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August 22, 2007


pierre mouillon

Talking about Benedict Anderson and his book “Imagined communities”, the post that appears to be the most relevant to me is Vera’s. Indeed she clearly points out the main argument of the author, which is that nationalism emerges from a “durable illusion” of an “imagined and sovereign community”. What Anderson means by imagined is that there is no tangible preexisting reality for such a community to exist, thus his idea is invented and abstract. Nationalism occurs and nation states are created because of print capitalism that in addition to temporally conception, develop synchronized literary activities and fix a common language. Thus, through this process, People share then common interests and are likely to feel closer to each other. I think that is where Anderson’s argument flaws. He says that people, even in a reduced nation, would never meet and know each other so the belonging to such a community is imagined. This appears to be wrong to me because I do think that if members identify to a same nation, it is because they could at one point have any kind of contact with each other by indirect ways of communications industrialization allowed them to use. Like Vera said, Before (XVIII) only the elite beneficiated such advantages. Now, with the new existing nations, the whole process changed. Indeed, Globalization is more important because of the new possibilities offered by industrialization, but also “vertical links” exist now increasing contact between elite and lower classes.
Anderson also focuses on the bad sides of nationalism being strongly correlated to imperialism or nationalism leading to extreme regimes such and being dangerous (racism), however, nationalism could be turned to a positive force I think. Indeed, Ken for example gave a good example of nationalism occurring in a positive way in the US after 11/9. I really agree again with Vera’s conclusion and answer of the question; Nationalism does not necessarily mean being opposed to other nation, the term “unifying force” (she used) to describe how nationalism would be positive is really appropriate.

Richard Parra

As many students have pointed out, Milovan Djilas argument that socialism is a delusion, too idealistic too work, holds true in today’s world. Djilas “New Class” of political bureaucracy where the elite Socialist party would reap the benefits of having most of the power and refute the idea that communism would lead to a classless society.
Djilas outlines the specific path Socialism would take: from overtaking control of production, to more political power, then industrialization and finally falling back to capitalism or revolution leading to Socialism. Djias best explained how this “new class” would “not come to power to complete a new economic order but to establish its own and…to establish its power over society” (38).

Although his argument did become to a certain extent true, it is also convincing that his argument and definition of socialism based on his own experience and discontent. Capitalism is not the panacea for inequality but Socialism does not remove class inequity.
The avarice and greed of people will always lead to an elite group who are the richest and most politically influential.


sorry for being late, have mercy

I disagree strongly with Anderson and his views that nationalism is purely a snare and delusion created by countries for exclusionary purposes ultimately supporting the adaptation of socialism as an alternative is wrong on so many levels.

I will concur with the foundations of why socialism was adopted as stated by Anderson; envy of natural communities such as England, Russia, Japan, economic strengthening required stronger national incentives for a driven community, a collapse of religion, and an expansion of printed press aiding information extension and literacy.

Nationalism which became largely a household name during the explosive conquest of outlying states around Europe including the Americas, Africa, the Middle East and the southern Orient. The bolstering of national pride and necessity for exclusionary measures derived for political and economic solidarity.

Although nationalism could be coined as a glorified global Darwinism, the flip side is that many nations in Europe and elsewhere did benefit from the expansion, gathering new resources, trade partners, political theories and technology.

To say that nationalism, which is essentially an ego centric way of bolstering ones own state, is a poor alternative for socialism is absurd. Socialism both historically and presently is rarely a well functioning state and lacks great stability the larger the community grows. Only on paper and in small communities which have centralized goals, strong communities and equally strong leaders does socialism function to its highest level. Marx and many socialist thinkers believed that capitalism was a precursor to a socialist movement where the revolution would be a top down approach, which was not farther from the truth.

Of course exceptions can be made, but largely most any countries that have adopted communism have been from a bottom up revolution. The beginning of the new country would seem fine while coffers dwindled and strong centralized leadership reigned but as time wore on and newly incompetent and corrupt officials took office, and the citizens began to abuse the system resulting in deficient economic returns and a lowering of the standard of living.

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