[Marxism] Far Right

Jurriaan Bendien andromeda246 at hetnet.nl
Thu Jun 24 08:54:45 MDT 2004


Rob says:

`Many did'; but how many?  I haven't read Mandel, but I have read Trotsky,
who's quite clear on this. Hitler got over 30% of the vote, so of course he
got working class votes.  Still, the fact remains that the traditional left
vote (SDP & KPD) which was overwhelmingly poletarian - held up.  It was the
traditional parties of the right whose vote collapsed into the Nazis.  The
brownshirts recruited young unemployed (on much the same basis that
skinheads attract similar individuals today).  But the electoral base of the
far right was overwhelmingly rural and middle class.

Me:

It's true the KPD and SPD vote was largely workingclass. I don't know
anymore exactly how many workingclass people voted for Hitler, I would have
to check it out. Georg Jungclas provides electoral data but more detailed
research on this topic is also available. From memory, the electoral base of
the far right wasn't "overwhelmingly rural" and attracted votes from a
fraction of the middle class. Many middle class people also opposed the
Nazis. Trotsky's analysis was very perceptive and prophetic, but he wasn't
actually in Germany at the time. Skinheads aren't necessarily fascist. I
think Mandel asked many of the questions that need to be asked, but I don't
think his answers were all that good. If they had been, there would not be
an influential Vlaams Blok now. Georg Jungclas was a supporter of the FI but
that's neither here nor there, his article stands on its own merit and he
had direct personal experience of it. I met his wife Helene once in 1984 (he
died in 1975 I think).

Rob:

The crucial piece of evidence was the elections for delegates to the new
Nazi unions after Hitler came to power.  Non-Nazis could stand (as
independents) and did - getting more than 90% of the vote.  In other words,
even as late as 1934 - when given a chance to register their opinion of the
Nazis, less than 10% of workers voted for them!

Me:

One of the functions of the Nazi movement was precisely to smash the power
of the organised labor movement and the trade unions in particular.

Rob:

This is all relevant - because, as I began to argue in the last post, things
haven't changed (witness One Nation in Australia).  The far right can only
build electorally amongst the middle class.

Me:

Don't think so, there's no evidence for that.

Rob:

If you only investigate Nazi sects, this might appear to be the case.  But
check out the base of Haider, the FN in France, the Vlaams Bloc in Belgium
(that is where they've received significant votes) and I suspect that, as in
Australia, a clear class pattern will emerge.


Me:

I don't concern myself with the Far Right at present really, I have other
priorities. Recently in The Hague a lot of leftists got themselves arrested
by the police for protesting against a far right demonstration, but I wonder
what good does that do ? In reality most of the substantive attacks against
immigrants are from established parties. The problem here in the Netherlands
is that over the last quarter of a century they could not make a clear,
consistent, practical and policy for immigration and asylum, and that a lot
of rubbish gets talked about immigrants which isn't based on a shred of
evidence. It's all part of a "negative politics" which tries to shift the
blame somewhere else and avoids taking responsibility for making clearcut
decisions, and doesn't really state what the real problem is, so that
something can really be done about it. Most of the "problem" with immigrants
is a lot of people who keep on suggesting that it is a big "problem", or are
afraid to speak their mind and argue it out, on the basis of solid facts and
evidence. Most of the racial prejudice that exists here, is based on
ignorance and irrational anxieties, and making a mountain out of a molehill.
Differences between people are exaggerated for no good reason at all,
instead of looking at what people have in common and what their real
strengths are. If the 880,000 or so "allochtone" workers in Holland decided
to stop working for a week, the Dutch economy would simply grind to a halt,
they're indispensable.

An "open borders" policy is desirable in principle I think, but in practice
it simply does not work. For example, there must be a reasonable expectation
that immigrants are practically able and willing to settle, adapt and find
work, knowing what that involves, and if they cannot, then they shouldn't
emigrate, or emigrate somewhere else. That's just plain common sense, and
you can devise a clear system, contracts and criteria for that, based on the
real ability people have or can prove, and the real possibilities there are,
and basic rights and duties. But as it is, all sorts of crazy situations
arise where people have to hang around for ages before a decision is made
about their permit, there's a lot of people working illegally for years for
Dutch national employers without a permit (and then still can get booted
out), there's people who have work here and have families here and are
booted out of the country and so on.

Even so, a lot of immigration and emigration is unstoppable simply because
of the fact that a fifth of the population is non-indigenous now anyway.
There is often a lot of hoo-hah about clashes between different cultures,
but the real problem is a lack of clarity and consensus about very basic
civic goals that the vast majority of citizens can agree on. For the rest,
the real problems are poverty, unemployment, exploitation and harmful forms
of competition. Resentment just builds up because people try to interfere in
other people's lives without their consent, rather than honestly engaging
them in a dialogue. Then the corrollary of that is that people try to avoid
each other, and "imagine" or speculate all sorts of things about other
people which aren't true. On that basis, of course, you can fabricate plenty
of controversies, but the point is that they are not based on anything real,
it's a bunch of bullshit. There is a lot of talk about "European
integration" but people have the greatest difficulty about getting the first
principles of integration correct in their own backyard. I mean if they
cannot even solve basic problems in their own country, then achieving
European integration will take a hell of a long time...

Jurriaan






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