From Radical to Right Wing

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Jun 14 2010 22:36
slothjabber wrote:
Aldred working with fascists during WWII. I agree his positions in WWI were sound; but in WWII my understanding is that he was so 'anti-anti-fascist' that he was working with fascist symapthisers in Britain, at the time of the USM.
nastyned wrote:
I've never heard about Guy Aldred working with fascists so I think you really need to provide some evidence here.
Volin wrote:
I think you're talking about the "Marquis of Tavistock, Hastings Russell, who later became the Duke of Bedford" - although he's not the only really dodgy person Aldred collaborated with. The context is anti-war activity during WWII when Aldred gave platforms in the paper, The Word, to others who were critical of the war but often, as it turns out, for quite different reasons. Russell described himself as a pacifist but was also patron of the British People's Party - which was led by John Beckett, a former member of the British Union of Fascists, and sought a negotiated peace with Nazi Germany.

The whole thing, of course, stinks. Aldred's comrade, John Taylor Caldwell, was of the opinion that he didn't realise the Marquis' real political connections, and that "Neither influenced the other, nor subsidised, nor subverted the other". As Mark Shipway points out though, Aldred seemed deeply naive and took a non-sectarian editorial pluralism to rediculous extremes. He seemed to be flattered by the Marquis' attention and was, in fact, influence by him - although, I argue, not in the slightest in a fascist direction.

I thought slothjabber was talking about this;

Quote:
The British Union of Fascists : newspapers and secret files

On Thursday the 23rd of May 1940, after a lengthy period of surveillance by the security services, Sir Oswald Mosley, the leader of the British Union of Fascists (BUF) which he had founded in 1932, was arrested by police under Defence Regulation 18B of the Emergency Powers Act (1939). He was interned, initially in Brixton Prison and then in Holloway. Two week after his arrest, under the heading 'Treason in politics', the last ever issue of Action (No. 222, June 6, 1940) proclaimed: "There is nothing in the policy of British Union, that lends the slightest excuse for such treasonable practices. It has been laid down again and again that members must obey the law, must do nothing to impede the nation's war effort, and in case of invasion, must rally to Ihe defence of the British Empire. Where members have been found guilty of disloyal or unpatriotic behaviour, their expulsion from the Movement follows as a matter of course."

Increasingly, during the course of the 1930s, the authorities had come to view the BUF as pro-Nazi. Although the BUF continued to function throughout the "phoney war", the invasion of France in May 1940 and the fear of an imminent invasion of Britain led the authorities to act against the British Union. Mosley's repeated calls "For Britain, peace and people", for example on the front page of issue no. 184 (September 2, 1939) of Action, the day after the Third Reich invaded Poland, were cited as evidence of support for appeasing Hitler. Indeed, among the reasons given in Home Office files (HO 283/12) for the internment of Mosley, together with over a thousand other leading BUF officials, was the charge that "the persons in control of the organization have or have had associations with persons concerned in the Government of Germany, a power with which His Majesty is at war," in other words the authorities thought they were Nazi collaborators. Yet for all this, the accusations made against Mosley were never tried in court, though there were a number of hearings at which he attempted to overturn the order of arrest and internment.

The issue became a cause célébre, with Mosley even enjoying support from such unlikely quarters as Britain's anarchists. In December 1943, introducing 'It might have happened to you!' (The Word : special investigation report on 18B), Guy A. Aldred, a prominent member of the Anti-Parliamentary Communist Federation, "dare[d] to come forward, not as an apologist of their opinions, but as the defender of their civil rights. If they are traitors, indict them. If they are not traitors, release them. If they cannot be indicted, they ought to be restored to human liberty."
http://www.britishonlinearchives.co.uk/collection.php?cid=9781851171255&keywords=

From this, it seems clear that Aldred was defending free speech against censorship as a basic principle - and presumably with his own wartime interests as an anti-war critic in mind. Whether that is worthwhile - or doing it in that way - is another question...

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Jun 14 2010 23:52

I'm actually not unsympathetic to Hughes' confusion here. Terms like leftism and the like are useful if you know what they mean, but tbh the first time I encountered anarchists slagging off "the left" I thought they sounded stupid as well. Considering that the ultra-left and left communists are both among those opposed to the left, it's not like something that's immediately easy to navigate your way around. Expecting people to instantly understand the distinction between leftism and communism is only slightly less insular than just assuming everyone knows what your hand signals mean.

Boris Badenov
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Jun 15 2010 00:03
Farce wrote:
I'm actually not unsympathetic to Hughes' confusion here. Terms like leftism and the like are useful if you know what they mean, but tbh the first time I encountered anarchists slagging off "the left" I thought they sounded stupid as well.

The only way you'd think slagging off the left sounds stupid is if you consider yourself to have some sort of allegiance to it. Which I reckon was the case with most people on this board (and is the case with Hughes at least) at some point in time. That's fine if you plead ignorance. But not accepting criticisms of the left because that's "revolutionary oneupmanship" or whatever phrase Hughes famously used in that journos thread, is something altogether different.

Quote:
Expecting people to instantly understand the distinction between leftism and communism is only slightly less insular than just assuming everyone knows what your hand signals mean.

I don't think expecting people (any people) to understand something as obvious as the role that the left plays in upholding capital is insular at all. And if these people are the kind of people who sign in on anarchist boards and whatnot, then I think it's kind of implicit. Personally I came to anarchism only after I became completely disillusioned with the fabled Left, and so no one had to explain to me why leftism is shite. Is it reasonable to assume the same for most people here? I'd think so, but that's just me.

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Jun 15 2010 00:12

Not to be repetitive, but I'm going to be repetitive:

That seems pretty semantic. I mean if one defines the "left" solely as the "left wing of capitalism,' as is done there, then sure, I hear you. But that's not the definition of the left as traditionally or popularly understood. Were I to put a poll in the field, asking where on the political spectrum were Karl Marx, Emma Goldman, and Noam Chomsky, most everyone (who was familiar with the people in question) would rightly say they were on the left.

That said, if you Situationists want to invent an entirely new vocabulary so as to further marginalize yourself, that's entirely your prerogative.

Boris Badenov
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Jun 15 2010 00:19
Hughes wrote:
Not to be repetitive, but I'm going to be repetitive:

That seems pretty semantic. I mean if one defines the "left" solely as the "left wing of capitalism,' as is done there, then sure, I hear you. But that's not the definition of the left as traditionally or popularly understood. Were I to put a poll in the field, asking where on the political spectrum were Karl Marx, Emma Goldman, and Noam Chomsky, most everyone (who was familiar with the people in question) would rightly say they were on the left.

Jesus Hughes, you do realize that the whole "well most people would agree with me" bollocks is completely illogical and false. Go ahead and "put a poll in the field" and see what comes out. My guess is if the polled people have any knowledge about Marx and Goldman whatsoever they would define them as communist and anarchist respectively, if only because that's what they called themselves whilst alive. Only the most disingenuous, weaselly leftist hack would attempt to "recuperate" (now that we've cleared up the matter as to what it means) Marx and Goldman into the kind of parliamentary, legalistic windbaggery that passes for the Left these days. So until you produce the results of said poll, abstain from using imaginary evidence please.
If anything "most people" would probably identify the Left with current leftist politicians (real or perceived) or with certain policies like "welfare" "social programs" "progressive measures" and all that doublespeak crapola.
If you love this word so much and the imagined "heroic" community that you attach to it, then have fun with it, but don't try to justify it in rational and factual terms, because you can't. Nobody fucking likes the Left except a marginal group of pathetic and irrelevant morons, most of whom are shameless opportunists and paid state agents. Seriously fuck the Left and everyone in it.
Self-admitted reactionaries (like the people mentioned above) at least have the "decency" to admit where they stand.

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Jun 15 2010 00:34

If I were to ask the average Jane or Joe, whether socialists were Left or Right wing, most anyone with a hint of an education would say they come from the Left. Substitute "marxist" or "communist" in for "socialist" and the results would be the same. Do you deny this?

Boris Badenov
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Jun 15 2010 00:45
Hughes wrote:
If I were to ask the average Jane or Joe, whether socialists were Left or Right wing, most anyone with a hint of an education would say they come from the Left. Substitute "marxist" or "communist" in for "socialist" and the results would be the same. Do you deny this?

Yes I deny this, first of all because it's a bullshit scenario built on reductionist stereotypes as to what the "average Joe" understands thanks to his "hint of education," and second of all because there is a great deal of evidence both from right-wingers and self-identified leftist "progressives" that what the Left means in America is moderate liberalism, not Marx or Goldman. Most "average Joes," even amongst Fox News watchers, make a distinction between communism and the Left.

Quote:
Substitute "marxist" or "communist" in for "socialist"

All of those terms mean a variety of things to a variety of people. A maoist will claim they're essentially marxist, a Stalinist that they're communist and a social democrat that they're "socialist." So substituting anything for anything else without first providing a plausible definition of each term is pretty much nothing but a case of intellectual cups and balls.

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Jun 15 2010 00:53

It's so strange that Wikipedia defines socialism, communism and anarchism as falling within the range of Left-Wing Politics. Must be a bourgeois conspiracy!

I'd use a more authoritative encyclopedia, but they all cost money to access. Right before demanding my credit information, Brittanica leaves me with this nugget:

Quote:
Leftists tend to be hostile to the interests of traditional elites, including the wealthy and members of the aristocracy, and to favour the interests of the working class (see proletariat). They tend to regard social welfare as the most important goal of government. Socialism is the standard leftist ideology in most...
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Jun 15 2010 00:53
Farce wrote:
I'm actually not unsympathetic to Hughes' confusion here. Terms like leftism and the like are useful if you know what they mean, but tbh the first time I encountered anarchists slagging off "the left" I thought they sounded stupid as well. Considering that the ultra-left and left communists are both among those opposed to the left, it's not like something that's immediately easy to navigate your way around. Expecting people to instantly understand the distinction between leftism and communism is only slightly less insular than just assuming everyone knows what your hand signals mean.

I agree totally

Boris Badenov
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Jun 15 2010 01:06
Hughes wrote:
It's so strange that Wikipedia defines socialism, communism and anarchism as falling within the range of Left-Wing Politics. Must be a bourgeois conspiracy!

I'd use a more authoritative encyclopedia, but they all cost money to access. Right before demanding my credit information, Brittanica leaves me with this nugget:

Quote:
Leftists tend to be hostile to the interests of traditional elites, including the wealthy and members of the aristocracy, and to favour the interests of the working class (see proletariat). They tend to regard social welfare as the most important goal of government. Socialism is the standard leftist ideology in most...

Right so you start with some reductionist lowest common denominator understanding of the Left only to then switch to the "golden standard" of Wikipedia and Britannica. That solves everything innit. No, there is no "bourgeois conspiracy" but who says that all words in the dictionary necessarily reflect current realities? The left in a political sense was coined during the French Revolution ffs; its meaning changed dramatically since then. In the nineteenth century the left was indeed "socialist" if only on paper and at least professed allegiance to an ultimate goal of overthrowing capitalism and so on (I'm thinking of people like Jaures and the parliamentary socialists). Incidentally this is also probably when that Britannica article was conceived (with subsequent revisions during the 60s I reckon). TODAY however, the left does not mean anti-capitalism, it doesn't mean marxism, and the social democratic parties do not even profess on paper the goal of communising the means of production. And yet you claim that most people are not aware of this, and that they base their daily observations on national politics on encyclopedias rather than their own critical thinking. And this is supposed to be the "average Joe" with only a "hint of education" no less!
Go ahead and ask one of your non-political workmates what they understand by the left (without giving them any hints as to what answer you're looking for) and then report their answer here, unadulterated. I bet it won't be "The left means hostility to the interests of traditional elites, including the wealthy and members of the aristocracy, and to favour the interests of the working class (see proletariat)."

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Jun 15 2010 01:10
Vlad336 wrote:
Most "average Joes," even amongst Fox News watchers, make a distinction between communism and the Left.

Actually, if you're defining the Left to mean liberalism, the opposite is the case. Go take a look at the Glen Beck thread. Fox News anchors and watchers literally imagine the Obama administration as one step away from a Bolshevik coup.

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Jun 15 2010 01:17
Vlad336 wrote:
Go ahead and ask one of your non-political workmates what they understand by the left (without giving them any hints as to what answer you're looking for) and then report their answer here, unadulterated.

I have little doubt you're right in that they'll say the Democrats represent the Left. After all, there's no real Left to speak of in this country. But if pressed on the point of whether Karl Marx was a figure of the Left or the Right, they're going to say the Left. If pressed on the point of whether socialism is a movement of the Left or the Right, they're going to say the Left.

Boris Badenov
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Jun 15 2010 01:21
Hughes wrote:
Vlad336 wrote:
Most "average Joes," even amongst Fox News watchers, make a distinction between communism and the Left.

Actually, if you're defining the Left to mean liberalism, the opposite is the case. Go take a look at the Glen Beck thread. Fox News anchors and watchers literally imagine the Obama administration as one step away from a Bolshevik coup.

Yes Glen Beck and a handful of lunatics (maybe I was wrong to give FN viewers the benefit of a doubt) think Obama is a Bolshevik, but I very much doubt that all Americans think the same (or even most). But if they did, it only goes to show that their definition of socialism or bolshevism is all wrong, in which case their definition of the Left becomes equally irrelevant (as it is built on fearmongering and disinformation not Britannica, or indeed any legitimate source of knowledge about the world). So the burden of proof is still on you.
You might say that the same people who think Obama is a socialist also think Marx was a socialist, and since they're probably not an insignificant percentage of the American population, your thesis is confirmed, but since these same people have no understanding/genuine knowledge of socialism, it matters all too little where they would place Marx or Goldman on the political spectrum. I for one am not going to justify (or even just call) my politics in terms set by a bunch of populist lunatics.
If we're talking about the people who don't think Obama is a socialist, then it's still incorrect to claim that they would make no distinction between what the Left means today (in America at least) and genuine marxism or anarchism. They would probably say that the Left is about implementing certain "reforms" and "tweaking the system" (and indeed this is what leftist progressives support), not about abolishing capitalism.

Boris Badenov
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Jun 15 2010 01:22
Hughes wrote:
I have little doubt you're right in that they'll say the Democrats represent the Left. After all, there's no real Left to speak of in this country. But if pressed on the point of whether Karl Marx was a figure of the Left or the Right

Framing it like that is akin to asking "When have you stopped beating your wife?"

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Jun 15 2010 01:25
Vlad336 wrote:
Hughes wrote:
I have little doubt you're right in that they'll say the Democrats represent the Left. After all, there's no real Left to speak of in this country. But if pressed on the point of whether Karl Marx was a figure of the Left or the Right

Framing it like that is akin to asking "When have you stopped beating your wife?"

What?

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Jun 15 2010 01:27

Lets agree to disagree then. I have an interview I have to do in forty minutes and this is putting me in a pissy mood.

Quote:
But if pressed on the point of whether Karl Marx was a figure of the Left or the Right, they're going to say the Left. If pressed on the point of whether socialism is a movement of the Left or the Right, they're going to say the Left.

And this:

Quote:
That said, if you Situationists want to invent an entirely new vocabulary so as to further marginalize yourself, that's entirely your prerogative.

No hard feelings hopefully.

Boris Badenov
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Jun 15 2010 01:28
Hughes wrote:
Vlad336 wrote:
Hughes wrote:
I have little doubt you're right in that they'll say the Democrats represent the Left. After all, there's no real Left to speak of in this country. But if pressed on the point of whether Karl Marx was a figure of the Left or the Right

Framing it like that is akin to asking "When have you stopped beating your wife?"

What?

You are already setting the premise on which the question is built and imposing it on the questioned party. You are effectively claiming that Marx was part of the Left (because he was clearly not a right-winger) and then asking the other person to agree with you.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loaded_question

Boris Badenov
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Jun 15 2010 01:31
Hughes wrote:
And this:
Quote:
That said, if you Situationists want to invent an entirely new vocabulary so as to further marginalize yourself, that's entirely your prerogative.

No hard feelings hopefully.

Who are you addressing? No one has claimed to be a situationist so far.

Quote:
Lets agree to disagree then. I have an interview I have to do in forty minutes and this is putting me in a pissy mood.

Oh noes, my "situationist" attack on your precious Left has put you in a pissy mood, and indirectly sabotaged your revolutionary journalism. sad

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Jun 15 2010 01:46
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Who are you addressing? No one has claimed to be a situationist so far.

It was an educated guess. I could be mislabeling the post-Left anarchy of this forum though.

Quote:
Oh noes, my "situationist" attack on your precious Left has put you in a pissy mood, and indirectly sabotaged your revolutionary journalism.

You really have to get the last dig, huh? Well, I'll give it to you.

Boris Badenov
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Jun 15 2010 01:54
Quote:
I could be mislabeling the post-Left anarchy of this forum though.

Jesus fuck what does "post-leftism" have to do with it? Being against the left does not mean you're "post-left" (whatever the fuck that means). Since you're such a stickler for literal definitions you might want to read up on "post-left anarchy" before accusing anyone here of being an adherent of it.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Post-left_anarchy

Quote:
You really have to get the last dig, huh? Well, I'll give it to you.

Typical leftist "generosity."

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Jun 15 2010 05:41

It is silly/pedantic trying to say you or Marx are not part of the left though.

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Jun 15 2010 06:33
888 wrote:
It is silly/pedantic trying to say you or Marx are not part of the left though.

Exactly how much use is a category that can include Karl Marx, Hugo Chavez, Barrack Obama and pretty much everyone who posts on here though?

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Jun 15 2010 08:03
Hughes wrote:
That seems pretty semantic. I mean if one defines the "left" solely as the "left wing of capitalism,' as is done there, then sure, I hear you. But that's not the definition of the left as traditionally or popularly understood. Were I to put a poll in the field, asking where on the political spectrum were Karl Marx, Emma Goldman, and Noam Chomsky, most everyone (who was familiar with the people in question) would rightly say they were on the left.

That said, if you Situationists want to invent an entirely new vocabulary so as to further marginalize yourself, that's entirely your prerogative.

The definition of communism as traditionally or popularly understood is currently Stalinism, so why don't you fuck off from libcom and go join your local Communist Party? This pedantic bullshit is exactly what those communists and anarchists who position themselves outside of the left are criticizing about leftism in the first place.

The left is an apparatus that functions to appropriate the discontent and alienated expressions of humanity within a capitalist society in order to "fix", "reform", or OPTIMIZE the conditions by which capital functions, and thus to perpetuate the existence of capital itself. So the left recuperates any potential for the realization of communism, coopting those who are genuinely enraged with a commodified existence into the myths of democratic organization. The logic is that we have to fight to win small concessions in the here and now, to build a movement that can take it all. The consequence is the neutralization of the potential for acts of autonomous insurgency against the conditions and manifestations of capital's reign, instead opting to convince those in power to make small adjustments (unless they, the left, can get into power themselves!). In building their movement the left only makes blatant its complicity with capital, their desire to take hold of its reins for their own ends.

Hughes, if this sounds like "postmodern" or "situationist" mumbo jumbo, then its clear which side of the fence you're on. Those who refuse to acknowledge this critique only demonstrate their true motives for their political actions.

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Jun 15 2010 08:50
Vlad336 wrote:
Valeriano Orobón Fernández wrote:
Entdinglichung wrote:
some lesser known examples from Germany:

* Albert Walter: 1919 syndicalist "German Seemen League" & USPD, 1921 KPD, 1933-1934 imprisoned in KZ Fuhlsbüttel, after that, conversion to völkisch nationalism, 1939 author of a Nazi pamphlet titled "the English war and the German worker", 1949-1957 MP of the rightwing "German Party"

* Berthold Karwahne, KPD, 1926-1927 ultraleft opposition of the KPD, member of the Spartacusbund II around Pfemfert and Katz, ~ 1928 NSDAP, 1930-1945 MP, 1933 additionally administrator of expropriated trade union property

* Franz Krajewski (later Franz Land), around 1920 member of the FAUD, 1922 founding member of the NSDAP in Dortmund-Mengede, 1932-1933 member of the Prussian Diet, 1933-1945 MP

the latter two were the only high-ranking Nazis 1933-45 from a leftwing background

Didn't Carls Schmitt and Goebbels have a left-wing background?

Goebbels was part of the Strasserite wing of the party, but AFAIK was never anything but a nazi.

Schmitt participated around 1920 in circles of bohemian intellectuals, dadaists, etc. but he was always a catholic who admired the church's organisational structure and his political ideas were always in favour of a strong state, there is an ongoing discussion if some of his writings on the criticism of parliamentary systems influenced left-wing thinkers like Johannes Agnoli and some members of the Frankfurter Schule (or its fringes) like Otto Kirchheimer, Franz Neumann, Ernst Fraenkel, Walter Benjamin or Jürgen Habermas ... and the people around TELOS love Schmitt

Goebbels dreamed for a very short period around 1919 of a "German Red Army" marching on Berlin but apart from this, there are no traces of leftism in his thinking and even in this period, he was deeply influenced by voelkisch and "conservative revolutionary" ideologies

rata
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Jun 15 2010 12:43
renegado wrote:
Hughes, if this sounds like "postmodern" or "situationist" mumbo jumbo, then its clear which side of the fence you're on.

Frankly, it sounds as postmodern mumbo jumbo to me too, as well as all "transcending Left and Right" talks. And I guess, than it's clear on whose side I am on, and I guess Kropotkin too: "As to their economical conceptions, the anarchists, in common with all socialists, of whom they constitute the left wing, maintain that the now prevailing system of private ownership in land, and our capitalist production for the sake of profits, represent a monopoly which runs against both the principles of justice and the dictates of utility." (1910)

/I think I already posted this in a similar discussion on libcom some years ago.../

Valeriano Orobó...
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Jun 15 2010 12:49
Entdinglichung wrote:
Vlad336 wrote:
Valeriano Orobón Fernández wrote:
Entdinglichung wrote:
some lesser known examples from Germany:

* Albert Walter: 1919 syndicalist "German Seemen League" & USPD, 1921 KPD, 1933-1934 imprisoned in KZ Fuhlsbüttel, after that, conversion to völkisch nationalism, 1939 author of a Nazi pamphlet titled "the English war and the German worker", 1949-1957 MP of the rightwing "German Party"

* Berthold Karwahne, KPD, 1926-1927 ultraleft opposition of the KPD, member of the Spartacusbund II around Pfemfert and Katz, ~ 1928 NSDAP, 1930-1945 MP, 1933 additionally administrator of expropriated trade union property

* Franz Krajewski (later Franz Land), around 1920 member of the FAUD, 1922 founding member of the NSDAP in Dortmund-Mengede, 1932-1933 member of the Prussian Diet, 1933-1945 MP

the latter two were the only high-ranking Nazis 1933-45 from a leftwing background

Didn't Carls Schmitt and Goebbels have a left-wing background?

Goebbels was part of the Strasserite wing of the party, but AFAIK was never anything but a nazi.

Schmitt participated around 1920 in circles of bohemian intellectuals, dadaists, etc. but he was always a catholic who admired the church's organisational structure and his political ideas were always in favour of a strong state, there is an ongoing discussion if some of his writings on the criticism of parliamentary systems influenced left-wing thinkers like Johannes Agnoli and some members of the Frankfurter Schule (or its fringes) like Otto Kirchheimer, Franz Neumann, Ernst Fraenkel, Walter Benjamin or Jürgen Habermas ... and the people around TELOS love Schmitt

Goebbels dreamed for a very short period around 1919 of a "German Red Army" marching on Berlin but apart from this, there are no traces of leftism in his thinking and even in this period, he was deeply influenced by voelkisch and "conservative revolutionary" ideologies

Yep that's right, i remember now.

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Jun 15 2010 13:25

Maria Meyer-Sevenich (1907-1970), she never became part of the reactionary or fascist right but there a few people who changed their allegiance more often than here:

mid 1920ies KJVD (KPD's youth org) - 1928 SPD, shortly after resignation - 1931 SAPD - 1932 Left Opposition of the KPD - 1933 KPD, 1937 Roman Catholic Church - 1945 Deutsche Aufbau-Bewegung - 1946 CDU - 1949 SPD - 1970 CDU

slothjabber
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Jun 15 2010 13:29
Ret Marut wrote:
...

I thought slothjabber was talking about this;
...
From this, it seems clear that Aldred was defending free speech against censorship as a basic principle - and presumably with his own wartime interests as an anti-war critic in mind. Whether that is worthwhile - or doing it in that way - is another question...

No, I was talking about the Marquis of Tavistock. But I accept that it wasn't a 'turn to the right', I think that Volin's characterisation of the whole 'anti-war' debacle as 'naive' and 'ridiculous' is probably closer to the truth.

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Jun 15 2010 13:53
rata wrote:
renegado wrote:
Hughes, if this sounds like "postmodern" or "situationist" mumbo jumbo, then its clear which side of the fence you're on.

Frankly, it sounds as postmodern mumbo jumbo to me too, as well as all "transcending Left and Right" talks. And I guess, than it's clear on whose side I am on, and I guess Kropotkin too: "As to their economical conceptions, the anarchists, in common with all socialists, of whom they constitute the left wing, maintain that the now prevailing system of private ownership in land, and our capitalist production for the sake of profits, represent a monopoly which runs against both the principles of justice and the dictates of utility." (1910)

/I think I already posted this in a similar discussion on libcom some years ago.../

I think there's a difference between Kropotkin saying that anarchists are "to the left" of socialists (which is describing a process of radicalization not stating that the Left includes anarchists) and anarchists today (we are talking about the present after all, not the 19th century as I've emphasized above) claiming a place on the orthodox Left.
It may seem silly and pointless to some people to play "word games" but I think this a much more crucial issue. The Left is wholly anti-working class, and I say this without any ambition of being more Dauve than thou (or "revolutionary oneupmanship" as Hughes would call it); it is simply reality as I observe and experience it. I do not feel that I have anything in common with anyone on the Left in its current state. I was a social democrat supporter some time ago, so I know what the social democrats in my country want, and it is not "socialism" even in the broadest possible (yet still believable obviously) sense of the word. So no, it is not about some pedantic "transcending the Left and Right divide," it is, for me at least, about being genuinely and militantly against the parliamentary Left, which is after all simply the Right writ large as far as I'm concerned.
I have to say it's actually kind of bewildering that anarchists would be against attacking the Left on the grounds that "it's silly and postmodern." I guess some people like to pay lip service to direct action but secretly still have a hard on for popular reformism, which they refuse to disavow completely. This to me looks very hypocritical (not leveling any accusations at anyone on this thread; this is just a tendency I've noticed), but to each his own I reckon. Personally I believe in calling each thing by its right name.

Also if we're still discussing the specific examples that Hughes proposed, namely Marx and Emma, I don't think either of them ever stated that they were "on the Left." Indeed in Marx's time (esp. pre-Paris Commune, but even as late as the 1890s when the whole Dreyfuss affair occurred), the Left in France most likely meant republican liberalism, not socialism, and even when it included socialists, the Left as a term in itself was reserved for parliamentary politics of the kind espoused by Jean Jaures. AFAIK no anarchists (nor indeed Prince Kropotkin himself despite the quote you produce above) of the "classical age" ever claimed a place on the actual Left (whatever it was supposed to mean in popular parlance at that particular time and place).

Boris Badenov
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Joined: 25-08-08
Jun 15 2010 14:45
xurbanpiratedreamerx wrote:
Ian Bonehead wrote:
One anarchist suggested to me today that anarchists should form an anti-nazi/anti-fascist block on EDL marches as they are self-proclaimed anti-racist and we share their opposition to sharia law. Discuss.

Not a swing to the right really, just idiotic.

THE OUTLAW is the gray eminence behind Class War. Discuss.