Nation/Nationalism

 


 

[1945]  Arthur Koestler,  The Yogi and the Commissar, Jonathan Cape, London, 1964

-  "Fascist Greece under Metaxas fought the Italian Fascist invader; democratic Britain courted Fascist Spain; Japanese feudalism found a modus vivendi with Russian Bolshevism; in other words all the political Isms might as well not have existed, and the grouping of the belligerent Powers would have been much the same. Under the façade of high-sounding ideologies the real content remained that of a war of Nations, for purely national interests, for conquest and in self-defence against the invader, and with all the emotional fervour which Nationalism commands." (p. 140)

 

[1950]  Louis Fisher in, VV. AA.,  The God that failed, six studies in communism, Hamish Hamilton, London, 1950

-  "The regime needed new popular incentives." "But the only new untried incentives available to the Bolshevik regime were nationalism and freedom. Stalin tried nationalism." "The new nationalism was Russian nationalism. The study of the Russian language was made obligatory for all national minorities. The outward trapping of Tsarism, formerly reviled by the Bolsheviks as relics of the ugly past, were restored; titles for army officers and epaulets reappeared. This was the inception of the new dogma of 'Russia Ueber Alles,' of the strident exclusive nationalism which, a few years later, led to the scrapping of the 'Internationale' in favour of an anthem dedicated to Russia, to the employment of the church as an instrument of the Soviet Government at home and abroad, to the emergence of bemedalled marshals looking like Goering, to the rise of Soviet imperialism (the child of nationalism), and to official propaganda for Pan-Slavism, a teaching as pregnant with evil as Pan-Germanism." (p. 217)

 

[1957]  Milovan Djilas, The New Class, An analysis of the communist system, Thames and Hudson, London, 1958

-  "No single form of Communism, no matter how similar it is to other forms, exists in any way other than as national Communism. In order to maintain itself, it must become national." (p. 174)

 

[1958]  Robert Aron et alii,  L'ère des fédérations, Plon, Paris, 1958

-  "Il est curieux de constater combien, au milieu du XIX siècle, le terme même et la notion de nationalité sont encore récents et peu courants. Le Dictionnaire universel de la langue française, qui eut plusieurs éditions, sous l'Empire, ignore ce mot. Ce n'est que dans son sixième édition, publiée en 1828, qu'il apparaît, précédé de la croix qui signale le néologisme. Et ce même dictionnaire cite une phrase de Bonaparte, le jacobin couronné, selon qui "Les Français n'ont pas de nationalité". C'est n'est pas là une boutade: autant le patriotisme français est un sentiment ancien, qui se manifeste de Jeanne d'Arc, et qui, dès l'Ancien Régime, s'est incorporé à la conscience populaire, autant l'idée de la nationalité française, de l'existence de la France en tant que nation administrative unifié apparaît comme plus récente et comme dégagée surtout par l'idéologie révolutionnaire. Ce sont principalement les jacobins, avec leur conception de l'Etat un et indivisible, qui ont accentué cette prise de conscience, en abolissant les provinces et les corporations, et en supprimant ainsi tous les obstacles intérieurs à leur oeuvre de centralisation et d'unification nationale." (pp. 56-57)

-  "On pourrait dire que la nationalité, c'est la patrie ou le pays confondue avec son appareil administratif ou son cadre politique, dont il finit pour partager la rigidité, la concentration et l'unitarisme absolu." (p. 57)

 

[1960] Elie Kedourie, Nationalism, Blackwell, Oxford, 1998, fourth expanded edition

- "Nationalism is a doctrine invented in Europe at the beginning of the nineteenth century." "Briefly, the doctrine holds that humanity is naturally divided into nations, that nations are known by certain characteristics which can be ascertained, and that the only legitimate type of government is national self-government." "These ideas have become firmly naturalized in the political rhetoric of the West which has been taken over for the use of the whole world." (p. 1)

- "In nationalist doctrine, language, race, culture, and sometimes even religion, constitute different aspects of the same primordial entity, the nation."
"... the doctrine divides humanity into separate and distinctive nations, claims that such nations must constitute sovereign states, and asserts that the members of a nation reach freedom and fulfilment by cultivating the peculiar identity of their own nation and by sinking their own persons in the greater whole of the nation." (p. 67)

- "In Zionism, Judaism ceases to be the raison d'être of the Jew, and becomes, instead, a product of Jewish national consciousness. In the doctrine of Pakistan, Islam is transformed into a political ideology and used in order to mobilize Muslims against Hindus." "In the doctrine of the Action Française Catholicism becomes one of the attributes which define a true Frenchman and exclude a spurious one. The transformation of religion into nationalist ideology is all the more convenient in that nationalists can thereby utilize the powerful and tenacious loyalties which a faith held in common for centuries creates." (p. 71)

- "Frontiers are established by power, and maintained by the constant and known readiness to defend them by arms." (p. 120)

 

[1967]  Alessandro Passerin d'Entrèves,  The Notion of the State, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1967

-  "The Swiss historian Werner Kaegi has recently suggested that 'nations' in the modern sense would probably not have come into being in Europe but for the unifying, centralizing action of political power. The determining factor in our history was the existence of 'centres of power', not nationality. This is a bold theory, but it is borne out by the facts." (p. 173)

-  "Nationalism transformed nationality from an historical fact into a political ideology, into the one exclusive principle of legitimation of the State. In order to do so it was necessary to affirm not only that nations existed as separate and well-determined units, but that national unity was an ideal to be sought after and fostered, and that the only 'good' State was the Nation-state. Thus was the nation raised to a dignity it had never possessed in the past, or rather to a dignity which had been given a name in past ages, whenever there was a question of locating the ultimate focus of allegiance and loyalty, the highest good for which men could be called upon to sacrifice their life. The Romans had called it patria." (p. 176)

-  "As Voltaire gleefully concluded, one's country is wherever one lives happily and well. Ubi bene, ibi patria; just as the nation is the fruit of circumstance, and the State a conventional institution, so one's country is the result of a choice." (p. 178)

 

[1976]  Jean-François Revel,  La Tentation Totalitaire, Éditions Robert Laffont, Paris, 1976

-  "Ce durcissement des États ne doit pas être confondu avec un autre phénomène important de notre époque, la renaissance ou l'aspiration à renaître des ethnies. La confusion entre les deux vient de ce que l'affirmation ou la reconquête par des collectivités particulières de leur originalité culturelle est souvent appelée 'nationalisme'. Mais ce 'nationalisme' est différent de celui des États. Les droits des ethnies (ou 'nationalités') sous réserve qu'ils soient compatibles avec les droits de l'homme, doivent être garantis ou respectés au même titre que ceux des individus. Mais, pas plus que la liberté des individus, dans la société civile, ne consiste en ce que chacun se bâtisse un fortin et se procure un arsenal, pas davantage l'exercice des droits des ethnies ne doit nécessairement et pour toujours se traduire par la création d'un nouvel État souverain et armé." (p. 17)

-  "Le XX siècle, au lieu de subordonner la valeur d'un nation à la valeur de la civilisation qu'elle met en oeuvre, a conféré un statut à la nation comme telle, sans considération morale, politique ou humanitaire. Si vous avez une nationalisme et un État, vous avez tous les droits, vous n'êtes pas critiquable. L'absolutisme national a remplacé la monarchie absolue." (p. 327)

 

[1980]  Alvin Toffler,  The Third Wave, Pan Books, London, 1981

-  "As the Third Wave thunders across the earth, the nation-state - the key political unit of the Second Wave era - is being squeezed by vicelike pressures from above and below.
One set of forces seeks to transfer political power downwards from the nation-state to subnational regions and groups. The others seek to shift power upwards from the nation to transnational agencies and organizations. Together they are leading towards a crack-up of the high technology nations into smaller and less powerful units." (p. 322)

-  "... whether taking the form of open secessionism, of regionalism, bilingualism, home-rulism, or decentralism, these centrifugal forces also gain support because national governments are unable to respond flexibly to the rapid de-massification of society." (p. 327)

-  "National governments ..., locked into Second Wave political and bureaucratic structures, ... find it impossible to treat each region or city, each contending racial, religious, social, sexual, or ethnic group differently, let alone to treat each citizen as an individual. As condition diversify, national decision-makers remain ignorant of fast-changing local requirements." (p. 327)

-  "Just as many problems are too small or localized for national governments to handle effectively, new ones are fast arising that are too large for any nation to cope with alone." (p. 328)

-  "All such developments - the new economic problems, the new environmental problems, and the new communications technologies - are converging to undermine the position of the nation-state in the global scheme of things." (p. 329)

 

[1992]  Basil Davidson,  The Black Man's Burden. Africa and the Curse of the Nation-State, James Curry, Oxford, 1994

-  "Any questioning of nationalism, of the credentials of nation-statism as the only feasible route of escape [from colonialism], had to seem [in Africa] very close to betrayal of the anticolonial cause. To warn of nation-statism's likely disaster in the future of Africa, just as it had lately been in the past of much of Europe, was what no one, but no one anywhere, appears to have thought sensible until years later." (p. 115)

-  "However formed, nationalities in Europe did become nations, and the nations duly encased themselves in sovereign states, or at least in states intending to be sovereign; and these, one after another, have torn each other to pieces." "It is all the more surprising, in retrospect, that the fact of these nation-states should have been so often taken for granted to the point of supposing that they have existed from the dawn of time. A newly formed nation-state, moreover, seems at once to present itself, in some unexplained but altogether persuasive sense, as having always existed, and arrogates to itself an untouchable sanctity of rights and conduct." (p. 133)

-  "... the ideologists ... were going to say that it was a preexisting and dominant 'national consciousness' which had demanded this enshrinement in the nation-state; whereas in fact the power that made the enshrinement possible, the power of 'lower orders' in their multitudes and willingness to fight and die, was almost always fixed on social and not on national objectives."
"As it was going to be in Africa in the twentieth century, it was the European state in the nineteenth that demanded the nation." (pp. 137-138)

-  "Nationalism in Africa, or whatever was labeled as such, has since then led to plenty of horrors and miseries." (p. 165)

-  "... the concept or sense of nationalism, of nation-statism, was boosted as 'Europe's last gift to Africa'." (p. 188)

 

[1997]  Ernest Gellner,  Nationalism, Phoenix, London, 1997

-  "Nationalists and others tend to assume that the state is a universal institution of human society. Some early political theory even made this into a doctrine: no society without order, no order without enforcement, no enforcement without appropriate agencies (the state). But in fact, states are not universal: 'acephalous' societies manage to maintain order without possessing specialised order-enforcing agencies or personnel." (p. 6)
-  "... the problem of nationalism in the main arises only in a world in which states are taken for granted and required, and this does not apply to all humanity." (p. 6)

-  "Traditional society had taught that man was made by his status. The Enlightenment ... taught that man was made by his reason. Romanticism taught that he was made by his roots.
The dominance of the idea of 'roots' was underwritten by Romanticism, and fully satisfied the requirements of nationalism. It reflected the prevalence of culturally homogeneous, internally undifferentiated, cultural polities, known as 'nation-states'.  A political unit was to be defined as the voluntary, indeed the emotionally compulsive, association of men of the same 'roots'." (p. 72)
-  "If roots are what make you what you are, endow you with both vigour and authenticity, it follows that rootlessness is the greatest of all sins, and terms such as déraciné and cosmopolitan carry the greatest opprobrium." (p. 73)

-  "It must be repeated that nationalism is a phenomenon of Gesellschaft using the idiom of Gemeinschaft: a mobile anonymous society simulating a closed cosy community." (p. 74)

 

[1999]  Martin van Creveld,  The Rise and Decline of the State, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1999

-  "The ultimate result of the marriage between nationalism and the state was to be slaughter conducted with an intensity, and on a scale, which the members of previous political organizations could not even have imagined." (p. 205)

 

[2000] John Torpey,  The Invention of the Passport. Surveillance, Citizenship and the State, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2000

-  "The documents that would be used [in France] to separate the national from the non-national emerged from a broader debate over the criteria of French nationality, in which the two major issues were the search for sources of new military recruits and associated resentment against the fact that foreigners on French soil escaped military obligations. One major result of this debate was the adoption of the 1889 law on French citizenship, which extended French nationality to the children of immigrants born on French soil." (p. 106)

-  "The development and distribution of various forms of documentary identification helped to constitute people of different countries as mutually exclusive 'nationals' who shared a common interest in the fate of their state - an interest that might well put them at odds with the nationals of other states." (p. 108)

-  "The international system of states comprising mutually exclusive bodies of citizens was taking firmer shape, not least because governments increasingly had the capacity to get documents into people's hands identifying them as belonging to one country or another." (p. 110)

-  "The Italians' first step concerning documentary controls on movement after the outbreak of hostilities (first world war) was not to issue new passports, but rather to recall those already in circulation among their citizens. By a decree of 6 August 1914, the government suspended the right of emigration of those obliged to do military service, annulling all passports in their possession. Like the German passport regulations, this order indicated the close connection between passport control and efforts to insure that military recruits for the defense of the patrie would not be wanting. Given the over-representation in the poorly paid and worse-fed infantry of Southerners with only a weak sense of national loyalties, it was hardly surprising that the Italian government would expect conscripts to abscond if given the chance." (p. 114)

-  "... a person's nationality simply cannot be determined without recourse to documents. As an ascribed status, it cannot be read off a person's appearance." (p. 121)