International Antinationalism!

Written by Working Group “Just Do It!” of AntiFa AK Cologne, Published March 2012.

Introduction

The following article was written in the context of the mobilisation for the international project “M31”, a European day of action against capitalism and the crisis. It is a first attempt to describe our approach of “antinational communism”*. Antinationalism is a fairly new, German-specific perspective on left-wing radical politics. It came about in the early 90s in Germany as a reaction to the reunification of a new, greater Germany and the occurrences of racism/fascism by a reactionary civil society. What is its central tenet? Nationalism or – to be more precise – the idea of the nation itself is seen as the central ideology, the all-time dominant, undeniable category in the global, oppressing power relation of capitalism and the capitalist state, which we want to see abolished. From our point of view, an antinational perspective goes beyond traditional left-wing approaches (classical anti-imperialism). And yet, we do not like to focus on Germany and its specifics alone and instead pick up a certain idea of international networking. We want to free this approach from its Germany-focussed isolation and – especially now at a time of crisis, when we can develop transnational reference points – start discussions with comrades in other European countries. Hence we decided to call this approach “international antinationalism”. This is also one of the main motivations for us and our antinational, German-wide network “…ums Ganze!” to engage in the project “M31”, which was largely initiated out of Germany.

*For us, communism has so far never existed. Communism is “the real movement which abolishes the present state of things” (Marx), i.e. the total negation of the present, capitalist world order for an emancipated, liberated society. The Soviet Union and “real-existing socialism” never was able to get rid of certain basic-capitalist categories, like value or wage labour. Thus, our use of the term communism distances itself from historic attempts at “Real Socialism”.

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This entry was posted on Monday, March 26th, 2012 at 10:38 pm and is filed under anti-national. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

2 Comments

  1. I realize the Antifa AK Köln intended to produce a mobilization text rather than a theoretical treatise, but there are still some rather sloppy formulations in this. For example:

    “Nationalism or – to be more precise – the idea of the nation itself is seen as the central ideology, the all-time dominant, undeniable category in the global, oppressing power relation of capitalism and the capitalist state, which we want to see abolished.”

    Nationalism is *the* central ideology of capitalism? Even during capitalism’s development in the English countryside in the late-medieval period before the consolidation of an actual “state” in the modern sense? Or what about the formation of nationalist ideologies in societies that are arguably pre-capitalist? In his recent collection _The American Road to Capitalism_, Charles Post makes a pretty convincing case that the economy of the United States remained largely non-capitalist up until the Civil War era. Yet nationalist ideology is pervasive in the U.S. even before then, arguably since the declaration of independence from the English crown. So it doesn’t seem to me like there’s an unmediated causal relationships between nationalism and capitalism in either direction. A mutually conditioning one, yes.

    Also, what about other capitalist ideology. The ideological processing of the fetish character of the commodity? The construction of stratified “races”? Anti-semitism? Sexism rooted in a gendered division of labor? All of these are subordinate to the nation as the “all-time dominant, undeniable category in the global oppressing power relation of capitalism”? Why?

    It seems like the Antifa AK Köln is succumbing to a sort of classical “main contradiction/secondary contradiction” ideology.

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  2. P.S. posting this here because the Shift article is closed to comments.

    [Reply]

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