Machine translation obtained using Elia by Elhuyar
Yearbook 2021 | Joseba Sarrionandia Uribelarrea (Idazlea)


In American political sociology after the World War II there are two references to the national problem and to international relations: Hans Morgenthau and Karl Deutsch, a Judo-German and a Sudete, both adults fleeing central Europe. Hans Morgenthauk published in 1948 Power Among Nations with the aim of turning political realism into a scientific theory. As a universal objective law of the actual functioning of the policy that identified the “National Interest” and the “Law of Power”, the interest was the increase of power and power was the ability to control anyone. Karl Deutsch was also pretty cowboy and realistic, but he moved with a bias: politics is not meant to dominate, but mutual recognition and collaboration. Deutsch believes that knowledge must be used for peace. A basis that is absolutely scientific and unrealistic from the point of view of Morgenthau, of course. For Deutsch, the objective of the policy was to organize relatives with each other and, likewise, nations with healthy relationships at the international level. Considering the millions of politically motivated deaths, giving a verbal sense to the comparison of health, Karl Deutsch said that the Political Sciences should really be considered a branch of medicine.

He published his thesis in 1951: Nationalism and Social Communication. The objective of the essay was to understand what nationalism is, to understand what happens in national problems. It is about the relationship between people and the sociological psychology of people, that a group of people feels like a social body, to which Deutsch calls “we-feel.” Deutsch sees that “we-feel” at the base of nations and at the base of national states when general loyalty is transferred to a managing center.

People are social and communicative beings. From the point of view of Deutsch, politics is built by social relations and communication. Competition and power between interests are there, but they are not the essence of politics, as Morgenthau would say. The policy for Deutsch is more than the domination of the other: “It is a growing control of human behaviour through voluntary acceptance practices and combined with the potential threat of coercion.” This wheelbarrow, politics, is seen by the superiors as a vertical mechanism of control of the actions and desires of the inferior. Deutsch believes that the government, rather than exercising power, is control and manipulation.

Despite domination and powers, the most important thing in politics is society’s capacity for communication and decision.


The differences between the national concepts of Johann Gottfried Herder and Ernest Renan result in philosophical speculation or repressed politics. But the 19th century. The liberal bourgeois criterion of the 20th century is very clear when it comes to distinguishing which people could be considered nation and which could not, and Eric Hobswan sums it up. The three requirements that any country must fulfil in order to be considered a nation were to have an organization of a state character, with a past, old or new, to have an intellectual elite, with a literal language and culture cultured, and, last but not least, to have the capacity to impose and conquer violence.

The nationality category was left to the people incapable of being a nation or nation-state. These nationalities, being “old” peoples, or “too young” peoples, theorized Hegel and many others who would dissolve themselves outside history. However, as the system of national States was consolidated, nationalities became a problem for organized national States, which also wanted their independence, that is, their status as a nation State. This national problem has been one of the most serious factors in European history and continues to resurface here or there.

The problem could have a democratic solution, but the constitutions of national States do not normally point it out. With power schemes like Hans Morgenthau, as the nation-state is justifiably justified, domination towards nationalities is pure realism and the peaceful democratic solution of national problems is an exercise of unrealism.

The communist movement formulated the right of self-determination so that the problem of nationalities would not become an obstacle to labour unity and socialist revolution. The self-determination of each national issue would be taken as a neutral and democratic reason or principle, although in each individual case there were difficulties in implementing this democratic principle to a greater or lesser extent. It is important to note that this revolutionary vision departed radically from the liberal bourgeois vision mentioned above, because it is not based on power and force when it comes to distinguishing which country can be considered a nation and which cannot. In the Marxism essay and the problem of nationalities, written by Josip Stalin in 1913, Otto Bauer proposes a series of more dubious characteristics to identify nationalities and consider them subjects of self-determination: history, language, territory, economy, culture and identification.


Delegitimized the providential monarchist states of the Old Regime, the states have organized themselves with the idea of self-government nation in the last two centuries. The Basques, however, do not have at least self-government as a people, despite having achieved fragmented and very partial autonomy as part of the Spanish or French nation. In the South, with a monarchy brought by the Franco dictatorship, all democratic logic is exaggerated. In the history of the North, the phrase of Ernest Renan, “une nation est un plebiscite de tous les jours”, only as a joke and truffle, is a vanity of domination. Both in Spain and in France, since the state"s political powers became national states, the nation became the legitimization of the state and nationalism in state politics.

Throughout history, the claim for nationality and self-determination of the Basque people has had different formulations: Dominique Garat, Augustin Xaho, Arturo Campion, Sabino Arana, Francisco Ulazia, Engrazio Arantzadi, Eli Gallastegi, Federico Krutwig, Jose Luis Alvarez, Jose Antonio Etxebarrieta, Tomás Urzainki... The idea of independence was related to the Etxebarrieta brothers in the hope of the social revolution, especially in the 1970s, imagining the leading role of the working people. The people of Nabarralde regained utopian antiquity for the future.

But the national project cannot be based solely on language or utopia, both in the future and in the past. As a sign of the existence of a nation, one can speak of history, language, territory, economy, culture and political identification, and one can think that the nation is like this. But perhaps it is more realistic and effective to question national representations and speeches and to put them upside down: we have no nation. Without army, without geographical borders and concrete policies, without own money, without hyper-language, under two powerful states, our nationality is obviously unreal. And the words of Xavier Rubert de Ventós are clear:

“Official independence and the State of Self are necessary to start believing in our real existence.”

What Gutasuna or Deutsch called “we-feel” is contingent, not safe or obligatory, strengthens or weakens, may or may not occur. But, in this contingency, the nation is above all reciprocal communication.

It was said that we ended the era of national States and headed towards the post-national era. But, XXI. In the twentieth century, Spain has not abandoned the army, blurred political borders, abandoned money management, abolished the obligation to use its hyper-language. France seems to be pursuing a successful strategy of deseuskaldunisation. Under both states we are the Basques who are culturally and politically unarmed…

Spanish nationalism has ensured that the cultural and political references of almost all Basques in the south are Spanish. The people of the North live in the realm of French communication. The Basque is more Spanish than every day in this sense, or more French than every day, even if they are in fact anti-Spanish and anti-French by political will. The scope of Euskaldun communication is very minority, with the subalternator being the second logosphere of most of these Basques.


Susan Strang, in his States and Markets essay, has long stressed the importance of the global market, and called transnational empire irresponsible and invisible sets of supranational powers. Transnational imperialism is a political consequence of the world market and its military, monetary, cultural and communicational power is enormous.

In addition, with new technologies, communication capacity has become something immediate worldwide. We live in Telepolis to use the name of Javier Echevarria, we are cosmopolitan without leaving home. And the media is Telepolis"s most important infrastructure. Mass media, convinced that they report, largely shape reality. Our realities are not ours, but opinions manufactured and disseminated industrially in the interests of oligarchic or political powers. What Armand Mattelart has called the media prêt-à-penser, and Ignacio Ramonet the unique thought.

The empty plazas of the cities of ancient Greece, the democratic congresses and politics are represented in television spaces in the spirit of world politics. A global neighborhood launched by Marshall McLuhan has arrived, but it seems that neighbors are one-dimensional like those imagined by Herbert Marcus.

Everyone has become Americanised, domesticated cosmopolitism makes us comfortable, and being Basque or really prepared is exhausting, so some say that nation-states will disappear on their own, that we do not have to be so stubborn and give in to Spain and France.

They tell us that we are in a world without borders. And it"s true, it"s true. But it"s also a big lie. Here is Spain, and there is France, with secure maps, with a single language, with agendas to create reality. The others are unarmed, disassembled, sliced, mixed, discarded. The Basques do not have good armed forces, culture or politics.

Many Basques are waiting. Some wait for independence to start believing in our real existence. Others are waiting for a day when national states are cancelling themselves to believe in our real existence.

Our reality is against our own reality. This can be a good communication space.