Tuesday, 12 July 2011

JJ Ray: Hitler was a socialist debunked. Part 10, "Discussing so called 'Objections' to his theory part 3"

Other Leftist nationalists

When it comes to Hitler and by extension Mussolini, we are NOT dealing with "leftist nationalists". Yes it is true that these creatures do exist and nationalism is NOT a determiner for left and right, I think it's important to make the distinction between rightist nationalists using the "socialist" tag for propaganda, as hitler and mussolini were and most certainly did, and leftist nationalists, who were Genuine socialists.

In the post-WW2 era, internationalism and a scorn for patriotism has become very dominant among far-Leftists but that was not always so. From Napoleon to Hitler there were also plenty of nationalist and patriotic versions of Leftism

True, but so what? Hitler was not a leftist!

That was part of what was behind the various diatribes of Marx and Lenin against "Bonapartism". "Bonapartism" was what we would now call Fascism.

Here's oxford's Take on Bonapartism.
Following the practices of Napoléon Bonaparte, First Consul and subsequently Emperor of France between 1799 and 1815, and/or his nephew Louis Bonaparte (Napoléon III), Emperor of France between 1851 and 1870. The term was given its specific meanings by Marx (see especially his Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte, 1852). For Marx, Bonapartism was an opportunistic and populist alliance between part of the bourgeoisie and the lumpenproletariat (‘proletariat in rags’), which relied on plebiscites, in which Bonaparte set the questions, to secure legitimacy for the regime. For Marxists, Bonapartism represents the autonomy that the state may achieve when class forces in society are precisely balanced. Historically, Bonapartism stood for strong leadership and conservative nationalism without advocating a return to the ancien régime." Oxford concise Dictionary of Politics.


"Bonapartism has always been associated with the cult of the Bonaparte family, and Corsica has invariably been the stronghold of any movement connected with it. In political terms Bonapartism has usually been classified as right-wing, but a number of reservations have to be made.

Napoleon I ended the Revolution, but he attempted to bring about the reconciliation of the French. He established authoritarian government, but sought to preserve the work of the Revolution. He established the rule of notables, gave guarantees to property-owners, distributed hereditary titles, and increased centralization, but maintained the abolition of privileged casts and corporations and declared that careers were open to talent. Napoleon III was accused of establishing a police state and suppressing public opinion, but at the same time he was concerned with economic growth and with the plight of the poor. The notion that Bonapartism is impossible to define seems to be confirmed when one remembers that Napoleon I was famous for his military victories, while Napoleon III's defeats have never been forgotten.

The essence of Bonapartism is that it seeks to be a unifying force in a divided country and tries to achieve this by concentrating on the talents and reputation of an individual. Both emperors drew support from many varied sectors of the population. After 1870 Bonapartism did not die out; it was in the Bonapartist tradition that notables were elected to the National Assembly, and that striking miners shouted ‘Vive Napoléon IV!’ The movement led by General Boulanger to capture power between 1886 and 1892 had many of the characteristics of Bonapartism. The same has often been said of Gaullism." - The new Oxford Companion to Literature in French.

Although this website (Rays source) makes it out that he sat on the left of the chamber, ergo left wing but in the old outdated sense, but regardless of whether or not Bonapartism is left or right wing, what influence did he have on Hitler? Ray doesn't tell us. Overall, I would perhaps clasify Bonapartism as an authoritarian, centrist, perhaps centre right ideology as an absolute on the political spectrum, as does "The Napoleon Bonaparte Wiki"

"In a wider sense, Bonapartism refers to a broad centrist or center-right political movement that advocates the idea of a strong and centralised state, based on populism" - Reference is Outhwaite, William. The Blackwell Dictionary of Modern Social Thought. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2003. Print.

and it was a rival reformist doctrine to Marxism long before the era of Hitler and Mussolini. It was more democratic (about as much as Hitler was), more romantic, more nationalist and less class-obsessed. The Bonapartist that Marx particularly objected to was in fact Napoleon III, i.e. Louis Napoleon Bonaparte, nephew of the original Napoleon. One of Louis's campaign slogans was: "There is one name which is the symbol of order, of glory, of patriotism; and it is borne today by one who has won the confidence and affection of the people." So, like the original Napoleon himself, the Bonapartists were both very nationalist and saw themselves as heirs to the French revolution.

Im not a specialist into the french revolution, I'll grant that Louis Napoleon Bonaparte was a nationalist, it wouldn't surprise me in the socio-political context. plus it doesn't matter as nationalism is not a determiner for left and right. But Hitler havng a modicum of democracy? what a Joke. And as for it being more democratic than marx, (and to repeat myself.) you need to remember that When Marx talks about "The dictatorship of the Proletarian" he doesn't mean an actual physical dictatorship but is referring to how society is structured through the concept of the 'Base' and the "Superstructure" and the interplay between the two.

You see, according to Marxian Theory, we now live in something called "the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie"; the social structure is apparantly mainly geared to support them and their interests and the bourgeoisie apparantly run the political structure for their own benefit

From this perspective, Marxists argue that this is why america has two parties that are just different flavors of the very same capitalist substance, Both parties are acceptable to the bourgeoisie that apparantly run the Superstructure. All Marx is saying is that a Worker's democracy that is run for the workers will change that and the base and Superstructure will be set in accordance with worker's needs and not capitalists. if you read his works, What Marx was striving for, was in fact a radical democracy.

So it was very grievous for most communists when, in his later writings, the ultra-Marxist Trotsky identified not only Fascism but also the Soviet State as "Bonapartist". That was one judgment in which Trotsky was undoubtedly correct, however!

Perhaps the term Bonapartism in a Marxist sense can be best understood is a term often used to refer to a situation in which counter-revolutionary military officers seize power from revolutionaries, and then use selective reformism to co-opt the radicalism of the popular classes. In the process, Marx argued, Bonapartists preserve and mask the power of a narrower ruling class, And Trotsky, being part of the so-called "Left Opposition" and believing that his communism was the true heir to the revolution of 1917, took that analysis to Stalin. He was arguing that stalin was not a true revolutionary and had in-fact created a new bourgeoisie to rule over the proletariat , ergo Trotsky, from the perspective of a far leftist was saying both Stalin and Nazi germany were rightist. Obviously not a correct analysis as far as Stalin is concerned

In other words, Trotsky labeled Stalin's regime as Bonapartist because he felt it shared similar traits.

"Napoleon’s downfall did not, of course, leave untouched the relations between the classes; but in its essence the social pyramid of France retained its bourgeois character. The inevitable collapse of Stalinist Bonapartism would immediately call into question the character of the USSR as a workers’ state."

It should be noted that Trotsky also claimed...

"Hitler’s program is the program of German capitalism, aggressive but bound hand and foot by Versailles and the results of the World War." -  Hitler's program (1934).

There have always been innumerable "splits" in the extreme Leftist movement -- and from the earliest days nationalism has often been an issue in those. Two of the most significant such splits occurred around the time of the Bolshevik revolution --- when in Russia the Bolsheviks themselves split into Leninists and Trotskyites and when in Italy Mussolini left Italy's major Marxist party to found the "Fascists". So the far Left split at that time between the Internationalists (e.g. Trotskyists) and the nationalists (e.g. Fascists) with Lenin having a foot in both camps. And both Marx and Engels themselves did in their lifetimes lend their support to a number of wars between nations. So any idea that a nationalist cannot be a Leftist is pure fiction.

Lenin was still an internationalist, he just realized after the trauma of the Civil war that the revolution could not survive unless the original base was built up and THEN the revolution moved forward. Trotsky wanted the revolution to move forward without regard to the forces that would be brought against them.

Internationalism in the face of the power of the nation state to demand ones allegiance is admittedly difficult to maintain particularly amongst the rank and file, but nevertheless Communism by ideology is still internationalist. The split in the soviet Union wasn't really about nationalism but on how to and at what speed to proceed with the revolution.

And, in fact, the very title of Lenin's famous essay, "Left-wing Communism, an infantile disorder" shows that Lenin himself shared the judgement that he was a Right-wing sort of Marxist. Mussolini was somewhat further Right again, of course, but both were to the Right only WITHIN the overall far-Left camp of the day

The "Left-Wing" that Lenin is talking about here is the anarchist school,and those that wanted to prematurely dissolve the state before the revolution was complete, it's like the disagreement between Marx and Bakunin. Mussolini was on the Right-wing period, not on the Left at all. private industrialists were empowered and enriched by his regime and he never adopted any sort of socialist program.
"He (Mussolini) was relieved no doubt to find the commanding heights of Italian capitalism joining the great majority of the liberal order and certainly most landowners in applauding the march on Rome." (don't misread here, the word 'liberal' is being used in its actual form and not the politicized form that exists in the US. One could substitute 'upper middle-class' or 'Petty Bourgeoisie' here) Thereafter he and de' Stefani were careful to present the new government as fiscally orthodox, preoccupied with cutting wasteful expenditure but willing to assist capital by the denationalization of the telephone network and the cancellation of Giolitti's investigation into excessive war profits, and determined to balance the budget." - RJB Bosworth, "Mussolini's Italy", p224.
and wasn't that McCains platform too? And the actions of the Italian fascists showed their capitalist intentions.

"Once in power the fascists issued the so called "Carta del Lavoro" or Labor Charter which encouraged private entrepreneurship and specifically stated, "State intervention in economic production will only happen when private initiative is lacking or insufficient and when the political interests of the state are directly involved." - Bosworth, "ibid", p227. 

If you want to read Lenin's "1920 pamphlet against ultra-leftism and anarchism", You can find it here.

It should further be noted in this connection that the various European Socialist parties in World War I did not generally oppose the war in the name of international worker brotherhood but rather threw their support behind the various national governments of the countries in which they lived. Just as Mussolini did, they too nearly all became nationalists. Nationalist socialism is a very old phenomenon.

Nice of Ray to ignore the work of all those like Jean Jaurès who prevented a previous war and attempted to also stop WWI. And to also forget those on all sides that continued to be against the war even as they were compelled by their gov'ts to fight in it. And Mussolini was ousted by the Italian Socialist Party for his support of Italian intervention in the War.

And it still exists today. Although many modern-day US Democrats often seem to be anti-American, the situation is rather different in Australia and Britain. Both the major Leftist parties there (the Australian Labor Party and the British Labour Party) are perfectly patriotic parties which express pride in their national traditions and achievements. Nobody seems to have convinced them that you cannot be both Leftist and nationalist.

One problem, Ray is what Ray does here is to mistake the patriotism that is i think common in every nation state and on both sides of the political spectrum, ie that of having pride in your nation's achievements with the extreme rightist nationalism of Hitler. This is what i was talking about in the beginning of this post, it's a real logiclal fallacy on his part.

That is of course not remotely to claim that either of the parties concerned is a Nazi or an explicitly Fascist party. What Hitler and Mussolini advocated and practiced was clearly more extremely nationalist than any major Anglo-Saxon political party would now advocate.

They were good nationalists, as Ray now admits, contridicting his earlier claims. But that aside, as this offers us no defense of his fallacy, The connotation is still there.

And socialist parties such as the British Labour Party were patriotic parties in World War II as well. And in World War II even Stalin moved in that direction. If Hitler learnt from Mussolini the persuasive power of nationalism, Stalin was not long in learning the same lesson from Hitler. When the Wehrmacht invaded Russia, the Soviet defences did, as Hitler expected, collapse like a house of cards. The size of Russia did, however, give Stalin time to think and what he came up with was basically to emulate Hitler and Mussolini. Stalin reopened the churches, revived the old ranks and orders of the Russian Imperial army to make the Red Army simply the Russian Army and stressed patriotic appeals in his internal propaganda. He portrayed his war against Hitler not as a second "Red" war but as 'Vtoraya Otechestvennaya Vojna' -- The Second Patriotic War -- the first such war being the Tsarist defence against Napoleon. He deliberately put himself in the shoes of Russia's Tsars!

Russian patriotism proved as strong as its German equivalent and the war was turned around. And to this day, Russians still refer to the Second World War as simply "The Great Patriotic War". Stalin may have started out as an international socialist but he soon became a national socialist when he saw how effective that was in getting popular support. Again, however, it was Mussolini who realized it first. And it is perhaps to Mussolini's credit as a human being that his nationalism was clearly heartfelt where Stalin's was undoubtedly a mere convenience.

Stalin may have been was using patriotic propaganda, but he was still something of a internationalist in terms of ideology and What Ray forgets here is that, even during the war the Russians still managed to produce posters with internationalistic themes, like this one for example. Note the Black person and the Chinese person? It translates as "We greet fighters against fascism" according to SovMusic.ru

No sorry Ray, here's the truth of the matter:
"Stalin and his Jewish Comrades like Kaganovich were Proudly Internationalist." - Simon Sebag Montefiore, "Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar", p310.

As to Hitler being a Social Democrat? Well that was something Hitler manages to call a "pestilential whore, cloaking herself as social virtue and brotherly love, from which I hope humanity will rid this earth with the greatest dispatch, since otherwise the earth might well become rid of humanity." - Mein Kampf, vol 1, chapter 2

And his claim about Nazi-KPD collaboation has already been covered

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