Nazis and Communists compared

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Re: Nazis and Communists compared

Postby Upton_O_Goode » Sat Jul 07, 2018 9:09 pm

Balsamo wrote:Upton:
Actually, when I took a Russian visitor to meet Bernie Sanders, who was mayor of Burlington at the time, Bernie told the guy he himself was a Trotskyite. Not sure what that meant.


There is more to come as soon as i have the time for it.

But just answer this specific question which is quite important. Trotsky beleived that the goal to achieve - this was the same for him and Stalin - that is the "world revolution" - had to be led internationally, that is thanks for local communist initiatives within every countries, that the USSR should therefore apply a supportive policy to those individual groups. Trotsky conceived that different people had specific character and that the world revolution should take those characters into consideration.
The Revolution should be international in goal as well as in means, if you understand what i mean.

Stalin, on the other hand, did not trust those foreign leaders. In his perspective, the World Revolution had to be centralized in the USSR, in Moscow, and at the Kremlin, and spread directly from there, as he actually did by the end of 1945.


As far as commenting on that goes, I'm not sure enough of my own knowledge about Trotsky to speak definitively, and would prefer to hear what you and Sergey Romanov have to say. The only biography of Trotsky that I have read is the two-volume set by Volkogonov, which I thought was excellent, though I had nothing to compare it with. I was surprised to find that Trotsky appears to have had some sympathy for Kropotkin's approach to social reform. Kropotkin, for those who don't know, was an unrealistic idealist who thought people were basically good, and that if government would just get out of their way, justice would prevail. It was his tragedy to leave Britain and go back to Russia right after the Revolution, where he soon fell out of favor with Lenin. But, as he was by then an old man and ailing, Lenin more or less left him alone. Volkogonov quotes a passage from Kropotkin, which he says Trotsky had underlined n his copy of the book and in the margin of which there was a large question mark:


Peter Kropotkin wrote: All revolutionaries dream of a "committee of public safety" whose purpose is to eliminate anyone who dares to think otherwise than those in power think...Finally, they all dream of limiting any manifestation of initiative by individuals or the people as a whole...that the people should elect its leaders, who will then think for them and pass laws in their name...that is the secret dream of 99 percent of those who call themselves revolutionaries.



Obviously, Kropotkin disapproved of this dream. But did Trotsky? Did he have any hesitation about assuming the kind of absolute power that Stalin amassed? Would things have been better in the USSR if Trotsky had prevailed? I can't help thinking so. But the Stalinist emphasis on building socialism in one country got a strong impetus from the failure of the Red Army to defeat the Poles in 1920. Stalin and others realized that they had a lot of building to do before they could assert themselves with any credibility in the wider world.

I say all this with great diffidence and am ready to be instructed.
"Still, doubts gnawed at everyone. And under no circumstances could I acknowledge my own similar doubts. In order to coax the participants into psychic stability, I had to appear to be rock-solidly convinced of the necessity of carrying out this horrifyingly cruel command."

Rudolf Höß, hanged facing Auschwitz, the camp he commanded, in April 1947. He admitted to 1.1 to 1.5 million murders carried out under his command. Eichmann told him the number was 2.5 million.

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Re: Nazis and Communists compared

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Sat Jul 07, 2018 9:43 pm

I had thought that Stalin's "theoretical" view was to build socialism in one country, the USSR, first, and to focus on that, at the expense of the world revolution - and that he often used the Comintern as an instrument to help this project more than to spread world revolution, even in a top down form.

And the last biography of Trotsky I read was Isaac Deutscher's, I also read his biography of Stalin, which says a lot about my age and knowledge!
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Re: Nazis and Communists compared

Postby Sergey_Romanov » Sat Jul 07, 2018 10:08 pm

Texts of handwritten notes on pp. 71-79 at http://imwerden.de/pdf/lavrentiy_beria_ ... y_1999.pdf

Beria trial materials at http://istmat.info/node/22125

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Re: Nazis and Communists compared

Postby Upton_O_Goode » Sun Jul 08, 2018 10:54 am

Sergey_Romanov wrote:Texts of handwritten notes on pp. 71-79 at http://imwerden.de/pdf/lavrentiy_beria_ ... y_1999.pdf

Beria trial materials at http://istmat.info/node/22125



Thanks a lot. I've been skimming through the istmat materials and finding a lot there that I didn't know. I have bookmarked that site and will spend a lot of time there from now on.

But all the relations are a bit shaky in my mind. For example, there's a (negative) 1956 response to an appeal from the death sentence handed down to Beria's old pal Bagirov, who had dominated Armenia and Azerbaijan for decades, and a couple of Armenians that I'm only vaguely familiar with. The response is addressed to Voroshilov, and I've forgotten exactly which office he was occupying at the time that would have made him the logical person to get this letter. No matter; I'll clear that up easily, I'm sure. Maybe finally I'll get the whole cast of characters in the USSR straightened out. I recently read Volume 2 of a biography of Stalin: 900 pages devoted to the years 1929 to 1941. In other words, five days covered on each page. It gave me a much better understanding of the complex variety of issues Stalin was dealing with every day. In particular, the squabble with Japan in the Far East played a crucial role in his diplomatic decisions, and that aspect of the history is generally neglected in studies of the period focusing on Germany.


The June 28th letter from Beria to Malenkov is interesting. The biography of Beria that I just read indicated that Malenkov had been Beria's poodle for a long time, being a man with no particular will of his own. In fact, at the meeting where Beria was ambushed, Malenkov lost his nerve and couldn't deliver the lines Khrushchev had given him to speak. This is a very conciliatory letter. Apparently, Beria still hoped that all was not lost. He reminded Malenkov truly of his long service in Georgia and especially of his (apparently very successful) leadership of the Soviet nuclear bomb program after World War II, and touchingly asked him to look after his wife Nino and son Sergo.

There are several papers that I haven't yet looked at on restoring the kandidat degree to Sergo in 1966. I'll have to see what became of that. I infer he had been stripped of this degree for some reason.

The sidebars on these pages tempt me to go off on tangents and study a bunch of other questions that attract me. So, although it's going to be very time-consuming, I'm looking forward to visiting this website frequently.

The handwritten notes are copyright-protected, so only tantalizing short phrases actually show up on my screen. But I'm glad to know about this volume. Indeed, I gather there is a whole series of books from this organization, which was founded in 1997. I can probably acquire some of the volumes from kniga.com or the russian book sellers that keep sending me e-mail advertisements every day.
"Still, doubts gnawed at everyone. And under no circumstances could I acknowledge my own similar doubts. In order to coax the participants into psychic stability, I had to appear to be rock-solidly convinced of the necessity of carrying out this horrifyingly cruel command."

Rudolf Höß, hanged facing Auschwitz, the camp he commanded, in April 1947. He admitted to 1.1 to 1.5 million murders carried out under his command. Eichmann told him the number was 2.5 million.

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Re: Nazis and Communists compared

Postby Balsamo » Sun Jul 08, 2018 7:43 pm

Sergey_Romanov wrote:Texts of handwritten notes on pp. 71-79 at http://imwerden.de/pdf/lavrentiy_beria_ ... y_1999.pdf

Beria trial materials at http://istmat.info/node/22125

:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

At least i managed to identify CCCP among all those pages...that is something...

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Re: Nazis and Communists compared

Postby Denying-History » Wed Jul 11, 2018 10:16 pm

Statistical Mechanic wrote:I had thought that Stalin's "theoretical" view was to build socialism in one country, the USSR, first, and to focus on that, at the expense of the world revolution - and that he often used the Comintern as an instrument to help this project more than to spread world revolution, even in a top down form.

And the last biography of Trotsky I read was Isaac Deutscher's, I also read his biography of Stalin, which says a lot about my age and knowledge!

Isaac Deutscher's works are a bit dated. To date on the best Biographers on Trotsky is Pierre Broué:

https://www.marxists.org/francais/broue/works/1988/00/index.htm

As fro Socialism in one country from my understand it was a build socialism in that nation and then expand, while Trotsky argued that socialism could not form and remain stable in the single country. I think Trotskys example was a socialist germany.
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Re: Nazis and Communists compared

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Wed Jul 11, 2018 10:45 pm

Denying-History wrote:
Statistical Mechanic wrote:I had thought that Stalin's "theoretical" view was to build socialism in one country, the USSR, first, and to focus on that, at the expense of the world revolution - and that he often used the Comintern as an instrument to help this project more than to spread world revolution, even in a top down form.

And the last biography of Trotsky I read was Isaac Deutscher's, I also read his biography of Stalin, which says a lot about my age and knowledge!

Isaac Deutscher's works are a bit dated. To date on the best Biographers on Trotsky is Pierre Broué:

https://www.marxists.org/francais/broue/works/1988/00/index.htm

As fro Socialism in one country from my understand it was a build socialism in that nation and then expand, while Trotsky argued that socialism could not form and remain stable in the single country. I think Trotskys example was a socialist germany.

I haven't read in this area for years but my strong impression is that Stalin used the Comintern ("international revolution") to further the goals of the USSR, not so much to promote world revolution. From my Luxemburgian pov :)

Deutscher being a "bit dated": Stalin bio published in 1949; The Prophet Armed 1954, The Prophet Unarmed 1959. These books were a "bit dated" when I read them, in the early '70s!
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Re: Nazis and Communists compared

Postby NathanC » Fri Jul 13, 2018 5:32 am

A researcher we follow on twitter (https://twitter.com/historyboy77) made the following appropriate comparison between Hitler and Stalin, and by extension the USSR and Nazi Germany. I agree.

If it can be said that Nazi policy towards the Jews prior to 1941 was incoherent as some have suggested then the answer can lie within the way in which the Nazi government itself operated. It wasn't like Stalin's regime which was a ruthlessly efficient top down machine of death wherein Stalin took interest in bureaucracy with his pencil in hand ready to dish murder. Hitler was by dictatorial standards an exceptionally lazy character who would rather watch movies than deal with paperwork. He had an ideology (however crude one can describe it as such) and he imbibed his subordinates with that ideology. Policy orders with their deadly consequences therefore did not necessarily need to come from the top but what mattered is that those orders particularly from the lower end of the hierarchy had to be in the spirit of Hitler. If they were not they would soon be corrected.


I mentioned something similar to what he said. Both Stalin and Hitler were dictators, but Stalin was a micromanager who made sure to squash any attempt at independence by his followers and keep them dependent on him. Hitler, on the other hand, was willing to delegate and gave his subordinates leeway to decide how best to achieve the objectives he had set for them. The Great Terror started with Stalin pressuring Yezhov to come up with boogeymen for him to execute, and Stalin kept Yezhov in control by constantly awarding and acknowledging him, another form of pressure to keep Yezhov under his thumb. The Holocaust, and in particular Action Reinhard, came about on the own initiative of Globocnik and Himmler, who shared Hitler's Antisemitism and came up with their own way to do best accomplish it .

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Re: Nazis and Communists compared

Postby landrew » Fri Jul 13, 2018 8:33 pm

Stockholm Syndrome is when one person capitulates to an authoritarian, despotic character. Fascism is when a majority of citizens do it.
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Re: Nazis and Communists compared

Postby Sergey_Romanov » Sat Jul 14, 2018 11:22 am

If that were so, Stalinism would be classified as fascism. It isn't.

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Re: Nazis and Communists compared

Postby Balmoral95 » Sat Jul 14, 2018 1:43 pm

landrew wrote:Stockholm Syndrome is when one person capitulates to an authoritarian, despotic character. Fascism is when a majority of citizens do it.



Say what?

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Re: Nazis and Communists compared

Postby landrew » Sat Jul 14, 2018 4:14 pm

Sergey_Romanov wrote:If that were so, Stalinism would be classified as fascism. It isn't.

I'll classify Stalinism that way if you like. Forget about the industrial complex dimension, just focus on the human rights and freedoms issue.
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Re: Nazis and Communists compared

Postby Sergey_Romanov » Sat Jul 14, 2018 9:41 pm

landrew wrote:
Sergey_Romanov wrote:If that were so, Stalinism would be classified as fascism. It isn't.

I'll classify Stalinism that way if you like. Forget about the industrial complex dimension, just focus on the human rights and freedoms issue.

Unless you're a historian that has published on the topic, you don't need to. I'm not aware of fascism researchers that classify Stalinism as fascism.

Totalitarianism, dictatorship and cult of personality are not synonymous with fascism.

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Re: Nazis and Communists compared

Postby Upton_O_Goode » Thu Jul 19, 2018 10:20 pm

Sergey_Romanov wrote:
landrew wrote:
Sergey_Romanov wrote:If that were so, Stalinism would be classified as fascism. It isn't.

I'll classify Stalinism that way if you like. Forget about the industrial complex dimension, just focus on the human rights and freedoms issue.

Unless you're a historian that has published on the topic, you don't need to. I'm not aware of fascism researchers that classify Stalinism as fascism.

Totalitarianism, dictatorship and cult of personality are not synonymous with fascism.


There is a whole theory of fascism, at whose center is the doctrine that the meaning of a human life is to be understood only in its relationship to the state. That wasn't Stalin's point of view, or the point of view of the CPSU. Fascism is nationalistic by definition; Communism is internationalistic, even when it singles out one nation (such as the USSR) as the standard bearer or vanguard of the movement.
"Still, doubts gnawed at everyone. And under no circumstances could I acknowledge my own similar doubts. In order to coax the participants into psychic stability, I had to appear to be rock-solidly convinced of the necessity of carrying out this horrifyingly cruel command."

Rudolf Höß, hanged facing Auschwitz, the camp he commanded, in April 1947. He admitted to 1.1 to 1.5 million murders carried out under his command. Eichmann told him the number was 2.5 million.

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Re: Nazis and Communists compared

Postby Sergey_Romanov » Fri Jul 20, 2018 4:17 pm

Indeed, the most popular scholarly def of fascism is palingenetic ultranationalism. E.g. I would argue that Putin's regime falls under this def, but not Stalin's.


Not that it has to be said, but yeah: it's not a defense of Stalin's regime which was comparable to Hitler's, etc. etc.

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Re: Nazis and Communists compared

Postby Balsamo » Tue Jul 31, 2018 4:34 am

Sergey_Romanov wrote:Indeed, the most popular scholarly def of fascism is palingenetic ultranationalism. E.g. I would argue that Putin's regime falls under this def, but not Stalin's.


Not that it has to be said, but yeah: it's not a defense of Stalin's regime which was comparable to Hitler's, etc. etc.


Euh...If i may...palingenetic refers to the notion of "rebirth"...a kind of revolution to create something new from scratch as well as a return of a golden age...of course under fascist rules and targeting a specific community...hence the addition of "ultra-nationalism".
Even without betraying Griffin, it can be argue that there is something "palingenetic" in the Soviet Revolution, even more violent in the means, depending on the definition we use for the greek term "palin"
KLEON if you read this...help would be welcome.

I agree that Bolshevism cannot be assimilated to any form of "nationalism" given its "international aspirations", although Stalin maybe a bit more than originally conceived, to a small scale only.

But, as far as i am concerned, and until Kleon corrects me,
"palingenetic" can very well mean "REBIRTH FROM SCRATCH" (a future paradise) as it can mean some form of "REVIVAL REBIRTH" (a return to a golden age), which is basically the fundamental difference between respectively Marxist-Leninism and most of the Fascist Regimes.

PS: the problem i have with Griffin is that he uses the term "fascism" without plural. It can be done as long as one focuses on the Italian Regime. But if the scope is larger, then plural is a must.

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Re: Nazis and Communists compared

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Tue Jul 31, 2018 12:30 pm

I agree that Griffin's definition of generic fascism stresses fascism's revolutionary thrust.

OTOH Griffin's main aim is to provide a generic definition of fascism, not to write a history of fascist movements. Nonetheless, he does assess different fascist movements against his generic definition along with non-fascist, far right movements and authoritarian movements which others (not Griffin) refer to as fascist. The missing "s" - missing because Griffin wants to define generic fascism and use that definition as a tool for understanding - doesn't preclude his discussing at length variations and commonalities among a number of actual fascist movements.

Griffin describes this approach and why he uses it in each of his books on fascism but cf. especially A Fascist Century (2008), Fascism (documents collection, 1995).
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Re: Nazis and Communists compared

Postby Balsamo » Tue Jul 31, 2018 8:23 pm

Statistical Mechanic wrote:I agree that Griffin's definition of generic fascism stresses fascism's revolutionary thrust.

OTOH Griffin's main aim is to provide a generic definition of fascism, not to write a history of fascist movements. Nonetheless, he does assess different fascist movements against his generic definition along with non-fascist, far right movements and authoritarian movements which others (not Griffin) refer to as fascist. The missing "s" - missing because Griffin wants to define generic fascism and use that definition as a tool for understanding - doesn't preclude his discussing at length variations and commonalities among a number of actual fascist movements.

Griffin describes this approach and why he uses it in each of his books on fascism but cf. especially A Fascist Century (2008), Fascism (documents collection, 1995).


You are right.
The issue being that there is this tendency mostly from Anglo-Saxon historians (but not only) to seek for a theory that would explain it all.
I was mostly referring to his Nature of fascism opus.
A perfect definition of "fascism" being one of those "quests for the Grail".
As far as i know there are as many definitions as there are historians working on it.

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Re: Nazis and Communists compared

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Tue Jul 31, 2018 9:01 pm

Griffin sees his definition of generic fascism more as a tool for analysis and understanding than a Holy Grail he's found, IMO. He draws on Weber's ideal type to develop a heuristic approach, asking less whether his concept is true than whether it is useful for understanding.
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Re: Nazis and Communists compared

Postby Sergey_Romanov » Sat Aug 04, 2018 1:53 pm

Balsamo wrote:
Sergey_Romanov wrote:Indeed, the most popular scholarly def of fascism is palingenetic ultranationalism. E.g. I would argue that Putin's regime falls under this def, but not Stalin's.


Not that it has to be said, but yeah: it's not a defense of Stalin's regime which was comparable to Hitler's, etc. etc.


Euh...If i may...palingenetic refers to the notion of "rebirth"...a kind of revolution to create something new from scratch as well as a return of a golden age...of course under fascist rules and targeting a specific community...hence the addition of "ultra-nationalism".
Even without betraying Griffin, it can be argue that there is something "palingenetic" in the Soviet Revolution, even more violent in the means, depending on the definition we use for the greek term "palin"
KLEON if you read this...help would be welcome.

I agree that Bolshevism cannot be assimilated to any form of "nationalism" given its "international aspirations", although Stalin maybe a bit more than originally conceived, to a small scale only.

But, as far as i am concerned, and until Kleon corrects me,
"palingenetic" can very well mean "REBIRTH FROM SCRATCH" (a future paradise) as it can mean some form of "REVIVAL REBIRTH" (a return to a golden age), which is basically the fundamental difference between respectively Marxist-Leninism and most of the Fascist Regimes.

PS: the problem i have with Griffin is that he uses the term "fascism" without plural. It can be done as long as one focuses on the Italian Regime. But if the scope is larger, then plural is a must.

It cannot be a rebirth without a precedent, and the Bolshevik revolution did not have any past historical state to refer to in terms of rebirth; it was simply a birth. (For Putinism the reference point is a complicated mixture of the Soviet Empire from the 1940s to the early 1980s with elements of the pre-revolutionary Russian Empire).

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Re: Nazis and Communists compared

Postby Balsamo » Sat Aug 04, 2018 8:13 pm

Sergey_Romanov wrote:
Balsamo wrote:
Sergey_Romanov wrote:Indeed, the most popular scholarly def of fascism is palingenetic ultranationalism. E.g. I would argue that Putin's regime falls under this def, but not Stalin's.


Not that it has to be said, but yeah: it's not a defense of Stalin's regime which was comparable to Hitler's, etc. etc.


Euh...If i may...palingenetic refers to the notion of "rebirth"...a kind of revolution to create something new from scratch as well as a return of a golden age...of course under fascist rules and targeting a specific community...hence the addition of "ultra-nationalism".
Even without betraying Griffin, it can be argue that there is something "palingenetic" in the Soviet Revolution, even more violent in the means, depending on the definition we use for the greek term "palin"
KLEON if you read this...help would be welcome.

I agree that Bolshevism cannot be assimilated to any form of "nationalism" given its "international aspirations", although Stalin maybe a bit more than originally conceived, to a small scale only.

But, as far as i am concerned, and until Kleon corrects me,
"palingenetic" can very well mean "REBIRTH FROM SCRATCH" (a future paradise) as it can mean some form of "REVIVAL REBIRTH" (a return to a golden age), which is basically the fundamental difference between respectively Marxist-Leninism and most of the Fascist Regimes.

PS: the problem i have with Griffin is that he uses the term "fascism" without plural. It can be done as long as one focuses on the Italian Regime. But if the scope is larger, then plural is a must.

It cannot be a rebirth without a precedent, and the Bolshevik revolution did not have any past historical state to refer to in terms of rebirth; it was simply a birth. (For Putinism the reference point is a complicated mixture of the Soviet Empire from the 1940s to the early 1980s with elements of the pre-revolutionary Russian Empire).


:lol:
I might have over estimated what i recall of ancient Greek taught in school.
Actually, this is why i asked Kleon - who is unfortunately absent these days. ;)
Of course, Griffin used it as meaning a reference to the past. But there was a nasty voice in my head that probably mistakenly associated palingenesia with "regeneration", hence a new birth not automatically associated with a past state.
So i was kind of playing with words here.

I feel i have to bring some precision if i gave the impression that i somehow criticized Roger Griffin, it was not what i meant - his "definition" is actually one of the best (the longest one, of course) - but to point out the danger of over conceptualizing and more generally to base an analysis on a definition, as it tends to reduce the "subject". There are just too many proposed definitions out there.

Here is Griffin's (reproduced on Wiki): (I have underscored the essential elements (those i consider essential i mean)
[Fascism is] a genuinely revolutionary, trans-class form of anti-liberal, and in the last analysis, anti-conservative nationalism. As such it is an ideology deeply bound up with modernization and modernity, one which has assumed a considerable variety of external forms to adapt itself to the particular historical and national context in which it appears, and has drawn a wide range of cultural and intellectual currents, both left and right, anti-modern and pro-modern, to articulate itself as a body of ideas, slogans, and doctrine. In the inter-war period it manifested itself primarily in the form of an elite-led "armed party" which attempted, mostly unsuccessfully, to generate a populist mass movement through a liturgical style of politics and a programme of radical policies which promised to overcome a threat posed by international socialism, to end the degeneration affecting the nation under liberalism, and to bring about a radical renewal of its social, political and cultural life as part of what was widely imagined to be the new era being inaugurated in Western civilization. The core mobilizing myth of fascism which conditions its ideology, propaganda, style of politics and actions is the vision of the nation's imminent rebirth from decadence


If one takes the important points, one can see that there are many point in common among the Fascist and Bolshevik programs/Regimes:
- Both are revolutionary, of course. that is that Both Regime promise a "new future" implying a "rupture from the past"
- Both are "anti-liberal", both involves "everything through the State", the State being assimilated to the leader and/or the Party.
- Both present themselves as a "rupture from the past"(without denying that Fascism does have a reference to a mystic past (most like a former greatness) which is not to be found on the other side, but both can only flourish if the present time is in a mess, both needs the former Regimes (Czarist or Democratic) to be close to bankruptcy and having failed.
- Both ideologies are linked to "modernity"
- Both imply radical change of its social, cultural and political life.
Some points are not mentioned in the definition.
- Both are anti-democratic and conceive themselves as outside any "parliamentary system"
- Hence, both can only be lead by a UNIQUE PARTY, and the Party by a Leader
- Both have to affirm their power, and their legitimacy through demonstration of force through para-military or military forces, have to rely on a "secret police" force, without any restriction imposed by s pre-existant laws or legal norms.
- Both involves a complete control over the Youth and education.
- In Both Regime, the individual does no longer exist, they are part of a community, whether the community of "workers" or some "Volk". Whoever does not belong to the community will be seen as an enemy of the State.
- Both rely heavily on propaganda, demonstration, on a form iconography, with a cult of personality of the "leader".
- Both Regime tend to present themselves as "victims" of "international conspiracies" meant to destroy them.

I am sure there are additional points in common out there.

To take you example, i am not sure that Putin fits with the definition of "fascism". It is just an autocratic regime without much ideology attached to it (my perception anyway, but Sergey knows better of course as he is in a much better position to analyze Russian affairs, as a member of the former royal family ;) )

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Re: Nazis and Communists compared

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Sun Aug 05, 2018 1:21 am

Griffin in writing about Messianic time argues IIRC that “primitive communism” represented for Marx a form of “primordial utopia” to be redeemed and reborn through the class struggle and revolution. So he does attribute, explicitly, to revolutionary Marxism a palingenetic core.

OTOH fascism was framed, in part, literally as opposition to and an alternative for communism. In some formulations fascism was described as the third way between liberalism and communism. Griffin (2002/2004): “what sets fascist movements apart from authoritarian conservative regimes . . . is their genuine aspiration to pioneer a 'third way' between communism and liberalism . . . and to revolutionize political, social, and artistic culture.” It is not that any “revolutionary” movement in modern times is fascist, nor is it that every attempt to institute an alternative modernity is fascist.

Whilst identifying points in common among revolutionary ideologies, and placing revolutionary Marxism within the palingenetic spectrum, Griffin also said in an interview in A Fascist Century, I think cogently, that “I completely agree that all revolutions are ‘palingenetic’ by definition. Yet what makes fascism distinctive is not the fact that it has got a palingenetic thrust, but that it projects palingenetic longings onto the nation, conceived as an organic or racial entity. That means fascism comes about only when you get the myth of imminent or eventual ‘palingenesis’ combined with what I have called ‘ultra-nationalism’.” (2005) This goes back, of course, to the core part of Griffin's most compact definition of fascism, which he unpacks in his writings and speeches in various ways (1991): “Fascism is a genus of political ideology whose mythic core in its various permutations is a palingenetic form of populist-ultranationalism.” Griffin added in 2005, remaining consistent in his emphasis on ultra-nationalism in defining fascism: “For example, the Russian Revolution was in practice highly nationalist, but it was not carried out in the name or idea of the reborn nation, but of a reborn humanity, an age of universal socialism. In theory it was not ultranationalist but antinationalist.”

Enumerating some points in common doesn't necessarily get to core definitions - and, in any event, ultranationalism is part of Griffin's fascist minimum.

In that vein, Griffin also wrote in 1991 that “fascism is best defined as as a revolutionary form of nationalism. . . . The core myth which inspires this project is that only a populist, trans-class movement of purifying, cathartic national rebirth (palingenesis) can stem the tide of decadence.” Again, he stressed the national aspect of fascism, as he did, using a somewhat different phrasing than usual, at the beginning of the quotation the Wiki article takes from his 2003 essay (“anticonservative nationalism”); in the article, however, he also repeated his 1991 core definition and used his more typical phrase “palingenetic ultranationalism” as well. In 2012, in an essay arguing that no fascist revival is possible, Griffin came at this point from a different angle: “I have been arguing in my books, and in my career, that we do not see in fascism a reaction against the working class, but that we see in fascism the attempt of a rebirth of the nation.”

I just think that skipping over this critical core of Griffin's argument can lead to all sorts of confusion.

I will come back another time to “everything through the state” as I do not find the state to play that role in fascism and in reading fascist documents in various collections was actually surprised at how underdeveloped was thinking about the state. It is the nation that the fascists come back to repeatedly. (Sorry for the length; I don't know how to write it shorter.)
"It was still at the stage of clubs and fists, hurrah, tala"

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Re: Nazis and Communists compared

Postby Balsamo » Sun Aug 05, 2018 2:12 am

Thanks, Statmec.

Happy to learn that the little voice in my head was actually Griffin's. :lol:
I was deeply involved in "Nationalism" studies, like 20 years ago...it is actually how i came into the Holocaust.

You are not going to like it, but i agree with your last post 100%.

My enumeration of points in common was not meant to provide a definition, of course, but i thought it had to be done at some points. Actually, i like Griffin's approach, although i outlined the limits of the exercise.
What still interests me is the permeability between the extremes (some former Nazis having no difficulty to reinsert themselves into the " Popular Regime" of East Germany, and as mentioned in the other thread, former communist becoming supporter of Nazi Germany, and also how people actually end up accepting fascism or fascist-like Regimes, even though all Fascist movements went through a phase of "mockery".
Germany's presidential election clearly shows the limit of Hitler "real" attractiveness among the population, he barely scores higher than Marine Le Pen to make a silly comparison, nevertheless he will secure his power in the years to come, not really by gaining more supporters than by not having many core opponent. For the vast majority of the German citizens (excluding those considered as non-Aryan), life during the Hitler's peace times was just "easier" in such a strange way i cannot really describe it.

If you can find a copy, i really recommend - i guess i already did - Sebastian Haffner's "Defying Hitler" which is a memoir written by a German in 1939 looking back at the last 20 years (1918-1939). He explains a lot of things based on small everyday issues which ended up with a majority of people gladly giving their personal responsibility over their own life. Which is something quite similar to what former East-Germans told me, that is among those nostalgic about the "popular republic".

More tomorrow

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Re: Nazis and Communists compared

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Sun Aug 05, 2018 2:31 am

>> You are not going to like it, but i agree with your last post 100%.

Damn. I will re-write it to fix that problem later :mrgreen:
(Defying Hitler goes onto books to order list . . . )
"It was still at the stage of clubs and fists, hurrah, tala"


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