Ideological Foundations of the Nation-State by Abdullah Ocalan
If we were to compare the nation-state to a living god then nationalism would be the correspondent religion. In spite of some seemingly positivist elements, nation-state and nationalism show metaphysical characteristics. In this context, capitalist profit and the accumulation of capital appear as categories shrouded in mystery. There is a network of contradictory relations behind these terms that is based on force and exploitation. Their hegemonic strive for power serves the maximization of profits. In this sense, nationalism appears as a quasi-religious justification. Its true mission, however, is its service to the virtually divine nation-state and its ideological vision which pervades all areas of society. Arts, science, and social awareness: none of them is independent. A true intellectual enlightenment therefore requires a fundamental analysis of these elements of modernity.
2. Positivist Science
The paradigm of a positivist or descriptive science forms an ideological pillar of the nation-state. It fuels nationalist ideology but also laicism which has taken the form of a new religion. On the other hand it is one of the ideological foundations of modernity and its dogmata have influenced the social sciences sustainably. Positivism can be circumscribed as a philosophical approach that is strictly confined to the appearance of things, which it equates with reality itself. Since in positivism appearance is reality, nothing that has no appearance can be part of reality. We know from quantum physics, astronomy, some fields of biology and even the gist of thought itself that reality occurs in worlds that are beyond observable events. The truth, in the relationship between the observed and the observer, has mystified itself to the extent that it no longer fits any physical scale or definition. Positivism denies this and thus, to an extent, resembles the idol worshipping of ancient times, where the idol constitutes the image of reality.
Another ideological pillar of the nation-state is the sexism that pervades the entirety of society. Many civilized systems have employed sexism in order to preserve their own power. They enforced women’s exploitation and used them as a valuable reservoir of cheap labour. Women are also regarded as a valuable resource in so far as they produce offspring and provide the reproduction of men. Thus, woman is both a sexual object and a commodity. She is a tool for the preservation of male power and can at best advance to become an accessory of patriarchal male society. On the one hand, the sexism of the society of the nation-state strengthens the power of men; on the other hand the nation-state turns its society into a colony by the exploitation of women. In this respect women can also be regarded as an exploited nation. In the course of the history of civilization patriarchy consolidated the traditional framework of hierarchies, which in the nation-state is fuelled by sexism. Socially rooted sexism is -just like nationalism- an ideological product of the nation-state and of power. Socially rooted sexism is not less dangerous than capitalism. Patriarchy, however, tries to hide these facts at any rate. This is understandable with a view to the fact that all power relations and state ideologies are fuelled by sexist concepts and behaviour. Without the repression of women the repression of entire society is inconceivable. Sexism within the nation-state society while on the one hand gives the male maximum power on the other hand turns society through the woman into the worst colony of all. Hence women are historical-society’s colony nation which has reached its worst position within the nation-state. All power and state ideologies stem from sexist attitudes and behaviour. Woman’s slavery is the most profound and disguised social area where all types of slavery, oppression and colonization are realized. Capitalism and the nation-state act in full awareness of this. Without woman’s slavery none of the other types of slavery can exist, let alone develop. Capitalism and the nation-state denote the most institutionalized dominant male. More boldly and openly spoken, capitalism and the nation-state are the monopolism of the despotic and exploitative male.
Even if it acts seemingly like a secular state, the nation-state does not shy away from using a mélange of nationalism and religion for its purposes. The reason is simple: religion still plays an important part in some societies or parts of them. In particular Islam is very agile in this respect. However, religion in the age of modernity does no longer play its traditional role. Whether it is a radical or a moderate belief, religion in the nation-state does no longer have a mission in the society. It can only do what it is permitted by the nation-state. It’s still existing influence and functionality, which can be misused for the promotion of nationalism, are interesting aspects for the nation-state. In some cases religion even takes on the part of nationalism. The Shi’a of Iran is one of the most powerful ideological weapons of the Iranian state. In Turkey the Sunni ideology plays a similar but more limited role.