Those political and business elites (aided by religious elites) who have sought the destruction of democratic nation states in favour of supranational corporate and political power (like the EU or elements in the UN) say they are battling “dangerous nationalism”. So are we all – but what confronts them is not aggressive, anti democratic, imperial nationalism but the legitimate wishes of the people of the world for the peaceful democratic sovereignty of nation states – Nationism.
I coined the term “Nationism” in the 1994 book “Treason at Maastricht – the destruction of the Nation State”. It was recently used by the British anti EU campaigner and MEP Nigel Farage (who has known me and my writings for over 25 years) but without attribution!
Nationism – the nation state emancipated to self government, social emancipation, social cohesion, free trade, democratic capitalism (as opposed the present authoritarian corporatist form) internationalism and peaceful co-existence – is the antidote to most of the crises in the world today. Its enemies are Nationalism, supranational corporatism and certain forms of authoritarian socialism.
State and corporate power have so bought the formerly competing political parties (establishing a corporatist supranational “consensus”) that the votes of the people are of no account. The parties are all the same – so the people have a vote but no choice.
Similarly in the corporatist capitalist world today the power of responsible consumers, personal capital, wealth dispersed by democratic competition and retained by communities has been largely replaced. State privileges for business, the cross border trade in human beings (and the resulting driving down of wages) for better profits, the printing of money to rescue banks and big business at the cost of individual savings – all have meant that other “vote” – the spending or saving of one’s own money in society – is of ever less value and of ever less power.
Only pockets of entrepreneurial, community based, people-serving capitalism remain – and they are remarkably effective even in a deep recession. For it is such enterprise capital which is providing bargain prices for everyday items, meals on the high street for a few pounds and charitable work in communities where the State has failed.
THE INTER-PARLIAMENTARY UNION IN ST PETERSBERG
Before I go further into the details of the definition of Nationism I welcome the themes that will be discussed at the 137th meeting of the Inter-Parliamentary Union being held in St Petersburg from the 14th to the 18th of October. Several Parliamentarians from those countries who are at present suffering self inflicted wounds from applying sanctions on Russia (!) will be present. If they are genuine parliamentarians they will see in Russia a country which is flourishing despite the sanctions (and paying the people real interest of 5% on their savings!) and is resisting the corporate powers and supranational diktats of “the new world order” – which is even despised by the peoples of the countries which have built that edifice.
The three fundamental themes for the conference are:
• National & ethnic diversities and their democracies
• Sovereignty – non interference in internal affairs
• Respect of equal rights for States within International law
While being restricted to the political aspects of free nationhood these are principles which chime exactly with the concept of Nationism. It is indeed extraordinary that among most Establishment political circles in the West such themes would be at best avoided and at worst rejected – so much have the so called “democracies” diverted from the principles of the freedom of nations, democratic sovereignty, international law and free trade which were the pillars of the post second world war settlement.
The IPU was established by a Frenchman (Frederic Passy) and an Englishman (William Randal Cremer) in 1889. Initially it was meant for individual parliamentarians but it developed into an international organization of the parliaments of sovereign states. It has 173 members – even though some of them like EU member states are now not sovereign at all!
Nationism and free trade is to the world what free enterprise and competition is to the peoples of nation states. It is a rational and limited diversity of religion, race, language, history and culture according to nation states. Those who are willing and able to co-exist so closely that they form a homogeneity capable of accepting democratic decisions are therefore able to form a nation state.
Such a State can be a combination of more than one ethnic group provided they share other attributes in common. Good examples are the Welsh, Scots and English in Great Britain. They are the same race, share a common religion, a defined geographic home, a predominant religious denomination (protestant) a common language and a common history of several hundred years.
Even so there are tensions when times get hard – or when an external power seeks to stir sectarianism in order to destroy that nation state. That is what the European Union succeeded in doing in Yugoslavia and has attempted in the UK.
Nationism is the sine qua non for democracy because without the (above) essential common bonds minorities will not accept the rule of majorities. Nor will they aid the maintenance of internal law nor fight for the external borders of a disunited state. It is no coincidence that as the nation state arose so a common law, then parliaments and then democracy arose. And where supranational states and movements suppressed sovereign states – as in the soviet union and the Hitler Reich – so democracy was suppressed.
The supranational European State has after a few decades already suppressed democracy and alienated the people – even where it previously existed. The one thing which emerges clearly from the debt ridden states, mass unemployment, alienating mass migrations and the social and welfare collapse in the EU is the powerlessness of the voters of all parties.
NATIONISM AND SOVEREIGNTY
Few words have been so traduced by those who despise the nations’ desire to be free than the word sovereignty which in the modern era means the freedom to enjoy self government. To the modern fascist and imperialist however, bent on expanding the power of corporations and bureaucrats and recalling the great empires of the past, sovereignty means POWER – the power to decide (ie dictate to others) the wealth and influence of their State – or their superstate. The power to dictate distinguishes nationalism from the peaceful free trading sovereign Nationism, where the only force is to offer trade to others, competitively, democratically and internationally. No one who embraces those principles can ever enjoy the power to dictate to others.
When I gave a speech many years ago on why the UK should leave the European Union one of my opponents, a Conservative MP, realising his side were not popular among the audience, suddenly burst out with an hysterical: “What you people don’t understand is what we need is power – it is all about power!”. In the heat of battle he had revealed himself and the whole imperialist anti democratic agenda of the destroyers of nation states. The MP had also revealed his assumption that power means prosperity when it is precisely the freedom and responsibility of atomistic decisions under the law by millions in free democratic nations which produce and spontaneously distribute wealth among communities and between nations (because competitive political and economic freedoms force them to). As Adam Smith noted: “It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest.”
Without the self government which defines Sovereignty there can be no democracy. The representatives in superstates are incapable of representing their diverse peoples – but they welcome their cultural, language, religious and racial incompatibility as an excuse not to take them seriously as a democratic force!
While the European Union has built its huge bureaucratic edifice over 60 years they have remained unchallenged for so long BECAUSE there was no cohesive “DEMOS”, no social or political unity and no united voice to resist them. So while trumpeting a new “country” they knew that their power arose from their being no “country”.
Superstates are huge constructs, made complex by the assumed need to “control” from the centre. But great structures can never be responsive to the needs, wishes, responsibilities and freedoms of people. They are top down constructs declared by the arrogant theorist who has read the theory in books but has never had to accept the consequences of his own economic or social or political decisions in practice.
Sovereignty is NOT power to dictate (nationalism) but identity and responsibility to trade and cooperate, accept the consequences and draw the conclusions for future improvement.
The social cohesion and community spirit arising from the external sovereignty of nation states also more naturally leads internally to social compassion, emancipation from poverty and protection under an accepted rule of law. In turn the sovereign nation, having progressed through free trade and fair treatment of others will go on to offer non economic forms of help to other peoples. Investment in other countries, the offer of medicines, the work of missionaries, the creation of infrastructure and the example of successful parliamentary structures and precedents are typical.
THE OPPOSITE OF NATIONISM –
NATIONALISM, SUPRANATIONALISM AND CORPORATISM
Corporatist capitalism on the right and Statist socialist corporatism on the left derive their power from the draining of capital, democratic decision making and people from regions and communities into centralised political power bases.
The ear of Government is more easily influenced by big business and big unions and pressure groups than it is by millions of atomistic voices and decisions by individuals, families, communities and small businesses throughout a country – and only the latter is democracy!
The corporatist is therefore used to gaining influence, having avenues for profit opened up by the State (see the UK decision to join the EU) having taxes reduced and their avoidance tolerated (see corporate taxation in the UK). They are equally adept at having losses subsidised “to preserve jobs”.
But such tolerance leads inevitably to further losses and ultimate decline on the national stage – so the corporatist advances to the supranational powers for favours. Free movement of labour as provided by the EU – and justified by the UN – is supported, legal protections for international business is sought and competition in lowering corporate taxes encouraged.
NATIONISM’S DEMOCRATIC CAPITALISM
WIDELY DISTRIBUTED CAPITAL
(TO INDIVIDUALS, SMALL BUSINESSES, REGIONS, COMMUNITIES)
ATOMISTIC DECISION MAKING
PEOPLE REPRESENTED AND SOCIALLY SUPPORTED
NATIONALISM’S POLITICAL CORPORATISM
COLLECTIVES OF CAPITAL ALLIED WITH POLITICAL POWER
CENTRAL MANAGEMENT OF FINANCE CAPITAL
IN THE INTERESTS OF THE STATE NOT THE PEOPLE
EXTENDING NATIONAL POWER TO CONQUER NEW SOURCES OF PROFIT
SUPRANATIONALISM – THE GREATER FORM OF NATIONALISM
It is here that Nationalism so easily transposes into Supranationalism – the better to “organise business ” and “manage trade” while everything that Nationism stands for (free trade, free association of nation states, recognition of cultural, racial and religious diversity expressed in the self government of states under an international rule of law) is anathema to the Supranationalist.
The first thing that Supranationalism does is create its own identity and its own bureaucracy which then drives its own power base. Then it wants all the attributes of the nation states it has abolished – a flag, an anthem. It establishes its own Court to create its own Law – not to settle conflict between people but to impose its own power. Then it seeks armed forces to “defend itself” (but in fact to impose its will).
Nationalism has much in common with Supranationalism, as we see in Scotland and Spain where extreme, racist nationalists (the one hating the English the other the Catalans!) want nationalism but still want to be part of the Euro-State. Equally during the Fascist period the extreme Nationalists within many countries (eg Quisling in Norway, Vichy in France, Franco in Spain, Mussolini in Italy) nevertheless embraced Hitler’s building of his European Union.
The Nationalist shares with the Supranationalist the following attitudes and beliefs.
- supporters from left and right
- seeking power not democracy
- determines the rules under which he will be successful
- wants to “dance on a bigger stage”
- centralises power
- exploits collectives of capital and labour
- feels a natural superiority over “the people”
- a desire to “control the world”
- sees elections as a foregone conclusion
- sees politics trumping economic reality (Kohl, Merkel)
- political power trumps democracy
Finally let me now summarise the fundamental differences between Nationism and Nationalism.
Built on organic institutions superiority, emotion, exclusivity,
community party hierarchies
freely elected parliament controlled parliament
dispersed capital State centralised capital
Community business, personal capital Corporate State centralised wealth
free trade distorted, managed trade
the nation state conquests of other states
social responsibility state control
international agreements supranational control
democratic freedoms pursuit of power
preservation of nations’ rights imperial control
trade in capital, goods, services trade in people, cheap labour
Nation, businesses accept losses losses forced onto others
The answer to Nationalism is not Supranationalism. The answer is Nationism.
While both Nationalism and Supranationalism have both in the past led to excessive power, social alienation, bankruptcy, dictatorship and war, the quiet Nationist has been quiet for too long. There is an alternative and it is the pillar of both democratic prosperity and international peace.