From ProleWiki, the proletarian encyclopedia

Nationalism is a movement that advocates for the unity of a nation. It began in the 18th and 19th centuries during the transition from feudalism to capitalism.[1] It is usually more widespread among the peasantry than the proletariat.[2] Nationalism for oppressed or colonized nations may be progressive and anti-imperialist, but other forms of nationalism may be reactionary and class collaborationist. Patriotic socialism is a form of reactionary nationalism for nations in the imperial core.

Lenin, Mao, Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il among others outline two characters of nationalism: one being chauvinistic and being proletarian. The nationalism of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan, for example, was chauvinistic. On the other hand, the nationalism (or known as Socialist Patriotism, not to be confused with Patriotic Socialism) of China, North Korea and Vietnam is patriotic.

Reactionary nationalism[edit | edit source]

"Therefore, the banner of nationalism seemed to reflect the common interests of the nation. As capitalism developed and the bourgeoisie became the reactionary ruling class after victorious bourgeois revolutions in various countries, nationalism was used as a means of defending the interests of the bourgeois class. The bourgeoisie disguised their class interests as national interests, and used nationalism as an ideological instrument for solidifying their class domination. This led nationalism to be understood, among the people, as a bourgeois ideology that runs counter to the national interests. We should distinguish clearly between true nationalism that loves the nation and defends its interests and bourgeois nationalism that advocates the interests of the bourgeois class. Bourgeois nationalism reveals itself as national egoism, national exclusivism and bigpower chauvinism in the relationship between countries and 3 nations; it is reactionary in that it creates antagonism and disagreement between countries and nations, and checks the development of friendly relations between the various peoples of the world."

- Kim Jong-Il, On having a correct understanding of Nationalism[3]

We can clearly see that bourgeoisie nationalism in the eyes of Kim Jong-Il, was one that defends the big power chauvinism that ultimately lands itself in the pocket of the bourgeoise. Especially for nations such as the United Kingdom, France and the United States of America. Bourgeoisie nationalism is the nationalism that upholds the imperial character of capitalist countries in the global north that seek to oppress and uphold their exploitatory nature. Kim Jong-Il further elaborates within the text "On having a correct understanding of Nationalism" that bourgeoisie nationalism is not a "true nationalism". It is a nationalism that benefits only the exploitatory class, the bourgeoisie. As defined by Kim Jong-Il, nationalism is an integral part of Socialism, but however must never be taken over by anti-international views. Nationalism of the chauvinistic character is one that ignores one's countries own flaws and seeks to uphold it's superiority, thus being described as "national egoism" and "national exclusivism".

Proletarian nationalism[edit | edit source]

Can a Communist, who is an internationalist, at the same time be a patriot? We hold that he not only can be but also must be. The specific content of patriotism is determined by historical conditions. There is the "patriotism" of the Japanese aggressors and of Hitler, and there is our patriotism. Communists must resolutely oppose the "patriotism" of the Japanese aggressors and of Hitler. The Communists of Japan and Germany are defeatists with regard to the wars being waged by their countries. To bring about the defeat of the Japanese aggressors and of Hitler by every possible means is in the interests of the Japanese and the German people, and the more complete the defeat the better.... For the wars launched by the Japanese aggressors and Hitler are harming the people at home as well as the people of the world. China's case, however, is different, because she is the victim of aggression. Chinese Communists must therefore combine patriotism with internationalism. We are at once internationalists and patriots, and our slogan is, "Fight to defend the motherland against the aggressors." For us defeatism is a crime and to strive for victory in the War of Resistance is an inescapable duty. For only by fighting in defense of the motherland can we defeat the aggressors and achieve national liberation. And only by achieving national liberation will it be possible for the proletariat and other working people to achieve their own emancipation. The victory of China and the defeat of the invading imperialists will help the people of other countries. Thus in wars of national liberation patriotism is applied internationalism.

- Mao Zedong, Quotations from Mao Tse-Tung, 18. Patriotism and Internationalism[4] Here we can see that Mao details and outlines the necessity for Socialist "Patriotism" (used here interchangeably with nationalism in this context) was justified in nations where they are victims of aggressions. However, Mao further elaborates that "patriotism" must be combined with internationalism. He asserts that a good communist must combine patriotism with internationalism, that it is a necessity for those people to avoid the pitfalls of chauvinistic nationalism. He further elaborates about this topic with the following quote

"We must never adopt an arrogant attitude of great-power chauvinism and become conceited because of the victory of our revolution and certain achievements in our construction. Every nation, big or small, has its strong and weak points."

- Mao Zedong, Quotations from Mao Tse-Tung, 18. Patriotism and Internationalism[4]

The Socialist "Patriotism" used by those socialists who are fighting against aggressive imperialist powers or wars of national liberation must not turn or evolve into great-power chauvinism and use it as a reason to foment imperialism or hold a chauvinistic attitudes towards other countries. And that the "Socialist patriotism" cannot be upheld by those who are not fighting wars of national liberation or wars against an oppressor.

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Malyshev (2019-03-31). "Nationalism And Its Class Meaning" Politsturm. Archived from the original on 2021-06-23. Retrieved 2022-08-30.
  2. Roger Keeran, Thomas Kenny (2010). Socialism Betrayed: Behind the Collapse of the Soviet Union: 'Turning Point, 1987-88' (p. 163). [PDF] ISBN 9781450241717
  3. On having a correct understanding of Nationalism - Kim Jong-Il
  4. 4.0 4.1 Quotations from Mao Tse-Tung, 18. Patriotism and Internationalism - Mao Zedong