from his speech at the international Athens Meeting THE MEANING OF PATRIOTISM AND THE CLASS STRUGGLE TODAY The difference between humans and other animals on the planet is that we are settled in homelands. Humans are not nomads. That’s what distinguishes them from fish and seaweeds and mamals. This is the big difference. That they settle somewhere. And write their history – the history of their fathers, their ancestors; the history of entire peoples who struggle for their freedom, each in their own way. And it is the special ways [of fighting for freedom] that create the great diversity of humankind. Without it there can be no evolution or advancement. So, we’re patriots. NOT NATIONALISTS !
PATRIOTS ! We’re patriots because we recognize that without a homeland there can be no social or political victory to benefit the great majority of the people. Some people say—and we are aware of that because we face it daily, especially when we reach out to the left— that this is a class struggle. I, personally, do not disagree. Except that the class war by capital, by the markets and their political personnel aims to demolish established states that their citizens can use to defend themselves and gain their political and social enfranchisement. Therefore their class war has nothing to do with whatever national vindications or patriotic duties we may be talking about. On the contrary, the class struggle of the workers, the working people, the greatest majority of the popular strata that live from their labor is first and foremost, about claiming their country for themselves. It is in this sense … It is in this sense that the working people themselves must win the right to be the master and boss in their own country. This is the supreme class vindication of our times in front of a globalized dictatorship of capital and markets. Why? Because for us the struggle for national liberation and social emancipation go together. Hand in hand. There is no difference between them. There can be no difference, and it was never different in the history of social struggles and popular vindications. Those who separate the class question from the national, the patriotic, question especially today, make the first decisive move even if they do not realize it, towards taking the side of capital, the money-markets, and their political avatars. They take the first decisive step towards capitulating to the totalitarianism of the markets, as expressed today through supra-national authoritarian formations like the Euro and the European Union.