Comment to Johannes Schneider concerning the Anti-Deutschen

Jurriaan Bendien bendien at tomaatnet.nl
Thu Jul 31 03:38:41 MDT 2003


Hi Johannes,

You wrote:

We are seeing a similiar development here in Germany with the so-called
Antideutschen. Some of them are now open supporters of US-imperialism.
Most outspoken the people around the magazine Bahamas:
http://www.redaktion-bahamas.org/
They came from the Maoist Kommunistischer Bund (KB).

Comment:

Very interesting, it sounds like David Horowitz. I notice both intellectual
dishonesty and duplicity in what they say.
Because from opposing American imperialism, anti-Americanism does not follow
at all, except among the dumbest strata of the population. From opposing
Zionism, an anti-Jewish attitude does not follow. From opposing an
obsessive, unhealthy preoccupation with the Holocaust, the denial of the
mass murder of the Jews by the Nazis does not follow. And so on, and so
forth. Even in Iraq today, people are able to distinguish very sharply
between "good" (anti-imperialist) and "bad" (pro-imperialist) Americans, and
they think how they might utilise the stupidities of a foreign power
invading them, to their own advantage.

If, as with these Bahamas people, you started off with a very crude and
dogmatic theoretisation, which does not specify your true oppressor
correctly, then in revising your theory later, when your stupidities have
been "found out", you may easily find yourself in the camp of your former
enemy, hailing your former oppressor. This is the meaning of George Orwell's
story 1984 where Winston ultimately "loves Big Brother". If some of your
initial intellectual premises were wrong, then you cannot distinguish
correctly about who your friends and enemies really are, and if those
premises make intellectually honest self-criticism impossible, there is a
serious danger that self-improvement cannot occur.

The other thing is, that in expressing dissatisfaction with the
cumbersomeness of German culture and seeking to establish Das Amerikanischen
Modell as being "so much more efficient and effective", they show an
inability to truly understand the internal contradictions of German society
in a way that might lead to a progressive change of German culture. Of
course you can selectively import American techniques and practices, but you
cannot ultimately turn Germany into a new America, because Germans are still
Germans, they have German history,  in which case, all you could hope to do,
is to build on and accentuate the best and strongest features of German
culture and develop that, as sort of "comparative advantage" theory in the
realm of human culture).

But this implies that you need to understand you own culture first, rather
than try to solve everything through intellectual imports, because you
happen to be unable to tackle the puzzles of your own culture.  The
self-negation of the "Anti-Deutschen" also has some proto-neo-fascist
implications, because it begets inexorably a "pro-Deutschen" movement which
emphasizes bad aspects of the German cultural legacy. In this way, a sleight
of hand is performed, and incompetence to comprehend your own culture, is
projected onto somebody else. Whereas a true internationalism would assist a
more objective view of your own culture, and its place in the world, not its
negation.

In saying this, I do not seek to fetishize national cultures, merely saying
that, for the foreseeable future, national cultures will combine with
cultural internationalisation. If Marx says rhetorically "the working class
has no country" this is wrong insofar as the workers do not living in outer
space but in specific nations and societies. It is correct in the sense that
whether you are a waitress in Germany working for so many euros, or whether
you are waitress in America working for so many dollars, you social position
isn't much different and your interests aren't much different.  Attempts at
cultural internationalisation based on ignorance of national culture and
ignorance of the overseas culture is fake, it is analogous to me saying
(simple example) that Holland is about clogs, tulips, windmills blah blah or
that America is about cowboys and indians and coca cola blah blah blah.
Which is why, in New Zealand where I lived about 22 years, the government
once ran advertisements on television with the theme "don't go overseas,
until you have travelled in your own country and seen it".

The most interesting Bahamas article from my point of view is "Der
Wettbewerbstaat - Europa am Ende des Keynesianismus" by Uli Krug. While Uli
is certainly correct in believing modern capitalism has moved on from Marx's
time in important respects, he forgets that capital can NEVER be understood
in a neutral way, since capital accumulation is ultimately always based on
some type of unequal exchange (ungleiche Austausch) based on private
ownership, which is the ultimate root cause of imperialist policies in
capitalist market societies in the first place, and in turn, this the cause
of social imperialism. If Marx focuses on the formally equal exchange of
unequal values in capitalist production, this does not deny my previous
statement.

Regards

J.





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