Anti-National: Love Techno, Hate Britain?


An excellent post at History is Made at Night, which I recommend highly. Here’s some extracts, but you’ll want to read the whole thing.

A global economic crisis is leading to global austerity – yet paradoxically in places at the sharp end populist nationalism is resurgent amidst the demonstrations and riots. A recent survey of the situation in Greece notes that ‘Nationalism (mostly in a populist form) is dominant, favoured both by the various extreme right wing cliques as well as by left parties and leftists. Even for a lot of proletarians or petty-bourgeois hit by the crisis who are not affiliated with political parties, national identity appears as a last imaginary refuge when everything else is rapidly crumbling. Behind the slogans against the “foreign, sell out government” or for the “Salvation of the country”, “National sovereignty” and a “New Constitution” lies a deep feeling of fear and alienation to which the “national community” appears as a magical unifying solution. Class interests are often expressed in nationalist and racist terms producing a confused and explosive political cocktail’.


Another approach is an abstract internationalism which simply affirms a global solidarity without getting hands dirty criticising the prevalent nationalism of where you live. In Berlin earlier this year, on the other hand, I was struck by the continuing virulence of the anti-national position: a total refusal to have any truck with celebrating Germany or German culture. Here’s some images from that current:

‘Keing tag fur die Nation’ (‘No day for the nation’).
‘Staat, Nation, Kapital. Scheisse’ (State, Nation, Capital. Shit’) – demonstration against day to celebrate German reunification.

Fight the Empire, Destroy Germany

Deutschland Abschalten (Shut down Germany)
‘Everybody loves Germany. We don’t’

‘Love techno, hate Germany’

There are some problems with parts of the ‘anti-national’ tendency, especially when German exceptionalism is over-emphasised. The point isn’t to be just ‘anti-German’ as if other people’s nationalism is OK – and indeed in Germany many people in that current moved on from describing themselves as ‘antideutsch’ to ‘antinational’.

What would an ‘anti-British’ imagery look like? What is it we would be against – the nation state? The political formation? The notion of supremacy of British culture and history? Would it be worthwhile? Just thinking aloud here, but if you want to have a go at some stickers let’s see what you come up with!

2 Responses to “Anti-National: Love Techno, Hate Britain?”

  1. .Some nation states such as Germany or Italy came into existence at least partly as a result of political campaigns by during the 19th century. In these cases the nationalist sentiment and the nationalist movement clearly precede the unification of the German and Italian nation states..Historians Hans Kohn Liah Greenfeld Philip White and others have classified nations such as Germany or Italy where cultural unification preceded state unification as ethnic nations or ethnic nationalities.

  1. 1 Critique and theory: Producerism, populism, capitalism, anti-capitalism, disasterism, imperialism, nationalism « Anti-National Translation

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