Dressing chauvinistic hatred up as ‘class warfare’ or ‘anti-imperialism’ does not make it a good thing.

This is a guest post by Marko Attila Hoare, Reader at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Kingston University, and European Neighbourhood Section Director for the Henry Jackson Society. Marko blogs at Greater Surbiton.

One of the most insidious things about the radical left-wing discourse of class warfare and imperialism is the way in which it is increasingly providing a cover under which the worst forms of bigotry, even murderous or genocidal bigotry, can masquerade as something ‘progressive’. So effective is this propaganda technique that today it is increasingly being adopted by members of the right and far right as well. Indeed, right-wing and left-wing opponents of our contemporary, cosmopolitan, global civilisation are increasingly resembling each other, dressing up anti-Semitism and other forms of racism as resistance to imperialism or capitalism.

Take the example of anti-immigrant racism. The BNP regularly presents its racism in class-warfare terms: ‘The only political party in Britain that is opposed to the immigration racket and its devastating effect on British jobs is the British National Party. We are poised to throw the entire weight of our campaigning machinery into action in support of striking British workers. We, unlike the unions and Lib-Lab-Con, will stand by our own people no matter what the cost. For decades we have had a simple slogan explaining our position: BRITISH JOBS FOR BRITISH WORKERS!’

But even less crude opponents of immigration are ready to play the class-warfare card. In the words of Jeff Randall, writing a couple of years ago in the Daily Telegraph: ‘By lowering wages, migrants enable the middle classes to hire more home-caterers, dog-walkers, house-cleaners and hedge-trimmers for less cost than before. Very nice, if you’re an investment banker in Kensington. Not so hot, if the last job you had was polishing his Bentley.’ Of course, working-class families might also benefit from Polish plumbers charging less than British plumbers, but this particular Telegraph columnist has learned the value of dressing up his right-wing viewpoint in quasi-Marxist clothes.

He is far from alone. Writing in the Yorkshire Post, Bernard Dinneen complains that in permitting mass immigration, ‘Labour politicians were the culprits; they betrayed the working class. ’[] Sue Reid, in the Daily Mail, wrote an article entitled ‘The great white backlash: Working class turns on Labour over immigration and housing’. She argued that in light of increasing ‘white working-class’ receptivity toward the BNP, ‘Perhaps this should serve as a timely warning to Hazel Blears and the rest of the New Labour hierarchy, who many feel have let down the ordinary people who put them in power.’

The problem is not that the language of the left is being cynically misused by racists and right-wingers, but that the links between left-wing discourse of ‘class warfare’ and ‘anti-imperialism’ on the one hand, and racism and anti-Semitism on the other, are much deeper than leftists are often ready to admit. When Ukrainian peasants rebelled against their Polish aristocratic landlords in 1648, their ‘class warfare’ was directed in particular against the landlords’ Jewish estate-managers; in practice against Jews in general, tens of thousands of whom were slaughtered. I hope it is unnecessary to point out that anti-Semitic slaughter of this kind does not become acceptable simply because it is an expression of ‘class struggle’.

For modern socialists and anarchists, hostility to capitalism frequently went hand in hand with hostility to Jews, as evidenced by the anti-Semitism of Proudhon, Fourier, Bakunin and others, including Marx himself. Fascism itself had radical socialist origins, as the brilliant historian of fascism Zeev Sternhell has demonstrated. Early fascists replaced the class struggle with the national struggle as the weapon for attacking liberalism and democracy; they believed redistribution of wealth and power should occur between nations, rather than – or in addition to – between social classes.

The most radical ‘national socialist’ experiment was, of course the one undertaken by Hitler and the National Socialist German Workers Party. As Hitler said: ‘We are socialists, we are enemies of today’s capitalistic economic system for the exploitation of the economically weak, with its unfair salaries, with its unseemly evaluation of a human being according to wealth and property instead of responsibility and performance, and we are all determined to destroy this system under all conditions.’ Hitler saw the task of his National Socialists as freeing the German workers from the influence of ‘Jewish’ international socialism, and of freeing the German economy from the control of ‘Jewish’ international capital. In power, the Nazis expropriated the wealth of Jews and of other nations, redistributing it in favour of Germany and German ‘Aryans’.

Yet genocidal impulses are scarcely an aberration in the revolutionary left’s tradition. Notoriously, Marx and Engels believed in the existence of ‘counter-revolutionary nations’ fit only to be exterminated. In 1849 Engels called for a ‘war of annihilation of the Germans against the Czechs’ as the ‘only possible solution’; he described the Croats as a ‘naturally counter-revolutionary nation’ and looked forward to the day when the Germans and Hungarians would ‘annihilate all these small pig-headed nations even to their very names.’

Left-wing radicals, unrestrained by any belief in the virtues of moderation and restraint, will frequently slip down the slope from aggressive radicalism into outright chauvinistic hatred, with their radical ideology simply a means by which their inner rage against particular groups of people can find socially acceptable expression. And in recent years, the more the prospect of revolutionary social change in the direction of socialism has receded in the advanced capitalist world, the more radical leftists and their fellow travellers have been ready to descend into the gutter of chauvinism directed against ‘counter-revolutionary nations’.

During the Wars of Yugoslav Succession of the 1990s, a considerable portion of left-wing opinion in the West made it abundantly clear that it did not respect the right of ‘counter-revolutionary nations’ such as the Croats, Bosnian Muslims and Kosovo Albanians even to exist, let alone to receive solidarity in their struggles for national survival. The genocidal campaigns of the regime of Slobodan Milosevic were invested with an ‘anti-imperialist’ content, so had to be defended against ‘Western media bias’ and ‘demonisation’. What was chilling at the time was that, once the nations in question had been marked as ‘pro-imperialist’, their only legitimate option – as far as the ‘anti-imperialists’ were concerned – was to lie down and die. Any attempt at resistance to their national destruction on their part was condemned as a crime equivalent to – indeed worse than – the original Serbian assault on them, while any expression of solidarity for them by others in the West was condemned as ‘support for Western intervention’.

The Western leftists who defended Milosevic’s genocidal campaigns internalised the Serb-nationalist ethnic stereotypes of Croats as ‘Ustashas’, Bosnian Muslims as ‘fundamentalists’ and Kosovo Albanians as ‘criminals and drug smugglers’. There were plenty of ironies in the sort of arguments used to deny the right of these peoples to national existence. Opportunistic anti-Semitic statements made by Croatian president Franjo Tudjman in his book Wastelands of Historical Truth were cited to tar the entire Croat nation with the brush of fascism by leftists who have consistently turned a blind eye to – if not actively apologised for – the far more extreme and integral anti-Semitism of groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah or of the Iranian and other Muslim regimes. The Bosnian president Alija Izetbegovic, who never expressed any chauvinism toward Christians or Jews and who presided over a secular state, was condemned as a reactionary Muslim by leftists who would soon be supporting ‘resistance’ to ‘imperialism’ and ‘Zionism’ in Israel, Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan on the part of genuine murderous Islamists, or uniting with British Islamists to form the ‘Respect’ party.
Leftist stereotyping of Kosovo Albanians as drug smugglers and criminals is simply the same stereotyping as that employed by the BNP against Albanians and other immigrants or ethnic minorities. Thus, the Socialist Unity website cited popular left-wing blogger ‘Splintered Sunrise’ to back up its own opposition to Kosovo’s independence, quoting him as saying ‘I’m opposed to independence for Kosovo because the place is run by a bunch of mafiosi, its economy is based on the trafficking of drugs, arms and women, and giving this basket case the attributes of statehood will make a bad situation worse.’ The BNP, too, opposes Kosovo’s independence on similar grounds, arguing
‘Albanians are spread all over Europe and especially in the criminal underworld. They are notorious for their effectiveness, unpredictability and incredible cruelty. Their main advantage to the other organized crime [sic] is the fact that they speak language [sic] nobody understands, their organization is based on family ties and if someone dares to speak out that person is being brutally murdered. In Europe, today the Albanian mafia is the main engine of traffic of drugs and humans, theft and falsification of passports, weapons and human organs trade, abductions, extortions and executions. In London these people control the entire network of prostitution, in Italy and Greece they deal with weapons and drugs’ smuggling. There are entire towns in Italy where the business is controlled by Albanians.’
However, ‘Splintered Sunrise’ attributed the BNP’s support for Serbia over Kosovo not to anti-Albanian racism, but to the Albanians’ own alleged sins: ‘the new BNP position has its roots in Londoners’ fear and loathing of violent Albanian gangsters’.

What is horrifying is not that the leftists in question are accusing Croatian, Bosnian and Kosovar leaders of things they are often not guilty of, or that the leftists in question are inconsistent or hypocritical. It is that such accusations are simply so many pretexts to support the destruction of the nations in question. These leftists do not want to give solidarity to progressive Croats who oppose anti-Semitism, or progressive Bosnian Muslims who support secularism, or progressive Albanians who oppose organised crime, with the goal of making Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo better places. On the contrary, the leftists are seeking to provide ammunition to those who would like to wipe these countries off the map altogether.

But for all the venom directed by ‘anti-imperialist’ leftists at the successor states of the former Yugoslavia, there is one state that they hate even more. Israel, in their eyes, is the ‘counter-revolutionary nation’ par excellence; its Jewish majority citizens condemned as ‘settlers’ (unlike immigrants in the West, who are not so condemned); its academics boycotted. Such leftists will line up with the most murderous and bigoted elements in the Muslim world against even the most progressive nationally conscious Jews on an ‘anti-Zionist’ basis; their need to deny Israel’s legitimacy as a nation and state trumping any opposition to anti-Semitism, fundamentalism, misogyny or homophobia they might be expected to have. Once again, they oppose Israel’s settlement building in the West Bank or discrimination against its Arab citizens not because they wish to align themselves with progressive Israelis who also oppose these things, but because they would, fundamentally, like to see Israel destroyed altogether.

The pretext for this left-wing hatred of Israel is that it is a ‘hijack state’ based upon the dispossession of most of the Palestinians who lived there until the 1940s. But this ignores the fact that other states are based upon similar or even larger-scale dispossessions of national groups, without their right to exist being called into question. For example, the Czech Republic’s relative ethnic homogeneity stems from the Czechs’ expulsion, following World War II, of two and a half million ethnic Germans from what was then Czechoslovakia. Likewise, modern Turkey is founded upon the extermination of a million Armenians and hundreds of thousands of Greeks during the 1910s and 1920s, and the expulsion and dispossession of hundreds of thousands more. But nobody claims the Czech Republic or Turkey is an illegitimate nation-state. It is Israel alone which is deemed to have forfeited its legitimacy as a nation on account of its leaders’ crimes of decades ago.

In each of the examples presented here, extremists try to dress up their bigoted hatred of whole ethnic groups or nations in radically progressive clothes. So the BNP will present its hatred of immigrants in terms of ‘supporting the British working class’, and radical leftists justify their hatred of ‘counter-revolutionary nations’ on the basis of ‘anti-imperialism’. Chauvinistic hatred does not become progressive simply because it is dressed in progressive clothes, and it is always worth looking beyond the window dressing to see what the agendas of such groups and individuals really are. Equally, it is time to acknowledge the problematic nature of such radical left-wing concepts as ‘class warfare’ and ‘anti-imperialism’, and the reasons they lend themselves so readily to abuse. When they are increasingly becoming the justification for the most extreme reactionary politics, something is very wrong.

20 Responses to “Dressing chauvinistic hatred up as ‘class warfare’ or ‘anti-imperialism’ does not make it a good thing.”

  1. Mira Vogel Says:

    Thank you Marko, this is very interesting. And you can see the steady creep and seep of this phoney interpretation of anti-imperialism into other agendas, including the ethical agenda. I subscribe to Ethical Consumer. It produces Ethiscores – very helpful matrices of different products according to different criteria, such as workers’ rights and environmental responsibility. It doesn’t badge itself as such but I consider it to be an authentically anti-imperialist publication in that it seeks to inject ethical values into consumption, so that purchasers take their rightful position as shapers of markets in our collective interests. All of the criteria are appropriate except one – Boycott Call. This criteria is an open door for bias and on a couple of occasions I have noticed that JBIG have been taken seriously. I find this a great discredit to Ethiscore, even though its matrices are sufficiently transparent for readers to discount this criterion. I think I will write to them and reference this piece.

  2. Andrew MacFarlane Says:

    Marko: this is an excellent post, well argued, well researched. Thank you!

  3. bensix Says:

    “Leftist stereotyping of Kosovo Albanians as drug smugglers and criminals is simply the same stereotyping as that employed by the BNP against Albanians and other immigrants or ethnic minorities. Thus, the Socialist Unity website cited popular left-wing blogger ‘Splintered Sunrise’ to back up its own opposition to Kosovo’s independence, quoting him as saying ‘I’m opposed to independence for Kosovo because the place is run by a bunch of mafiosi, its economy is based on the trafficking of drugs, arms and women, and giving this basket case the attributes of statehood will make a bad situation worse.’”

    If someone said of, for example, Iran, “the place is run by a bunch of Islamist fanatics”, would that be stereotyping Iranians?

    The same article states that “there is a strong case in the abstract for Kosovo Albanians having the right to self-determination“, but opposes it “in the here and now“. That seems to be a comment on the rulers – not the people.

  4. hasan prishtina Says:

    bensix, 1) there is no evidence to suggest that all, or even the majority, of Kosova’s leaders were engaged en masse in any of the offences mentioned. 2) I know of no better authority on the subject of Balkan organized crime than Norbert Mappes-Niedeck, and he says while there is heavy engagement in organized crime in Kosova, in no way does this distinguish it from any of its neighbours, particularly Serbia and Montenegro. 3) Five of the last six organized crime rings broken by the Kosova Police Service and KFOR have been interethnic, composed of both Serbs and Albanians. Organized crime is one of the few examples of genuine interethnic co-operation in the region. Now that the war is over, it is much more profitable for criminals to co-operate rather than waste energy fighting one another; this phenomenon is hardly new and has been seen the world over. And this article criticized only Albanians. 4) The assertion that the economy is based on the trafficking of drugs has no support from any of the large numbers of studies done by scholars on the country. By far the largest proportion of overseas income comes from remittances by Kosovars abroad to support their families at home. Emigration to support the family back home is called kurbet and, again, there is nothing that distinguishes Kosova here from any of its neighbours. 5) This article was written with the backdrop of opinion on the far-left formed by people like Kate Hudson, Michael Parenti, Diana Johnstone, Chomsky and Herman. Here, we saw the condemnation of the Albanians’ supposed innate backwardness compared to the natural egalitarianism of the Serbs, support for the allegations of Albanian ‘genocide’ (that is, having more babies than Serbs and buying land from Serbs) invented by the Serbian Orthodox Church, support for the allegations of rape against Serbs by Albanians (comprehensively disproved by Serbian academic Vesna Pesic), support for a system of racial discrimination against Albanians enshrined in statute, contempt for the killed and those hundreds of thousands cleansed in 1998 and in 1999, denial of the existence of any mass graves (going some way beyond the Serbian government itself), and support for those Serbs accused of war crimes. Forgive me, but I think I know where those barbs are aimed.

    Marko’s brilliant article brings up an interesting point. Let us consider a regime run by party hacks and capitalist bank directors with the open aid of career criminals. It steals the wealth of the public purse, and forces the middle class to find work, any work, abroad. Any remaining opponents are silenced by a mixture of propaganda and intimidation, with aid from powerful governments abroad. It launches wars of aggression four times in one decade. It forbids access to schools, hospitals, media, land and public employment to a many of its citizens on the grounds of their race. It distributes arms to its favoured race to quell any potential problems its policies might arouse. Later, it expels and burns the homes of hundreds of thousands, kills tens of thousands and forces many to freeze and starve in the mountains.

    Surely such a regime would be worthy of boycott? What is this regime that tramples on peace, freedom and justice? Israel? Apartheid South Africa? No, it is Sloba’s Serbia, for which the far left (and far right) marched, formed committees, wrote books and petitions and still champions, nowadays usually in support of the Serbian far right.

  5. Marko Attila Hoare Says:

    Mira and Andrew, thank you !

    Bensix, there is a big difference between denouncing the regime of an independent state with the goal of supporting political reform there, and denouncing the alleged criminal nature of a particular society in order to deny its people national freedom. Splintered Sunrise made his attack on Kosovo’s independence at a time when other states – in particular Serbia and Russia – are campaigning to wipe Kosovo off the map. The form of his attack resembles that of outright racist groups such as the BNP which, as we have seen, portray the Albanian people as inherently criminal (would anybody say that Italy or Bulgaria shouldn’t exist as a country because organised crime is powerful there ?).

    Your Iranian parallel might be valid if there was an international campaign in progress to launch nuclear strikes against Iran with the goal of destroying it as a country, and if supporters of this campaign were highlighting the fundamentalist nature of its regime in order to justify this goal.

    Or to go back to the Israeli parallel: ‘anti-Zionists’ may highlight very real Israeli human-rights abuses in order to deny Israel’s right to exist.

    You can be sure that, if Serbia did succeed in destroying Kosovo as a state, with all the vast bloodshed that that would involve, Splintered Sunrise and Socialist Unity would not be speaking out against the bloodshed. When Serbia tried to wipe Bosnia off the map in 1992, leftists of this kind concentrated their condemnation against those who opposed the genocide, not those who were committing it.

  6. Lynne T Says:

    Christopher Hitchens, hardly an admirer or defender of Israel, notes that it is curious that “anti-zionists” never seem to be bothered about the establishment of Pakistan as a Muslim country — virtually at the same time Israel was recognized as an independent Jewish state — at the cost of a massive population transfer based on sectarianism.

  7. Tito Says:

    Dear Mr.Hoare,

    I’m visiting/reading your site off and on, I’ve noticed that you had “exchange fire”, by words of course, with Lenin guy.

    Now, since you are measuring time – which is interesting – or history since of breaking out of the hostilities in Balkan you are in agreement with all Western academia and political structures which caused all that mayhem and havoc in ex Yugoslavia.

    Supporting “progressive” for example, in Bosnia, where I’m from? Wondering, who would that be? And what is definition of that word? Definition of that one may ask: US ambassador, or UK, or some third class diplomat from EU. I live near by each of them. Have to ask them.

    I did not read Socialist Union site, but that guy is right on target. US, EU, Nato destroyed SFRJ. Tribal chieftains aka, Milosevic, Tudjman, Kucan, Izetbegovic etc, are just instrumentals in doing it. You should ask taht some of people who are sitting in board of “NGO” institution that you are working for. For example one of them was an architect and policy maker, Joschka Fischer.

    To me you are like Catherine Samary from France you are both giving academic blanket for “humanitarian interventions”, and alleged “right for self-determination”. Of course this is code for imperialistic murderous policy throughout the world.

    Shifting attention to immigrants always has been favorite tactics of governing elite. In that regard I recommend to red this.
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2009/aug/15/eurabia-islamophobia-europe-colonised-muslims

    Ideological/fractional struggle always has been existed, and it is not issue for me. There are no threat, for anyone. What is treat? There are policy makers who are described in above-mentioned article, catasrophy of epic proportion of SFRJ and Iraq, not to mention Palestinians. The list could go on, couldn’t it. Capitalist/imperialist/colonialist misdeed and blood and sweat of indigenous people is everywhere.

    We, all know who there are, it is just matter of decency and honesty, or personal courageous to identify and pointing finger at them. However, talking about moral/ethics on the Western “democracies” is exercise of futility.

    Lastly, do you have these moral traits Mr.Hoare?

    Regards,
    Tito

    • Karl Pfeifer Says:

      Tito, your conspiration theory is very funny. If we could believe you, then for the war in former Yugoslawia everybody else but the peoples fighting that war were responsible.
      So when Milosevic abolishded the autonomy of Vojwodina and Kosovo he acted merely as a stooge of some obscure conspiracy.
      Why not recognize the fact, that jedinstwo bratswo (if I remember it correctly, unity and fraternity) were – despite all Tito propaganda – not internalised by the peoples?

  8. Tuesday Roundup « The New Centrist Says:

    […] Engage: A post by Marko Attila Hoare on Anti-Imperialism, Class Warfare, etc. […]

  9. matisklo Says:

    this is hilarious:
    “our contemporary, cosmopolitan, global civilisation…”
    What fantasy world do you live in?

  10. Marko Attila Hoare Says:

    ‘I did not read Socialist Union site, but that guy is right on target. US, EU, Nato destroyed SFRJ.’

    Total, utter rubbish for which there is not one shred of evidence. The claim that the US, EU and NATO destroyed Yugoslavia is a wacko conspiracy theory, similar in nature to the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

    In fact, to its discredit, the Western alliance tried to prop up Yugoslavia after sensible observers realised that it was already dead.

    ‘To me you are like Catherine Samary from France you are both giving academic blanket for “humanitarian interventions”, and alleged “right for self-determination”. Of course this is code for imperialistic murderous policy throughout the world.’

    When so-called ‘anti-imperialists’ denounce humanitarian intervention, human rights, national self-determination, etc. as ‘code for imperialistic murderous policy throughout the world’, it only goes to show how utterly morally bankrupt the politics of ‘anti-imperialism’ are.

    • omadeon Says:

      It’s happening EVERYWHERE, Dr. Hoare.

      In Greece, all the same. “Human Rights” are DEMONIZED, in themselves. The Far Right has convinced lots of people that all human rights activists are sold-out traitors, etc.

      I sometimes disagree with you, AS WELL AS sometimes agree with you. On the whole, I am intrigued by you.
      However, if I dare come out in public (in Greece) with such “partial agreements” I’d probably be regarded as a traitor and an agent of evil Skopians and Mr. Soros (and everyone would tend to magically forget ALL my disagreements with you, all of a sudden)….

      (personally, I wouldn’t care a bit WHO you are working for or WHAT your motives are; I am ONLY interested in your views – and your occasionally very sharp insights. IF I have disagreements I can express them in my blog; I would NOT waste our precious time fighting, demonizing or flaming! -hehe)

  11. Comrade T Says:

    I am afraid that the “social fascist” school of thought is again prevalent on the left. “Humanitarian intervention”, “human rights”, etc. is, for them, nothing but the raw exercise of power and, in effect, no different from, well, a raw exercise of power.
    Of course, it helps that such a view is tied to the myths circulating around Yugoslavia and the valueless formalism it implies. As long as a state, group, etc. appear to be an enemy of the US, then their crimes are overlooked in the name of a morally, politically, bankrupt “anti-imperialism of fools”. As is so often the case, the charge they make against the imperialists is, in fact, the truth of their own position.
    And people wonder why the left have become an irrelevance!

  12. zkharya Says:

    BTW, I strongly recommend Uli Edel’s Der Baader Meinhof Komplex.

  13. matisklo Says:

    > One of the most insidious things about the radical left-wing discourse of class warfare and imperialism is the way in which it is increasingly providing a cover under which the worst forms of bigotry, even murderous or genocidal bigotry, can masquerade as something ‘progressive’.

    Does the other have an idea about the differences within the radical Left, and particularly on these issues, in the UK, the US, and in Germany, to name just a few examples?

    > So effective is this propaganda technique that today it is increasingly being adopted by members of the right and far right as well.

    Does the author know that the far-Right has a long tradition with a discourse of “liberation”? Liberation of a “natural community” from “artificial society”? A “volk” emancipated from “cosmopolitans, communists, and capitalists”? Etc. Or is this text just an attempt of the “progressive”, “enlightened” “center” to project the problem onto the Left?

    > Indeed, right-wing and left-wing opponents of our contemporary, cosmopolitan, global civilisation are increasingly resembling each other, dressing up anti-Semitism and other forms of racism as resistance to imperialism or capitalism.

    What “cosmopolitan, global civilization”? Statements such as these disguise the ongoing brutalities, inequalities, and unfreedom of contemporary society in a dreamworld of postmodern, multicultural free market. And it adheres to a false belief in the forward march of “progress” of “civilization” against the “backwardness”, “uncultured,” and “unenlightened” past or non-Western present. Is the author completely unaware of the problematic nature of these terms? And that the far-Right does not represent a return to an idyllic past, neither in reality nor in their ideology. Fascism is a twisted form of modernity, not it´s negation. And antisemitism is not an attack on “civilization” but a destruction of the liberatory qualities within it, and an elevation of civilization´s destructive qualities, but doesn´t negate it.

    And the liberation of Iraq and Afghanistan have really proven well the case of the progress of Western intervention. Those societies are budding into very progressive cosmopolitans, global civilizations. I am sure Iraqi Jews can begin to return to their homes again, just any day now.

    > Take the example of anti-immigrant racism. The BNP regularly presents its racism in class-warfare terms: ‘The only political party in Britain that is opposed to the immigration racket and its devastating effect on British jobs is the British National Party. We are poised to throw the entire weight of our campaigning machinery into action in support of striking British workers. We, unlike the unions and Lib-Lab-Con, will stand by our own people no matter what the cost. For decades we have had a simple slogan explaining our position: BRITISH JOBS FOR BRITISH WORKERS!’

    This whole text treats the issues as mere superficial rhetoric. Class-warfare as ideological weapon disguising the Left or Right´s “real” politics of “bigotry.” As if the far-Right doesn´t see itself as being an emancipatory movement, but only uses it as ideology. We just have to depict them as mere ideologues, against us who are the authentic ones. We don´t have to analyze class conflict and racism. We just have to condemn the latter, and work for redistribution. Forget about exploitation in the process of production.

    > For modern socialists and anarchists, hostility to capitalism frequently went hand in hand with hostility to Jews, as evidenced by the anti-Semitism of Proudhon, Fourier, Bakunin and others, including Marx himself. Fascism itself had radical socialist origins, as the brilliant historian of fascism Zeev Sternhell has demonstrated. Early fascists replaced the class struggle with the national struggle as the weapon for attacking liberalism and democracy; they believed redistribution of wealth and power should occur between nations, rather than – or in addition to – between social classes.

    This is a mess. Early fascists never pushed a class struggle. Their concept of capitalist society was always based in a christian volkish position, that only appeared to some as class struggle. To say that early fascism had “radical socialist origins” is to actually believe that the fascists sought to appropriate the appropriators, but they didnt. They only Aryanized Jewish enterprises. The main German industries continued to benefit private individuals who owned the firms.

    Additionally, your treatment of “nations” is problematic, as Jews were denationalized as German citizens. The nation was and is not a static category that was simply strongly supported by the Nazis. It was constructed, and it is in the process of this construction where much of the violence against the Jews, and the destruction of bourgeois democracy in Germany, took place. Jews were in fact not regarded as a nation, not an enemy nation either, but as the absolute negation of nations. The construction of a world based on a volkish national construct meant the need to destroy the destroyer of nations. This was not the Jews but they were made into it.

    > The most radical ‘national socialist’ experiment was, of course the one undertaken by Hitler and the National Socialist German Workers Party. As Hitler said: ‘We are socialists, we are enemies of today’s capitalistic economic system for the exploitation of the economically weak, with its unfair salaries, with its unseemly evaluation of a human being according to wealth and property instead of responsibility and performance, and we are all determined to destroy this system under all conditions.’ Hitler saw the task of his National Socialists as freeing the German workers from the influence of ‘Jewish’ international socialism, and of freeing the German economy from the control of ‘Jewish’ international capital. In power, the Nazis expropriated the wealth of Jews and of other nations, redistributing it in favour of Germany and German ‘Aryans’.

    This is ridiculous. You perpetuate the myth that national socialism had its benefits, when you speak of the Nazis “redistributing [wealth] in favour of Germany.” Nazis sought to use socialism and anti-capitalist resentments, but they did not develop a form of socialism, by any stretch of the imagination, not even for “Aryans.”

    > Left-wing radicals, unrestrained by any belief in the virtues of moderation and restraint, will frequently slip down the slope from aggressive radicalism into outright chauvinistic hatred, with their radical ideology simply a means by which their inner rage against particular groups of people can find socially acceptable expression. And in recent years, the more the prospect of revolutionary social change in the direction of socialism has receded in the advanced capitalist world, the more radical leftists and their fellow travellers have been ready to descend into the gutter of chauvinism directed against ‘counter-revolutionary nations’.

    And now you begin to explain your position: “moderation” and “restraint.” A political center-road without any real analysis or vision. Oh yeah, the “inner rage.” Control the inner beast with classical music and dialogue! Soma.

    Some centrists might come out against antisemitism and the idiotic leftists who hold hands with Hamas, but this doesn’t mean you have anything to say other than to call out some scandals, and to retreat into a dogmatic “civilization” discourse arguing that antisemitism is not a problem of society, but only a problem of the “extremists.” Give us a break. We’re not that stupid. Especially in the post-911 era, with the War on Terror, and the “clash of civilizations” thesis, one would expect you to be just a wee bit more self-critical.

    • omadeon Says:

      I think your comment is perhaps the most important, generally valid critique of an (otherwise) ALSO valid article by Dr. Hoare.

      Perhaps it’s time to abandon our general species-addiction to… Absolute Categories, such as “THE left”, “THE so-n-so”.

      If we liberate ourselves from the… conceptual vices of previous centuries, we might become empowered enough to criticize creatively Dr. Hoare’s lashing-out AS WELL AS appreciate it’s WISDOM and sharp insights, without becoming trapped in the floating generalizations and demonizations that it… undoubtedly IS guilty of… (if you see what I mean).

      There are many ways to READ Dr. Hoare, and also many ways to to read YOU too. I benefited from reading both, although I do tend to agree with you, much more; since -as always- the worst danger does not come from the underdogs (right-wing or not) but from the Establishment (WHATEVER this is). And it’s important not to lose sight of the correct orientation of our thinking; otherwise we’d become metamodern Highly Intelligent… imbeciles!

      Bravo to BOTH; At last Dr. Hoare now has a worthy critic one can also trust!🙂

      The “truth”(tm) is not an averaged-out reduction of both of you, but a higher synthesis of BOTH your views, I think…

      • matisklo Says:

        well, i don’t follow you. “The Left” is not a ‘category’ to give up. It is a political orientation that needs to include self-critical reflection, and an emancipatory orientation. ‘The Establishment’ is however an empty concept. I don’t think a centrist position offers much help. It is simply a scream in the dark.

        • omadeon Says:

          Again, you are saying something which IS true, while at the same time (I should explain that)… the RIGID dichotomy between LEFT and RIGHT can be seriously misleading if we follow it blindly. For example, if we think in those terms, we become unable to distinguish carefully between classical fascism and the more modern, “mutant” National Bolshevik variants of fascism, which (as Dr. Hoare correctly in principle but only partially) criticizes in this post. HIS mistake, I think, is not to identify those mutant varieties of “left AND right” fascism which are called “third position”, and as a result he simply… demonises the ENTIRE radical left. YOUR mistake (again in my humble opinion) is also to assume that this “mutant fascism” does not exist; hence you can’t accept e.g. the “socialist element in fascism”. But it was Hitler’s betrayal of the originally GENUINE “national socialism” e.g. of Otto Strasser, and it is this betrayal that made Aryanization take place without any “socialist aspects”, in Nazism.

          As regards “the Establishment”, it is not an empty concept, I think, since it expresses simply “the ruling classes” AS WELL AS “those in power” (globally AND locally). We can of course make once again the same mistake, e.g. attributing to centrism an “establishment position”, failing to see its possible contribution ALSO to a radical viewpoint…

        • omadeon Says:

          P.S. I should also add that centrists sometimes contribute valuable insights, since their centrist freedom from adherence to more left-wing ideas makes them able to identify fascist elements that ALSO exist inside the (ostensibly) far-left.

          In my country (Greece) the neo-nazi far-right has made new moves towards adopting left-wing slogans and uniting with the chauvinistic elements inside SOME parts of the traditional left.

          IMHO (not only my own opinion), what is emerging now, on a global scale is a fascist revival through MUTANT neo-nazi ideas of “third position” national socialism. Look up these terms (“third position”, “Otto Strasser”, “national bolshevism”) in Wikipedia and google; very few books have been written about this dangerous political phenomenon…

  14. Dr. Hoare’s Balkan excesses need… anti-nationalist critics « OMADEON Says:

    […] Dressing chauvinistic hatred up as ‘class warfare’ or ‘anti-imperialism’ does not make it a … (Dr. Hoare’s guest-post in another blog – where I started commenting, e.g. HERE…) […]


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