There are numerous modern examples of this renewed love of country that open up to a love of humanity. . . The political times and the mode of production have changed. We have to construct the figure of a new David, the multitude as champion of asymmetrical combat, immaterial workers who become a new kind of combatants, cosmopolitan bricoleurs of resistance and cooperation. These are the ones who can throw the surplus of their knowledges and skills into the construction of a common strugle against imperial power. This is the real patriotism, the patriotism of those with no nation.- Hardt and Negri, Multitude.
When Hardt and Negri talk about immaterial workers they refer, among others, to people like me. Those whose job consists of absorbing, reformulating, creating, and disseminating knowledge represent the very group of people who can affirm a new kind of patriotism.
As most people know, national patriotism (i.e. the kind that includes being proud of a specific country, being emotionally attached to its flag, its anthem, its symbols, its history, its achievements, etc.) is a very new historic formation. It was created by the Enlightened thinkers of the XVIII century for a variety of reasons. One of this reasons was the impossibility of maintaining huge mercenary armies and the need to get people to die enthusiastically and for free in the numerous wars that needed to be waged.
One of the neatest tricks in the arsenal of national patriotism is its capacity (its absoulte need, even) to take the most recent historical developments and invest them with an aura of longevity. Nationalism manages to convince people that the nation existed long before it actually did. Nationalism's heavy reliance on all kinds of emotional manipulation devices ensures that people never question the validity of nationalist myths.
Today, it is becoming increasingly obvious that national patriotism has run its course. It has had a huge historic importance and helped create the world system in place today. Still, the world has changed and today nationalism has, for the most part, lost its useful functions. Nowadays, it is the reason for endless warfare, acts of terror, suicide bombings, death, and destruction.
For all their previous errors, Hardt and Negri suggest something very useful in the quote I placed at the beginning of this post. Increasing numbers of people today spend their lives on the move. They are born in one place, grow up in another, acquire their education someplace else, and inhabit different countries and regions in the course of their working life. Their patriotic allegiance is not to a specific nation whose papers they carry. I agree with Hardt and Negri in that patriotism of those without a nation is the hope for humanity today.