Zero Tolerance

No to All Nationalisms!


Fifth Estate # 337, Late Summer, 1991

Ugly nationalism is surfacing everywhere. It is important for those who oppose the State to reject any and all forms it may take. The following addresses the problem in Canada, but applies to all nationalisms.

No to All Nationalisms!

from A comrade from Quebec, with FE editing

As the orgy of nationalist stupidity approaches its climax, there has never been a better time to reappropriate the word sovereignty. Never has a need for autonomy been more painfully urgent than it is today. But now that Capital and the State occupy almost all the terrain, our minds become the only space that is usually left. The power of the courts, cops, bosses, and bureaucrats of the present and future States is awesome and undeniable. But for us, these institutions have no legitimacy and will have none in the future State.

A dream (a nightmare, really) as empty and boring as creating a State merits nothing but contempt. We spit on your flags and your nationalist symbols, just as we spit on the Canadian flag and the mindless option of clinging to the Canadian State. We have no country and want none. All States must die, and any State that happens to be born should be dispatched as quickly as possible.

It is a public secret that whatever the result of the present nationalist frenzy, nothing is really going to change. And, since Anglophone and Francophone culture is the same thing, it’s hard to see what the fuss is all about anyway. Well, not 100% the same. Say about 98%. Focusing on the 2% that is different, examining it under a microscope, will not alter the fact that these cultures are almost identical.

The language question in Quebec is ultimately only a question of the illusion of a difference. This should come as no surprise. After all, both the English and French came from the same part of Europe, experienced a similar history of pushing Native peoples aside, implemented a genocide, adapted to the same terrain and climate, had essentially the same religion, the same capitalist mentality, the same musical folklore, wore the same clothes….

Whatever differences might once have existed between the two cultures have been completely effaced by the culture of Capital which dominates everything. Anglophones and Francophones spend their lives in identical fashion, circling endlessly on the miserable merry-go-round of work-and-shop-and-watch-TV….What “distinct society?”

A choice between “yes” and “no” in a future referendum is an insult; a choice between Pepsi and Coke. By now, “democracy” is simply the right to choose who is going to oppress us. We want to get rid of the bosses, bureaucrats, and politicians once and for all!

If the present tract overflows into a rant at times, we offer no apologies. The reigning political idiocy enrages us. Today, worldwide, everything conspires towards a numbing passivity and domestication—our response is to learn to let our passions erupt!