"Nazis were left-wing!" Arguments from far-right American 'intellectuals'

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"Nazis were left-wing!" Arguments from far-right American 'intellectuals'

Post by Aaron Richards » Mon Jul 23, 2018 7:06 pm

Well this is a fun read:

https://mises.org/library/why-nazism-wa ... talitarian

...especially the comments! That "Tom 'Papa' Bryant" guy is one annoying SOB so full of himself, but hey, it's fun to see how convinced these people really are about themselves.

I never say right-wingers are stupid. Many of them have high IQs and are well read. Problem is, they use it to incessantly defend an ideology-driven position (based on their own libertarian bias) and use every trick in the book to present their arguments as valid positions contrary to the official stance. We've seen that among holocaust deniers, here we're seeing that about those who intrinsically think "big government" can somehow ONLY be left-wing, which in turn means socialist, which in turn means Communist.

What arguments do they offer? Well to sum it up, these Americans use Hitler and Goebbels' excerpts (where they see themselves advancing the Sozialismus) as proof that they were left-wing socialists. They point out to the revolutionary spirit of the NSDAP as something inherently left-wing. Its authoritarianism apparently automatically makes it left-wing.

While ignoring that the Nazis dissolved all unions, and only offered one union which was controlled by the state. Also ignoring the hatred Nazis had for Communism/Bolshevism, and how their policies were national, and explicitly not international.

But sometimes you can't talk sense into the indoctrinated.

P.S: The Nazis saw themselves as "das dritte Lager", i.e. the third way, neither left nor right.
Last edited by Aaron Richards on Mon Jul 23, 2018 8:54 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: "Nazis were left-wing!" Arguments from right-wing American 'intellectuals'

Post by landrew » Mon Jul 23, 2018 7:23 pm

It's difficult to shoehorn the Nazi ideology into the modern Left-Right paradigm. The party originated from an underclass feeling victimized by the plutocracy, but as it developed, it took on all the traits of an elite overclass, bent on world domination and human exploitation.
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Re: "Nazis were left-wing!" Arguments from right-wing American 'intellectuals'

Post by Jeffk 1970 » Mon Jul 23, 2018 8:51 pm

It’s ironic I’m having this argument elsewhere. This will help, Aaron:

https://www.snopes.com/news/2017/09/05/ ... ocialists/

The right-wingers overemphasize the NSDAP 25-Point Program but not many of those provisions ever saw the light of day once Hitler became Chancellor.
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The inhabitants ask who it is.
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Re: "Nazis were left-wing!" Arguments from far-right American 'intellectuals'

Post by Aaron Richards » Mon Jul 23, 2018 8:58 pm

Agreed, and further observations like the murder of the more revolutionary/"left" Strasserist faction and the dissolution of the SA only reinforces the corporatism of the Nazis after they assumed power. Rich folks backing Hitler, like Thyssen Krupp continued to do their business. IG Farben had ties to American companies. And the whole "man = defender, provider; woman = babymaker" concept has nothing in common with international Socialism actually doing something for female emancipation in the workplace, one of the few good things that happened under Communist regimes.
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Re: "Nazis were left-wing!" Arguments from far-right American 'intellectuals'

Post by Statistical Mechanic » Mon Jul 23, 2018 9:40 pm

>> Its authoritarianism apparently automatically makes it left-wing.

Just to say, authoritarianism isn't synonymous with the left, and the left isn't synonymous with Leninist or Stalinist versions of Marxism, in any understanding of the rather difficult term "the left." Just for fun - Ash "I am literally a communist" Sakar: https://www.theguardian.com/politics/20 ... ers-morgan
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Re: "Nazis were left-wing!" Arguments from far-right American 'intellectuals'

Post by Denying-History » Mon Jul 23, 2018 10:18 pm

No one should ever take Mises seriously. They are a libertarian propaganda outlet. I would recommend watching this video:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=nqMIwgBYwIM
« The Terror here is a horrifying fact. There is a fear that reaches down and haunts all sections of the community. No household, however humble, apparently but what lives in constant fear of nocturnal raid by the secret police. . .This particular purge is undoubtedly political. . . It is deliberately projected by the party leaders, who themselves regretted the necessity for it. »
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Re: "Nazis were left-wing!" Arguments from far-right American 'intellectuals'

Post by Jeffk 1970 » Mon Jul 23, 2018 10:33 pm

Denying-History wrote:No one should ever take Mises seriously. They are a libertarian propaganda outlet. I would recommend watching this video:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=nqMIwgBYwIM

LOL, liked that one. Nothing like a British accent to drive home a point.
A joke going around Moscow during The Great Terror:

The NKVD knocks on a door.
The inhabitants ask who it is.
“NKVD.”
“You’ve got the wrong apartment. The Communists are upstairs.”

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Re: "Nazis were left-wing!" Arguments from far-right American 'intellectuals'

Post by Balsamo » Thu Jul 26, 2018 3:18 pm

Jeffk 1970 wrote:
Denying-History wrote:No one should ever take Mises seriously. They are a libertarian propaganda outlet. I would recommend watching this video:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=nqMIwgBYwIM

LOL, liked that one. Nothing like a British accent to drive home a point.
Except when it is the Black Rabbit, right?

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Re: "Nazis were left-wing!" Arguments from far-right American 'intellectuals'

Post by Statistical Mechanic » Thu Jul 26, 2018 3:28 pm

:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:
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Re: "Nazis were left-wing!" Arguments from far-right American 'intellectuals'

Post by Denying-History » Thu Jul 26, 2018 6:17 pm

Balsamo wrote:
Jeffk 1970 wrote:
Denying-History wrote:No one should ever take Mises seriously. They are a libertarian propaganda outlet. I would recommend watching this video:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=nqMIwgBYwIM

LOL, liked that one. Nothing like a British accent to drive home a point.
Except when it is the Black Rabbit, right?
Nah, DS01 is Australian. So no British accent.
« The Terror here is a horrifying fact. There is a fear that reaches down and haunts all sections of the community. No household, however humble, apparently but what lives in constant fear of nocturnal raid by the secret police. . .This particular purge is undoubtedly political. . . It is deliberately projected by the party leaders, who themselves regretted the necessity for it. »
Joseph E. Davies

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Re: "Nazis were left-wing!" Arguments from far-right American 'intellectuals'

Post by Jeffk 1970 » Thu Jul 26, 2018 7:58 pm

Denying-History wrote:
Balsamo wrote:
Jeffk 1970 wrote:
Denying-History wrote:No one should ever take Mises seriously. They are a libertarian propaganda outlet. I would recommend watching this video:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=nqMIwgBYwIM

LOL, liked that one. Nothing like a British accent to drive home a point.
Except when it is the Black Rabbit, right?
Nah, DS01 is Australian. So no British accent.
LOL, sorry, my mistake. Still, the accent gets the point across.
A joke going around Moscow during The Great Terror:

The NKVD knocks on a door.
The inhabitants ask who it is.
“NKVD.”
“You’ve got the wrong apartment. The Communists are upstairs.”

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Re: "Nazis were left-wing!" Arguments from far-right American 'intellectuals'

Post by Balsamo » Thu Jul 26, 2018 8:58 pm

Aaron Richards wrote:Agreed, and further observations like the murder of the more revolutionary/"left" Strasserist faction and the dissolution of the SA only reinforces the corporatism of the Nazis after they assumed power. Rich folks backing Hitler, like Thyssen Krupp continued to do their business. IG Farben had ties to American companies. And the whole "man = defender, provider; woman = babymaker" concept has nothing in common with international Socialism actually doing something for female emancipation in the workplace, one of the few good things that happened under Communist regimes.
Well spotted Aaron.
There was a shift.
Nevertheless the ideas behind what you call the "Strasserists", or Strasserism was indeed that Socialism was the key for a better future for the majority of impoverished Germans. BUT, what they fought against was the International socialism, bolschevism, in other word the submission of Germany to Moscow. Ironically, this submission is why the Communists became the main enemy of the first Nazis. They were traitors, and in addition had Jews among their ranks. Both Left and Right Nazis were already essentially Antisemitic.

But if you listen to the words - you don't have to - of a SA hymn like the "Horst Wessel lied", it identify the "Reaktion" ( the Conservatives) as an enemy along "Die Roten" (the Reds)...Hence the third way.

The chorus goes like this:
"Kam'raden, die Rotfront und Reaktion erschossen, marschier'n im Geist in unser Reihen mit"..
Which could be translated as "Comrades, the spirits (of those) of the Red Front and the Reaction who were shot are marching along our ranks" (well more or less)

Among the Strassists from the earlier times were Goebbels (hence the "document brought by "papa" Bryant) and Himmler, most of the SA from Northern Germany, the early Hitler Youth; as for Roehm it was not a secret that he wanted his SA to become the root of the new Nazi Germany army, built as a popular militia inspìred by the Red Army.
The first clash clearly appeared during the debate on the "Princely Estates" - a huge mountain of wealth belonging to the former ruling families of the former Empire who had come to the Reichstag. While the nationalization of those Estate was in the program of the earlier NSDAP, Hitler, betraying the Strassists, decided not to pursue. This episode almost provoked the implosion of the Party, Goebbels joined Hitler, and the final settlement would be the Night of the Long knife.

Nevertheless, while Hitler realized that the Party had not enough support among the workers (a great deal were still following Thaelmann's KDP), and more importantly realized that the Party was broke, nevertheless passed very socialist inspired measures (at the same time reassuring the big industrialists).

Granted the Unions (mostly affiliated to the KDP and the SPD) were dismissed, but replaced by the NS Arbeitsfront (or work front), which raised wages dramatically, made firing of employees extremely difficult. New labor laws on the other hand turned the Employers, Industrialists or entrepreneurs into Bretriebsfuehrer, there were given the power within the company, but they were also submitted to restrictions, also regarding the profits they could take for themselves which was limited.

The economy of the Third Reich, while it indeed left the private property of the "means of production" intact ( only because the Regime believed that such a nationalization would have been counter-productive, as their perception of the USSR showed them), was nevertheless full of regulations, obligations, restrictions, all passed through laws. Taxes were very high and could reach 4% of the gross Revenue (as opposed to profit), wages were decided and fixed, prices controlled, Nazi administrators imposed as supervisor of the boards.
The same way that the Nazi Regime interfered with every aspect of every day's life, it also took charge of the vacations of the masses. Everyone knows the expression "Kraft durch Freude", but less know that under this program things like "All inclusive Resorts" and "All inclusive cruises" were implemented, huge and mostly awful "popular tourist stations" by the sea were built, and it was cheap so that everyone could and had the right to it.
Sounds nice, but there was already the idea to standardize the population: The popular class had the right/but had to spend the same type of vacation, they had the right/but should drive the same car - a Volkswagen, of course - which HAD to cost less than 1000 Reich Mark (the equivalent of about 4.000$ today i think). Of course, the more ardent Nazi you were, the more you got a chance to profit from the NSDAP generosity, the higher ranks could even enjoyed some Resorts (built or bought by the Party) abroad, like in Italy.

Of course, those "vacations" were a great opportunity to promote the Party's propaganda. And of couse, there were less attractive resorts for those who felt too "individualist"...like the "Dachau" reeducation Resort...

To conclude, it is undeniable that Nazi Germany shared some aspects of other "popular socialist Regimes" (similar to Tito's Yugoslavia), and in the end, for the little years of peace that is at most 4 years), the KdF had some great success, even under the order of a drunk bastard like Robert Ley.

And yes, we can be surprised why there are so few scholar's work dedicated to this topic. Most i know about comes from my Grand father who was a worker (actually a supervisor) in a factory and who took his first cruise on the the Wilhem Gustav********* (??? IIRC) under a "Kraft durch Freude" program...I saw pictures, the boat actually looked much more like the Pacific Princess than the disgusting industrial ship we see today...

But who the hell is this Georges Reisman who wrote that shitty article and what the {!#%@} is this MISES Instute? How do you guys come to sites like this?
It is almost funny, almost because many among the Americans i have met, really think that a social inspired society HAS to be a kind of variation of Bolshevik society, the concept of social democracy being too much for them to understand, and of course, for those people, Bernie Sanders is just another variation of Stalin...


EDIT: The real name of the ship was GUSTAV GUSTLOFF

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Re: "Nazis were left-wing!" Arguments from far-right American 'intellectuals'

Post by Balmoral95 » Fri Jul 27, 2018 1:28 am

Maybe taking over the labor unions was ideologically driven... or maybe it was just more grand larceny by the state dressed up as "socialism"....

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Re: "Nazis were left-wing!" Arguments from far-right American 'intellectuals'

Post by Statistical Mechanic » Fri Jul 27, 2018 12:40 pm

"Anti-Semitism is the socialism of fools"
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Re: "Nazis were left-wing!" Arguments from far-right American 'intellectuals'

Post by Statistical Mechanic » Fri Jul 27, 2018 3:01 pm

But to be serious for a moment. This argument – fascism is leftism, the left is fascist – is not a historical-analytical effort but rather a polemic by some people on the right or in the center against current political foes. Anyway here is how I think about the related question of fascism and socialism, which involves using a quite different frame of reference (adapted from some old notes):

The National Socialists emerged in Germany from the stew of Völkisch (racist), xenophobic, nationalist, populist groups and grouplets active in Germany after WWI. They were explicitly anti-Marxist as well as anti-Semitic; they opposed egalitarian thinking, Enlightenment values, the idea of Progress, liberalism, and parliamentary institutions (Malaparte on the Italian context: Fascism looks forward to “a single national class . . . Its profound and implacable anti-socialist, anti-liberal, anti-democratic, anti-humanitarian spirit is . . . almost . . . anti-European . . . The force of Fascism is in the people”; Pfeffer von Salomon, 1925 : accusing Strasser of misunderstanding people as intrinsically equal, this “is the Jewish-liberal-democratic-Marxist-humanitarian mentality . . . All Germans are unequal. That is the starting point. . . . A logical consequence of this inequality must be the principle of unequal treatment that is, unequal share of state power, property, culture. . . . [It] is the duty of the state to take charge of this development . . . No pity is to be shown those occupy the lower categories of the inferior groups. . . . This bottom category means destruction and death”).

But, most important, like other fascists, the National Socialists were also focused and energetic apostles for national regeneration and expansion. The National Socialists argued that Europe had come to a turning point (Griffin’s “sense-making crisis”) and promised Germans an explanatory framework, a way out and, a way forward: national rebirth through the people’s rising, the creation of a “new man” by means a movement of national rebirth. One American theorist has described the promise of National Socialism as transcendence through (and integration into) a “total charismatic community.” Like other members of the reborn national community, “the leader of a business” was to be responsible to national imperatives: “social peace,” race and biology (“Blood and Soil”). (Nationalsozialistiche Monatsschriffen, 1936: “National community means: a community defended from threats externally combined with social harmony at home. . . . Both are impossible without the soldierly bearing of the German people in every field of activity, through soldierly socialism. . . . We therefore demand in the economy a soldierly conduct. . . . Marxism always follows capitalism like its shadow. Both grow from the same root – Jewish mercenariness. . . . In the interests of a supposedly higher financial return, both destroy Blood and Soil, the biological foundation of their national culture and hence their own existence”; even “red” Strasser would at times characterize his vision as a form of participatory militarism wioth military service as its apotheosis). In this sense, National Socialism is to be understood IMO as a supra-class revolutionary movement, under charismatic leadership, of the nationalist-populist variety. Its vision of the promised, new modernism had little in common with socialism and the socialist tradition but looked forward to a utopian, reborn national community (with the various inclusions and exclusions such a vision must entail).

Under the National Socialists the state “coordinated” the most important institutions and organizations in society, trade unions along with civil service, artists, scientist, physicians, and so on – even competing nationalist organizations (e.g., the Stahlhelm etc), biding its time on the church and reaching into the economy only to a certain extent. The National Socialist “totalitarian” reorganization of politics and society promised 1) to smash up the old order (the corrupt system and the elites and other enemies of the people) and 2) to launch an era of national rebirth, with racist imperatives, and imperial reach. National Socialism’s economic policy remained incoherent – with very little of socialism’s class argument – eschewing even the syndicalist impulses of Italian Fascism. War and militarism figured important in the Nazi economy, as they did in ideology. In economics, state intervention and guidance were mixed with much that was uncoordinated/unplanned; forced and slave labor grew in importance with reconstruction programs and with militarization and war. Finally, the Nazis created a war economy run by a warlord party with a “socialistic” element – theft of Jewish property on behalf of the nation and people and, as Germany conquered other countries, various looting and exploitation programs to benefit the Reich.

As early as 1917 Mussolini wrote that “The old parties, old men . . . will be swept aside. . . .The music of tomorrow will have another tempo. . . . [T]he word ‘socialism’ itself [will] have no sense any longer: [it] will have one tomorrow, but it . . . could be, for example, an anti-Marxist and national socialism . . . the synthesis of the antithesis: class and nation.” This meant national rebirth transcending current ideologies and antagonisms, beyond class conflict (which in socialist doctrine is the motor of history), a utopian new order based on racist and national foundations.

I just don’t see how picking and choosing certain elements of this “pitch” and analogizing them to something different – socialism or whatever – is very helpful.
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Re: "Nazis were left-wing!" Arguments from far-right American 'intellectuals'

Post by Jeffk 1970 » Fri Jul 27, 2018 6:35 pm

It’s mainly this “But, they used “Socialist Worker’s Party” in their name!!!!”
A joke going around Moscow during The Great Terror:

The NKVD knocks on a door.
The inhabitants ask who it is.
“NKVD.”
“You’ve got the wrong apartment. The Communists are upstairs.”

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Re: "Nazis were left-wing!" Arguments from far-right American 'intellectuals'

Post by Sergey_Romanov » Sat Jul 28, 2018 10:43 am

tl;dr

The Nazis were certainly not Socialists.
They were far-right socially.
Economically a mix.
So "it depends".

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Re: "Nazis were left-wing!" Arguments from far-right American 'intellectuals'

Post by Balsamo » Sat Jul 28, 2018 11:51 pm

Statmec:
This argument – fascism is leftism, the left is fascist
The problem is that many Americans - i had a few discussions during the 2016 election campaign - do not seem to know what socialism really is and would see any "social reform", any State intervention/regulation, some social security and of course the associated taxes as steps leading to a Bolshevik society. Bernie Sanders was a "Castro Lover", and the European Union a socialist Union.

I confess that i could not get through Georges Reisman article. If that is his conclusions, then it is yet another variation of the theme that the USA is the only FREE country in the world and those with some forms of "social conscience" are "natural born communists" threatening this liberty.
Now it seems that some of them had the idea to add "natural born fascist" to the tag.


Nevertheless, i also think that the fascism should not be associated with concept like "right" and "left", at least not without the term "extreme". And even then it leads to some confusions.
Fascist is today attributed to a political movement which shares some of the characteristic of the former fascist regimes, the most common being "populist" /"nationalist"...forgetting the main condition which is totalitarianism.

BUT ...the very notion of LEFT and RIGHT are associated, and have to be understood, with the parliamentary system, that is at least some form of democracy.
While in a totalitarian regime, there are no longer LEFT and RIGHT, only a TOP and a BOTTOM.

"Socialism" on the other hand, had various definitions during history, some of them contradicting each others. Socialsim as a political movement existed within a parliamentary system, that will become social democracy, but also outside such a system, as in the USSR, the later sometimes called "the Real Socialism" (Real meaning concrete) as opposed to "utopist socialism" which is only a undefined project, a political program, etc.

In fine there are as many definition of "socialism" as there are political thinkers. But if we reduced the definition to its cores:
- a society without social classes.
- a collectivization of the means of productions, or at least a State control over them through heavy regulations.
Then there indeed among the earlier members of the NSDAP some "socialist", usually assimilated to Strasser, even if the addition of the term "NATIONAL" is not a detail and an important difference in this new interpretation of "socialism". A socialist system with no international ambition, at the service of a well defined "national community" or " Volksgemeinschaft ".

Actually the quote given by Statmec quite of sum it all:
Pfeffer von Salomon, 1925 : accusing Strasser of misunderstanding people as intrinsically equal, this “is the Jewish-liberal-democratic-Marxist-humanitarian mentality . . . All Germans are unequal.


This illustrates better than word the two currents among the NSDAP in those days. The one perfectly defined by Statmec in his post, and the other, Strasser, accused of having "Jewish-liberal-democratic-Marxist-humanirarian mentality (for whatever that means, only a Nazi would know).
And yes, this current will be destroyed in 1934, and Strasser will be executed.

On the "too small" (although it has been increased since the last time i visited it (years ago)) wiki page dedicated to him: one finds this quote:
We National Socialists want the economic revolution involving the nationalization of the economy...We want in place of an exploitative capitalist economic system a real socialism, maintained not by a soulless Jewish-materialist outlook but by the believing, sacrificial, and unselfish old German community sentiment, community purpose and economic feeling. We want the social revolution in order to bring about the national revolution.
This was the expression of the part of the NSDAP who came from the DAP (Strasser actually did not). It existed until its suppression by Hitler.

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Re: "Nazis were left-wing!" Arguments from far-right American 'intellectuals'

Post by Statistical Mechanic » Tue Jul 31, 2018 2:21 pm

Somewhat related: Burrin (France under the Germans) has a chapter on left-wing collaboration during the occupation of France.

Burrin outlines how, in contrast to collaborationist liberals and conservatives whose commitment to collaboration was on account of its promise of order and hierarchy ("opposite to [Nazi Germany's] plebeian and 'socialist' element"), some on the left or who had formerly been on the left came to support collaboration and to some extent Hitler - via mainly cynical efforts by the German embassy (Abetz) to play up the "socialist" element, along with the new European order, and manipulate misunderstandings of "these circles" about the nature of National Socialism:
these circles were ready to swallow the occupiers' bait of European propaganda: an organized, regulated Europe [with] peace and respect between the partners. . . . These men credited the conquerors' regime with not only social policies and anticapitalism, but also anticlericalism . . . and devotion to the community. Misconceptions about Hitler ran riot in this left-wing minority.
(pp 386-387) Abetz used this minority (Déat, some trade unionists, groups that split from the SFIO) to check Vichy's strength and foster divisions amongst the French.
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Re: "Nazis were left-wing!" Arguments from far-right American 'intellectuals'

Post by Balsamo » Tue Jul 31, 2018 8:13 pm

Statistical Mechanic wrote:Somewhat related: Burrin (France under the Germans) has a chapter on left-wing collaboration during the occupation of France.

Burrin outlines how, in contrast to collaborationist liberals and conservatives whose commitment to collaboration was on account of its promise of order and hierarchy ("opposite to [Nazi Germany's] plebeian and 'socialist' element"), some on the left or who had formerly been on the left came to support collaboration and to some extent Hitler - via mainly cynical efforts by the German embassy (Abetz) to play up the "socialist" element, along with the new European order, and manipulate misunderstandings of "these circles" about the nature of National Socialism:
these circles were ready to swallow the occupiers' bait of European propaganda: an organized, regulated Europe [with] peace and respect between the partners. . . . These men credited the conquerors' regime with not only social policies and anticapitalism, but also anticlericalism . . . and devotion to the community. Misconceptions about Hitler ran riot in this left-wing minority.
(pp 386-387) Abetz used this minority (Déat, some trade unionists, groups that split from the SFIO) to check Vichy's strength and foster divisions amongst the French.
Well spotted, and it is indeed disturbing the usual vision associating the French far right (like Action Francaise of Charles Mauras), when one sees that the three main ultra collaborationist parties which were:
- Le Parti Populaire Francais (PPF) of Jacques Doriot ( former communist)
-Le Rassemblement National Populaire (RNP) lead by, as you mentioned Marcel Deat, (former SFIO which became the Socialist Party (PS)

The famous Pierre Laval started his political carreer as member of CRC (Commite Revolutionaire central), or Central Revolutionary committee, which will be integrated to the SFIO (Socialist Party).
after having become the Revolutionary Socialist Party (the SFIO being much more at the left vs the current Socialist Party).

There were of course, "collaborationists" from the far right, but there were more "Petainists" than Nazis. One finds them in the Division Charlemagne, as they were driven mostly by an anti-Bolshevism, or within small leagues, like the "Mouvement Social Revolutionaire" which followed the movement known as "La Cagoule" (Eugene Deloncle), probably one of the most important leagues but which will ended up being directed by a former "socialist from the SFIO", Georges Soules who participated to the "Front Populaire" (Popular Front)...

But at the end of the day, it would be wrong to conclude that the far-right massively supported the collaboration while the left fought against it.

In Belgium, the main collaborator among the politicians, as the government flee to London, was Henri de Man, president of the POB (Worker Party of Belgium, today known as the Socialist Party), and again we find at the core of such politician choice, a profound hatred of international capitalism.

A very complex issue, indeed.

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Re: "Nazis were left-wing!" Arguments from far-right American 'intellectuals'

Post by Statistical Mechanic » Tue Jul 31, 2018 9:13 pm

Interestingly, Burrin treats Doriot as a figure on the far right in his chapter on the "hard right" and collaboration - I'm guessing because of his evolution during the mid-'30s and that of his PPF to populist nationalism.

Without discounting the complexity, Burrin sees collaboration as drawing, at least from the politically committed, mostly from the extreme right, saying that about 2/3 of the members of collaborationist movements and sects "came from the extreme right," although the former leftist participation was "by no means negligible": "the continuity with the extreme right was more pronounced," even if only a minority of adherents of the 1930s far right were members of collaborationist groups.
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Re: "Nazis were left-wing!" Arguments from far-right American 'intellectuals'

Post by Balsamo » Wed Aug 01, 2018 1:01 am

Statistical Mechanic wrote:Interestingly, Burrin treats Doriot as a figure on the far right in his chapter on the "hard right" and collaboration - I'm guessing because of his evolution during the mid-'30s and that of his PPF to populist nationalism.

Without discounting the complexity, Burrin sees collaboration as drawing, at least from the politically committed, mostly from the extreme right, saying that about 2/3 of the members of collaborationist movements and sects "came from the extreme right," although the former leftist participation was "by no means negligible": "the continuity with the extreme right was more pronounced," even if only a minority of adherents of the 1930s far right were members of collaborationist groups.
I know, but there is - in my humble and annoying opinion - a flaw here. Of course, if one consider someone who came from the far left and turned into the far right before collaborating, then the far right is automatically the majority while what should be focused on is how easy one can go from one extreme to the other without going through any center, as if the hemisphere was extended to form a circle, in which of course both extreme would sit close to each other.
I don't criticize Philippe Burrin, but again, his interpretation is a matter of how he defines the "far right" and "fascism"...

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Re: "Nazis were left-wing!" Arguments from far-right American 'intellectuals'

Post by Statistical Mechanic » Wed Aug 01, 2018 1:28 am

Burrin does count the PPF as part of the far right by the 1940s but his argument is actually counter to yours, as he sees a fairly small % of leftists going to the far right and stresses continuity within right-wing milieus for the majority of those ending up as strong collaborationists.

The thrust of his chapter on "Abetz's left wing" is that the embassy found hooks to manipulate a small minority of the former left, and not necessarily the extreme left. Not that the Nazis were "left." Or that groups on the traditional left and Nazis are "essentially" akin.

I don't know the ins and outs, for sure, although my understanding is that Burrin sees (a) some degree of extremist "switching" but (b) more continuity and (c) a large % of the less extreme collaborationists coming from the center, notables, conservatives, liberals, etc. Which fits in with his argument about accommodation.
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Re: "Nazis were left-wing!" Arguments from far-right American 'intellectuals'

Post by Balsamo » Wed Aug 01, 2018 6:52 pm

Statistical Mechanic wrote:Burrin does count the PPF as part of the far right by the 1940s but his argument is actually counter to yours, as he sees a fairly small % of leftists going to the far right and stresses continuity within right-wing milieus for the majority of those ending up as strong collaborationists.

The thrust of his chapter on "Abetz's left wing" is that the embassy found hooks to manipulate a small minority of the former left, and not necessarily the extreme left. Not that the Nazis were "left." Or that groups on the traditional left and Nazis are "essentially" akin.

I don't know the ins and outs, for sure, although my understanding is that Burrin sees (a) some degree of extremist "switching" but (b) more continuity and (c) a large % of the less extreme collaborationists coming from the center, notables, conservatives, liberals, etc. Which fits in with his argument about accommodation.
I have not read Burrin.
But given that i do not see any reason to doubt your understanding of his book, i will have to strongly disagree with him.
The vast majority of the real collabartionists - as opposed to those who accomodated with the new situation - are to be found in the pool of those who were openly "pacificst" before the war, Laval being the prime example. Far right nationalists were rarely "pacifist".
As far as i know, Mauras never collaborated, Bardeche (the father of revisionism) neither. Most of the members of the "Action Francaise" - and i am saying that without any sympathy for the movement - were way too "Germano-phobic" to even consider the possibility of serious collaboration, and were among the first "resistant" (the communist inspired resistance would quietly wait until June 1941 to take up arms).ç
Best example being Francois de La Rocque, president of les "croix de feu"...(Veteran organization who became a important political movement, "outside the political spectrum", nationalist, "germanophobic"...organization which will be dissolved by the Front Populaire


Of course, if one considers who there were (and what ideas they were defending) at the time of the collaboration - and consider those ideas as belonging to the far right - while ignoring where those people came from politically, Communist Party, Front populaire, SFIO, Parti Radical de Gauche...Well then it is easy to exonerate the "left"... PPF was a a far right movement and who cares if Doriot was a former Communists, RNP was a far right party, and who cares if Deat was a former SFIO, Laval was an antisemitic fascist and again let's forget his almost communist past...
And what about the others?
Drieu-La Rochelle? he was a former pacifist and friend with Louis Aragon (communist). another example of "switching".
Robert Hersant? also a member of the SFIO before he turned pro-nazi.
Marc Augier (Saint-Loup)- the journal "La Gerbe" - was a socialist until he met Chateaubriand, and became a PPF.
Maurice Papon...another "switching", also a former socialist close to Mendes France.
Rene Bousquet, from a "Radical Socialist" family, promoted in the French civil service by this party, became collaborator for National Security during the government of the "Front Populaire"...making files of far right militants, especially "La Cagoule" years before doing the same job targeting the Jews...
The list is actually very long.

Simon Epstein, in "Le paradoxe francais" wrote about the phenomenon.

Of course, i am not saying that there were no collaborators from the far right, there were, but far from being the majority as Burrin seems to suggest.

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Re: "Nazis were left-wing!" Arguments from far-right American 'intellectuals'

Post by Statistical Mechanic » Wed Aug 01, 2018 7:51 pm

But Burrin takes a sample of "collaborationist members with a political past" and says that just over 2/3 came from the "extreme right," a plurality "were veterans who had supported La Roque" and some were AF - about 22% came from the left. Radicals were absent in the sample. PPF and Francists were the parties most represented. Burrin here was not focused on leaders but on followers as well. As I said, I don't know - these are the data which Burrin presents.

Also Burrin doesn't "ignore[e] where those people came from politically" or "exonerate the 'left'" - I hope that I didn't convey any such impression (I quoted his writing that the former leftist collaborationists "were by no means negligible" - Burrin definitely sees former leftists as a piece of a puzzle) - and also he does look at the pasts of collaborationists before Vichy. I got the sense that many of Burrin's leftist minority had gone to the right during the 1930s, maybe I am misremembering. But the thing is, he describes the strong collaborationists as a minority - and its adherents as minorities coming from various minorities. He's not trying to identify collaboration with right, left, or center - rather, he shows that collaboration, and fascist sympathies during the war were cross-class and drew in a variety of people. For a variety of reasons. (He finds that early on the collaborationists came more from educated, well-to-do strata, but not so by the time of the Milice, IIRC.)

OTOH I opened this up for an entirely different purpose to what we're discussing now: Abetz, according to Burrin, cultivated former socialists and some inclined that way - thus helping pull this minority from the left to collaboration - by feeding "misconceptions" about Nazism and the Third Reich that, whilst distorting what the occupier was about, appealed to "this left-wing minority."
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Re: "Nazis were left-wing!" Arguments from far-right American 'intellectuals'

Post by Statistical Mechanic » Wed Aug 01, 2018 9:52 pm

Surprising to see that today WaPo is dealing with the question raised in the OP, not too successfully IMO - the comments are more interesting than the opinion piece: "There is nothing liberal about fascism: Fascists saw liberalism as the enemy."
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Re: "Nazis were left-wing!" Arguments from far-right American 'intellectuals'

Post by Balsamo » Thu Aug 02, 2018 4:05 pm

Statistical Mechanic wrote:But Burrin takes a sample of "collaborationist members with a political past" and says that just over 2/3 came from the "extreme right," a plurality "were veterans who had supported La Roque" and some were AF - about 22% came from the left. Radicals were absent in the sample. PPF and Francists were the parties most represented. Burrin here was not focused on leaders but on followers as well. As I said, I don't know - these are the data which Burrin presents.

Also Burrin doesn't "ignore[e] where those people came from politically" or "exonerate the 'left'" - I hope that I didn't convey any such impression (I quoted his writing that the former leftist collaborationists "were by no means negligible" - Burrin definitely sees former leftists as a piece of a puzzle) - and also he does look at the pasts of collaborationists before Vichy. I got the sense that many of Burrin's leftist minority had gone to the right during the 1930s, maybe I am misremembering. But the thing is, he describes the strong collaborationists as a minority - and its adherents as minorities coming from various minorities. He's not trying to identify collaboration with right, left, or center - rather, he shows that collaboration, and fascist sympathies during the war were cross-class and drew in a variety of people. For a variety of reasons. (He finds that early on the collaborationists came more from educated, well-to-do strata, but not so by the time of the Milice, IIRC.)

OTOH I opened this up for an entirely different purpose to what we're discussing now: Abetz, according to Burrin, cultivated former socialists and some inclined that way - thus helping pull this minority from the left to collaboration - by feeding "misconceptions" about Nazism and the Third Reich that, whilst distorting what the occupier was about, appealed to "this left-wing minority."
I reassure you, you did not convey any impression at all... :lol:

I just had the feeling that Burrin were among those who wanted to turn a blind eyes a reality still perceived as disturbing.

Well, the more i read about it, the more i was convinced that i had read "La France a l'heure allemande", and finally discovered that i had the book which i had not read since years ago.
At first glance, and as far as i remember, it is more about a broader sociological approach of the behavior of the French population as a whole, with all the dangers of such an exercise.
Simon Epstein, on the contrary, focuses on the leaders, the personalities: members of the government, high civil servants, members of parliament who voted the full power to Petain, Unionists, influential intellectuals, the political parties, and para political leagues and of course "hard core" collaborators - those who actively collaborated not only through accommodations.

Epstein originality is, instead of exclusively focus on the political background of those personalities, to focus on their stances regarding Antisemitism. Of course, it logically reveals the political background, as "Philosemites" were quite rare within the rightist movements, and the result is even more disturbing. Epstein gives hundreds of examples of people who would be directly and concretely involved in the collaboration, who before the war were not only member of a leftist political party, but sometimes also member and active militant of the LICA (International League against Antisemitism).
He worked his first book on this issue in 2001, "Les Dreyfusards sous l'Occupation" and digged further in "Un paradoxe francais" in 2008. It just cannot longer be ignored.

To go further into the polemic, he also pointed out - as i actually did before reading the book in the Raffle thread - that the list of the first resistants looked like the "French Who's who", from traditional old aristocratic families, to deep catholic, sometimes members of the Action francaise, sometimes even further to the antisemitic far rights, while the communists would wait until June 41. I think i have shared this anecdote i was told quoting one of those aristocrats "resistants" saying " let's hope this war end soon so that we can be Anti-Semite again"...And as a matter of facts, many of those traditional antisemites died in some Nazis concentration camp, while people like Bousquet would enjoy protection from personalities like Francois Mitterand - first socialist president of the Republic - and president of the socialist party.

It is not a secret that France, and that includes intellectuals and historians, still struggle with this issue of Vichy.

Simon Epstein dedicates a chapter on how "memorial policies" often deeply influenced by the communist Party manipulated history and influenced post-war historiography.

One might think that this Epstein would be some kind of guy trying to rehabilitate the far right, but then he is a professor at the University of Jerusalem...

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Re: "Nazis were left-wing!" Arguments from far-right American 'intellectuals'

Post by Statistical Mechanic » Thu Aug 02, 2018 4:49 pm

Balsamo wrote:I just had the feeling that Burrin were among those who wanted to turn a blind eyes a reality still perceived as disturbing.
Not at all, the thrust of his book is about accommodation, in fact, which he sees as inevitable, and widespread, and in terms of even extreme collaboration, he stresses the varied backgrounds of its supporters. If you took a different sense, I must have conveyed the one point I was making about the OP incorrectly: without characterizing NS as "left wing," Burrin is clear that collaboration, and even Hitler, drew supporters from the left, and that Abetz was skillful at using these men (Burrin's chapter on them is entitled "Abetz's left wing").
Balsamo wrote:At first glance, and as far as i remember, it is more about a broader sociological approach of the behavior of the French population as a whole, with all the dangers of such an exercise.
Simon Epstein, on the contrary, focuses on the leaders, the personalities: members of the government, high civil servants, members of parliament who voted the full power to Petain, Unionists, influential intellectuals, the political parties, and para political leagues and of course "hard core" collaborators - those who actively collaborated not only through accommodations.
Burrin deals with both leaders and "masses." If I have a criticism of his book, it's that, even at nearly 500 pages, it seems to offer brief tours at times, where more depth would have been good. Burrin really doesn't try to mete out blame but to understand how different leaders and segments of the population responded. I liked the book a bit more than Gildea's, because he looks at the politics as well as the broader society, but I don't see it as in opposition to Gildea's main thrust.
Balsamo wrote:Epstein originality is, instead of exclusively focus on the political background of those personalities, to focus on their stances regarding Antisemitism.
Here's a difference in approach, as Burrin, despite having written a book IIRC about the FS, is not mostly concerned with Jewish policy or antisemitism but with French responses to the occupation in general, with Jewish policy and antisemitism as a subtheme, one that he doesn't expand on at great length. But this really pisses me off, because I have 3-4 more books on the occupation of France still left to read and would like to add to the list Epstein's book - but it has not been translated into French for dummies (English). Damn you! :mrgreen: (Seriously, after reading your comments, I wish I could read Epstein's book . . . )
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Re: "Nazis were left-wing!" Arguments from far-right American 'intellectuals'

Post by Statistical Mechanic » Thu Aug 02, 2018 8:31 pm

Why this esoteric crap matters today:
I’ve been hearing the left talking about these things — fascism, Nazism on the right — and when you look at the actual history and how these things evolved, and you actually look at that platform versus the platform of the modern left, you say "Wait a minute, those two are very heavily aligned."

You see the Nazi platform from the early 1930s … and you look at it compared to the DNC platform of today, you’re saying, "Man, those things are awfully similar" to a point where it’s actually scary. ...

When people talk about these things, you can’t just spew that because someone told you that in history class when academia and everything has been so influence — so wrongly influenced — by the left.

You have a bunch of kids in dreadlocks running around screaming about fascism and all these things, you’re like "Wait a second, have you actually taken a history class?"
Spoiler:
Donald Trump Jr. at screening of “Death of a Nation: Plantation Politics and the Making of the Democratic Party,” Dinesh D’Souza's new right-wing propaganda film, in DC ... Don Jr apparently missed, among other things, Charlottesville ... and is terribly confused over whether the people talking about these things took history courses from cultural Marxist brainwashers or have never actually taken a history course?!?!?!
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Re: "Nazis were left-wing!" Arguments from far-right American 'intellectuals'

Post by Balsamo » Fri Aug 03, 2018 12:01 am

Statistical Mechanic wrote:Why this esoteric crap matters today:
I’ve been hearing the left talking about these things — fascism, Nazism on the right — and when you look at the actual history and how these things evolved, and you actually look at that platform versus the platform of the modern left, you say "Wait a minute, those two are very heavily aligned."

You see the Nazi platform from the early 1930s … and you look at it compared to the DNC platform of today, you’re saying, "Man, those things are awfully similar" to a point where it’s actually scary. ...

When people talk about these things, you can’t just spew that because someone told you that in history class when academia and everything has been so influence — so wrongly influenced — by the left.

You have a bunch of kids in dreadlocks running around screaming about fascism and all these things, you’re like "Wait a second, have you actually taken a history class?"
Spoiler:
Donald Trump Jr. at screening of “Death of a Nation: Plantation Politics and the Making of the Democratic Party,” Dinesh D’Souza's new right-wing propaganda film, in DC ... Don Jr apparently missed, among other things, Charlottesville ... and is terribly confused over whether the people talking about these things took history courses from cultural Marxist brainwashers or have never actually taken a history course?!?!?!
My God! :frown:

Reading the first line, i thought it might be me...
then came the "wait a minute" part and i guessed...my god, i could hear his orangeness' voice in my head...
The Nazi platform versus the DNC platform... amazing...No wonder he is up in the Polls to a point the world is getting scared.

Is this why the WaPo felt obliged to write an article about something so obvious like "the Nazi were no Liberals"? As the later was actually the first shock of the day.

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Re: "Nazis were left-wing!" Arguments from far-right American 'intellectuals'

Post by Statistical Mechanic » Fri Aug 03, 2018 12:20 am

Jr has tried to defend himself from reactions to his bizarre comments with this tweet:
So the left spends the last 3 years falsely calling my entire family NAZI’s, but the second I point out the similarities between the economic platform of the National Socialists and the Democrat Party, they scream bloody murder. Here’s [clip from D'Souza's film attached] what I was referring to. #facts
I think that the earlier WaPo piece was more in response to the general use of this liberals=Nazis "argument" by the American right as Aaron's OP spoke to.
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Re: "Nazis were left-wing!" Arguments from far-right American 'intellectuals'

Post by Balsamo » Fri Aug 03, 2018 1:09 am

LOL
Forgot the US vocabulary : Liberals = US left = EU Right = Liberal Party... In a Eurpean perspective, Bernie Sanders is barely a Social-Democrat...

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Re: "Nazis were left-wing!" Arguments from far-right American 'intellectuals'

Post by Statistical Mechanic » Fri Aug 03, 2018 1:47 am

Balsamo wrote:LOL
Forgot the US vocabulary : Liberals = US left = EU Right = Liberal Party... In a Eurpean perspective, Bernie Sanders is barely a Social-Democrat...
Right, thus in the US context, "libtards" = "far left" = Nancy Pelosi LOL
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Re: "Nazis were left-wing!" Arguments from far-right American 'intellectuals'

Post by Jeffk 1970 » Tue Aug 21, 2018 8:07 pm

A joke going around Moscow during The Great Terror:

The NKVD knocks on a door.
The inhabitants ask who it is.
“NKVD.”
“You’ve got the wrong apartment. The Communists are upstairs.”

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Re: "Nazis were left-wing!" Arguments from far-right American 'intellectuals'

Post by Jeffk 1970 » Fri Sep 07, 2018 5:52 pm

Kotkin discusses differences between the Nazis and Communists.

He brings up that banks nationalized during the depression were reprivatized in 1936-1937 and that other than the Herman Goering Works the Nazi regime created few state enterprises. The Finance Ministry opposed state companies as inefficient and expensive.

He makes the point (as I have) that even when Jewish businesses were confiscated or forced to relinquish Jewish ownership private individuals snapped them up.
A joke going around Moscow during The Great Terror:

The NKVD knocks on a door.
The inhabitants ask who it is.
“NKVD.”
“You’ve got the wrong apartment. The Communists are upstairs.”

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Re: "Nazis were left-wing!" Arguments from far-right American 'intellectuals'

Post by montgomery » Fri Sep 07, 2018 6:10 pm

Balsamo wrote:LOL
Forgot the US vocabulary : Liberals = US left = EU Right = Liberal Party... In a Eurpean perspective, Bernie Sanders is barely a Social-Democrat...
You nailed it with that one!

The right in America are into labeling everything they oppose as commie, nazi, fascist, etc. But it's the commie label that sticks the best because the people have been schooled since childhood on the commies under every bed. If people like Bernie can break through this wall of propaganda, the status quo will become very threatened.

It's too obvious that Trump sailed right on to victory on the socialist or social reform platform. He lied of course but he successfully cut Bernie off at the knees. Neither party is going to allow any of that sort of infiltration to sneak in the backdoor again any time soon. Not-Socialism and more correctly, social reform, has been nipped in the bud in America. 2020 is too close already for any of that kind of hope.

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Re: "Nazis were left-wing!" Arguments from far-right American 'intellectuals'

Post by Statistical Mechanic » Fri Sep 07, 2018 6:33 pm

Jeffk 1970 wrote:Kotkin discusses differences between the Nazis and Communists.

He brings up that banks nationalized during the depression were reprivatized in 1936-1937 and that other than the Herman Goering Works the Nazi regime created few state enterprises. The Finance Ministry opposed state companies as inefficient and expensive.

He makes the point (as I have) that even when Jewish businesses were confiscated or forced to relinquish Jewish ownership private individuals snapped them up.
Under capitalism, man exploits man; under communism, it's just the opposite.

Yuck, yuck, but really, I have never gotten this argument. Sometimes when I read the opposite view to yours it strikes me that the writer confuses cartelization+state intervention+social welfare programs (for Aryans)-unions with socialism.
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Re: "Nazis were left-wing!" Arguments from far-right American 'intellectuals'

Post by Jeffk 1970 » Fri Sep 07, 2018 7:47 pm

Statistical Mechanic wrote:
Jeffk 1970 wrote:Kotkin discusses differences between the Nazis and Communists.

He brings up that banks nationalized during the depression were reprivatized in 1936-1937 and that other than the Herman Goering Works the Nazi regime created few state enterprises. The Finance Ministry opposed state companies as inefficient and expensive.

He makes the point (as I have) that even when Jewish businesses were confiscated or forced to relinquish Jewish ownership private individuals snapped them up.
Under capitalism, man exploits man; under communism, it's just the opposite.

Yuck, yuck, but really, I have never gotten this argument. Sometimes when I read the opposite view to yours it strikes me that the writer confuses cartelization+state intervention+social welfare programs (for Aryans)-unions with socialism.
I agree. When I see stuff like this it’s usually the right-wing trying to distance itself from Fascism in general and Nazism in particular.

Paxton said in the Anatomy of Fascism that Fascists weren’t against capitalism per se but were for “muscular” capitalism.
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The NKVD knocks on a door.
The inhabitants ask who it is.
“NKVD.”
“You’ve got the wrong apartment. The Communists are upstairs.”

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Re: "Nazis were left-wing!" Arguments from far-right American 'intellectuals'

Post by montgomery » Sat Sep 08, 2018 12:01 am

Curious that I find my politics much more in common with the holocaust promoters of this forum. More than any other forum by a mile. Yet on freedom of speech and the right to express one's view without being harrassed by extremists, this forum is the worst I've ever experienced.

It has to be the topic. I don't think I'm talking to a bunch of pro-zionism Jews?

Then on the other hand, who else could have such deep feelings on protecting the legend? Most people have moved on.

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Re: "Nazis were left-wing!" Arguments from far-right American 'intellectuals'

Post by Gord » Sat Sep 08, 2018 12:46 am

Oh, I don't think you're an extremist, montgomery! I just think you're weird.
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