Wednesday, July 05, 2006

4th of July

Dave at the Red Mantis put up this post relative to patriotism and the Fourth of July. Here is a snippet:
However, I wish to offer this thesis: Patriotism and nationalism are two separate ideals, the latter being the more extreme and subsequently more dangerous of the two. Nationalism should be rejected by American citizens whereas we ought to embrace and reclaim the true definition of patriotism.


[Patriotism is] to simply be thankful that we live in a nation where as a citizen you have inherent rights, is patriotism. Patriotism isn't completely identifying yourself with your country, nor is it to pledge undying loyalty to it's leaders or decisions, nor is it the willingness to give your life for it. It's simply to be thankful that you live in a place where you have some degree of freedom and rights inherent to you as a human being.

The Red Mantis: On Patriotism; or Happy Fourth of July!
I agree with Dave that we should all be very thankful for any freedoms and liberties we may possess. We should also be thankful that the democratic revolution that happened in America in 1776 was a watershed moment in world history, ushering in the age of democracy. However, patriotism is indeed an expression of nationalism.

As socialists it is very important to understand how patriotism contrasts with internationalism. In 1914, Mary Marcy wrote the famous words "You Have No Country!" This was in an article for the International Socialist Review (ISR) titled "The Real Fatherland" from which the following passages are gleaned:
Patriotism means the love of the land in which you were born — that and nothing more. And why should you love that land any more than any other?


The land of your birth has done nothing for you. Conditions in Germany, France, Austria, England, Russia, and America are practically the same. Everywhere you
will find the workers earning barely enough to live on. Everywhere you will find thousands of men hunting jobs and no jobs. Everywhere you will find the rich protected and the poor driven out.

You have no country! Every national flag in the world means protection for the employing class, who appropriate the things produced by the workers. It has no message for those who toil.

There is only one flag worth fighting for and that is the red flag, which means universal brotherhood of the workers of the world in their fight to abolish the profit system.


This is the real Fatherland and this is Socialism!

Mary Marcy, The Real Fatherland
So we should be sure to enjoy the good feelings we get when we feel patriotic but more importantly extend them in brotherhood to all citizens of the world. The celebration must be about what makes us similar and brings us together, not about defining what makes us different, better or stronger than others. Happy 4th of July!

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