Thoughts on Independence Day

If you couldn’t tell already, I’m not a big fan of nationalism.

Why? I believe Eqbal Ahmad addresses the dangers of nationalism well enough.

Arundhati Roy does too—and eloquently, at that, per always:

Arundhati Roy on nationalism

Don’t think my thoughts on nationalism end here. It is a complex subject, and there are certainly historic circumstances in which it was not necessarily reactionary. Nationalism, however, very often comes at the expense of internationalism, and hence of international class solidarity. As Pakistani leftist Mubashir Hasan, a co-founder of the Pakistan Peoples Party, insisted,

[Nationalism] unites the exploiters and exploited to fight united exploiters and exploited of other nations. And thus it prevents social change.

The examples of nationalism serving liberation movements notwithstanding, it should (I hope) go without saying that nationalism in Global North countries (i.e., usually imperialist, oppressor countries) is categorically different from nationalism in some Global South countries (i.e., often oppressed countries, fighting for liberation from imperialism)—the latter being useful, in some historical instances, as a way to unite an occupied, colonized people against an occupying, colonizing foreign force (although this fails to recognize that, for personal gain, some members of colonized groups side with colonizers, against their class’s interest).

Given the 4th of July is almost without exception a celebration and demonstration of this first kind, I naturally find it to be a most unbearable holiday.

Independence Day oft’ manifests itself in the form of unmitigated, hagiographic, ahistorical jingoism, punctuated by expensive, ecocidal (“but fun!”) fireworks.

Here are further thoughts as to why the 4th of July is one of the worst holidays of all:

(Zinn reminded us of a lot of great things…)

And, finally, the (marxist) cherry on top (of whatever monstrosity the proverbial cherry would be on top of):