« Quote of the Day | Main | Joined Up Thinking »

August 14, 2007

By Their Imagery Ye Shall Know Them

Bnppropaganda1















Soviet

Fascism: it's just nationalism added to socialism, isn't it.

August 14, 2007 in Politics | Permalink

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
https://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d8341c2d3e53ef00e3933badf38834

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference By Their Imagery Ye Shall Know Them:

Comments

But then we've always known the BNP is a) totalitarian (or at the very least authoritarian) and economically left wing - it's the bastard child of the left, not the right. That's why they hate it so much...

Posted by: Cleanthes | Aug 14, 2007 11:48:06 AM

Nationalism added to socialism - sounds like the BBC's formula for a 'far-right' party.

Posted by: Jasmin Kemm | Aug 14, 2007 11:52:33 AM

Compare the fundamental programme of the National Socialist German Workers' Party (NSDAP), as published in 1920 and never subsequently changed thereafter:
http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/imt/nsdappro.htm

Many of economic elements of the programme, minus the racist bits, bear a striking similarity to items in the manifestoes of other European socialist parties before and after WW2. Whatever else, the NSDAP once in government in Germany from January 1933 onwards was hugely successful in bringing down unemployment through boosting public works spending on building autobahns, stadiums and new government offices:

" . . from 6 million in October 1933 to 4.1 million a year later, 2.8 million in February 1935, 2.5 million in February 1936, and 1.2 million in February 1937."
[CP Kindleberger: The World in Depression 1929-1939 (Allen Lane, 1973) p.240]

But then Keynes had visited Hamburg to give a lecture in January 1932 - DE Moggridge: Maynard Keynes (1992) p.539. On his return, he wrote in the New Statesman: "Germany today is in the grips of the most powerful deflation any nation has experienced . . "

Stalin had no insuperable objections to the Soviet Union signing up to a Friendship Treaty with Nazi Germany on 28 September 1939 when Britain and France were already at war - Norman Davies: Europe (OUP 1996) p.1000.

Posted by: Bob B | Aug 14, 2007 11:57:46 AM

Fascism: it's just nationalism added to socialism

You are suggesting that the Attlee government with some "nationalism added" (whatever that means) would have been fascist?

Tim adds: Ever read Hayek?

Posted by: StuartA | Aug 14, 2007 12:56:11 PM

One slightly off-topic point - why does the sidebar say that one of your top referrals is from a Google search for "fat lesbians"?

Tim adds: Because on some versions of Google this blog is a top result for "Fat Lesbians". Actually, a commentary about how the patriarchy doesn't oppress such women into conforming to male steotypes of what they should look like....or something.

Posted by: Toby | Aug 14, 2007 1:04:05 PM

Tim adds: Ever read Hayek?

I'll take that as a no, then.

Posted by: StuartA | Aug 14, 2007 1:19:13 PM

Fascism is indeed Socialism with the boundaries of the collective adjusted. It is also more thought out and scientific. It understood how to harness the masses, for a start.

p.s. I would take that as a yes.

Posted by: Roger Thornhill | Aug 14, 2007 1:39:32 PM

"I'll take that as a no, then."

The Road To Serfdom in Cartoons:

http://www.mises.org/TRTS.htm

Starts out looking exactly like Atlee's Government. Especially the bit about what-works-in-war-will-work-in-peace.

Posted by: Kay Tie | Aug 14, 2007 1:42:22 PM

p.s. I would take that as a yes.

Well it's arguable, I'll grant you. I just want Tim to defend that proposition if that's indeed what he believes.

Tim adds: Err, Atlee etc was your proposition, not mine.

Posted by: StuartA | Aug 14, 2007 1:51:53 PM

Tim adds: Err, Atlee etc was your proposition, not mine.

I never suggested it was your proposition.

But it does seem to be an implication of what you did say. You said that "nationalism added to socialism" equalled fascism. Attlee's government was, by most accounts, socialist. So adding nationalism would, one assumes, produce fascism.

So again: Is that what you believe? If not, why doesn't your principle apply?

Tim adds: Not wholly convinced that Attlee's lot were socialist: certainly they were in parts, not in others.
Let's take another example: Is Castro's Cuba socialist? Yes. Is it nationalist? to an extent. Is it distinguishable from fascism? No, not very.

Posted by: StuartA | Aug 14, 2007 2:11:23 PM

Doesn't this sound amazingly familiar traditional leftie stuff?

"We must not reckon profit and loss according to the book, but only according to political needs. There must be no calculation of cost. I require that you do all that you can and to prove that part of the national fortune is in your hands. Whether new investment can be written off in every case is a matter of indifference."
Speech of Goering in 1936 quoted in John Hiden: Republican and Fascist Germany (Longman 1996), p.128.

How about this?

"However it was with the idea of a state planning agency that [Stuart] Holland [Labour MP for Lambeth, Vauxhall 1979-89, political assistant in Downing St to the PM 1967/8, and shadow Financial Secretary to the Treasury 1987-9] hoped to show the new possibilities open to a more just economy. He looked to the Italian example of the IRI (the Industrial Reconstruction Institute), set up by Mussolini and used by subsequent Italian governments to develop the economy. This had, of course, already been tried through the IRC (the Industrial Reorganization Corporation) set up as part of [Britain's] National Plan in 1966, but the IRC had been too small to have much effect on the British economy. A revamped IRC in the form of a National Enterprise Board would, however, have a major effect in stimulating the private sector through an active policy of state intervention and direction."
Geoffrey Foote: The Labour Party's Political Thought: A History (Palgrave 3rd edition (1997)) p.311.

Posted by: Bob B | Aug 14, 2007 2:16:16 PM

"Fascism: it's just nationalism added to socialism"

Agreed.

Posted by: Mark Wadsworth | Aug 14, 2007 2:22:53 PM

Yeah, but Nazism isn't. It's socialism + race imperialism + anti-semitism.

Posted by: dearieme | Aug 14, 2007 2:38:57 PM

Doesn't ethnicity and national identity affect life in any society? Aside from the type of government a country has, ethnicity plays a role in the determination of a country's policies.
It is natural for people to want a better life for their ethnic group or race, and this factor can affect the outcome of an election.

Posted by: Charles Holden | Aug 14, 2007 2:41:30 PM

DM makes a very good point. Italian fascism was a very different thing from German Naziism. Mussolini's ideology was essentially a very uncompromising brand of corporatism (but let us not forget that Il Duce started out as a firebrand of the ultra-Left). The whole über/untermenschen thing was largely absent. You could make a case that corporatism:fascism as socialism:communism.

Posted by: David Gillies | Aug 14, 2007 4:21:21 PM

Italian fascism was more in favour of worker/boss forced co-operation than the German variety, which was (within constraints) more top-down.

Is that really a BNP poster? I'm not saying it is misleading as of their nature, it just doesn't look like one they would use.

Posted by: Matthew | Aug 14, 2007 4:54:49 PM

It is natural for people to want a better life for their ethnic group or race, and this factor can affect the outcome of an election.

I want a better life for people of all ethnic groups and races. Of course I want this to be my particular definition of a better life, and this may differ from that desired by people from other cultural or religious backgrounds. But then it also tends to differ from that imagined by many people from my own ethnic group/race as well.....

Posted by: Ed | Aug 14, 2007 7:31:18 PM

Politics is about tribe rather than policies. Whether an ideology is left of right depends on which side it fights on. We all know which side the nazis and fascists were on.

If you are a leftie and get kicked in the head in a political street fight then whoever attacked you is right wing and vice versa - what you believe about the collective does not much enter into it.

In contemporary Britain the BNP and the left fight each other - hence the BNP are right wing.

Posted by: johnnybonk | Aug 14, 2007 8:14:16 PM

I like that bit from Bob B.... 'minus the racist bits', as if it were some tiny incidental in the BNP's programme rather than the whole basis of their existence.

Of course they will steal bits of popular socialism in order to dress up their crap. It would be no good posing as a right wing racist party... the Tories have got that ground covered.

Posted by: Bob Piper | Aug 14, 2007 8:51:29 PM


Potted history of fascism

Posted by: Prodicus | Aug 14, 2007 10:30:36 PM

"I like that bit from Bob B.... 'minus the racist bits', as if it were some tiny incidental in the BNP's programme rather than the whole basis of their existence."

I disagree entirely - although the Nazi era is often presented (for propaganda purposes) as though anti-semitism and the superiority of the Aryan race was the dominant issue, it wasn't from the perspective of the German electorate at the time and nor as Stalin was concerned in 1939.

If we consider the economic conditions in Germany and the volatile results of the successive elections through 1932, it seems to me the electorate there was searching for some relief to their desperate economic plight. In the November election (the last election before Hitler was offered the Chancellorship in January 1933), the Communist Party had attracted the second largest number of votes and the Nazis had lost 2 million votes and 34 seats in the Reichstag: on the elections, see chp.6 of William Shirer: The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich.

Keynes was clear in his assessment of the prevailing economic conditions: "Germany today is in the grips of the most powerful deflation any nation has experienced . . "

Moreover, mine is not an eccentric interpretation of the context:

"The Nazi Party leaders were savvy enough to realise that pure racial anti-semitism would not set the party apart from the pack of racist, anti-semitic, and ultranationalist groups that abounded in post-1918 Germany. Instead, I would suggest, the Nazi success can be attributed largely to the economic proposals found in the party's programs, which in an uncanny fashion integrated elements of 18th and 19th century nationalist-etatist philosophy with Keynesian economics. Nationalist etatism is an ideology that rejects economic liberalism and promotes the right of the state to intervene in all spheres of life including the economy." [Brustein: The Logic of Evil - The Social Origins of the Nazi Party 1925-33 (Yale UP, 1996), p.51]

The Nazis - and the Communists - offered the alluring prospect to the electorate of some abatement to their pervasive experience of economic misery and that is what the electorate went for.

With Hitler as chancellor from January 1933, the Nazis became popular and gained an overwhelming majority in a popular plebiscite in November 1933 on the issue of introducing a one-party state and another majority in a plebiscite the following August on the issue of combining the constitutional functions of the President and the Chancellor in the person of the Führer.

The evidence, sadly, is that the Nazis rapidly became popular in Germany - except, of course, with those rounded up for the camps - Social Democrats, Communists, jews, homosexuals, the gypsies and so on. Kershaw makes the point that the establishment of the Gestapo was rather small - internal security was not a challenging problem for the Nazi government.

Stalin didn't have a problem signing a Friendship Treaty with Nazi Germany on 28 September 1939 when Britain and France were already at war - a war stemming from a declaration of war by Britain and France on Germany in honour of a pact unilaterally offered to Poland to protect its territorial integrity against the prospect of a German invasion - see Norman Davies: Europe (OUP 1996) on this.

The Friendship Treaty provided for the friendly exchange of military liaison officers between Germany and the Soviet Union across their new mutual border running through what had previously been Poland's national territory. Evidently, Stalin wasn't put off by any reported Nazi claims about Aryan superiority or Slav inferiority.

Emphasising the anti-semitism and racist doctrines of the Nazis was and is a convenient way of diverting attention from Soviet culpability at the start of WW2. The world has largely bought that story because of the later heroic efforts made by the Soviet army and people after the German invasion of the Soviet Union on 22 July 1941.

As for the socialist credentials of the Nazis, remember that they founded VolksWagen as a state enterprise to mass produce a people's car.

Posted by: Bob B | Aug 14, 2007 10:34:56 PM

Apologies, Bob B. I should have clarified the point. I meant the BNP when I was referring to race being the dominant part of their philosophy. Reading your original comment I appreciate that was not the point you were making.

I don't have a problem with the comparisons between Stalinism and Nazism, it is not new and is a comparison Alan Bullock made succesfully years ago.

Posted by: Bob Piper | Aug 15, 2007 7:00:24 AM

As for the socialist credentials of the Nazis, remember that they founded VolksWagen as a state enterprise to mass produce a people's car.

This is not quite right, it was founded as a state-advocated private enterprise, by Porsche, and with funding from the existing German car companies. Only later was it taken into state control, and of course none were ever actually delivered before the War broke out. VW paid out some compensation in the 1960s to those who had contributed their savings, interest free, to get a vehicle.

Posted by: Matthew | Aug 15, 2007 8:35:53 AM

"I don't have a problem with the comparisons between Stalinism and Nazism, it is not new and is a comparison Alan Bullock made succesfully years ago."

But did Alan Bullock also mention Lloyd George's (extraordinary) take on Hitler?

Lloyd George, Britain's last Liberal prime minister 1916-22, visited Germany in 1936 and met with Hitler on 4 September. Press pictures of the visit have been included in an exhibition (meaning: hagiography) in Wales dedicated to Lloyd George:
http://www.llgc.org.uk/ardd/dlgeorge/dlg0068.htm

On his return to Britain, Lloyd George wrote about his impressions of Hitler in an article for the Daily Express of 17 November 1936:
http://www.history-of-the-holocaust.org/LIBARC/ARCHIVE/Chapters/Stabiliz/Foreign/LloydGeo.html

There is no reference in the article to anti-semitism in Germany or the Nazi claims about Aryan superiority and press reports and rumours about those detained in the camps. As for Nazi aims to gain lebenraum for Germany in eastern Europe by conquest, a course Hitler had expounded upon in Mein Kampf, Lloyd George wrote: "The establishment of a German hegemony in Europe which was the aim and dream of the old pre-war militarism, is not even on the horizon of Nazism. ... "

Curiously, Britain was already embarked on a course of rearmament - see this press report of 4 March 1935 from the Guardian on the government's white paper setting out the policy u-turn:

"In a major reversal of rearmament policy Britain today announced new expansion plans for its army, navy and air force. The plans, in a defence white paper, are to demonstrate that Britain does not take lightly Germany's continuing rearmament. . . "
http://www.guardian.co.uk/secondworldwar/story/0,,1225204,00.html

"The fact is that the rearmament programme was seriously begun under Baldwin, pushed along more slowly than Churchill wanted, but more quickly than the opposition advocated. Defence spending, pegged at about 2.5 per cent of GNP until 1935, increased to 3.8 per cent by 1937."
Peter Clarke: Hope and Glory: Britain 1900-2000 (Penguin Books, 2004) p.186.

Posted by: Bob B | Aug 15, 2007 11:13:28 AM

"Fascism: it's just nationalism added to socialism"

Yeah, but Nazism isn't. It's socialism + race imperialism + anti-semitism.

Dearieme makes a very important point. Nazism is distinct from Facism, a point that the left likes to ignore. This is probably because so many Left wing movements end up looking more like Facism than Marxism. (See Hugo Chavez for details)

By pretending that Hitler was "just" a facist, they make this discussion difficult, by showing the obvious differences between Marxism & Nazism (ignore that Nazis are a specific subsection of Facists, not the definitive version).

Posted by: Serf | Aug 15, 2007 11:38:37 AM