what is attacking them. leftist protesters in the united states have the wherewithal to wave flags. they don't mind. they understand the forces at work against them are flagless, and we count on footage of pigs trampling the flag while they beat your ass to stir that kernal of patriotism still embedded deep in every american thanks to years of pledging the damn thing in grade school. it's a smart move and very practical at this juncture. globalization depends on a fake front of dissolution of nation states to get by. it gets by the left because the left has decided that flags are fascist and it gets by the right by padding their pockets with mad cash. but the people have not forgotten! the twelve stars in the EU flag don't mean a goddamn thing and the people know it so they're going to go start searching for more meaningful flags, like it or not.
so you'd better be there with arms outstretched offering a new flag, oh ya lefties, because otherwise you're neutered from the discussion. my german friends tell me they can't discuss certain things (like israel) because they're taboo politically. well you'd better man up because people are going to discuss them and you're going to be left out of the conversation. you should talk to racists, even to laugh at them, because otherwise they're going to talk to other people instead. at the heart of this is a kind of burning shame felt by these leftists. when someone says something racist, they engage them as if they themselves feel shame, when one should do precisely the opposite - paraphrasing stetson kennedy here - and make THEM feel shame.. use your frown power!
anyway, with this shame of the flag and shame of nationalism, you are just crippling yourself and giving tacit approval to nasty forces like globalization. the people See This. they know you hate flags and so do the people who move capital and labor transitionally. they know you support one people of the world and the elimination of nationalism - guess what, so do the vampires at goldman sachs! maybe getting in the streets and shouting on about stuff pertaining to the "occupy" movement is going to help wash some of this association away, but you need to get past the dumb anarchist stuff because nobody is going to take that seriously, and meanwhile with your horizontal movement you're just shooting yourselves in the foot. you demand things like nationalism and color and race and means of birth and gender don't matter but then stock your movement with rich white educated males who beat every POC and woman over the head at any chance they get for being racist, sexist, nationalist, whatever. the genuine desire for revolution is not present. you are not being serious.
let's reclaim this!
so perhaps the most serious thing the left could do right now is embrace nationalism. haha I know that sounds nuts, right, but bear with me...
when we hate on nationalism as leftists it's a privileged sort of nationalism, a nationalism that is the product of the modern nation-state. it is sometimes the product of racism. it can be offensive. it can be reactionary. but not all nationalism is reactionary! we live in a world where certain entities can travel wherever they like and do whatever they want. capital does not believe in borders when it suits his purposes. so why not shove some real borders up his ass? not all nationalisms were created equal and we should be unafraid to challenge reactionary false-nations, but do look to your own first please! reclaim the flag I guess is what I'm saying! don't be afraid to talk about stuff or figure out why certain things are appealing to others or else you're gonna end up with a bunch of nazis running around killing turks and will be too petrified to fight them as a united front.
borders DO EXIST in this world! there are borders between men and women, between white settler and black slave, between the oppressor and the oppressed, and even within the modern day bullshit borders drawn by colonists in the global south. this is a fact of life! as a very wise and probably very sexy wobbly once said in a preamble somewhere: the working class and the employing class have nothing in common. we should embrace these differences because it is part of what makes us human, and work to forge a new kind of nationalism that is both protectionist and respectful. no one should be coerced into belonging to a state. yet we should not talk down to the jamaicans, the egyptians, the georgians, the kurds, whatever. you can belong to two or more nations at once, even! the egyptians will always be egyptian but can also unite under a muslim or an arab flag as well. most tellingly: the flag is what the transnational capital class is most afraid of nowadays, so we should not hesitate to utilize it in our favor.
your input on this would be most welcome.