Re: [OPE] Anti-imperialism and nationalism

From: Dave Zachariah <>
Date: Fri Dec 18 2009 - 11:32:40 EST

Gerald Levy wrote:
> This is one-sided, I think. A nation is not an "imagined community".
> It is a real, but
> stratified, community. A materialist analysis can not begin with a
> rejection of
> material realities: it must seek to explain in part the _complex_
> relation between material
> realities and ideology. If nations were simply myths they would have
> vanished long
> ago (?).

I think this is a misunderstanding of the argument, and also of how
ideologies operate. There is nothing 'unreal' about an imagined
community. It is very real, but nations operate and exist as ideologies.
Not unlike an imagined community of religious believers.

Ideologies are not mere myths either, nor do they exists as mere thought
processes in individual human beings. They are formed, reproduced,
prosper and decay only through practices that affirm and sanction their
postulated beliefs. In short, ideology is a material reality but it is
not what its believers believe it to be.

Eric Hobsbawm summed it up nicely:

    "Nations do not make states and nationalism but the other way around."

Nations have not vanished because there exist a huge set of practices
that affirms and sanctions its postulated beliefs.

//Dave Z
ope mailing list
Received on Fri Dec 18 11:38:07 2009

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