By Robert Stuart
Post-Marxists argue that nationalism is the black gap into which Marxism has collapsed at today’s “end of history.” Robert Stuart analyzes the origins of this implosion, revealing a shattering collision among Marxist socialism and nationwide id in France on the shut of the 19th century. throughout the time of the Boulanger trouble and the Dreyfus affair, nationalist mobs roamed the streets chanting “France for the French!” whereas socialist militants marshaled proletarians for global revolution. this can be the 1st examine to target these militants as they struggled to reconcile Marxism’s nationwide agendas: the cosmopolitan conviction that “workingmen don't have any country,” at the one hand, and the patriotic assumption that the operating category on my own represents nationwide authenticity, at the different. Anti-Semitism posed a specific challenge for such socialists, now not least simply because such a lot of staff had succumbed to racist temptation. In examining the consequent come upon among France’s anti-Semites and the Marxist Left, Stuart addresses the vexed factor of Marxism’s involvement with political anti-Semitism.
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Extra info for Marxism and National Identity: Socialism, Nationalism, and National Socialism During the French Fin De Siecle
Now have only one homeland: the social revolution, which will free them from cosmopolitan capitalist exploitation. 101 “All the sons of toil of the universe”—Marxism’s constituency, humanity’s hope . . and the nation’s doom. The colossal emigration from nineteenth-century Europe, often evoked in L’Egalité and Le Socialiste, classically manifested the bourgeoisie’s internationalization of its workforce. Cornish miners on the Victorian gold fields, Piedmontese masons in the building sites of Buenos Aires, Polish ironworkers at the furnaces of Pennsylvania—these regiments mobilized into “the army of the sans-patrie”102 had been recruited not by socialism, but by capitalism.
The state belonged equally to them all as Frenchmen, nurtured them all equally as enfants de la patrie. Little wonder, then, that, when encountering such rhetoric, revolutionary Guesdists sometimes clung desperately to past political mentalities. The Parti Ouvrier insisted that the patrie was, in fact, no more than the oppressive and exploitative “bourgeois state,” and urged “the people” to repudiate both. The POF, however, sometimes abandoned this ur-Marxist absolutism, since the debunking equation of illusory homeland with real but repellent state generated crippling problems for Guesdist polemicists.
According to French Marxists, warfare and empire were mere symptoms of a sickened and sickening capitalism. Guesdists intended to cure the disease. Socialism, they contended, was the only balm for war fever. ”74 High-minded liberals who promoted capitalism while opposing war and imperialism were at best obtuse, at worst perfidious. Kant’s vacuous dream of perpetual peace, Guesdists were sure, could only be realized through Marx’s hardheaded program of socialist revolution. Unfortunately for Marxist revolutionaries determined to extirpate capitalism’s ills, imperialism has proven to be a particularly nightmarish challenge: a sort of metahistorical brain tumor—insidious, progressive, incurable, and eventually fatal.