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Do Nations Exist?

Does the USA or Canada or any other nation for that matter exist as an actual entity? Thoughts?
Does the USA, Canada, Yugoslavia or any other nation actually exist as an entity? Or is it nothing more than brightly coloured cloth flags, concrete barriers, imaginary lines on a map and a whole shitload of propaganda in the minds of us all?

Thoughts??
Interesting Ouestion 16.Feb.2004 10:02

Gary Sudborough IconoclastGS@aol.com

If one looks at a map of Europe of over a thousand years ago, one will see great differences from today. Many nations like Germany, Italy, Hungary, Poland, etc. did not exist. For instance, Germany was divided into tribes like the Saxons, Angles, Franks, Burgundians, etc. and was not a unified nation. Nations arose because elite groups like the nobility and kings wanted to be able to tax the people and raise large standing armies with which to gain more wealth, land and power. Ethnicity, language and religion played some part, but in Europe today there are various religions and ethnic groups in each country. The European nation states were continuously at war with one another over religion or more power and land for the elites in those nations. Noam Chomsky gives the example of the Thirty Years War, where something like 40% of the population of northern Europe was destroyed. Now, weapons have become so advanced and destructive that wars among the powers of Europe are not feasable because of mutually assured destruction.

The European colonialists deliberately drew the boundaries of their various colonies in the Third World to create division among peoples and keep their colonies weak and less able to offer resistance. Iraq is a very good example of this policy. The British created Kuwait to cut off Iraq's access to the sea and they included Kurds as well as Arabs within the boundaries of Iraq itself. The boundaries between various countries are obviously completely arbitrary constructs, which were created for reasons other than the welfare of the people in those nations.


haiku I wrote several years ago 16.Feb.2004 10:21

.

an empty flagpole
against a brilliant blue sky
I will salute that.



peace

make sure you go up the amazon.com with your paddle 16.Feb.2004 10:25

.

Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism -- by Benedict Anderson
 http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0860915468/qid=1076955813/sr=2-1/ref=sr_2_1/103-8669967-1194255#product-details

What makes a separate government? 16.Feb.2004 13:08

YT

Off the cuff; One must ask what is a nation? Typically it consists of a single culture and language. This makes it more convenient for the economy to operate. Imagine if we had 5 equal languages in the US we would not be able to operate. So until English? becomes the true one world language everybody uses on a daily basis or is agreed to use for commerce purposes like road signs and advertising etc I think it would be difficult to have no nations. Nations also protects economies. Imagine if everybody could move to the USA. I wouldnt like that and our economy would probably decline. Also it helps preserve cultures what ids left of them. I dont like the idea of the rapid westernization of all cultures which would probably accelerate if there were no protective nations. Canada and the USA are a single culture and language but I think the Canadians want to protect themselves from the US problems. Many Canadians would prefer to join the USA though I think.

RE: what Gary said 16.Feb.2004 13:10

umbra

"European colonialists deliberately drew the boundaries of their various colonies in the Third World to create division among peoples and keep their colonies weak and less able to offer resistance"

--yes, look at Nigeria (and all of Africa), Indonesia, Philippines, India, Palestine, Brazil . . .

the 'Nation' is just a figment of the imperialist/capitalist imagination, so they could better organize and control a multitude of different peoples, cultures, and languages under a standardized regime (together with heirarchical, urban-fundamentalist Christianity implemented wherever possible).

and to more efficiently extract the oil, diamonds, sugar, lumber, etc. without "impediments", of course . . .

... 16.Feb.2004 15:09

this thing here

i like to think about it this way: am i an american first and a human being second?

no. no way.

spend time overseas and you will notice the difference...

respone to "this thing here"'s ...-comment 16.Feb.2004 15:43

go one better

I like to thing of myself, as first a citizen of the Universe, then secondly,
as a citizen of the Milky Way Galazy, then thirdly, as a citizen of Crab Nebula
Galactic Arm (middling size @ 2/3 d from galactic center), and fourthly, as a
citizen of Solar System (a middle-sized star...not all that special, really!),
and then fifthly, as a citizen of Planet Earth (a small-size water-borne planet
that is very beautiful and serene/peaceful in appearance...what till ya get on
it though!), and then sixthly, a citizen of the North American Continent, and
then--due to accident of nature or a mere roll o' cosmic dice--am a citizen of
the United States of America. With all these overlapping hierarchy competiting
for my loyalties, guess which one get's it? Why it's the top one...as I am a
CHILD OF THE UNIVERSE, and all else is mere secondary to that!

human first, american second 16.Feb.2004 15:43

Cannon

Um, I have been spending quite a lot of time in the Third World, Latin America to be specific, and I beg to differ with the above comment. I think travelling makes it all the more apparent that national seperations are make-pretend (unfortunately, these make-pretend seperations are backed up by a lot of guns). But as far as who we are, we are all just people.

to 'Cannon' - 16.Feb.2004 18:24

umbra

"Um, I have been spending quite a lot of time in the Third World, Latin America to be specific, and I beg to differ with the above comment. I think travelling makes it all the more apparent that national seperations [sic] are make-pretend (unfortunately, these make-pretend seperations [sic] are backed up by a lot of guns)."

-Um,

which countries were you in? FYI, customs, internal/military security and travel regulations in many of those countries have been heightened precipitously in the wake of post-9.11 US aggression and repression (e.g. the response of Brazilian authorities to US domestic searches of Brazilians).

have you ever *LIVED* in another country for longer than several weeks?

not as a temporary business or pleasure trip "passing thru", but as an alien resident of a country, making your living alongside the people in that society for months or years?

that was the gist of 'this thing here's comment. the difference between:

"I'm an American" on hiatus, and what it is to really live like a Brazilian, Filipino, Venezuelan, Chilean, Palestinian, Lebanese, etc.

get rid of it 16.Feb.2004 20:11

Funky Gibbon

The police and army (of any present state) with big guns say the state exists.
So organize to get rid of it.

Interesting example, Kurds 17.Feb.2004 01:38

Bill

Similar to the Basques in Europe, they were pushed off the arable lowlands into the mountains, by Turks, Arabs, Persians. The mountain divides are the natural ecological and military boundaries. The Kurds, if they were known to exist at all, were thought to be a minor nuisance, bandits whom the locals were capable of handling.

Now we are more interested in minerals, oil, water, than grazing. We are still not very interested in letting them keep the resources they squat on.

We don't hear much, today, about the 'Turkish' Kurds, nor the 'Iranian' Kurds. We helped the Iraqis exterminate the 'Iraqi' Kurds for a while. Then, they were useful pawns to play against the Baath. As soon as we get a properly servile democracy in Baghdad, or some other arrangement, we will help the exterminators again.

As we do this instant, obviously through-out Latin America, clandestinely almost everywhere, subtly here at home.

Language is no barrier 17.Feb.2004 01:45

Bill

"Imagine if we had 5 equal languages in the US we would not be able to operate."

People have traded and cooperated, for millenia, despite languages.

Not operating is a result of ill-will, not ignorance.


Now, FOX and CNN, they would have problems.

What makes a tribe? 17.Feb.2004 06:01

human

You ask what makes a nation, I ask what makes for tribal allegiance. Is it an inate survival mechanism that protects their members from outside threats. Can a group survive outside threats without this unifying bond? Is the nation state a derivitive of the original tribal state? The same force trying to eliminate the tribal allegiance found in the nation state is pushing for the elimination of all protective, self-preservation mechanisms that protect individual groups or nations from the exploitation of the nefarious world government proponents.

Very astute, human 17.Feb.2004 07:29

Bill

Say more.


Does it help to say, 'tribe' is a synonym for 'family'.

That the oppressor, whether he be the tribal bully or the emperor or the shift-boss, perverts the instinct to help family (as any natural response) for his own purposes.

(Without gettting hung up on the precise meanings of notions like 'instinct', 'natural', 'automatic', 'unconscious'.)