Where did all the statues go?

So, if you like me and love your beer, and as a brewery owner I can’t help myself – Munich (or München in German) is THE place to go. Bavaria’s capital and it’s the venue of the Octoberfest and there is much ‘Ein Prosit der Gemütlichkeit’ (cheers to the sociability), Zigge, Zagge, Hoi, Hoi, Hoi and clunking of large vessels of beer called Steinzeugkrug full of cold, hoppy, golden nectar. It’s a fun place, I certainly love it, it’s a beer lover’s Mecca – no doubt.

But as a purveyor of fine history snippets too, my love of history also kicks in, and in Munich, there is a very sinister and dark past, and there’s tonnes of, literally tonnes of inconvenient history. You would not notice it today as an average tourist “in it for the beer,” Munich has been ‘scrubbed clean’. There is almost no evidence of its history as the epicentre and cultural pilgrimage of Nazism. In fact they go a long way in Munich not to celebrate World War 2 historic tourism, but that has not stopped a couple of freelance ‘independent and opportunist’ tour guides pulling an informal crowd for the unofficial Nazi tour of beer-houses and locations attended by the likes of Hitler and his cronies.

The sterility of Munich got me thinking, at what point is the removal of statues and memorials deemed ‘offensive’ perfectly acceptable and what point is it not? At what point do we, like the city of Munich .. ‘scrub’ out our past completely, disregard the idea of preserving it for the purposes of a history teaching (even a lesson on the evilness it incurred) and hide it for fear of offending victims of it.

So what’s the big deal of this totally bland corner of the Feldherrnhalle monument (Field Marshal’s Hall – built in 1841 by King Ludwig I to celebrate the Bavarian Army), located on the Odeonsplatz – Munich’s town square. Here I am with my usual ironic grin celebrating the complete nothingness of what was a ‘holy’ site to Nazism – that exact nondescript corner – the site of huge pilgrimages and parades. The only evidence left, some plug holes in the original monument that held up the gigantic Nazi add-ons. Heck, this corner was so important that as an average Munich citizen you saluted the corner of this building – ‘Nazi style’ – whenever you walked passed it. Now there is nothing, not even an information plaque.

The importance of beer halls in establishing Nazism

Well, apart from being a historic monument to Bavaria, the Feldherrnhalle is also central to all the traditional beer halls and beer gardens located around is, and it’s in two of these nearby beer halls that this story begins. The famous Bürgerbräukeller beer hall – completely demolished now and replaced with a modern culture, music and arts centre, and the Löwenbräukeller beer hall. You can still visit the Löwenbräukeller (I have) and give a complimentary Ein Prosit and Zigge Zagga to the resident Oompa band, and again – nothing, zilch, nada on its Nazi history – not even on their website.

So, in the Bürgerbräukeller beer hall, Nazism as an ideology was effectively born and took hold. Central to the beer hall was a rectangular grand hall which could accommodate up to 3,000 people and a large cellar, ideal for political meetings and rallies. From 1920 to 1923, the Bürgerbräukeller was one of the main gathering places of the Nazi Party, it was effectively established there, and it was from there that Adolf Hitler launched the infamous Beer Hall Putsch (revolt) on the 8th November 1923. Also known as the Munich Putsch, in essence Hitler and his fellow Nazi cronies attempted to pull off a military coup and overthrow the Weimar Republic.

Images: Bürgerbräukeller’s Great Hall left as it was then, Löwenbräukeller’s Great Hall, as it is now.

Throughout 1923, the economic and political crisis struck. The Nazi Party and other nationalists believed that an armed takeover of Bavaria was possible and could even overthrow the Republic in Berlin. Hitler and the Nazi Party collaborated with others such as General Erich Ludendorff  and Gustav von Kahr (a founding right wing Nationalist leader) to put a plan together to attempt a military coup. By August 1923, the plan was set and weapons and transport were gathered. However by November 1923, some of the Nazi conspirators got cold feet as news came in that the German Army in Berlin would support the government and not the conspirators.

Hitler, realising that von Kahr sought only to control him and did not have it in him to initiate a coup, utterly frustrated by it all Hitler was determined that the plan would go ahead. On the 8 November 1923, he and a contingent of the party’s SA (Storm Detachment/Troopers) marched into the Bürgerbräukeller beer hall whilst von Kahr was giving a speech to 3,000 people there. The SA surrounded the hall and set up a machine gun. Hitler, surrounded by his associates including Hermann Goring, Rudolf Hess, Alfred Rosenberg, Adolf Lenk, Max Erwin von Scheubner-Richter, Wilhelm Adam, Robert Wagner and others (20 in total) then jumped up a chair, fired a gun-shot and shouted “The national revolution has broken out! The hall is surrounded by six hundred men. Nobody is allowed to leave.”

He went on to state that the Bavarian government was deposed and declared the formation of a new government with General Ludendorff as the head. At gun-point Von Kahr gave his support to Hitler. Dispatches were sent to trigger Ernst Röhm and his paramilitary group the Bund Reichskriegsflagge (Imperial War Flag Society) waiting at the Löwenbräukeller Beer Hall and Gerhard Rossbach who had a detachment right wing students at a nearby infantry officers school.

The Putsch was on. After his speeches Hitler received resounding applause from the crowd at the Bürgerbräukeller beer hall and Von Kahr and other members of the Bavarian government were taken into custody, Hitler departed the hall later in the evening to deal with another crisis, and mistakenly Von Kahr and his associates were released (they later took the opportunity to denounce the Nazi Party as illegal and join the government).

The night was marked by confusion and unrest among government officials, armed forces, police units, and individuals deciding where their loyalties lay. Early in the morning on the 9th November 1923 (around 3am), the first shots fired in the Putsch occurred when a local Reichswehr Army detachment loyal to the government spotted Röhm’s men coming out of the Löwenbräukeller Beer Hall. Encountering heavy fire Röhm and his men were forced to fall back. In the meantime, the Reichswehr officers put the garrison on alert and called for reinforcements.

Later that morning on 9 November, Hitler realised the Putsch had stalled, about to give up, and not sure what to do, the Putschists were rallied again by General Ludendorff who shouted “We will March” and with that Röhm’s force together with Hitler’s force (approximately 2000 men) marched out – but with no specific destination in mind. On the spur of the moment, General Ludendorff decided to lead them to the Bavarian Defence Ministry – which would take them past the ….. Feldherrnhalle and the Odeonsplatz … and here is where the corner of the Feldherrnhalle becomes important, because as they rounded this unremarkable corner of the monument they were met with 130 government soldiers and police blocking their way – and they found themselves in what is a fairly narrow road aside the monument in a sort of ‘Mexican Stand-off.’

Image: Nazi Putsch members – 9 November 1923

The two groups exchanged fire with one another, in all 4 were killed in the government’s forces and 16 Nazi Putschists were killed. In the firefight a couple of key things happened – most importantly the equivalent of a rather crooked ‘Sacred Cross’ legend was born .. the ‘Blutfahne’ (‘blood flag’). The Flag Bearer of the Nazi Flag was a SA member, Heinrich Trambauer, and he was badly wounded dropping the flag splattered with his blood, a second SA man, Andreas Bauriedl, was shot dead and fell dead onto the fallen flag, covering it in more blood. Secondly. Hermann Göring was badly wounded – and this wound would haunt him his entire life, leading to his violent morphine drug addiction which resulted in irrational decision making during the Second World War. The game was up, the Nazis scattered or were arrested. Göring escaped and was smuggled to Innsbruck. Finally, Hitler now on the run was arrested two days later on the 11th November 1923.

Hitler was sent to Landsberg Prison and put on trial for treason. Hitler’s trial took place from the 26 February to the 1 April 1924, he was ultimately found guilty of treason, but, with a sympathetic judge, he was sentenced to just five years in prison. Of this five years, Hitler only served nine months. But most importantly for the Nazi movement and to the detriment of the rest of world, Hitler was imprisoned alongside Rudolf Hess, Hess was a Hitler groupie – and held a fanatical admiration of him. He was also very articulate and ‘balanced’ Hitler enough to assist in writing Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler (My Struggle) which honed Nazi ideology and philosophy.

Back to the beer halls of Munich, not long after been released, Hitler was back in his old haunt – the Bürgerbräukeller Beer Hall, where he promptly officially ‘re-established’ the Nazi party on 27 February 1925. Not to be left out, during the war, Adolf Hitler delivered his infamous 8 Nov 1942, Stalingrad speech from Löwenbräukeller Beer Hall.

Images: Left – the notice to reestablish the Nazi Party at a ceremony at the Bürgerbräukeller and the Bürgerbräukeller Great Hall hosting a Nazi rally.

The Nazification of the Feldherrnhalle

After the Nazis took power in 1933, Hitler turned the Feldherrnhalle into a memorial to the Nazis killed during the failed putsch. A memorial to the fallen SA men was put up on its east side, opposite the location of the shootings – crowning it with a Swastika. A Nazi add-on monument was mounted, the Mahnmal der Bewegung (Memorial to the Movement), basically a rectangular structure listing the names of the Nazi martyrs faced anyone standing at the corner of Feldherrnhalle monument. The back of the memorial read Und ihr habt doch gesiegt! (‘And you triumphed nevertheless!’). Around it flowers and wreaths were laid.

This memorial was under perpetual ceremonial guard by the SS. The Odeonsplatz square in front of the Feldherrnhalle was used for both SS parades and commemorative rallies. During some of these events the 16 Nazi dead were each commemorated by a temporary pillar placed in the Feldherrnhalle topped by a flame. Many new SS recruits took their oath of loyalty to Hitler in front of the memorial.

Passers-by were expected to hail the site with the Nazi salute. Those not wishing to salute, used a detour lane to by-pass the memorial and honour guard, sarcastically earning its nickname “Drückebergergasse” (meaning the ‘shirker’s lane’).

On 9 November 1935, the 16 Beer Hall Putsch Nazi dead were taken from their graves and to the Feldherrnhalle. The SA and SS carried them down to the Königsplatz, where two Ehrentempel (‘honour temples’) had been constructed. In each of the structures eight of the dead Nazis were interred in a sarcophagus bearing their name.

The 16 Beer Hall Putsch Nazi dead were regarded as the first ‘blood martyrs’ of the Nazi Party, and here’s where the Blutfahne – the ‘Blood Flag’ would make its appearance.  It was brought out for the swearing-in of new recruits in front of the Feldherrnhalle and the taking of their oath of allegiance to Adolf Hitler specifically. It was also brought out for Der neunte Elfte – 9 November, literally ‘the ninth of the eleventh’ or 9/11 (not to be confused with the current 9/11 Twin Towers commemoration) and it became one of the most important dates on the Nazi calendar.

Notably, the chosen day to celebrate the Putsch is not the 9th November, when the 16 Nazi martyrs were killed, it was the 11th November – the day Hitler was arrested – so to his megalomaniac mind the more important date as his personal arrest signalled the end of the Putsch (never-mind Göring and others who were still at large).

Every year the Putsch would be commemorated nationwide, with the major wreath laying event taking place at the Feldherrnhalle. On the night of 8 November, Hitler would open the ceremonies and address the Alte Kämpfer (‘Old Fighters’ – veterans of the Putsch) in the Bürgerbräukeller Beer Hall.

The Blutfahne – the ‘Blood Flag’ was treated as a sacred object by the Nazi Party and carried by SS-Sturmbannführer Jakob Grimminger at various other Nazi Party ceremonies. One of the most visible uses of the flag was when Hitler, at the Party’s annual Nuremberg rallies, touched other Nazi banners with the Blutfahne, thereby “sanctifying” them. This was done in a special ceremony called the “flag consecration” (Fahnenweihe).

Image: Hitler behind the ‘Blood Flag’ performs a ‘flag consecration’ on a SS Banner.

Rather mysteriously, and its akin to any good ‘who done it’ mystery – the Blutfahne was last seen in public at the Volksstrum induction ceremony on 18 October 1944, thereafter it vanished, which for such a significant artefact and ‘national treasure’ remains a puzzle. Its current whereabouts are still unknown.

Throughout the Second World War, the 9/11 anniversary ceremony continued, propagandists pitched the 16 fallen as the first losses and the ceremony was an occasion to commemorate everyone who had died for Nazi Germany – the ceremony now akin in Nazi Germany to what is 11/11 today and the Whitehall Cenotaph parade. As the war went on, residents of Munich came increasingly to dread the approach of the anniversary, concerned that the presence of the top Nazi leaders in their city would act as a magnet for Allied bombers.

Images: Original colour images of the German 9/11 anniversary parade in front of the Feldherrnhalle monument on the Odeonsplatz town-square.

The End

Understandably the memorial was going to cause considerable controversy at the end of the war, and it did. Local Munich residents angrily and spontaneously smashed the Mahnmal der Bewegung to pieces on the 3rd June 1945. It was also famously defaced when a guilt ridden German painted graffiti on the memorial with the words “Concentration camps Dachau – Velden – Buchenwald, I am ashamed that I am a German.”

However it remains a site for Nazi pilgrimage, and even as late as April 1995, a World War 2 Veteran named Reinhold Elstner, took the opportunity to commit self-immolation suicide in front of Feldhernhalle to protest against “the ongoing official slander and demonization of the German people and German soldiers”. Each year neo-Fascist/neo-Nazi groups from various European countries and Germany itself try to hold a commemorative ceremony for him, which Bavarian authorities constantly try to prevent through state and federal courts.

So, very understandable the need to sanitise this memorial and discourage neo-Nazi and neo-Fascist groupings from using it to honour an ideology that provided such significant misery to millions of people. But I can’t but think there is no point sanitising it completely as has been done, use it to educate rather – at least an information board or story board which explains the tyranny the site once fostered, a lesson to humanity not to do it again, maybe even Holocaust Memorial sanctioned tour guides to balance and educate and do away with the freelance cowboys (maybe they’ve done it, but that was not the case when I was last in Munich) – lest we completely forget, lest the ‘blood flag’ suddenly re-appear from its secret stash and we open up more ‘clean’ space in which Neo-nazism and holocaust denial/conspiracy theory can thrive (there’s no ‘proof’ to see now, moving on – its been removed, so prove it).

The same can be said of South Africa, at what point do we decide to allow WOKE thinking to remove all ‘white’ history and scrub that culture on the basis of the evils of Apartheid and Colonialism – too offensive to the majority. Take down ALL the statues, another … “where have all the statues gone”.. rather initiate the Communist and Revolutionist zeal for the ‘Year One’ calendar, and let’s all start our history from 1994 shall we comrades. No, history is history, warts and all, we need to ‘have the conversation’ at least, it’s the lesson to mankind to know where it comes from and therefore to know where it’s going to, it gives us our moral north .. sanitising it moves the compass south.


Written and Researched by Peter Dickens

Understanding ‘isms’- Nazism is Left Wing, Libertarianism is Right Wing!

Huh!  Since when are Nazis ‘left wing’? – they are almost always associated with the ‘Right’ or ‘Far Right’ as a form of totalitarianism in opposition to socialism and liberalism, and as to ideals of Libertarianism  – that’s a ‘Left Wing’ concept in opposition to some form of conservatism on the right – right?  – Wrong!

“You’re nuts” comes the universal chorus from the ‘Snowflake’ Liberals on the ‘left’ of me and the ‘Wingnut’ conservatives on the ‘right’ of me, but bear with me on this one, this comes from my Economic History university dissertation on ‘Communism versus Capitalism’ and the argument will become clear.

Modern politics likes to shoe in ‘isms’ in an ideal of ‘left or right’ continuum to make for ease of political thought – so in the United Kingdom for example you get ‘Tory’ Conservatives on the ‘Right’ and ‘Labour’ socialists on the ‘Left’, Tory Conservatives lean towards a Capitalism model and Labour Socialists lean towards a Communism model. Same Parliamentary model exists in South Africa – the ANC is ‘left’ leaning to Communism and the DA is ‘right’ leaning to Capitalism.  Done – all clear, no debate.  It’s an easy continuum, here it is:

48381539_2299650896930562_1199118714008502272_oSo why socialism in the middle?  Simple answer is the ‘role of state’ and in the case of political parties leaning towards Communism they see more involvement of the state in economic, individual and community affairs, whereas parties leaning to Capitalism see less role of the state in these affairs.  In modern politics both ‘left’ leaning and ‘right’ leaning political parties see some sort of state (government) involvement in the socio-economic well-being of its citizens to a lessor or greater degree – depending on where they sit on the continuum.

Capitalism versus Communism 

Lets pause and understand exactly what we are talking about between Capitalism and Communism and what the big differences are.  Historically on the ‘far left’ sits the father of Communism – Karl Marx, and his book ‘Das Kapital’ and on the ‘far right’ sits the father of Capitalism – Adam Smith and his book ‘Wealth of Nations’.

Adam Smith and libertarianism

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Adam Smith

In a nutshell, Adam Smith believed in the natural economic forces of demand and supply setting a point at which people freely trade with one another and some sort of barter or price will be agreed. His idea of state (government) involvement in this transaction between individuals or group of individuals is that it should be absolutely ‘invisible’.

Smith coined a term called the ‘invisible hand’ in which he outlines that natural economic forces will always guide a free market and it is the role of the state to provide the most fruitful environment to allow these natural economic forces to come together and trade, and nothing more really.  The state is a referee in a game of economic rugby, that’s it – other than implementing law and order there should be minimal interference in socio-economic affairs and even individual liberties.

In this sense Adam Smith was a ‘classic’ Libertarian.  The Libertarian concept begins with a conception of ‘Personal autonomy’  from which civil liberties are derived and a reduction or elimination of the state in those liberties is outlined.  This is why libertarianism (epitomised by the statue of ‘lady liberty’) is so strongly associated with The United States of America and its enshrined ‘Capitalist’ model as originally outlined by Adam Smith.

Therefore ‘libertarianism’ is for the most part a ‘right-wing’ concept on the ‘left/right continuum’.  The ideals in the USA on Gun Laws and the freedom of the citizen to own guns and resist government or state oppression is very much based on the American definitions of Liberty and central to their Bill of Rights.

It’s all Libertarian thinking, so next time some gun-toting conservative ‘Merican’ calls a liberal a ‘Libtard’ or a ‘snowflake’ – he is, most ironically, a liberal himself – in fact he’s exercising a supreme sense of Liberalism – in both free speech and his right to bear arms without state interference – which are all key concepts of ‘classic’ libertarianism.

Central to Adam Smith’s philosophy on the human condition is that it recognises that man is naturally competitive, the economic forces will aways strive to wealth creation and the advancement of the individual and therefore the society as a whole – man is naturally  ‘greedy’, there will always be a natural sense of one-upmanship to drive a profit in the trading process and this in turn drives prosperity and wealth.

In the memorable words of Gordon Gekko in the movie Wall Street, “that greed — for lack of a better word — is good.” lies at the heart of capitalist society.  The downside of this also results in social skews in capital ownership as more astute human beings in the negotiation process have an advantage over less astute human beings – this causes a wealth gap in an environment not fully controlled by the state and this is an intrinsic and at times fatal flaw of capitalism – and here is where Karl Marx kicks in.

Karl Marx and Labour 

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Karl Marx

In a nutshell, Karl Marx proposed that the ‘means of production’ should not be owned by the wealthy but by the labour that creates it.  The idea is that people own their own Labour and should take out of the ‘means of production’ what they are owed to an equal value of the Labour they have put in to it.  In this way profiteering and ‘class conflict’ is eliminated as wealth is simply redistributed back to the labourers in equal value to their labour input, the profit equally shared in effect.

It’s a utopian ideal where Karl Marx maintains that rich people and poor people want to work together for the greater good of society i.e. the community (hence communism) and in so eliminate ‘class conflict’.   For his model to work Marx asserts that human beings are at their essence ‘honest’ and ‘earnest’ and in this state at all times, and by equalising everyone no individual person will be in a position to be corrupt or exercise any sort of one-upmanship over another (thus eliminating the basic premise of capitalism).

You can now easily see why ‘Communism’ has such romanticism to it, it’s a utopian ideal that assumes human beings are not greedy.  It is also for this reason that Communism is intrinsically flawed, as reality and history have shown that man is greedy, and been ‘triumphal’ its as much part of the human emotional condition as joy, love and sadness.

The ‘state’ also plays a supreme role in dictating this ‘value’ outcome of labour relationship in Communism and individual rights are suppressed against those of the broader communal need.  It is for this reason that modern societies which have driven towards Marx’s utopian ideal have so far failed – nobody is really prepared to give up their ‘Personal Autonomy’ as dictated by the rather ‘right wing’ classical ideal of Libertarianism and Capitalism.

So, the utopian ideal is really just that, and in reality its unattainable, but what of those societies who have had a crack at it, how did they fare?  Here comes a raft of ‘isms’ including Bolshevism, Leninism, Stalinism, National Socialism (Nazism) and even African Nationalist socialism.

Nazism versus Bolshevism 

Let’s look at National Socialism (Nazim) and Bolshevism (the Communist ‘Reds’) and Lenin, a Bolshevik (in fact he founded it) – where do they sit?  Central to both these concepts is the ‘social hive’ and the ‘role of state’.  Both Bolsheviks and Nazis believed in the concept of a ‘centralised’ authority to govern a socialist state.

Upfront, here’s the shocking news (to some) considering the degree of hatred between the two ‘isms’, they both complement each other on the continuum, they are ‘left wing’ and they sit here:

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48359861_2298808687014783_4861753239332192256_nCentral to both Nazism and Bolshevism is the idea of the communal hive.  Think of this as a Bee Hive, everyone is equal to a degree except for the Queen Bee, who is not equal to anyone at all and is the ‘supreme leader’ in every respect.  Injected with the ideals of ‘Nationalism’ whether Soviet or German, each hive is left with a unique species identity.  The hive has a social structure and in both hives there are worker bees and drone bees, drone bees serve the supreme leader only – this would be the ‘the party’ elite.  The worker bees are all equal and ‘honey’ is the ‘means of production’.

National Socialism (Nazism)

48418268_2298808613681457_770956207409070080_nBoth Nazism and Bolshevism have as their root – a utopian sence of ‘community’, so let’s have a look at why Nazim is at it’s very core a ‘labour’ and ‘community’ movement, and its all found in the name.

The full name of the party was Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei, in English it means National-Socialist German Workers’ Party. 

So what of this ‘workers party’ bit?  The Nazi Party started out in 1919 as the German Worker’s Party i.e. Deutsche Arbeiterpartei or DAP with Anton Drexler as Chairman and Karl Harrer as the Reich Chairman.  The party essence and cause in bringing a workers voice to disgruntled World War 1 veterans, especially as to their exploitation of their ‘labour’ by a capitalist elite which they believed sent them to war in the first place – in this respect the DAP was no different to that of Bolshevist Communists.  The only area they really differed with Bolshevism on was over their central ideals of German ‘nationalism’ – known at the time as the völkisch movement.

German_Workers_partyAdolph Hitler joined the German Worker’s Party as its 55th member when it was a fledgling in 1920 and quickly became most active orator and chief of propaganda. Hitler preferred that role as he saw himself as the drummer for the ‘völkisch’ nationalism part of labour politics in Germany.

The ‘völkisch movement’ was the German interpretation of the ‘proletariat’ (middle class volk) and it had a romantic focus on German folklore and was defined as a ‘naturally grown community in unity’. It was characterised by a one-body-metaphor ‘Volkskörper’ encompassing the entire population.

In February 1920, Adolph Hitler proposed  broadening the appeal of what was basically a Labour Party representing a disgruntled working class, to now appeal to the middle class by incorporating völkisch nationalism’ as a central theme to its socialist model.  As a fire-brand Hitler initially wanted to re-name the party to ‘The Social Revolutionary Party’ but he was persuaded to add ‘National Socialism’ as a prefix to the ”German Worker’s Party’ and the National Socialist German Workers Party was born – Nazism for short.  It was not plain sailing to incorporate völkisch nationalism into was in essence a Labour Party – the party Riech Chairman and founder Karl Harrer resigned in disgust.

NSDAP - Nazi Swastika - badge - emblem - Occult History Third Reich - Peter CrawfordSo whats with ‘the ‘völkisch movement’ that it created such disunity in the original German Worker’s Party?  Simply it also included the idea of ‘Pure’ Germans in its definition of the proletariat and this bit Hitler loved, he was later to write ‘Mein Kampf’ “the basic ideas of the National-Socialist movement are populist (völkisch) and the populist (völkisch) ideas are National-Socialist.”   The ‘völkisch movement’ spun off a short-lived organisation called the ‘Thule Society’ and it was a member of this society Friedrich Krohn who designed the original Nazi Swastika.

Putting völkisch nationalism aside for a minute, as it is the key differentiator between the Bolsheviks idea of ‘Marx’s utopian idea of communism to those of Nazism.  Let’s have a look at why Nazism has Communist leanings on the Communism/Capitalism continuum.

Arbeit macht frei

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Adolph Hitler

The Nazis would never admit it as Karl Marx was Jewish, but at essence their idea of socialism carries all the hallmarks of Marx’s utopian communism.  Like Marx, the Nazi’s saw ‘Labour’ as the path to Liberty – a grizzly reminder of this is the sign above Auschwitz concentration camp  “Arbeit macht frei.”

Central to Nazi philosophy (and Communist philosophy) was their demand to “break the shackles of finance capital.” Expanding on this demand, the Nazis outlined that every citizen must productively work and their labour must benefit the whole community.  In addition to this they demanded the abolition of ‘debt slavery’ brought on by capitalist ideals of ‘interest’.  They demanded the nationalisation of key industries and trusts and that profits from heavy industries were equitably divided amongst the workers and they demanded expropriation of capitalist land without compensation for the ‘people’ and in addition the state take over all aspects of education.  You may well agree that this is all very ‘Marxist’ in thinking.

As to their ‘utopian’ projects for good labour once the Nazis  came to power, they implemented ‘Strength Though Joy’ which saw the German working class and middle class ‘people’ enjoy holiday and leisure opportunities which had previously been exclusive to the rich upper classes – these included sport and cultural activities, Alpine ski trips and even ‘Beach’ holidays on the Riviera.  They famously came up with the ‘Peoples’ car for the masses to provide a state-supported car to people previously denied such an opportunity.  This is now the famous Volkswagen Beetle.

They even built a gigantic holiday resort on the island of Rügen in the Baltic Sea – exclusively for the masses.  It was designed to house 20,000 holidaymakers in simple 2-bed rooms but was stopped when WW2 started.  So, happy worker bees all round.

Bolshevism (and Stalinism)

48089318_2298808603681458_4751529603829334016_nSo how are the Bolsheviks the same as the Nazis?  Like the Nazi’s their form of socialism is similar along economic principles and principles of governance.  Where Bolshevism and Nazism both converge is on the principle of totalitarianism.  With Karl Marx’s principles of Labour, Vladimir Lenin went further and proposed the idea of a one party state under a singular leader.

The ‘Marxist Russian Social Democratic Party’ which united various revolutionary organisations in Russia including the Bolsheviks (and Lenin), however it morphed and split to become The Communist Party of the Soviet Union.  In this process Lenin was to play a key role.

Like Adolph Hitler, Vladimir Lenin was autocratic, narrow-minded and unbending in his views.  Like Hitler had a utopian vision of a socialist German Reich, Lenin had a similar utopian vision for Russian socialism, and neither wavered in their belief of it, in fact Lenin (like Hitler) divided people into two categories, friend and enemy – those who followed him and the rest.   Lenin (like Hitler) then went about forming a ‘cadre’ of loyalists around him – a political party elite.

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Vladimir Lenin

One of the main points of Lenin’s writings was that a revolution can only be achieved by the strong leadership of one person over the masses.  Lenin agreed with the Marxist idea of eliminating social classes, but in his utopian society there would still be visible distinctions between those in politics (the party elite) and the common worker. Here their ‘hive’ looks very similar to the German one.

When Joseph Stalin became the supreme leader of the Communist Party he was to build on Lenin’s ideals of absolute leadership.  Stalin’s policy – Stalinism was to consolidate the concept of totalitarianism with Russian governance when he was elected as General Secretary in 1927 (as Hitler also consolidated totalitarianism with German governance when he was elected Chancellor in 1933).

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Joseph Stalin

Stalin and Hitler start to look very similar when you review Stalin’s published work ‘Socialism in One Country’ and Stalin’s policies in relation to ‘Mein Kamph’ and Hitler’s published work and policies.  In Stalin’s ‘Socialism in One Country’ the focus was on the implementation of a totalitarian state, rapid industrialisation, collectivisation of agriculture, elimination of enemies of the state and building a ‘cult of personality’.

Totalitarian policy, enemies of the state and the ‘cult of personality’ concept was extremely central to Hitler as well, so to the large industrial projects initiated by the Nazi to bring in productive labour from the masses.  Nazism flirted with industrialists and private capital as a necessary means to building industry (and a war machine eventually) most notably BMW, IBM, Bayer, Kodac, Heinkel, Boshe – even Hugo Boss designed their uniforms, they were only picky as to which industrialists they used – choosing what they believed to be non-Jewish capital instead.

Stalinism was the same, Stalin flirted with industrialists and private capital to further his socialist goal – in the policy to accelerate the development of industrialization, Stalin imported materials, ideas, expertise and workers from Western Europe (and even the United States). Stalin even set up joint ventures with American private enterprises (most notably the Ford Motor Company), which under state supervision assisted in developing the basis of the industry of the Soviet economy from 1927 to the 1930s. After the American private enterprises had completed their tasks, Soviet state enterprises took over.

Nazism differed a little on collective agriculture and focused instead on expansion of agriculture to the ‘East’ to allow for more ‘living space’ and to feed the industrialised ‘volk’ of the Reich.

Enemy of the ‘People’

For Stalinism class conflict is key, the ‘enemy’ consisted of two broad kinds of class ‘the bourgeois’ (the intelligentsia and the owners of ‘capital’) and members of the working class with counter-revolutionary sympathies.

Both forms of socialism, Stalinism and Nazim dealt with their enemies of the ‘people’ in much the same way.

As head of the Politburo Stalin consolidated absolute power in the 1930s with a ‘Great Purge’ of the party that claimed to expel “opportunists” and “counter-revolutionary infiltrators”. Those targeted by the purge were expelled from the party, some were banished to Gulags (labour and re-education ‘concentration camps’) and some were subject to execution on trumped-up charges. Stalin passed a new law on “terrorist organizations and terrorist acts” which inevitably resulted in execution. Hitler’s ‘night of the long knives’ or Röhm Purge and subsequent policies were no different to Stalin’s.

Under the legislation many alleged anti-Soviet pretexts were used to brand someone a ‘enemy of the people’ starting the cycle of public persecution, often proceeding to interrogation, torture, deportation to a gulag or execution.

As with Hitler’s purge of Ernst Röhm and the Sturmabteilung (SA) the Nazi’s own mass paramilitary organisation, consider this; Stalin in his purge – with the exception of Vladimir Milyutin (who died in prison in 1937) and Stalin himself, all of the members of Lenin’s original cabinet who had not succumbed to death from natural causes before the purge were executed.

Socialist systems driven on various ideological difference whether German Nazi or Russian Communism all have in them this phenomenon to re-educate (and if necessary exterminate) anyone in their society not conforming to their idea of the ‘social hive’ or ‘community’.  The Soviet system of ‘Gulag’ re-education/labour camps are no different to the early German Nazi concentration camps in their purpose (and as deadly).

Bourgeois capital under Stalinism and Nazism 

Stalin’s Great Purge was extended to include all enemies of the Stalinist doctrine and this included the targeting his idea of the owners of capital i.e. the bourgeois and to settle Stalin’s idea of ‘class conflict’ between the ‘proletarian’ (worker) class and the ‘bourgeois’ (middle and upper) class.

Historians now estimate that nearly 700,000 people (353,074 in 1937 and 328,612 in 1938) were executed in the course of  Stalin’s Great Purge’ with the great mass of victims merely “ordinary” Soviet citizens: workers, peasants, homemakers, teachers, priests, musicians, soldiers, pensioners, ballerinas and beggars. Many of the executed were interred in mass graves all over Russia.

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Political satire of the time sees Hitler and Stalin in perfect step, tied at the hip politically their uniforms are those of impoverished proletariat and their militaristic totalitarian ‘isms’ in synch.

It is estimated that between 1941 and 1949 nearly 3.3 million people were deported to Gulags in Siberia and the Central Asian republics. By some estimates, up to 43% of the resettled population died of disease and malnutrition – that’s 1,400,000 ‘non believers’ in the glories of Communism – dead!

Hitler’s purge was also extended to include all enemies of the nazism doctrine and this also included the owners of Capital i.e the bourgeois – only with one very big difference, the targeted bourgeois and industrialists under Nazism were almost exclusively Jewish, as noted earlier Hitler had swung the ‘Pure German’ middle class (‘Pure’ German Bourgeois) to his side by building the ideology of ‘völkisch nationalism’ into his socialist worker’s party.

This meant that to German Nazism and Hitler all suffering of the working class (meaning the non-jewish German proletariat) was the fault of the Jews, the Jewish industrialists and capitalists had caused World War 1, Jewish Bankers had enslaved “good” Germans to poverty with finance ‘interest’, and Hitler would warn that World War 2 if it was to break out was solely the fault of Jewish Capitalists (and nothing to do with his Reich’s expansionist aims).

So when Nazi’s spoke of expropriation of capital and land without compensation, they really meant Jewish owned capital and land (think of this ideal as  ‘Jewish’ Monopoly Capital similar to the modern-day South African derived ideal of ‘White’ Monopoly Capital as concocted up by a UK-based spin doctoring agency – Bell Pottinger). Under Nazism ‘the Jewish problem’ would see at least 6,000,000 Jews murdered and all their capital, wealth and land duly ‘expropriated’ for the ‘communal’ good.

Herein lies the key difference of Nazism and Stalinism, the Stalinists saw the ‘communal’ bee hive as a Broad Church, as long as people fell in line with the authoritarian’s ideal of a communist utopia they were let into the hive and could participate in the sharing of wealth and equal labour.  If not, death awaited.  The Nazi ideal the same, you could enjoy an equitable distribution of wealth in the hive if you were good in your labour towards it and followed the authoritarian’s ideal of the utopian community (the Reich), the only really big difference; No Jews allowed.  Death awaited those not buying into the scheme, and this meant normal people not deemed ‘Aryan’ enough in the ‘völkisch’ ideology and Jews as an entire population without exception.

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So, Nazism and Stalinism are basically the same at root values – economic policy, utopian ideal and political policy, the only BIG difference, the Bolsheviks allowed Jews into their social hive, in fact Jews played an active role in Communist sciences, technological advancement and industrialisation.  To the Nazi’s this was unpalatable and it stood in stark opposition to their ‘völkisch philosophy – this is why they hated the idea of Bolshevism to the degree that they did, the Bolshevist socialist ideology threatened the Nazi socialist ideology at its very core – the advancement of soviet communism had to be stopped if Germany’s economic Reich and Aryan ‘white’ people where to remain ‘Pure’ and free of Jews.

Left or Right?

The Nazi war with the Soviet union was less about where they stood on the Communism/Capitalism continuum and more about race politics.  In fact on the continuum they stand in the same place – socialists with leanings towards a utopian sense of communism.  They are both LEFT WING.

So why the confusion?  In essence the confusion as to Nazism as ‘right wing’ lies in a political continuum and not the great capitalism/Communism Left/Right debate.  It lies with the idea of a dictatorship – which is ‘right’ to the ideals of a popular democracy on the ‘left’. Here is the political continuum as it stood before WW2, and America and the United Kingdom’s systems are placed on it for measure;

48357261_2300756960153289_2238981058588573696_oHowever, if you consider that Stalinism also subscribed to totalitarianism for its socialist state, then an argument can be made that one-party, supreme leader communism is also a ‘right wing’ ideology.

This gets even more complicated and confusing when you try to apply the ‘Democracy Index’ as outlined by the UK-based Economic Intelligence Unit (EIU) which builds their continuum from left to right starting with  ‘full democracy’ on the far left to ‘flawed democracy’ to ‘hybrid regime’ to ‘authoritarian regime’ on the far right.  The EIU is confusing as it ranks Sweden, the United Kingdom, Denmark and Norway as the top full ‘democracies and they all have constitutional monarchs.

In the end both Stalinism and Nazism socialist systems left a wake of millions of dead and these ‘isms’ are inherently ‘evil’ in this very respect, yet there is a still a need to modern socialists to romanticise with Communism, Nazism given the outcome of WW2 is a modern-day non-starter – yet some of these socialist romantics are hidden Nazis – here’s why.

African Socialism

Prior to the collapse of Stalin’s Soviet Socialism in 1990, their ‘broad church’ beehive ideal extended into African communities as the continent started to break with its colonial legacy after World War 2.  To African nationalists, the ideals of traditional 17th Century African monarchism and their communal agricultural economies fall in line with Lennist/Stalinist communism and to some degree with Marxism when the ideal of exploited African Labour is applied in the modern industrialist context.

The socialist ‘hive’ as practiced by the Soviets was exactly what was needed for many African socialists in their struggle against colonisation and ‘colonial’ agriculture, capital and industry after World War 2.  The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (Soviet Union) pact with African socialism even saw the Soviets train African ‘liberation’ groups in both ideological implementation and military overthrow.

All consistent with soviet styled communism, many examples in Africa since 1945 of one party states, leaders for life, dictatorships, nationalisation of capital, land appropriation without compensation and socialism, all with varying degrees of success, failure and war.

But what happens when you apply ‘race’ exclusion and ‘race capital’ to the concept of the African Socialist worker’s bee-hive as the Nazi’s applied it to their socialist bee hive? Enter, the Economic Freedom Front (EFF), a classic example of modern black nationalist socialist party which upfront have more in common with Nazism than anyone else and they sit on the continuum here:

48414481_2300786886816963_7914488007598538752_oSo why is the EFF the same as the Nazis, they have self-proclaimed themselves as Marxist-Leninist?

Consider this in their socialist bee-hive, they are a populist ‘workers’ party  (as the Deutsche Arbeiterpartei was), they have a ‘Commander in Chief’ in the form of Julias Malema as a supreme leader, and they have a cabal of party elite working towards the supreme commander’s utopian vision (exactly along the lines of both Leninism and Nazism thinking – queen and drones in effect), the marginalised ‘workers’ are promised equal ownership of capital and land – and if that capital is not freely handed over for the community good it will be expropriated and that there be universal land reform  – these are the same ‘demands’ outlined the Nazis in their proclamation.

46501494_10217183381487101_253105472180060160_nIn addition the EFF match both the Stalinists and the Nazis on the militarisation of their party, like the Nazi’s had their own para-military force, the Schutzstaffel (SS), so to the Stalin with his party para-military force the People’s Commissariat for Internal Affairs (NKVD) – the EFF’s inner circle ‘security’ team have now also started to closely resemble original Nazi Sturmabteilung (SA) style ‘strong-men’ wearing combat fatigues, abiding military styled rank structures and openly carrying weapons.

Like the Nazi’s ‘völkisch philosophy, central to the EFF is a philosophy of ‘Sankarism’ – named after the black nationalist revolutionary who promoted black empowerment through wealth re-distribution of French capital in Burkina Faso during the 1980’s. Sankarism makes for some interesting and rather scary reading when parallels to Nazism and Stalinism are drawn, especially in Thomas Sankara’s ‘Popular Revolutionary Tribunals’ which included extrajudicial executions, arbitrary detentions and torture of political opponents (mainly those in competing labour movements and trade unions).

Yet the EFF has announced itself a “proudly Sankarist formation” according to EFF member Jackie Shandu, so if a lesson from history is be learned, it is a good idea to familiarise ourselves with Thomas Sankara, known as ‘Africa’s ‘Che Guevara’ and his ‘single authoritarian’ leader and one party state ideals, along with his ‘radical transformation’ of capital into impoverished black hands.

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Thomas Sankara

Within Sankarism’s ‘radical transformation’ of capital lies the key point of departure of the EFF’s ideology from Stalinist, Marxist or Leninist Communism ideology, as it’s this point the EFF matches perfectly Nazism and National Socialism, and it’s simply because the capital in question is defined by ‘race’.

To the EFF, ‘white’ South African people are the source of all miserly to black people, whites are blamed for all war in South Africa, whites are ‘foreign’, they are ‘invaders’ and not of ‘pure’ African stock. ‘White’ owned capital serves only to oppress the black african proletariat, and therefore has to be redistributed –  without any form of compensation to the owners or the financiers of that capital.

To the EFF, it is only by the expropriation of ‘white monopoly capital’ that the economy will be properly healed and the worker given equality for his labour.  If ‘white’ South Africans object to this they must be annihilated – but not “just yet” whilst they still serve a means to economic transformation and only if they behave like ‘good South Africans’ in that transformation – and let’s face it, there is not really any tolerance or real place for ‘whites’ in the EFF socialist bee-hive.

48385287_2301509623411356_2339246322789384192_oReplaced the word ‘white’ and the words ‘white monopoly capital’ with the words ‘Jew’ and ‘Jewish monopoly capital’ and you have Nazism as outlined in Hitler’s Mein Kamph – pure and applied by the EFF.

In Conclusion

But … but … but … Liberals and libertarianism is also left-wing! – yes it is, but it is right-wing too, consider that the Communists sought to liberate people from the yolk of Capital (in general), the Nazi’s sought to liberate Aryan (pure white) people from Jewish Monopoly Capital and the EFF aims to liberate Black people from White Monopoly Capital – they are all ‘liberals’.   Then consider the ‘classical’ Libertarianism of the likes of Adam Smith and subsequently his greatest disciple – John Maynard Keynes, whose Keynesian Economics takes the capitalist model into the 21st Century – the guiding principle here is Libertarianism – the ‘Lady Liberty’ which has seen in some great and very workable capitalist democracies.  This is all very ‘Right Wing’.

On the great struggle between Marx’s ‘honest man’ needed for a Communist model to work and Smith’s ‘greedy man’ needed for the Capitalist model to work, it is the concept of striving for individual wealth enhancement which in the end has always won out in any economic barter – this basic human truth cannot be removed or overlooked.

The British government recently declared that the free market economy is “the greatest agent of collective human progress ever created” at the same time acknowledging that socialism had a place in welfare, education, health care and decent living standards for all its citizens – in the ‘Pure Democracy’ models like the United Kingdom, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Switzerland the free market economy drives the wealth necessary to sustain socialist welfare and most do it on the 80/20 principle, the 80% feed the 20% in need of state welfare via taxation.

Whenever socialist economic have been tried in the reverse of the 80/20 principle i.e. that the free market is capped by communist principles and capital ‘expropriated’ for universal use, then the 20% of the economy feeds the 80% in need of socialist welfare, and here we have historically seen abject failure in all economic markers and eventually economic (and political) collapse – and time and again Margaret Thatcher’s truism comes around “the problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money.”

The idea of ‘reappropriation’ (stealing in effect) other people money (capital) to feed a socialist model whose welfare proposal exceeds free market income is as old as Nazism, Leninism and Stalinism and all these particular ‘leftist’ ‘isms’ stand on the left of the Communist/Capitalist continuum.  Also, in every respect these ‘isms’ have left millions of dead innocent people in their wake trying to either implement them or sustain them – which on the whole is a compete failure of the human condition.

image-21As to this particular lesson from history, it is bewildering that ‘Communism’ as practiced by Lenin remains appealing, but completely jaw-dropping that veiled ‘Nazism’ is even allowed  in any modern democracy,  Nazism is despised in every single G20 country, except South Africa were its even represented openly in Parliament in the form of the EFF.  True, its been skillfully covered over with the need to address ‘historical wrongs’ under a ‘Left Wing’ Communist banner, but I do wonder when that ruse will start to wear off and the truth exposed – with any luck without too much blood been spilled before we get there.


Written by Peter Dickens

Images: General Public space wiki search