[PEN-L:9950] Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: TINAF Special on WashingtonNaziDemo--
CharlesB at SPAMCNCL.ci.detroit.mi.us
Thu Aug 12 14:09:58 MDT 1999
>>> Wojtek Sokolowski <sokol at jhu.edu> 08/12/99 11:27AM >>>
At 06:12 PM 8/11/99 -0400, Charles Brown wrote, inter alia:
>In addition to that in Germany - the nazis grabbed power thanks to legal
>maneouvers. They were a minority party under the Weimer pr system,
>something about 10% of the popular vote; and Hitler was appointed
>chancellor by Hindenburg in 1933 to end parliamentray crisis created
>largely by the sectarian left. teh nazis seized that opportunity to grab
>power - but it is clear that such an outcome was not intended by german
>bourgeoisie and their allies (esp. religious groups), who saw the nazis as
>a mere instrument whom they thought they could control - and they were
>quite surprised with the development that followed - as reflected, among
>other, in the famous Niemoller's dictum 'first they came for the
>Charles: This seems to support my argument. We don't want to get surprised
again. You seem to say the original Nazis were not thought capable of
taking power or total power, which is similar to the way you describe the
fascists in the U.S. today.
You have a point here, but what I really argued (see the passage that
follows) is that you have to have structural conditions in place to make a
fascist takeover possible. Hitler's takeover would not be possible, had it
not been for the support he got from the ruling classes, the structure of
the weimer polity, the growing power and militancy of labor, the economic
crisis, the parliamentary crisis, etc. I do not not think that any of
those conditions exist in the US today.
Charles: So, you say keep an eye on the structural conditions and then oppose the
neo-fascists when the conditions start to change ?
Moreover, the nazis were already a part of the political system when they
took over power. That is not the case of militias, neo-nazis etc.
Charles: KKK/Jim Crows were a key sector of the U.S ruling class before the Nazis
existed in Germany
Also, See _Old Nazis and New Right_ by Russ Bellant on actual German Nazis in the
Republican Party. David Duke got 40% of the vote for governor a while ago. Reagan was
a borderline fascist. Think of Oliver North , in the basement of the White House,
organizing FEMA for generals to take over cities in the case of civil disturbance.
Militias could serve as storm troopers. They have some numbers already trained as
paramilitaries. The fascistic racists say they are prepaing for a race war. Have you
read the "theories" of the church whose member went around shooting people in
Chicago/Indiana about a month ago. Today' headline is the guy who went into a
Synagogue and shot children. It is getting to be about once a month that there are
spectacular racist violent incidentsThis is just what we know.
>Charles: No, but what we learn from your history lesson is DON'T WAIT TO
THE SAME CONDITIONS THAT OBTAINED IN GERMANY 1930 TO OCCUR BEFORE STOPPING
True, but I do not think that any of the structural preconditions of
fascism listed above will exist in the US any time soon.
Charles: Why not ? What if there is a market crash and depression , say in five years
from now ?
>By the way, I would say that the U.S. had fascism or proto-fascism before
Italy and Germany in the form of Jim Crow for Black people and
Reservations/Genocide for Indigenous Peoples. So, there is U.S. cultural
precedent for fascism.
I do not want to quibble over semantics, but not all forms of
totalitarianism or genocide are fascism.
Charles: What would you call them ? The point is they can serve as a historical
"precedent" or tradition for a form of open terrorist rule, whether it is identical to
Germany/Italy or not. What would you call Apartheid ? The "not playing semantics"
supports my argument. What ever you call it , it is a danger of open terrorist rule
and tyranny. That's the point.
I think that fascism was a very
time and place specifc phenomenon, defined by the unique features of
germany and italy between the world wars. IMHO, we should pay much closer
attention to structural determinants of a political system, not just a few
salient traits. Otherwise we will be in the shoes of our Berkeley
neo-liberal friend's (I won't mention the name to avoid getting personal)
who apparently has problems to distinguish between fascism and soviet-style
Charles: If you are saying something equally horrible, though not identical, as what
happened in Germany and Italy between the wars cannot occur in the U.S. or again, I
don't agree. It doesn't matter that it be exactly identical to what happened there in
terms of structural and historic causes. It can be equally horrible.
Anyway, the people we talk about identify with the Nazis, that's why they call
themselves Nazis. What do you have to say about that ? Their goal seems to be to
duplicate what the Nazis did in some way , no ? I don't choose to dismiss the
possibility that they might achieve some success. Today's weaponry is many times more
powerful than in the 1940's. A small nuclear terrorist group could accomplish
Auschwitz , if armed .
As to the distinction between fascism and Soviet-style state socialism,. sure it
should be clarified, but it can't be a reason not to be vigilante about the
>Charles: Have you watched television, gone to the movies , church, school
,listened to the radio or read a newspaper or magazine lately ? Believe me.
The biggest propaganda and brainwashing campaign in the history of humanity
is being perpetrated on the American workers today. It is analogous to the
ecomomic production as compared to the past. With more technology, the
propaganda is greater than ever. It is Big Brother to the fifth power.
true, but there is also a lot of counter-spin. I think you are
overestimating the influence of mass media, and ideas in general.
Charles: What is the counter-spin ?
Perhaps you are saying that your critique of overestimation of the influence of ideas
is materialism. I don't think so. It is the consciousness of the contending classes,
and the relatively higher consciousness of the ruling class to the working class as to
class interests that prevents the revolution. The ruling class knows this. "Social
structures" don't move on their own like objects, except to the extent that ideas grip
the masses and are material forces. Change in social structure, and the other
structures you focus on comes by making the working class class conscious, i.e. by
socialist ideas gripping them.
>Charles; The main reason that racism persists is that it is the main
bulwark of the bourgeoisie. The police , Nazis/KKK and other forms of
racism in the petit bourgeosie and working class are reflectiions of racism
that is rooted in the ruling class. You have it backwards. Racism is not
separate from capitalism. It is part of its definition. A main fight in
ending capitalism is the fight to end racism.
>Charles: Disagree. Historically, there is no capitalism without
racism/colonialism. Your position is speculative.
While the secon proposition is true, it does not follow from it that the
first one is. In other words, if historical trends continued unchanged, we
would still live in stone age.
Charles: Both logically and empirically racism is coterminus with capitalism. You
speculate that this is not necessarily so. But facts and history support an opposite
presumption. The burden is on you to rebut that presumption. The most logical course
is to proceed in political practice as if in order to destroy capitalism , we must
destroy racism, the opposite of your speculation.
I didn't say continue unchanged. I am saying change the world, and a key way of
changing/abolishing capitalism, changing the historical trend , is to struggle against
My position on racism is that it was a uniquely American response to the
question of labor power in this country - or rather shortage thereof.
Capitalism elsewhere solved that problem differently, without opportunistic
reliance on slavery - which btw. thye borrowed from arabs who practiced
slavery in africa long before americans saw the "usefulness" of this
Charles: But all capitalism , including European capitalism , relies critically on
colonialism, which is racism. Slavery is not the only racism.
Thus, capitalism in germany developed without slavery or even
racism, although one can argue that nazism was a direct attempt to create a
capitalist division of labor bases on ethnic/racial lines. I think th
esame can be said about capitalist development in most european countries
which relied mainly on domestic labor.
Charles: False, Slavery and colonialism were the chief momenta of the primitive
accumulation of ALL capitalism (See Marx _Capital_ vol. one). Colonialism was
fundamental to ALL of capitalism in it imperialist phase as analyzed by Lenin.
Throughout its history ALL of capitalism depended critically on racism/colonialism.
I think that the outcome of the Civil War is athe proof that capitalism can
do much better without slavery than with it. That of course does not mean
that bourgeoisie did not opportunistically exploited racism to divide
woreking class in the US - but that is an entirely different issue.
Charles: This is a dialectical contradiction. Something that was critical to the
origin of capitalism eventually came into conflict with it. Capitalism needed fully
free labor , etc. But RACISM encompasses slavery, Jim Crow and all of colonialism.
There has been no U.S. capitalism without major racism. Even after the Civil Rights
Movement when most felt racism would end up pops Reaganism with a new type of racism,
a racism which denies it is racism. It didn't just pop up. It popped up because racism
is necessary for capitalism.
Racism is as much a part of the division of labor of capitalism as wage-labor.The
historical facts support this. They are concommitant, from an empirical standpoint.
I think you are making too much of the American experience where indeed
race was central to capitalist development. But I do not think you can
sustain that argument in other geograhical settings.
Charles: I think you better reexamine your understanding of world history of the last
500 years. Colonialism IS racism. The whole vast , worldwide European colonial system
in Asia, Africa and Oceania beyond America ,critical to capitalism, of the recent
centuries is RACIST. You remember Henry Liu , don't you ?
WORLDWIDE (not just American) capitalism = wage-labor + racism/colonialism.
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