Not Proud to be British

So the Jubilee celebrations here ended yesterday, thank fuck. I almost got caught up in the middle of them as well...silly me, should have stayed away from central London. I'm an anti-royalist for many, many reasons, but I'll talk about that another time - maybe in ten years, maybe tomorrow, maybe never, depending on what I feel like.

Of course, there was an awful lot of patriotism and tat and patriotic tat and flag-waving and propaganda and all sorts of things, which not only manifested itself in people wearing all sorts of flag-themed weirdness (coats, cowboy hats, leggings, shirts, strange hairstyles, flags stuck into all of the above) but also in people declaring how jolly proud they were to be British!

Well, guess what? Take your British flags and burn them. Burn the lot when it's cold in the winter, or use them as tablecloths or blankets. They're only bits of paper or fabric with a funny symbol printed on them, after all, and nothing more. There's no rhyme or reason in being proud of "being British", whatever that is.

Britain uses workfare and in a particularly controversial recent case has used people on workfare as Jubilee stewards in particularly long and harsh conditions - not to mention that workfare (in other words, forcing people to work lest they lose benefits they need to live, not that capitalists care much about that) is exploitative. Britain can be a very racist, Islamophobic and xenophobic country - as an anti-racist anti-Islamophobic immigrant, even now it's still quite jarring to hear about how white people took over Europe and America through the power of hard work alone (implying that people of colour are lazy), to hear a doctor bragging about how he makes Muslim women wait two weeks for an appointment if they don't take off their burqas (I think that was what it was - this particular anecdote was from years ago), and to hear natives saying to my face that I'm a lazy benefit scrounger who shouldn't have have the rights that they do (I'm white and speak English in some cases better than they do, so I'm often mistaken for a fellow native). Britain is a heavily surveilled country. British files show the appalling, horrific and shameful acts and crimes committed by the British Empire - when they're still around at least and haven't been destroyed. Britain decided to extradite Assange. Britain demonises the poor and the disabled while idolising the rich. Tell me now, why the fuck should I be proud of any of that?

Quite apart from the atrocities of Britain past and present, I've got another reason why I'm not proud of being British: I'm not British. I'm not Israeli, either. I'm not Russian or Czech or from some random part of Eastern Europe. I'm from Earth.

Geopolitical borders are fictions. That's the truth. They are long-lasting fictions, to be sure, but they are fictions. No natural law says that they have to be this way rather than that way, or even that they have to exist at all. Nations as we know them exist primarily because they've been around for a long time and because they've used violence and repression to keep themselves in existence - and they continue to do it today. Nationalism itself causes wars and violence, feeding into racism - because hey, those people were born in a different place so they must be evil cannon fodder! Nations turn people against each other in the quest to make one artificial, abstract entity more powerful than another, and if we all had any sense we'd tear down and burn the flags that are their symbols.

Don't get me wrong, it wouldn't be easy to eliminate all borders. A lot of people are against it, and pretty much every government and governing body in the world is too. Once you get rid of states, you then have to get rid of the corporations as well and somehow figure out how to give people incentives to keep society ticking over. But...I can't deny that sometimes it seems like a damn good idea to get rid of all borders, to stop this stupid and violent nation-game, to stop thinking that where you were born makes you better or worse than another person, to start working for Earth as a whole rather than for arbitrary bits of it.