Sunday, 24 February 2008

Civic nationalism is an oxymoron

The launch of the new Free England Party has prompted me to talk about civic nationalism.
On their website the FEP refer several times to a 'modern England' i.e. a civic nationalist one. Civic nationalism is essentially the idea that all citizens of a sovereign state can show allegiance to it regardless of their ethnicity or nationality. In this globalised world where mass immigration is inevitable, civic nationalism is a good pole of attraction for those wishing for English independence. It is inclusive - a reasoned battering ram against left-liberal multiculturalism. But I can't help thinking it has a downside. To be harsh, civic nationalism is an oxymoron. Nationalism in the twentieth century was watered down and bastardised. Its definition became defined by the state. Authentic nationalism is defined by natural human tribalism - an adherence to one's own nation defined as a group of people with common descent, language, history, culture and religion. The state shouldn't get a look in. Civic nationalism is misnamed - a better name is what some call constitutional patriotism. If groups like the FEP and English Democrats took this name, I'd have no problem with it, my head could live with it, if not my heart. My heart says I'm (among other things) an ethno-nationalist - I belong to a tribe. The tribe is natural and organic. The state is artificial.

I reject the Marxist notion that nationalism automatically sides with the bourgeoisie, turns the working classes against each other - who says? What book is that from? It needn't do. Nationalism can be a weapon against global capitalism. Nations as equals fighting against it, not tearing each other apart. Social class is important in understanding the modern world, but it is not the be-all-and end-all of how human beings can be defined. Marxists often talk of a bin man in England having more in common with a janitor in South Africa than with the MD of his company. This is true -but only on an socio-economic level. Another equally valid definition is nation. Marxism tries to belittle and destroy nationhood - in this way it collaborates with the globalsers - it is their ally.

All this aside, I can see no clear road ahead for ethno-nationalism without it causing huge social unrest in the so called advanced countries. the clock cannot be turned back. This is a dilemma I can't pretend to know the answers to except that the globalisers have won.