We oppose nationalism. With this opposition we are not alone. For many people, nationalism has a bad reputation. Yet, few take issue with identifying with their home country – they might call this standpoint patriotism. Indeed, in the debate around the referendum for Scottish independence the “Yes” campaign was repeatedly accused of being nationalist, whereas somehow unionists did not have to answer the same accusation. Some people might get a bit annoyed about others waving flags, but take being, for example, English, British or Scottish as a self-evident part of their own identity. They just do not want to “make a big fuss about it”. Some people might reject mainstream or right-wing nationalism as oppressive but posit the “real nation” or (local) “community” against it. Finally, from left to right, big fuss or not, many protests invoke the greater, national good to make their point: unions calculate how higher wages would benefit the whole economy, students point out that they are a key resource of the nation, bankers and benefit recipients are criticised for putting their interests before the nation (from the left and right respectively). The word nationalism might have a bad reputation in some places, the appreciation of the nation, however, is undaunted.
Many people who distance themselves from nationalism oppose the racism that often accompanies it. More generally, when people oppose nationalism they usually oppose the nationalist segmentation of humankind into peoples. While we agree with this position, we oppose nationalism not just because of a wrong segmentation, but also because it posits unification of actual people into a people. We oppose nationalism because it appreciates a national community which demands subjugation and soft-pedalling. This particular reason for our opposition to nationalism is not one which is widely shared. Hence, in this workshop, we want to discuss what nationalists think, what nationalism claims and wants and why we oppose it in any form.