by Ranbir Singh
The last global conflict has entered common parlance and historical mythology as a victory of good over evil, the triumph of freedom and democracy, but above all the defeat of Nazism. In such a politically charged and extremely sensitive topic few would dare challenge the aforementioned assumptions especially in the light of the huge casualties, the millions of innocent victims of genocide, ethnic cleansing, blitzkrieg, slave labour camps and massive general carnage. This is before we even get to the soldiers who valiantly laid down their lives so that future generations could enjoy the freedom which we now take so much for granted – and which again is threatened by widely known perils which dexterously weave a multilayered contemporary Munich Agreement.
It is the sheer human devastation involved which pushes us to continue with the myth that the Second World War was a victory for freedom. Otherwise we have to face the grim reality that it was actually the replacement of merely one totalitarian tyranny with another. When Britain declared war on Nazi Germany for invading Poland it seemed to have forgotten that other offending force of the USSR. Marxist dominated academia is at pains to confront this brazen reality, that Nazis and Soviets endured as an axis of evil for two years. Because the USSR was later to join the victorious allies in defeating Germany (with the help of American military aid) it has been seen as the lesser evil. Once we drop that naïve pretence it becomes painfully clear that American, British, Free French, Indian, African, West Indian and other Allied combatants were merely pawns used by Stalin to advance his lebensraum intoCentral Europe.
Even if scholars do state the obvious, they resort to that last desperate refuge that despite its brutality the Soviet regime never had the genocidal nature of the Third Reich. Stalin and Hitler are set at diametric opposite poles. Nazism stood for unashamed evil and terror while communism at least aspired for universal brotherhood. Again reality cuts through the myth. While the latter envisioned a future on a pure race controlling its own territory, and Communism wanted worldwide domination by a particular class, their methods were very similar in terms of social engineering. Entire segments of society, as groups and not as individuals, were earmarked for extermination. In this, Communism has ample experience in targeting categories for their ethnicity, and using race as a weapon. In 1919 the Bolsheviks eliminated the Cossacks of Don and Kuban because they were an identifiable social group that had sided with the Whites. After rebellion in 1920, a systematic de-Cossackisation programme resulted in the death of thousands. 60,000 Kuban Cossacks were again deported in 1932. In May 1920 Russian Bolsheviks massacred the entire Japanese population of Nikolaievsk in the Far East. The famine in Central Asia during 1918 and 1919 hit the natives, especially the Kirghiz, much more severely than the Russian settlers. Communists leaders such as G Safarov welcomed the disaster because the Turkic fatalities could then be replaced with ethnic Russians. In Kazakhstan in 1930 forcible collectivisation led to famine with two million Kazakhs fleeing to China or further south into Central Asia. Kazakhs suffered the worst out of all the USSR’s Muslim populations experiencing a drop of 22% in their population between 1917 and 1941, as one million of them died in the famine of 1921-22, which was a direct result of collectivisation. Russian was imposed as the official language and local vernaculars were suppressed. Guerrilla warfare against the Red Army broke out by the resistance groups known as Basmachi. The reconquest of former Russian Central Asia by the Bolsheviks was derided by Bertrand Russell as an essentially imperialist enterprise and one which would resemble the British Raj in India; so admired by Hitler. Under the guise of serving the proletariat the people and region were ruthlessly exploited colonialist style. In the 1930s the indigenous population of Kazakhstan fell to twenty-nine per cent leading to white Slavs being settled in the region by Khruschev. The region became a colossal mega farm for cotton production where cheap native labour, including that of children, was exploited mercilessly to harvest cotton. Industry was concentrated in urban areas where Slavs outnumbered the natives. Soviet education was to enforce the Russification of minority groups. Indeed it was more successful in imperial exploitation than the very colonial powers which the USSR denounced. While Portuguese colonialist assimilation policies were labelled racist, the Soviets escaped this pejorative label by doing almost the exact same thing and with more brutality. As Niall Ferguson writes in ‘War of the World’, once in power Stalin earmarked entire ethnic groups as class enemies:
“Koreans were only the first ethnic group to come under suspicion. Balkars, Chechens, Crimean Tatars, Germans, Greeks, Ingushi, Meshketians, Kalmyks, Karachai, Poles and Ukrainians – all these different nationalities were subjected to persecution by Stalin at various times. The rationales for this policy subtly mixed the languages of class and race. Baltic Germans were ‘kulak colonizers to the marrow of their bones’. Poles were informed: ‘You are being de-kulakized not because you are a kulak, but because you are a Pole.’ One internal OGPU report contained the telling phrase Raz Poliak, znachit kulak: ‘If it’s a Pole, then it must be a kulak.”
In March 1930 thousands of Poles were deported from Ukraine and Byelorussia, and again in 1935. Collectivisation was deliberately made brutal to wipe out Ukrainians. In 1935 and 1936, thirty thousand Finns were deported to Siberia. In January 1936 thousands of Germans were exiled to Kazakhstan. The next year thousands of Kurds were deported, followed in 1938 by thousands of Iranians. The ethnic Russian member in the Ukrainian Communist Party, Nikita Khruschev, actively purged the party’s Ukrainian leaders in 1937 and 1938, including all of the commissars and all but three of the party central committee in attempts to root out Ukrainian ‘resistance’. In 1938 the NKVD targeted members of specific ethnic groups for elimination for belonging to subversive nationalities: Japanese, Germans, Poles, Romanians, Finns, Lithuanians, Latvians, Greeks and Turks. Stalin used the war as an occasion to deport ethnic groups suspected of disloyalty and in sympathy with the Nazis. Volga Germans were exiled to Siberia and Kazakhstan, and eventually eighty-two percent of the German minority suffered deportation. Stalin even diverted his military machine away from the frontline for this purpose of ethnic cleansing. In 1943 and 1944 the Ingush, Crimean Tatars, Karachai, Balkars, Kalmyks, Greeks, Bulgars, Armenians in the Crimea, Meshketian Turks, Kurds and Khemshins were exiled to Siberia and Central Asia. The elite of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Bessarabia were deported to permanent exile in Siberia while Russians and Ukrainians were resettled in the homes which were vacated. Of course while not being actual extermination camps on Nazi lines the Soviet system of deportation and slave labour caused death through malnutrition and disease, while the war allowed the number of zekis vastly mushroomed from 3.3 million in 1941 to 5.5 million by 1953. Thousands died from starvation, disease and lack of proper accommodation which exposed them to the harsh weather. The long term aim was liquidation of entire peoples deemed inimicable for assimilation into Soviet way of life especially in areas deemed to be strategically sensitive where more loyal ethnic pillars of the USSR could be settled.
Jonathan Trigg, former captain in the Royal Anglian Regiment writing in ‘Hitler’s Jihadis’:
“Condemned as traitors by Stalin, the Chechens, Ingush, Balkars, Karachais and Crimean Tatars were all to be internally exiled. With the Germans pushed out of the Soviet Union and back towards their own borders it was time for the Soviet Union’s terror machine to kick into gear. No excuses were accepted. It did not matter that 50,000 Chechens were serving in the Red Army, far more were with the Wehrmacht. One-quarter of the entire population were to die. Divisions of special NKVD troops appeared in the south and began to implement Beria’s plans. With a murderous efficiency that echoed the Nazis’ Final Solution, entire Muslim populations were rounded up and transported in cattle trains to the almost uninhabitable wastes of Soviet central Asia and Siberia. They were told they would never return to their ancestral homelands. Provided with no shelter and little food, they died like flies. There are few accurate records, and in fact very few records at all of the casualties but conservative estimates place the numbers who perished in the hundreds of thousands. Whole generations were wiped out by starvation and disease. For the Crimean Tartars, for instance, half a million of them were sent east to Uzbekistan and the casualty rate was fifty percent. As a nation they were destroyed.”
The entrenched apologists for Marxism desperately retort that at least the Soviets were not anti-Semitic. The 1948 assassination of the Yiddish theatre’s Solomon Mikhoels could be explained as fear of a pro-western ethnic fifth column, a political and not a racial crime. But now even that has come under attack and belatedly exposed as a last ditch desperate defence for Marxist-Leninism. As early as November 1917, the Jewish journalist Ilya Ehrenberg heard the Bolshevik campaigner encourage votes for the Constituent Assembly by equating Bolshevism as being “against the Yids”. In Cherepovets, a Bolshevik leader said killing Jews would saveRussia. Bolshevik forces caused a pogrom in March 1918 in Glukhov, and in November 1920 the Red Army massacred and looted as they swept through Jewish communities in the Ukraine. Stalin purged Jews from top echelons of government, army and KGB until the only Lazar Kaganovich remained as anyone Jewish who wielded any power under Stalin. After him there were no prominent Jews in the Communist Party elite. The Anti-Fascist Jewish Committee was suppressed and its leading light, the Jewish actor Solomon Mikhoels, was murdered in a barely disguised car crash. Solomon Lozovski and other Jewish politicians were imprisoned. Quotas limited Jewish entry into university and professional jobs as Russians were entrusted to key positions in the state and in lucrative employment. Textbooks even omitted the Jewish origins of Karl Marx.
In March 1933 the Nazis banned what they called “Judeo-Negroid” music from the radio. But intellectuals in the USSR were also active in raging against the influence of jazz. Neil MacMaster, senior lecturer in European politics at the University of East Anglia in his 2001 book Racism in Europe:
In 1922 Meierhold, adapting a novel by Ilya Ehrenburg to the stage, complete with jazz band, depicted a sinister plot by American capitalists (here with undertones of anti-Semitism) to conquer Europeby colonizing it with Africans. But this plot was overturned by revolutionary heroes tunnelling from Petrograd to Wall Street, thus saving Germany, Austria and Britain the nick of time from the horrors of cannibalism. This play was staged at the height of the Rhine crisis, during which the middle class throughout Europe fantasized about Western civilization being swamped by blacks. Maxim Gorky, one of the most influential ideologues in Russia, depicted jazz as a capitalist conspiring to brainwash and control black Americans, and this dangerous music was no acting as a subversive force within Soviet society. This was a thinly disguised cover for the crudest racial stereotyping. ‘Listening for a few minutes to those wails’, claimed Gorky in 1928, ‘one involuntarily imagines an orchestra of sexually driven madmen, conducted by a man-stallion brandishing a huge genital member.’
It was nevertheless fortunate that the USSR’s own ‘Final Solution’ (the planned deportation of all Soviet Jews to the Jewish autonomous region of Birobidzhan in Siberia in the bid to crush Zionist tendencies) was only halted at Stalin’s death in 1953. Anti-Zionism from 1917 had always been a thin camouflage for anti-Semitism with such measures as suppressing Yiddish. From the 1960s Judaism was itself called fascist. Jewish capitalists were blamed for exploiting Russia as well has having been in league with Hitler to kill the Jewish proletariat. By the 1980s there was denial that Tsarist Russia even had pogroms. After the Six Day War of 1967 Zionism was said to be an arm of US imperialism. In revived Black Hundred mythology the Protocols were quoted in order to help this anti-Semitic campaign, especially during the Brezhnev years. The Communist Youth League newspaper Komosomlskaya Pravda printed anti-Semitic passages of a Nazi pamphlet called America – A Zionist Colony. This was published in Cairo, and co-authored by former top Nazi Von Leers. Infused with Russian chauvinism, militarism, racism and anti-Semitism, the Soviets were indeed devout in their faith of an international Jewish plot. The plague spread to its colonial underlings in the Warsaw Pact. East Germany showed little sympathy to Jews as Nazi victims. Official anti-Zionism labelled all Jews as counter-revolutionaries and imperialist agents, something which so alarmed famed Nazi hunter Simon Wisenthal in 1968, that he issued a report condemning the GDR. Communist parties in Poland and Czechoslovakia eagerly utilised anti-Semitism. The Dubcek Spring in 1968 was blamed by Czechoslovakia on Zionists. Unrest on Poland’s university campuses was blamed on the Jews. The Kadar regime in Hungary was said to be under Zionist influence during the 1970s, while the Sino-Soviet border clashes were blamed on a “Maoist-Zionist” plot. From 1980 Poland’s ruling Communist clique utilised anti-Semitic smears to weaken the Solidarity movement.
The fall of communism unleashed what were portrayed as long suppressed forces of nationalism. 1990 saw optimism dashed as ethnic and racial violence plagued former communist countries. Hungarians and Roma were victims of ultranationalist attacks in Romania, under the nose of the police in Bucharest. Police and Hungarian skinheads collaborated in assaults on Third World students and Roma in Budapest. Anti-Semitic graffiti proliferated while the ruling HDF ignored the racial violence with one of their MPs even asking if Africans were even human beings. But as elsewhere it was the Roma who were the main victims. In September 1990 police watched as skinheads attacked Roma in the ghetto of Eger. István Csurka, vice-president of the HDF, said that Roma should be eliminated through natural selection. In April and May 1990 skinheads and Nazi punks attacked Roma and Vietnamese across Czechoslovakia while the police stood by. Skinhead numbers tripled after the fall of communism, along with growth of the Bílá Liga (White League) and local chapters of the Ku Klux Klan. Racist graffiti proliferated in the former German Sudetenland. But the skinheads only represented a much wider prejudice. After the racial attacks Czechoslovakia made attempts to remove all foreign workers, mainly the Vietnamese. The Roma however had nowhere to go. Roma children were forced to sit separately in school at the back of schools or attend completely different schools from whites. Prague restaurants began displaying “Whites Only” signs. The separatist Slovak Peoples Party preached its own brand of hate against Czechs, Roma, Jews and Hungarians. Yet the impetus for radical Slovak nationalism came from within the Communist Party in the 1980s. The same doctors and officials who sterilised Gypsies under communism remained in positions of power in the new Czechoslovakia.
Virulent racism was actually quite common in communist Eastern Europe countries where neo-Nazism first made its obvious presence before the fall of communism. Radical nationalism, authoritarian and racist, was to rise on the ruins of communism and fill the ideological vacuum. Its spokesmen were mainly former hardcore communists. Communism left its subjects unprepared to build a healthy democracy. Unlike their western counterparts in the Federal Republic, the citizens of East Germany were never taught to be very critical of their own history. That included coming to terms with the very recent Nazi past. In this misnomered Democratic Republic of Germany, the communist regime resurrected Frederick the Great and Bismarck as popular role models from the late 1970s. Hardly precedents for democracy but they were not exactly the heroic figures of communism either. Why did a communist government push ardent German nationalists as ideals for the section of the international socialist proletariat which was incarcerated within its own borders? Was this mere opportunism? Or do communism and nationalism actually cohabit quite productively with each other?
Students from Asia and Africa began attending higher educational institutions in Bulgaria as the communist state attempted to promote closer links to newly independent nations from the 1960s. However racism at the hands of the population and authorities led to angry demonstrations by non-white foreign students in Sofia in 1965. Indeed in the 1980sBulgariawas breaking international sanctions by trading with the apartheid regime in South Africa. Todor Zhivkov sponsored the making of films glorifying Bulgarian heroes such as Khan Asparukh and Boris I. From the late 1950s the Roma and Tatar minorities were forced to adopt Bulgarian names. By the mid-1970s all Turkish language publications were stopped and the Muslim minority known as Pomaks were forced to take Bulgarian names. Resistance was met by incarceration of the Pomaks in slave labour camps. From 1983 Zhivkov decided to forcibly assimilate the Turks by the banning speaking of Turkish in public, prohibition of Turkish names, and terminating newspapers and broadcasts in Turkish.
Ceau?escu was close friends with African despots such as Mugabe, Samuel Doe and Bokassa, despite the fact that Romania’s Red royalty regarded black people as inferior “negroes”. His fervent nationalism claimed that only Romanians truly belonged to the land, unlike Hungarian and German minorities. Hungarians in particular suffered, as their schools were closed and restrictions put on the use of their language, but Germans too were affected from the late 1960s. In the next decade official anti-Semitism became commonplace with publications accusing Jews of drinking the blood of gentile children. Homogenisation was how the Romanian communists projected to eliminate the minorities. In Transylvania this manifested itself in virulent anti-Hungarian tones, notably with the planned systemisation of all villages. Ceau?escu’s “export” of Jewish and German minorities to Israel and West Germany respectively, was motivated not just by the temptation of hard currency from Israel, USA and West Germany, but also to rid Romania of what he considered to be troublesome alien minorities. Communism itself was portrayed as the highest form of nationalism.
From 1954 to the 1960s, Roma in communist Hungary were compelled to carry special black identity cards and the whole race was stigmatised as criminals. Yet official policy was assimilation into wider Magyar society. In reality this only served to create ugly racial ghettoes with slum conditions. Nazi skinheads emerged from the 1980s with groups such as Mos-Oi riling against Gypsies and immigrants. In 1987 there was even a racial pogrom targeting Roma and foreigners such as Arabs. In Czechoslovakia, the communists forced Roma into substandard housing in an attempt to eliminate their separate identity. Both nomadism and the Romani language were suppressed. But most disturbing were attempts to eliminate the Roma as a people. Involuntary sterilisation of Roma women was enforced through a policy designed to regulate any “large, unhealthy population”, which in 1979 prompted Charter 77 to accuse the communist government of violating its very own penal code which outlawed genocide. Sterilisation of the Gypsy minority continued however right up until the demise of communism in 1989. By 1987 the Czech Roma also had to face the unwelcome attention of Nazi skinheads. But they were not the only targets. From the 1970s Vietnam offered its own human fodder as guest workers to help the Czech economy. Vietnamese were put into separate hostels with only the barest language training. These were mostly young males, and families were not allowed. Forced to work in the most menial of jobs, they were refused service in restaurants and taxis, and accused by the white natives of being thieves by purchasing the best consumer goods.
From the 1970s thousands of guest workers from communist brother countries were invited to East Germany on four to five year contracts to compensate for labour shortages, mainly for the lower level jobs which native Germans refused to do. In a form of apartheid these Vietnamese, Angolans, Poles, Afghans, Cubans and Vietnamese were housed in separate barrack-like quarters. Treated as second-class citizens, their detailed work contracts specified in detail who they could speak to, who was allowed in which dormitory, and even how many bicycles they could own. The Vietnamese were especially given the lowliest and most dangerous tasks. Refusal to comply risked repatriation. But this was a country where schools were racially homogenous and the profoundly Eurocentric Weltanschaunng of East Germany hardly helped understanding between people of very different cultures and racial backgrounds. Nevertheless, against all the evidence, the communist government denied that racism even existed, insisting that it was a product of capitalism and therefore it was the Federal Republic which was castigated as inheriting the mantle of Nazism. East Berlin claimed solidarity with Third World socialist countries and anti-colonial liberation movements. Yet simultaneously the GDR authorities overlooked the daily racial insults hurled at Fidschis (Vietnamese) and Kohlen (coals, i.e. Africans) who were also refused service at restaurants. The populace seemed infected with high levels of xenophobia and racism as racial violence against non-white foreigners during the 1980s was covered up by the communist government. This did not prevent the GDR from indulging in stoking up racial hatred of its own. To pre-empt the spread of the Solidarity independent worker movement, the East German authorities portrayed the Poles as disorderly, lazy and prone to strike. Incredibly racial violence dated back to the 1960s when the GDR accepted political refugees who became targets by an intolerant racially homogenous white populace. Chileans fleeing the 1976 coup had swastikas scrawled on their doors. The same decade saw Jewish cemeteries desecrated in Zittau, Potsdam and Dresden. The authorities were also lenient when football matches in the 1970s degenerated into drunken brawls and fascist jeers. By the mid-1980s prolific graffiti stating “Jews Out”, “Sieg Heil” and “Third Reich Again” added to the already common desecration of Jewish cemeteries. These actions were often the work of skinhead youth. Instead of facing reality, the GDR blamed the skinheads on western influence. The Stasi also ignored skinhead attacks on punks, hippies and others. Even when it did act, the communist state ignored the “right-wing” political nature of skinhead crimes. On 17 October 1987 a massive openly Nazi skinhead contingent were watched by police as they attacked a punk concert at the Zionskirche (Church of Zion) in East Berlin, and physically assaulted passers-by while shouting Nazi and anti-Semitic slogans. By now the skinheads had found new scapegoats. Having targeted punks in 1985, then goths, from 1986 East German skinheads began violent racial assaults on Third World guest workers.
The rise of the Nazi skinhead phenomenon after communism has been well documented. But few take a deeper look at the origins of this youth subculture which once again show the affinity between socialism and ‘fascism’. In the 1980s refracted images from West German television inspired parallel genres in the GDR by youth dissatisfied with official youth culture provided by the communists: heavy metal, psychobilly, new wave, new romantics, goths and punks. These styles proliferated in the East German underground scene but without any clear ideology. Some punks followed humanistic socialism, a socialism at odds with the official state socialism. But some from the ranks of the punks and goths wanted leadership and structure. These became skinheads who prided themselves on neatness, working hard and following orders. They castigated the punks as dirty and smelly. For the skinheads the state was too lax in enforcing the Prussian work ethic. Factory foremen would always vouch for any skinhead staff who ended up in trouble with the police. Try as it might the East German state could not easily blame the phenomenon on western capitalist influence. The result was subterfuge, denial and outright secrecy. Paul Hockenos, journalist for the Times, in his 1993 book ‘Free to Hate’:
“The earliest top-secret studies of the GDR skinheads produced results so damning that the state immediately confiscated the documentation and ruled the topic off limits for independent researchers. The surveys, conducted from police records and trial material at the state’s request, showed that most of the Skinhead offenders in the “socialist worker’s state” were young male workers, had turned so vehemently on the ideology that claimed to embody their interests above all others. The statistics revealed that though the offenders were mostly workers, their parents came from the entire professional spectrum that existed in the GDR. Yet, the research also showed that a disproportionately high percentage of the offenders’ parents were in some way related to the state apparatus – as bureaucrat, party apparatchik, Stasi, or military personnel. The teenagers inclined to criminal acts with right-wing motives were those who had been most thoroughly imbued with the values of the state.”
In a study by Professor Loni Niederländer, sociologist at East Berlin’sHumboldtUniversity, eighty per cent of those who offended with political motivated violence were vocational students or young workers. Many came from orthodox communist families:
“While the state discouraged nationalist identification, even it described itself as the “socialist German nation.” For both the Skins and the state, being German meant being productive, orderly, clean, superior, and strong.”
Honecker had made strenuous efforts to create a separate East German national consciousness in the “nation of workers and peasants”. He resurrected old Prussian virtues of order, discipline, diligence, devotion to duty and this led logically to the rehabilitation of old German heroes such as Bismarck. In 1980 the statue of Frederick the Great reappeared on Under den Linden. Military training was introduced into schools. National service gave the skinheads military training, and they felt at home in the discipline of the elite sections of the communist youth organisation, the Freie Deutsche Jugend. Much of the racist violence in 1990 came from skins linked to the Freiheilische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei, or Liberal German Workers Party, clarifying the socialist roots of the East German neo-Nazis.
This should come as no surprise to anyone who studies the amorphous phenomena of ‘fascism’ objectively and with painstaking dissection of its origins as FA Hayek exposed in his 1944 classic Road to Serfdom. Nevertheless the term continues to be applied inaccurately and is used by the Left as a cudgel to silence opponents. A fascist is the modern word for ‘heretic’ signifying someone or something that is not desirable. Yet ironically fascism is a child of the Left. Communism and fascism are closely related historical competitors for the same constituents and social space. The differences between these failed utopian visions is in fact minimal. One only needs to examine the political background and history of fascist leaders. Like Britain’s Moseley and France’s Déat the Belgian Henri de Man was also of socialist background. As theorist for the Belgian Workers’ Party he welcomed his country’s collapse in the face of German invasion as a deliverance for the proletariat.
Travelling through Europe in 2000 to uncover fascism, neo-Nazism, xenophobia, racism and anti-Semitism, BBC journalist Nicholas Fraser encountered such a gathering in the German city of Leipzig. These were followers of the NPD who denied that they were Nazis, but were in fact “national socialists” or “nationalist socialists”, in other words socialists who also believed in the integrity of German culture. Indeed they attacked the capitalists who ran the German republic. But then both socialism and organic nationalism resulted from the ferment of industrialisation, urbanisation and the proliferation of mass politics which engulfed Europebetween 1870 and 1914. By 1890 Europe saw the collusion of these nationalist and socialist ideas in a backlash against the failures of classic ‘Manchester’ liberalism. Anti-Semitism, a tool of utopian French socialists such as Alphonse Toussenel to attack capitalism, was carried to new levels by the nationalist Drumont especially in the Dreyfus Affair. Monarchist and organic nationalist Édouard Drumont was in many ways a premature national socialist when in 1886 he published his vitriolic and very influential La France Juive (Jewish France). He argued that Jews had conqueredFrance and appealed to working class to stand against the Jewish controlled bourgeoisie which was exploiting the French proletariat. Barrés used the term Socialist Nationalism and it reared its ugly head during the Dreyfus Affair when Jews were denounced as not being French. In the words of the father of organic and anti-Semitic French nationalism, Charles Maurras:
“[A] form of socialism which, when stripped of its democratic and cosmopolitan accretions would fit in with nationalism just as a well-made glove fits a beautiful hand.”
Sorel’s Reflections on Violence was a revolt against all bourgeoisie society and the sacred text of revolutionary syndicalism which attracted the support of Maurras. To understand fascism we need to recognise the influence of syndicalism. ForSorel it did not matter of Marxism was true. It mattered that it could organise the masses by use of the general strike.Sorel saw the utility of myths in rousing and moulding the people into revolutionary action by ideas which if imposed, by violence if necessary, become true and good merely by their victory. Inspired by both Rousseau and Robespierre, as well as being influenced by the Pragmatism of William James and his “will to believe” and Nietzsche’s will to power, he redefined scientific socialism as a revolutionary religious movement and mythology in his espousal of a revolutionary elite which would impose its will on the masses. This avant-garde would foment violence to undermine liberal institutions, rejecting any form of compromise, parliamentary politics and incremental reform. Fascism was therefore born at that potent juncture of history when progressive, socialist and communist intellectuals felt liberal democracy had met its nemesis. This included Mussolini who was once admired by Lenin and began his political life as an uncompromising socialist.
It is conveniently forgotten that Hitler had himself briefly flirted with communist revolutionaries in 1918 and hence was familiar with their ideas and methodology. Communists in fact feared that the Nazis were defeating them on their own ground. Economics had to serve the state and be subordinate to the needs of the Volk. The term Volkswirtschaft was used by National Socialists in referring to an economic system which would feed the organic racial body which made the state and in doing so the Nazis drew upon various nationalist theories which saw capitalism as antithetical to Germany. The result was an economy which was directed and planned by the state, and if necessary would be owned by it. Many Nazis wanted to unshackle the system from the liberalism of Weimar to define a distinctly German form of socialism. Like the USSR the Third Reich became a command economy. It was an analogy not lost on steel magnate Fritz Thyssen who was encouraged to set up the Institut für Ständwesen (Institute for Corporative Affairs) when Hitler came to power, in return for his generous donations to the Nazi Party. But he became disillusioned with increasing state control of the economy and fell foul of the regime. Fleeing toFrance he was arrested by the Gestapo after that country fell toGermany in 1940. In that same year he predicted that the Third Reich would be an exact parallel of theUSSR with its command economy centred around the “Plan”. Collaboration had begun long before Stalin and Hitler signed an axis alliance. To get round rearmament restrictions imposed by the Versailles Treaty theWeimarRepublic collaborated with the Red Army. Under the terms of a treaty signed inBerlin in 1926, the German military established centres for tank, chemical weapon and aviation research inside theUSSR. This military collaboration, including the exchanges of military personnel coalesced into a new format with the signing of the mutual Non-Aggression Pact on 23 August 1939. This was followed by the notorious treaty of friendship which resulted in the rape and division ofPoland. On 11 February 1940 a trade treaty exchanged Soviet raw material and food for German machinery and military equipment. By a treaty dated 10 January 1941 the agreement was confirmed for another year. Stalin sent personal congratulations to Hitler for his quick victory overFrance while Soviet propaganda beamed extravagant displays of pro-Nazi sympathy. Millions of tonnes of grain, timber and metals poured intoGermany from theUSSR. The Soviets even shipped materials toGermany from fellow Axis powerJapan across its own Trans-Siberian railway. Soviet oil fuelled Panzers and the Luftwaffe with German machinery and arms replishing the supplies of theUSSR. At this stage Stalin was outpacing Hitler in enslaving the Poles.
Hitler had unqualified respect only for Stalin, while the latter only ever trusted his German counterpart. Hitler was ready to join with theUSSRin order to destroy the liberal democracies in the West. Although the Nazis looked down upon the racially inferior Slavs, they admired the ideological commitment of the Bolsheviks while looking down upon their fascist allies such asItalyandRomania. In 1942, Dr. Goebbels said that while Fascism was only superficial, National Socialism came from the roots. In 1943 Himmler went even further:
“Fascism and National Socialism are two fundamentally different things . . . . There is absolutely no comparison between Fascism and National Socialism as spiritual ideological movements.”
Back in the 1920s Hitler himself said:
“In our movement the two extremes come together: the Communists from the Left and the officers and the students from the Right. The two have always been the most active elements. . . . The Communists were the idealists of Socialism.”
Goebbels wanted a geopolitical tryst with theUSSR. In 1932 the Nazis joined Communists in organising the violentBerlintransport workers’ strike. Goebbels shared the same platform with Walter Ubricht, leader of the German Communist Party and later leader of Communist East Germany. In 1933 Hitler declared May Day a national holiday. His was a socialism infused with anti-Semitism which actually allowed Nazis and communists to share the same heroes. Leo Shlateger was a young Nazi executed byFrancein 1923 and canonised as a German nationalist martyr. But he was also lionised by the German communists who did not hesitate to employ nationalist and anti-Semitic slogans to woo the same working-class constituency as the Nazis. For example the half-Jewish German communist radical Ruth Fischer appealed to the proletariat with this slogan:
“Kick down the Jewish capitalists, hang them from the nearest lampposts and stamp on them.”
No surprise then that both Stalin and Hitler were enduring allies from 1939 to 1941, joining hands in rapingPoland. Poles suffered terribly, thousands being marked for deportation, enslavement or extermination, the last element being a factor which befell the elite. Stalin would have found Hitler’s cleansing ofPoland’s leadership very familiar to his own annihilation program. Stalin had already been impressed of how Hitler had murdered his own Nazi rivals in the Night of the Long Knives. Hitler’s SS and Gestapo functioned like the Soviet NKVD, and his Five-Year Plan was modelled on Stalin’s Five-Year Plans. Enslaving the Poles was just one of many meeting points between Nazi and Soviet regimes. With Hitler now apprentice to Stalin, was there really any difference between his National Socialism and the latter’s “socialism in one country”? Norman Davies in ‘God’s Playground’:
“The Soviet press praised the victories of the German army ‘over the decadent forces of capitalism and imperialism.’ Nazi propaganda praised the achievements of the great Stalin. Pravda explained that the Red Army had moved into Western Byelorussia and Western Ukraine ‘to liberate our brothers of the same blood’. Der Voelkischer Boebachter rejoiced that the German army was realizing Hitler’s dream of greater Lebensraum for the German race in the East. The NKVD and the Gestapo worked in close collaboration. German communists fromRussia were handed over to the Gestapo in exchange for Russian émigrés and Ukrainians fromGermany. Both sides looked on Poles and Jews with undisguised contempt. The ‘racial enemy’ of the one was virtually indistinguishable from the ‘class enemy’ of the other.”
Even after the Nazi-Soviet Axis fell, Stalin is said to have said that the combined forces of theUSSRand Third Reich would have been invincible. As late as February 1945 Hitler said that both he and Stalin could have created a durable entente. There is dark humour in the very idea that the Soviets ‘liberated’ the inmates of Nazi death camps. European countries overrun by Soviet troops were soon shackled to this parallel Communist tyranny, complete with anti-Semitism, totalitarianism and mass slavery under Stalin.Buchenwaldwas now used to incarcerate political prisoners rather than merely inferior races, but nevertheless as we have seen, amorphous racial criteria could be used to determine who was a ‘class’ enemy. Niall Ferguson:
“To the Western Left, of course, there always seemed a profound difference between communism and fascism. Until as late as the 1980s, Jürgen Habermans and others zealously upheld the dogma that the Third Reich could not legitimately be compared with Stalin’s Soviet Union. But were not Stalin and his German counterpart in reality just two grim faces of totalitarianism? Was there any real difference between Stalin’s ‘socialism in one country’ and Hitler’s National Socialism, except that one was put into practice a few years before the other? We can now see just how many of the things that were done in German concentration camps during the Second World War were anticipated in the Gulag: the transportation in cattle trucks, the selection into different categories of prisoner, the shaving of the heads, the dehumanizing living conditions, the humiliating clothing, the interminable roll-calling, the brutal and arbitrary punishments, the differentiation between determined and the doomed. Yes, the regimes were very far from identical . . . . But it is at least suggestive that when the teenage zek Yuri Chirkov arrived at Solovetsky, the slogan that greeted him was ‘Through Labour – Freedom!’ a lie identical to the wrought-iron Arbeit Macht Frei that would later welcome prisoners to Auschwitz.”
Therefore after 1932 National Bolshevism became official ideology under Stalin’s “socialism in one country”. Hence while working in Berlinin 1940 as part of the Soviet commission monitoring deliveries of German technology to the USSRunder the terms of the Nazi-Soviet pact, interpreter Valentin Berezhkov was surprised at the striking resemblance of his surroundings. In fighting the German invasion, Stalin responded to the attack by his former ally Hitler by exhorting Russian nationalism and love of the fatherland. Stalin rehabilitated patriotic heroes such as Dmitri Donski, Peter the Great and Ivan the Terrible to help in this patriotic fanaticism and unashamed nationalist outpouring. Being a Georgian he could cloak the rhetoric under guise of international socialism. Yet he was embarrassed by his Georgian origins and identified himself with the ethnic Russians, the leading people and master race of the USSR. In June 1943 the Internationale was dropped as the state anthem in favour of a patriotic Russian hymn. The fight was for fatherland and motherland in which all Germans were regarded as the enemy. No pretence here at international socialist brotherhood of the proletariat. After being used effectively againstGermany, ultranationalism was used in anti-western xenophobia, singling out ethnic non-Russians for persecution, and above all a campaign against cosmopolitanism which was badly disguised anti-Semitism. Walter Lacquer in ‘Black Hundred’:
“Even an extreme Russian nationalist could not have found fault with Soviet communism in 1950 as far as its patriotic fervour was concerned. Whatever its other sins of commission or omission, Soviet patriotism to all intents and purposes was Russian patriotism. While Russian patriotic traditions were encouraged in every way, no such encouragement was given (except halfheartedly and for short periods) to the other peoples of theSoviet Union.”
The introduction of internal passports from 1932 had ‘nationality’ as an integral entry. Hence all Soviets were classified by ethnicity and it was impossible to change the notorious ‘entry number 5’. Nationality became more important than social origin and was used for blatant discrimination. While minority languages and cultures were advanced and even created, it was Russian which became the Soviet ethnocentric core from the 1930s and especially after 1945. Only three languages (Armenian, Georgian, Azeri) were exempt from having to be written in the Cyrillic alphabet. In 1939 non-Russian units of the army were disbanded. Russian became the sole language of command in the Red Army, was compulsory in all schools for at least four hours a week, and in most cases became the sole language of higher education. In the multinational USSR official internationalist posturing may have meant the theoretical equality of all nations, but it was the Russians who were more equal than others. During the war with Nazi Germany it was devotion to rodina or motherland which was on the lips of Soviet soldiers going into battle. From 1935 Russian nationalism was firmly integrated into the psyche of the USSR and became more manifest during the 1960s as the transformation of Bolshevism into National Socialism was complete. Unlike Leftist dissidents, those on the “Right” did not suffer internment in labour camps or exclusion from professional associations. One need only compare how leniently Shafarevich was treated compared to the relentless persecution suffered by Sakharov who advocated freedom for Russia. Shafaravich however stood for a great and powerful Russia and so could be accommodated within the USSR’s National Socialist system known as Communism. As the Cold War deepened Stalin made absurd claims for the superiority of specifically Russian culture. Russian ballet, literature and music were pronounced the best. Russian folk culture was foisted onto satellite states of the Warsaw Pact axis. Foreign loan words were removed from Russian dictionaries. Alien influenced were banned including the results of Canadian ice hockey.
The national socialist nature of theUSSRwas recognised by exiled and émigré Russians. In 1929 Russians inParisfounded Young Russia, headed by Alexander Kazem Bek whose family background was Russified Iranian. Imperialist, racist, and Eurasianist, YoungRussiasaid enemies were the Jews and yellow Asiatic races. The organisation used fascist trappings of uniforms and regarded 1917 as a catastrophe. Nevertheless Bek admired Stalin, as well as Hitler and Mussolini, because the Comrade had moved from international to national socialism. Bek was to fall out with the Nazis, only to reappear in 1956 inMoscowwhen he was revealed to have been a Soviet agent. GP Fedotov was an exiled Russian religious thinker who recognised the nationalist nature of Soviet Communism in 1938:
“You like fascism? ButRussiapresents the most consistent form of fascism, and Stalin has promised the slogan of a great and powerfulRussia.”
The Russian Fascist Party was formed by émigrés inManchuria, and became a tool of the Japanese occupying forces. It was led by former Tsarist general Konstantin Rodzayensky, who in 1945 made similar comments as Fedotov:
“Stalinism is exactly what we mistakenly called ‘Russian fascism’. It is our Russian fascism cleansed of extremes, illusions and errors.”
It was an opinion shared by American neo-Nazi Francis Parker Yockey, author of Imperium. Yockey was in Prague in 1952, ecstatic at the anti-Semitic show trials orchestrated by Stalin against Jews such as Rudolf Slánsky, general-secretary of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia. He felt that the USSR could free Europe from American and thus Jewish domination. James Madole of New York’s National Renaissance Party wanted to deport all non-whites from America. Initially believing that Communism was Jewish, Madole changed his mind under the influence of Yockey. Instead he endorsed Stalin’s anti-Jewish campaigns, feeling that he had triumphed over Trotsky and would use his National Bolshevism to destroy the Jewish Unites States of America. At NRP headquarters in New York, Madole had interchangeable portraits of Hitler and Stalin and attracted ex-Communists to his party membership.
Colin Jordan, leader of the British National Socialist Movement in the 1960s, felt that theUSSRwas less of a threat to the white race than western capitalism. This sentiment was magnified by Danish Nazi Povl Riis-Krudsen. While he initially felt thatAmericawould prove to be fertile soil for Nazi ideas due to lack of associated historical baggage in that country, he changed his mind after falling out with Matt Koehl, leader of the National Socialist White Peoples Party. Instead he wrote that National Socialism was leftist and as such opposed to NATO and American domination. He received his Soviet visa easily on his visit to theUSSRin 1978 where he was impressed by what he saw as a white bastion:
“The racial consciousness of the Russians, who are the dominant nation in theSoviet Union, definitely promises a better prospect for the survival of the Aryan race than the visions of liberal and conservative American politicians. . . . It is true, of course, that Communism does not support racial principles in theory – but with Communism theory and practice are two very different things.”
Certainly the international character of communism had taken a battering due to the Sino-Soviet split when Mao was incensed at Khruschev denouncing Stalin and trying a rapproachment with Yugoslavia’s Tito. Many Russians continued to harbour suspicions about their Asiatic neighbour despite the fact that Chinahad gone communist due to Soviet assistance in the first place. Border disputes and rivalry of who exactly would become the global leader in socialist revolution led to a permanent split in 1959 when Soviet advisers were withdrawn from China. In March 1969 the Chinese attacked Soviet frontier guards on DamanskiiIslandwhich Mao claimed belonged to China. If ever communism was proving its inherently national socialist nature it was between the two Red continental giants. Martin A Lee from his 1997 book The Beast Reawakens:
“Infused with Nazi overtones, the Soviet Union’s anti-Zionist campaign resonated favourably with ultra-right zealots in Europe and theUnited Stateswho felt a racial kinship with their Russian brethren that outweighed theoretical concerns about Communism. Povl Riis-Krudsen and other neo-Nazi revisionists realized that a pure, universal, all-embracing form of Communism was an abstraction that existed only in the minds of Marxist thinkers. In the real world, Communism assured a variety of guises that differed from one country to the next. The Soviet Union implemented its brand of Communism, whileChinaandCubaenacted distinct versions – each according to its own national interests. And because national interests ultimately superseded ideology, some neofascist strategists believed that it would be worthwhile to seek allies in the Communist world.”
Indeed it was a bizarre feature of 1980s German National Socialism that despite racism and xenophobia, many groups endorsed the struggles of the IRA, ETA and the Afghan mujahadeen: in short any group that fought against any imperialist superpower was deemed a potential or actual ally. Analogous to the New Right and neo-Nazis, the Green movement attempted to navigate a neutralist, evenThird Wayposition. The “Right” used leftist rhetoric which actually appealed to environmentalists. The Green movement allowed the neofascists to break into greater mainstream as New Right journals featured articles by Greens, leftists and national revolutionaries, while Nazis infiltrated Green ranks. Ecofascism arose as National Socialist environmentalism allowed the promotion of revived Social Darwininist racism as part of the laws of nature. From the 1960s many West German neo-Nazis also saw a tactical ally in Maoist China, especially against theUSSR. One such party the NPD or Nationaldemokratische Partei Deutschlands, saw such an axis with Communist China as a logical step in its anti-NATO programme to remove all American forces from German soil.
This undeniable transmutation between communism and latter day national socialism was first evident in other communist states. After 1989 racism and ethnic nationalism became powerful and mainstream forced inPoland,Slovakia,HungaryandSlovenia. Despite trials and executions after 1945, there had been a constant refusal to confront the demonic past. Instead many fascists and collaborators were treated rather leniently. TheUSSRrehabilitated many former Nazis into the security and administrative machinery ofEast Germany, especially the police and Stasi. Remer’s new party, the SRP, was well received inEast Germanyand like other postwar radical German nationalists, received Soviet backing. Fritz Grobba, Hitler’s former spymaster in the Middle East, became ambassador toSaudi ArabiaandIraq. He also became the Soviet Foreign Ministry director of Arab affairs inMoscow, facilitating the arms deal betweenCzechoslovakiaand Nasser’sEgypt. Former Nazis such as Grobba were essential to the Communist penetration of Arab countries. In 1983 Remer returned toSyriafrom where he advocated a new Axis betweenGermanyand theUSSRin order to save the white race from the Yellow Peril of Red China. Remer said that Soviet help was essential ifGermanywas to be reunited and restored to its former greatness as under the Reich. Being Communist was not a prerequisite to getting Soviet assistance. He put feelers out to theUSSR and met with Valentin Talin, the former Soviet ambassador toWest Germany. By 1985 German neo-Nazis such as Michael Kuhnen were becoming pro-USSR in their ideological aversion toAmericaand capitalism. Kuhnen of the Action Front for National Socialism was originally a Maoist but had turned to National Socialism while working in theHamburgshipyards, and became a follower of Remer. The GDR conveniently rehabilitated former Nazis and even adopted their anti-Semitism as official policy. No surprise then that Ceau?escu happily incorporated former members of the Iron Guard into his Securitate. The Romanian Communist Party provided a welcoming home for many former legionnaries of this fascist movement.
Appeals to the proletariat in the name of international socialism were easily swapped for those of nationalism once Marxist-Leninism could no longer hide its ideological bankruptcy. With pogrom style attacks on refugees in the former East German town ofHoyserwedain 1993, questions were asked as to what sort ofGermanyhad emerged after reunification. It was not just refugees that were attacked. Popular hatred in the former GDR was also found against Jews, Roma, homosexuals and the mentally handicapped. But this postcommunist ‘Right’ was also anti-capitalist. Capitalism was seen as western and above all Jewish, sapping the folkish nation of its wealth and culture with technology and profits. Wealth should benefit the whole nation, not foreigners or ‘aliens’. Such ultranationalists wanted a centralised managed economy very much in harmony with the totalitarian ethics of Stalinism as indeed many were mainly former communists and therefore had no interest in divorcing themselves from essential socialist structures even as they rejected Marxist ideology. So this postcommunist Eastern European ‘Right’ had in fact scant affinity with western conservative thought, especially with their suspicion of laissez-faire economics and libertarian notions of freedom. Communism had thwarted the development of modern conservatism. Classic western conservatives such as Reagan and Thatcher would not even be considered ‘Right’ among the nationalists inEastern Europebecause they derive their ideas from the nineteenth century free market. Paul Hockenos writing in 1993:
“In fact,Eastern Europe’s nationalists harbour profound suspicions of three of the Western right’s most sacred principles: the market, freedom of the individual, and limited government. Rather, it is some of today’s most prominent democrats – “the liberals” – who most enthusiastically embrace laissez-faire economic policies and libertarian notions of freedom. The right inEastern Europecalls upon a conservatism with its roots in rural, peasant cultures, traditions that emphasize prewar notions of nation, family, religion, and strong national states. It is a conservatism distrustful of modernity and the secular values of postwarWestern Europe. The East European nationalists reject the Enlightenment values of progress, technological advance, human equality, urban-based culture, the individual, and self-expression. Theirs are the pre-modern values of a romantic national Golden Age, when their proud nation flourished as never before, and never again.”
InHungarythe Hungarian Democratic Forum (HDF) is seen as centre-right. But it stressed nation, family, religion and tradition, with marked similarity to the communists in subordinating the rights of the individual to the collective interests of the proletariat. InRomaniaMarshal Ion Antonescu was not only rehabilitated but openly eulogised. In this postcommunist society, where public opinion has become dominated by ultranationalist discourse, even erstwhile democrats fervently denied the Holocaust and intellectuals refused to criticise Antonescu. While former Communist Party administrators and technocrats joined the ultranationalist Vatra Românesca. Former members of the army and Securitate, including those that were once important instruments in Ceaçescu’s communist oppression, were drawn to the equally virulent România Mare in their nostalgia for a sense of order and security, blaming the market for massive poverty and unemployment, and claiming that the 1989 revolution was a Hungarian plot. Its leaders included former communist regime loyalists such as Eugen Barku and Corneliu Vadim Tudor. România Mare attacks the West,Hungary, and the Roma, and yet it is considered to be a left-wing party. Hockenos:
“In Romania, a party so blatantly neo-fascist as România Mare is generally considered extreme left. With their pseudo-leftist jargon, the posturing of groups like România Mare as defenders of social justice tends to fill the gap that a progressive left alternative to the market consensus might occupy, were such organized forces to exist in Romania. România Mare, for example, has been just about the only political force to protest the IMF-advocated economic policies, an issue which would occupy a place on the agenda of most Western leftists. The twisted and tangled definitions of right and left can only be understood in terms of the nature of Ceaçescu’s national communism, and the relationship of today’s political forces to that ideology. Perhaps one of the best examples is the close ally that România Mare found in the successor of the Romanian Communist Party, the Socialist Labor Party (SLP). The two parties, one neo-fascist, the other neo-Stalinist, would occupy the polar ends of most political spectrums in the West – that is, if their militant breeds had counterparts in Western Europe. The two parties, however, represent different strains from within the hard-line wings of the old apparatus, whether from the RCP, the army or the Securitate. The common heritage and interests enable România Mare’s staff writers to contribute to Socialistul, and vice versa.”
This should not come as a surprise. While back in 1944 Hayek rightly stated that communists and Nazis in Germanyhad the same heroes such as Lasalle, Fichte and Rodbertus, perhaps he did not go far enough in this analysis. It was after all the French socialists of the early nineteenth century who had introduced the idea of a global Jewish conspiracy. Pierre Leroux coined the term “socialism” and identified Jews with capitalism and exploitation of the French proletariat. Along with Henri de Saint-Simon, Charles Fourier was a founding father of French socialism, and he referred to Jews as “parasites, merchants, userers”, and was against their emancipation. In 1845 Alphonse Toussenel’s Les Juifs, rois de l’époque (The Jews, kings of the Epoch) said cosmopolitan Jews dominatedEurope. But the most extreme attitude was perhaps taken by Pierre Joseph Proudhon who justified pogroms inRussia and demanded that “the Jew must disappear”. Marx was influenced by this virulent anti-Semitism during his sojourn inFrance helping him develop his myth of Jewish capitalism. He also imbibed the scientific racism of Gobineau. Along with Engels he justified the French colonisation ofAlgeria and stereotyped the Poles and Czechs as backward Slavs and insignificant peoples. With this ideological DNA it was not just under communism that Marxist opium transmuted into something rather evil. Originally a socialist, Jean-François Thiriart of Belgium joined the National Legion in Brussels at the age of seventeen and became a Nazi collaborator However after 1960 Thiriart began to see communism as a cogent expression of Russian nationalism and expressed hope that the USSR would join a white power block to contain a possible Asian flood of Europe led by China. By 1965 he had moved to the idea of “National Communism”, heavily anti-American and admiring the Ceau?escu regime inRomania, and praising Ho Chi Minh in his vain hope that a Viet Cong style guerrilla warfare would drive American troops fromEurope. One of his disciples was Renato Curcio of Giovare Europa, the Italian branch of Jeune Europe. He later became a leader of notorious Marxist terrorist organisation, the Red Brigade. Another adherent, Claudio Mutti, moved towards “Nazi-Maoism”. Martin A Lee:
Influenced by Thiriart’s political analysis, a small band of Italian militants adopted a seemingly incongruous set of heroes – Hitler, Mao, Qaddafi, and Perón – and touted slogans such as “Long live the fascist dictatorship of the proletariat!” and “Hitler and Mao united in struggle!”
Although these dreams were dashed by Nixon’s détente withChina, Thiriart’s ideas resonated inWest Germanyamong the Red Army Faction and student revolutionaries. Meinhof, that icon of the radical Left, had written a column in February 1965 claiming that 200,000 died in the bombing ofDresden, basing these figures on the work of British Holocaust denier David Irving. This would have sat well with fellow revolutionary Horst Mahler who was prevented by the German government from travelling toTehranto attend the Holocaust denial conference in December 2006. Dutsche for his part had been influenced by Fanon since 1965, believing that revolutions would begin in theThird Worldand not the industrialised West. By 1967 the Vietcong were in this vanguard ofThird Worldnational liberation struggles which were central to defeating American imperialism. For Dutsche, Germans were not Nazis but Fanon’s “wretched of the earth”, victims of an American colonialism in Europe which could only be met withVietnamstyle war, revolution and liberation. This support for various nationalisms led to its logical conclusion. By 1977 Dutsche argued for German reunification. Divorcing postwar Germany for wartime aggression, he also absolved the German proletariat for any responsibility forAuschwitz. Instead Germanywas the victim of the twentieth century, which likeVietnamhad been divided and colonised by theUSSRandUSA. A united national consciousness was therefore needed as a prerequisite to socialism. Dutsche’s views were warmly welcomed by New Right national revolutionary Henning Eichberg who agreed thatGermanyneeded national liberation. The former developed ideas similar to that of the German romantics, nationalists who of course also yearned for a united nation-state and saw their Volk as a victim of foreign powers. Dutsche updated the romantic diatribe against capitalism and liberalism to include rhetoric against NATO and argue thatGermanywas a colony of theUSAin a manner similar toLatin America. Mahler meanwhile saw his fatherland as having been intellectually and spiritually humiliated by the Allies by imposing the guilt cult of the Holocaust and American capitalism.Germanyneeded national resistance against this use as a human laboratory. Mahler claimed that his views had not fundamentally changed since 1968. He had always hatedAmerica,Israeland theFederalRepublic. But while his former RAF colleagues had made their peace with the state, Mahler retained his ideals for revolution. As a Marxist he always saw the Volk as victims of capitalism. Now he defined ‘the people’ not as a class but a nation crushed under American capitalism. He glorified the racist pogroms of Hoyzerweda andRostockin 1993 as uprisings for national liberation, echoing the student protests of 1968 which had also been a nationalist insurrection. Mahler argued that his thinking was the logical outcome of the latter phenomenon. He was certainly correct in stipulating that his anti-Semitism came straight from the Left, notably Marx. The 1960s Left radicalism always had a nationalist undercurrent and anti-Semitism was the undeniable flipside of ‘resistance’.
On his visit ofRussiain 1992, Thiriart met with Yegor Ligachev, a hardliner in the Politburo and former Communist Party deputy until demoted by Gorbachev. Both agreed that Europe needed to unite with a reformedUSSRto counter theUSAwith the slogan “Eurasia containAmerica”. When Thiriart died on 23 November 1992 he was eulogised in the Russian nationalist press, while his followers founded ELF or European Liberation Front based on a pan-European based National Communism. The collapse of theUSSRallowed these ideas greater potential as Remer made clear on 16 April 1992:
The survival of the white race is at stake. Russians are a white people. They are a hundred times closer to us than the f***** Americans who are mixed.
Hence the confidential report by the US State Department on 18 March 1992, in A Roadmap to Major Russian Political Parties and Reform Movements:
“In the current political climate, political markers such as ‘left’ and ‘center’ have little-meaning – hard-line communist groups, for example, are currently referred to as ‘extreme-right’ and ‘extreme left’ with roughly equal frequency.”
Bizarre ideas of affinity emerged. Russian national socialists respected China but feared the Yellow Peril. Similarly there was support forIraqduring the First Gulf War and calls for strategic alliance with Islam in opposing any diplomatic relations withIsrael. Yet there were very real fears of a clash with Islam, especially as newly independent Central Asian former Soviet republics turned increasingly back to a religious foundation with the end of Communism. Eurasianism was another favourite nationalist idea, although it faced problems from racial purists who did not want to emphasise Russian affinity with the Mongol Golden Horde. Others favoured a new Berlin-Moscow Axis. From the 1980s the black uniformed members of Pamyat emerged in the vanguard of Russian national socialism. Its leader Dmitri Vasilev denounced Zionism, Freemasonry, as well as social breakdown. He praised Lenin, Stalin and the army and refrained from attacking the Communist Party. As early as 1986 it was warning of the threats from global imperialism, Zionism and Freemasonry and claimed it would restore national pride. The global conspiracy against the Russian people was being orchestrated by the Jews using capitalism and Marxism. By the time Pamyat was outlawed in 1991 it had been eclipsed by others. From 1988 long time Communist Party member and hardline Stalinist Nina Andreyeva published material attacking Gorbachev’s reforms, stating that all enemies ofRussiawere “reactionary nations”, especially the West, ethnic separatists and the Jews. By 1992 she herself had been overtaken byMoscow’s Vladimir Volfovich Zhirinovsky who founded the Liberal Democratic Party. Although he attacked communism, his material was published by Communist printing houses. He also resented the dismemberment of theUSSRin 1991 and bemoaned the decline of white civilisation speaking admiringly of Hitler and seeing the American treatment of its indigenous inhabitants and Nazi treatment of the Jews as ideal precedents of how a national socialistRussiawould seal with recalcitrant minorities. Pejoratively called “darkies” street traders of Chechen, Armenian, Azeri and Georgian background became the victims of violent police raids inMoscowand other Russian cities.
Nationalists and communists collaborated as much as competed in the post-Soviet economic and ethnic collapse and ideological vacuum which resulted. This explains why so many former Communist nomenklatura, military officers and KGB are active among Russia’s ultranationalist “Right”. Anti-semitism has gone mainstream. Communist Party leader Gennadi Zyuganov has written Russia My Motherland in which he digresses from the Marxist class struggle and projects the uniqueness of Russian civilisation, citing Oswald Spengler and Arnold Toynbee while rejecting West European and North American superiority. His ideas are drawn from Slavophiles Nikolai Danilevski and Konstanin Leontev and he maintains a sense of unity between Tsarism and Marxist-Leninism which makes Russia unique, eternal and unrivalled. Defending imperialist expansion of Russia he nevertheless claims that the Communist Party embodies the spirit of the Russian peasantry. Anti-Semitism is an essential part of Russian Communist ideology. Zyuganov sees Jews such as Trotsky as traitors to Russia. On 3 July 1993 in Pravda he blamed the “cosmopolitan elite of international capital” as causing Russia’s problems, and speaks of Mirovaya Zakulisa (world conspiracy) ruling the planet. Unsurprisingly he has found that Zionists are conspiring to wreck the economy. He refused to censor the Communist leader in the Duma, General Albert Makashov, for threatening to kill “the Yids”. The Russian Communist Party therefore found no problem ditching Marxist-Leninism and becoming ultranationalist, because in effect there has been no ideological shift. We are merely witnessing the stage once Communism has reached the point of disillusionment just as Hayek had predicted decades before.
Pamyat had long received backing from hardline Communist Party members opposed to glasnost and perestroika. Former member Alexander Barkashov formed the Russian National Union and condemned the Enlightenment and Western materialism as moral decay which threatened Russian values. He sawRussiabeing exploited for its resources by Jews and the West in an alliance of Western, American and Zionist forces. RNU activists were prominent along with hardline Communists in defending the White House against President Boris Yeltsin’s forces in 1993. Barkashov had support from powerful forces in the army, police, Interior Ministry and the former KGB. In 1994 he made clear his philosophy and its ideological roots in both nationalism and socialism, and also expressed his admiration for the Slavic hero Adolf “Aloizovich” Hitler. Meanwhile the dissident writer Eduard Limonov founded the National Bolsheviks. He had lived in exile for eleven years inParisandNew York, but nevertheless he admired Stalin along with Japanese ultranationalist Yukio Mishira and the Italian futurists. Limonov wanted larger national borders to include all Russians and in pan-Slavic fervour asked that nuclear weapons be sent toSerbia. He also wanted to preserve the Soviet alliances with Cuba and Iraq, and his political ideas found fruition in the National Bolshevik Front. Both Limonov and Barkashov were jailed after defending the White House against forces loyal to President Yeltsin in October 1993. The February 1994 amnesty by the Duma led to their release. Barkashov’s followers paraded throughMoscowon Hitler’s birthday in April shouting anti-Semitic and anti-government slogans. Limonov meanwhile gravitated towards Zhirinovsky. In September 1995 he organised a meeting between Zhirinovsky and Le Pen inParis. The former had German Nazi admirers such as Althans and Zundel and also financial support from Gerhard Frey leader of the DVU or Deutsche Volksunion. Zhirinovsky spoke at DVU conventions in 1992 and 1993 in his bid for a new Russian-German axis agreeing to dividePolandbetween them. Limonov wantedRussiato include all borders of the formerUSSRand act as protector of the Slavs. Remer was therefore ahead of his time in seeing a national socialist future in theUSSR. He was followed by fellow German neo-Nazis. Worsch felt Russians were a volk, closer to the Germans than the racially mongrelised Americans, while Althans met with Russian Nazis such as Barkashov. Links were made with theUkrainewhere meetings of the SS Galicia legion were revived. InToronto, German émigré, racist, Nazi revivalist and notorious Holocaust denier Ernst Zundel commented in 1995:
If we are going to have a National Socialist government anywhere in the world, it will be inRussia. . . . The Russians are now the racial border guards on the eastern frontier. They have taken over the task of guarding against the influx of Muslims from the south and Chinese from the east.
Zyuganov speaks of the Russian nation’s younger brothers, ofRussia’s blood and spirit, and of the Civil War being a tragedy. The Communist Party leader wants to unite the Red ideal of social justice with the counter-revolutionary White commitment to a nationally conscious state with a clear ethnic centre. Hence the some one hundred and thirty nationalities ofRussianeed to show obeisance to the Slavic core of Great Russians, Ukrainians and Byelorussians. He also envisages redefined national borders which will be similar to the formerUSSR. Indeed Zhirinovsky and Zyuganov overlap in both their fervent nationalism and their nostalgia for communism. The LDP leader harkens for the “golden era” of Stalinism, days of certainty, people knew what to believe and had few expectations. But the virtues of the Russians had been abused by the outside world, exploitingRussiaeconomically and militarily. For ZhirinovskyRussiahad suffered martyrdom in two world wars, a sentiment shared by Zyuganov. This confluence of fascism and communism has a marked effect on Russian politics even though the extremist parties may not actually be in power.
Putin has been taking Russia on an authoritarian nationalist course crushing opposition parties, allowing only the Communists and The Other Russia to operate within any reasonable parameters, although the latter much less freely. The Kremlin youth group Nashi burns literature considered too liberal and regularly harasses any political opposition. The power of the old KGB has been restored as its equally sinister heir, the FSB, has penetrated all areas of life as dissenting journalists suffer harassment and even assassination. Thirteen were mysteriously killed between 2000 and 2008, most notoriously Anna Politkovskaya. With thirty-five per cent of Russians below the poverty line the FSB moved against the “upstarts” as the oligarchs were known, in order to tap into popular resentment while dismantling the efforts Yeltsin had made to makeRussiafree and democratic. Putin’s enforced nationalisation has accelerated flight of capital fromRussiamaking the economy more fragile and dependant on oil and gas prices.
Putin regarded the demise of the USSRas an unmitigated disaster. With anti-democratic strains similar to that in neighbouring Chinait is perhaps unsurprising that the two continental giants have been drawn together in an anti-American partnership. Following revolutions in Georgia, Ukraineand Kyrgyzstanwhich had anti-Russian undertones, Putin moved closer to China. Russiahas become its main supplier of advanced weaponry. Simultaneously revanchist and volkisch tendencies mean that the mongolskaya iga was updated from 1996 as local politicians stoked up xenophobia with fears that millions of Chinese were poised to swamp the Russian Far East following the economic collapse of the USSR. In 2005 nationalist politician Dmitry Rogzin spoke on radio of such a demographic invasion. Russia has experienced a sharp drop in fertility which only aggravates the demographic haemorrhaging caused by a high mortality rate from both homicides and suicides. By 2051 the Chinese could become the second largest ethnic minority. With the demographic implosion of ethnic Russians, there is a racial fear of being overrun by Chinese immigrants who are caricatured as cunning and rapacious. The increasing frequency of Chinese men marrying Russian women has only increased racism towards them. On 1 April 2007 a new market trading law was passed prohibiting Chinese and other foreigners from undertaking cash transactions. Yet with declining Russian fertility immigrants from these former Soviet republics have flooded in to fill the labour shortage. In 2008 there were perhaps eight million such people doing mainly menial jobs. Ethnic Russian resentment against such “blacks” is rampant especially since by current projections Russians will be a minority in what will become an Islamic country in fifty years time. The 2007 general election was saturated with populist racism and xenophobia, ignoring such ground issues as inflation and high food prices. The human rights organisation SOVA reported increasing racial attacks against darker skinned minority groups by white Russians. Under Putin the Kremlin has sponsored movements to promote Russian nationalism, deference and xenophobia. Nashi (Ours) is the most prominent of such nationalist uniformed youth organisations, echoing both the USSR’s Communist Youth League known as Komosol, and the Nazi Hitlerjugend in its love of fatherland and cult worship of Putin. But Nashi is moderate compared to others. In 2007 Mestnye (Locals) urged Moscovites to boycott non-Russian cab drivers by contrasting young, blond ethnic Russians with swarthy drivers. On 1 April 2007 Putin banned foreigners from trading in retail markets. On the streets of Russian cities such as St Petersburg non-white foreigners and darker skinned people from the Caucasus suffer constant racial violence with the police either complicit in these attacks or themselves targeting non-Russians for harassment. Edward Lucas, Central and East European correspondent of the Economist writing in his 2008 book The New Cold War:
“Depressingly for those who hoped that the first generation of Russians to grow up with no memories of totalitarianism would be liberal, the evidence points to exactly the opposite. Although explicit support for extremist and racist groups is in the low single figures, support for racist sentiments is mushrooming. Slogans such as ‘Russia for the [ethnic] Russians’, which was supported by no more than a third of those asked in the 1990s, now attracts the support of half the population. A recent estimate in 2007 is that 500,000 young Russians belong to extremist youth groups. The most worrying aspect is that the best-educated young Russians, far from being the tolerant cosmopolitans that Western wishful-thinkers have predicted, have unpleasantly hard-line views. In a survey carried out for the Moscow Carnegie Centre think tank, the most anti-American group of young people in Russia were university-educated male Muscovites.”
Russia now follows an ultra-modern version of authoritarianism. Its new nationalism with the emphasis on “Russian values” fears that the racial Slavic core is being threatened by various outsiders such as the Chinese who are attacked for taking Russian women yet simultaneously vilified for refusing to assimilate, shows a disturbing similarity to the anti-Semitism of nineteenth century tsarist Russia. Russia has the highest number and proportion of neo-Nazi skinheads which as Ross Kemp exposed in his book and television series Gangs coordinate well organised and sinister attacks on those of darker skin, notably Chechens, Armenians and immigrants from former Central Asia. Students from Africa, India and other parts of the developing world, once welcomed by generous scholarships in the days of Soviet international socialism and friendship find themselves easy targets for Hitler’s new generation of disciples in Russia. While Putin has made some noises about cracking down on this uncontrolled racism it is a direct result of the very nationalist, anti-western and authoritarian polices which he has adopted which have quashed the liberal and democratic elements which had only just emerged in Russia. In fact now the best organised opposition to Putin appears to be from those very neo-Nazi forces which have taken his nationalism and anti-capitalism to its logical extreme. In order to postulate what a Nazi victory would have looked at we would once have had to read alternate history works of fiction such as Fatherland. Now a real life Fourth Reich is taking shape in Russia. While to ignore it would be foolish what is so unforgivable is the intellectual dishonesty with which a Marxist dominated and influenced academia has approached the subject and insisted that communism and Nazism have been polar opposites when the disturbing reality is that they were born as twins reminiscent of the cult horror film The Basket Case. Left to their own devices they do not want to be separated and mercilessly devour anything which impedes their dystopia. It would help if we actually called Nazism what it is: national socialism. As Hayek warned about Weimar, once liberalism is destroyed, national socialism rises on the ashes.