Explorations on the subject of the nation state and lines of flight as a potential factor preventing genocide
Exploring the notion of independent nationalisms as a Leftist aspiration becoming in turn reactionary, one has to wonder whether this is simply the result of a particular nationalist movement being consolidated into a state structure or whether there is something inherently wrong with nationalisms full stop.
Looking at the various forms of nationalism within the Israel-Palestine conflict is a case in point. Zionism was once seen by many on the left as a radical, progressive idea. Once Israel became not only a state but began successfully winning wars and occupying territory it has now become in the eyes of many leftists its opposite. Many leftists would advocate for Palestinian nationalism as the radical progressive idea. However, if Hamas or even the PA led a nation state, it’s highly likely that it would be a more reactionary entity than the liberal democracy that is Israel (with all of its attendant problems) because of the track record of both organizations.
So again, is there something in a nationalist movement becoming consolidated within a modern nation state structure that gives it by default a more reactionary nature? We can also consider this in the example of an independent Serbia forming out of the break up of Yugoslavia — however this would presumably equally apply to the other nation states forming at that time as well. It’s difficult to say.
This brings to mind specifically the philosophy of those like Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guatarri who argued that “lines of flight” or the transition away from that which is solid — such as a nation state structure — is truly the only form of freedom. In that case they might argue that it is only in the transition period where a nationalism is in the process of becoming a state where it is truly progressive. Once it has consolidated into that state, then new “lines of flight” are required from what has become the new solid. For more on this see the two volumes of Capitalism and Schizophrenia: Anti-Oedipus and A Thousand Plateaus. This also owes something to Leon Trotsky’s theory of the necessity of a permanent revolution.
Why this is relevant to the study of genocide could be that these transitory periods may be ones in which genocide is avoided. On the other hand, it seems from the historical record that it is the transitory periods that have seen much of the genocidal violence. But is this due to the transition itself or the consolidation of new state entities? In other words, is the process of state formation and consolidation where strong nationalist movements existed previously an indicator of future genocide and could this be avoided by continually reforming the nation state in some way?
Deleuze, G., & Guattari, F. (2013). A Thousand Plateaus. Bloomsbury Academic.