Thursday, 4 October 2012

Borders of the mind

There's been talk in UK nationalist circles recently on the merits of beginning a strategy of stamping nationalist marks in communities where nationalists are strong on the ground. Nurturing and  building up a sense of national identity through flag flying, murals etc - a la Northern Ireland. I do not object per se to this, nothing wrong with reminding folk of their heritage. However I do tend to believe that our cities and larger towns have become cosmopolitan to the point of no return. Overt public symbolism would have greater resonance in smaller market towns and villages. As a National Anarchist I have no real interest in British/English nationalism in and of itself. But I can support nationalists who want to identify their communities as 'our patch'. It's what vanguards do. If a city declared itself an anarcho-syndicalist commune or free multicultural soviet I'd applaud that! That's what my politics are all about - let communities decide who and what they are. I would also support public displays of tribalism in say Pakistani communities in larger British cities - National Anarchists recognise there is no possibility of 'Britain for the British'. We advocate a new Britain of devolved territories. Of course the trouble with the 'our patch' strategy is the danger of creating a siege mentality and its possible negative consequences.

However some British cities are so ethnically mixed (and their populations appear for the most part to be happy with this) that the 'national enclave' idea would appear unworkable. One option for radical nationalists who, unlike myself, don't have an urbanophobia, is to promote the idea of National Personal Autonomy among nationalists and sypathisers who live in urban areas. I stumbled across this idea in the Manifesto of the US/Canada based group New Resistance. I'll let them explain:
We realize, however, that voluntary self-segregation into ethnic enclaves is not always possible or desirable in certain areas of North America, especially for those of mixed-race background as well as those living in long-established cosmopolitan cities like New York. And NEW RESISTANCE rejects any attempt- by any party- at “ethnic cleansing”. In such highly mixed areas, NEW RESISTANCE advocates a form of non-territorial nationhood referred to as National Personal Autonomy.

The Russian-Jewish socialist Vladimir Medem succinctly defined NPA this way:
“Let us consider the case of a country composed of several national groups, e.g. Poles, Lithuanians and Jews. Each national group would create a separate movement. All citizens belonging to a given national group would join a special organisation that would hold cultural assemblies in each region and a general cultural assembly for the whole country. The assemblies would be given financial powers of their own: either each national group would be entitled to raise taxes on its members, or the state would allocate a proportion of its overall budget to each of them. Every citizen of the state would belong to one of the national groups, but the question of which national movement to join would be a matter of personal choice and no authority would have any control over his decision. The national movements would be subject to the general legislation of the state, but in their own areas of responsibility they would be autonomous and none of them would have the right to interfere in the affairs of the others”.

[Social democracy and the national question, 1904]
I welcome all attempts at greater tribal autonomy anywhere, but prefer the building of rural communities and/or local/regional networks of tribalists on an economic and social level. Can radical nationalists foresee a time when we become pioneering 'new tribes' - refugees from modernity and cosmopolitanism, with stories to tell our children of when our great nations passed into history and that we were the survivors?


I was going to write a short piece on how, over time, I have become slightly agitated with the term 'National Anarchism'. I am also still uneasy with the word 'Anarchism'. As a former left-anarchist, I remember at times being embarrassed by the label, due to the cliches attached to it, the dismissive smirks I used to get from some and the blank looks from others. The term 'Tribal Anarchism' has been used by some in preference to avoid the possible misinterpretation of equating NA with the nation state - which would of course be nonsense. Our nationalism is based on human bonds which predate the rise of capitalism - when modern nationalism was born. So maybe 'Tribal' is a better option. We reject nation states and those who run them, and instead identify with whom we perceive as our own. Maybe we are radical nationalists who do not fit in with post-enlightenment ideas - and who acknowledge the human urge toward an allegiance to kinship, not the state, mass societies or ruling elite.

But last week I stumbled across a Wikipedia article on the Akie people of Tanzania. It contained the following:
"Tribe" is a derogatory term per se, derived from the imperialist Romans and used by the imperialist British until today. All Africans refuse the term tribe today. The ethnicities misrepresented by the term "tribe" are either nations in the best sense of the definition or clans of their nation.
So maybe National IS the more appropriate! As for the Anarchism bit, well I'll have to turn a blind eye. The National Anarchist 'brand' is pretty much established now anyway! Of course what really matter are not labels, but ideas and action.