Posts Tagged ‘Nationalism’

Is the Scottish Nationalist Party inherently racist?

November 13, 2015

The natural corollary for any “nationalist” party is a discrimination against “non-nationals”. In fact it is very difficult to be a “nationalist” without also being xenophobic. In many countries in Europe the nationalist parties are very often also anti-immigrant and inherently racist to varying degrees. Nationalist, racist parties are usually on the far-right and often have a Nazi or a neo-Nazi past

Ruth Wodak …… divided these parties into four groups: “parties [that] gain support via an ambivalent relationship with fascist and Nazi pasts” (e.g., in Austria, Hungary, Italy, Romania, and France), parties that “focus primarily on a perceived threat from Islam” (e.g., in the Netherlands, Denmark, Poland, Sweden, and Switzerland), parties that “restrict their propaganda to a perceived threat to their national identities from ethnic minorities” (e.g., in Hungary, Greece, Italy, and the United Kingdom) and parties that “endorse a fundamentalist Christian conservative-reactionary agenda” (e.g., in Poland, Romania and Bulgaria)

Occasionally the nationalists come from the far-left as with Syriza in Greece or the far-left parties in Portugal. The Scottish Nationalist Party is about as far left as you can get without being just another Communist Party. But it is now becoming clear that the SNP also has a nucleus of not only xenophobic but also anti-semitic views. In the latest instance the party and the party leader have had to apologise abjectly for one of their member’s “grotesque” anti-semitic views.

Daily MailA Scottish Nationalist MSP was at the centre of a race-hate storm last night after sharing an anti-Semitic image online which was compared to the ‘very worst of Nazi propaganda’. Sandra White made a humiliating apology to a Jewish group which condemned the ‘bizarre and hateful’ image she circulated to her thousands of followers on social media website Twitter.

But campaigners said that she should be disciplined for ‘retweeting’ the disturbing cartoon. A petition, which had 500 supporters last night, was launched by campaigners calling on the Glasgow Kelvin MSP to quit. ………. As the row intensified last night, First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon apologised to the Scottish Council of Jewish Communities (ScoJec) for the ‘abhorrent’ post, which Mrs White insisted she had accidentally retweeted.

That this is not an isolated incident is apparent from the recent headlines:

Sweden’s National Day today – but it’s a pale shadow of Midsommar

June 6, 2015

It’s the 6th of June and its Sweden’s National Day but it is raining this morning. At least the rain is reasonably warm and we should get up to about 22ºC today. It is an artificial National Day and has very little significance in its origin or in practice. It generates little emotion and has no real tradition to speak of. Its importance is a pale shadow to that of Midsommar. If one takes 1893 as the origin of the day then it was entirely a marketing ploy by Artur Hazelius.

The real origin of the choice of 6th June was bad weather and the ensuring of revenues from an organised festival! In 1893, a Spring Festival had to be reorganised hastily by Artur Hazelius for the 6th of June because it rained heavily on the day he had planned. The “Festival” was planned to draw in money from the public of course!

In more recent times, the loony right (fascists, neo-nazis and other xenophobes), including the Sweden Democrats, have tried to use the National day to express their xenophobia. But with almost 20% of the current citizenry having been born outside of Sweden, even the Sweden Democrats have realised the futility (and political stupidity) of their xenophobia and are trying to clean up their act. (This strategy is working and they have never had a higher level of support – about 14% – than now. So far they only have a few token immigrants among their supporters).

But this year the Google Doodle for the day is by Stina Wirsén and is intended to be an image celebrating “inclusion”.

Sweden National Day Google Doodle by Stina Wirsén

Sweden National Day Google Doodle by Stina Wirsén

I wrote last year:

Perhaps the best thing about Sweden’s national day today is that there is not very much jingoism and nationalism and patriotic fervour in evidence. If anything it is more a celebration of the values of human freedoms rather than any particular celebration of the nation state within its geographical boundaries. Even the national (but unofficial) anthem is more a paean to the North – Scandinavia (“Oh! I wish to live, I wish to die in Norden”) rather than specifically to Sweden.

The 6th of June has been a national holiday only since 2005, has been officially the National Day only since 1983 and before that was the Swedish Flag day but only since 1916. It was chosen ostensibly because the 6th of June was the day on which Gustav Vasa was crowned in 1523. But the real reason of course is that because there is a very good chance that the 6th of June will be a nice warm summer day! …… 

I don’t mind too much if it rains a bit today – as long as it does not for Midsommar.

Muted felicitations to Putin on Russia’s national day

June 13, 2014

I don’t much care for jingoistic “National Days”.

I suspect that the time when humans have evolved sufficiently such that “nation states” based on a geographical territory become merely administrative regions is still at least a thousand years away. And just what would replace the simple, geographical “nation state” is not yet clear to me. “Nations” based on “values” perhaps, except that if such “nations” cutting across geography were based on religion or political leanings, it would be a giant step backwards. Imagine the nightmare of a “Nation of Islam” consisting of al Qaeda, al Shabab, ISIS, Boko Haram,the Taliban and other groups sharing a similar lack of values!! Or a “Nation of the Neo-Nazis”! Or the Nation of Rock!

In any event we will have nation states and will be plagued by National Days for many centuries yet.

Yesterday was Russia’s National Day but the 12th of June does not have a very long history.

VoiceofRussia:

The document that laid the basis of Russia’s new statehood was adopted on June 12, 1990, when Russia was a republic within the former Soviet Union. This day was put on the list of memorable dates in 1992. The holiday gained its official status in 1994 when it was declared to be a day-off.

President Vladimir Putin will present State Prizes for 2013 to outstanding citizens of the country on Thursday. At the close of the presentation ceremony, a ceremonial reception will be given in the Kremlin. A concert is to be given in the Red Square in the evening. Such concerts have become a tradition on this day. This year, it will feature sports motives with elements of Russian folklore. The audience is draw visual parallels between the victory of Russia’s national team at the Winter Games in Sochi, reunification with Crimea and the forthcoming FIFA World Cup. The topic of the Year of Russian Culture will be also highlighted.

Along with the events in the Red Square, about 250 festival events will be organized in Moscow, including the Moscow press festival on Poklonnaya Hill and the Kremlin Mile running event.

Many countries followed diplomatic niceties and sent their congratulation to Vladimir Putin and the Russian nation. But I detect that in the shadow of Syria and Ukraine these diplomatic messages have been somewhat muted and were not oozing with great enthusiasm!

NewIndiaExpress“My greetings to the people of Russia on Russia’s National Day. India values the long-standing & strong bond with Russia,” Modi tweeted. “I have written to President Putin & Prime Minister Medvedev, conveying greetings on the occasion of Russia’s National Day,” another tweet of his said.

There were the usual messages from most countries but those from the US and Western Europe were relatively muted.

WashingtonPost(blog):

Back in the old days of the Russia “reset,” then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton issued statements on Russia’s National Day on June 12, emphasizing warming relations.

In 2010 and 2012 the announcements noted the country’s “rich history” and culture. Clinton then quickly pivoted to talk about “building a new partnership” and all the “progress in areas of common concern” between the United States and Russia, such as reducing nuke stockpiles and working to stop proliferation and terrorism. …….. 

But this year, there was a decided chill in the air and no talk of policy matters in Secretary of State John Kerry’s perfunctory five-sentence note on Wednesday. Kerry instead wanted “to pause today and appreciate the great works of Russian literature, music and art that have touched so many people around the world.” He celebrated “the 200th anniversary of the birth of Mikhail Lermontov,” the great Russian poet, then poet and playwright Aleksandr Pushkin and poet Anna Akhmatova. (Hey! No Tolstoy? Dostoevsky?)

What about mutual cooperation? And “warmest wishes?” Fuggedaboudit.

“May the Russian and the American people share in a peaceful, stable and prosperous future,” Kerry concluded.
Oh Well. Better a cool message than a drone carrying a bomb.

Sweden’s national day today (but little nationalism on show)

June 6, 2014

sveriges-flagga

Perhaps the best thing about Sweden’s national day today is that there is not very much jingoism and nationalism and patriotic fervour in evidence. If anything it is more a celebration of the values of human freedoms rather than any particular celebration of the nation state within its geographical boundaries. Even the national (but unofficial) anthem is more a paean to the North – Scandinavia (“Oh! I wish to live, I wish to die in Norden”) rather than specifically to Sweden.

The vast bulk of the population don’t make very much fuss about the day. Politicians tend to attend some official function or the other –  more for political correctness – it seems to me. Immigrants take part in some of the (fairly low-key) festivities. Many municipalities have some ceremony to welcome new citizens on this day. The loony right don’t like this welcoming of “New Swedes”. They usually try and whip up some artificial feelings of nationalism with anti-immigration rhetoric – but even their efforts are somewhat half-hearted.

The 6th of June has been a national holiday only since 2005, has been officially the National Day only since 1983 and before that was the Swedish Flag day but only since 1916. It was chosen ostensibly because the 6th of June was the day on which Gustav Vasa was crowned in 1523. But the real reason of course is that because there is a very good chance that the 6th of June will be a nice warm summer day!

The real origin of the choice of 6th June was bad weather and the ensuring of revenues from an organised festival! In 1893, a Spring Festival had to be reorganised hastily by Artur Hazelius for the 6th of June because it rained heavily on the day he had planned. The “Festival” was planned to draw in money from the public of course!

In any event, it is nice, warm, sunny day today. And it is a public holiday.

And I will not be doing anything special to celebrate – but I shall enjoy the day.


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