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May 30, 2005

Are feminist antimilitarists necessarily 'antinationalist'?

You'll see that I've recently added some new Research Profiles to the weblog - if you have time, take a look at the ones for Spain, Serbia and India. 

One of the questions that's arisen in some of my visits and interviews is: are feminist antimilitarists necessarily 'antinationalist'? Some suggest that opposition to nationalism is bound to be one of the founding principles of Women in Black as an international network. Others say, 'Hold on a minute!  What about....'  They are thinking of people, stateless in a world of nation states, who may still feel their survival depends on having a territory of 'their own' in which to feel secure in their 'name'.

I would enjoy to hear your views on the relationship between feminisms, antimilitarisms and nationalisms. Do please post your thoughts below. Cynthia.


i personally cannot imagine feminist with national identity.
to feel free with national identity?
to feel free with constructs that divide all of us from each other? national identity is not the question of differences, but dividedness.
i was "born croatian", i mean, they inputed me into that nationality at my birth day. i gave up national identity years ago and since then i feel completely free. in my mind of course. i live in croatia area (not the state but the country) and of course i'm most familiar with good things here but all the boolshits too. i feel responsibility for thing i do, but not the croats do.
no border, no nation, no deportation! (anarchists would say...).
also: no god no master...


I suppose I feel sort of ashamed of being English, and never describe myself as such - on the 2001 census I just put "earthling". Is it because it's "dominant", like being white, another term I never use? I don't even understand what englishness means - I'm sure I have much more in common with women around the world than I do with most englishmen. Patriotism makes me uncomfortable. Would I feel differently if I had an different origin? Borders are (hu)man-made and are maintained to divide and rule. Can we not have personal identity & human rights (to security, residence etc) without the constraints and dangers of nationalism?

I agree with Sarah about feeling uncomfortable about bearing the label "English" or "British". And I don't feel I have to take ownership of things 'done' by the British government or the English nation (or whatever)i.e. apparently 'done in my name'.

But all the same I have this lingering feeling that I have more responsibility, living here in the British Isles - more than someone labelled 'Italian' or 'Turkish' living here - to struggle in and against British or English political or cultural life for the values I believe in...

And I suppose that an Italian or Turkish woman might feel a similar responsibility to mount a challenge against things 'done in her name' in Italy or Turkey.

So it seems to me that, even if we refuse 'nationalism', we can't
altogether escape from 'national identity', however much we might want to. Do you agree? Cynthia.

there is no connection between living in some country and feeling responsibility for things that are happening there, versus "use some national identification as your own".
at least, there sould not be connection...

It is true that nationalism and the nation state are both social constructs that have been invented to protect certain values and that many of us and most feminist anti-militarists are against the very values that they protect. However at the same time we have to start taking responsibility for our own nation states' actions, even if we disagree with them. For most of the people that read this site it's very easy to criticise actions by our governments that we don't agree with. For all those people that can't read this site because they live below the poverty line or in violent conflict situations, imagining that there are well-educated people out there, like us, (who will never be in need of food and shelter) refuse to accept responsibility for a government's actions that we have voted in and that is affecting them negatively might seem a little spoilt?

I believe that nationalism is simply an extension of the ages-old patriarchal clan, tribe, city-state, etc. Since I live in the United States, I have much work to do to make my country a better citizen of the world. Toward that end I try to develop an image of myself as an internationalist, a person who is struggling to make decisions and accept or reject ideas on whether they are good for the rest of the world rather than whether they are good for us Americans.

The idea of a nation is not the same as the idea of a cultural identity. In every instance I know of, a nation has been founded on an army.

Cultural identity is not, at least, necessarily.

Therefore, nationalism is not the only way to defend a people's identity traits AND nationalism is not compatible as it is with pacifism.

In Spain, I favor respect to our different peoples, but I am against nationalisms, Spanish, Catalonian, Basque, Galego or whatever other nationalism. Not only because it conflicts with pacifist struggle but also because it is authoritarian, as all ideologies based on hierarchies and the use of force.

Then, I support the nonviolent struggle to rescue oppressed peoples and their culture.

In any case, what I mostly support is that no culture, no individual oppresses any other, more than defend that we created collectives. I support a respect to individual people's choices, I am against nationalisms because they are founded on violent struggle and armies, and I believe we should be cautious with this issue of "collective identities", even though they exist. We shouldn't forget we are more and more mixed and that collective identities have traditionally been used to oppress and manipulate.

Saludos from Madrid

great post. thanx

feminists are anti everything aslong as men are involved

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