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DavidV

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As you may notice, questions of religion and nationalism have figured prominently in several of my posts on here. What I am aiming to discuss here is the relationship between monarchism and questions of identity politics, namely the question of national identity and the compatibility of monarchism with the various types of nationalism that have existed since, well, time immemorial. After all, it can be anything of state nationalism, civic nationalism, ethnic nationalism, romantic nationalism and whatnot, which may be conflated with the concept of patriotism and loyalty. But what I prefer to term organic nationalism indicates the intrinsic components of national identity- things such as territory, a shared heritage and traditions, religion and monarchy. Hence the slogans "Family, God, King and Country" or "Dios, Patria, Fueros, Rey".

For most of the countries concerned here, national identity cannot exist apart from monarchism. This is as much the case for existing monarchies Britain, Denmark and Japan, as it is for countries like Nepal, Portugal, France and Austria. Aside from "organic nationalism", the term integral nationalism was used by some writers to describe the nationalism of long existing nations such as Britain and France, as opposed to the more modern forms of nationalism which emerged in the 19th century like Germany and Italy. From this, one might be able to argue that Austrian nationalism is more "organic" than German nationalism (or Pan-Germanism), since Austria as an entity long pre-dated the modern concept of German unification, unless one talks of the Holy Roman Empire. Although German nationalism may have been no less an ethnic nationalism than Polish, Croatian or Hungarian nationalism, the latter two can be seen as more "organic" in concept owing to the fact that Poland, Croatia and Hungary had been in existence as nations for far longer. More recent regionally-based forms of nationalism are a decidedly different beast, seeking to carve out new nations out of existing ones- the very ones we object to as they concern existing monarchies. And here we can argue that Scottish "nationalism" is intrinsically flawed, as Scottish identity and nationhood has never existed apart from the monarchy, which many (most?) of the SNP aim to bring an end to, and must be fought against. The present-day British and Spanish states originated as personal unions, and only assumed their existing (more centralised) forms in the early 18th century, which itself presents the argument that the "national aspirations" of the regions concerned are accommodated in the existing monarchies to begin with.

In Germany and Italy, and relevant to contemporary monarchism in those countries, the conflict is one of a national identity rooted in the movements for unification against the more traditional regional identities forged by centuries of separate states. How compatible is a broadly "German national" identity with a strong sense of Bavarian patriotism, for instance? Or an "Italian" identity with a strong sense of loyalty to the Two Sicilies, Tuscany, Venice, etc? Many countries, rightly or wrongly, have been accused of being "artificial", an accusation levelled even against a few existing and former monarchies.  An organic identity is one of shared culture and tradition, whereas an artificial identity is entirely invented by means of ideology. Given the origins of German and Italian unification, the question of whether these national identities can be said to be organic or artificial is decidedly thorny. In Germany the question of ethnolinguistic identity is somewhat less complex than it is in Italy, where so-called "dialects" are in fact languages in their own right, despite the Tuscan dialect (on which standard Italian is based) having been the effective lingua franca of the peninsula for some time before unification. In his writings, Gerald Warner has been a critic of the original Italian and German nationalist projects precisely because, he feels, they paved the way for later problems. Indeed, this had been the issue in Austria both before and after 1918- the question of an Austrian nationalism of which German ethnicity was part of, but distinctly opposed to a German nationalism that sought to subvert and subsume a distinct Austrian identity. The question still exists in Austria today. But the question in Austria was made more complicated by the nationalities issue, yet right up to World War I, national demands were not at all hostile to continuation of a monarchical state. After all, Austria-Hungary was not one country but a collection of nations whose thrones had been joined by personal union, and some territories acquired by partition/conquest (depending on perspective).

Arab nationalism has been no less complex and controversial than its German counterpart, although it took root in different circumstances- the Arab Revolt which led to the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire. However, from the outset, there were conflicting ideologies and visions and even more so with the emergence of radical ideologies like Nasserism and Baathism, which came into conflict with the interests of existing monarchies who pursued their own form of Arab solidarity. Certainly, republican dictators (Gaddafi, Hussein, Assad, Nasser) were more aggressive attempting to export their poison, with ultimate failure and if anything serving to discredit the concept (again, a certain parallel with pan-Germanism), or perhaps even paving the way for it to become conflated with pan-Islamism and the concept of the ummah. Prior to 1920, though, the last time the entire region had been anything close to unified under an Arab sovereign was, I believe, the Fatimid or Abbasid caliphates. What has been debated is whether these two concepts are wholly compatible with concepts of localism and dynastic loyalties, which assume ultimate importance due to social structures. Such nuances stand in direct opposition to both secularist and Islamist ideas which disregard existing national borders and structures, be they of the organic or artificial variety (not to mention the presence of religious and ethnic minorities who felt decidedly uncomfortable with most of these concepts).

Indeed, the same maxim might apply to Serbian and Albanian irredentism. Serbia re-emerged as an independent monarchy in the 19th century whereas Montenegro, by virtue of geography, had preserved its independence under its own native dynasty. However, the call of "Greater Serbia" and "Yugoslavia" later resulted in the dispossession of Montenegro, and only after the breakup of Yugoslavia did the question of restoration re-emerge, since restored kingdoms of Serbia and Montenegro would merely restore the pre-1914 status quo. On the other hand, the national ideals of Greece developed when its monarchy found stability (the Megali Idea), whereas Romania and Bulgaria re-emerged under similarly imported monarchies which nonetheless embodied sovereignty. Albania, however, faced the twin challenges of unifying what had been an unstable country (1912-25) and of a large Albanian population next door in Kosovo and Macedonia, just as ethnically Serbian populations resided beyond Serbia's past and present borders. But there was/is only one Albanian monarchy, whereas there is more than one Serbian monarchy (Serbia and Montenegro), all three being native dynasties. Native or non-native, however, several other European nations (e.g. Poland, Lithuania, Ukraine) lack a dynasty that can be definitively linked to their nationhood. In Africa, on the other hand, most monarchies are definitively linked to an ethnic group so the question is even less complicated.

More complicated, obviously is the above-discussed question of multiple dynasties of the same national or ethnic group- Serbian, German and Arab respectively- and how they can and have been accommodated in the greater "national calling". Are separate monarchies expressions of explicitly separate national identities, or are they expressions of constituent parts of a greater ummah or heimat? Do the examples of Malaysia and the United Arab Emirates provide a more elegant solution to the problem than the Kingdom of Italy or the German Empire? Does the monarchy serve the national or religious (Christian, Muslim or Hindu) calling, or do those movements serve the monarchy?

Compare and contrast with the cases India and Pakistan, which can reasonably be argued are merely successor states to the British Raj which then absorbed the princely states. Here we see various conflicting ideologies and movements, and the existence of Nepal and Bhutan on India's doorstep where a particular type of organic national sentiment, including royalism, might have potential counterparts south of the border.

China may present a case completely different to any other. Unlike the others here, and unlike Japan or Korea which have arguably been more stable (relatively) in the historical longview (although Korea was unified in the Goryeo and Joseon dynasties, the pre-unification states explain contemporary regionalism), there is no dynasty which is intrinsic to China's sense of national identity, and indeed Chinese history is about a succession of states, with periods of fragmentation repeating itself. Regional differences abound in China, and such periods as the Three Kingdoms, Northern and Southern Dynasties, and the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms all produced divisions between northern and southern China. However, the last one also produced regional differences which are reflected in contemporary Chinese regional identities. Furthermore, modern Chinese nationalist perspectives tend to be more scornful of what they viewed as foreign rule, namely that of Mongols (Yuan) and Manchus (Qing) while idealising Han Chinese dynasties. Furthermore, the Mandate of Heaven concept complicates the matter.

Here we come to a conclusion of both hypothetical and actual models:

a) the monarchy is the manifestation of organic nationhood- the model of most existing monarchies such as Britain, Netherlands, Spain, Luxembourg, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Thailand, Malaysia, Japan, Bhutan, Tonga, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, all other Gulf states, and all (national or subnational) African monarchies, and of former monarchies such as Nepal, France, Portugal, Austria, Serbia, Montenegro, Albania, Romania, Bulgaria, Greece and Russia, not to mention former German and Italian states, and most former monarchies that would be too long to list here. This is because they have existed as distinct nations for centuries, and so loyalty to the crown and loyalty to the nation are absolutely inseparable. When a nation's destiny is inseparable from the dynasty, it is impossible to separate royalism from patriotism. This makes it easier to argue for restoration of former monarchies but harder to create a new one.

b) the monarchy may be the realisation of a certain ideal- arbitrarily, I will put Jordan and Belgium into this category due to the history behind their creation, and for that matter Iraq- although Belgium had a preexisting history as the "Southern Netherlands" (under the Habsburgs), and while the borders of Jordan and Iraq were arbitrarily delimited after WWI it was a part-realisation of the dream of recovering Arab independence, like the Balkan examples above, and the very existence of Jordan and Belgium is linked to their respective monarchies in any case. I will put the Kingdom of Italy and the German Empire because they are the most obvious examples of new monarchies being created as a realisation of an idealistic project. The original monarchical manifestation of Italian, German or Arab unity was later undermined or supplanted by totalitarian ideologies which, in the German and Arab cases, thoroughly discredited the project.

The practical application of both models is to be explored here. In the first, we are looking at not only restoring monarchies to already independent nations like Nepal and Portugal, but also recovering the independence of former monarchies like Kalat (Baluchistan) and Qu'aiti (South Arabia). In the second, we may propose a monarchical solution to a country that doesn't have a recent history but might actually need one...
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