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Anti-nationalism denotes the sentiments associated with an opposition to the core sentiments of nationalism and related ideologies. The imposition of nationalism as a belief or identity system, particularly when in conflict with more established and self-sustaining identity choices, often based on freely chosen religious or cultural beliefs and practices can be understood to undermine the legitimacy of territory-based nationalism. Various forms of internationalism propose alternatives. They do not all necessarily oppose the concepts of countries, nation states, national boundaries, cultural preservation, and identity politics; for example, present-day multilateralism does not, whereas proletarian internationalism and various kinds of cosmopolitanism explicitly do so.

Some anti-nationalists oppose all types of nationalism, including ethnic nationalism among oppressed minority groups. Variations on this theme are often seen in Marxist theory. Marx and Engels rejected nationalism as a whole, stating that, "the working men have no country".[1] Many Trotskyists, however, such as Chris Harman, were critical of nationalism while advocating support for what they saw as progressive national struggles.[2]


Anarchism has developed a critique of nationalism that focuses on nationalism's role in justifying and consolidating state power, domination, and wealth. Through its unifying goal, nationalism strives for centralization, both in specific territories and in a ruling elite of individuals, while it prepares a population for capitalist exploitation. Within anarchism, this subject has been treated extensively by Rudolf Rocker in Nationalism and Culture and by the works of Fredy Perlman, such as Against His-Story, Against Leviathan and The Continuing Appeal of Nationalism.[3]

In his Aphorisms on the Wisdom of Life, Arthur Schopenhauer rejects nationalism, seeing it as an abandonment of personal identity.[4] In his clarifying work, Ecce Homo, Friedrich Nietzsche unequivocally denounces nationalism in the strongest terms, describing it as "this most anti-cultural sickness and unreason there is, nationalism, this nervose nationale with which Europe is sick, this perpetuation of European particularism, of petty politics...a dead-end street."[5] Søren Kierkegaard's philosophy is a criticism and vehement rejection of Christian nationalism.[6]

Notable anti-nationalists[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. Philip Spencer; Howard Wollman (2002). Nationalism: A Critical Introduction. SAGE. pp. 8–9. Search this book on
  2. The Return of the National Question by Chris Harman, a Trotskyist analysis and critique of nationalism.
  3. The Continuing Appeal of Nationalism by Fredy Perlman.Detroit, Black & Red Publishers, 1985.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Robert McKim; Jeff McMahan, eds. (1997). The Morality of Nationalism. Oxford University Press US. p. 121. Search this book on
  5. Nietzsche, Friedrich (1989). On the Genealogy of Morals and Ecce Homo. Vintage Books. p. 321. ISBN 0-679-72462-1. Search this book on
  6. 6.0 6.1 Kierkegaard's Critique of Christian Nationalism, Stephen Backhouse. Oxford University Press, 2011 (pg. 2)
  7. Ronald Beiner (2003). "Hannah Arendt as a Critic of Nationalism". Liberalism, Nationalism, Citizenship: Essays on the problem of political community. UBC Press. pp. 129–147. Search this book on
  8. " Capek not only mocks his fellow-countrymen for wallowing in past sufferings but shrewdly shows how this kind of pride in humiliation can be fostered in others...He is opposed to nationalism, yet he argues for the importance of culture; he writes in Czech, yet he wields his language as a weapon against the whole of his contemporary world." Elizabeth Maslen, "Proper Words in Proper Places: The Challenge of Čapek's "War with the Newts". Science Fiction Studies March 1987.
  9. "Pride and Blessing". It's Bad for Ya.
  10. Viereck, George Sylvester (October 26, 1929), "What Life Means to Einstein: An Interview by George Sylvester Viereck" (PDF), The Saturday Evening Post, p. 117, retrieved 19 May 2013
  11. "Forster was famously a "little Englander". But this meant that he disliked the Imperialist enterprise, distrusted patriotism, and anxiously celebrated internationalism." John Lucas, The Radical Twenties : aspects of writing, politics and culture. Nottingham: Five Leaves, 1997. ISBN 0907123171 Search this book on . (p. 212)
  12. "We dedicate ourselves to a relentless fight against Fascism and War, Imperialism, nationalism, humanism, liberalism, idealism, anarchist individualism, the doctrine of art for art's sake, religious fideism and dogmas emanating in general from any party or person capable of exploitation by capitalism to justify its perpetuation".David Gascoyne,"A First English Surrealist Manifesto",(1935) in Robert Fraser, Night Thoughts : the surreal life of the poet David Gascoyne.Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2012. ISBN 9780199558148 Search this book on . (p.79).
  13. "Conceit, arrogance and egotism are the essentials of patriotism. Let me illustrate. Patriotism assumes that our globe is divided into little spots, each one surrounded by an iron gate." What is Patriotism?
  14. "A New Flag (Patriotism)". Rant in E-Minor.
  15. World Book Encyclopedia, 1990 ed., s.v. "Iqbal, Sir Muhammad"
  16. "A large part of Vernon Lee's writing is a sustained and at times bitter attack on what she regarded as serious evils-waste, the position of woman, vivisection, art for art's sake, nationalism, war." Peter Gunn, Vernon Lee: Violet Paget, 1856-1935. London, New York, Oxford University Press, 1964.(p.149)
  17. "[Vernon] Lee's absolute rejection of patriotism isolated her from many even in the UDC circle."Patrick Wright,Iron Curtain: From Stage to Cold War. Oxford : Oxford University Press, 2007. ISBN 9780199231508 Search this book on ..
  18. "Lenin: Corrupting the Workers with Refined Nationalism".
  19. "Rosa Luxemburg remained steadfastly anti-war and anti-nationalist" Jan Jindy Pettman, Worlding Women: A Feminist International Politics New York: Routledge, 2005 ISBN 1134744900 Search this book on . (p. 110).
  20. "Marxism postulated the formation of the proletariat as a force that transcended national identities and that operated on a supranational. Because of this, from its earliest beginnings, Marxism viewed nationalism as a rival and an enemy". Roman Szporluk, Communism and Nationalism: Karl Marx Versus Friedrich List, Oxford University Press, 1988, pg. 14.
  21. "Of course he [Mumford] opposed militarism and nationalism in all its forms and later condemned the Nazi ideology that justified a totalitarian social order by attaching place-"the soil"- to race". Mark Luccarelli,Lewis Mumford and The Ecological Region : The Politics Of Planning. New York : Guilford Press, 1995. ISBN 1572300019 Search this book on . (p.24.)
  22. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2017-01-07. Retrieved 2017-01-27. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  23. "Who Speaks for Earth". Cosmos: A Personal Voyage. 1980-12-21.
  24. "Nationalism does nothing but teach you how to hate people that you never met." No Refunds
  25. "As conscious beings advance in mental growth, they come to recognise that this ideal must embrace not merely their own kin or neighbours, not only their tribe or nation, not only the whole race or species, but all conscious beings whatever, no matter how foreign." - Olaf Stapledon, Philosophy and Living, 1939
  26. Landscapes of Hope: Anti-Colonial Utopianism in America by Dohra Ahmad. Oxford University Press, 2009 (pp. 94-6)
  27. "Patriotism in its simplest, clearest and most indubitable signification is nothing else but a means of obtaining for the rulers their ambitions and covetous desires, and for the ruled the abdication of human dignity, reason and conscience, and a slavish enthrallment to those in power. And as such it is recommended wherever it may be preached.
    Patriotism is slavery." Patriotism and Christianity, Leo Tolstoy.
  28. OxfordUnion (27 November 2013). "You Should NOT Be Proud To Be Patriotic - Peter Tatchell - Oxford Union" – via YouTube.
  29. "Veblen was against nationalism because it involves wasteful, honorific, and hence barbaric rituals, ceremonies, and related phenomena". Quoted in "Introduction" by Stjepan G. Mestrovic to Thorstein Veblen by David Riesman. Transaction Publishers, 1953 (p. xvi)
  30. "If I am opposed to nationalism and war, it is not merely because these things represent an immense waste of energy, but because they sustain a cant of blind discipline and loyalty ..." H.G. Wells, interview in Living Philosophies, edited by Clifton Fadiman. New York, Simon and Schuster, 1931. (p.91
  31. "H.G. Wells rejects patriotism and nationalism in this intentionally provocative talk, speaking of his great desire for a future 'world unity' where barriers between countries are dissolved. While acknowledging his own great pride in being an Englishman, Wells decries both the increasing nationalism that is plaguing the world and the march towards war, a catastrophe that many believe is now inevitable, while still hoping for peace and co-operation if the courage and imagination can be found." HG Wells challenges the idea of 'Britain for the British'
  32. "Woolf deeply distrusted patriotism and nationalism, believing they cwars; such feelings were particularly ill-suited to women living in a patriarchy, whose stake in society was significantly different from that of men." Julia Briggs, Reading Virginia Woolf. Edinburgh : Edinburgh University Press, 2006. ISBN 9780748624348 Search this book on . (p. 15).

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