Bob From Brockley doesn’t like nationalism and dislikes the vicarious nationalism of faux anti-imperialists even more. On a recent demand that the EU “acknowledge the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and, by so doing, recognise, Hamas as a legitimate voice for the Palestinian people’s aspirations for national liberation”:
Can we develop a kind of solidarity with civilians who happen to be Palestian (rather than ‘the Palestinian People’) that recognises and opposes their suffering at the hands of war machines without all the baggage of making them into a unique case?
the famous ‘right of self-determination of nations’ is nothing but hollow, bourgeois phraseology and humbug… [When it has been achieved,] it was really not the “people” who engaged in these reactionary policies, but only the bourgeois and petit bourgeois classes, who – in sharpest opposition to their own proletarian masses – perverted the ‘national right of self-determination’ into an instrument of their counter-revolutionary class policies. But – and here we come to the very heart of the question – it is in this that the utopian, petit bourgeois character of this nationalistic slogan resides: that in the midst of the crude realities of class society, especially when class antagonisms are sharpened to the uttermost, it is simply converted into a means of bourgeois class rule.
One of the few things worse than nationalism, in my view, is what Maurice Brinton of Solidarity called “vicarious” nationalism: the easy, exoticised celebration of the nationalisms of distant national elites, however reactionary, in lieu of the harder work of genuine solidarity with the common folk of those places.”