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Thursday, January 21, 2016
Naziism and Communism
It's quite often that you see a liberal asserting that Naziism (fascism) and Communism (socialism) are exact opposites, socially, economically, politically. In fact it's a matter of deep faith among liberals that Hitler was a hard-right, anti-socialist, anti-communist, anti-left fanatic. Well, the reality is somewhat more complicated as many people who survived the communism would ascertain.
Some months ago I was debating a liberal on this exact topic. I believe my reply to him could be educational to some of my audience.
"The basis of the conflation of nazism and socialism is the term "National Socialism," a self description of the Nazis."
There are plenty of works from historians and economists which show the similarities between different types of socialism - national socialism, communism, "democratic socialism", "socialism with a human face", "Juche", etc.. The similarities are obvious to anyone who lived in the socialist countries.
"Hitler and the Nazis outlawed socialism, and executed socialists and communists en masse, even before they started rounding up Jews. In 1933, the Dachau concentration camp held socialists and leftists exclusively."
This argument is wrong on many levels. Nazis, socialists and communists competed for the same electorate and tried to appeal to them with similar slogans. The fact that they hated each other is understandable (and even inevitable). You hate most the people who you consider to be betraying your cause, the people closest to you. Moreover, different socialist movements were in direct competition.
For example, before WW2, Stalin called German social democrats "social fascists". German communists and Nazis were fighting each other on the streets of Germany - just like the Crips and the Bloods are fighting today on the streets of Los Angeles. In 1939, the communists and the Nazis became best friends - if only for a short duration.
This is similar to Al Capone making deals with some gangsters, and murdering hundreds of other gangsters. Of course, no one would claim that on this basis that al Capone was not a gangster himself.
And let's not forget that all communist regimes killed plenty of communists - Stalin murdered almost all of Lenin's "Old Guard", as well as sent hundreds of German communists to the Gestapo. The original revolutionaries did not escape the terror from Mao either.
"The Nazis arrested more than 11,000 Germans for "illegal socialist activity" in 1936."
Hundreds of thousands of people accused of "Trotskyist activities" in the USSR were sent to forced labor camps. Among them was my grandmother, Basya Arkuzskaya, who was punished with a 10 year sentence - even though she had no idea who Trotsky was. Indeed, totalitarian regimes silence, imprison and kill anyone who is suspected of disloyalty. It is no surprise that anyone, no matter how "socialist", was in danger of the communist/Nazi attack. Totalitarian regimes have long memories, and if it was found you were in the wrong crowd (competing socialist group), you had a good chance of being sent to the Gulag.
"In the 1930s and even beyond, nazism, in sharp contrast to socialism, was strongly supported by leading capitalists and right wingers in the US."
That's a rather strong statement. So, what are the names of those multiple "leading capitalists" who supported Naziism? Amazingly, in your post you provide only one name - Henry Ford. Well, for one, Henry Ford is always given as an example of a "smart capitalist" by American liberals. His bizarre theories about worker wages are cited often in USA by the NYT and other publications with approval. What's is even more ironic is that Henry Ford was a big friend of Stalinist USSR, which means he was not really against socialism. He was a great friend of the communist dictator Stalin too: "In 1944, according to Brinkley, Stalin wrote to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, calling Henry Ford “one of the world’s greatest industrialists” and expressing the hope that “may God preserve him.”
"Nazism is a right wing ideology. It is violently racist, anti-socialist, and it targets the political left for extermination."
While Stalin put his people in charge of individual companies, Hitler decided to keep the existing experts and owners, but only as long as they satisfied his needs. This was a purely tactical difference, Stalin nationalized industries, while Hitler nationalized people.
Amazingly, all socialists who came to power eventually became racist, killed a lot of socialists, and targeted millions of people for extermination based on their ethnic, religious and sexual background. The Stalinist regime, Maoists, Pol Pot, Ceausescu , the whole family of Kims in North Korea, Honeker, and all others easily fit in this description. Heck, even good old Lenin himself killed plenty of socialists who were not communists. And yes, anyone who lived in the USSR or any leftist regimes knows about the Soviet hatred of the Jews and other minority groups, and surely you know about Stalin exterminating or exiling millions of minorities - Germans from Volga, Chechens, and many, may others. Same fate was also met by minorities in Mao's China, communist Vietnam, Pol Pot's Cambodia and the like. The list is too long to show here.
"Hitler banned labor unions (also a favorite target of American conservatives), which he saw as a potential threat to his regime."
None of the socialist regimes - from Lenin to Mao allowed independent unions. Hitler's position towards unions was indistinguishable from the position of the socialists before and after him - a vehicle to destroy the existing government, and later use as a socialist weapon to control the worker.
BTW, union membership in the USSR was compulsory, and unions were controlled by the communist apparatus.
"Hitler conducted a holocaust against gay men too - killing many thousands of them in concentration camps. He also banned abortion..."
Homosexuality was illegal in the USSR, as well as the rest of the communist block. Until recently, it was punished in Cuba with years of imprisonment in the labor camps. Abortions were illegal in the USSR during Stalin, while in communist China they were (and are) compulsory. In other words, Hitler's position on abortions and homosexuals was very similar to the position of the socialists before and after him.
Let me stop here. The problem with many liberals is that they have no historic point of reference, they don't fully comprehend the socialist ideas, and don't comprehend how much Hitler borrowed from them.
In fact, one can claim there are two camps - one which wants liberty for all, and the second which believes we all exist for the sake of the collective - the nation, the common good, the race, ethnicity, class. This is why Hitler's top diplomats wrote that "they felt as if they were with their party comrades" when they visited Stalin's Kremlin. There is little conceptual difference between Stalin's socialism and Hitler's socialism - both were based on the idea that was expressed by the Nazis in their program: "common good above private profit", a slogan which underlines the philosophy of communists, Nazis, socialists and American so-called liberals.
And one more thing. Somehow, liberals always forget to mention Winston Churchill, a leading anti-communist and anti-Nazi. While the liberals were busy appeasing the Nazis, he was on the forefront on fighting them. Should I assume that this is due to ignorance or malice?