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  1. #1
    Sniffles
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    Default Socialism and Patriotism

    In light of some discussions related to issues of socialism and whatnot, I'd figured this would be interest to many here:
    AUGUST BEBEL, leader of the German Social-Democratic Party in the Reichstag, writes as follows :-

    1st. What do we mean by patriotism?

    That every nation which has its own language, its own customs, its own civilisation, and its history has the right of developing in its own way, and of governing itself. The man is a patriot who tries to obtain for the nation to which he belongs by his birth, his language, and his customs, without hurting or injuring any other nation, the highest civilisation in the interest of all. If he follows this ideal, without any idea of self-interest, and without helping the governing class, but in the interest of all, he is working for the highest ideal open to any man.

    2nd. What do we mean by internationalism?

    Not the suppression of nationalities, not the violent fusion of nations, but the upholding and the progress of pacific relations of civilisation among nations. Side by side with the national civilisation of a nation, there exists all international civilisation in which each nation participates in the measure of its moral and intellectual development. Our business relations, our scientific, artistic and literary activity, the exchange of inventions and discoveries are the principal characteristics of this international effort. Internationalism tends to make these relations more and more close by the entering into of commercial agreements, of maritime conventions, of treaties of alliance, by the exchange of all the resources of civilisation, by international laws for the protection of the “workers, by the development of international law, by the equalisation of rights and duties of foreigners and native-born subjects, by the progress of humanitarian effort among all nations, by the solution of differences between nations by an international court of arbitration.

    This internationalism compels Socialists to fight constantly against the lust of conquest, the hostile isolation of nations, the tariff-wars, the bellicose naval and military armaments, because all this tends to increase national prejudice, and threatens constant war.

    The aim of all international action should be a world-parliament, in which should sit representatives of all civilised nations, and which should regulate all international relations, making them more and more close.

    Patriotism and Internationalism are not necessarily antagonistic, but supplement each other, marking towards a more and more perfect civilisation.
    Socialism and Internationalism by August Bebel 1905


    Sadly this is often lost among many elements of the Left these days.

  2. #2
    Senior Member creativeRhino's Avatar
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    Patriotism has become very jingoistic in many cases "my country right or wrong" rather than a less defensive view that looks to make the people of the country "the best they can be".

    I've travelled extensively at the grass roots level in many countries (3rd world and 1st world) and knowing anything about most countries' histories shows how "short term" they are in the big picture (witness the countries that existed in the balkans before and after yugoslavia, the countries created by colonists in Africa etc, even the US is young, and well Australia is positively a baby.. ).

    The era of Nation states is what requires patriotism. Before Italy was united it was many smaller territories that had to form an "identity" of a nation. Ditto the US colonies - and this last election has shown the very real cultural divides between "north" and "south" and midwest/coastal still exist.

    Patriotism can be beautiful, mediocre or downright ugly depending on the spirit that is underlying it.

    Jingoistic patriotism is the enemy of internationalism that is truly a meeting of entities with equal rights. Countries that seek to protect their interests real and concrete threat (ie borders being breached) is sensible. The kinds of actions promoted by the US and the former USSR (and the British in their colonial days) of manipulation and control to ensure their economic or political influence holds sway is the nasty end of "international ambition".

    As for the issue of socialism/free market:
    I think that depending on the circumstances the best approach is to do what works in a given place and time. Try the free market, and if it doesn't deliver a good equitable/affordable outcome then try a more regulated/controlled approach. The US healthcare situation is a good example of privatised bureaucracy (in the the form of HMOs) that is just as bad and expensive as the worst cases of centralised/socialised government control. In a healthy democracy (no pun intended) a government regulated system gives people "ballot box" power to shape the system, more so than one that just looks at the oldfashioned single bottom line that has just shareholders voting for shareholder interests...

    If we take the view that what works well in terms of delivering the "product" (be it education, health care or finance) we need to make sure that ideology of how do do it doesn't destroy the product being delivered by not generating the outcomes it is meant to (eg healthy, educated people etc).

  3. #3
    Sniffles
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    Quote Originally Posted by creativeRhino View Post
    The era of Nation states is what requires patriotism.
    That's nationalism, not patriotism.

    Long story short: I tend to have a positive view of patriotism, even despite its abuses. Patriotism is a virtue that must be maintained in all societies.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Peguy View Post
    That's nationalism, not patriotism.
    Nationalism - devotion and loyalty to one's own nation; patriotism.
    Patriotism - devoted love, support, and defense of one's country; national loyalty.

    Whats the difference?

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    Reason vs Being ragashree's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Didums View Post
    Nationalism - devotion and loyalty to one's own nation; patriotism.
    Patriotism - devoted love, support, and defense of one's country; national loyalty.

    Whats the difference?
    You might understand the essential difference between the terms better by considering their antonyms too:

    Patriotism - Treachery

    Nationalism - Multiculturalism or Cosmopolitanism
    Look into my avatar. Look deep into my avatar...

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    pathwise dependent FDG's Avatar
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    Can't see anything good in something that places a stupid label on something particular of a country. Another bad idea from Peguy.
    ENTj 7-3-8 sx/sp

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    Member Lozzy's Avatar
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    This thread makes me think of Billy Bragg. He's quite unique on the British left for his want to 'reclaim' patriotism from the far right. He is definitely in favour of a multicultural society whilst still being a patriot. Patriotism is often misrepresented by certain people and is associated with blind faith in one's government. You can be loyal to your country and still question it's actions, in fact I would say that questioning it is inherently patriotic. In the Enlightenment it had totally different implications than it does now, and was in no way associated with nationalism. I think a love of one's own country is healthy, and I certainly have a fondness mine. I would consider myself a mildly patriotic socialist.
    We don't need reason and we don't need logic, 'cause we've got feeling and we're damn proud of it!

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  8. #8
    Sniffles
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    Quote Originally Posted by Didums View Post
    Nationalism - devotion and loyalty to one's own nation; patriotism.
    Patriotism - devoted love, support, and defense of one's country; national loyalty.

    Whats the difference?
    Patriotism is the love of a particular place and people. This can involve one's nation, country, tribe, town, region, village, etc.

    Nationalism is the worship of one's nation, and the belief that the nation takes precedence over all other loyalties.

    That's probably the shortest possible summary I can give.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lozzy View Post
    In the Enlightenment it had totally different implications than it does now, and was in no way associated with nationalism.
    That's not entirely true, since it was during the Enlightenment that modern nationalism as we know it was born. This is especially true with the work of Johann Gottfried von Herder and Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Then the French Revolution was a major event in the development of nationalism.

  9. #9
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    Thanks ragashree and Peguy, I was always under the impression that the two terms were essentially interchangable, thx for clearing that up.

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    The Unwieldy Clawed One Falcarius's Avatar
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    I can't speak for other people who consider themselves socialists, but I consider socialism and patriotism to be somewhat paradoxical. Socialism is essentially an internationalist belief which I consider the near opposite of patriotism and its national chauvinism tendencies.

    As Marx put it with the idea of 'Proletarian Internationalism'. That is the idea people should act as citizens of the world, by supporting working people in other countries, rather than following their respective national governments with their identity politics; like patriotism infuses for example. Hence the Marxist slogan, "Workers of the world, unite!" ( Or as his Epitaph reads "Workers of all lands, unite!" ).

    This is not even going into the fact, when one is born they don't exactly get any choice where they are born.
    Quote Originally Posted by Thalassa View Post
    Oh our 3rd person reference to ourselves denotes nothing more than we realize we are epic characters on the forum.

    Narcissism, plain and simple.

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