Definition, Origins, History, Classifications, Factors and types of Nationalism



Definition, Origins, History, Classifications,  Factors and types of Nationalism

Definitions of Nationalism

A discussion of the phenomenon of nationalism in Africa must begin with an attempt at first distinguishing related concepts of nation, nationality, state and nationalism. A state is a political institution while a nation is an intangible, sociological concept. A nation-state therefore, is a fusion of the nations into a state. Within a state, it is possible to have people of different nationalities. As a result of the legacy of colonial rule most states in Africa are multi-national. However, nationalism in Africa is far from the desire for self-determination by these different ethnic groups, rather it represents opposition to colonial subjugation and desire for self-government. Given the dominant-dominated context of colonialism, it created an awareness and consciousness among Africans to resist foreign rule, so as to put an end to the humiliation, exploitation, injustice and discrimination inherent in colonial subjugation.

Nationalism can be described as an act of political consciousness concerned primarily with achieving independence for the different African colonies from foreign rule. Nationalism is also taken to mean self-assertion against the humiliating and exploitative tendencies of colonialism.

Nationalism can be define as the patriotic sentiment or activities on the part of groups of people held together by the bonds of common experience and their assertion of their inalienable right to be free to determine their common desires.

Origins and History of Nationalism 

The Modern Nature of Nationalism

Nationalism is a modern movement. Throughout history people have been attached to their native soil, to the traditions of their parents, and to established territorial authorities, but it was not until the end of the 18th century that nationalism began to be a generally recognized sentiment molding public and private life and one of the great, if not the greatest, single determining factors of modern history. Because of its dynamic vitality and its all-pervading character, nationalism is often thought to be very old; sometimes it is mistakenly regarded as a permanent factor in political behaviour. Actually, the American and French may be regarded as its first powerful manifestations. After penetrating the new countries of Latin America, it spread in the early 19th century to central Europe and from there, toward the middle of the century, to eastern and southeastern Europe. At the beginning of the 20th century, nationalism flowered in Asia and Africa. Thus, the 19th century has been called the age of nationalism in Europe, while the 20th century witnessed the rise and struggle of powerful national movements throughout Asia and Africa.

Identification of state and people

Nationalism, translated into world politics, implies the identification of the state or nation with the people—or at least the desirability of determining the extent of the state according to ethnographic principles. In the age of nationalism, but only in the age of nationalism, the principle was generally recognized that each nationality should form a state-its state-and that the state should include all members of that nationality. Formerly states, or territories under one administration, were not delineated by nationality. People did not give their loyalty to the nation-state but to other, different forms of political organization: the city -state, the feudal fief and its lord, the dynastic state, the religious group, or the sect. The nation-state was nonexistent during the greater part of history, and for a very long time it was not even regarded as an ideal. In the first 15 centuries of the Common Era, the ideal was the universal world-state, not loyalty to any separate political entity. The Roman Empire had set the great example, which survived not only in the Holy Roman Empire of the Middle Ages but also in the concept of the res publica christiana (“Christian republic” or community) and in its later secularized form of a united world civilization.

As political allegiance, before the age of nationalism, was not determined by nationality, so civilization was not thought of as nationally determined. During the Middle Ages, civilization was looked upon as determined religiously; for all the different nationalities of Christendom as well as for those of  Islam, there was but one civilization-Christian or Muslim-and but one language of culture-Latin (or Greek) or  Arabic (or Persian).

Later, in the periods of the Renaissance and of Classicism, it was the ancient Greek and Roman civilizations that became a universal norm, valid for all peoples and all times. Still later, French civilization was accepted throughout Europe as the valid civilization for educated people of all nationalities. It was only at the end of the 18th century that, for the first time, civilization was considered to be determined by nationality. It was then that the principle was put forward that people could be education only in their own mother tongue, not in languages of other civilizations and other times, whether they were classical languages or the literary creations of other peoples who had reached a high degree of civilization.

Cultural nationalism

From the end of the 18th century on, the nationalization of education and public life went hand in hand with the nationalization of states and political loyalties. Poets and scholars began to emphasize cultural nationalism first. They reformed the mother tongue, elevated it to the rank of a literary language, and delved deep into the national past. Thus, they prepared the foundations for the political claims for national statehood soon to be raised by the people in whom they had kindled the spirit.

Before the 18th century there had been evidences of national feeling among certain groups at certain periods, especially in times of stress and conflict. The rise of national feeling to major political importance was encouraged by a number of complex developments: the creation of large centralized states ruled by absolute monarchs who destroyed the old feudal allegiances; the secularization of life and of education, which fostered the vernacular languages and weakened the ties of church and sect; the growth of commerce, which demanded larger territorial units to allow scope for the dynamic spirit of the rising middle classes and their capitalistic enterprise. This large unified territorial state, with its political and economic centralization, became imbued in the 18th century with a new spirit an emotional fervour similar to that of religious movements in earlier periods. Under the influence of the new theories of the sovereignty of the people and of individual rights, the people replaced the king as the center of the nation. No longer was the king the nation or the state; the state had become the people’s state, a national state, a fatherland, or a motherland. State became identified with nation, as civilization became identified with national civilization.

That development ran counter to the conceptions that had dominated political thought for the preceding 2,000 years. Thitherto, the general and the universal had been commonly stressed, and unity had been regarded as the desirable goal. Nationalism emphasized the particular and parochial, the differences, and the national individualities. Those tendencies became more pronounced as nationalism developed. Its less attractive characteristics were not at first apparent.

In the 17th and 18th centuries the common standards of Western civilization, the regard for the universally human, the faith in reason (one and the same everywhere) as well as in common sense, the survival of Christian and Stoic traditions all of these were still too strong to allow nationalism to develop fully and to disrupt society.

Thus, nationalism in its beginning was thought to be compatible with cosmopolitan convictions and with a general love of humankind, especially in western Europe and North America.

History of nationalism to the 1980s

European Nationalism

English Puritanism and Nationalism

The first full manifestation of modern nationalism occurred in 17th-century England, in the Puritan revolution. England had become the leading nation in scientific spirit, in commercial enterprise, and in political thought and activity. Swelled by an immense confidence in the new age, the English people felt upon their shoulders the mission of history, a sense that they were at a great turning point from which a new true reformation and a new liberty would start. In the English revolution an optimistic humanism merged with Calvinist ethics, and the influence of the Bible gave form to the new nationalism by identifying the English people with ancient Israel.

The new message, carried by the new people not only for England but for all humankind, was expressed in the writings of the poet Jon Milton (1608–74), in whose famous vision the idea of liberty was seen spreading from Britain, “celebrated for endless ages as a soil most genial to the growth of liberty,” to all the corners of the earth.

English nationalism, then, was thus much nearer to its religious matrix than later nationalism that rose after secularization had made greater progress. The nationalism of the 18th century shared with it, however, its enthusiasm for liberty, its humanitarian character, its emphasis upon individual rights and upon the human community as above all national divisions. The rise of English nationalism coincided with the rise of the English trading middle classes. It found its final expression in John Lock’s political philosophy, and it was in that form that it influenced America and French nationalism in the following century.

American nationalism was a typical product of the 18th century. British settlers in North America were influenced partly by the traditions of the Puritan revolution and the ideas of Locke and partly by the new rational interpretation given to English liberty by contemporary French philosophers. American settlers became a nation engaged in a fight for liberty and individual rights. They based that fight on current political thought, especially as expressed by Thomas Jefferson and Thomas Paine. It was a liberal and humanitarian nationalism that regarded America as in the vanguard of humankind on its march to greater liberty, equality, and happiness for all. The ideas of the 18th century found their first political realization in the declaration of Independence and in the birth of the American nation. Their deep influence was felt in the French revolution.

French nationalism

Jean- Jacques Rousseau had prepared the soil for the growth of French nationalism by his stress on popular sovereignty and the general cooperation of all in forming the national will and also by his regard for the common people as the true depository of civilization.

The nationalism of the French Revolution was more than that: it was the triumphant expression of a rational faith in common humanity and liberal progress. The famous slogan “Liberty, equality, fraternity” and the declaration of the rights of man and of the citizen were thought valid not only for the French people but for all peoples. Individual liberty, human equality, fraternity of all peoples—these were the common cornerstones of all liberal and democratic nationalism. Under their inspiration new rituals were developed that partly took the place of the old religious feast days, rites, and ceremonies: festivals and flags, music and poetry, national holidays and patriotic sermons. In the most varied forms, nationalism permeated all manifestations of life. As in America, the rise of French nationalism produced a new phenomenon in the art of warfare: the nation in arms. In America and in France, citizen armies, untrained but filled with a new fervor, proved superior to highly trained professional armies that fought without the incentive of nationalism.

The revolutionary French nationalism stressed free individual decision in the formation of nations. Nations were constituted by an act of self-determination of their members. The plebiscite became the instrument whereby the will of the nation was expressed. In America as well as in revolutionary France, nationalism meant the adherence to a universal progressive idea, looking toward a common future of freedom and equality, not toward a past characterized by authoritarianism and inequality.

Napoleon’s armies spread the spirit of nationalism throughout Europe and even into the Middle East, while at the same time, across the Atlantic, it aroused the people of Latin America. But Napoleon’s yoke of conquest turned the nationalism of the Europeans against France. In Germany the struggle was led by writers and intellectuals, who rejected all the principles upon which the American and the French revolutions had been based as well as the liberal and humanitarian aspects of nationalism.

The 1848 revolutionary wave

German nationalism began to stress instinct against reason, the power of historical tradition against rational attempts at progress and a more just order, and the historical differences between nations rather than their common aspirations. The French Revolution, liberalism, and equality were regarded as a brief aberration against which the eternal foundations of societal order would prevail.

That German interpretation was shown to be false by the developments of the 19th century. Liberal nationalism reasserted itself and affected more and more people: the rising middle class and the new proletariat. The revolutionary wave of 1848, the year of “the spring of the peoples,” seemed to realize the hopes of nationalists such as Giuseppe Mazzini, who had devoted his life to the unification of the Italian nation by democratic means and to the fraternity of all free nations. Though his immediate hopes were disappointed, the 12 years from 1859 to 1871 brought the unification of Italy and Romania, both with the help of Napoleon III, and of Germany, and at the same time the 1860s saw great progress in liberalism, even in Russia and Spain. The victorious trend of liberal nationalism, however, was reversed in Germany by Otto von Bismarck. He unified Germany on a conservative and authoritarian basis and defeated German liberalism. The German annexation of Alsace-Lorraine against the will of the inhabitants was contrary to the idea of nationalism as based upon the free will of humanity. The people of Alsace-Lorraine were held to be German by allegedly objective factors, preeminently race, and independent of their will or of their allegiance to any nationality of their choice.

In the second half of the 19th century, nationalism disintegrated the supranational states of the Hapsburgs and the Ottoman sultans, both of which were based upon pre-national loyalties. In Russia, the penetration of nationalism produced two opposing schools of thought. Some nationalists proposed a Westernized Russia, associated with the progressive, liberal forces of the rest of Europe. Others stressed the distinctive character of Russia and Russianism, its independent and different destiny based upon its autocratic and orthodox past. These Slavophil’s, similar to and influenced by German Romantic thinkers, saw Russia as a future saviour of a West undermined by liberalism and the heritage of the American and French revolutions.

Twentieth-century developments

One of the consequences of World War I was the triumph of nationalism in central and Eastern Europe. From the ruins of the Habsburg and Romanov empires emerged the new nation-states of Austria, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Yugoslavia, and Romania. Those states in turn, however, were to be strained and ravaged by their own internal nationality conflicts and by nationalistic disputes over territory with their neighbors.

Russian nationalism was in part suppressed after Vladimir Lenin’s victory in 1917, when the Bolsheviks took over the old empire of the tsars. But the Bolsheviks also claimed the leadership of the world communist movement, which was to become an instrument of the national policies of the Russians. During World War II, Joseph Stalin appealed to nationalism and patriotism in rallying the Russians against foreign invaders. After the war he found nationalism one of the strongest obstacles to the expansion of Soviet power in Eastern Europe.    National Communism, as it was called, became a divissve force in the Soviet bloc.

In 1948 Josip Broz Tito, the communist leader of Yugoslavia, was denounced by Moscow as a nationalist and a renegade, nationalism was a strong factor in the rebellious movements in Poland and Hungary in the fall of 1956, and subsequently its influence was also felt in Romania and Czechoslovakia and again in Poland in 1980.

The spirit of nationalism appeared to wane in Europe after World War II with the establishment of international economic, military, and political organizations such as NATO, the  European Coal and Steel Community (1952–2002),  Euratom, and the Common Market, later known as the European Economic Community and then as the  European Community. But the policies pursued by France under Pres. Charles de Chaulle and the problem posed by the division of Germany until 1990 showed that the appeal of the nation -state was still very much alive.

Asian and African nationalism

Nationalism began to appear in Asia and Africa after World War I. It produced such leaders as Kemal Ataturk in Turkey, Saʿd Pasha Zaghūl in Egypt, Ibn Saud in the Arabian Peninsula, Mahatma Gandhi in India, and Sun Yat-sen in China. Atatürk succeeded in replacing the medieval structure of the Islamic monarchy with a revitalized and modernized secular republic in 1923. Demands for Arab unity were frustrated in Africa and Asia by British imperialism and in Africa by French imperialism. Yet Britain may have shown a gift for accommodation with the new forces by helping to create an independent Egypt (1922; completely, 1936) and Iraq (1932) and displayed a similar spirit in India, where the Indian National Congress, founded in 1885 to promote a liberal nationalism inspired by the British model, became more radical after 1918. Japan, influenced by Germany, used modern industrial techniques in the service of a more authoritarian nationalism.

The new nations

The progress of nationalism in Asia and Africa is reflected in the histories of the League of Nations after World War I and of the United Nations after World War II. The Treaty of Versailles, which provided for the constitution of the League of Nations, also reduced the empires of the defeated Central Powers, mainly Germany and Turkey. The league distributed Germany’s African colonies as mandates to Great Britain, France, Belgium, and South Africa and its Pacific possessions to Japan, Australia, and New Zealand under various classifications according to their expectations of achieving independence. Among the League’s original members, there were only five Asian countries (China, India, Japan, Thailand, and Iran) and two African countries (Liberia and South Africa), and it added only three Asian countries (Afghanistan, Iraq, and Turkey) and two African countries (Egypt and Ethiopia) before it was dissolved in 1946. Of the mandated territories under the League’s control, only Iraq, Lebanon, and Syria achieved independence during its lifetime.

Of the original 51 members of the United Nations in 1945, eight were Asian (China, India, Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Turkey) and four were African (the same as in the League). By 1980, 35 years after its founding, the United Nations had added more than 100 member nations, most of them Asian and African. Whereas Asian and African nations had never totaled even one-third of the membership in the League, they came to represent more than one-half of the membership of the United Nations. Of these new Asian and African nations, several had been created, entirely or in part, from mandated territories.

After World War II, India, Pakistan, Ceylon (Sri Lanka), Burma (Myanmar), and Malaya (Malaysia) in Asia and Ghana in Africa achieved independence peacefully from the British Empire, as did the Philippines from the United State. Other territories had to fight hard for their independence in bitter colonial wars, as in French Indochina (Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia) and French North Africa (Tunisia, Algeria). Communism recruited supporters from within the ranks of the new nationalist movements in Asia and Africa, first by helping them in their struggles against Western capitalist powers and later, after independence was achieved, by competing with Western capitalism  in extending financial and technical aid. Chinese nationalism under Chiang Kai Shek during World War II was diminished with the takeover of the Chinese communists. But Chinese communism soon began to drift away from supranational communism, as the European communist countries had earlier. By the late 1960s, Russian and Chinese mutual recriminations revealed a Chinese nationalism in which Mao Zedong had risen to share the place of honour with Lenin. As Chinese communism turned further and further inward, its influence on new Asian and African nations waned.

Political and religious differences

Ambitions among new Asian and African nations clashed. The complex politics of the United Nations illustrated the problems of the new nationalism. The struggle with Dutch colonialism that brought the establishment of Indonesia continued with the UN mediation of the dispute over West Irian (Irian Jaya). In the Suez Crisis of 1956, UN forces intervened between those of Egypt and Israel. Continuing troubles in the Middle East, beginning with the fighting that accompanied the establishment of Israel and including inter-Arab state disputes brought on by the establishment of the United Arab Republic, concerned the UN. Other crises involving the UN included the India-Pakistan dispute over Jammu and Kahmir, the Korean partition and subsequent war, the four-year intervention in the Congo, the struggle of Greece and Turkey over newly independent Cyprus, and Indonesian and Philippine objection to the inclusion of Sarawak and Sabah (North Borneo) in newly formed Malaysia.

Many new nations, all sharing the same pride in independence, faced difficulties. As a result of inadequate preparation for self-rule, the first five years of independence in the Congo passed with no semblance of a stable government. The problem of widely different peoples and languages was exemplified in Nigeria, where an uncounted population included an uncounted number of tribes (at least 150, with three major divisions) that used an uncounted number of languages (more than 100 language and dialect clusters). The question of whether the predominantly Muslim state of Jammu and Kashmir should go with Muslim Pakistan or Hindu India remained unresolved long after the India Independence Act became effective in 1949. Desperate economic competition caused trouble, as in Israel where the much-needed waters of the Jordan River kept it in constant dispute with its water-hungry Arab neighbors.

Classifications of Nationalism

Some Political Scientists have described nationalism in Africa as a child of the twentieth century. James S. Coleman (1958) in particular, insisted that it is a misuse of the term to apply the expression the rise of nationalism to describe independence movements in Africa. He argues that since most African states at the terminal stage of colonial rule were not yet nations, it is misnomer to adopt the term nationalism. Coleman preferred to describe them as reactive anti-colonial movements, or movements for independence, rather than nationalist movements.

He categorized these movements into three kinds:

1. Traditionalist

2. Syncretic

3. Modernist independence movement.

We will now elaborate on each of them.

1. Traditionalists

The traditionalists are those immediate spontaneous movements of Resistance led by the likes of Jaja of Opobo in British, and Samore Taore in French territories. European scholars writing from the European perspective, called these traditionalist as nativistic to describe the Mau Mau movement in Kenya, or the Messianic or madhistic movement of Sudan. Contrary to these views, these traditionalists offered legitimate resistance to the Europeans, when after the abolition of slave trade, they sought to penetrate Africa, using unfair trade, and later direct foreign rule. For their bravery, or in European perceptions, effrontery, Jaja of

Opobo was exiled to the West Indies; Ovwerami of Benin lost his empire, and was deported to Calabar where he died. Kosoko lost the battle against the occupation of Lagos, and was later expelled to the mosquito invested town of Badagry.

2. Syncretism

The syncretic movements are the separatist religious movements led by Rev. James Johnson aimed at preventing the white-man from controlling the religious beliefs of the African people. These break away kind of movements from the Anglican, Methodist and Catholic churches realized that the European churches were themselves organs of colonial rule. In colonial Nigeria, we could categorise kinship groups such as the Imo State Union, Egbe Omo Oduduwa, as syncretic in form and character. According to Esedebe (1978:88) separatism began to manifest in churches in West and South African churches as from 1870’s. As he explained, the cause of this important secession was not only opposition to European control, but also a positive desire to adapt the message of the church to the heritage of the African people. The syncretic argued that if the Queen of England was the head of the English church, so the African paramount chief must provide leadership for these break away churches. These churches rather than being center of worship became fora for political agitations. To guard against this, the Portuguese firmly restricted the entry of protestant missions into their territories because they were seen as “the advance-guard of African nationalism”.

3. Modernists

The Modernist nationalists, which Coleman obviously preferred were the economic and labour groups, principally trade unions and cooperative societies, and the professional middle class movements led by Western educated Africans, who fought against racism and discrimination, and struggled to advance the wellbeing and economic status of members of their group. Coleman’s preference for the modernists is because these were educated Africans who have traveled to Europe and North America, and have picked up the language of democracy and freedom from the American war of Independence and the vocabulary of liberty, equality and fraternity, made popular during the French Revolution. Within this group, one can include the pan- Africanists and the Trans-territorial movements. These were movements based in Diaspora, spurred by racial consciousness, and spearheading agitations for the advancement of the interest of the coloured and African peoples. The Marcus Garvey’s National Association for the Advancement of coloured People and the Back to Africa movement.

In retrospect, we can say that James Coleman was in error to have made this distinction between these three categories. The correct approach or interpretation is to look at the objective of these different groups, and not the means or methods they employed. In all these groups, the sentiments of nationalism were reflected, irrespective of who led it, or the means and methods employed, and the fact that none of the three can be treated in isolation.

The important criteria in nationalism are resistance to alien rule, protest against maltreatment and the desire for self-government. One major feature of nationalism in Africa is that it was a reactive movement rather than assertive nationalism in the sense that the presence of a common enemy – the European colonizers brought nationalists together. But when the enemy disappeared, they disintegrated. It is important to emphasize that nationalism is essentially a political movement motivated primarily to eradicate colonial domination. The presence of colonial rulers contributed to it because it was then easier to distinguish between “them” and “you”, and “theirs” and ours”. That visibility factor is important, because if the colonizers were not visible, then the need to show the discrimination and subjugation inherent in colonial rule would have been difficult to establish.


Nationalist Factors

A number of factors- political, economic social and cultural-combined to push forward the course of nationalism in Africa.

These factors can be further subdivided into internal and external factors. We will first examine the followings.

1.  Internal Factors

i. Discrimination against Africans

As we already know the philosophical underpinning of colonialism is the idea of inherent white-man superiority over the blacks. This myth was reflected in the various discriminatory colonial policies in the provision of residential recreational, educational and health facilities.

Worse still, educated Africans were excluded from senior administrative positions in the colonial service. The implication of this was that foreigners made key decisions and policies while Africans were made to carry out those policies, even when they were skewed against them.

Africans were also deprived opportunities of participating in political activities, even though they paid tax. The famous 1929 Aba riot in Nigeria and the 1854 hut tax riots in Sierra Leone were reminders of the popular slogan “no taxation without representation” employed by the Americans colonies during their struggle for independence from Britain. (Jordan, 1978). The determination of African educated elites to reverse the situation was a major stimulant to nationalist movements in Africa.

ii. Emergence of Political Parties

The emergence of political parties especially in the post war II era gave added impetus to nationalism. The activities of the NCNC in Nigeria, the C.P.P in Gold Coast, for example, transformed the agitation for independence into a mass movement in these countries. The motto of the C.P.P was particularly deviant when it announced that Ghanaians would “prefer self-government in danger to servitude in tranquility”.

iii. The Role of the Mass Media

The print media in their vitriolic attacks on colonialism added fuel to the fire of nationalism already burning in most African colonies. In the old Gold Coast, the African Morning Post was in the vanguard of this struggle, and its motto”, which proclaimed its neutrality on every issue except Africa’s set the stage for the media in the nationalist struggle. In its famous articles “Does Europeans have a God” for which its editor, Dr. Azikiwe was charged for sedition, the medium eloquently demonstrated the pivotal role played by the press. In Nigeria, Dr. Azikiwe used the medium of the powerful West African Pilot to show

the Nigerian youths the way which they eagerly followed.

iv. Economic Factor

Colonialism encouraged the transformation of Africa from subsistence to a money-based economy. This change led to the introduction of currency, which was consciously encouraged by the colonial government in order to increase the export of primary produce. This created one of the first economic sources of problems to colonial rule.

The cash nexus linked the colonial territories to the mother country in four ways.

First, it led to the growth of a wage-labour force. This resulted in considerable proletarization among substantial number of Africans, living on the fringes of newly emergent cities. Second, colonial rule contributed to the rise of a new middle class in and around most urban centers.

The middle class, which had different values and orientation, used their vanguard intermediate position of influence to spread nationalist sentiments.

Third, with urbanization went the second phenomenon of social mobility. The new immigrants to the cities felt they could make demand on colonial government for better condition of services, the right to be promoted in the civil service, and the right to better life. The last sociological factor was western education. It provided for a common lingua franca-English in British colonies, and French in French colonies.

This afforded the colonies an opportunity for diverse colonial peoples to communicate and plan together in a common language. Although originally intended to help service colonial rule, a common language provided one of the powerful factors that helped dig colonial grave in Africa.

2. External Factors

i. Impact of World War II

Although World-War I encouraged the spread of idea of self-determination, but World War II had significant weakening impact on colonial empires in Africa. The war not only destroyed the myth of white superiority, it also significantly weakened European economies and made it difficult for them to sustain their empires. During the war, Britain was particularly humiliated by the Japanese, while France was occupied by Germany. For Britain, it was a double jeopardy for her, for a non-European power to humble her until Britain and France were rescued by the Allied forces. Britain’s World War II trauma spurred discontent in the West Indies and led to the institution of the Royal Commission to probe the unrest. Its aftermath was the granting of independence to India in 1947, making her the first non-white country to join the Common wealth.

ii. Atlantic Charter

At the peak of World War II in 1942, the Atlantic Charter which provided under Article 3 for the principle of self-determination of all peoples was signed between US’s F.D. Roosevelt and UK’s Winston Churchill. African nationalists employed the charter as an additional weapon to intensify nationalist struggle, and rejected Churchill’s belated remark that the charter was a guide and not a rule. In frustration

Churchill later retorted: “I have not become the Queen’s chief minister to preside over the liquidation of the British Empire”.

iii. The Anti-Colonial Posture of USA

The United States of America from the days of its declaration and war of independence had proclaimed the pursuit of liberty and freedom as article of faith. From the period of Woodrow Wilson when U.S intervened in world war I to make the world safe for democracy, to the era of Roosevelt, when America nurtured the idea of the United Nations and championed the principle of self-determination, successive U.S governments have not hidden their opposition to colonial empires.

America’s disassociation from colonial policy was promoted through the activities of American Negro leaders and scholars such as Dubois and Ralph Bunch.

iv. The Role of the British Labour Party

Churchill led Britain to victory in World War II but his party lost the first post war General elections to the labour party, led by Clement Atlee. The labour therefore promptly translated its known programme of rejection and repudiation of colonialism to the official policy of the British government. The Atlee government speedily enacted the Development and Welfare Act for the colonies in 1948, which accelerated the pace of constitutional reforms; leading to the grant of early self-government in British colonies.

v. The Pan African Movement

The pan-African movement exploded the fallacy that Africa unity is not possible because the continent lacks a common race, culture and language. From the first pan African Congress held in Paris in 1919; the second in London in 1921, the third in London in 1923; the fourth in New York in 1927, and the fifth in Manchester in 1945, the flame of African nationalism was spread across the globe. The Manchester congress attended by over 200 delegates called on African elites to be awake to their responsibilities to their people, and made definite demand for constitutional change and for universal adult suffrage (Nkrumah 1963:134).

vi. The West African Students Union

The role played by the West African students union was also significant.

The union was formed in 1925 by Ladipo Solanke, a Nigerian. Member of the union were not satisfied with the rate of progress made by Britain in granting constitutional reforms in West Africa. As a result, they wrote series of petitions, to the British government demanding self-government for West African colonies.


Types of Nationalism

This school of thought accepts that nationalism is simply the desire of a nation to self-determine. Many intellectuals argue that there is more than one type of nationalism. Nationalism may manifest itself as part of official state ideology or as a popular non-state movement and may be expressed along civic, ethnic, cultural, language, religious or ideological lines. These self-definitions of the nation are used to classify types of nationalism. However, such categories are not mutually exclusive and many nationalist movements combine some or all of these elements to varying degrees. Nationalist movements can also be classified by other criteria, such as scale and location.

Some political theorists make the case that any distinction between forms of nationalism is false. In all forms of nationalism, the populations believe that they share some kind of common culture. A main reason why such typology can be considered false is that it attempts to bend the fairly simple concept of nationalism to explain its many manifestations or interpretations. Arguably, all types of nationalism merely refer to different ways scholars throughout the years have tried to define nationalism.

1.           Ethnic Nationalism

a)   Expansionist nationalism

b)  Romantic nationalism

2.           Cultural Nationalism

a)   Language nationalism

b)  Religious nationalism

c)   Post -colonial nationalism

3.           Civic nationalism

a)   Liberal nationalism

4.           Ideological nationalism

a)   Revolutionary nationalism

b)  National conservation

c)   Liberal nationalism

d)  Left-wing nationalism

5.           Schools of anarchism which acknowledge nationalism

6.           Pan-nationalism

7.           Diaspora nationalism

1. Ethnic Nationalism

Ethnic Nationalism defines the nation in terms of ethnicity, which always includes some element of parentage from previous generations that is Genophilia. It also includes ideas of a culture shared between members of the group and with their ancestors, and usually a shared language. Membership in the nation is hereditary. The state derives political legitimacy from its status as homeland of the ethnic group, and from its duty to protect of the partly national group and facilitate its family and social life, as a group. Ideas of ethnicity are very old, but modern ethnic nationalism was heavily influenced by Johann Gottfried von Herder, who promoted the concept of the Volk and Johann Gottlieb Fichte. Theorist Anthony D. Smith uses the term 'ethnic nationalism' for non-Western concepts of nationalism, as opposed to Western views of a nation defined by its geographical territory. The term "ethno nationalism" is generally used only in reference to nationalists who espouse an explicit ideology along these lines; "ethnic nationalism" is the more generic term, and used for nationalists who hold these beliefs in an informal, instinctive, or unsystematic way. The pejorative form of both is "ethnocentric nationalism" or "tribal nationalism," though "tribal nationalism" can have a non-pejorative meaning when discussing African, Native American, or other nationalisms that openly assert a tribal identity.

a) Expansionist nationalism: an aggressive radical form of nationalism or ethnic nationalism (ethno nationalism) that incorporates autonomous, heightened ethnic consciousness and patriotic sentiments with atavistic fears and hatreds focused on "other" or foreign peoples, framing a belief in expansion or recovery of formerly owned territories through militaristic means.

b) Romantic nationalism: Also known as organic nationalism and identity nationalism is the form of ethnic nationalism in which the state derives political legitimacy as a natural ("organic") consequence and expression of the nation, race, or ethnicity. It reflected the ideals of Romanticism and was opposed to Enlightenment rationalism. Romantic nationalism emphasized a historical ethnic culture which meets the Romantic Ideal, folklore developed as a Romantic nationalist concept.

2. Cultural nationalism

Cultural nationalism defines the nation by shared culture. Membership (the state of being members) in the nation is neither entirely voluntary (you cannot instantly acquire a culture), nor hereditary (children of members may be considered foreigners if they grew up in another culture). Yet, a traditional culture can be more easily incorporated into an individual's life, especially if the individual is allowed to acquire its skills at an early stage of his/her own life. Cultural nationalism has been described as a variety of nationalism that is neither purely civic nor ethnic. The nationalisms of Catalonia, Quebec and Flanders have been described as cultural.

a) Language nationalism: Bill 101 is a law in the province of Quebec in Canada defining French, the language of the majority of the population, as the official language of the provincial government. Other forms of language nationalism is the English only movement that advocates for the use of only the English language in English speaking nations such as the USA or Australia.

b) Religious nationalism: is the relationship of nationalism to a particular religious belief, church, or affiliation. This relationship can be broken down into two aspects; the political of religion and the converse influence of religion on politics. In the former aspect, a shared religion can be seen to contribute to a sense of national unity, a common bond among the citizens of the nation. Another political aspect of religion is the support of a national identity, similar to a shared ethnicity, language or culture. The influence of religion on politics is more ideological, where current interpretations of religious ideas inspire political activism and action; for example, laws are passed to foster stricter religious adherence.

c) Post-colonial nationalism: Since the process of decolonization that occurred after World War II, there has been a rise of Third World nationalisms. Third world nationalisms occur in those nations that have been colonized and exploited. The nationalisms of these nations were forged in a furnace that required resistance to colonial domination in order to survive. As such, resistance is part and parcel of such nationalisms and their very existence is a form of resistance to imperialist intrusions. Third World nationalism attempts to ensure that the identities of Third World peoples are authored primarily by themselves, not colonial powers.

3. Civic nationalism

Civic nationalism is the form of nationalism in which the state derives political legitimacy from the active participation of its citizenry, from the degree to which it represents the "will of the people". It is often seen as originating with Jean-Jacques and especially the social contract theories which take their name from his 1762 book The Social Contract. Civic nationalism lies within the traditions of rationalism and liberalism, but as a form of nationalism it is contrasted with ethnic nationalism. Membership of the civic nation is considered voluntary. Civic-national ideals influenced the development of representative democracy in countries such as the United States and France. State nationalism is a variant of civic nationalism, often (but not always) combined with ethnic nationalism. It implies that the nation is a community of those who contribute to the maintenance and strength of the state, and that the individual exists to contribute to this goal. Italian fascism is the best example, epitomized in this slogan of benito Mussolini: "Tutto nello Stato, niente al di fuori dello Stato, nulla contro lo Stato" ("Everything in the State, nothing outside the State, nothing against the State"). It is no surprise that this conflicts with liberal ideals of individual liberty, and with liberal-democratic principles. The revolutionary Jacobin creation of a unitary and centralist French state is often seen as the original version of state nationalism. Francoist Spain is a later example of state nationalism. However, the term "state nationalism" is often used in conflicts between nationalisms, and especially where a secessionist movement confronts an established "nation state". The secessionists speak of state nationalism to discredit the legitimacy of the larger state, since state nationalism is perceived as less authentic and less democratic. Flemish separatists speak of Belgian nationalism as a state nationalism. Bisque separatists and Corscan separatists refer to Spain and France, respectively, in this way. There are no undisputed external criteria to assess which side is right, and the result is usually that the population is divided by conflicting appeals to its loyalty and patriotism. Critiques of supposed "civic nationalism" often call for the elimination of the term as it often represents imperialism (in the case of France), patriotism, or simply an extension of "ethnic” or "real" nationalism.

a) Liberal nationalism: Is a kind of nationalism defended recently by political philosophers who believe that there can be a non- xenophobic form of nationalism compatible with liberal values of freedom, tolerance, equality, and individual rights. Ernest Renan, author of “Questce quune nation" and John Staurt Mill are often thought to be early liberal nationalists. Liberal nationalists often defend the value of national identity by saying that individuals need a national identity in order to lead meaningful, autonomous lives and that liberal democratic polity’s need national identity in order to function properly.

4. Ideological nationalism:

This involves:

a) Revolutionary nationalism is a broad label that has been applied to many different types of nationalist political movements that wish to achieve their goals through a revolution against the established order.

b) National conservatism: Is a variant of conservation common in Europe and Asia that concentrates on upholding national and cultural identity, usually combining this nationalist concern with conservative stances promoting traditional values. It shares characteristics with traditionalist conservatism and social conservatism given how the three variations focus on preservation and tradition. As national conservatism seeks to preserve national interests, traditional conservatism emphasizes ancestral institutions. Additionally, social conservatism emphasizes a patriarchal, restrictive attitude regarding moral behavior to preserve one's traditional status in society. National-conservative parties often have roots in environments with a rural, traditionalist or peripheral basis, contrasting with the more urban support base of liberal conservative parties. In Europe, most embrace some form of Euroscepticism. The majority of conservative parties in post-communist central and Eastern Europe since 1989 have been national conservative.

c) Liberation nationalism

Many nationalist movements in the world are dedicated to national liberation in the view that their nations are being persecuted by other nations and thus need to exercise self-determination by liberating themselves from the accused persecutors. Anti-revisionist, Marxist-Leninism is closely tied with this ideology, and practical examples include Stalin's early work Marxism and the national question and his Socialism in one Country edict, which declares that nationalism can be used in an internationalist context i.e. fighting for national liberation without racial or religious divisions.

d) Left-wing nationalism: also occasionally known as socialist nationalism, refers to any political movement that combines left-wing politics or socialism with nationalism.

5. Schools of anarchism which acknowledge nationalism

Anarchists who see value in nationalism typically argue that a nation is first and foremost a people; that the state is parasite upon the nation and should not be confused with it and that since in reality states rarely coincide with national entities, the ideal of the nation state is actually little more than a myth. Within the European Union, for instance, they argue there are over 500 ethnic nations within the 25 member states, and even more in Asia, Africa, and the Americas. Moving from this position, they argue that the achievement of meaningful self-determination for all of the world's nations requires an anarchist political system based on local control, free federation, and mutual aid. There has been a long history of anarchist involvement with left-nationalism all over the world. Contemporary fusions of anarchism with anti-state left-nationalism include some strains of back anarchist and indigenes. In the early to mid-19th century Europe, the ideas of nationalism, socialism, and liberalism were closely intertwined. Revolutionaries and radicals like Giuseppe Mazzini aligned with all three in about equal measure. The early pioneers of anarchism participated in the spirit of their times: they had much in common with both liberals and socialists, and they shared much of the outlook of early nationalism as well.

6. Pan-nationalism

Pan-nationalism  is usually an ethnic and cultural nationalism, but the 'nation' is itself a cluster of related ethnic groups and cultures, such as Slavic peoples. Occasionally pan-nationalism is applied to mono-ethnic nationalism, when the national group is dispersed over a wide area and several states - as in pan-Germanism.

7. Diaspora nationalism

Diaspora nationalism, or as Benedict Anderson terms it, "long-distance nationalism", generally refers to nationalist feeling among a diaspora such as the Irish in the United States, Jews around the world after the expulsion from Jerusalem (586 BCE), the Lebanese in the Americas and Africa, or Armenians in Europe and the United States.  Anderson states that this sort of nationalism acts as” phantom bedrock" for people who want to experience a national connection, but who do not actually want to leave their diaspora community. The essential difference between pan-nationalism and diaspora nationalism is that members of a diaspora, by definition, are no longer resident in their national or ethnic homeland. Traditionally 'Diaspora' refers to a dispersal of a people from a (real or imagined) 'homeland' due to a cataclysmic disruption, such as war, famine, etc. New networks - new 'roots' - form along the 'routes' travelled by diasporic people, who are connected by a shared desire to return 'home'.

In reality, the desire to return may be eschatological (that is end times orientation), or may not occur in any foreseeable future, but the longing for the lost homeland and the sense of difference from circumambient cultures in which Diasporic people live becomes an identity unto itself.

Post a Comment