Thursday, 17 February 2011

"Argument by name" - Debunked

The democratic peoples republic of Korea is not a democracy, nor is it in any sense for the Korean people.

The Liberal'no-Demokraticheskaya Partiya Rossii is Nether liberal nor is it democratic and has nothing to do with genuine Lib-dems (unless of course you happen to live in Jonah Goldberg's alternative universe in which case they probably do).

And the 'Puffinus puffinus' is not a Puffin, and am i right in saying puffins aren't renowned for making 'Devilbird' calls?

So what's in a name or rather a misnomer? I don't think many people know for sure. When im arguing with Beck-heads on whether the Nazis were right wing or left, By far the most common argument put forth to me, Is that "nazi" is an acronym for "Nationalsozialist" ie "National Socialism" and the full title of Hitler's [and Drexler's] party is the "Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei" ie the "National Socialist German workers party". Oh look, One of the words is socialist, They have socialist in the name. Therfore they must be socialist, Ergo Left wing. This is the argument im going to debunk here.

So, Why are they called the "National Socialist German workers party" you may say?

It's actualy very simple. For you see, what those who use this argument have a tendency to fail to Understand thatwhat the nazis really stood for was for a 'national revival' through terroristic anti-socialiam built upon the cynical manipulation and indoctrination of the masses [whom hitler hated] into nationalism and it didn't matter to hitler how the masses were won over, THE MAIN THING WAS THAT THEY WERE WON OVER! .

The 'national' part should really be obvious, They were nationalists pure and simple. Aside from it being the one element of the party name that was actualy descriptive, Hitler and Drexler by Putting the word 'National' into the party name was designed to attract those already nationalist like for example those who liked/supported the DNVP. The "German National[ist] People's Party [Do you Mr reader without looking it up btw consider it to be a party for the people?]. Anyway the DNVP was formed in 1918 by a merger of the German Conservative Party, the Free Conservative Party and a section of the National Liberal Party of the old monarchic German Empire. So obviously, it was a deeply conservative party and is anyone disputing that?

The 'German workers' part was the original title of Drexler's party who had a fear of eastern europeans [in paticular czechs] ie foreigners coming in and taking the 'German jobs' He wanted german workers over foreign workers

"in march 1918 he set up a commitiee of independant workmen with an anti-semitic and anti-foreigner emphasis. This was formalized in january 1919 as the German workers party" - James Taylor and Warren shaw, Penguin dictionary of the third reich, p79

"All they really wanted said Drexler, was "to be ruled by Germans" - John Toland, "Adolf Hitler" p86.

Again, Very simple, So this part of the name came from the plain Right wing Xenophobia Drexler had!

Now onto the juicy bit, You must understand the word 'socialist' had great popular appeal in the late 19th century, and well into the early 20th century especialy in Germany. and get this the conservative parties at the time ALSO ADOPTED IT to try and tap into that appeal. Yes from 1878 [Interestingly the same year as the "Anti-Socialist" legislation] Onwards, It was the Conservatives who were the ones founding antisemitic political parties based on race -using antisemitism in party platforms. That was really their main plank. Now here's the really juicy irony, In Germany, these Conservative political parties which sought to disenfrahise or in some other way to victimize Jews, were the ones who described themselves from the first as 'socialist.' Hitler's party, in step with this Conservative tradition, would later call itself national Socialist.

there was for example, Adolf Stocker's Christian Socialist Movement. Which....

"in a working alliance with the Conservative Party, aimed at reaching the workers [even] through anti-capitalistic and anti-Semitic slogans. Stocker, who had a decisive influence upon German CONSERVATISM of the late nineteenth century, upon the Kaiser as well as Friedrich Naumann, also was one of the main precursors of National Socialism. The affinity between the new conservatism of the twentieth century and National Socialism, insofar as it existed, was already foreshadowed in him." - Klemens von Klemperer, "Germany's New Conservatism" p58.

"In particular they identified the Jewish influence as the source of Germany's economic woes, political unrest, and moral decline. The remedies they proposed included the exclusion of Jews from positions of public authority (such as teaching and judicial posts) within what they defined as "the Christian state"; strict laws against usury; [as that was a traditional Christian value] protection of classes allegedly oppressed by Jewish middlemen; restrictions on the stock exchange; and heavier taxes on the profits from what they called "mobile capital." [We have to remember that this is not an attempt at socialism but rather the rationale behind  this "program" was to remove the Jews and just the Jews, from economic society] With this program, of course, Conservative anti-Semites joined a chorus of other Germans and Europeans who denounced the "Golden International." - James Retallack, "Anti-Semitism, Conservative propaganda and Regional Politics in Late Nineteenth Century Germany". German Studies Review, Vol. 11, no.3 (Oct 1988), pp. 377 -403.
And just to be sure of what we're dealing with...

"For in the service of their socio-economic goals Hammerstein and Stocker also argued for a more active style of Conservative politics. They believed that in some new commitment to Christian, social, and "popular" goals lay the key to giving Conservatism a stamp of popularity (Volkstiiinlichkeit)." - Retallack, Ibid.

Or how about The Christian Social[ist] Party in austria and Karl lueger who were also very much conservative? It drew most of its support from the upper classes, and the Rural and clerical communities. Priests were not just Party candidates, but also active in the Executive of the Party. One priest, by the name of Ignaz Seipel, made it to the position of party chancellor.

And perhaps those who use the argument by name may do well to explain the following...

"Today, more than ever, I regard this man [Karl Lueger] as the greatest German mayor of all times. How many of my basic principles were upset by this change in my attitude toward the Christian Social movement! My views with regard to anti-Semitism thus succumbed to the passage of time, and this was my greatest transformation of all." - Mein Kampf  - Vol 1- Chapter 2

So as you can see, there was a tradition of the political Right using the word 'socialist' in order to attempt to steal some of the populism that the term evoked at the time. And the name was chosen because Drexler and Hitler wanted to appeal to a wider audience.

"Drexler's party sought in the longer term to win the working class over from Marxism and enlist it in the pan-German cause. The fledgling party was in fact another creation of the hyperactive Thule Society. There was nothing unusual about Drexler or his tiny party in the FAR-RIGHT hothouse of Munich after the defeat of the revolution.", Richard Evans,"The Coming of the Third Reich", p170.

And we must remember Hitler's first assignment after the war, and where he first became acquainted with the party was just because he was a reliable and noticeable Right-winger.

"The courses Hitler attended were designed to root out any lingering socialist elements from the regular Bavarian troops and indoctrinate them with the beliefs of the far Right... So regularly did Hitler imbibe the ideas of such men that he was picked out by his superiors and sent as an instructor on a similar course in August 1919." - Evans, ibid , p169 .

From there he was sent on assignment to check on a small radical party and found Anton Drexler's already existing German workers party, And drexler himself was someone who came from the Right-Wing fatherland party. It is no accident that their early meetings were held in the Thule society headquarters. And when the name of the party was chosen, It was actualy fiercely debated because some in the party thought the name might be misinterpreted by some to really mean socialist. But they were clear amongst themselves that they really didn't mean socialism in the real world sense. In Fact, when Hitler referred to 'socialism' in any real context, all he really meant was a 'national' or racial community known as the Volksgemeinschaft, and even that wasn't based on socialism as Ian Kershaw demonstrates:

"In reality, Hitler's 'Social idea' was simplistic, diffuse and manipulative. It ammounted to litttle more than what he told his bourgeois audience in hamburg [more specificly, what he told the Hamburger Nationalklub on 28th feb 1926]: winning the workers over to nationalism, DESTROYING MARXISM and overcoming the division between nationalism and socialism through the creation of a nebulous 'national community' (Volksgemeinschaft) based on racial purity and the concept of struggle. The fusion of nationalism and socialism would do away with the class antagonism between a nationalist bourgeoisie and Marxist Proletariat (both of which had failed in their political goals). This would be replaced by a 'Community of Struggle' where nationalism and socialism would be united, where 'brain' and 'fist' would be reconciled, and where - DENUDED OF MARXIST INFLUENCE - the building of a new spirit for the great future struggle of the people could be undertaken. Such ideas were neither new, nor original. And ultimately, they rested NOT ON ANY MODERN FORM OF SOCIALISM, but on the crudest and most brutal version of 19th century imperialist and social-Darwinistic notions. Social welfare in the trumpeted 'national community' did not exist for it's own sake, but to prepare for external struggle, for conquest 'by the sword'" - Ian Kershaw, "Hitler" (abridged) p181-182.

And just so it's all perfectly clear to you all...

"Hitler was never a socialist" - ibid p269

I'll sum up like this, Those who try to use the argument by name are for whatever reasons ignorant of the actual History of German Conservativism and the German Right.

And There you have it, Yet another silly Beckish/Goldberg talking point: debunked by yours truly.

Have a nice day.