Since the nineteenth century the relations between the left and nationalism are complicated. In the famous "Manifesto of the Communist Party" booklet pamphlet of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, the authors already called the "workers of the world" to unite and overthrow capitalism, stating in its pages that "capital has no borders."
Anarchist authors such as Bakunin and Proudhon also founded their theories on criticism of the state and nationalism. In general, the classical socialists and anarchists saw the state as a defender of the interests of the ruling class (bourgeoisie), and nationalism as the farsque discourse that would cover up this social domination. Hence the origin of the strong internationalism of the classical left.
These premises began to be thoroughly reviewed throughout the twentieth century. From a theoretical point of view, the Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin in "Imperialism: the Higher Stage of Capitalism," pointed out how the English working classes benefited from the imperial relations of their country with their colonies, and how the exploitation of peripheral countries increased their well- be.
Later, the Marxist Theory of Dependency gave more substance and arguments to this reasoning. Rather than dividing the world between "advanced" and "backward" nations, these theorists separated the world between "central" and "peripheral" countries. The fundamental difference between the two would be the sophistication of the productive system, with industrialized nations economically dominating the commodity producers.
TMD also formulated a new interpretation of the Marxist class struggle. While the economic elites of the powers would strengthen the position of their countries in the world, the elites of the peripheral countries would benefit from the colonial relations. Because of this, instead of promoting the industrialization and liberation of their countries, the peripheral elites would imprison their nations more and more in underdevelopment.
From the practical point of view, nationalism was propagated by various types of regime. In the twentieth century, he was exalted by Nazi-fascist countries; by the English, French and Portuguese colonialisms; by the socialist revolutions of the USSR, China and Cuba; by American hegemony in the West; and by all the anticolonial revolts and movements in Asia and Africa.
How to differentiate so many nationalisms? In the twenty-first century, with the international financial crisis, the decadence of liberalism and globalist discourse, we see again the return of nationalism in several countries of the world. But how to know which nationalism is liberating and which reinforces the relations of domination?
The fundamental question is its point of origin. That is, generally when nationalism arises out of a central nation, it tends to become a defense of the imperialism of this country. One can see this in Nazi discourses about the inferiority of Slav peoples or Trump's offenses to Latino immigrants.
Even when nationalism appears in peripheral countries, it is the opposite: it tends to express a defense of this nation against the interests of the powers. That is why there was such a strong association between the left and nationalism in Latin American, African and Asian countries throughout the 20th century.
The left of the 21st century should no longer hesitate to defend the national flag, nor should it be ashamed to defend national history and symbols. Only the efficient association between state and market can overcome the productive and technological barriers of the nation.
The construction of a national union between all Brazilians and a state with a strategic and liberating vision are necessary for the rise of Brazil among the powers of the world. Being Brazilian, of the left, and not being nationalist will always be a serious incoherence.