good text on the history of the "Anti-Germans"

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smg
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Mar 20 2012 21:20
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Yup, I stand by that quote. Strip away the obligatory throat-clearing about "communism" and the dilettantish "value-critique" jargon, and the Anti-German worldview (post-2001) is basically neo-conservatism.

The national particularity is that some German neo-conservatives continued to call themselves "communists" for a little while longer and dressing up their views in pseudo-Marxist jargon, whereas neo-conservatives in other countries were much more honest about their views.

On a side note: The Plats seem particularly interested in Marxists who become neo-cons or generally shift to the right. I wonder if this is why they published the piece.

Angelus Novus
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Mar 20 2012 21:39
smg wrote:
On a side note: The Plats seem particularly interested in Marxists who become neo-cons or generally shift to the right. I wonder if this is why they published the piece.

Yeah, I find them a bit disingenuous in that regard. It's pretty clear that they feel some sort of affinity for such views, but lack the courage of their convictions to state that affinity openly, so they maintain this pose of equidistance from both anti-imperialism and neo-conservatism, but its clear that their priority is simply creating the space for the latter in left-discourse, along the lines of "regressive anti-imperialism is shitty, but tolerated as a leftist position, whereas neo-conservatism isn't, so in the interest of fairness we want to create a space where the latter is also regarded as such".

It reminds me of an acquaintance of mine -- non-German, but who lived in Germany -- who publicly associated with the left-communist milieu (groups coming out of the "communization" perspective or post-situationism), but who in private conversations with me would defend Israeli settlement policies. It's like the "left-communist" stuff is just gloss to maintain a position of distance to actually existing social movements, and covers for some basically shitty politics.

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Mar 20 2012 22:10

There are hours of audio material online about their general approach http://www.archive.org/search.php?query=platypus%20society%20AND%20mediatype%3Aaudio

but calling them neo-cons is quite superficial. They would consider the anti-Deutsch text a symptom of a left in decline, an attempt to reflect on the quagmire of the anti-imperialist left, but a failed one, because ultimately one has to go back to 1917, the crisis of Marxism; Kautsky vs. Lenin. IIRC on some other thread here Kautsky was even called the inspiration of neo-conservatism.

Angelus Novus
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Mar 21 2012 12:54
Noa Rodman wrote:
They would consider the anti-Deutsch text a symptom of a left in decline

That's the defensive line they take when called out, but at other times, Chris Cutrone has publicly stated their "affinity" for the Anti-German tendency (I'll see if I can dig out the appropriate quote). And by "Anti-German", he definitely means the post-2001 tendency, not the 1990s useage of the term.

Also, the "left in decline" perspective is an indication of their elitist conception of politics, no doubt at least partially due to the Spartacist League background.

Noam Chomsky has pointed out before that in terms of the breadth and depth of social movements active around various issues, if one considers that "the left", then the left is healthier before than at any other time in history.

But the Platypus conception, which they definitely share with some varieties of Anti-Germans, is that "the left" is basically whoever shares a rigid continuity with a specific intellectual or political lineage. In this batty conception, Platypus and the ISF would be part of "the left" (and/or symptoms of its decline), but the Civil Rights movement in the United States during the 1950s and 1960s wouldn't be, nor would the Brazilian landless peasants movement.

schalomlibertad
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Mar 21 2012 13:16
Angelus Novus wrote:
P.S.:

To the extent that I've taken issue with anything in this thread, it was Schalomlibertad's assertion that TOP have "generalized" Anti-German "critique". They haven't. TOP represents an abandonment of the Anti-German "critique" in favor of a theory of the state and nationalism heavily indebted to the theory of the "Marxistische Gruppe" of the 1970s and 1980s. TOP's position in a lot of their public statements on the matter is precisely that Germany has become a "normal" bourgeois-democratic capitalist nation-state, and does not represent a specifically "German" form of processing social antagonisms.

Like I said at the beginning of this thread, if you want to define whether TOP is an anti-German group or not (to answer the original question about whether the anti-German milieu is a singular homogenous entity or an internally differentiated one), then you need some kind of criteria. And I cited TOP directly on this, pointing out their criteria on it.

Theirs is an ideology critique whereas yours/Grigat's is based on the mode of production." For TOP: "The ideology of the Volksgemeinschaft offers a specific solution to the conflictedness (of bouregios-capitalist socialization/association): The perspective of a racially-defined and secured privilege, the authoritarian contentment/passification of class society, and in violent/forceful final battle against a projected jewish-plutocratic world conspiracy, the chance/outlook, to give up/relinquish once and for all the experience of powerlessness of bourgeios individuality." (source, again)

That's fine if you want to introduce a different criteria, but you should notice that it is a different one. It is not a reply to TOP's. I also don't think it applies to many groups and individuals who actually do identify as anti-German. So I don't think it actually gets at the uniqueness of the anti-German critique, unless you only want to grasp the hardcore, Grigat and maybe some others. But I think that produces a skewed picture on a false premise.

Your/Grigat's criteria seems to also force you to deny TOP and other groups critique of "foreshortened critiques of capitalism" or "fetishized anti-capitalism", and to act as if their critique is limited to an anti-national one divorced from the peculiarity of National Socialism. That's what your original response did, focusing one dimensionally on TOP's critique of 'the nation' as a normal form of ideology in capitalist nation-states.

Again, TOP's focus was not on National Socialism as a mode of production, but as an ideology" ". And they don't argue that NS abolished the state, nation and capital, but rather that it reproduces them. You can follow the links to see for yourself, or do you have other texts of their to cite on this issue that proves otherwise?

Angelus Novus
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Mar 21 2012 14:41
schalomlibertad wrote:
Like I said at the beginning of this thread, if you want to define whether TOP is an anti-German group or not (to answer the original question about whether the anti-German milieu is a singular homogenous entity or an internally differentiated one), then you need some kind of criteria.

Right, that's what got the thread rolling, and my contention is that the criteria you list aren't really specific to Anti-German "critique".

The notion of the state as an institution that has to smooth out social antagonisms in the interest of keeping things functioning is something that you'll encounter in most Marxist theories of the state. The notion of the national collective as an ideology mediating the relationship of individuals to the state, as I noted, comes straight out of the MG/Gegenstandpunkt (which I think TOP themselves would admit to borrowing from).

Notions of an authoritarian pacification of the antagonisms of class society you can find as far back as Marx's _18th Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte_, indeed the concept of "bonapartism" is beloved in particular by a lot of Trotskyists.

So if as you say, TOP does not subscribe to the notion of "Germany as a mode of production", then that's even less of a reason to describe them as Anti-German, since the various components of their theory have been around in the Marxist milieu for a while.

That's the point I made in the comments section of Contested Terrain concerning "theory": the 1990s Anti-Germans, for example Gruppe Demontage, make use of more general Marxist theories that aren't specific to Germany, like Etienne Balibar/Immanuel Wallerstein and Benedict Anderson's books on the nation, or the French Regulation School, or the writings of people like Postone or Zygmunt Baumann on the Holocaust. In terms of the "softcores", there really isn't any distinctive "theory"; what's distinctive is the national context it's applied in.

On the one hand, you're doing scholarly work on the history of the movement, which I think is useful to anyone who has an interest in modern German history. On the other hand, you also seem to think there's some useful theoretical "core" to the movement that can be retrieved and applied by leftists outside of Germany, and I would contest that. All the useful bits of theory aren't specific to the Anti-Germans. Maybe this is the first time you've encountered these ideas, but that doesn't make them Anti-German ideas. To people who've never heard B.B. King, Eric Clapton probably sounds like a highly original guitar player.

schalomlibertad
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Mar 21 2012 14:49

Again, the criteria for the anti-Germans, given by TOP, was an ideology critique of "foreshortened critique of capitalism" or "fetishized anti-capitalism", and not a Marxist critique of the state, which they did not invent, and was never the issue. Such an ideology critique originates in the work of Adorno/Horkheimer, continues in the work of Moishe Postone, is carried on in the work of Werner Bonefeld, and others. Such a critique is critically important for the Left beyond the borders of Germany. It finds reception for example in the UK magazine Shift, Kittens and some others, usually as the result of direct linkages with people in the anti-German and anti-national Left in Germany. Such a critique does not of course require going through the anti-German Left, yet those links are often the way leftists inform themselves about it and try it out as an analytical tool, without, of course, having to adopt positions advanced by particular anti-German groups.

Angelus Novus
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Mar 21 2012 14:53
schalomlibertad wrote:
Again, the criteria for the anti-Germans, given by TOP, was an ideology critique of "foreshortened critique of capitalism" or "fetishized anti-capitalism"

That's just totally arbitrary. Then Marx's critique of Proudhon from the 1840s is "Anti-German"!

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Mar 21 2012 14:55

PS - Another example of the Left critique of "fetishized anti-capitalism", which appears not to have many links with the anti-German tendency nor with the critical theory tradition, is the Dutch anti-racist group, De Fabel van de Illegaal (The Myth of Illegality). They were significant for first initiating the anti-'globalization' campaign against the Multilateral Agreement on Investments, and then withdrawing from it because of the wide attraction from the Right, developing out of this experience a critique of 'reactionary anti-capitalism' that is not very dissimilar to that of the anti-German critique. (Their text database is here.)

Angelus Novus
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Mar 21 2012 15:25
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The campaign against the MAI is potentially anti-Semitic

Too stupid; didn't read.

Angelus Novus
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Mar 21 2012 16:10

As for Jura's question about TOP, which got this whole discussion going:

If anyone has the pamphlet TOP/Ums Ganze distributed during the moblizations for the Heiligendamm G-7 demonstrations, there's an interview in that pamphlet where the interviewer asks a question along the lines about "What should/do Anti-German communists say about [etc.]", to which a representative from TOP responds, "as to what 'Anti-German communists' would say, maybe you should go ask some."

So that should put to rest the whole question as to whether TOP considers itself Anti-German.

I think in this thread Schalomlibertad just wants to rescue the besmirched honor of the term "Anti-German" by trying to connect it with groups that aren't insane and/or politically bankrupt. But I'm afraid that ship left the harbor a long time ago...

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Mar 21 2012 19:11
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They would consider the anti-Deutsch text a symptom of a left in decline, an attempt to reflect on the quagmire of the anti-imperialist left, but a failed one, because ultimately one has to go back to 1917, the crisis of Marxism; Kautsky vs. Lenin.

That would be the Plat argument, no doubt about it.

Quote:
Also, the "left in decline" perspective is an indication of their elitist conception of politics, no doubt at least partially due to the Spartacist League background.

Sounds about right. The Spart background seems to color their whole political project. I get the impression that they hope to revive the Left through performing a perpetual autopsy on Lenin and Trotsky (Luxemburg too to a lesser degree) with a little help from the Frankfurt School.

Angelus Novus
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Mar 21 2012 19:51

P.S. Schalomlibertad wrote:

Quote:
"It finds reception for example in the UK magazine Shift, Kittens and some others, usually as the result of direct linkages with people in the anti-German and anti-national Left in Germany."

Kittens is the publication of the UK group of Junge Linke, another group strongly influenced by MG/Gegenstandpunkt. They even reject the notion of Anti-semitism being a "truncated anti-capitalism".

Schalomlibertad, I think you're using an excessively broad notion of "Anti-German" here; you're basically applying it to any group you approve of whose critique of capitalism you regard as sufficiently "non-fetishistic".

This is kind of an "All German Cats are Grey" approach to political tendencies. Principia Dialectica for a while also seemed to think that any group from Germany that read Marx's _Capital_ must have something to do with the Nuremberg school of "Wertkritik".

Android
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Mar 21 2012 19:46

On this:

smg wrote:
The Spart background seems to color their whole political project.

At the last London Anarchist Bookfair I raised the Spart connection (by accident) in a conversation with a UK-based member of Platypus. Her response was that only one or two members/participants in Platypus come from that kind of political background.

Angelus Novus
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Mar 21 2012 19:48
Android wrote:
On this:
smg wrote:
The Spart background seems to color their whole political project.

At the last London Anarchist Bookfair I raised the Spart connection (by accident) in a conversation with a UK-based member of Platypus. Her response was that only one or two members/participants in Platypus come from that kind of political background.

Cutrone, who's kind of the theoretical "guru" of the sect.

In the world of Cutrone-Thought, there hasn't been a real "left" since James Cannon and Max Shachtman parted ways, or thereabouts...

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Mar 21 2012 22:44
Angelus wrote:
That's the defensive line they take when called out, but at other times, Chris Cutrone has publicly stated their "affinity" for the Anti-German tendency

But perhaps the ISF could agree with the claim that they are a sort of a symptom of the decline or death of the left. And the thesis about the working class disappearing was made before the war by the left-communist Ottorino Perrone. Joachim Bruhn points also to Pannekoek seeing this as a problem. Even honest social-democrats considered the left to be death in Europe after the war, having been in decline since 1933 (the anti-fascist turn by the socialists had an authoritarian/corporatist character, clearly seen by Kautsky and criticized e.g. here).

P.S.

I see that the Brazilian landless peasants movement's slogan is "occupy, resist, produce". So is that where the ubiquitous slogan originates, the right to be a petty-commodity producer eek

Angelus Novus
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Mar 21 2012 22:58
Noa Rodman wrote:
I see that the Brazilian landless peasants movement's slogan is "occupy, resist, produce". So is that where the ubiquitous slogan originates, the right to be a petty-commodity producer eek

Yeah, because in communism nobody will produce anything. We'll sprinkle fairy dust and food and and shelter and useful objects will sprout up. Why? Because magic, that's why!

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Mar 22 2012 00:20
Noa Rodman wrote:

I see that the Brazilian landless peasants movement's slogan is "occupy, resist, produce". So is that where the ubiquitous slogan originates, the right to be a petty-commodity producer eek

I think they mean more the right to produce food, so they can eat it.

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Mar 22 2012 00:30

I got it from the wiki entry which incidentally quotes James Petras. I think he's evidence of the existence also in the US of a reactionary anti-capitalism.

schalomlibertad
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Mar 22 2012 09:48

wall

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Mar 22 2012 10:16

Google translate tells me that the nearest German equivalent it can find for "red herring" is Ablenkungsmanöver, which seems unsatisfyingly prosaic somehow. Alternative suggestions welcome. That aside, the whole strand of MST, Occupy as a bourgeois slogan, Petras as twat, etc. is a complete diversion from the topic.

Angelus has put the case for the prosecution - i.e. that there is no specific theoretical contribution that the Anti-Deutsche has made to revolutionary critique and praxis that can be defined/salvaged and transmitted (circulated) to be used by other groups in other contexts.

I would be interested in hearing a coherent answer to that case before I simply file post-2001 Anti-Deutsche in the bin marked "mental idiots". Can anybody provide one?

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Mar 22 2012 10:47

They were filed in my bin map a long time ago together with Kurz, Badiou, Laclau, Zizek, Postone, Castoriadis, Lukacs, Heinrich, Rancière, Jameson as well as the anti-anti-german Gerard Hanloser, the wildcat group, Plato and Robespierre, Bukharin, Bensaïd, Tamas and Chris Cutrone of Platypus, Ilyenkov and Rubin; I even have a sub-map bin for the Frankfurt school; Korsch, Bloch, Adorno, Reich, Benjamin, Sohn-Rethel, Kofler, Marcuse and Horkheimer; all a bunch of mentals really. In the Bruhn map I have this text filed:
http://www.ca-ira.net/isf/beitraege/bruhn-who.are.the.anti-germans.html

He explains the ISF originated from the SB, which makes them maybe similar to the Platypus in their new left-ism (in the case of Platypus some members came out of the SDS), but the Platypus have more "sympathy" for Lenin in the sense that they understand the original meaning of things like the right to self-determination, whereas Bruhn would see Lenin as the source for all the bad anti-imperialism of the stalinists, trotskyists, etc. Their new leftism is also seen in their blind dismissal of Kautsky (not in my bin map).

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Mar 22 2012 16:26
Quote:
I got it from the wiki entry which incidentally quotes James Petras. I think he's evidence of the existence also in the US of a reactionary anti-capitalism.

He teaches here in Halifax, weird.

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Mar 22 2012 19:03

Yes he's somehow involved with the MST and I thought it worth mentioning that the name of the occupy movement originates from the struggle for the right to be a petty commodity producer, though that's not relevant you might argue;

Noami Klein wrote:
Argentinian workers borrowed the slogan "Occupy, Resist, Produce" from Latin America's largest social movement, Brazil's Movimiento Sin Terra, in which more than a million people have reclaimed unused land and put it back into community production. One worker told us that what the movement in Argentina is doing is "MST for the cities".

It is just a bit weird for a socialist to borrow basically from wannabe small property owners.

And the last part of the slogan "produce!" would be seen as fascist by the anti-Deutsch (though Die Linke with their decrepit unproductive vs. productive capital rhetoric are not much better).

Angelus Novus
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Mar 22 2012 19:30
Noa Rodman wrote:
It is just a bit weird for a socialist to borrow basically from wannabe small property owners.

Yeah, how dare these Brazilian farmers refuse to starve to death waiting for the rest of the world to implement communism. Don't they know that trying to survive within the framework of commodity production is at best a truncated and fetishistic anti-capitalism, and at worst potentially anti-semitic?

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Mar 22 2012 20:46
Noa Rodman wrote:
in my bin map

You should definitely do a rap from this.

Angelus Novus
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Mar 22 2012 21:40
jura wrote:
Noa Rodman wrote:
in my bin map

You should definitely do a rap from this.

Kautsky Krew. Title of first album: Gold Standard.

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Mar 22 2012 22:35
Angelus Novus wrote:
Noa Rodman wrote:
It is just a bit weird for a socialist to borrow basically from wannabe small property owners.

Yeah, how dare these Brazilian farmers refuse to starve to death waiting for the rest of the world to implement communism. Don't they know that trying to survive within the framework of commodity production is at best a truncated and fetishistic anti-capitalism, and at worst potentially anti-semitic?

Jesus, they are not wannabe property owners, they squat the land and grow food on it. Like the poster above is trying to tell you they are wannabe alive people.

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Mar 22 2012 22:43

Am I seriously the only one who thinks that the friggin MST has nothing to do with the Anti-Deutsche other than being a reason not to answer basic questions? This is getting pathetic.

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Mar 22 2012 22:46

Tbh I'm more interested in the MST than the anti deutsche, because they are kind of relevant to the class struggle, because they are poor people who do class struggle to meet their immediate needs, which is why I'm annoyed someone is slagging them off with bizarre arguments.

But as it's not relevant to the thread and I've made my point, I'll cool it.