I’m going to be quite blunt here: our society is outgrowing nationalism. Now you’ll say that all of these nationalistic populistic parties on the rise prove differently, but I interpret them as growing pains. The backwards people feel the need to unite and do something, because it’s not enough anymore to sit on their asses and individually hang on to their backwards ideas. In Germany, the generation that lived through the NAZI period are all gone save for a very few people who got REALLY old. About ten years ago, there were literally thousandfold more of them around. But it wasn’t only the NAZIs that lived through that period. Germany has been carrying a very strong antinationalism identity in its population after the War and the Entnazifizierung, while other nations bolstered their national identity with their victory over the NAZIs (yes, I’m looking at you, Russia) while others never let go of their Grande Nacion. And this is just talking about Europe. Anyway, it’s a good thing the NAZIs were defeated (and the other AXIS powers, too), that much is indisputable.
So much for the history lesson. Why do I believe that we need to rethink nationalism? Because it’s necessary. One reason to my mind are the corporations. I’m not saying they are THE ENEMY, as a matter of fact, business is vital to humanity. But the way corporations work, they serve the interests of the few, at the expense of the many. The current framework allows multinational corporations and the people who run them to dodge taxes, environmental regulations and pay unfairly low wages for production on a grand scale. And guess what: that’s exactly what they do! Sure, uniting against these practises internationally would mean that you can’t buy a ‘fashionable’ dress for 19,95$ anymore (is it still fashion if your dress is cheaper than your perfume?). It also means your dress won’t have been produced by 10-year-old seamstresses who work for a few cents an hour twelve hours a day in an unclimatized structurally unsafe building in Bangladesh, just to have a fighting chance at survival. And guess what: not only do they sew the 19,95$ dresses, but also the 199,95$ sneakers you bought the other day. Production and transport combined for both of these items amounts to a dollar more or less each, marketing may be a bit more expensive. The store you bought it at – provided you didn’t order it online – is just about making ends meet on the 50% of the price they make in profit on the item, because they have to pay their sales employees sort-of-fair wages. The state gets their VAT, and the fashion label takes the cake. Now, this is only one example, but it’s the method of MultiCorps. Transnationalism has the potential to enforce more just business ethics.
Another reason is international crime. Human and drug trafficking benefit drastically from our nations’ mostly incompatible policing systems and reluctance to cooperate. On a global level, terrorism is treated as a military problem, with a military solution. But soldiers are not detectives, and militaries have a very limited toolbox for fighting crime (you’ve got your basic hammer, then a bigger hammer, and then an even bigger one for really bad guys. And a set of tweezers to pull out fingernails). Also, military occupations are expensive. A grand scale transnational police cooperation would be a lot more effective at keeping us safe than what is happening now. Interpol is a start, something to build upon, but it’s not a cigar.
Last, but not least, transnationalism would make more people give a shit. All of the things from above, are things that aren’t happpening to ‘us’ as long as we define ourselves as being of a specific nation. We’re not the ones sewing dresses for other people just to survive in an increasingly unfair global economy. We’re not being abducted from our families – or even sold by them – to make money for our captors as sex slaves. We’re not digging diamonds in a dirthole, without any safety gear, for a dollar a day, so these can be sold for thousands of dollars a gram on a wedding ring somewhere around the world. We’re not drug mules, or plantation slaves, or a religios minority in a new fundamentalistic quasi-state. But we are, if we identify primarily as Humans, not Germans, Russians, French, Americans, Turks, Chinese, just to name a few. We’ve made great advances in our fight against Racism and Sexism (no, we’re not quite done in that respect), but Nationalism is the next big hurdle to overcome to build a better world for us and our descendants