[AFIB] The 'New Right', Neofascism And Globalization (fwd)

David Welch david.welch at SPAMst-edmund-hall.oxford.ac.uk
Wed Aug 4 16:54:40 MDT 1999

Extract from an article on the ats list, the full version is reproduced

'... Therefore Ruter wants to curb the power of "grand capital" and
calls for a "participative" or "direct democracy", just like the
anti-MAI activists do.

     Ruter and Veldman especially dislike the thinking in terms
of progress, which they say is hegemonic in the capitalist
system. Veldman: "Nowadays the most fundamental political
differences are not anymore between the left and the right, but
between, on the one hand, the people arguing for unhindered
economic growth and progress, to whom people are just consumers
and the earth an object, and, on the other hand, those who, as
Ruter says, "want to share the whole cosmic living space with the
animals, plants and matter, and want to hand it over unharmed to
the next generations." Veldman speaks of solidarity with "peoples
that struggle to save their own identity and with all those
offering resistance against the destruction of flora and fauna,
against the limitless power and influence of multinational
companies and against the international consumption society."'

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|| * --  SPECIAL  -- *   August 4, 1999   * --  EDITION  -- * ||

                       * SPECIAL EDITION *

                              * * *



     X. AFIB Editor's Introduction: `Right Woos Left' Rewind.
     1. Together with the New Right Against Globalisation?
     2. De Fabel van de Illegal Quits Dutch Anti-MAI Campaign.
     3. Campaign Against the MAI Potentially Antisemitic.

                              * * *

                     `RIGHT WOOS LEFT' REWIND

                         By Tom Burghardt
                   Editor, Antifa Info-Bulletin

                              * * *

     North American readers would be well-advised to heed the
warnings offered below by the Dutch anti-fascist group De Fabel
van de Illegaal (The Myth of Illegality). As the left continues
to meltdown, the far-right has moved in to fill the void. This is
hardly a European phenomenon. Since the 1980s, neofascist and
Nazi groups have attempted to seduce the left with anti-war,
"pro-worker," pro-environmental and "national liberation"
rhetoric. The latter has proven to be a powerful factor
motivating the Quebec independence movement. Hoping to win new
followers for an explicitly racist and anti-Semitic program of
"America first" nationalism, groups ranging from the LaRouche
organization, publishers of the "New Federalist" and "Executive
Intelligence Review," the Liberty Lobby, publishers of
"Spotlight," the explicitly fascist National Alliance, and
segments of the so-called "Patriot" movement have excelled at
equating anti-statism _per se_ with a revolutionary critique of
"actually existing capitalism." All-too-readily a strata of
ostensible "leftists" have embraced the far-right's reductionist
dogma - "anti-statism" - and have followed neofascism's Pied
Pipers towards the abyss. Such blurred thinking and bankrupt
alliances are readily visible in various conspiracy theories
emerging from the JFK assassination, the complex of illegal CIA-
US Government activities known as Iran-Contra and most recently,
organizational efforts against globalization. For further
background see:

Chip Berlet, _Right Woos Left: Populist Party, LaRouchian, and
Other Neo-Fascist Overtures to Progressives, and Why They Must be
Rejected_, 1992, Political Research Associates, Cambridge, MA.

Michael Novick, "Wolves in Peace Clothing," chapter 12 in _White
Lies, White Power, 1995, Common Courage Press, Monroe, Maine.

Janet Biehl and Peter Staudenmaier, _Ecofascism: Lessons from the
German Experience_, 1995, AK Press, San Francisco.

Martin A. Lee, "A Gathering Storm," chapter six in _The Beast
Reawakens_, 1997, Little, Brown & Co., New York.

Eric Cartman, _The Past Is Our Master: A Brief History of the
Far-Right in Quebec_, 1998, Antifa Forum, No. 3, Toronto.

                              * * *

                   * DE FABEL VAN DE ILLEGAAL *
                     [The Myth of Illegality]
                         Koppenhinksteeg 2
                    2312 HX Leiden, Netherlands
                  Tel: +31-71-5127619 or 5144217
                       Fax: +31-71-5134907
                     E-mail: lokabaal at dsl.nl
           Web: http://www.dsl.nl/media/lokabaal/english
                     - Monday, 2 August 1999 -


                     BY WAY OF INTRODUCTION:

     Dear reader,

     We hereby send you four* articles by De Fabel van de
     illegaal from Leiden, Netherlands meant to contribute to a
     discussion about right-wing influences on the Left through
     the campaigns against the MAI and "free trade".

     We send you the articles because we think you might be
     interested in the discussion. We appologise for any cross-
     posting due to overlap in different mailinglists.

     Please feel free to distribute these articles further, or to
     publicise (parts of) them. We would be happy to receive
     contributions from you or others to the discussion.

     Best regards,

     Eric Krebbers
     Merijn Schoenmaker
     (De Fabel van de illegaal)

* AFIB Editor's Note: Due to the length of the texts, the fourth
article "New Right Seduces the Left to Sign Anti-War Declaration"
will appear in Antifa Info-Bulletin, Number 215.



                         By Eric Krebbers
                         - October 1998 -

                              * * *

     They speak of solidarity with the Indians and call for
cultural diversity. They want to get rid of capitalism and
globalisation. And they have read right-wing and left-wing
political classics. The Dutch intellectual vanguard of the
extreme right have joined their forces with the discussion
magazine Studie, Opbouw en Strijd (Study, Organise and Struggle,
SOS). They call themselves the New Right, after their comrades in
France and Belgium. But how new are their ideas? An analysis of
two articles written by the central ideologists Ruter and
Veldman, published in the summer 1998 issue of SOS.

     Now that most of the old extreme-right parties in Holland
are falling apart, a discussion is being started in SOS on
building a new right. The extreme-right think tank Voorpost and
the Nederlandse Studenten Vereniging (Nationalist Student
Organisation, NLSV) are also joining in on the discussion.

     The New Right especially focuses on the weak spots of the
"left liberal ideology", as they call it. They try to connect to
all sorts of left-wing movements and search for possibilities to
give the basic ideas of these movements an extreme-right twist.
With sardonic pleasure Ruter and Veldman frequently quote "left-
liberal" opinion leaders saying doubtful things, giving them an
honorable place in their new-right nationalist ideology. In this
way they use Tom Lemaire, Hans Koning, Albert Stol, Umberto Eco
and Stella Braam to prove their own right-wing ideology right.

     Ruter and Veldman present their political renewal project
very eloquently, and with daring and bravery, effectively
shedding the old-fashioned bigot image. But basically they still
heavily rely on the traditional fascist Blut-und-Boden
(blood-and-soil) ideology.


     New Right leader Ruter is a fan of the ideas of Gramsci, the
communist who was buried alive for years in Mussolini's jails.
According to Gramsci revolutions can only succeed when the
culture of a country also fundamentally changes, when the
"cultural hegemony" of the elite is broken. Therefor a "cultural
revolution" is first needed, and that is precisely what Ruter
wants. He wants to subvert the now fashionable "left-liberal
consensus". According to Ruter, that consensus is forced upon us
by "grand capital" and organised by the state. Ruter wants the
societal organisation and our ways of thinking to become based on
his new-right nationalism.

     Ruter calls for an end to the "mondialisation" and
sympathises with the struggle against the Multilateral Agreements
on Investments (MAI). His readership is advised to get acquainted
with the left-wing campaign against MAI. The nationalist students
apparently liked it so much that they decided to link their
homepage to that of the campaign.

     Ruter quotes Marx saying that the will to "mondialise" is
inherent in capital itself. And global capitalism also sells
culture, Ruter writes. Capital "colonises the imagination", which
leads to a global "uniformisation of the ways of life" and "an
uprooting of collective identities and traditional cultures".
Therefore Ruter wants to curb the power of "grand capital" and
calls for a "participative" or "direct democracy", just like the
anti-MAI activists do.

     Ruter and Veldman especially dislike the thinking in terms
of progress, which they say is hegemonic in the capitalist
system. Veldman: "Nowadays the most fundamental political
differences are not anymore between the left and the right, but
between, on the one hand, the people arguing for unhindered
economic growth and progress, to whom people are just consumers
and the earth an object, and, on the other hand, those who, as
Ruter says, "want to share the whole cosmic living space with the
animals, plants and matter, and want to hand it over unharmed to
the next generations." Veldman speaks of solidarity with "peoples
that struggle to save their own identity and with all those
offering resistance against the destruction of flora and fauna,
against the limitless power and influence of multinational
companies and against the international consumption society."


     The North American Indians are high on Veldmans list of
cuddly peoples. In his long article "Indian nationalism, the
hatchet is not yet buried!", he sketches the destruction of the
"culture and identity" of the "original peoples" of America. This
destruction is caused by the "massive immigration of people who
do not care about the culture and religion of the indigenous
peoples". According to Veldman, especially Christian culture and
progress are responsible for the injustice done to the Indians.
He likes to quote the famous Indian writer Vine Deloria jr.
saying that he doesn't want any more contact with Christianity,
capitalism or left-wing solidarity. It's all just import, he is
said to have said. "Most Indians are nationalists, meaning that
in the first place they think of the development and stability of
the tribe", Deloria is quoted.

     Copying left-wing activists, Veldman supports Indian
activist Leonard Peltier, who by now has been held captive for
some 24 years. And Veldman also makes propaganda for the magazine
Nanai-notes, published by the Dutch Indian solidarity movement.
In this way, Veldman and the New Right want to profit from the
sympathy enjoyed by this movement.

     "It isn't logical that the explicit identity politics of
almost extinct or destroyed minorities, and 'undangerous'
mini-peoples, get a lot of praise, whilst the same set of values
are distrusted immediately when supporting the vigorous
nationalism of a somewhat larger people", Veldman says, simply
disregarding all history books full of "minorities" being killed
by "a somewhat larger people" propagating such "vigorous


     Veldman also tries to sell us his "vigorous nationalism" by
quoting the ideas of Trudell, the most influential Indian leader
of the seventies. Trudell hated Christianity and saw it as a
"spiritual genocide" that not only brainwashed Indians but also
the white people themselves. It all started, Trudell said, in the
European Middle Ages, even before the Christian religion was
exported to America. That was when the original European identity
was crushed, according to Trudell. So, when Veldman says: "the
Indian struggle is our struggle", he feels like a sort of Dutch
Indian. He thinks that just like the Indians, the Dutch must
rediscover their own identity and "in the first place become

     Long-time left-wing activist Stella Braam is famous for her
relentless activities within the Dutch Indian solidarity
movement. In her book "Voices of the Earth" she wrote: "The land
is basic to our existence. It saves the roots of their culture
and the holy places of their ancestors". That quote of course
made new-right Veldman very happy. "Seeing that so many well-
meaning people value the culture and worldview of indigenous
peoples, it is amazing that Europeans who also dislike progress
and also try to recover their cultural roots and identity, get
confronted with so much distrust and resistance by the people who
say that they share the same values."

     Pre-Christian traditions and religions are at the centre of
the discussions within the New Right. Researchers like Koenraad
Logghe explore medieval texts for signs of the assumed original
white European identity. Logghe sometimes reports his findings in
SOS and the summer issue contains a very positive review of his
latest book "The Holy Grail: Between Pagan and Christian
Heritage." A Dutch publisher was recently stopped by De Fabel van
de illegaal from marketing this book. Using this sort of
research, the New Right also tries to tap into the fast-growing
part of the new-age movement that specialises on "old Nordic
traditions", a potential new-right constituency.


     How new really is the New Right? At first sight the
old-fashioned crude racism seems gone. Veldman even professes
solidarity with indigenous people, as long as they stay where
they are. He even says he dislikes the "blind solidarity with
white folks around the globe", again distancing himself from
extreme-right traditions. But, in the end, all remains the same.
The New Right still longs for a pre-civilisational mythical past
in which everyone knew his or her "natural place". They dream of
a golden feudal period in which "peoples" were still "ethnically

     According to Ruter, modern man has been "uprooted" and cut
off from his "natural origins" - the "organic community".
"People, wherever they live, are connected to a piece of land, a
piece of the earth which they see as their own, and they are
always willing to fight for the independence and integrity of
it." Ruter also believes in "a right and duty of self-defence on
the level of the natural society of which every human is a part,
starting with the family. It is the drive to conserve ethnic and
cultural diversity, against uniformization and monolithic
structures". In this way Ruter's new-right nationalism ends up as
an old-fashioned crude biological racism: "as social beings,
humans have a natural instinctive drive to identify with others
who look the same."

     The growing popularity of new-right ideas uncover the
vulnerability of a left-wing ideology that is getting more and
more vague these days. It is a shame that the New Right doesn't
even have to play around with left-wing quotes to use them for
their own purposes. The absence of a clear and consistent
left-wing alternative and ideology might give the New Right
opportunities to start attracting new generations of activists.
Therefore left wing activists should be very clear about their
arguments, if they decide to protest against for instance
globalisation. And what they really want if they argue for
cultural diversity. Hopefully not this new-right ideal of a
static society, dominated by the past and a rigid vision of
natural laws. Bigot ways of thinking in which the one whose
ancestors have lived longest in a certain area gets the biggest
say in politics and cultural matters.

     Left-wing activists should rather strive for a society that
can change, and in which all newcomers can equally participate.
The left should strive to develop autonomous internationalist
cultures of struggle, such as Gramsci really envisioned.
Left-wing activists should not protest against a globalisation of
solidarity or a global exchange of cultures and ideas. And most
certainly not against progress. The real struggle is about the
direction in which we are going to progress, and most important:
who is going to decide about that.



               By Eric Krebbers and Merijn Schoenmaker
                          - July 1999 -

                              * * *

     De Fabel van de illegaal has played a very active role in
     the campaigns against the Multilateral Agreement on
     Investment and the World Trade Organisation in the
     Netherlands since the end of 1997. The sympathy of the
     extreme-right for the campaigns has been bothering De Fabel
     for a long time. Intensive discussions have led us to the
     conclusion that this interest is not a coincidence, but is
     caused by structural flaws in the campaigns. In June 1999 De
     Fabel therefore decided to quit the campaigns against the
     MAI and the WTO. In the following articles we explain why.
     We invite all those who are interested to co-operate in the
     research and discussions to develop explicitly left-wing
     analyses and campaigns connected to international


     At the end of 1997 De Fabel van de illegaal together with
several other organisations initiated the grassroots activist
network "MAI niet gezien?!" (MAI, didn't see it/MAI, don't want
it) in the Netherlands. De Fabel van de illegaal ran the
secretariat of the network. "MAI niet gezien!" has produced and
spread tens of thousands of leaflets and posters and organised
dozens of public meetings, street actions, occupations, etc.
Since the beginning of 1999, we have started to transform our
campaign against the MAI into one targeting the Millennium Round
in the WTO. We have spread the "declaration of members of the
international civil society against the Millennium Round" to
hundreds of NGOs and grassroots organisations in the Netherlands.
We were co-ordinating the sign-ons for organisations in the
Netherlands and were planning further actions.


     De Fabel van de illegaal is a radical left grassroots
organisation that strives for a socialist, feminist, and
anti-racist society. The main activities of De Fabel consist of
anti-fascist work and involvement in the struggle of undocumented
people against the racist government policies of selection,
exclusion, detention and deportation. We saw our involvement in
the anti-MAI campaign as a way of putting international
solidarity into practice and of making a connection with the
struggle for open borders and the support for both political and
economical refugees. On top of that we thought that the anti-MAI
campaign could enable us to connect the radical left-wing
struggle in the imperialist countries in the North with the
struggle of left-wing movements in the countries in the South. De
Fabel therefore also sought contact with Peoples' Global Action
against "Free" Trade and the World Trade Organisation (PGA), an
alliance of various radical movements mainly in the South.


     As time went on we became aware that the political character
of the campaigns against the MAI and the WTO is not really left
wing. The campaigns can easily fit into a conservative and
nationalist agenda. Through our antifascist activities we came
across an article by the right extremist Ruther in the summer
1998 issue of the Dutch new-right magazine Studie Opbouw en
Strijd (S.O.S.). Ruther opposes "mondialisation" and sympathises
with the struggle against the MAI. He even recommended the
anti-MAI campaign by "MAI niet gezien!" to his readers and
explained to them how to subscribe to the electronic mailing
list. His comrades from the new-right Dutch student organisation
were so enthusiastic about our campaign that they linked their
web site to that of "MAI niet gezien!". See also our article
"Together with the New Right against globalisation?" The problem
with the international anti-MAI campaign is that clear anti-
patriarchal and anti-racist positions are absent. Racism and
sexism are considered to be secondary issues. De Fabel van de
illegaal cannot accept this. In September 1998 "MAI niet gezien!"
organised the seminar "Globalisation of poverty". In the
workshops and in the reader much attention was paid to
international population policies, forced sterilisation programs,
illegalising of migrants and refugees and the situation of women
in the free export processing zones (FPZ). In an extensive
response containing a critique in solidarity of the founding
manifesto of the Peoples' Global Action, De Fabel made a plea for
integrating anti-capitalist, anti-patriarchal and anti-racist
analyses in the campaign against free trade. See also our article
"Peoples' Global Action, an inspiring network of resistance".


     In the reader we made for the seminar, we published the
article "Development as colonialism", written by Edward
Goldsmith, the editor-in-chief and owner of The Ecologist. A few
months later we discovered that Edward Goldsmith is a regular
guest at international meetings of the New Right, the
intellectual elite of the neo-Nazi movement. In 1997 the complete
editorial team of The Ecologist left the magazine because of a
political conflict with Edward Goldsmith over ethnicity and
gender issues, and because Goldsmith was unwilling to end his
collaboration with the New Right. Goldsmith makes a plea for a
green policy that will re-establish a "natural social order" and
"the traditional relations between people". "The real problems
are caused by the disruption of natural systems as family,
society and the ecological system", he wrote recently in The
Ecologist. Only when the human relations are again organised by
"the laws of Gaia" is a stable society possible according to him.
Goldsmith describes some political conflicts as "natural" or
"ethnic" problems. He believes "different ethnic groups" cannot
live together in one country, and is a supporter of Apartheid and
ethnic cleansing. For example in Ruanda or in Northern Ireland.
Goldsmith sees the Northern Irish Catholics and Protestants "as
two different ethnic groups", which should be set apart. He also
is a fan of Ataturk's who, according to Goldsmith, "separated
Greeks and Turks very successfully, although there was a terrible
outcry at the time and it undoubtedly caused considerable
inconvenience to the people who were forced to migrate. But
should we not be willing to accept measures of inconvenience in
order to establish a stable society?"


     The love between Edward Goldsmith and the New Right is
closely connected to his plea for re-establishing "the natural
social order" and the separation of "different ethnic groups".
Goldsmith makes a connection between ecological thinking and the
conservation of traditional cultures and identities. Comparing
human societies with biological organisms, Edward Goldsmith even
argued: "What is today regarded as prejudice against people of
different ethnic groups is a normal and necessary feature of
human cultural behaviour, and is absent only among members of a
cultural system already far along the road to disintegration."
Many people in the New Right see Edward Goldsmith as one of their
most important ideologists. A few years ago, Goldsmith was a
speaker at the conference for the 25th anniversary of GRECE, the
think tank connected to the extreme-right Front National in
France. At the end of 1997, Goldsmith was the main attraction at
a meeting of TeKos, the think tank of the extreme-right Vlaams
Blok in Belgium. The Belgian ex-anarchist Guy De Martelaere wrote
about this in his occult new-right magazine Gwenved: "The
conservative-ecological thesis of Edward Goldsmith received
enormous interest and approval from the new-right public, who is
yet to discover the green thinking. Alain de Benoist, one of the
foremen of the 'Nouvelle Droite' (New Right) and GRECE, and Luc
Pauwels, editor-in-chief of TeKos, are heading more and more in
the ecologist direction, inspired by contacts with and ideas of
Edward Goldsmith. The European new-right alliance Synergies
Europennes has even adopted Goldsmith's theories into their
ideology with regard to ecology and globalisation. Recently the
millionaire also wanted to join the French right-extremist party
Mouvement Ecologiste Independant for the 1999 European
parliamentary elections.


     The new-right ideologist Edward Goldsmith is also an
influential person in the international NGO and activist circuit.
Goldsmith is the manager of the James Goldsmith Memorial
Foundation and subsidises international campaigns against the
European Union, the MAI, the WTO and genetic engineering.
Additionally, Goldsmith is the president of Ecoropa and a member
of the board of directors of the International Forum on
Globalisation (IFG). The IFG is a mixture of left- and right-wing
opinion leaders and unites foremen and -women of Ecoropa, the
International Society for Ecology and Culture, the Council of
Canadians, the Third World Network and Public Citizen. The IFG
describes itself as "an alliance of sixty leading activists,
scholars, economists, researchers, and writers formed to
stimulate new thinking, joint activity, and public education in
response to the rapidly emerging economic and political
arrangement called the global economy." The IFG was set up in
1994 to develop strategies to "reverse the globalisation trend
and redirect actions toward revitalising local economies." Half
way 1997 the IFG initiated the international anti-MAI campaign.
During the next Ministerial conference of the WTO in November
1999 in Seattle (USA) the IFG will organise a counter conference
at which among others the new-right ideologist Edward Goldsmith
is invited to give a speech. In a recent IFG briefing the Council
of Canadians advises NGOs and activists to give the issue of
defending national culture a more prominent place in their
campaigns against the MAI and the WTO.


     The fluid organisational and ideological transition between
the New Right and the campaigns against the MAI and the WTO shows
the vulnerability of the leftist movement and ideology in its
ongoing crisis. According to the New Right the major political
conflict in society is not any more between the left and the
right. One of the strategies of the New Right is to look for
conservative and nationalist tendencies in supposedly left-wing
ideologies and to adopt these ideas for their own growth.
Nicholas Hildyard, one of the former editors of the Ecologist,
warns about this in the article "Blood and Culture: Ethnic
Conflict and the Authoritarian Right", which was published by The
Cornerhouse in January 1999. "A platform shared with
authoritarian interests inevitably legitimises those interests,
giving them a credibility that they might otherwise not enjoy."
He argues: "Anti-racism should be placed at the centre of
movement building, not tacked on as an optional extra." Hildyard
ends by stating: "The alliances that progressives enter into will
inevitably influence the outcome of their opposition, (...) for
whom we chose to walk with ultimately plays a large part in
determining where we end up walking." We think this description
characterises very well what has happened since the start of the
international campaigns against the MAI and the WTO. The motives
of the former editors of the Ecologist to leave the magazine have
been known for a long time by organisations co-operating with
Edward Goldsmith, but so far very few groups have followed their
example. Instead, many groups are still defending Goldsmith by
relativising his collaboration with the New Right. This is
unacceptable for us. We don't see any common ground with
organisations that refuse to clearly distance themselves from the
political ideas and praxis of Edward Goldsmith and the New Right
in general.


     During last year De Fabel van de illegaal has tried to
integrate anti-capitalist, anti-patriarchal and anti-racist
analyses in the campaigns against free trade. Now we have to
conclude that it has not worked and will not work. The problem
lies in the focus of the campaigns: free trade. Ideologically
separating and criticising international or foreign capital
simply does not fit into left-wing politics. Our criticism of the
focus of the campaigns that we have tried to formulate is
described in more detail in the article "The campaign against the
MAI is potentially anti-Semitic". We are still expanding on this.
De Fabel will not continue a campaign which, because of a lack of
left-wing positions and analyses, contributes to preparing the
ground for a further growth of the New Right. We have therefore
decided to discontinue our involvement in it. In the coming
months we will do further research on how big the organisational
and ideological influences of the New Right is in the
international campaigns against free trade. We will publish a
number of articles and hope to contribute to an international
discussion about these issues. Hopefully such a discussion will
contribute to the development of clearer left-wing analyses and
campaigns in the field of international solidarity. We think it
will be crucial for the survival of the radical left to make a
serious effort to integrate anti-patriarchal, anti-racist and
anti-capitalist analyses and make them together the core our



               Eric Krebbers and Merijn Schoenmaker
                          - July 1999 -

                              * * *

     The Dutch antiracist organisation "De Fabel van de illegaal"
(The myth of illegality) and other left-wing organisations
involved in the international campaigns against free-trade
agreements like the MAI, regularly get compliments from the
extreme right. Although unwanted, these compliments are not
accidental. The critique of free trade has long been a speciality
of the extreme right, and has proven to easily turn anti-Semitic.

     We will all become "slaves" to the "international
capitalists living on the Riviera", the Dutch National-Socialist
Party (NSB) ideologist Hylkema said in 1934. Free trade would
bring the Dutch factories and farms down. Dutch goods would be
pushed off the domestic market by cheap imports, he feared.

     The only chance for survival was a fascist economy, he
wrote. "We should control our national household in such a way
that our people will not perish, when this group of people
without a fatherland starts flooding us with imports. We don't
want our factories to close down because Eastern coolies work for
a few dimes a day." Hylkema called for resistance against "the
trade and bank world, which still speaks of the principle of the
open door. But the farmers feel that if things go on like this,
the end is near."

     "But don't think that the import trade capital and trust
capital will save us then. They are extremely mobile. In one
aeroplane they can bring billions in paper money across the
border in just a few hours. Holland can then be bought by
international speculators for a couple of guilders and we will
become a poor and dependent people", the angry fascist wrote.

     If Hylkema, half a century later, had been able to surf the
Internet, he probably would have been pleasantly surprised
looking at some of the anti-MAI homepages. Hylkema's present-day
successor Ruter certainly is very enthusiastic about them. Ruter
is the main ideologist of the Dutch new-right think tank
Voorpost. He advised his readers to check the Internet pages of
"MAI niet gezien?!" (MAI, didn't see it/MAI, don't want it), the
Dutch anti-MAI campaign. The new-right Dutch Student Organisation
even linked their homepage to that of the anti-MAI campaign.

     The Dutch fascists are not the only ones interested. The
German Republicans and the French Front National also turned
against the MAI. In some countries the New Right even popped up
at left-wing campaign meetings.


     For some time now extreme-right intellectuals have been
working on renewing fascist thinking. The ideas and concepts of
the current campaigns against free trade seem to be of good use.
These are not specifically left-wing and even seem to be easily
integrated into the traditional extreme-right worldview.

     For instance, take a look at the very fashionable concept of
"globalisation of the economy", which is very central to the
international campaigns against the MAI. This concept implies
that capitalism is originally a local system, and has only
recently begun to spread its tentacles around the world. But in
fact capitalism has from the start been a global system, and has
been able to evolve only because of the plunder of the southern
parts of the globe.

     By pointing to this so-called globalisation as our main
problem, the anti-MAI activists prepare our thinking for the
corresponding logical consequence - the struggle for "our own"
local economy, and as a consequence also for "our own" state and
culture. Some movements in the South that also fight against free
trade draw exactly that conclusion. Taking their situation into
account, it may be understandable, but it is certainly not

     In the rich countries, promoting a struggle against
globalisation could create a fertile ground for the extreme right
to grow. Fascists have always valued a self-sufficient economy.
"No imports of things that our own people can produce, are happy
to produce, are able to produce very well. Because there is no
better worker than the Dutch worker", Hylkema thought already.

     Sixty years later, new-right Voorpost ideologists write
about the "globalisation of American capitalism" and call for "a
large-scale people's capitalism and small-scale worker
participation", because that would offer the best "guarantees for
the safeguard of our own industries."

     In it's first pamphlets "MAI niet gezien?!" wrote that the
agreement "would put up enormous barriers" for states to "direct
their own economies". But according to new-right ideologist
Ruter, "the political elite doesn't even want to guide or decide
any more - they gave up their power, only to serve an economic
system that, because of its hegemony, doesn't need the
specification 'capitalism' anymore".

     Notice that both the anti-MAI activists and the new-right
ideologists think the state and the capitalist economy are
separate entities. In reality they are completely interconnected.
The modern state and capitalism develloped at the same time and
pre-suppose each other. They are symbiotic twins. States create
the social and physical circumstances for the continually
changing capitalism and that is precisely why they are working on
agreements like the MAI, together with the companies. The anti-
MAI activists with their resistance against the "globalisation of
the economy" run the risk of ending up calling for a strong
state. Already, some of them are speaking in positive terms of
the Malaysian state, which is supposedly curbing the free
circulation of capital. But Malaysia is close to being the prime
example of a modern fascist state.


     Traditionally, left-wing thinkers have pointed out the
dividing line between capital and workers as the main political
economic conflict. However, when activists start using concepts
like globalisation, they tend to start thinking in terms of a
conflict between "local capital" and "international capital", in
terms of good "productive capital" and bad "trading and
speculative capital". But production and trade are inseparable
parts of capitalism. And both parts of capital grow by stealing
from the labourers (both paid and unpaid) and by plundering

     Regularly, the international anti-MAI campaigns have used
the image of the small local company being destroyed by a large
foreign, if possible American, multinational. Many activists call
for investment in regional companies or in social projects that
would bring jobs and positive prospects. Such investment is also
believed to bring more economic stability than the "casino
capitalism" that is held responsible for the recent large
economic crises.

     This way of thinking perfectly resembles traditional extreme
right thought. To Hylkema only one real economic duality existed,
the one between the "national, creative and productive capital"
and "reprehensible international big capital". The extreme right
never principally opposed capitalism and even denies any
difference in interest between the "national capital" and the
workers. "The owner, the staff and the workers together share
only one central goal - a flourishing company", Hylkema
explained. For him the main thing was to reduce "class hatred"
and to strengthen the unity of "the people" as a whole.

     For that reason it is very convenient for the extreme right
to have a common enemy, one that can be held responsible for the
economic problems, crises and insecurities that will always
accompany capitalism. "International capital" can fulfil that
role perfectly. Modern nazi ideologists also understand this
principle very well. "Solidarity within the nation gets replaced
by some sort of universal solidarity between the rich, the
managers, the industrials: on many an international congress they
secretly decide on their strategies", according to new-right


     Once ideologically separated from the rest of capitalism,
the "reprehensible international capital" can easily be
associated with "the enemy" - some other state or a certain
well-defined group of people. Following this line of thought, a
critique of the system as such can gradually turn into the crazy
idea that a small group of hostile people completely controls our
lives. Such thinking is historically very closely linked to

     In the deeply rooted and mostly European anti-Semitic
tradition there's always this connection made between "the
international capital", America and "the Jews". This tradition
holds that the "international speculative capital" is in the
hands of Jews who conspire to rule the world. This "Jewish
capital" supposedly operates from New York.

     For centuries right-extremist and nationalist movements have
repeatedly revived this anti-Semitic way of thinking. Usually by
saying that "the fatherland" or "Europe" is being threatened by -
and this depends on the audience - "international capital",
American multinationals or "the Jews". It's all the same to the
ideology behind it.

     Of course, criticising free trade doesn't have to lead to
anti-Semitism, but the two combine surprisingly easily. Hylkema's
fascist party NSB, for instance, was not anti-Semitic in the
beginning of the thirties. But, by its constant propaganda
against "international capital" it did lay a strong foundation
for its later turn to anti-Semitism. In the beginning of the
forties it was just a small step for the party to start inserting
the word "Jewish" in front of the phrase "international capital"
in their propaganda pamphlets. Anti-MAI activists putting
"international capital" apart ideologically, are not by
definition anti-Semites, but the analysis behind their reasoning
surely is potentially anti-Semitic. History shows how easily the
one can lead to the other.

     The New Right also loves this type of anti-Semitism. In a
recent article on globalisation, Ruter for instance wrote that
"whoever arranges and controls the loans, also controls the
economic cycle and economic development." It is most certainly no
coincidence that he throws in a quote of Amschel Meyer van
Rothschild, a Jew who, according to Ruter, once said: "Give me
control over the currencies, and I don't care anymore who makes
the laws."

     At the start of the international campaigns, autumn 1997,
the anti-MAI activists strongly emphasised that the talks on the
agreement were secret, and their attention swiftly turned to the
individual decision-makers. "MAI niet gezien?!" wrote about a
"multinational coup" and a "silent taking over of power".
Actually, the talks were partly secret, but not as totally as the
activists suggested. Forced by an assistant leaking official
documents, the talks quickly became more open.

     Many contemporary "conspiracy fans" were drawn towards the
anti-MAI campaign. The campaign office received frequent calls
from these nuts, probably alerted by the long article on the MAI
published in their favourite magazine Nexus. This article was
written by a left-wing organisation that is central to the
international anti-MAI campaigns. Until the beginning of the
nineties the Australian-based Nexus was openly anti-Semitic, but
after that it backed down a bit. However, the stories remained
essentially the same. In recent issues, articles on the political
power of "Jewish capital" popped up again.

     Conspiracy fans also visited anti-MAI meetings. On such a
meeting in Geneva in August 1998, titled "Globalisation and
Resistance", one participant wanted to publicly read excerpts
from the books written by Jan van Helsing, a hideous German
anti-Semite. Around about the same time, "conspiracy expert"
Kuhles came into contact with the Dutch campaign. For several
weeks he was able to spread his anti-Semitic poison in anarchist
circles before being unmasked.


     The central concept of globalisation has recently filled the
analytical gap that was left when some 10 years ago the critique
of capitalism went out of fashion. In the middle of the nineties
left-wing circles first turned to the concept of "neoliberalism".
Especially the popular Zapatista uprising in Mexico stimulated
its use.

     But neoliberalism is not the same as capitalism. It is
rather the ideology that gets delivered together with the changes
of capitalism that have been imposed from above since the
mid-seventies. Among these changes are the flexibilisation of the
workforce, the privatisation of government services and the
development of new computer and biotechnology industries. Also
part of these developments is the trend towards an increased
international division of labour. By the end of the nineties this
latest trend became central to left-wing analysis, especially
when activists started campaigning against the MAI and WTO.

     This change in analysis and focus of attention undoubtedly
is a result of the overall political swing to the right that we
have all witnessed this last decade. This raises the question of
what might still constitute a left-wing analysis, and what makes
a political line right-wing. Political discussions are getting
scarce, especially in the Netherlands, which poses great problems
to campaigns like those against the MAI. Knowledge of the history
of left-wing politics is also scarce. Earlier campaigns and
discussions on international solidarity seem to have been almost
completely and collectively forgotten.

     Most left-wing groups joined the anti-MAI campaigns without
giving it much thought, upset as they were by apocalyptic stories
about a new secret "world constitution". And they kept on going
without a thorough discussion that could have lead them to a
radical change in their political direction.

     This last decade has seen non-governmental organisations
(NGOs) taking on a more central role in campaigns, unhindered by
the rapidly shrinking left-wing movement. Especially in the realm
of international campaigns this can be clearly seen. For the left
it is problematic that the NGOs' criticism usually does not see
beyond neo-liberalism and free trade. They do not consider
capitalism as such as a problem. That is of course not in their
interest. They are too much a part of the system themselves, and
have a lot of jobs to lose as well. Too much leftist talk doesn't

     NGOs therefore don't like political discussions. The
professional NGO campaigners rather spend most of their time
flooding their fellow activists with details on free trade from
every corner of the world. The activist who does not have access
to Internet or e-mail will easily get the impression that he or
she is not able to seriously participate in the campaigns. An
extra problem with this NGO-provided information is that it
usually has a top-down focus. Information from a grassroots point
of view is getting very rare. And because of the information
overload, even the most experienced activist in the end starts to
overlook the difference between the two.

     Nowadays left-wing groups are most often not powerful enough
to get an international campaign off the ground without the help
of NGOs. The choice of limiting criticism to free trade so as not
to endanger the help of the NGOs is apparently easily made. With
the result that left-wing groups are spreading an ideology that
offers the New Right, rather than the left, bright opportunities
for future growth.

                              * * *

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