Nationalisms as social nightmares

Murray Bookchin (1993) :

The "nation" as a cultural entity is superseded by an overpowering and oppressive state apparatus. Racism commonly goes hand in hand with "national liberation" struggles, such as "ethnic cleansing" and wars for territorial gain, as we see most poignantly today in the Middle East, India, the Caucasus, and Eastern Europe. Nationalisms that only a generation ago might have been regarded as "national liberation" struggles are more clearly seen today, in the wake of the collapse of the Soviet empire, as little more than social nightmares and decivilizing blights.

Put bluntly, nationalisms are regressive atavisms that the Enlightenment tried to overcome long ago. They introject the worst features of the very empires from which oppressed peoples have tried to shake loose. Not only do they typically reproduce state-machines that are as oppressive as the ones that colonial powers imposed on them, but they reinforce those machines with cultural, religious, ethnic, and xenophobic traits that are often used to foster regional and even domestic hatreds and subimperialisms. No less important, in the absence of genuine popular democracies the sequelae of understandably anti-imperialist struggles too often include the strengthening of imperialism itself, such that the powers that have been seemingly dispossessed of their colonies can now play the state of one former colony against that of another, as witness the conflicts that ravage Africa, the Middle East, and the Indian subcontinent.