when we speak about nationalism the first thought that comes to our mind is that it is a plan which includes some undesirable policies against other nations. From this aspect of the phenomenon there is no any doubt that to use aggressive policies against others in nationalistic base it can be mostly explained by primordialist perspective. Because to distinguish self than others you must use sentimental investment by ethno-historical, cultural, religious identity position. It is quite clear that in the national movements it is used by national leaders for to get legitimacy from people who share the same ethnicity. But in this short essay I will try to explain `how economic problems encourage national hostility` by using past and present examples. My aim in this short essay is to explain the economic crisis as a productive environment for nationalist strategy on the hands of political leaders for to get power. So we have two “sample” questions: a) which role do socio-economic expectation play in nationalist strategy-?; b) why nationalism raises when economic crisis increases-?
In first chapter my attitude to the economic problems will as one of the main challenges for newly established nation state and I will try to explain how national governments or leaders use it as an element of national strategy. In second chapter I will try to explain – how dose economic crisis provoke national hostility.
Chapter-1: Which role do socio-economic expectations play in nationalist strategy-?
Generally the new established nation-state faces with three major challenges: a) to develop economy; b) to achieve political independence; and c) to develop national culture in order to establish and maintain cultural cohesion. All above goals deeply relate with national security with other words national survival.
After the WW I there were many new established and old nation-states that faced with economic crisis which emerged through the war. Because the war has resulted with collapse of many empires and old world economic system began to fall down. The undesirable life standards of people have caused in Europe to the two directions of nationalist strategy including socialist-communist movement beginning of 1917 in Russia and national-socialist in Germany especially beginning from 1930s. Nationalist and socialist movement in these two countries are brilliant examples for explanation how national-political elites use economic crisis for to get legitimacy for their authority. “The national character of the ruling elite is deep in negative nationalism and negative socialism, the socialism is anchored on the state as an entrepreneur and controller in the economy under the false ideology: the government is protecting the people.”
Socialist movement in Russia lead by Bolsheviks under the leadership of V.I. Lenin and nationalist-socialism leaded by Adolph Hitler in Germany have based on above false idea. Bolsheviks focused on to gather all workers from all parts of the empire to bring them together. They applied to different kind of nationalism emerged by them which can be called worker class nationalism under the idea to economically protect workers from property owners o rich people. Because as in all type of national movements the idea of construction of “self and others” is also characteric for socialist revolution in Russia. May be it is explained as a struggle between antagonist classes – proletariats and bourgeoisie. But let me argue that it can also be explained as an effort to create new social base through workers “army” which also can be called new national identity in class base that have been called-proletariat. It also was similar with civic nationalism but under the utopist, collectivist – social equality idea. In fact in that time after the “October” revolution the new created nation state`s government in Russia has been called worker`s government. Of course after the creation of Soviet Union there was a rough struggle against ethnic national ideas. Many national writers and political leaders from different nations were punished with death penalty. All this actions operated by communist party could be compare with one nation`s violation against others with other words “workers class nationalism” against ethnic nationalism. Actually Bolsheviks by using economic problems and lower life standards of workers successfully provoked them against bourgeois. By giving them guarantee about socio-economic happiness they achieved to get power and legitimacy. Because they not only give them promise but also showed them guilty one of this economic problems and socio-economic inequality. By this way they successfully achieved to create “self and others” as in all nationalist movement.
The same way has been followed by Nazi Germany during the Great Depression and WW II, but in ethnic nationalist base. National-Socialism or Nazism in Germany came to power probably with the same strategy – by using economic crisis emerged through Great Depression national-socialists provoked German people against Jews. During the Weimar Republic period “majority of German Jews was engeged in bourgeois occupations between 1918 and 1933. Almost three-quarters of them made their living frome trade, commerce, banking, and the professions, especially medicine and law. At the same time only about one-quarter of the non-Jews population of Germany was similarly employed.” So almost all significant fields of economy especislly trade and banking sector has been held by them. National Socialist German Workers’ Party, the political party, led by Adolf Hitler, that ruled Germany from 1933 to 1945 hase used mass propaganda against jews that they are main cause of economic trouble of German “volk”- nation. “Hitler blamed “money-grubbing Jews” for all of Weimar Germany’s economic problems.” It was an effort to find guilty one for to unify “volk” around the same idea-to eliminate all enemies of German nation. In his propaganda a was successful. “Hitler took advantage of the great depression as all of the German people are desperate for a way out of the whole the treaty of Versall which put them in so, he enforces his beliefs about the Jewish ad how they are the reason for everything that goes wrong, they undersold German companies and putting Germans out of business and also since most of the high ranking political figures are Jewish it is easy to say it as their fault for the whole thing.”
The experiences of communist Russia and Nazi Germany show that socio-economic expectations of people is one of the important tools of nationalist strategy in order to unify people for to fight against “others” or “guilty one” in their economic troubles. It depends on the approach of the national elite or leaders who will chose as an enemy – other ethnics or social class.
Chapter-2: Why nationalism raises when economic crisis increases-?
During 20th century World Economy faced three large crisis which known as Great Depression, and two economic shocks in 1970s which was related with unexpected rise of oil prices. Above we already discussed about Great Depression. Now I want to focus attention on the 1970s oil crisis and sovereign debt crisis of 2008`s influence on the nationalism. In post-WWII reconstruction period of the European economy by Marshall Plan and Truman Doctrine resulted sharply increase of economy especially in 1950s and 1960s. It also bring with itself new challenges for nation-state such as migration because there was a great need for labor forces for increasing industry of Europe. Together legal labor migration illegal migration also was possible. “Simplifying greatly, we can say that labour migration to Western Europe during this period took two main forms: government sponsored “guest-worker” schemes and the spontaneous immigration of “colonial workers” to the former colonial powers. The classic case of an organised “guest-worker” system is, of course, the Federal Republic of Germany, where the number of foreign workers rose from 95,000 in 1956 to 2.6 million in 1973. The migration tendency was may be with different caracter but the same for other European countries. Labour migration from former colonies was particularly significant for Britain and France.” In fact in that time there was nat serious national resentment against migrants. However, there was only protectionist policies by European governments against immigrants such as stopping of the recruitment of foreign workers.
Today these labor migrants` successors have became “immigrant minorities”(David Turton Julia González 2000 p. 12) and labor migration to EU from third countries is continue. Nationalist right-wing parties try to use in crisis situation the migration as main cause economic trouble. “In the minds of many nationalist parties in Europe, the ongoing economic crisis has corroborated much of that which they advocate that immigration policies should be reformed, that the European integration process should be reverted, and that their national identities should be protected.” This right-wing parties try to attract power from the people. They gradually become more and more effective during current ongoing crisis. It will show itself in the results of elections. “Opinion polls months ahead of the vote, which takes place in all EU countries on May 22-25, suggest candidates on the far left and far right will gain support voters express frustration with Europe after three years of financial turmoil, contracting growth and job losses.”
Even high representatives of EU are worry about new rise of nationalism in Europe. ” “We have to be honest that the crisis and the rise in unemployment is an occasion for populist forces to become more aggressive and gain some votes. What we don’t like is the discourse that is sometimes behind anti-European slogans, a discourse that is promoting what I call negative values, things like narrow nationalism, protectionism and xenophobia. That is a concern.We should not forget that in Europe, not so many decades ago, we had very, very worrying developments of xenophobia and racism and intolerance. So I think everybody that has European principles should be worried about some of these movements.” Barroso told Reuters in an interview.”
All these facts show that economic crisis plays a catalyst role for nationalism. When economic crisis rise nationalist parties gains opportunity to easily spread their ideas in society especially among workers who suffer more than others from economic trouble. By using national sentiment they can attract peoples votes and win elections in order to implement their nationalist policies. Their popularity gradually increases especially in such countries where unemployment increase and life standards of people gradually become worse. By the way today in Europe right-wing parties who have strong position on immigration are enough popular. “Polls suggest right-wing parties with strong positions on immigration could do well in several countries, including Britain, France and Finland. According to broad estimates they can take probably 20-30 percent of votes in European Parliament election next year.” It means that ongoing debt crisis gradually increases the popularity of nationalist ideas in Europe.
Pre-election forecasts have showed that right-wing parties were expected to do well. Possible number of seats gained by this parties could be 71. But in elections held on 22-25 may 2014, right-wing parties gained 52 seats out of 751. They gained 15 seats more than in the elections in 2009. This results of elections is accepted as great success of far right parties. In the same time it can be considered as weak shaking of European values. Even this success of far right European parties is interpreted by some experts as “political earthquake” .
Debt crisis of 2008 resulted with new rice of nationalist ideas in Europe especially against migrants. In fact the crisis in EU brought with itself many difficulties for European economy. Unemployment, rise of prices of goods, and gradually declining life standards threats welfare state and creates new security dilemma among local people and immigrants. This situation creates a productive environment for leftist and nationalist parties to spread their ideas in society especially among workers who suffer more than others from economic trouble. So ongoing debt crisis encourage right-win parties to exert pressure on government about serious reforms about migrants and ethnic and religious minorities by gaining support from voters. And the conditions ongoing crisis implies that economic crisis is one of the strong causes for negative nationalism.