It has always been a mystery to me how men can feel themselves honoured by the humiliation of their fellow human beings: M. K. Gandhi / People all seek to know what they do not know yet; They ought rather seek to know what they know already - Zhuang Zhou (d 286 BC)
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Debora MacKenzie - End of nations: Is there an alternative to countries?
Try, for a moment, to
envisage a world without countries. Imagine a map not divided into neat,
coloured patches, each with clear borders, governments, laws. Try to describe
anything our society does – trade, travel, science, sport, maintaining peace
and security – without mentioning countries. Try to describe yourself: you have a right to at
least one nationality, and the right to change it, but not the right to have
Those coloured patches
on the map may be democracies, dictatorships or too chaotic to be either, but
virtually all claim to be one thing: a nation state, the sovereign territory of
a “people” or nation who are entitled to self-determination within a
self-governing state. So says the United
Nations, which now numbers 193 of them.
And more and more
peoples want their own state, from Scots voting for
independence to jihadis declaring a new state in the Middle East. Many
of the big news stories of the day, from conflicts in Gaza and Ukraine to rows
over immigration and membership of the European Union, are linked to nation
states in some way.
Even as our economies
globalise, nation states remain the planet’s premier political institution.
Large votes for nationalist parties in this year’s EU elections prove
nationalism remains alive – even as the EU tries to transcend it. Yet there is a growing
feeling among economists, political scientists and even national governments
that the nation state is not necessarily the best scale on which to run our
affairs. We must manage vital matters like food supply and climate on a global
scale, yet national agendas repeatedly trump the global good. At a smaller
scale, city and regional administrations often seem to serve people better than
How, then, should we
organise ourselves? Is the nation state a natural, inevitable institution? Or
is it a dangerous anachronism in a globalised world? These are not normally
scientific questions – but that is changing. Complexity theorists, social
scientists and historians are addressing them using new techniques, and the
answers are not always what you might expect. Far from timeless, the nation
state is a recent phenomenon. And as complexity keeps rising, it is already
mutating into novel political structures. Get set for neo-medievalism.
Before the late 18th
century there were no real nation states, says John Breuilly of the London
School of Economics. If you travelled across Europe, no one asked for your
passport at borders; neither passports nor borders as we know them existed.
People had ethnic and cultural identities, but these didn’t really define the
political entity they lived in… read more:
tatha saktas cikirsur lokasamgraham (Bhagwadgita III 25) The disinterestedly wise ought to desire the
holding together of all being Evil, I think, is the absence of empathy: Captain G. M. Gilbert, US Army psychologist , Nuremberg trials, 1945-49
NB: I write this primarily for the young protestors of today, as well as those who might be confused by the governments (and the Sangh Parivars') propaganda. Its is necessary to see how ill-informed, illogical and deceitful this propaganda is, because it is being propagated by responsible persons bent upon creating more tension in Indian society. High officials of state do not normally create hatred among those who have given them a mandate to rule. But that is what we have come to expect from this government. This is the most cruel, deceitful and brutal government of India that I have seen in my life. And they mistake their cleverness for wisdom. I am posting these comments to help my fellow Indians se…
“Do you know,” Napoleon once said to Fontanes, “what astounds me most about the world? The impotence of force to establish anything. There are only two powers in the world: the sword and the mind. In the end, the sword is always conquered by the mind.”
Conquerors, you see, are sometimes melancholy. They have to pay some price for so much vainglory. But what a hundred years ago was true of the sword is no longer true today of the tank. Conquerors have made progress, and the dismal silence of places without intelligence has been established for years at a time in a lacerated Europe. At the time of the hideous wars of Flanders, Dutch painters could still perhaps paint the cockerels in their farmyards. The Hundred Years War has likewise been forgotten, and yet the prayers of Silesian mystics still linger in some hearts. But today, things have changed; the painter and the monk have been drafted — we are one with the world. The mind has lost that regal certainty which a conqueror …
Pakistan and National Unity is an important position paper of the Communist Party of India, and a far-reaching text in the history of the Indian communist movement. The resolution dated September 19, 1942 contains an outline of the CPI's support for what it called the 'just essence of the Pakistan demand'; and the Report by Gangadhar Adhikari is a detailed explanation of the resolution. The resolution was confirmed by the First Congress of the CPI in May 1943. Its arguments may be contrasted with the pamphlet titled Who Rules Pakistan?published in Bombay in August 1948, as a 'Communist Party publication' - and is one of the earliest position documents of the Communist Party of Pakistan.
The document is titled File CPI-31/1942; and forms part of the P.C. Joshi Archives at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. The text of the resolution and report is also available in the book entitled Remembering Dr Gangadhar Adhikari: Selections from Writings, Part 2; edited by A…
There are still people who admire Godse for shooting a defenceless, unarmed old man at point blank range in a prayer meeting.. After all, modern society is awash with extremist beliefs, including support for suicide bombers and vigilante violence. Extremism has taken centre-stage in the guise of communal ideology and prejudices. People in high office believe in collective guilt (denouncing entire communities for the sins of a few), controlled mobs, revenge killing and vigilantism.Click the title for Parts 1 & 2 of the Report [of the 6 volume document] of the Commission of Inquiry into the Conspiracy to Murder Mahatma Gandhi by Justice Jeevan Lal Kapur [Supreme Court of India]. The commission was established in 1965 & submitted its report on 30 Sept 1969.
NB: Mike Davis is the author of Late Victorian Holocausts, a detailed analysis of the 19th century drought and famine that took millions of lives of the poor in India and China DS The current pandemic expands the argument: capitalist globalization now appears to be biologically unsustainable in the absence of a truly international public health infra-structure. But such an infrastructure will never exist until peoples’ movements break the power of Big Pharma and for-profit healthcare. The original H1N1 found a favored niche in army camps and battlefield trenches where it scythed down young soldiers down by the tens of thousands. The collapse of the great German spring offensive of 1918 has been attributed to the fact that the Allies, in contrast to their enemy, could replenish their sick armies with newly arrived American troops.... It is rarely appreciated, however, that fully 60 per cent of global mortality occurred in western India where grain exports to Britain and brutal requisition…