Monday, December 05, 2016

 Nationalism "in any imperialist society is bound up with chauvinism, and Britain is an imperialist society, with England its historical core, which has always been defined by its status in the imperialist hierarchy, whatever William Hague says to the contrary.  Orwell’s efforts to situate the basis for socialism on the terrain of culture and “Englishness,” which admittedly had a certain proto-Gramscian quality in its approach to popular culture as a strategic factor in political struggles, surely represent the last serious attempt to articulate something like a left-wing “Englishness.”  It was certainly light years ahead of the mawkish, demagogic detritus that passes for the same attempt these days.  Yet it failed rather badly, for two reasons.  First, because it misjudged the class basis for any post-war socialism, estimating that the perpetual growth of a functionary and technician class would be the basis for a rational yet national post-capitalist system.  This isn’t how things worked out at all.  Second, because the elements of “Englishness” as he saw it, which he seemed to regard as being in some way given and thus not to be resisted or bargained against, don’t stand up very well today.  One could go on."
Mad Dogs and "Englishness"

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