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Anti-nationalism denotes the sentiments associated with an opposition to nationalism. Some anti-nationalists are humanitarians or humanists who pursue an idealist view of world community, and self-identify as world citizens. They reject chauvinism, jingoism and militarism, and want humans to live in peace rather than perpetual conflict.[1] The imposition of nationalism as a belief or identity system, particularly when in conflict with more established and self-sustaining identity choices, often based on freely chosen religious or cultural beliefs and practices can be understood to undermine the legitimacy of territory-based nationalism. They do not necessarily oppose the concepts of countries, nation states, national boundaries, cultural preservation and identity politics[citation needed].

Some anti-nationalists oppose all types of nationalism, including ethnic nationalism among oppressed minority groups. This strain of anti-nationalism typically advocates the elimination of national boundaries[citation needed]. Variations on this theme are often seen in Marxist theory. Marx and Engels rejected nationalism as a whole, stating that, "the working class have no country ".[2] More recently, certain groups descended from the Maoist tradition of Marxism have moved towards this fiercely anti-nationalist stance in a different way than Trotskyists, saying that, although it may be a painful and unpopular position to hear, ultimately opposing all nationalism strengthens proletarian internationalism[citation needed]. Many Trotskyists, however, such as Chris Harman, were critical of nationalism while advocating support for what they saw as progressive national struggles.[3]

Cases of anti-nationalism[edit]

Anarchism has developed a critique of nationalism that focuses on nationalism's role in justifying and consolidating state power and domination. Through its unifying goal, nationalism strives for centralization, both in specific territories and in a ruling elite of individuals, while it prepares a population for capitalist exploitation. Within anarchism, this subject has been treated extensively by Rudolf Rocker in Nationalism and Culture and by the works of Fredy Perlman, such as Against His-Story, Against Leviathan and The Continuing Appeal of Nationalism.[4]

In his Aphorisms on the Wisdom of Life, Arthur Schopenhauer rejects nationalism, seeing it as an abandonment of personal identity.[5] The philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche can also be seen as opposing all forms of nationalism, although he opposed virtually every other form of social movement and ideology as well.[6] Søren Kierkegaard's philosophy is a criticism and vehement rejection of Christian nationalism.[7]

Notable anti-nationalists[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Anarchist Federation. "Against Nationalism". Anarchist Communist Editions. Retrieved 2014. 
  2. ^ Nationalism: A Critical Introduction by Philip Spencer and Howard Wollman, SAGE, 2002 (pgs. 8-9).
  3. ^ The Return of the National Question by Chris Harman, a Trotskyist analysis and critique of nationalism.
  4. ^ The Continuing Appeal of Nationalism by Fredy Perlman.Detroit, Black & Red Publishers, 1985.
  5. ^ The Morality of Nationalism, edited by Robert McKim and Jeff McMahan.Oxford University Press US, 1997 (pg. 121).
  6. ^ Feminist Interpretations of Friedrich Nietzsche edited by Kelly Oliver and Marilyn Pearsall. Penn State Press, 1998 (pg. 288)
  7. ^ Kierkegaard's Critique of Christian Nationalism, Stephen Backhouse. Oxford University Press, 2011 (pg. 2)
  8. ^ "Hannah Arendt as a Critic of Nationalism", in Liberalism, Nationalism, Citizenship: Essays on the problem of political community by Ronald Beiner. UBC Press, 2003, (pp. 129-147)
  9. ^ " Capek not only mocks his fellow-countrymen for wallowing in past sufferings but shrewdly shows how this kind of pride in humiliation can be fostered in others...He is opposed to nationalism, yet he argues for the importance of culture; he writes in Czech, yet he wields his language as a weapon against the whole of his contemporary world." Elizabeth Maslen, "Proper Words in Proper Places: The Challenge of Čapek's "War with the Newts". Science Fiction Studies March 1987.
  10. ^ Pride and Blessing (subject) in Its bad for ya (show; 2008)
  11. ^ "Forster was famously a "little Englander". But this meant that he disliked the Imperialist enterprise, distrusted patriotism, and anxiously celebrated internationalism." John Lucas, The Radical Twenties : aspects of writing, politics and culture. Nottingham: Five Leaves, 1997. ISBN 0907123171 (p. 212)
  12. ^ "Rosa Luxemburg remained steadfastly anti-war and anti-nationalist" Jan Jindy Pettman, Worlding Women: A Feminist International Politics New York: Routledge, 2005 ISBN 1134744900 (p. 110).
  13. ^ Landscapes of Hope: Anti-Colonial Utopianism in America by Dohra Ahmad. Oxford University Press, 2009 (pp. 94-6)
  14. ^ "Patriotism in its simplest, clearest and most indubitable signification is nothing else but a means of obtaining for the rulers their ambitions and covetous desires, and for the ruled the abdication of human dignity, reason and conscience, and a slavish enthrallment to those in power. And as such it is recommended wherever it may be preached.
    Patriotism is slavery." Patriotism and Christianity, Leo Tolstoy.
  15. ^ "Veblen was against nationalism because it involves wasteful, honorific, and hence barbaric rituals, ceremonies, and related phenomena". Quoted in "Introduction" by Stjepan G. Mestrovic to Thorstein Veblen by David Riesman. Transaction Publishers, 1953 (p. xvi)
  16. ^ "Woolf deeply distrusted patriotism and nationalism, believing they formented wars; such feelings were particularly ill-suited to women living in a patriarchy, whose stake in society was significantly different from that of men." Julia Briggs, Reading Virginia Woolf. Edinburgh : Edinburgh University Press, 2006. ISBN 9780748624348 (p. 15).