reading and questions for 9/23

the continuing appeal of nationalism

If that’s too long for slackers then I’d say to read pages 5-28, and 45-58 (in the physical book) at the least, or in the online version the first seven sections (separated by ***), and from the sentence “After the war, many reasonable people would speak of the aims of the Axis as irrational and of Hitler as a lunatic” through the end of the text. Though the entire essay is recommended and a quick read! So much fascinating history, so many implications and so easy to digest!!

Questions:

1) How would you summarize the defining aspects and/or functions of nationalism according to Perlman’s analysis?

2)Fredy asserts that racism is an instrument implemented to consolidate and utilize repressive forms of power against the threat of The Other, by reducing people to racial identities. He carefully separates race from lived experience, cultural and religious identity, kinship, and community. Is there a core element to the concept of race which exists outside of the context of racism? That is to say, is race racist? Does race even exist?

3) In our current epoch of post-modernism, where people who comprise most popular liberation movements have already been born into a society lacking any real connection to their ancestral/cultural histories, what else do they have to lose or what are other detriments to organizing on lines of racial or national identity (black liberation, post-occupy decolonize movement, etc.)?

4) Fredy leaves us with a horrifying conclusion–that nationalism is the most practical option for the oppressed, posing the question “What concentration camp manager, national executioner or torturer is not a descendent of oppressed people?” Is it possible to organize a liberatory movement that actually destroys power rather than inverting it? Why or why not, or what would that look like?

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