I don’t mean to do it, but the man just says things that I feel cannot go without challenge.
Mr Findlay’s problem seems to be that Mr Harvie is wrong to say that the “inclusive, civic” Scottish Nationalism is the “polar opposite” to the “racist” nationalism see in England – that it is a display of moral superiority that is unwarranted.
Well, here’s the thing: Mr Harvie did not just compare Scottish nationalism and (presumably) English/British nationalism in their entirety: he specifically said that the “inclusive, civic form of Scottish nationalism” is the polar opposite to “racist nationalism.” I don’t think it’s controversial to say that anything which is “inclusive” and “civic” is indeed not only the polar opposite, but morally and ethically superior to anything which is “racist.”
But even if Mr Harvie did outright say “Scottish nationalism is the polar opposite to English/British nationalism,” what exactly is controversial about that?
One nationalism has seen a fall in hate crimes, while the other led to a “horrible spike” and “lasting rise in hate crimes.” One nationalism was actively praised by police as “robust, but overwhelmingly good natured“; the other was marred by acts of intimidation, violence, and murder, not to mention the assassination of a Member of Parliament. The biggest party of Scottish Nationalism promotes inclusion to anyone and everyone resident in Scotland regardless of birthplace: the biggest party of British Nationalism wants schools to provide lists of children not born in Britain, to deport foreign doctors after they’ve finished training British ones, and openly speaks of EU citizens as “bargaining chips.” So yes, Mr Findlay, I’m going to stick my neck out and say “my nationalism is better than your nationalism” – and I’m amazed you even think this is a matter for debate.
Yes, there racist Scottish nationalists as surely as there are inclusive, civic English/British nationalists. But the problem is that civic nationalism is the default in Scotland, as evidenced by the SNP, Greens, Socialists, RISE and others – racists do not define the argument for Scottish independence. “Down south,” racist nationalism is the default, as evidenced by the UK Government and EU Sceptics parties’ outrageous actions – the inclusive, civic nationalists of England (or “Greater England”) do not drive the English nationalist agenda. This is hardly surprising, given that suppression and distortion of nationalism as being inherently racist or xenophobic was crucial in preventing colonies and dominions of the British Empire from seceding – when you successfully clamp down on the socially progressive movements, all that’s left are the bigots, who are their own argument against independence.
Mr Findlay may think that his equation of the two types of nationalism marks him as a true internationalist and socialist. But in reality, he is perpetuating an insulting and dangerous myth that all nationalisms are equally deplorable – and it’s one that some of history’s great social reformers would disagree with.
Violent nationalism, otherwise known as imperialism, is the curse. Nonviolent nationalism is a necessary condition of corporate or civilized life.
– Mahatma Gandhi, Young India, 27th November 24; 29: 385
The right of nations to self-determination means only the right to independence in a political sense, the right to free, political secession from the oppressing nation. Concretely, this political, democratic demand implies complete freedom to carry on agitation in favour of secession, and freedom to settle the question of secession by means of a referendum of the nation that desires to secede.
– V.I. Lenin, The Socialist Revolution and the Right of Nations to Self-Determination
Ireland is the bulwark of the English landed aristocracy. The exploitation of that country is not only one of the main sources of the aristocracy’s material welfare; it is its greatest moral strength. It, in fact, represents the domination of England over Ireland. Ireland is therefore the great means by which the English aristocracy maintains its domination in England itself. If, on the other hand, the English army and police were to withdraw from Ireland tomorrow, you would at once have an agrarian revolution there. But the overthrow of the English aristocracy in Ireland involves as a necessary consequence its overthrow in England. And this would fulfil the preliminary condition for the proletarian revolution in England.
– Karl Marx, Marx and Engels on Ireland, 1971, pp. 292-3
By suggesting there’s anything hypocritical, sanctimonious, or untoward about saying “inclusive, civic” nationalism is better than “racist” nationalism, you are perpetuating a dangerous stereotype – that the pursuit of Scottish independence is equally, or at least notionally, as racist, xenophobic, and hateful as the jingoism evident in the UK Government. In doing so, you are party to the sort of violent rhetoric which presents a peaceful, democratic movement as a grave danger to peace and security to the people of Britain. This is the sort of atmosphere where people can openly suggest that Scottish nationalists are “spitting on soldiers’ graves,” and even talk about civil unrest, insurrection, and taking up arms. Yet it is Patrick Harvie who is “sanctimonious”?
The campaign for Scottish Independence is directly, demonstrably, and irrefutably less bad-tempered, less xenophobic, and less violent than the campaign for “British Independence,” as the Leave campaigners would present leaving the EU. If that ever changes for the worse, then we’ll all know who stood by and let that happen.