The problem is fascists, not those who stand up to them

The ongoing debate of recent weeks around how, or if, to confront demonstrations of white supremacists and fascists is the latest manifestation of arguments the Left and liberals have been having for many years. For this is not simply a question of tactics but incorporates broader ideas of how we conceptualize the threat from the extreme Right.

For decades, the liberal “solution” to fascists, including marches by undisguised neo-Nazis, has traditionally been to go to the other side of town, pray and hope they go away. Critiques of antifa and other groups who courageously stood up to the white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia, are variations on that pacifist theme. We need do no more than refer to Cornel West’s support of “the anti-fascists, and then, crucial, the anarchists, because they saved our lives, actually. We would have been completely crushed, and I’ll never forget that.”

Raleigh-Durham IWW stands with clergy at the stairs to Emancipation Park in Charlottesville, Virginia (photo by Anthony Crider)

The problem with liberal-pacifist responses is that, if adopted, the only result would be to embolden the fascists. The white-nationalist gangs behind the Charlottesville rally unmistakably intended to intimidate. Remember that another demonstration was scheduled for Boston the following weekend and several others were planned. Instead, because they were confronted in Charlottesville, their Boston rally became a fiasco for them and appearances in other locations were called off. Communities showed what they think of them. The result for speaks for itself.

The foremost problem with liberal-pacifist responses is that it tells people they have no right to defend themselves. That should be rejected, emphatically. The violence of hate-mongers like those carrying the torches in Charlottesville and any violence that is used in defense by people who have no choice but to physically defend themselves has no equivalence. Should people have just stood there and allowed violence to be perpetrated against them and allow gangs of white supremacists and fascists to intimidate the majority — the vast majority — into silence? Do we really need to ponder this question?

Sufficient numbers in themselves stop fascists

Fighting back needn’t be physical, and generally does not need to be if there are sufficient counter-forces. I’ll draw here on two examples from late 1990s in New York City.

In the first example, a small band of neo-Nazis were running loose on Staten Island, the city’s right-wing outpost situated at a distance from the rest of the city. There were five of them, apparently inspired by a truly loathsome “novel” called The Turner Diaries, which features scenes of vast groups of people hung by Nazis during a race war. (To give you an idea of the demographics there, Donald Trump won Staten Island even though he received only 18 percent of the overall New York City presidential vote.)

A small group that I was then a member in, New York Workers Against Fascism, organized a coalition to confront the neo-Nazis. It was quickly decided to organize a series of peaceful demonstrations on the belief that a violent response would only alienate the community we were attempting to rally against the neo-Nazis. At one rally, in a park, the neo-Nazis actually showed up in uniform, across a busy street, and started giving Hitler salutes while shouting “white power.” They were simultaneously pathetic and representative of a potentially highly dangerous trend. In this instance, we had to hold back a group of anarchists from Love and Rage who wanted to charge, one of whom angrily told me “I came here to smash fascists.” I answered that today we were going to smash them peacefully. Conceding to the coalition’s consensus, he didn’t charge although he remained angry. Tactics had to be a serious consideration here.

Note the coalition did not go to another part of the island and pray the neo-Nazis would go away. In this case, a confrontation needed to be non-violent, although we did have some baseball bats hidden in case we were attacked. Fortunately, they stayed hidden as the coalition significantly out-numbered the neo-Nazis.

A few years later, a Ku Klux Klan group decided to have a rally in Manhattan. Setting aside the idiocy of them thinking they could get a foothold in a place like New York City (fascists aren’t the brightest bulbs, to put it mildly), one can’t help but wonder how they thought they could get any reception other than the one they got. Their appearance was scheduled for Foley Square, a downtown location with wide spaces. Eight of them showed up, guarded by hundreds of police officers and surrounded and heckled by about 80,000 counter-demonstrators. Yes, we outnumbered them 10,000 to one! The Klan ended its event early and were said to have received an escort by the police to the Holland Tunnel, the nearest exit from the city.

Similarly, the white supremacists were badly outnumbered in Boston last month and had to be protected from the people of Boston by rings of police and metal barricades. They had to slink home. They were successfully confronted. Not by praying they would go away but by so out-numbering them that they had to concede defeat and realize how unpopular their racism and misogyny is, even if they are highly unlikely to admit to themselves.

Communities are entitled to defend themselves

Questions of tactics, based on the immediate situation, the size of the forces on the two sides and the community being defended and/or reached out to, should predominate. Should we condemn antifa for a physical defense in light of the other outcomes discussed here? Emphatically no. The situation in Charlottesville called for such a defense, as Professor West directly said. The next time a community needs to defend against physical jeopardy, we can only hope there will be people ready to provide it.

Let’s not forget what fascists stand for. They stand not simply for hate, but for supremacy of one group over another, violence to enforce such supremacy and ultimately the annihilation of demonized peoples and groups. We all understand what fascism led to Nazi Germany.

Boston Free Speech rally counter-protesters on August 19, 2017 (photo by GorillaWarfare)

The Holocaust should not be out of our minds when fascists carrying torches march in formation chanting “Jews will not replace us.” When we think about where fantasies of white supremacy lead, such as in the apartheid systems of South Africa and the United States South of the pre-civil rights era, and in slavery, ideologies of white supremacy should not be taken lightly. When we see the results of misogyny globally, especially but far from only in régimes run by religious fundamentalists, talk of making women subordinate to men can’t be laughed off as nothing but the fantasy of losers who can’t get a girlfriend.

Liberals who don’t want to confront these threats but insist on an absolutist free-speech position, even to the point of saying we should engage with fascists, are playing with fire. You don’t “debate” people who deliver their message only with violence. You don’t debate whether one racial group if superior to another. You don’t debate whether we should adopt social forms reminiscent of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. You don’t debate whether the Holocaust happened or if there is an international Jewish conspiracy. Just as the proverbial “you can’t yell fire in a crowded theater” puts limits on free speech, advocating the annihilation of people (always conveniently different) is outside any reasonable definition of free speech. Yes, that means “no platform for fascists” — we shouldn’t apologize for such a stance, which is what the non-violent confrontations recounted above amount to.

All working people are ultimately threatened by fascist ideologies. Beyond all the reasons already discussed (more than sufficient in themselves), there is the question of who fascist movements serve. That there is no immediate danger of a fascist takeover in the United States (or almost any other global North country, Hungary and Poland excepted) does not mean we should ignore the class nature of fascism.

Who would a dictatorship serve?

As always, we should carefully distinguish between right-wing demagogues like Donald Trump (whose election is ultimately a product of decades of routine Republican Party rhetoric) and his ability to actually implement fascist rule. Once again, it might be best to see the Trump phenomenon as constituting the seeds for a potential fascist movement rather than a fully fledged fascism. That ought to be scary enough, and enough for all of us to make a stand against it. To say this is not to ignore the glaring connections between the Trump administration and white supremacists and the so-called “alt-right” (let’s retire that silly term and just call them fascists or fascist wannabes), but rather to note that most of the U.S. ruling class — industrialists and financiers — backed Hillary Clinton and not President Trump in the 2016 election.

That matters, because at its most basic level, fascism is a dictatorship established through and maintained with terror on behalf of big business. It has a social base, which provides the support and the terror squads, but which is badly misled since the fascist dictatorship operates decisively against the interest of its social base. Militarism, extreme nationalism, the creation of enemies and scapegoats, and, perhaps the most critical component, a rabid propaganda that intentionally raises panic and hate while disguising its true nature and intentions under the cover of a phony populism, are among the necessary elements, although not sufficient in themselves.

Despite national differences that result in major variations in the appearances of fascism, the class nature is consistent. Big business is invariably the supporter of fascism, no matter what a fascist movement’s rhetoric contains, and is invariably the beneficiary. For even if it is intended to benefit them, these big businessmen are giving up some of their own freedom since they will not directly control the dictatorship; it is a dictatorship for them, not by them. After using violent militias to gain power, those militias are quickly sidelined.

Hitler would never have reached power without significant material support from German industrialists. German industrialists and aristocrats, and the conservative politicians who served them, thought they could control Hitler if they put him in government. They couldn’t, but profited enormously as wages for German workers declined sharply and were enforced by labor codes that even a Nazi paper once said were “reminiscent of penal codes.” It was little different in Mussolini’s Spain or Franco’s Spain or Pinochet’s Chile.

Think it can’t happen in your country? It can. Any country dominated by the capitalist system is at risk of fascism because fascism is capitalism with all the democratic veneers stripped away, when capitalists come to believe they can’t continue to rule and maintain profits any other way. That fascist groups, even the Nazi Party, start out as small bands of deluded misfits lashing out at scapegoats because they don’t have the intellectual capacity to understand the world they live in, in no way alters this picture.

Better to definitively defeat fascist grouplets now, before they have any chance of becoming tools. Anti-fascist organizers are doing humanity a service, whether peacefully counter-demonstrating or using more militant tactics such as those of antifa.

35 comments on “The problem is fascists, not those who stand up to them

  1. Prole Center says:

    Seeking out violent conflict with fascist rabble on the street is probably a bad idea, unless you are defending people under direct attack or threat of attack. When antifa groups intentionally go out and attack fascists they are playing in to their hands and building sympathy for these hate groups. It might be satisfying to punch a fascist or to see one get punched, but tactically I think this is a bad idea. The media will predictably use these incidents, as they have already done, to demonize the anti-fascist groups and the left in general.

  2. I truly believe that hate groups are receiving more media attention thanks to Donald Trump. Those groups have been holding rallies long before Trump was elected and we hardly ever heard about them except on the local level. But now those groups are receiving national media coverage. It is to fan the flames.

    It is my opinion that they be ignored pretty much like they had been before Trump’s arrival on the scene.

    • Perhaps they are receiving more attention, but from what I see, hate groups are emboldened by Trump’s victory and are more willing to show their faces in public.

      The problem with ignoring them is that doing so would also embolden them. What if everybody decided to ignore them in Charlottesville? Then we would have had the spectacle of open fascists with torches marching unopposed through the streets. The corporate media would then have started to give them sympathetic coverage as a phenomenon on the rise, with the risk of those opposed to fascism, including regular folks who don’t go to demonstrations, become discouraged.

      And should such a hypothetical example come to pass, fascists would start gaining platforms to spew their hate, attracting the gullible, and we’d have a bigger problem on our hands. Not to mention the increased danger for People of Color, Jews and women. Better we stand up now, when the example of a large crowd badly outnumbering them is all we need do in most circumstances.

      • iamselma says:

        I agree with Systemic Disorder on this issue. Trump has emboldened fascists and encouraged them. This was clear by his campaign rhetoric, his violent rallies where thugs beat up and ejected black people who were carrying protest slogans, and by everything he has said and done since the election. It is also bolstered by his administration, which is clearly fascist-friendly and racist, and by his failure to call out anti-Semitism and racism on any occasion.

        Ignoring them at this point will not make them go away. The reason is that they have reached a critical mass. Trump has a national cadre of college age “brown shirt” young men who have beaten up people at rallies. The footage of thugs beating up black men in Charlottesville and the car murder made that clear.

        They were attacking disabled persons at the Friday night rally, pouring lighter fluid on persons in wheelchairs, among other attacks carried out.

        The increase in hate crimes in the US has been exponential. The 6 months that passed between the inauguration and Charlottesville saw a steady rise in hate crimes, so it’s clear that ignoring them did not make them go away.

        We are in a situation right now of tremendous peril. We have a President who is actually threatening nuclear war against N. Korea. He has spoken about using a “Second Amendment solution” to deal with demonstrators, and even to deal with his political opponent, Hillary Clinton. That’s how extremist he is. He openly advocates violence and hate crimes.

        He had one video of himself seeing to beat up a CNN reporter and the language he uses towards reporters at his press conferences is highly abusive. That is unprecedented in the past 100 years, for a President to behave in this manner.

        Not only has he emboldened fascists, he has the full support of those on the far Right who fund fascists, as well as open Nazis such a David Duke.

        Because there are no checks and balances on his use of executive power at this point, the main question become who will come to our protection once he signals for greater escalation, or if these fascist forces simply escalate on their own, knowing they will not be prosecuted by a Justice Department that is helmed by Jeff Sessions.

    • rzwarich says:

      Many people on the American Left are so deeply steeped in the bizarre twists of their Identity Politics ideology that they cannot see past their own bigoted propaganda.

      There are indeed neo-Nazis and white supremacists out there, but their numbers are relatively small. They hardly comprise a large enough locus of power that it is anything but ridiculous to pretend that engaging in street combat with them accomplishes anything of any real value for the Left’s own cause.

      Quite the opposite, when the citizens are fighting one another in the streets, this plays directly into the hands of our Enemy, the Oligarchy, the Super Wealthy Elite.

      The violent and hateful Antifa leftists are dancing like fools on the ends of the Oligarchy’s strings. Nothing Antifa could possibly do could serve their own Enemy’s agenda more than what the Antifa leftist are doing in their mindless self-defeating rage.

      (“Well…We don’t know what the fuck to do to try to organize to gain political power, so let’s put on our kewl tough-guy looking black outfits, and our cool outlaw bandana’s and cool Guy Fawkes masks, and go beat up some Nazis”)

      And while they are tilting so heroically at the windmills of racism, sexism, homophobia, and white supremacy, (and patriarchy, of course, and various other ‘…archies’ and ‘…isms’ etc, etc, ad nauseum), apparently thinking these various social ills comprise our ‘enemy’, our TRUE Enemy, the Oligarchy, is just having a good laugh over this spectacle, which they themselves designed to serve their own agenda.

      “Divide et impera”. Divide and rule, Caesar explained.

      It works as well today as it has for millennia.

      When citizens fight citizens in the streets, when they devise ideologies to divide themselves into warring groups and factions that each hate the other, the bony fingers of the Oligarchs calmly stir the ice in their glasses of very old whiskey, as their laughter reverberates down many a gilded palace’s hallways.

      The Antifa Left, with their heads buried so deeply in the anatomical labyrinths of moral self-righteousness that comprise their bizarre ideologies, cannot even see their own fundamentally absurd bigotry.

      The rest of the world can see the raw ugly hate on these people’s faces, plain as day, even as they so clownishly lay claim to the moral high ground by pretending that they are motivated by peace, love, brotherhood and sisterhood, (and/or some other bullshit pretenses of self-righteously superior moral principles).

      We all can see you, boys and girls. We all can see that you just want to silence people you disagree with by attacking them and beating them up.

      We SAW you.

      We saw you DO it.

      Don’t come to us now with this drippy lovey-feely bullshit.

      It is quite a ridiculous display. The only people these fascist Antifa goons are fooling with their absurd pretenses of moral righteousness are themselves.

      They hate hate so much that they are much better at hating than those they hate for hating. thus armed with the more intense degree of their own hatred, they can kick the asses of the people whom they hate so much for hating, and then they are very proud of themselves, and how badass tough they are, when they fully let go and express all that raw ugly hatred.

      Then they turn to us, chests still heaving with the exertions of hatred, and bat their eyelashes like innocent maidens, as they claim that their reasons for hating are morally superior to the people they hate’s reasons for hating, whom they just beat up. (LOL….)

      And then, silliest of all, they forget how badass tough they want us to think they are, and they cry-baby unashamedly about the injuries they suffered at the hands of those they so brutally attacked, when those people defended themselves against the Antifa Hate Goons’ raw hatred.

      It’s all quite a curious spectacle. If it were not so tragic, it would be hilariously funny. (It always requires both masks to represent the Human Drama).

      Our good citizen Systemic Disorder, as well as the good citizen Courtland here, are each and both blind to the stark biases in their statements here. Their biases are so intense that they cross well into the realm of bigotry, but they are, of course, blind to that as well.

      Both posit that white people who are motivated to organize themselves politically, in the face of Identity Politics, (which takes such unbridled glee in demonizing them), can only be motivated by hate and racism, and could not possibly be motivated by simply their own ethnic pride.

      In Antifa’s twistedly slef-righteous myopia, these mostly working class people could not possibly be simply needing to express their own sense of ethnic pride as a reaction to being constantly demonized by the Antifa Left’s complete abandonment of any semblance of Class Analysis in favor of adopting their completely twisted Identity Politics ideology.

      Identity Politics is the heart and soul of the neo-Liberal strategy the Oligarchs are using to try to rule the world. Everyone must be “free” to express the nth degree of raw individualism, (with the help of capitalist consumer culture, of course).

      The Antifa Goon squads have swallowed this bait, hook, line, and sinker.

      It’s the perfect ruse.

      And thus, while the world teeters on the very brink of apocalyptic nuclear war, the Oligarchs use their complete control of mass media to whip the entire citizenry into heated paroxysms of hysteria over such crucial issues as where transgender people go potty.

      With the Oligarchs driving us toward apocalyptic war, Antifa has taken up the ‘heroic’ struggle against a few deranged neo-Nazis, as if this were the most crucially important aspect of our dangerous predicament.

      I’ll tell you for sure…I’ve been a committed leftist for nearly 40 years, and Antifa’s rank and clownish hypocrisy looks alternately ridiculous, and tragic, to me.

      Ain’t it ‘funny’ how laughing and crying express such similar emotions?

      It takes both masks to represent the eternal Human Drama. One laughs while the other weeps.

      • Prole Center says:

        Reactionaries of all stripes and their fellow travelers love to peddle the fiction that white supremacy is rare in American society. In reality, it is pervasive. Since they are cowards, the ultra-right in particular previously would not dare to openly proclaim their views, but now they feel emboldened by the appointment of Trump as puppet-in-chief and former “pro” wrestling villain. A massive psyop has been underway since the fake elections of 2016.

        And let me make something clear – hate is not a bad thing. It is absolutely sensible and correct to hate your enemy. What we, the genuine left, have to do is wage an ideological war to gather to our side all those who are not too far gone and brainwashed into oblivion by this sick, evil capitalist imperialist system.

        I think our most important objective at the moment is preventing fascists from being successfully portrayed as victims. The very idea is deeply repulsive and upsetting. Along with this we need to point out that antifa is without a doubt riddled with agents provocateur who easily penetrated their ranks and are manipulating them to carry out these attacks that the media can then use to demonize the left in general as I explained earlier.

        • R Zwarich says:

          Yes,,,fight your religious war against the tiny splinter groups of the ‘ultra-right’, and pretend that your deeds are ‘heroic’….LOL….

          And seethe with hatred all the while.

          It’s your perfect right.

          But please don’t send the glibbest among you to pretend that you are motivated by some morally superior principles.

          History is replete with your types of religiously devoted ideologues. Whenever they have succeeded in acquiring any power at all, what they have built from their seething hatred were only hateful things.

          You are yourself a tiny insignificant splinter group, pretending that you are a ‘big deal’. The only reason anyone has heard about you at all is because you serve the Oligarchy’s clever designs so well, as you dance with such self-righteous aplomb on the end of the oligarchs’ strings.

          “Divide and rule”, saith the Oligarchs. ‘We’ll help”, answers Antifa.

          So the Oligarchs give you plenty of air play, plenty of ‘ink’, in their wholly owned and controlled mass media. You’re their star ‘dividers’. You’re the best things the Oligarchs have going for it in prosecuting its devastating ‘divide and rule’ strategy.

          Do you think for a second that if you protested against anything the oligarchs actually cared about, (like wars, for example), they’d give you any coverage at ALL? LOL….

          You’re the bane of the genuine Left. You serve our Enemy. You are the enemy of the American working class.You carry the seeds of totalitarianism in your vile ideology of Political Correctness. You are the enemy of democracy and free speech.

          You and your ideology are completely repulsive to genuine leftists who believe in genuine democracy, freedom of speech and thought, and government by and for the common people.

          Your abject hypocrisy is absurd, and VERY obvious to anyone who hasn’t ‘drunk the cool-aid’.

          “I think our most important objective at the moment is preventing fascists from being successfully portrayed as victims. The very idea is deeply repulsive and upsetting.”

          Yea…I’ll bet. (LOL….) You must be VERY upset. poor thing… are you looking around for a “safe space”?

          When people see you attack other people and feel sympathy for your victims, that invades your safe space?…LOL…You want to attack them, and beat them up, and then cry-baby and pretend that YOU’RE the victims? LOL…

          Clever ruse. Problem is, (from your perspective), the ruse is only fooling the ranks of your religiously devoted ideologues. Other people believe what we can see with our own eyes, and we can see that you are every bit as ugly and hateful as the people you hate with such bizarre self-righteous zeal.

          You’re so ‘clever’ that you’ve actually handed the moral high ground to some of the most repulsive people in the entire nation.

          Great work, Slick…

          • RZ, you need to calm down. And get some perspective, to be blunt. Let’s take just one of your attack lines: “You carry the seeds of totalitarianism in your vile ideology of Political Correctness.” Fox News could not have said it better. Is this where you want to be?

            Let us ask: What does hostility toward so-called “political correctness” mean? It means the bearer of the hostility believes he/she has the right to attack people different from them without regard to those other people’s humanity. That is what you are doing.

            I won’t bother to repeat the arguments I made in the original article above or elsewhere, such as the March 9 article “How do we build a movement?” Since the rational and cool-headed arguments of Shelby, Prole and Pavlos have no effect on you, I won’t bother adding to what they have had to say.

            And I have to point out that everyone else here is arguing their viewpoint rationally and civilly. It is only you who is displaying hatred, bizarre self-righteous zeal and ideological blindness. I recommend you look in a mirror.

  3. The reason we oppose fascists is they’re a gang that intimidate and attack people, not because they hold repulsive views. It’s their actions, not speech.

    I do think we have to engage with people who peacefully express various degrees of bigotry. That’s essential, because we can’t eliminate those people from society, so we have to fight their ideas. An effective way to fight an idea is to have it expressed and overwhelmingly rejected, as your examples of massive counter-demonstrations show.

    • rzwarich says:

      Our good citizen Papageorgiou wrote:

      “The reason we oppose fascists is they’re a gang that intimidate and attack people, not because they hold repulsive views”.

      It’s not clear who the use of “we” refers to here.

      If it refers to Antifa, can you explain the difference between “fascists” “attacking and intimidating” people, and Antifa “attacking and intimidating” the people it hates who are only marching, and “expressing their repulsive views”, and are not attacking or intimidating anyone?

      To someone looking on, the Antifa brand of brownshirt fascism looks EXACTLY like any other brand of brownshirt street fascism that history has ever shown us.

      The good citizen wrote:

      “I do think we have to engage with people who peacefully express various degrees of bigotry. That’s essential, because we can’t eliminate those people from society, so we have to fight their ideas.”

      History has provided us plenty of examples of people EXACTLY like Antifa whose twisted self-righteous ideology eventually drove them to believe that eliminating large numbers of people they didn’t like from society was a really good idea.

      Since Antifa is totally devoid of any semblance of self-awareness, they are blind to the fact that they inhabit the SAME spirit that animated the Bolsheviks, to mention only one example, which eventually created Stalin, who eliminated millions from the society, and created the Gulag.

      Do any remember the Khmer Rouge, or the millions they killed? Mao’s Cultural Revolution? Antifa’s bizarre ideology of Political Correctness is cut from the same bolt of cloth.

      This is an exceedingly evil, and exceedingly dangerous spirit, and Antifa is inhabiting it with great gusto, and a degree of twisted self-righteousness that is downright scary to witness.

      counter-demonstrations = one thing

      bringing weapons with which to “counter demonstrate” = quite another

      • Prole Center says:

        Joseph Stalin on Fascism:

        “Fascism is a reactionary force which is trying to preserve the old system by means of violence. What will you do with the fascists? Argue with them? Try to convince them? But this will have no effect upon them at all. Communists do not in the least idealise the methods of violence. But they, the Communists, do not want to be taken by surprise, they cannot count on the old world voluntarily departing from the stage, they see that the old system is violently defending itself, and that is why the Communists say to the working class : Answer violence with violence; do all you can to prevent the old dying order from crushing you, do not permit it to put manacles on your hands, on the hands with which you will overthrow the old system. As you see, the Communists regard the substitution of one social system for another, not simply as a spontaneous and peaceful process, but as a complicated, long and violent process. Communists cannot ignore facts.”

        * This comes from H.G. Wells’ interview of Stalin in 1934. The entire interview is not all that long and is well worth reading in its entirety. You can find it here along with my own brief introduction:

      • I would consider your argument legitimate if a community was having an orderly and peaceful debate, for example, to keep or remove the confederate statues and Antifa came to intimidate the keepers.

        I don’t think that is what transpired. I think the right came out with intent to intimidate and silence the reformers. The symbols, words, and history of the fascists, in the US south and elsewhere makes the intent to intimidate clear.

        Also, I think you know this.

    • Prole Center says:

      Words are deeds, my friend.

      • I don’t think so. I think there’s a clear say/do distinction. Free speech allows you to express an idea like “deport all green people”. It does not allow you or anyone to actually harass green people.

        Ultimately I think it serves society better for bigoted views to be expressed and countered, than for them to be censored. Censoring seems safe but provides no barometer if masses of people hold dangerous views underground. It also doesn’t exercise communal defenses, such as actually standing up to the bigots and developing the tactics and the confidence to do this.

  4. R Zwarich says:

    Yea….and sticks are stones…and devoted ideologues are religious zealots

  5. Erroll says:

    You write that:

    “You don’t debate whether the Holocaust happened or if there is an international Jewish conspiracy.”

    If, as a leftist, I am allowed to question American militarism, capitalism, and the fact that the United States is the only industrialized on the planet which still does not have universal health care then why in the world should I [any anyone else, for that matter] not be allowed to question what is often proclaimed to be the biggest historical event of the 20th century and that, of course, would be the Holocaust. The problem is that so many on the left think that anyone who does this must somehow be a neo-Nazi or an anti-Semite. But that belief is, to put it mildly, simply absurd.

    • Greetings, Erroll. I am not sure what it is you wish (or might wish) to question about the Holocaust.

      Certainly, there is always room for scholarship on particular details, such as what official gave what order, or further information on corporate profiteering from slave labor, to give two examples off the top of my head. But the basics of the Holocaust are not in dispute. There is overwhelming evidence, eyewitness accounts of survivors and the meticulous records kept by the Nazis themselves.

      Six million Jews were killed in a systemic genocide; Marxists, Slavic intellectuals and homosexuals were also sent to concentration camps to be worked to death, and if Hitler had completed the genocide of the Jews, the Slavic peoples would have been the next targets. What is there to contest about this?

      • Erroll says:

        Whenever anyone brings up the topic of the Holocaust and the claim that “the basics of the Holocaust are not in dispute” then the only logical response is this: prove it. You believe that “There is overwhelming evidence, eyewitness accounts of survivors and the meticulous records kept by the Nazis themselves.” First of all, there is no written order by Hitler which sanctioned the alleged extermination of millions of Jews. One cannot deny the fact that Hitler hated the Jews. But hating that group of people is not the same thing as saying that the Germans wanted to engage in genocide against the Jewish people. Hitler did not want to exterminate them; rather he wanted to expel them, as evidenced by The Transfer Agreement, to such places as Madagascar or the Middle East. Not only would one need a written order [killing people on the spur of the moment would not be a very efficient way of committing genocide against the Judaic race] to kill them but one would also logically need a budget and a plan in order to carry out this enormous undertaking. But yet none of these things have ever been found.

        It seems to be taken as an article of faith by so many people, including of course leftists, that the Holocaust happened. Why this should be the case is extremely unclear because, despite your claim, there is simply no “overwhelming evidence” that six million [a number which seems to have great significance for Jews since it has been used by them since the beginning of the 20th century] Jews somehow perished during WW II. One needs to realize that the burden of proof lies upon the Holocaust believers to prove that six million Jews were intentionally killed by the Germans in that war and that many, if not most of them, were killed in homicidal gas chambers. The problem we have here is that even after 70 years since the end of WW II no mounds of bodies and no tons of ash have ever been found in any of the labor camps which comes anywhere near six million. As for those deadly gas chambers it should be pointed out that gas chambers which kill people did not exist in Europe [they were used to kill prisoners in the United States during that time period] before the war and yet we are supposed to believe that they suddenly made an appearance during that war. Yes, gas chambers did exist in the camps but they were used to disinfect the prisoners from lice which was a carrier of typhus and typhus was a huge problem during the war. And what is astonishing is that no homicidal gas chamber today can be found which can back up the claims of all those eyewitness accounts of the survivors. And no, the gas chambers which can be found at Auschwitz and at the U.S. Holocaust Museum do not qualify as they are replicas and not the real thing. If you can get your hands on the most well written book called Lectures on the Holocaust [unfortunately that may be difficult since Amazon decided last March, for some unknown reason, to suddenly stop selling books which run counter to the official story of the Holocaust] you would find that the author Germar Rudolf, who is certainly not a Nazi, [neo or otherwise] devotes over a hundred pages in his book to those “expert witnesses” such as Elie Wiesel and Primo Levi and many others and discovers that their stories are, to put it charitably, less than credible.

        One needs to approach this subject logically and without emotion. If one were to do this then what needs to be done is to compare this to what happens at a crime scene. When the police arrive they cordon off the area and the first thing they do is collect any bullet casings, hair and tissue samples, dental fragments, etc., carefully examine the body for anything that can help them, then search for documentary evidence, and finally talk to anyone who may have witnessed the crime. The reason why they do this in this particular order is because they understand that the testimony of eyewitnesses is notoriously unreliable. But the mainstream Holocaust historians reverse that order when they overwhelmingly place their emphasis upon eyewitness testimony and that is because they have almost no scientific evidence to back up their claims. “I think a good analogy to use here is with climate change as the reason to believe in it is quite persuasive due to the fact that sea levels are rising, the polar ice caps are melting, that the earth has been getting progressively warmer since at least the year 2000 [if not decades earlier], and, in conjunction with this, 97% of scientists agree, unlike Trump, that climate change is quite real and will only get worse unless something is drastically done to curb gas house emissions.” But regarding the Holocaust there simply is no science which can back up the claim that six million Jews died and that most of them died in homicidal gas chambers.

        It is also instructive to point out that in many countries in Europe people can be fined and thrown in jail [which is what happened to Germar Rudolf when he was imprisoned in Mannheim, Germany for 44 months]. What is just as egregious is that, like something out of Nazi Germany or Ray Bradbury’s classic story Fahrenheit 451, their books are turned into pulp so that no one can challenge the official story of the Holocaust. And when one sees these things happen then one should realize that those countries are democratic in name only and that one should be immediately suspicious of an ideology which goes to such great lengths to make sure that no is allowed to challenge their sacred story.

        • I don’t what your motivation is for your Holocaust denial, but it is no more believable than someone who argues that the Earth is flat and those who say it is round should prove it. The arguments you offer are no different than those of neo-Nazis, no matter what your politics might be, and no more reliable. Kindly not waste more of our time or continue to insult our intelligence.

          • Erroll says:

            How in the world am I insulting your intelligence when I ask you to provide evidence that the Holocaust is credible? If the Holocaust is real then you should have no trouble proving the existence of homicidal gas chambers or showing where 6 million bodies have been unearthed. Make an intellectual argument instead of bizarrely claiming that anyone who questions the Holocaust must be, of all things, a neo-Nazi. My motivation, which is hardly insidious, is to simply find out whether the Holocaust, which is supposed to be one of the biggest events to occur in the 20th century, is actually true. We know that the Earth is not flat because of the simple fact that no airplane has fallen off the planet when it travels around the world. What we also know is that it has never been proven that six million Jews, which is an extraordinary number of people, somehow died in that war and that many, if not most of them, allegedly died in homicidal gas chambers. Where is the science to back up your belief? You claim that my arguments are “no more reliable” than neo-Nazis. Unfortunately you end up doing what so many people do and that is to equate anyone who dares to question the Holocaust with neo-Nazis. Engaging in character assassination does not make for a very compelling argument.

            Just to be very clear, none of the major revisionists is saying that Jews did not suffer or were killed during World War II. Of course they did, just like millions of other people did also. They are not saying that Jews should be rounded up and placed in labor camps. They are not advocating that Jews be removed from positions of power. They are not demanding that Jews be hanged from the nearest lamppost. They do not even say that they hate Jews which is what neo-Nazis would say. Believe it or not all they are saying are three things:

            1] Did Hitler intentionally order the extermination of millions of Jews?

            2] Did six million Jews die during World War II?

            3] Did the majority of these deaths occur in gas chambers?

            As difficult as it may be for you to believe, that is all they are saying. One would also logically think that the orthodox Holocaust historians would eagerly look forward to debating the revisionists in order to demonstrate to the world how foolish their arguments are. But yet, quite oddly, they refuse, even after 70 years, to do this. Perhaps I am missing something here but it seems to me that this is really very simple. People should have the right to question an historical event without the defenders of the official Holocaust story hysterically and irrationally claiming that if anyone were to do this then they must somehow be, as you imply, a neo-Nazi. Unfortunately all this should not come as that great of a surprise as I have also gotten the same emotional response when I have stood up for the Palestinians instead of the Israelis. One would also logically think that people would be thrilled to discover that six million people did not die in a catastrophe. But not here as they seem to take perverse pleasure in promoting, decade after decade, the official tenets of the Holocaust. What is also curious is that whenever the term genocide is used the first thing which comes to mind for so many people is the Jewish Holocaust which does not say much for the near extermination of the indigenous population of North, Central, and South America after the Europeans landed on their shores.

            For many years I used to think like you do because this is what I was told, both in school and by the corporate media, and that is that this event happened and therefore must be true. I was also told the same thing by them about U.S. militarism, capitalism, the health care system in this country, climate change, the idea that everyone in the United States has an equal chance in life, etc. But after reading books and publications by very credible authors one finds that those claims are not as genuine as one was lead to believe. If I can change my mind about the official explanations of those issues then please explain why I cannot also have second thoughts about the biggest taboo in Western culture and that, of course, would be the Holocaust without people going off the rails by hysterically claiming that I must be a neo-Nazi.

            I happen to have a bumper sticker on my vehicle which, to recall that famous slogan from the 1960s, accurately advises people to QUESTION AUTHORITY. What is curious is that it does not say that one can question everything under the sun except, for some mysterious reason, the Holocaust and that if you do then that person will be smeared as being a neo-Nazi.

            “Intellectual freedom is the right of every individual to both seek and receive information from all points of view without restriction.”-American Library Association

            “Blind belief in authority is the greatest enemy of truth.”-Albert Einstein

            “History is furious debate informed by evidence and reason.”-writer James W. Lowen

            “A genuinely unfashionable opinion is almost never given a fair hearing.”-George Orwell

            “Restriction of free thought and free speech is the most dangerous of all subversions.”-former U.S. Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas

            • I did not call you a neo-Nazi. What I wrote is that the arguments you present and “questions” you incorrectly claim are unanswered mirror those of neo-Nazis. Again, I have no idea of what politics you might have and I have no reason to dispute your vehement insistence that you are not a neo-Nazi.

              I have not bothered to present evidence that the Holocaust happened because there is more than abundant evidence and anybody can find it with the slightest effort. If someone refuses to believe a mountain of evidence, there is nothing I or anyone else can do.

              Central to this controversy is: Who denies the Holocaust and why? Like it or not, regardless of how intensely you may dislike neo-Nazis, it is precisely neo-Nazis and fascists who are the primary deniers of the Holocaust, and they do so for ideological reasons. Namely, to foster an ideology of anti-Semitism, racism and hatred, an ideology that ranges up to calling for the forced removal and even mass death of demonized groups. This ideology has been acted upon when fascists gain power. And denying one genocide begets another — Hitler is said to have remarked “who remembers the Armenians?”

              When we allow the Turks to continue to deny the Armenian genocide, the door is opened a crack to the next dictator who might have similar ideas. And thus it is when we deny the Holocaust.

              There may be those who, in their minds, believe they are “questioning authority” by denying the genocide of European Jewry but instead are only giving, even if unintentionally, cover to those who question the Holocaust not out of some misguided attempt to “question authority” but to create the conditions for new fascist outrages. This is the position of so-called “revisionists,” as you describe them, like it or not. And I strongly suspect that most of these so-called “revisionists” are anti-Semites trying to give an “intellectual” veneer to crackpot theories.

              In the past year, I have had the unfortunate duty of having to wade through the writings of several of these so-called “revisionists” who are prominent in the 9-11 “truther” movement. In virtually every case, they turned out to be mad-dog anti-Semites. When reaching out to a general or even left audience, they put forth questions in reasonable tones under the guise of questioning history, in the same manner and style you have done here. But when you research them, you find their writings on fascist web sites, where they publish virulent anti-Semitism and hatred, sometimes indistinguishable from the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, which I trust you know is a product of the Okhrana, the secret police of Tsarist Russia, one of the most anti-Semitic régimes in history.

              Finally, as I am a Marxist I am quite familiar with the perils of questioning authority and of holding views often attacked. But sometimes commonly accepted views are commonly accepted because they are in fact correct. We don’t need to find a written order that called for the genocide of Native Americans to accept that genocide occurred. I don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know that humans really did go to the Moon in the 20th century. I don’t have to be geologist to know the Moon is not made of cheese. There is plenty out there that does need to be questioned, and I can only hope your questioning will be better aimed in the future.

              • Erroll says:

                With all due respect, to quote that great hero of the conservatives, Ronald Reagan, here you go again when you write:

                “I have not bothered to present evidence that the Holocaust happened because there is more than abundant evidence and anybody can find it with the slightest effort. If someone refuses to believe a mountain of evidence, there is nothing I or anyone else can do.”

                Please point to the “mountain of evidence” which shows, without a doubt, that millions of Jews died during WW II and that most of then perished in homicidal gas chambers. I have checked most carefully over the last three years and yet have been unable to locate all this “abundant evidence” which can support the official story of the Holocaust. I think that this is a very reasonable thing to ask and yet you refuse to address this simple question. To put this in perspective, Dr. Charles Larson, an American forensic pathologist, was sent to the camps soon after they were liberated. On some days he examined as many as100 bodies and discovered that they had died by various means such as starvation, shootings, typhus, etc. But what he did not find was any individual, Jewish or non-Jewish, who had died by poisoning from being in a gas chamber. And yet for some reason Dr. Larson’s findings have been ignored while the stories of prisoners who have claimed that people died in gas chambers in the labor camps have been given more credence than a forensic pathologist like Dr. Charles Larson who had no axe to grind in this matter while the prisoners could have told stories concerning what had gone on in the camps because of hearsay [which would have been quite prevalent in the camps], revenge against their captors, and/or a desire to seek monetary damages against Germany. You then opine:

                “Central to this controversy is: Who denies the Holocaust and why? Like it or not, regardless of how intensely you may dislike neo-Nazis, it is precisely neo-Nazis and fascists who are the primary deniers of the Holocaust, and they do so for ideological reasons.” You also write that:

                “There may be those who, in their minds, believe they are ‘questioning authority’ by denying the genocide of European Jewry but instead are only giving, even if unintentionally, cover to those who question the Holocaust not out of some misguided attempt to ‘question authority’ but to create the conditions for new fascist outrages. This is the position of so-called ‘revisionists,’ as you describe them, like it or not.”

                Regarding that first paragraph It would be most useful if you could refrain from making assumptions. Deborah Lipstadt, one of the big guns for the traditionalist Holocaust historians, quotes a source in one of her books who states that 25% of people who question the Holocaust are neo-Nazis. This logically means that 75% of people who dare to have doubts about this sacred ideology are, shockingly, not neo-Nazis. As to that second paragraph it apparently has to be pointed out once again that the Holocaust is not only an historical event but is considered by many to be THE historical event of the 20th century. That being the case should people not have the right to scrutinize this event very carefully to make sure that the claims put forth are valid without people hysterically claiming that to do so would make that person a neo-Nazi? You still have not explained why this event, unlike other historical events, cannot be questioned. Unless the Nazis have suddenly appeared or the former Soviet Union has now taken over the world then any reasonable or logical person would have to admit that a person who lives in a democratic country actually has a right to simply question an ideology like the Holocaust without people going off the rails by conveniently claiming that that person must somehow be a neo-Nazi. You also think that:

                ” But sometimes commonly accepted views are commonly accepted because they are in fact correct.”

                As I have tried to point out, ad infinitum, you appear to be taking it as an article of faith that the Holocaust is correct simply because, it would seem, this is what you have been told. But you continually ignore the fact, as so many mainstream Holocaust historians do, that there is little, if any, actual proof that the basic tenets of the Holocaust are correct.

                I strongly suggest that instead of engaging in assumptions and character assassination that you instead pick up, for example, a book by Germar Rudolf, such as Lectures on the Holocaust, or Thomas Dalton who wrote the excellent Debating the Holocaust: A New Look at Both Sides [2nd ed.] as both books, despite your wild accusations, make the cogent and trenchant observations that the official story leaves a lot to be desired. Trying to make it appear that revisionists are somehow the equivalent of a person being a serial killer or a child molester is, to put it mildly, extremely ludicrous. Finally, you advise:

                ” … I can only hope your questioning will be better aimed in the future.”

                Again, why is it wrong to question the Holocaust? If I can question other historical events like Vietnam why and I not also question this one? People like yourself are bringing up Marxism even though Marx died about 150 years ago and that is because you believe [and I think quite justifiably] that what Marx said is quite relevant regarding the pernicious economic system known as capitalism. It is bizarre and quite absurd that even after 70 years no one is allowed to question and even challenge an historical event like the Holocaust without being fined, imprisoned, and having their books turned into pulp. French professor Robert Faurisson was attacked 10 times in the 1980s simply because he disagreed with the official narrative of the Holocaust. That last beating in 1989 by Holocaust fanatics almost cost him his life. And yet I cannot recall any leftist, except perhaps Chomsky, who condemned what those Holocaust zealots had done to Faurisson. And no, Faurisson, who is not a Nazi or even a neo-Nazi, was not promoting hate but simply observing that no evidence exists which can link the deaths of people in Europe during WW II to a gas chamber. And since the Holocaust fanatics could not prove him wrong intellectually they decided to physically attack him, quite severely, instead.

                If the Holocaust story is correct then the orthodox Holocaust historians should have no problem with what the revisionists have said as they should easily be able to refute the claims of those horrible revisionists. And yet many like Deborah Lipstadt refuse to debate them. When one sees this happen [as well as the beatings, imprisonment, and the destruction of their books] one should become immediately suspicious of an ideology which seems terrified if people might discover that they might be another side to this story which they have not been exposed to. If the claims of the official story of the Holocaust are correct, as you say, then people should have no problem coming to that conclusion when comparing the writings of the orthodox Holocaust historians to those of the revisionists. But people cannot do that because of the simple fact that it is extremely difficult finding an opposing viewpoint in most bookstores and libraries while Amazon has decided to stop selling books by revisionists in the so-called democratic land of the free. And no, despite your erroneous belief, not all [and perhaps not even most] people who question the official Holocaust story are neo-Nazis and anti-Semites.

              • I agree with Eroll. I am most definitely not a Neo-nazi since I have a most permanent tan and would not be welcome at their rallies, what will be said to me, I wonder since I too question the official version on THE HOLOCAUST?

                And why is it that with so many atrocities having been committed worldwide, we are to focus on THE HOLOCAUST and designate other atrocities to the dustbin of history? You never hear any Jews going on and on about the plight of the Palestinian people and how they have mostly stolen much of their land and are upset to say the least that the Palestinian people aren’t thanking them for it.

                Black people in America are largely ignored if they even mention slavery and certainly the Jews since they claim such first hand knowledge of atrocities committed against them should be better able to understand the plight of descendants of slaves as well as the plight of the Indigenous Peoples and should be speaking out on them, but nothing doing. The Jews have built their own insular communities and have walled themselves off from every oppressed group. It is my opinion that the Jews perpetuated a myth with regards to THE HOLOCAUST for reasons of garnering worldwide sympathy and to belong in a self-imposed club of Oppressed Exclusivity whereas they are the members, no other oppressed need apply. Their “Look at woe is me and only me,” delusions of superior misplaced self righteousness will get no takers here.

              • Both of you, Shelby and Erroll, ought to read what I actually wrote instead of attacking things I have not said.

                Nobody has a monopoly on suffering. Nothing is gained by making the suffering of oppression a contest. And it is an insult to so many I know who not only speak regularly of the plight of Palestinians but do so in their synagogues.

                If we are serious about righting the many wrongs of this world, then let us acknowledge the genocide of Jews by fascists. Let us acknowledge the slavery and centuries of murders of Africans by White Europeans and North Americans. Let us acknowledge the genocide of Native Americans by Europeans and their descendants. Let us acknowledge the repression of Palestinians by Israel. Let us acknowledge the repression of women by men in every society on Earth. Let us acknowledge the nearly universal repression of gays and lesbians. Let us acknowledge the humiliations inflicted on immigrants. Let us acknowledge the unspeakable poverty billions are plunged into by imperialism. Let us acknowledge the countless oppressions of one nation against another. On this last item I can think of my Slovak great-grandparents, and many generations before them, who were oppressed by their Hungarian overlords, not even allowed to go to school.

                And let us think in sorrow of the incalculable loss to humanity of countless human beings never having the chance to develop their intellect and talents, and to have made who knows what contributions.

                I’ll end on this quote from Angela Davis:

                “Our histories never unfold in isolation. We cannot truly tell what we consider to be our own histories without knowing the other stories. And often we discover that those other stories are actually our own stories.”

              • “Nobody has a monopoly on suffering.”
                Yeah, tell that to the Jews and you won’t be thanked for it since they have made sure that to state that THE HOLOCAUST did not occur is a crime in and of itself. And where did the magic number 6 million come from? Why are we not to question but just accept? I question everything for to do otherwise would be tantamount to falling for everything.

                I do appreciate the list that you have compiled but that list is made redundant as soon as THE HOLOCAUST is mentioned.

                And no other atrocity has ever gained as much notoriety as THE HOLOCAUST and none shall. The “oh so oppressed” Jews have seen to that and they are certainly not monopolizing my sympathy. I will save it for those whose plight has truly been consigned to that dustbin of history I previously wrote of.

  6. Erroll says:


    Actually I do read what you write as when you now state that:

    “If we are serious about righting the many wrongs of this world, then let us acknowledge the genocide of Jews by fascists.”

    I certainly agree with the many examples which you give following that sentence. But the problem, which I to point out earlier, apparently to no avail, is that there is simply no ” ‘mountain of evidence’ which shows, without a doubt, that millions of Jews died during WW II and that most of them perished in homicidal gas chambers.”

  7. Erroll says:

    Shelby C.

    Your comments are very well stated. What I find quite bizarre about Mr. S.D. is that while he understands that what he had been told in schools, the corporate media, and politicians about various issues which he listed are untrue he has no hesitation in accepting and believing what he has been told about the Holocaust. So much for the idea that leftists will engage in critical thinking by questioning and challenging what they have been force fed by the establishment. Centuries ago Galileo was persecuted by the Catholic Church because he had the temerity to say that the Earth revolved around the sun. Today we have people who are considered heretics because they do not conform to the party line when they have the audacity to simply question an historical event and when they do they are prosecuted for their beliefs. What S.D. does not address is whether people in democratic countries actually have that right without being labeled, as he puts it, “mirror[ing] those of neo-Nazis”.

    As an aside I have recently bought a few books during the past several weeks which deal with the issue of slavery and which you may find to be of interest. They are:

    * Though the Heavens May Fall: The Landmark Trial That Led to the End of Human Slavery by Steven M. Wise which deals with the famous Somerset case which took place in June of 1772 in London, England

    * American Slavery, American Freedom, by Edmund S. Morgan

    * The Counter-Revolution of 1776: Slave Resistance and the Origins of the United States of America by Gerald Horne

    * Bury the Chains: Prophets and Rebels in the Fight to Free and Empire’s Slaves by Adam Hochschild

    I am currently reading Wise’s book which centers upon such people as Somerset, Granville Sharp, and Lord Mansfield who ruled on the case. Hochschild’s book covers a wider arc and focuses upon more abolitionists such as John Newton, a former British slave trader who later in his life wrote the hymn Amazing Grace, and especially his main character Thomas Clarkson, Morgan’s book looks at the slave situation, mostly in Virginia during the 17th century, while Horne examines slave uprisings, mostly in the Caribbean and the United States, in the 1700s. Among other things Horne informs the reader of Lord Dunmore the last colonial governor in Virginia who issued a decree in November of 1775 “to free and arm enslaved Africans in order to squash the anti-colonial revolt.” [p.16] And many of them did exactly that. Thinking of this I am reminded of how so many Americans, including blacks, revere Crispus Attucks a black [or, perhaps, half-black, or mulatto], freed slave who was one of the first to die on behalf of the rebels during the American Revolution. What is rather unclear is why Attucks would fight on the side which was enslaving his people. And then we have the American Civil War [which, as George Carlin once pointed out, was anything but civil] where Americans stupidly fought each other, mainly over slavery, instead of logically doing what England did and that was to simply abolish slavery through legal means. But behaving logically and rationally is something which Americans are quite loath to do.

  8. Sky Wanderer says:

    Another outstanding post and imo hugely relevant.

    My view on the topic still differs from yours in the sense that my conclusion after investigating both history and contemporary developments, capitalism IS fascism in its very essence – both its friendly implicit version and its hitlerian explicit form. I don’t see a difference between the overt organised concentration camps and the covert global chaos by which large masses are forced into death, they die by the capitalist wars, in refugee camps, by abject poverty and/suicide.

    In the covert version of fascism the victims are significantly larger and they don’t even receive anyone’s sympathy, as their death is contributed to their personal failure or bad luck.

    On a side note, though might be of some relevance, the Nazi wars of WW2 and the horrors of the WW2 Holocaust itself are still used by the elites as the only alternative to the current one, as a means to force us into the extant version of capitalism, ie fascism. This demonstrates how infinitely sophisticated this evil system is.

    I tend to believe that the experiments done in those concentration camps also had the purpose to investigate the human psychological nature, ie one’s capacity to betray his fellow humans if his life depended on it. It was a frequent practice that the prisoners were told that they will be released if they perform the executions of their fellow inmates. Then of course those who gave in were executed as well.

    The current version of fascism heavily relies on one’s instinct to survive whereby we are expected to tolerate the others’ suffering and death so that we would gain a little more time. We rely on false hopes, crafted illusions. They don’t have to deceive us, we deceive ourselves.

    The status quo is indeed like a huge version of the WW2 concentrating camps, in which one part of the concentration camp inmates are forced to kill the rest or at least to turn a blind eye. In the extant covert version of fascism ie in the present concentration camps, those who obey the system will also be executed, by lack of healthcare, lack of pension, you name it.

    You wrote:

    “Hitler would never have reached power without significant material support from German industrialists”

    I would add, Hitler would have never reached and maintained power without significant and continuous support, all sorts, from the US industrialists.

    How the capitalist interests – by virtue of the profit-making essence of capitalism and its self-preserving motivation – are intertwined with the fascist interests, is revealed by Jacques R. Pauwels in his book, the “Myth of the Good War”.
    (Note: the book is at academic level – listed in major university online catalogues)

    Part of the book:

    “The German dictator and his fascist ideas were particularly liked and admired by the owners, managers, and shareholders of those American enterprises that had already made considerable investments in Germany or had entered into joint ventures or strategic partnerships with German firms in the 1920s. Their German subsidiaries and/or partner firms, such as Coca-Cola’s bottling plant in Essen, General Motors’ Opel automobile factory in Rüsselsheim near Mainz, Ford’s Ford-Werke in Cologne, IBM’s facility in Berlin, or Standard Oil’s infamous German partner, IG Farben, flourished under a Hitler regime that had swept away the unions, whose rearmament program caused a flood of orders, and with whom all sorts of highly profitable deals could be concluded thanks to the services of corrupt Nazi bigwigs such as Hermann Göring, unscrupulous bankers such as the notorious Hjalmar Schacht, and financial institutions in Germany itself or
    in Switzerland.”

    To read and/or download the book:

    • Always good to hear from you, Sky Wanderer. To repeat myself, fascism is a particular form of capitalism, not the same thing as your formulation of “capitalism is fascism.” I don’t believe it does us any good to not differentiate between the formal democratic variety that most of North America, Europe and East Asia currently live under, and the complete lack of democracy in an outright fascist state. Perhaps some may believe me dwelling too much on early 1930s Germany, but the lesson of communists confusing social democrats with Nazis, and finding out the hard way the difference, remains one we forget at our peril.

      It certainly is true there was support for Hitler on the part of U.S. industrialists, and in reading your list of U.S. corporate support I can’t help but think of the Ford plant in Cologne, which was used as a bomb shelter during Allied air raids because it was never hit. It turned out bomber pilots had orders not to touch the plant! But I do believe financial support of German industrialists would have been sufficient; German fascism was German capitalists’ answer to the deep problems of German capitalism. U.S. support was something of a bonus, although a bonus appreciated — Hitler once said he wished he could send some of his storm troops to help when he heard that Henry Ford was considering a run for the presidency.

      Differences in interpreting details aside, I have no argument with your underlying thesis that there is a continuum of capitalist outrages, and that more modern forms of capitalism also result in mass deaths. Sadly, such deaths are easier for most people to handle when they happen to people far away than close to home.

  9. louisproyect says:

    This was a great analysis, Pete. Will bookmark your blog.

  10. Medusa says:

    Defending oneself is one thing, but that’s not always what Antifa does — and your own example of having to hold the guy back who wanted to attack the neo-Nazi even though he wasn’t being attacked, is just one bit of proof. Antifa groups have a distorted analysis of the current situation, a distorted analysis of the “enemy,” and a totally distorted analysis of the tactics and strategies needed to deal with the enemy. To constantly compare today’s America with 1930’s Germany is ludicrous. The real white supremacists are sitting in Congress and the WH…the guys marching in the streets are just the pathetic rump of a very old, discredited and politically powerless movement. Antifa’s violent tactics have actually given them one last gasp.

    • Greetings, Medusa. There is a difference between a situation when some amount of force is necessary to be able to defend against violence or an imminent threat of violence, and when violence is used simply to shut down a disliked speaker. There is Charlottesville on the one hand, and there is what happened in Berkeley, when some people smashed windows in protest against a right-wing speaker who intentionally provokes with vile hate-spewing garbage.

      In the latter case, I would agree with you that the tactics of antifa (assuming that the window-breakers really were antifa and not undercover provocateurs) is counter-productive. My larger point is that it is necessary for communities to stand up to white nationalists and other open fascists. Much better that such a defense is done through vastly out-numbering them, with no punches thrown. The specifics of a given situation should determine the actions taken, but this is necessarily a complex problem with no simple, ready-made solution.

      Incidentally, I have never compared the U.S. today with the Germany of the 1930s, and agree that making such direct comparisons is “ludicrous.” My point in bringing up the example of the rise of the Nazis and the lack of a united opposition on the part of anti-fascists is to sound an alarm about what could happen if we don’t take seriously the rise of the right, a constant danger in the U.S. and all the most so today given who sits in the White House. The strong community response in Boston, the week after Charlottesville, is a fine example worthy of emulation. But I note that the Boston response, fully peaceful, can’t be completely disentangled from the events of Charlottesville.

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