“Postcolonialism” has uniformly positive connotations while “nationalism” has become a swear word. I conducted an experiment with students, asking them to list the words they associate with these terms.
Postcolonialism was associated with freedom, liberation, and rights.
Nationalism was associated with white, racism, and hatred.
This defies all reason because the two words are synonymous. What does postcolonialism want? A country of its own. What is a country in the only sense that we are familiar with? A nation. Every postcolonial movement in existence wanted a nation. Because what else could it possibly want? If it’s bad to be a colony and also bad to be a nation, then what’s good? What should you be?
This is a gaping contradiction at the heart of leftism that nobody is noticing and analyzing. If empire is bad and the only thing that has been known to defeat an empire (which is nationalism) is also bad. . . then what exactly are you trying to say? Why has the word nationalism been reduced to an insult? Whose interests does that serve? What is the postcolonial anti-national model that we are pursuing? Why does it have no name? Why does it remain hidden behind these rhetorical tricks? Is there something wrong with it that we aren’t supposed to notice?
Sometimes, an ideology leaves a seam open to view. The smart thing to do is to pick that seam apart and take a look inside. This is one of those situations.