robert adrian on 26 Oct 2000 14:50:29 -0000

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<nettime> Re: Palestinians as Myth

Richard wrote:
>All nation states are historically recent inventions.
>Even the oldest states, such as England or the USA,
>are only a few centuries old.

Nation states, in the sense we are talking about here,
are a much more recent phenomenon, being the result
of the collapse of the old empires in central europe
and the middle east 80 years ago, the western
european global colonial empires about 40 years ago
and the USSR in the last decade.

Nations identify themselves ethnically, culturally,
and territorially - usually in contrast to the empire
under which they feel oppressed. The collapse of the
Austro-Hungarian empire under nationlist pressure in
1919 is probably the classic case and is especially
relevant to the crisis in the Balkans (and in
Nobody seems to have remembered that the shot that
started WW1 - killing the heir to the Austrian
imperial throne - was fired by a Serbian nationalist
in Sarajevo. If they had, they might have been less
surprised by the bloodbath that followed the hasty
recognition of a separate Bosnian state without
consultation with the Serbian - and Croation -
Zionism is a nationalist movement born in Vienna
in the last years of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy.
It resulted from the awareness that, while all the
other "nations" in the empire (including the
dominant German-Austrians) had a national territory
or "homeland", the jews had none ... which left
them stranded as almost the only citizens of
Austria-Hungary with no claims to nationhood. (The
irony is that the jews - and the Roma and Sinti
(so-called Gypsies) - were therefore probably the
only citizens loyal to the K&K monarchy.)
Palestine, a neglected backwater in the shambles
of the crumbling Ottoman empire, was claimed and
colonised by the Zionists as the jewish "homeland",
resulting eventually in the diaspora of the
Palestinians, now stuggling for their claim to
nationhood. And so it goes ...

Nationalism and the nation-state are the answer
to perceived imperial oppression - the suppression
of local/national cultural, social and political
rights and aspirations in the interests of some
central or distant authority. Over the past 100-
odd years the old empires have all but vanished,
thereby making the nation-state appear a hollow
anachronism and an impediment to the proper flow
of trade and capital in the shiney, new, "free",
post-political world.
But so-called "Globalisation" with its instruments
of power - the WTO, World Bank and IMF (backed up
by bombing and other demonstrations of military
supremacy) - appears to be more and more like the
old-fashioned 'central or distant authority' of
the unlamented empires.
So be prepared for more, not less, "nationalism" -
with all its nasty side-effects - in direct
proportion to the successes of global capitalism
in dominating the planet.

______________robert adrian_____________

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