Werner Sombart on the Ethic of Subsistence and the Capitalist Spirit – Philitt – May 22nd, 2017

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A figure of the German Conservative Revolution, Werner Sombart devoted a large part of his work to the analysis of the capitalist spirit and the research of its origins. By focusing on the genesis of capitalism which he situated in the Late Middle Ages, the German sociologist highlights the opposition between a pre- capitalist European commercial ethic, called subsistence, and a specifically capitalist ethic. This latter was firstly influenced by Christian thought, which limited it, before it freed itself from it.

The feudal and corporatist economy of the Middles Ages was dominated by the idea that everyone should be capable of living from his work in conformity with his rank and by leading an honest life. The statement of Sigismond, the Germanic Holy Roman Emperor at the start of the 15th century, recounted by Werner Sombart, transcribes this ideal: “Work exists so that each man can earn his bread by performing it and so that no one can impinge upon the trade of another. Thanks to it each man can satisfy his needs and feed himself.” The economic logic governing such a society was thus subordinated to the necessity of providing for the producers and the determination of prices was essentially based on the costs of production. Usage value took priority over exchange value: prices didn’t depend on supply and demand in the pre- capitalist commercial spirit. Likewise, any maneuver aiming to depress prices, like a fire sale, was judged immoral.

This ethic, which Werner Sombart qualified as the ethic of subsistence, created a particular conception of the notion of competition. In order to assure price stability and the means of survival for everyone, tradesmen and artisans were restrained to the domain of a particular activity and a defined clientele. Impregnated with the peasant spirit, this commercial morality considered that “the client was for the city dweller, what the plot of land was for the peasant,” according to Sombart. Any pursuit of clients was thus prohibited and the actions aiming to attract clients from one’s neighbor were forbidden. Relying on the commercial regulations and the legal records of large commercial cities, Werner Sombart showed that any attempt at commercial promotion could lead to sanctions.

Moreover, by assuring the organization and regulation of professions, the guilds watched out to make sure no one impinged on another person’s realm of activity. Regarding the prohibition of lending at interest that predominated at the time, it conformed to the ethic of guarding against any panic by forbidding the production of money from money. The sociologist remarked that this pre- capitalist economy was not very productive. The lack of commercial rigor, the multitude of holidays, and the slowness of transaction speed reduced the efficiency of a society in which economic work was not the central point, a society in which the elites were not legitimized by their commercial prowess. In effect, this spirit corresponded to European societies in which life was regulated by social, popular, and religious events, which imposed their imperatives upon commerce. Moreover, Werner Sombart was well aware that the principles of this ethic of subsistence were regularly violated. Yet the regular transgression of the forbidden, even the occasional tolerance of this transgression, did not weaken the principle nor its mark left on the spirit of the age.

The emergence of the first forms of capitalism in Italy in the 13th and 14th centuries, notably in Florence, broke with the preceding eras not only by valuing wealth obtained from work, but especially by rationalizing economizing attitudes. Werner Sombart underlined the role of certain aspects of Catholicism in this evolution. By advocating the idea of a chaste and moderate life but also the absolute mastery of oneself and rigor in work, the Thomist doctrine of Catholicism encouraged the rationalization of life and created a fertile ground for the development of homo economicus. Honesty and rigor in business were no longer solely constraints imposed by reputation but virtues required by the personal conscience of the individual, which increased the degree of necessity. These Christian virtues were a catalyst for the capitalist spirit but they were equally an important limit. Thomism did not condemn wealth but it distinguished it from enrichment. Movement, dynamism always excites mistrust and the fear of a violation of limits. Furthermore, even when it is allowed, this enrichment must not be the end goal. Man must remain the ultimate ends of the economy.

The Persistence of the Ethic of Subsistence

However the principles of the ethic of subsistence remained omnipresent in this first form of capitalism. More rational and effective than before, commercial activity remained low intensity. The ideas of limits combined with the ethic of subsistence had lost none of their importance and commerce remained subordinated to the social life of individuals. Devoting one’s life to the expansion of one’s wealth was not the capitalist ideal of this era, it was to earn enrich oneself rapidly and retire from business in order to enjoy and live on the earned wealth. Werner Sombart explained that during this period of primitive capitalism, prices remained essentially determined by the usage value of goods and competition was strictly subordinated to the principles of the pre- capitalist economy: “Even during the first half of the 18th century, the merchants of London saw the efforts of some of their colleagues to decorate their shops or attract clients with tasteful and elegant displays as unfair competition.” The sociologist illustrated this late remnant of the ethic of subsistence by citing the writings of Daniel Defoe, author of Robinson Crusoe but also a figure of English capitalism and editor of the Complete English Tradesman published in 1725. In this work, the entrepreneur didn’t hesitate to take a position against unregulated commerce. He accused it of lowering prices by drastically diminishing the jobs necessary for an equal amount of production in order to concentrate profit in the hands of a few. Werner Sombart also recalled the mistrustful attitude of Italian Guilds in the 16th century towards the first machines in the name of defending labor. So this first capitalist period remained profoundly enclosed by social life, limiting any desire for the autonomy of economic logic in relation to religious and traditional principles.

The mutation of this classical capitalism into modern capitalism began the 18th century but it only truly revealed itself in the 19th. The economy then became autonomous and was no longer subordinated to the limits of traditional society. Man was no longer the center of the economic universe. The old principle of “earn as much as possible by the doing the least amount of business possible” was no longer fashionable, on the contrary, it was to always produce more in order to compensate for ever falling prices. Commercial advertising became widespread and attempts to attract and seduce the clientele were no longer objects of moral condemnation. All the juridical and moral shackles of the past ages were treated like obstacles to destroy in order to liberate commerce. Economic efficiency became the only moral principle in business. Werner Sombart remarked the former virtues of primitive capitalism (rigor at work, a spirit of thrift and honesty) survive in the modern world but under an “objectified” form. These virtues are justified as long as they prove their economic effectiveness but are no longer followed if their utility ceases, in private life for example.

The Modern Cult of Growth and Movement

For Werner Sombart, the principal mutation of the modern capitalist spirit resides in the motive of the capitalist. In the era of primitive capitalism, the merchant was animated by the love of profit and the will to conform with Christian virtues, the latter stimulated but limited the capitalist spirit. In the modern era, the love of profit was accentuated, the virtues objectified, but the capitalist was especially moved by a new force. It is the will to grow and the love of this growth that motivates him before all. The limitless expansion of business constitutes his supreme goal. This imperative of growth suppose an absence of limit on work, production, and the creation of wealth. Werner Sombart explained that modern commercial activity achieved an unbounded wealth, but also and especially a depth and intensity previously unparalleled: “Forward, forward! Such is the watchword of our times. The advance of the market and furious commotion: that is what characterizes it before all. We know to what extent this excess of activity exhausts bodies, withers souls. All the inherent values of life are sacrificed to the Moloch of work, all the aspirations of the heart and the spirit must give way to a single interest, a single preoccupation: business.” The sociologist did not hesitate to compare this psychology of the modern businessman to the psychology of a child whose mental world rests upon permanent agitation, the desire to always attain more, the love of novelty, and the feeling of power. Education permits the regulation of such caprices by imposing limits on the desires of the child. The modern commercial ethic rests on this infantile psychology freed from any educational shackle.

This fundamental rupture brought by modernity created the cult of movement and change. Negatively perceived, stability became, on the contrary, a synonym for immobilization and sterility. At the end of the tumultuous 19th century, Charles Péguy still perceived the vestiges of the old ethic of subsistence: “They said that a man who works well and conducts himself well will surely never lack anything … this whole old world was essentially the world of making a living” whose disappearance constitutes what is properly modern: “And maybe that’s the most profound difference, the abyss that exists between the ancient, pagan, Christian, French world, and our modern world.” The dynamic of modern capitalism analyzed by Werner Sombart in the first part of the 20th century has continued to our day. The recourse to publicity and marketing, the race to lower prices, and the imperative of economic growth have intensified since the writings of the German intellectual. While the fluidification of society appears to be the ideal of the modern world now more than ever, the practices condemned by the ethic of subsistence are made commonplace. Yet one still finds significant traces of this ethic in the deontological rules of certain so-called “regulated” professions. The lawyer’s organization thus forbids the canvassing of clients from a member in the name of the principle of brotherhood and restrains advertising to preserve the dignity of the profession. Through his original approach to notions of economic growth, competition, and price determination, the historical and worldly wise analysis of Werner Sombart constitutes a relevant tool to address contemporary questions of growth and the local or alternative economy.

Source: https://philitt.fr/2017/05/22/ethique-de-subsistance-et-esprit-capitaliste-chez-werner-sombart/

Fiume – The Avant-Garde of History – Idiocratie – April 18th 2016

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The demonstrators of “La nuit debout” have such an inventive poverty, between the hackneyed slogans of the radical left and the obsolete practices of participative democracy, that we propose to them, in the guise of a meditation – if this word still has meaning to their conformist spirits – a shot of adrenaline, a pleasurable more-than-life that they are unlikely to encounter in their “convivial” assemblies whose debilitating gestures have even gone so far as to replace the hollow words.

“Having reached my destination, I offered red roses to Frate Francesco in the Vatican, I threw more red roses, as proof of love, for the Queen and the People above the Quirinal. Over the Montecitorio [the Italian parliament], I threw a rusty iron utensil attached to a red rag, with a few turnips attached to the handle and a message: Guido Keller – from the wings of the Splendor – offers to the parliament and government that has ruled thanks to lies and fears for quite some time, a tangible allegory of its merit.”

Rome, 14th day of the 3rd month of the Regency.1

That’s how Guido Keller – adventurer and futurist aero-poet – recalled the “bombardment” of the Italian parliament that he accomplished on November 14th 1920 on board his Ansaldo SVA 5.2 monoplane, to protest against the signing of the Treaty of Rapallo on November 12th 1920 by Italy and Yugoslavia. The “aero-romantic” escapade of Gabrielle D’Annunzio’s principal lieutenant symbolically marked the end of one of the most surprising post-war enterprises: the seizure and occupation of the frontier city of Fiume and the transformation, for a year, of the city into a vast field of aesthetic – political experimentation, that we can consider more as a womb of radical European avant-gardism than as a womb of the new political phenomena that emerged as a result of the conclusion of the First World War, in particular Italian Fascism.

The city of Fiume, or Rijeka in Croatian, had benefited from its status as an autonomous free port accorded to it by the decree of Charles VI of Austria in 1719, and then renewed by the empress Maria Theresa. In 1848, Fiume had been briefly occupied by Croatia before regaining its independence in 1868. An international city par excellence, Fiume was, in 1919, inhabited by Italians, Croats Hungarians, and Germans. Italian remained the dominant language and the local dialect, “Fiumian,” was similar to Venetian, while the dialect of the surrounding countryside corresponded more to a variant of Croatian. This mixture conferred a very strong identity to the city and Fiume could be considered as an example in miniature of the multiculturalism that marked, and also undermined, the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

In 1919, the prime minister Vittorio Emanuele Orlando left Paris, where the peace conference between the victors of the First World War was held, appalled by the decisions taken regarding his country. Denying their promises from 1915, the allies had in effect ignored the conditions by which they had negotiated Italy’s entry into the war on their side against the Central Powers,2 notably the cession of the famous irredentist territories, including Fiume, to Italy. Nevertheless, the president of the council, Francesco Saverio Nitti, more concerned by the social troubles that shook Italy in the Biennio rosso3, accepted the conditions offered to Italy by the allied powers and officially signed the armistice on September 10th 1919.

Among all the voices that were raised at this moment to denounce the policy of Nitti, was that of the “poet-warrior” Gabrielle D’Annunzio, which seemed to overpower all the others. Not content with publicly accusing Nitti of cowardice, he surrounded himself with a small group of faithful followers and at the head of a veritable personal army of demobilized soldiers and adventurers, made the decision to march on the city of Fiume, from which he expelled the American, English, and French expeditionary corps that occupied it without difficulty, with the goal of restoring the city to the Italian state. However the Italian government disappointed his expectations by refusing his offer. Then D’Annunzio made the decision to establish a government in Fiume based on the charter composed by the anarcho-syndicalist Alceste de Ambris, taking the place of a constitution for the city of Fiume, and presaging the creation of an “anti-League of Nations” allied with all the “oppressed peoples of the earth.” The “Regency of Carnaro,” thus created and named by D’Annunzio, initiated a political experience singular in Europe that would run from September 1919 to December 1920. Around D’Annunzio the new masters of the city of Fiume thronged: the Arditi4, but also Futurists, Dadaists, anarchists, monarchists, and all sorts of adventurers from every ilk. Bolshevik Russia was the only state to recognize the existence of this insurrectionary city-state in which local notables observed, terrified but powerless, their city transforming itself into an immense stage where baroque settings in honor of the Vate were performed and public debates in which free love, the liberation of women, and the abolition of prison were discussed. “Masquerade, raillery, and derision serve as their language,” wrote Claudia Salaris. “Futurists, Dadaists, and anarchists experiment in the laboratory of Fiume, discussing themes as daring for the era as woman’s liberation, drugs, the abolition of money and prisons.”5

In general, the escapade of Fiume is only considered as a proto-Fascist demonstration of the spirit of revenge that animated a part of the Italian elites mutilated by the victory. But, it is suitable to understand the episode from a much less reductive angle. From the foundation of the Regency of Carnaro, the principal artisans of the adventure of Fiume actually considered their enterprise as the point of departure for a revolutionary movement that should respond to both to the political, as well as the most radical social and aesthetic, aspirations of the postwar avant-gardes and déclassés, conscious of being part of a devastated country which henceforth only belonged, in their opinion, to the rearguard of the victors. A heteroclite mixture of nationalist claims, anarchist passions, libertine sensibilities, a tumultuous aggregate of soldiers on the loose, adventurers, artists of the grenade, enraged Futurists, Dadas of combat, frenzied monarchists, fantastic criminals, poets in uniform, revolutionaries without a cause, and some veritable candidates for the insane asylum, the “republic of Carnaro,” decreed by D’Annunzio on September 12th 1919 from December 30th 1920 constituted a unique experience in the chaos of post-war Europe. Proclaimed as a place of love and perpetual festivity, it stirred the curiosity of Mussolini who remained doubtful, but didn’t forget to draw essential lessons from the permanent theater organized by D’Annunzio throughout his revolution for himself. On the other hand, it excited the disdain of Marinetti who only saw in the activists of Fiume a collection of gypsies thrown into the same hysterical fray of anarchists, Futurists, and monarchists. The charter of Carnaro, drafted by the Italian anarcho-syndicalist Alceste De Ambris, showed Fiume’s new masters’ contempt for the modern state and intended to truly base itself on popular sovereignty, but it also inscribed in the new constitution a certain number of social advances hardly imaginable for the era. Besides the fact that the charter was famed for having declared music as a fundamental principle of the state, it authorized divorce, gave women the right to vote, legalized homosexuality, the usage of drugs, and nudism. The Belgian poet Léon Kochnitzky, close friend of D’Annunzio, saw “Fiumanism” as a universal revolutionary enterprise, capable of overthrowing the established order of the old world:

To rally the forces of all the oppressed peoples, nations, races, etc, of the world into a compact formation. And use it to fight and triumph over the oppressors and imperialists who want their financial interests to prevail over the most sacred sentiments of man: faith, love of country, individual liberty, and social dignity.6

Ludovico Toeplitz, Italian filmmaker and polyglot, was charged with the foreign relations of the Regency of Carnaro and, as such, he was also tasked with establishing the League of Fiume, a veritable “anti-League of Nations,” according to Gabrielle D’Annunzio’s wish:

I made contact with all the malcontents of various countries around the world: with Zaghloul Pasha, not yet prime minister but then leader of the party of Fellah; with Kemal Pasha, the power leader of the Young Turk party, who would doubtlessly take power next. In Fiume, we founded the Anti-League of Nations, in opposition to the iniquitous treaty of Versailles.7

The resupplying of this modern pirate city, besieged since the start of 1920 by the Italian army, was assured by audacious surprise attacks, supervised by the D’Annunzio’s principal lieutenant: Guido Keller, a personality so fantastic that he still seems today only capable of existing in a novel. Veteran of the Italian air-force, Futurist aero-poet and fantastic mystic, Keller reinvented in the air a form of the courtly duel consisting of taking the lead over his opponent before letting him nobly flee. He was also the founder of a fraternity of barbers, which he joined after having demonstrated that he was capable of cutting his hair in flight, and had installed a tea set in his plane, which he piloted most of the time in his pajamas.

In Fiume, within the beautiful milieu of joyous anarchy constitutionally established by the Regency of Carnaro, it was not rare to see Keller spending a part of the day in the simplest garb or eventually made up as Poseidon. He slept in the trees, was a vegetarian, and considered any opportunity to detonate a grenade as a manifestation of joy. “When he he had free time,” Atlantico Ferri wrote in the Testa di ferro, “he climbed trees, completely nude, and performed all functions that most men fulfill at the ground level– including the most natural – in his airplane.” Thick black hair, Mephistophelian beard, Keller seemed nearly more Faun than human being. One of his favorite pastimes also seemed to be scaring the young couples who went to kiss near the cemetery of Fiume by making the howls of beasts at night to the point where commander D’Annunzio had to order a company of soldiers to prove that no zombie or werewolf hid there. Specialist in surprise attacks and acts of piracy through which the city survived, Keller also drafted a circular inviting all of Italy’s insane and asylum bound to demand their freedom in order to join Fiume8 and was also the founder of a secret Yoga society that entertained relations with Futurists of all stripes and nationalities as well as the German Dadaists9 and Russian and Hungarian Bolsheviks. Lenin declared before the war that he considered D’Annunzio as the only true revolutionary leader in Italy10; he forgot to mention the indispensable companion of the Vate, Guido Keller, who was as capable of organizing a romantic and theatrical assault – entitled “The Castle of Love” – on the presidential palace of Fiume, as he was of stealing fifty horses from under the nose of the Italian army. Keller was convinced that Fiume had become both “the city of Holocaust” and “the city of Love,” the epicenter of an earthquake that would shake history, liberate peoples, and overthrow the assassin states and impostor governments.

The episode of Fiume, anachronistically modern, seems both suspended beyond time and at the same time installed at the heart, at the hinge, of European history. The revolutionaries of Fiume united together to establish the complete invasion of existence by art, and at the same time the complete politicization of art. The gesture of revolt became the artistic manifestation of revolution, war, combat an aesthetic demonstration: the ultimate allegory of life’s movement, from death and chaos. The Futurists, the Dadas of combat, the revolutionary monarchist, anarchist, or nationalist poets that one could encounter in Fiume had predecessors in the 19th century whose slogans they reprised, reproducing their poses and reissuing in part their engagements, on a city-wide scale and in a somewhat crazy experience during which aesthetics and action formed a single gesture.

The establishment of the government of Fiume was accompanied by the partial seizure of power within the city by the Yoga society which had the duty of affirming the avant-garde and internationalist vocation of the Fiumian movement. In la Testa di ferro, magazine of the Yoga society directed by the Futurist Mario Carli, nicknamed “Our Bolshevik” or “the Little Father of Bolshevism,” they celebrated “the Italian city of Fiume – city of new life- liberation of all the oppressed (peoples, classes, individuals) – discipline of the spirit against all formal discipline – destruction of all hegemonies, dogmas, conservatisms, and parasitisms – crucible of new energies – few words, much substance.”11 The Yoga Union designated its wishes as a “lyrical order” capable of liberating both peoples and the creativity of the individual by fighting any form of alienation. “Revolutionaries not for or against a party, but revolutionaries against what we are,” proclaimed the first issue of the magazine, published November 13th 1920. The motto that the members of the Yoga society gave it demonstrated the art of rhetoric as much as the art of war. It was “conquer the adversary through irony, expose it to ridicule by depriving it of any barbaric authority, as well as the foolishness it deserves,” 12 in other words, to oppose conservatism with irony and to speak out:

Against golden safety goggles

Against ‘goodbye my dear’

Against throaty ‘r’s

Against posing

Against madness proper, organized in the serious and spiritual home for exhibitionist purposes13

The Yoga Society transformed the atmosphere of the city of Fiume into a permanent theater, proliferating surprise actions and spontaneous public demonstrations that latter day avant-gardists would call “happenings,” in the middle of the street, under the eyes of the stunned population and to the great dismay of the city’s notables. They also organized public consultations during which they touched upon every subject, where they spoke of everything, quickly, with the enthusiasm of those who imagined that liberated speech would accelerate the fall of the old world or simply with the ardor of the forlorn who basically knew that “end times” were doubtlessly coming soon.:

At the heart of the old city of San Vito we found the plaza to gather. A big tree protected the harmony of speech under its expanse… One night, we spoke of the abolition of money, another of free love, another yet, of the politician, the regulation of the army, the abolition of prisons, the embellishment of the city… That was how conversation flowed, admirably, on the old plaza, in perfect harmony between the prostitute and the poet, between the navigator and the antiquarian, between the banker and the intellectual, while the presence of animals, in their silence, was appreciated.14

Thus Margherita Keller Besozzi, Guido Keller’s cousin and feminist figure decreed that: “The woman of Fiume is nothing other than the mother of the modern woman,” the revolutionaries, via their magazine, launched always more radical slogans, in a measure that seemed to follow the tragic fate of the adventure of Fiume:

So block the trains and ships, flood the obscene mines, close the workshops (cages of fools invented by devils), set fire to offices, ministries, stock exchanges where they earn what isn’t worth earning … and save life! … With what voluptuousness would I set fire to your stupid “academies,” your putrid “museums,” full of the remains of faded beauty (created by workers for princes) that you are no longer capable of understanding, to your “schools of art,” where in grand pomp buried corpses teach those without genius how to become more mediocre than their master.15

The “bloody Christmas” of December 24th 1920 ended the adventure of Fiume and D’Annunzio’s attempt at an esoteric and a-historical revolution, forcing the evacuation of the city after a week of rough combat against the Italian army. The Vate would end his life nearly confined to his home on Lago di Garda, having become an invalid after having mysteriously “fallen” from his window on the night of August 13th or 14th 1922.

For Guido Keller, the failure of Fiume was the beginning of a wandering that would lead him from Italy to South America, where he attempted to give life to his libertine dreams. He firstly tried to establish a flying circus show entitled “The Conquest of the Sun,” and then exiled himself to Turkey to establish a pilot school, before becoming a military squadron officer in Benghazi Libya. Defeated by the rebels, he would sympathize with them before embarking for South America and Peru – “Fatherland of coca – the generous princess” – where he would launch a revolutionary attempt, bloodily crushed. “The dead are similar to those in Fiume,” he wrote to Sandro Pozzi. “I am on the route traced by destiny: I sought out my distant land, and like Ulysses, I exchanged a one-eyed horse for a blind mount.” The last act of his existence saw him associate with the painter and sculptor Hendrik Andersen in order to create a “city of life” on a lost island in the Aegean where no law or form of order should exist and where only artists and adventurers would be authorized to live. The project never came to fruition. In 1929, Guido Keller died, victim of a motorcycle accident on a road in Italy, like Thomas Edward Lawrence, called Lawrence of Arabia, six years later. As for D’Annunzio he died in 1938 and Mussolini accorded him a national funeral, which he doubtlessly wouldn’t want, he who had become a political undesirable confined to his home by the Fascist regime. The time of dreamers and poets was no more and Europe was once again handed over to the confrontations of empires, carnivorous ideologies that would devour whole peoples and utopias.

Notes:

1) Guido KELLER. Signed notes. in Janez JANSA. Il porto dell’amore. Texts by Domenico Cuarenta. Quis contra nos 1919-2019. www.reakt.org/fiume

2) Negotiations that promised Italy, in exchange for its participation in the conflict, the cession, after the war of the regions of Trentino, South Tyrol to the Brenner, Istria, Dalmatia, the cities of Trieste, Gorizia, and Gradisca, a protectorate over Albania, sovereignty over the port of Vlora, the province of Anatolia in Turkey, plus the Dodecanese and other colonies in East Africa and Libya. The near totality of these agreements would be ignored at the Paris Conference in 1919.

3) This expression designates the two years, from 1918 to 1920, which after the end of the war were marked by very strong social agitation in Italy and the fear of a communist seizure of power, henceforth named “the Red Biennial.”

4) The “Ardent.” Companions of D’Annunzio, for the most part former soldiers, whose uniform, rallying cry, “me ne frego,” and organization became the major inspiration for Mussolini during the creation of his Fasci of Combat.

5) Claudia SALARIS. A la fête de la révolution. Artistes et libertaires avec D’Annunzio à Fiume. Paris, Éditions du Rocher, 2006. p. 11

6) De Felice, D’Annunzio politico 1918-1938, Roma-Bari, Laterza, 1978, p. 73. Cited by Janez Jansa. Il porto dell’amore. Aksioma – Institute for Contemporary Art, Ljubljana

7) Ludovico Toeplitz, Cial a chi tokka, Milano, Edizioni Milano Nuova, 1964, p. 49

8) At the same time, Marinetti proclaimed: “It is time that we also make a conscious and evolved art from madness (the overthrow of logical relationships).” This type of declaration of course recalls the surrealist declarations and attempts in Germany realized by SPK at the end of the 1970s to liberate psychiatric hospitals. Attempts that ended in the armed intervention of the German GIGN against an establishment “self managed by the ill.”

9) The expedition of Fiume was warmly saluted by the Dada Club in Berlin, in a telegram sent to the Correrre Del Sierra : “Conquest is a great Dadaist action, and we will employ all means to assure its recognition. The Dada Dadaco global atlas already recognizes Fiume as an Italian city.”

10) The illegal government of Fiume quickly made contact with Bolshevik Russia which was the only state to recognize its existence.

11) Slogan appearing in a number of issues of La Testa di ferro.

12) Sandro Pozzi in La Testa di ferro.

13) Manifesto-poster: “The Founding of the Yoga in Fiume”

14) Giovanni Comisso. Il Il porto dell’amore. Longanesi [Biblioteca di narratori]. 2011.

15) Yoga n°2. 20 novembre 1920.

Source: http://idiocratie2012.blogspot.com/2016/04/fiume-lavant-garde-de-lhistoire.html

The Crusaders of Uncle Sam – Christian Bouchet – March 4th 2003 – VoxNR

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Announced a few weeks ago, unfortunately delayed many times, Tahir de la Nive’s work: “The Crusaders of Uncle Sam” is finally published.

This two hundred page book – which I was honored to write the afterword for – has an immense interest, focusing on the rabid anti-Islamism that has developed over the last few years in the nationalist movement, which poorly conceals a return of the old demons: occidentalism, Americanophilia, and blissful admiration of the most extremist Zionism.

Behind the stuttering of history, there are two men who haven’t concealed their bonds of friendship: Alexandre del Valle and Guillaume Faye.

Tahir de la Nive, an old greater European nationalist, marked by the thought of Yockey and Thiriart, demonstrates the arguments of the two accomplices and their manipulations in his work.

The chapter where he shows how Faye “hacks up” the Koran in order to create quotes that aren’t there is particularly enlightening on a style of intellectual functioning.

The chapter were he mentions the favorable stance towards Islamism by the principal editor of “J’ai tout compris” in the past is also of great interest. Listen to the account of his encounter with Faye given by de la Nive’s friend: “It was in 1985, on the occasion of a colloquium held in Strasbourg by the staff of Eléments, that we made the acquaintance of Guillaume Faye. His statements then were, like those of the Nouvelle Droite, marked by Islamophilia, to which the presence of an Afghan in their group, Gulbudine Hekmatyar, representative of the Mujaheddin in France, also testified, or even Eléments magazine, more particularly issue 53, in which we can read in the editorial column: ‘The awakening of Islam is not a threat in our eyes, much much rather a hope,’ followed by an article of at least eight pages by Guillaume Faye entitled ‘For a Euro-Arab alliance,’ followed by others by Pierre Vial: ‘Cliches have a long life, try to end those indifferently targeting Arabs and Islam’, and Claudio Mutti: ‘Why I chose Islam.’”

Tahir de la Nive also recalls that Guillaume Faye, appeared besides Claudio Mutti – who he now denounces as a “folkloric little Nazi” – not only in the columns of Eléments, but also in a list of “Islamophile neo-Nazis” (yes you read that right, that’s how Guillaume Faye was classified in the 1980s) published on page 239 of the book “The Crescent and the Swastika” by Kauffer and Faligot.

So Tahir de la Nive justly poses the question of Faye’s sincerity (was he sincere then? Is he sincere now?) and the reasons that lead to his turn: “Reversals in politics are something common and, when they happen, the question to ask is not an indignant ‘How so?’, more exclamatory than interrogative, but ‘Why so?’ followed by others like ‘after what manipulations and infiltration, what blackmail or bargaining?’”

I only cite two of twelve chapters of the book, they are all worth reading and reflecting on.

Now it’s fashionable to recurrently denounce as pro-Islamists those who, like Tahir de la Nive or myself, refuse to yield to anti-Islamist obsessions that constitute a major preoccupation of a certain extreme right. It strangely resembles a period not so long ago where we were accused of being “communists” because we refused to yield to anti-Soviet obsessions.

It is very evident today as yesterday, “some people” want to designate for us the enemy that we must fight. An enemy that is doubtlessly theirs, but is not necessarily ours… For us, the principal enemy is not Islam, it’s not Islamism, is is rather, still and always, America-centered civilization, moronic modernity, the consumerist bourgeoisie, the diffusion of Yankee sub-culture in Europe, NATO, etc. Courage today is not putting oneself in the service of Washington or Tel Aviv – consciously or unconsciously, but showing lucid intelligence, and at this moment intelligence consists of facing America and its lackeys.

Source: http://www.voxnr.com/cc/a_la_une/EpuyZuukVkBiUnHbIL.shtml

Thiriart on the Collapse of the USSR – Nationalisme & République, No. 9 (September 1992)

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Thiriart participated in a press conference that included, besides Dugin, colonel Viktor Alksnis and Michel Schneider. A hundred people were present to hear Thiriart.

In a very large setting, he had the occasion to run through the majority of subjects familiar to him, notably his point of view on the recent evolution of Russia:

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What has been happening in Russia for two years is insane.

It was necessary to liberalize the economy, step by step starting from the bottom up and devoting 2 to 3 years per step.

Instead of that, the worst adventurers of international finance were admitted to Moscow. The product of three generations of Soviet work was put on the auction block.

The sharks of Wall Street began to take an excessive interest in the economy of the ex-USSR. It shouldn’t have weakened its political core, consenting to the separation of its peoples, even if Lenin, in his political illiteracy (an inheritance from the birth of Marxism in 1848), conceded (very hypocritically and imprudently) the “right of self-determination.”

The political and military partition of the USSR is and will always remain an unpardonable historical error. A fatal and irreversible event.

Centrifugal force destroyed in five years what centripetal forces had created in four or five centuries. Firstly, it would have been better to fill up the stores with sausages and bread, favoring the creation of a million small enterprises (with between one and fifty employees). Simultaneously, it was necessary to reinforce political repression AGAINST all these “combatants” for separatism, independence, and autonomy.

An another example of the suicidal tendencies of the new Russian leadership is their “trips” to Washington instead of accepting economic aid from Western Europe. From the historical and geopolitical point of view, the United States is the particular enemy of the USSR. The historical strategy of the United States is to divide Europe and partition the USSR.

For four centuries, England has lead the same policy against the kings of Spain, against France and Germany.

Today England has left its place to the United States. But until recently, it indefatigably aimed to destroy the principal continental force capable of uniting the European continent into a federation…

The Itinerary of a German Geopolitician: Karl Haushofer – Robert Steuckers – June 2012

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Preface: The following text is a brief excerpt from the first of two thick volumes that Prof. Hans-Adolf Jacobsen devoted to Karl Haushofer. The labor to accomplish this in order to re-explore the works of Karl Haushofer from every angle, including his correspondence, is still immense. May this modest contribution serve as the basis for the student who wants to embark upon a reading of Haushofer’s works, in a neo-Eurasianist perspective, and especially to analyze all his articles published in his “Zeitschrift für Geopolitik”.

Haushofer was born in 1869 into a well established family in Bavarian territory. The archives remind us that the name has appeared since 1352, designating a peasant family originating in the locality of Haushofen. The maternal ancestors came from Frisian country in the North of Germany. Orphaned by his mother very early in his life, the young Haushofer would be raised by his maternal grandparents in the Chiemsee region of Bavaria. Grandfather Fraas was a professor of veterinary medicine in Munich. Mentioning his happy childhood much later, Haushofer took care to remember that class differences were non-existent in Bavaria: children from every background played together, so class arrogance was non-existent: his liveliness and proverbial gentility were the fruits of this baroque conviviality: his initiatives would bear the mark of this character trait. Haushofer was destined for a military career very early on, which he embarked upon in 1887 in the 1st Field Artillery Regiment of the Bavarian Royal Army.

On a mission to Japan

On August 8th 1896, he married Martha Mayer-Doss, a very cultivated young lady of Sephardic origin on her father’s side and native Bavarian aristocracy on her mother’s side. Her logical spirit would be the necessary counterweight to the fantasy of her husband, to the bubbling effervescence of his spirit and especially his writing. She would give him two sons: Albrecht (1903-1945), would would become involved in the anti-Nazi resistance, and Heinz (1906-?), who would become an agronomist. The great turning point in Karl Haushofer’s life, the true start of his career as a geopolitician, began with his trip to East Asia, more specifically Japan (from the end of 1908 to the summer of 1910), where he would serve as a military attache and then instructor of the Imperial Japanese Army. The voyage of the Haushofer couple to the Empire of the Rising Sun started in Genoa and passed through Port Said, Ceylon, Singapore, and Hong Kong. In the course of this maritime trek, he entered India, saw the Himalaya mountain range from afar, and met Lord Kitchener, whose “defensive creativity” in matters of military policy he admired. During a diner, at the start of 1909, Lord Kitchener declared “that any confrontation between Germany and Great Britain would cost both powers their positions in the Pacific Ocean to the benefit of Japan and the United States.” Haushofer would never cease to reflect upon these words of Lord Kitchener. In fact, before the First World War, Germany had inherited the domination of Micronesia from Spain, which it had already needed to defend against American schemes, even though the United States were the masters of the principal strategic islands in this immense oceanic space: the Philippines, the Hawaiian Islands, and Guam. From his trip to Japan, Haushofer became, before all, a geopolitician of the Pacific space: he unabashedly accepted the translatio imperii in Micronesia, when Germany had to cede these isles to Japan at Versailles; for Haushofer it was logical: Germany is “a power external to the Pacific space” while Japan, for him, was a regional power, which gave it a right to dominate the islands south of its metropolitan archipelago. But any sovereign presence in the Pacific space gives it mastery of the world: so Haushofer was not an exclusively Eurasian or continental geopolitical thinker, or an erudite exponent of German nationalist geopolitics, he was equally the one who would elaborate, in the course of years in the columns of his magazine “Zeitschrift für Geopolitik”, a thalassocracy centered on the Pacific Ocean. His most attentive readers would not be his German compatriots or other Europeans but Soviets from the “Pressgeo” agency of Alexander Rados, who would collaborate with a certain Arthur Koestler and who would proceed the famous Soviet spy Richard Sorge, who was equally an attentive reader of “Zeitschrift für Geopolitik” (ZfG). In his journal, Haushofer recalls the relations that he had with Soviet personalities like Chicherin and Radek-Sobelsohn. The intermediary between Haushofer and Radek was Ritter von Niedermayer, who had launched expeditions in Persia and Afghanistan. One day Niedermayer reported to Haushofer that Radek read his book “Geopolitik der Pazifischen Ozeans”, which he wanted to translate. The wily Radek couldn’t simply translate the work of a Bavarian general and had a “better” idea in the Soviet context of the era: fabricate a matching plagiary with Marxist phraseology entitled “Tychookeanskaja Probljema”. All the theses of Haushofer were reiterated there, clothed in Marxist trimming. Another intermediary between Radek and Haushofer: Mylius Dostoevsky, grandson of the author of “The Brothers Karamazov,” who brought the German geopolitician issues of the Soviet magazine on international politics “Nowy Vostok”, Soviet information on China and Japan, and the writings of the Indonesian Revolutionary Tan Malaka on the self-determination movement in the archipelago, under Dutch domination at the time.

The journey to the Far East also made him discover the importance of Manchuria for Japan, which sought to conquer it in order to give itself arable land on the Asian coastline facing the Japanese archipelago (the purchase of arable lands, notably in Africa, by powers like China or South Korea is still a problem today). The Sino-Japanese wars, since 1895, aimed to control land for the expansion of the Japanese people, cornered on their mountainous archipelago with insufficient agricultural space. In the 30s, they would aim for the majority of the Chinese coastline in order to protect the maritime routes conveying oil to Japanese refineries, a vital commodity for the rapidly developing Japanese industry.

The beginning of a university career

Karl and Martha Haushofer’s return to Germany was made via the Trans-Siberian railway, a journey that would make Haushofer understand the continental dimension in the era of the railroad, which had reduced the separation between Europe and the Pacific Ocean. From Kyoto to Munich, the voyage would take exactly one month. The result of this voyage was his first book, “ Dai Nihon – Grossjapan” (“Japan and the Japanese”). The success of the book was immediate. Martha Haushofer then contacted Professor August von Drygalski (University of Munich) so that her husband could take courses in geography and finish a doctoral thesis on Japan. From this moment on, Haushofer was both an artillery officer and professor at the University. In 1913, thanks to his wife Martha’s formidable work ethic, who assisted all his projects with an impressive effectiveness, his thesis was ready. The specialized press picked up his work on the Empire of the Rising Sun. His notoriety was established. But critical voices weren’t lacking: his feverishness and enthusiasm, his tendency to accept any dispatch coming from Japan with meticulous verification of the content, his explicit rejection of “plutocratic powers” (England, the United States) lead to a few unexpected results and would harm his reputation until our day, where it is still not rare to read that he was a “magician” and an “irrational geographer.”

The outbreak of the First World War put a (provisional) end to his studies on Japan. Haushofer’s interests focused on “defensive geography” (“Wehrgeographie”) and “Wehrkunde” (“the science of defense”). That was also the time where Haushofer discovered the work of the Swedish geographer and conservative Germanophile Rudolf Kjellen, author of a capital pioneering work in political sciences: “The State as Living Form” (“Der Staat als Lebensform”). Kjellen forged the concept of “geopolitics” in this work. Haushofer reprised it in turn and thus became a geopolitician in the proper sense of the term starting from 1916. He also supplemented his knowledge by reading the works of the German geographer Friedrich Ratzel (to whom he owed his anthropological learning); it was also at this time where he read the works of the English historians Gibbon (“Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire”) and Macaulay, exponent of the “Whig” (non-conservative) vision of English history, who had come from Quaker and Presbyterian families. The events of the First World War caused Haushofer to note that the German people had not received – despite the excellence of its university system, its 19th century scholars, and the wealth of works produced in the line of organic German thought – a true geopolitical and “wehrgeographisch” education, unlike the British, whose colleges and universities had even given the elites “the sense of Empire.”

Reflections during the First World War

It was only at the end of the conflict that the fortunes of war would pass to the camp of the Entente. At the start of 1918, despite the declaration of war on the German Reich by Woodrow Wilson’s United States, Haushofer was still more or less optimistic and briefly sketched what would be an ideal peace for him: “Courland, Riga, and Lithuania should retain strong links with Germany, Poland should hold equivalent ones with Austria; then, we must consolidate and enlarge Bulgaria; in the west, in my opinion, we must keep the status quo while protecting the Flemish, but without German compensation for Belgium, and pure and simple evacuation of our colonies and Turkey. In such a context, peace will bring security on our eastern flank and the minimum to which we are entitled; we must absolutely not speak of Alsace-Lorraine”. American intervention would make him write in his journal: “Rather die as European than rot as American.”

Haushofer wanted to free the “three great peoples of the future,” namely the Germans, the Russians, and the Japanese, from the strangulation that the Anglo-Saxon powers had prepared for them. The energies of the “Russian bear” should be channeled towards the South, towards India, without spilling over into the German space in the West or the Japanese space in the East. The “imperialism of the dollar” was, for Haushofer, the “principal external enemy” since the day after Versailles. Faced with the new order that the Bolshevik power had constituted in Moscow, Haushofer was ambivalent: he rejected the Bolshevik style and practices but he conceded that they had liberated Russia (and intended to liberate all peoples in the future) from the “slavery of banks and capital.”

In 1919, during the trouble that rocked Munich and lead to the emergence of a Soviet Republic in Bavaria, Haushofer was part of the “Einwohnerwehrverbände” (defense units constituted by the inhabitants of the city), local militias destined to maintain order against the imitators of the “Councilist” troika and against the looters that benefited from the disorder. They grouped up to 30,000 armed men in the Bavarian capital (and up to 360,000 men in Bavaria as a whole). These units were ultimately dissolved in 1922.

The results of the Treaty of Versailles

The end of the war and the troubles in Bavaria brought Haushofer back to the University, with a new thesis on the geographic expansion of Japan between 1854 and 1919. A professor’s chair was allocated to him in 1919/1920 where the following courses were given to eleven students: East Asia, India, the comparative geography of Germany and Japan, “Wehrgeographie”, geopolitics, borders, anthropogeography, Germans from abroad, urbanism, international politics, the relations between geography, geopolitics, and military sciences. The objective of these efforts was certainly to form a new political and diplomatic elite capable of enacting a revision of the clauses of the Treaty of Versailles. For Wilson, “nationality” was the principle that should rule the future Europe after the hostilities. No border of the states arising from the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire corresponded to this principle dreamed up by the president of the United States. In each of these states, as Haushofer and other exponents of German geopolitics would note, various minorities lived in addition to Germanic minorities (10 million people in total!), to whom they refused to allow any contact with Germany, as they did with the Austrian enclaves, deprived of Czech industry, Hungarian and Croatian meat and agricultural produce, and any maritime outlet to connect them to the Weimar Republic, which was the wish of the socialists of the era especially (they were to first, notably under the encouragement of their leader Viktor Adler, to ask for Anschluss). Germany had lost its Alsatian glassworks and its province of Posen, rich in wheat, thereby more or less giving Poland autarky in the alimentary scheme, as it did not possess good soils for grains. The Rhineland was demilitarized and no border of the Reich was “intact”, to use the terminology forged in the 17th century by Richelieu and Vauban with Haushofer. In such conditions, Germany could no longer be a “subject of history.”

To become a “subject of history” again

In order to become “a subject of history” again, Germany needed to regain the sympathies lost in the course of the First World War. Haushofer managed to export this concept of “geopolitics”, of Kjellénian origin, not only to Italy and Spain, where institutes of geopolitics were created (for Italy, Haushofer cites the following names in his journal: Ricciardi, Gentile, Tucci, Gabetti, Roletto and Massi) but also to China, Japan, and India. Geopolitics, in the style of Haushofer and Kjellen, equally expanded through the dissemination and translation of a quantity of magazines across the entire world. The second initiative that would he take, in 1925, would be the creation of a “Deutsche Akademie” whose goal was firstly to address the Germanophone elites of Europe (Austria, Switzerland, the German minorities, Flanders, Scandinavia, according to Haushofer’s journal). This Academy would number 100 members. The idea came from the Bavarian legate to Paris, Baron von Ritter, who had, already in 1923, recommended the creation of a German institution similar to the Institut de France or even to the Académie française, in order to bring about good and fruitful contacts abroad in a perspective of constructive appeasement. Although established and financed by private organs, the “Deutsche Akademie” would not know the success that its seductive program deserved. The “Goethe-Institute”, which represent Germany on the cultural level today, would be its indirect heirs, since their foundation in 1932.

The objective of the institutes of geopolitics, the Deutsche Akademie and “Goethe-Institute” was thus to generate a sort of permanent “self-education” within the German people regarding geographic facts and the problems of international politics. This “self-education” or “Selbsterziehung” rests upon an imperative of openness to the world, exactly like Karl and Martha Haushofer were open to Indian, Asian, Pacific, and Siberian realities between 1908 and 1910, during their military mission to Japan. Haushofer explained this approach in a memorandum composed in his villa of Hartschimmelhof in August 1945. The First World War, he wrote, had erupted because the 70 nations involved did not possess the intellectual tools to understand the actions and maneuvers of the others; then, the dominant ideologies before 1914 didn’t perceive the “sacrality of the Earth” (“das Sakrale der Erde”). Factual geographic and historical knowledge, coupled to this telluric intuition – somewhat romantic and mystic in the manner of the “telluric thinker and painter” Carl Gustav Carus, in the 19th century, and his heir Ludwig Klages, who drew attention to the mysteries of the Earth in his speech to the youth movements during their rally in 1913 – could have contributed to a general understanding between peoples: intuition of Gaia’s resources, reinforced by an adequate political “tekhnê,” would have generated a general wisdom, shared among all the peoples of the Earth. Geopolitics, in Haushofer’s perspective, a few weeks after the capitulation of Germany, could have constituted the means to avoid any additional bloodshed and useless conflagration (cf. Jacobsen, tome I, pp. 258-259).

A revolutionary geopolitics in the 1920s

Despite this memorandum from August 1945, which laments the disappearance of all German geopolitics as Haushofer and his team had imagined it, and underlines the “pacifist” dimension, not in the usual meaning of the term but according to the Latin adage “Si vis pacem, para bellum” and the traditional injunction that makes knowing the enemy a sacred duty (“fas”), Haushofer was also and above all – what we remember him for today – the rebel student of Sir Halford John Mackinder, the student who reversed the intentions of the master by retaining the content of his lessons; for Mackinder, from his famous speech of 1904 on the day after the inauguration of the last segment of the Trans-Siberian railway, the dynamic of history rests upon an atavistic and recurrent opposition between continental powers and maritime powers (thalassocracies). The littoral powers of the great Eurasian and African continent were sometimes allied with one or the other. In the 1920s, where his geopolitics was shaped and influenced by the revolutionary milieus (those circles frequented by Ernst and Friedrich-Georg Jünger as well as the original figure Friedrich Hielscher, not forgetting the communists who gravitated around Radek and Rados), Haushofer enumerated the active continental powers, who articulated an original and independent diplomacy against the French or Anglo-Saxon western world: the Soviet Union, Turkey (after the accords signed between Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and the new Soviet power in Moscow), Persia (after Reza Khan’s seizure of power), Afghanistan, the Indian subcontinent (whose independence the Germans believed was imminent at the time), and China. He didn’t include Germany (neutralized and removed from the club of “the subjects of history”) or Japan, a thalassocratic power which had just vanquished the Russian fleet at Tsushima and was entitled to maintain the third largest fleet in the world (double that of France!) in the waters of the Pacific after the accords with Washington in 1922. In order to contain the powers of the Earth, Haushofer noted by close reading of Mackinder, the Anglo-Saxon maritime powers had created a “ring” of bases and support points like Gibraltar, Malta, Cyprus, Suez, the British bases in the Persian Gulf, India, Singapore, Hong Kong as well as New Zealand and Australia, a cordon of more isolated islands and islets (Tokelau, Suvarov, Cook, Pitcairn, Henderson, …) that extended as far as the coastlines of the southern cone of South America. French Indochina, Dutch East Indies, and various Portuguese support points and posts were included, for better or worse, in this “ring” plan, commanded from London. The Philippines, occupied by the United States since the Spanish-American War and the Filipino-American War from 1898 to 1911, were its Northern frontier. Japan refused to be a part of this plan which allowed for the control of oil supply routes leading to the Japanese archipelago. The Empire of the Rising Sun sought to be a double power: 1) continental with Manchuria and much later with its conquests in China and its tacit satellization of Inner Mongolia and 2) maritime by controlling Formosa, the Korean peninsula, and Micronesia, formerly Spanish and then German. Japanese history, after Tsushima, was marked by the will to affirm this double hegemony, continental and maritime, the ground army and the navy argued over budgets and priorities.

A continental defensive bloc

Haushofer desired, at this time, the “continental bloc”, Soviet-Turk-Persian-Afghan-Chinese, from which he desired strategic unity, continually pressing on the “ring” in order to break it. This strategic unity is a “pressure / defense alliance”, a “Druck-Abwehr-Verband”, a de facto alliance that defends itself (“Abwehr”) against the pressure (“Druck”) exerted on it by the bases and support points of the thalassocracies, against all deployment attempts by the continental powers. From this perspective, Haushofer denounced colonialism and racism, as these “isms” blocked the way of the peoples towards emancipation and self-determination. In the collective work “Welt in Gärung” (“The World in Turmoil”), Haushofer spoke of “rigid guardians of the status quo” (“starre Hüter des gewesenen Standes”) who are obstacles (“Hemmungen”) to any true peace; they provoke upheavals and destabilizing collapses, “Umstürze”, instead of favoring radical and fruitful changes, “Umbrüche”. This idea links him with Carl Schmitt, when the latter keenly and vehemently criticized the treaties imposed by Washington across the entire world, in the wake of Wilsonian ideology, and the new dispositions, apparently subservient and pacifist, imposed at Versailles and then at Geneva in the framework of the League of Nations. Carl Schmitt criticized, among others, and very severely, the American actions aiming for the ultimate destruction of the classical law of nations, the “ius publicum europaeum” (which disappeared between 1890 and 1918), by aiming to remove the right to make (limited) war from states, according to the juridical theories of Frank B. Kellogg at the end of the 1920s. There is much work to do on the parallelism between Carl Schmitt and the geopolitical schools of his time.

Despite the great amount of sympathy that Japan had enjoyed with Haushofer since his journey to Kyoto, his geopolitics, in the 1920s, was totally in favor of China, whose fate, he said, was similar to that of Germany. It had to cede territories to its neighbors and its maritime front was neutralized by the permanent pressure exerted by all components of the “ring” composed of foreign support points (especially the American in the Philippines). Haushofer, in his reflections on the destiny of China, noted the physical heterogeneity of the former Chinese imperial space: the Gobi desert separates the vast zone populated by the “Han” from the zones inhabited by Turcophone peoples, under Soviet influence at the time. The mountains of Tibet were under British influence coming from India, this influence constituted the deepest advance of thalassocratic imperialism into the interior of Eurasian territories, permitting the expansion of control over the Tibetan “water tower” where the principal rivers of Asia originate (in the West, the Indus and Ganges, in the East, the Brahmaputra / Tsangpo, the Salween, the Irrawaddy, and the Mekong). Manchuria, disputed between Russia and Japan, was once mostly populated by Chinese and thus became Chinese sooner or later.

Sympathy for China but support for Japan

Haushofer, despite his sympathies for China, would support Japan after the start of the Sino-Japanese war (which began with the Mukden incident in September 1931). This new option doubtlessly came from the fact that China had voted for many motions against Germany in the League of Nations, while noting that China was incapable of ending its own miseries through its own forces. Japan henceforth appeared as a more reliable imperial power, capable of bringing a new order to the region, unstable since the opium wars and the Taiping rebellion. Haushofer had followed the “organic growth” of Japan but had not framed that in his theories, in light of its hybrid nature, both continental since its conquest of Manchuria and thalassocratic from its naval superiority in the region. Very connected to Mackinder’s idea of the “maritime ring,” Haushofer held that Japan remained a fluid element on the international chessboard. He looked at “racial” explanations, appealing to “anthropogeographic” criteria (Ratzel) in order to try to explain the imprecise geopolitical and geostrategic status of Japan: according to him, the Japanese people originated from the Pacific islands (notably from the Philippines and doubtlessly, beforehand, from the East Indies and Malaysia) and felt more at ease in warm and humid climates than on the dry soil of continental Manchuria, despite the necessity of having this continental zone available as “breathing space” for the Japanese, acquiring in the long term what Haushofer called an “Atemraum”, a breathing space for its demographic overflow.

East Asia was shaped, he added, by the dynamic of two “Pan-Ideen”, the Pan-Asiatic idea and the Pan-Pacific idea. The Pan-Asiatic idea concerned all the peoples of Asia, from Persia to Japan: it aimed for the strategic unity of all the Asian states solidly arrayed against the Western stranglehold. On the other hand, the Pan-Pacific idea aimed for the unity of all the states bordering the Pacific Ocean (China, Japan, Indochina, the Philippines, on one side; the United States, Mexico, Peru, and Chile on the other). We find a trace of this idea in recent or extant relations between the Asian states (especially Japan) and Latin-American states (commercial relations between Mexico and Japan, Fujimori in the Peruvian presidency, the geopolitical and thalassocratic Pan-Pacific theories of the Chilean General Pinochet, etc.). For Haushofer, the presence of these two idea-forces generated a precarious space (rich in potential turbulence, as we see today) on the intersecting plane where these ideas collided. Namely coastal China and the Japanese possessions facing the Chinese coast. Sooner or later, thought Haushofer, the United States would use the Pan-Pacific idea to contain any Soviet advance in the direction of the Pacific oceanic zone or contain a China that had adopted a continental and Pan-Asiatic policy. Haushofer demonstrated his sympathies regarding Pan-Asianism. For him, Pan-Asianism was “revolutionary,” bringing real, radical, and definite change to the situation, while Pan-Pacificism was “evolutionary,” and only brought minor changes, which were always capable of being revised. Japan, by controlling the Chinese coastline and a large fringe in the hinterland, then opposed any Western interference in the region, opting for the Pan-Asiatic route, which explains Haushofer’s support for its actions in Manchuria. It would then be a constituent element of the alliance that he recommended between Mitteleuropa, Eurasia (Soviet), and Japan / Manchuria orienting its energies towards the South.

All these thoughts indicate that Haushofer was principally a geopolitician specializing in the Asian and Pacific world. The reading of his works on these continental and maritime spaces remains highly interesting today, in light of the current frictions in the region and the American interference which, overall, relies upon an updated Pan-Pacificism in order to maintain its hegemony and contain a China becoming fully Pan-Asiatic in the measure where it has become part of the “Shanghai Cooperation Organization” (SCO), while orienting its maritime ambitions towards the South, striking against a Vietnam that has henceforth aligned itself with the United States, despite the atrocious war, raging for decades, that it waged there. Do not forget that Kissinger, in 1970-1972, had once gambled on a continental Maoist China (without large maritime ambitions) to contain the USSR. China then had a “Pan-Pacific” dimension rather than a “Pan-Asiatic” one (as the Italian general and geopolitician Guido Giannettini underlined). The strategies remain and can be used in multiple fashions, depending on circumstances and the current alliances.

Reflections on India

We have yet to consider, in the very limited framework of this article, Haushofer’s reflections on India. If India had become independent, it would automatically cease to be an essential element of the “ring” and become a master piece of the continental / Pan-Asiatic plan. So the Indian subcontinent was marked by a certain ambivalence: it was the keystone of British maritime power, resting on its total mastery of the Indian Ocean; rather than the vanguard of the continental powers on the meridional “rimland” of Eurasia and the “Middle Sea” which is the Indian Ocean precisely. This ambivalence is found today at the highest level: India is a stakeholder in the challenge launched by the “Shanghai Group” and in the UN (where it doesn’t vote for interventions demanded by the American hegemon) but it is wooed by this same hegemon to participate in the “containment” of China, in the name of its old conflict with Beijing for the Himalayan heights of Aksai Chin on the border of Kashmir and Jammu and for the question of dams on the Brahmaputra and control of Sikkim. Haushofer had already stated, far before the partition of India in 1947 following the departure of the British, that political opposition between the Muslims and Hindus would hinder India’s accession to independence and/or undermine its territorial unity and social coherence. Afterwards, India like Germany or the Europe of the “Kleinstaaterei”, was and still is a politically divided space. The unitary Indian independence movement was, he underlined, a model for Germany and Europe, in the measure where it justly wanted to overcome divisive differences in order to become a bloc fully capable of being a “subject of history” again.

So these are a few essential ideas conveyed by Haushofer’s “Zeitschrift für Geopolitik.” There are many others, sometimes fluctuating and contradictory, that must be exhumed, analyzed and commented upon to re-situate them in their context. The task will be long and heavy but inspiring. Haushofer’s German geopolitics is most interesting to analyze in the 1920s, where it makes its full development, before the advent of National-Socialism, just like the National-Revolutionary movement, more or less Russophile, which ceased its activities after 1933 or somehow pursued them clandestinely or in exile. The relations between Haushofer and Rudolf Hess also remain to be examined, which doesn’t cease to stir passions. Albrecht Haushofer, secretary of the “Deutsche Akademie” and faithful disciple of his parents, summarized the strategic errors of Germany in a few points:

(a) Overestimation of the impact of the Japanese strike to weaken the resistance of the thalassocracies in Asia.
(b) Overestimation of the crisis in France before the war.
(c) Underestimation of the time-frame in which a problem can be eliminated militarily.
(d) Overestimation of German military reserves.
(e) Ignorance of English psychology, that of the masses as well as the leaders.
(f) Disinterest in America.

Albrecht Haushofer, as we know, would be executed with a bullet in the back of the neck by the Gestapo in the Berlin-Moabit prison in 1945. His parents, arrested by the Americans, would be found hanging from a tree in back of the garden of their villa of Hartschimmelhof, on March 10th 1946. Karl Haushofer was sick, depressed, and aged at 75 years.

So official Germany was never inspired by Haushofer, neither under the Weimar Republic, nor under the National-Socialist regime, nor under the Bundesrepublik. Nevertheless a good number of Haushofer’s collaborators pursued their geopolitical works after 1945. Their itineraries and the fluctuations should be capable of constituting an object of study in itself. From 1951 to 1956, the ZfG reappeared, exactly under the same form as in Haushofer’s time. It then changed its title to become the “Zeitschrift für deutsches Auslandswissen” (“German Magazine for Foreign Knowledge”), published under the auspices of an “Institut für Geosoziologie und Politik”. It appeared under the guidance of a disciple of Haushofer, Dr. Hugo Hassinger. In 1960, the geographer Adolf Grabowsky, who also took his first steps besides Haushofer, published a remarkable work, not shirking the term “geopolitics”, “Raum, Staat und Geschichte – Grundlegung der Geopolitik” (“Space, State, and History – The Foundation of Geopolitics”). He would alternatively prefer to speak of “Raumkraft” (“spatial force”). The works that desired to restart German geopolitics in a new European context are those by 1) Baron Heinrich Jordis von Lohausen, whose book ““Denken in Kontinenten” unfortunately remained confined to conservative, nationalist, or national-conservative circles, necessitated by “political correctness,” although Lohausen didn’t develop any provocative or incendiary discourse, and 2) by the political scientist Heinz Brill, “Geopolitik heute”, where the author, a professor at the military academy of the Bundeswehr, dared to depart from an official position within the German state for the first time, enunciating a geopolitical program inspired by the traditions bequeathed by Haushofer’s heirs, especially those who pursued a quest for geopolitical order after the tragic death of their professor and his spouse, like Fochler-Hauke or Pahl. Henceforth, everyone should labor to utilize every aspect of these works, which span nearly a century.

Robert Steuckers,
Forest-Flotzenberg, June 2012.

Bibliography

Hans EBELING, Geopolitik – Karl Haushofer und seine Raumwissenschaft 1919-1945, Akademie Verlag, 1994.
Karl HAUSHOFER, Grenzen in ihrer geographischen und politischen Bedeutung, Kurt Vowinckel Verlag, Berlin-Grunewald, 1927.
Karl HAUSHOFER u. andere, Raumüberwindende Mächte, B.G. Teubner, Leipzig/Berlin, 1934.
Karl HAUSHOFER, Weltpolitik von heute, Verlag Zeitgeschichte, Berlin, 1934.
Karl HAUSHOFER & Gustav FOCHLER-HAUKE, Welt in Gärung – Zeitberichte deutscher Geopolitiker, Verlag von Breitkopf u. Härtel, Leipzig, 1937.
Karl HAUSHOFER, Weltmeere und Weltmächte, Zeitgeschichte-Verlag, Berlin, 1937.
Karl HAUSHOFER, Le Japon et les Japonais, Payot, Paris, 1937 (préface et traduction de Georges Montandon).
Karl HAUSHOFER, De la géopolitique, FAYARD, Paris, 1986 (préface du Prof. Jean Klein; introduction du Prof. H.-A. Jacobsen).
Hans-Adolf JACOBSEN, Karl Haushofer, Leben und Werk, Band 1 & 2, Harald Boldt Verlag, Boppard am Rhein, 1979.
Rudolf KJELLEN, Die Grossmächte vor und nach dem Weltkriege, B. G. Teubner, Leipzig/Berlin, 1930.
Günter MASCHKE, “Frank B. Kellogg siegt am Golf – Völkerrechtgeschichtliche Rückblicke anlässlich des ersten Krieges des Pazifismus”, in Etappe, Nr. 7, Bonn, Oktober 1991.
Emil MAURER, Weltpolitik im Pazifik, Goldmann, Leipzig, 1942.
Armin MOHLER, “Karl Haushofer”, in Criticon, Nr. 56, Nov.-Dez. 1979.
Perry PIERIK, Karl Haushofer en het nationaal-socialisme – Tijd, werk en invloed, Aspekt, Soesterberg, 2006.
Robert STEUCKERS, “Les thèmes de la géopolitique et de l’espace russe dans la vie culturelle berlinoise de 1918 à 1945 – Karl Haushofer, Oskar von Niedermayer & Otto Hoetzsch”, in Nouvelles de Synergies européennes, n°57-58, Forest, août-octobre 2002 [recension de: Karl SCHLÖGEL, Berlin Ostbahnhof Europas – Russen und Deutsche in ihrem Jahrhundert, Siedler, Berlin, 1998].

Source: https://fr.novopress.info/115822/litineraire-dun-geopolitologue-allemand-karl-haushofer-par-robert-steuckers/

What Alternative to the Bourgeois World? – Alain Soral – September 8th 2007

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Speech given in Villepreux Saturday September 8th 2007

Bourgeois … In the past, meaning until the end of the 70s, the word bourgeois was considered as an insult, as much by the prole as by the artist or fallen aristocrat. Today it has disappeared from the vocabulary, to the benefit of the rich, of the jet set, thus proving that money, and the values that go along with it, is no longer shameful nor suspect. Neither shameful nor suspect to the old elites of Gotha, that can rival in vulgarity the well-to-do of show-biz in Gala. Neither shameful nor suspect to the popular classes who dream of meteoric individual success themselves scratching their Lotto ticket and watching “Saga,” “Nouvelle Star.” Neither shameful nor suspect to the immigrant lumpen-proletariat who only dream of threads, custom cars, and bimbos … The old money, the poor middle classes, the new poor … among them all, everywhere, liberal ideologies have triumphed, it’s firstly what this is about, when we speak of the bourgeois …

First Part: What is the Bourgeois World?

A human community, a social class gone global with its seizure of power on Earth, and spirits that have become one with the story of liberalism. To understand the bourgeoisie, what it is, how we can recognize it and attack it, we firstly understand the liberal tale, its rise, its domination, its lies, its contradictions, its decadence.

The bourgeois-liberal world is based on two pillars, one spiritual, the other material, like every society, every human group. Knowing which is inferior to the other – what distinguishes the idealist thesis and the materialist thesis – is less important than understanding that one doesn’t go without the other, like the head and the legs … Thus these two pillars are: individualism, inaugurated and theorized by the cogito of Descartes (“I think therefore I am”), an affirmation / emancipation from the old world where community and fatum came first, which contains the seeds of all the freedom and the arrogance of modern man.

The Market, which in this world originating from the free and thinking individual man, has become this “nous” that henceforth governs relations between men-individuals in a world where God is silent.

The double advent of natural sciences’ rationality against the divine order and quantifiable individual interest as the motive of action created a world based on Reason, the individual free in rights if not in fact, and clearly defined individual interest in the bourgeois era. A free man, conscious of his rights, and seeking his well defined individual interest defines the ascendant “liberal.” The most perfect figure of the liberal ascendance in France was and remains the ironic Voltaire.

The figure of the doubly speculative honest man … Speculative in the spiritual scheme: the cogito of Descartes comes from dubito: dubito ergo sum res cogitens …. Also speculative in the scheme of business, this honest man was also an arms trafficker and a slave merchant, a liberal in the Anglo-Saxon and Thatcherite sense of the term.

Bourgeois Left and Right

Beautiful abstract and universal ideas made possible by the least beautiful material possibilities. The free thinker and the bourgeois, that where the problem lies … and it’s why “liberal” means both “open spirited man” but also “cold businessman” in our contemporary imagination, right wing man like left wing man, because rationalist liberal epistemology comes as much from “The Rights of Man” of a Rousseau as from the transgressive egoism of a Marquis de Sade. Marquis de Sade who never did anything other than push the intrinsic amoralism of liberal thought to its ultimate conclusions through literary provocation.

The Liberal Epic: Right / Left Combat

This inherent duality in liberal reason’s conception of man, behind which the man of the Market stands. The market itself considered as the sole rational social bond – so natural – between men, who suddenly become Homo economicus.

This duality together would constitute the collective epic of the bourgeoisie, according to the development of its contradictions, and determine the history of both the bourgeois left and the bourgeois right, the fight of the liberal economic right against the “human rightist” left within that little bourgeois theater called “democratic debate.”

This problematic duality would also constitute the “bourgeois sensibility,” the history of its cultural sensibility that we can qualify as “painful consciousness,” in effect painful consciousness of this contradiction perfectly expressed and realized in this new artistic category which is con-substantial to it: the story of the bourgeois novel.

Ascendance, Ideas, The Enlighteners

But if the bourgeois ethic of liberty and formal equality, founded on natural right and Reason, permitted the ascension of the bourgeoisie and its seduction over the world of ideas by the ideology of the Enlightenment, and finally its seizure of power from the Ancien Régime of fate and divine right … It was bourgeois profit, its domination by money, that increasingly made it the most powerful class, to the point of gradually being able to pass away from its humanist ethics, as the untenable exacerbation of its contradictions. A bourgeois ethic soon reduced to a rhetoric as desiccated as the Scholasticism of the Ancien Régime could be, retaining less rationalist humanism than scientism … Scientific progress had the big advantage of testifying to the superiority of the bourgeois spirit by concrete proof of its domination over Nature, but above all by constituting – via technological progress – one of the keys of the turnover and growth of profit. Thus, progressively, the social class of “creative doubt” and legal equality became the class of technical expansion driven by the lure of profit. The valorization of Capital – which is another name for the Market – and its corollary, the democracy of the Market, became the new religion of the philistines who, after two full centuries of full power, end up lamenting the old order and the nobility of the Ancien Régime! But this bourgeois epic, though triumphant, did not go smoothly, these clashes were only the proof, and moreover even the incarnation of its moral and practical contradictions.

The Proletariat, Proof of the Bourgeois Lie

But if the bourgeois class overtook the aristocracy of the Ancien Régime, it also created the proletariat and its working misery, History’s proof and the concrete reality that, behind the entrepreneur, the creator of wealth, jobs, and progress by the capitalist valorization of technology, stands the speculator, the creator of exploitation and inequalities … The history of the struggle – by its victims – against this violence likewise constitutes the history of the workers’ movement. Hence Marxism … Material and moral misery of the working class in flagrant contradiction with the promises of the Enlightenment and its economic ideology of the “invisible hand” – supposed to bring collective well-being through individual selfishness, which is, don’t forget, at the origin of the Marxist critique as a communist project, an ideology of combat critiquing in turn the dominant class, like the ascendant bourgeoisie had done with the nobility, reformist left, radical left … the ideology refusing the lie of formal egalitarianism as divine fate whose strategy itself was double: either the syndicalism of compromise, or revolutionary syndicalism. On one hand a scientist, positivist left, trying to surpass the bourgeoisie but retaining the achievements. On the other a more romantic, more radical left convinced that the ethics and epistemology are one, and in order to escape one, we must also question the other… A radically anti-bourgeois left, opposed to social-democratic compromise, for which the problem is limited to the elevation of purchasing power, which attempted, without ever achieving it, to surpass the bourgeois-liberal era, both in the epistemological scheme as well as the ethical, through the ideology of the “new man” which will lead to the strongest communism, resorting in part to the values of the old world, like the valorization of the family with Proudhon, the ascetic Greco-Roman heroism dear to Sorel, even if it meant making tactical alliances with anti-bourgeois forces coming from the Ancien Régime and the ideas of the right …

Other Attempted Alternatives to the Bourgeois World

The Marxist-Leninist epic, the most important in its duration and ambition: creation of a new man and a classless society, should not conceal that there were other attempts to escape liberal-bourgeois domination, its purely capitalist logic, which, after the failure of Sovietism and the triumph of the social-democratic left, only means the satisfaction of the consumer by constant augmentation of purchasing power permitted by growth …

Idealization of the Past, Exoticism…

Romanticism was the individual, poetic flight into the mythologized past through the idealization of the Middle Ages. An equally individual flight, not in time but in space, through exoticism, consisted of fleeing the Western bourgeois world in order to go live in other societies, often more traditional, caste society in India, tribal society in Africa … An approach of breaking [with bourgeois society] through escape that was at the origin, don’t forget, of the hippie movement. Even if this attempt was finally transformed by the market in turn.

Fascism, Nazism …

Both forms of idealization of the past must not be confused with the mixed, half-reactionary, half-futurist experiences of Fascism and Nazism. Social and political experiences that sought to retain bourgeois technology but in the service of an ethic drawn from the pre-bourgeois period, to the antitheses of the Enlightenment … The Nazi, Fascist attempt mixed technological rationalism and ethical irrationalism, which also failed. And the left, to hold onto its moral leadership, often pretends to confuse them with these very subtle constructions of the spirit that were the “troisième voie” ideologies [Translator’s Note: I kept troisième voie in the original as “third way” in Anglophone countries refers left-liberal policies popularized by Bill Clinton or Tony Blair]. These projects of the conservative revolution that seriously pose the question of progressive limits to the ideology of progress in Russia, Germany, and France.

Troisième Voie: Cercle Proudhon

An attempt at the troisième voie was realized in the margins of Cercle Proudhon in France, where a dialogue between nationalist monarchists and ant-reformist syndicalists took place, where men of good will, joined together beyond their origins in the same values of nobility of heart, honor, combat, and love of country, attempted to form an improbable anti-bourgeois sacred union. A sacred union of good willed men to which the system responded with a flag waving sacred union against the Germans.

Germans Yesterday, Arabs today…

As in the past, today the same system tries to prevent the sacred union of the victims of the Market: small businessmen, artisans, employees, proletarians of all origins, by a sacred union against the Arabs. Hate for these North Africans that these bourgeois in power have brought to our land in massive numbers themselves.

The Trap of the Clash of Civilization…

Despite the failures of past cross-front attempts, I think that it’s still the responsibility of this “troisième voie,” this broad and subversive sacred union, vilified as much by the liberal right as the Trotskyite left, at the polar opposite of today’s theory of “the clash of civilizations”, to find for itself both the salvation of France and an alternative to the bourgeois world. An alternative to this bourgeois world today fully embodied by the American imperium, its tribal [translator’s note: in the sense of identity politics, communautarisme, in French] and un-egalitarian values behind which globalist financial capitalism’s desire for omnipotence hides, the destroyer of spirituality, cultures, differences in identity. A generalized essentially Judeo-Anglo-Saxon merchant spirit far from our Hellenic-Christian, Celtic, Gallic-Roman values, and our Euro-Mediterranean destiny.

On Merchant Totalitarianism

After the failure, often in blood and fire, of all regimes that opposed it, we must very well admit that the democracy of the Market – where democracy is in fact only the means of the Market – has only scored points and extended itself since the 80s. It has extended from where it was born, in Western Europe, to all domains of life, including those of the spirit, by the intimate commercialization of the body, of culture, of medicine, and even religion, itself also reduced to the liberal law of Human Rights, far from any transcendence. Market democracy that only scores points and geographically extends itself: to India, to China – only Africa escapes it through misery. And which reveals itself to be, in fact, the only true totalitarianism, contrary to the naivete of Hannah Arendt.

Part Two: What Is To Be Done?

Then what is to be done? Without returning to past experiences, we try to see, today, here, through reality and the present forces, what are the possible alternatives to the bourgeois world, to this market heading towards merchant totalitarianism that never stops mutating in order to reinforce itself and survive.

From Moralism to Pornography

Pushed ahead by the law of profit, forced to find new markets, the bourgeoisie, in order to remain master of the game, doesn’t cease to change, changing until it denies that values that permitted it to impose itself. Entrepreneurial and parsimonious in the take-off period, it functions today, on the contrary, as the polar opposite of the bourgeois moralism of the 19th century, demonstrating the first principle, the ultimate principle of the bourgeois world, for which it is capable of sacrificing all the others, holy profit.

From Libertarian Liberalism to Security Liberalism

A liberalism that was puritan became libertarian, after and thanks to Mai 68, which then evolved and mutated since the election of Sarkozy into security liberalism. Security liberalism, namely a liberal regime for the globalist bourgeoisie and everyone who favors the weakening of the Nation, but a security regime, not for delinquents or illegal immigrants that pose problems for the people, but for the workers and the middle classes, who might want to revolt against the liberal elite. A liberal security regime that we can also define, far from being out of order, as a libertarian liberalism which, feeling outdated, pretends to solve the problems that it itself created and continues to aggravate by two or three gimmick laws which always ultimately penalize the petty bourgeois and the lower class whites. A security regime towards the working people, without ever touching, in reality, on the delinquency of lumpen-proletariat or elite predators. A liberal security society that we can also qualify as the “society of policed consumption,” both permissive for the half wit consumer and repressive for the productive citizen, on the American model.

The Anglo-Saxon World … Against Europe and France

This totalitarianism that we must resist, despite the disproportion of the present forces, firstly comes to us, I repeat, from the Anglo-Saxon world. Today embodied by the American empire, as it was by the British empire in the last century, this power, essentially Judeo-Protestant, un-egalitarian, and Thalassocratic, always demonstrated hostility towards Catholic and Christian France, towards its Euro-Mediterranean destiny, and always offered it, in partnership, only a relation of subjection. A submission that is unfortunately often accomplished with the complicity of the French elites, whether it was Philippe Égalité during the French Revolution, Pascal Lamy through the European Community, and of course, a certain President Sarkozy today.

The Mystic Ultra-Liberalism of the Neo-Conservatives

A brutal liberalism, which turned its back to the morality of the Enlightenment, and which, no longer capable of justifying its domineering and militarist abuses through Reason, today finds refuge in mysticism, the God of the chosen in the Old Testament. A mystic ultra-liberalism that tries, since September 11th, to lead us into a pseudo “conflict of civilizations” which attempts, especially for us, to oppose Europe in favor of a West that is only the false name of Anglo-Saxon American domination, in order to prevent a Europe of peoples and nations that is in our interest.

To Escape the Anglo-Saxon Domination, as the Economic, Cultural, and Geopolitical Model By the Nation of 1789

This recent offensive of the capitalist Anglo-Saxon empire occurs today, outside this mystical-liberal ideology of the neo-conservatives, through liberal globalization. A global hegemony of the Market, and of those who control it, which necessarily happens through the destruction of nations and notably of the French nation. A French nation systematically likened to the flag waving and warlike period of Barrès in order to actually liquidate this progressive, egalitarian, secular, and assimilationist French model, which protects our sovereignty, freedom of conscience, and the social benefits of the people. A nation that the liberal right – in the name of the fight against archaism, shoulder to shoulder with the Trotskyite left – in the name of the fight against nationalism, tries to liquidate today. A smooth collaboration that doubtlessly explains position of the little postman of Neuilly [Translator’s note: Referring here to Olivier Besancenot, extreme left politician and Neuilly-sur-Seine, a wealthy suburb of Paris] close to the media and native liberal decision makers also from Neuilly themselves!

The Defense of the French Nation…

That’s why, in order to resist this imperial subjection and its mystical-merchant totalitarianism, we must, in the first place, preserve the nation. To defend, in the face of criticism from the right as well as the left, not an obsolete and vengeful nationalism, but a new nationalism, protective of the social benefits coming from the National Council of the Resistance (CNR) [Translator’s Note: The body representing the French Resistance in World War 2 that adopted a strongly socialist program], protective of our industry, of our jobs, and our political independence. An alter-nationalism capable of considering a healthy cooperation between nations and peoples. A French nationalism, assimilationist but not homogenizing, based on a strong state capable of telling the priorities in economic matters in order to protect our industry, base salaries, small and medium sized enterprises. A strong state also equipped with a strategic vision conforming to our national interests. Interests that are evidently not subject to an Anglo-Saxon empire, which we have always mistrusted in the scheme of values, and that has always played against us in order to weaken our radiance: whether in the time of perfidious Albion in Canada and India, or more recently, with the United States, when we recognized the perverse game they played in Indochina, in Algeria.

A Sacred Union of Non-Aligned: Chavez, Putin, Nasrallah…

In brief, defend a social and non-aligned France. In order to do this, work in partnership with all the regimes that resist the “New World Order,” from Chavez’s Venezuela to Putin’s Russia. Without forgetting the prestige and the place that is still ours in the Mediterranean, where they still speak French and where they respect France’s past – besides its government today – in the Maghreb, in Lebanon. A sacred union of all societies that place themselves on the side of a certain heroism, of a certain poetry of existence in relation to the times, to utility, to calculation. The Slavic world, the Arab world, which are not unlike, for us, the vision of our Catholicism of the Middle Ages or the socialism romanticized by both Sorel and Proudhon.

Reactionaries and Progressives Against the Liberals

Considering the failure of Soviet socialism rejected by the peoples, and social-democratic reformism, entirely submissive to the diktat of capital, I would say, to conclude, that the single possible alternative to the bourgeois world can only occur through the sacred union of reactionaries and progressives. A union of reactionaries, whether monarchists, Catholics, Hellenists, Muslims, but all attached to a certain classical order, with the progressives, all enemies of the bourgeois world, whether they come from the PCF of Marchais, today’s Worker’s Party, the Serbian resistance, or Venezuelan Chavismo. A union of reactionaries who are often right and progressives who have often been screwed over, against the liberals who dominate the world today and who have always divided in order to rule. Against this empire engaged headlong in the destruction of our human societies and nature. Against this world singularly devoted to the cult of Mammon and increasingly causing problems of overproduction, pollution, inequalities, which lead to catastrophe. What project, what hope?

What Project, What Hope?

Of course, not the great day of revolution tomorrow morning. But, by waiting for a more favorable relation of forces, not bearing the brunt of this globalist and merchant dictatorship too painfully, by bringing us together in solidarity. Without going to the camp of the saints, we organize in networks, continue to produce necessary and relevant critiques of a world based on permanent change. Elaborate a doctrine of struggle and resistance without falling into scholasticism, sterile nostalgia, in order to escape, at least conscientiously and personally, the system that reduces us to precariousness, solitude, depression, when it does not master our minds. In brief, participate in a collective project, define a hope, try to be lively and happy despite everything.

That’s why we’re gathered here!

Source: http://www.egaliteetreconciliation.fr/Quelle-alternative-au-monde-bourgeois-2980.html

The Misery of Deconstruction: “French Theorists” Deleuze, Foucault, Derrida in the service of American nihilo-globalism – Yannick Jaffré – Katehon -January 24th, 2016

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If the United States were the social laboratory of post-modernism, the Europeans, the French in the vanguard, were the theoreticians. As is often the case, Americans do first, think second, and, philosophically almost never by themselves. Thus the dissolution of the patriarchy, economic – juridical individualism, the reign of consumerism, and moral relativism were experimented with in the United States with more spontaneity and radicalism than in Europe. But the post-modern wave owes its concepts to the work of French philosophers. Without American hegemony combining material power and social imitation, hard and soft power, the anti-world of the last forty years would surely have been impossible; but without the elaborations, or lucubration, conducted in Europe by certain thinkers, it would have not exercised the same intellectual seduction.

On both sides of the Atlantic, however, this hegemony was never complete. History has no end, and no era is perfectly synchronous, and all domination finds its counterweight. Against post-modern nihilism, the Katehon did well – By the inertia of cultural traditions and family structures, through a patriotism impregnated with religiosity and a populism that just bore Trump to power in America, by a movement of reaction against the human rights “moralism” which must still find its political translation in Europe. I am one of those who thinks that the nihilo-globalist configuration is dead, on the spiritual level as on the material one. But the corpse continues its destruction, like a zombie. So we must still dispose of the remains.

On the other hand, it is useless to enter into the subtitles, altogether quite optional, of deconstructionist philosophy. The internal diversity of its currents, really, is not essential. All its variants are joined together on the same front line by their common targets: historical rootedness, philosophical substantiality, moral decency, and in the strictly political scheme, nations in their identity and states in their sovereignty. In all, deconstruction intertwines both principal 68er ideologies: post-Marxism and libertarianism, which have quickly surpassed their initial antagonism. The first can be represented by Toni Negri whose “global multitudes” will succeed national classes, whose first passion, more than the anti-capitalist struggle, is to destroy “this shit of the national state” (sic). As for the other current generalized by Mai 68, libertarian and “other-idolizing”, cosmopolitan and “self-phobic”, it brought about the immigrationist “moral left”. It’s what I address here through its gurus Deleuze, Foucault and Derrida.

The Americans, who offered them seat after seat, group them under the label “French Theory” with a few others. This favor speaks on their behalf. If great artworks reach a place in eternity, major philosophies actually remain, for the most part, children of their time. It is not only permitted, but necessary to appreciate them them in the context of their Fatherland. This “geo-localization” even becomes indispensable when a philosopher pretends to fight against what dominates his epoch. In this respect we could be amused by the intellectual popularity that the deconstructionists enjoy in the United States among the so-called liberals: occupying the left wing of the democratic party, progressive in moral matters, leaving the pillars of economic liberalism intact, they are, in other words, libertarian – liberals. Major actors of post-modern capitalism in its ideological superstructure, and beneficiaries of its economic infrastructure, have made the French deconstructionists their erudite servants – similar to the Greek slaves in antiquity who would chide decadent Roman youth. With the difference that they would maintain the foundations of European history that the deconstructionists want to destroy. Speaking of the “70s”, these philosophers were the post-modern “servants of capitalism.”

Read from Columbia to Berkeley, thus Deleuze, Foucault and Derrida are the most famous figures of French Theory. I will briefly outline the common ground of their thought. Having thrown around Heidegger’s opportunistic sentence that the biography of thinkers counts for nothing, I will also say a few words about their personal political journeys

Deleuze forges powerful, Nietzschean concepts animated by the forces of art and life. A naturalist, he believed in following the growths of political “biotope.” Thus he proposed, in the ABC-book that helped to popularize his thought a great deal, the notion of “revolutionary becoming.” A situation that comes to this unsustainable point that ends in an explosion of liberty which uproots the “trees” – metaphors for all oppressive orders. On this ground the swarming “rhizomes” then return, which designate unpredictable libertine freedom in Deleuzian botany. As liberty would sprout there, in the undisciplined, anarchic, “flux”, between “branches”, before freedom-killing trees quickly strike back back and fatally take root. Deleuze calmly states that revolutions “go bad” without truly saying why, to him oppression seems to need “to happen” with liberty in a sort of cosmic balance.

Evidently we cannot imagine an eventual positive role for the state with him, not in the value of substance, of what endures in the Stoic sense, as we are caught up in “desiring” fluxes. Flux whose consumer – destructor potential occupies the blind spit of this thought. And it’s without flagrant injustice that the Deleuzian vocabulary of “nomadism,” “deterritorialization”, and thus “flux” finds itself in the language of country-less financial capitalism today. And it’s also unsurprising that it serves to dissolve the identities of peoples with immigration, and with it, their political sovereignty. Deleuze, resistant to the rigors of Hegelian dialectic, despises stopping points, of rest and constraint, in other words the institutions indispensable to collective liberty. Thus he dismisses the necessary negative political moments – coercion, institution, authority – as Spinozaist “sad passions,” Nietzschean “weak forces,” in other words the pathologies of submission. And his thought offers the viewpoint of a sort of artistic anarcho-naturalism, which by constitution, has very poor historical support. Not understanding European history through its great cultural works, he supremely ignores it as civilizational destiny. For those who make this destiny their fight, Deleuze only offers booby traps.

As for this personal journey, we can recognize a certain fidelity and Stoic probity there. It certainly cultivated the fetishism of the marginal in the joyous (?) disorder of the university of Vincennes, then evaded the embarrassing questions on the social and existential consequences of leftism, refusing, in short, to look the black sun of May 68 in the face. But after having embraced the vitalist streak of 68, without ever looking back, he never personally chased after the selfish or material benefits of the avant-garde.

With Foucault we sometimes read sparkling theoretical prose, as in the unforgettable openings of his two masterworks, “Discipline and Punish,” and “The Order of Things.” We also learn much there as a body of facts – historical, scientific, and aesthetic – giving each essential proposition provisional support. But despite such a positivist will, the Foucauldian concept of power slips between the fingers like the water of Thales: the universal element filling everything, at this point it would be spread through institutions, discourses, and daily practices, it becomes unthinkable. With this logical consequence we can only escape omnipresent oppressive power by traveling along extraordinary lines of flight. As Deleuze fell into the idolatry of the marginal cultivated by his epoch, thus Foucault reserved the experience of liberty to the insane, criminals, parricides, transsexuals. Since the state (and all institutions that comes from it) was in effect only a pure agent of oppression, anything -literally from Maoism to human rights through the Iranian Revolution – becomes a possible resource for him. Yet having well understood the passage of hierarchical “vertical” societies to societies of “horizontal” control, Foucault, entirely repulsed by the state, does not imagine mobilizing against new forms of domination. As for individual “subjectifications,” of which he undertakes an original history from the Greeks onward, finding, not by chance, a particular predilection for the Cynics, they are now marvelously accommodated in new consumer capitalism. Consumer capitalism absorbs all alternative lifestyles as long as they do not touch, through rigorous and substantial thought, its reactor core. It accumulates the benefits of its own criticism by employing an army of “impertinent” servitors (including the “rebel-ocracy” of the spectacle, according to Philippe Murray’s expression, occupying the furthest end of the leash).

Honored by the thinker, the institutions of the republic were not such bad mothers for the university academic. Until 68 he led a good career without making waves, which he pursued at Collège de France. A bit after Mai he became a “fellow traveler” of Maoists specializing in the question of incarceration, before intellectually addressing the Islamic Iranian Revolution at the same time as “les nouveaux philosophes.” (Deleuze had the good taste to keep them in the contempt they deserved). He completes his path with them by joining human rights, which invaded the political field in the late 70s, with hedonism to form the infernal couple of the two following decades. Things get even worse postmortem because the principal editorial heir of Foucault, François Ewald, became a consultant, moreover for the Fédération française des sociétés d’assurance (French Federation of Insurance Companies), the ex-Maoist Denis Kessler became the director of Medef (Movement of the Enterprises of France, the French employers organization). I believe that Foucaldianism no longer fears turning into liberalism one day, it is not against its apparent atmosphere, but in step with it. It’s done. In his life, Foucault adopted the stances of institutional, majority criticism, freely and without risk. With such a sign we can suspect that his claimed positivism, which should a priori lodge its deontology in respect for facts, of having sheltered a deaf servility to implied hegemonic fact, shamefully or unconsciously, under the flamboyance of concepts and poses.

Finally Derrida. He delivered some powerful texts in the epoch of “Writing and Difference” (1967) before strengthening the idea that between concept and metaphor, philosophy and literature, borders should be erased in favor of the notion of “écriture” – which cannot be confused with style according to him. Placing himself in the track of Heidegger, Derrida intends to “(de)construct” the fundamental equation of the Greek philosophical project: the understanding of the essence of things by rational thought. If there is no reason to exclude this project from criticism, which is one of its fundamental gestures, it doesn’t exhaust all its potentialities. We could risk seeming like a humble naif to linger for a moment, despite what disgust, melancholy, or consternation the future of the contemporary West inspires in us, on the highest realizations of the Logos. Thus it would be for Derrida to urgently deconstruct, or more subtly, he would teach an internal deconstruction that thought should garner. But while Heidegger intended to make a “Greco-German” voice more ancient than the calculations of technical rationality, Derrida received his inspiration, from a source close to himself, in Hebrew letters. It draws from, after Lévinas and many other Jewish intellectuals, philosophy from Athens to Jerusalem. He lost himself there without return. While the world is supposed to escape to the logos which endeavors to illuminate it, he henceforth closes himself off in an “écriture” indefinitely undecipherable, in effect we take the route of a desert theology.

Derrida naturally enough adopts the tone of Ecclesiastes belittling the vain human edifices, thus referring the great philosophers to their unthinkables, that which is repressed by their conscious logic, their rational intentions to a letter that, “disséminante” and “ différante”, surpasses them because the infinite works in it. He passes the distinctions on which Western thought rests (cause and effect, substance and accident, object and subject) to the Kabbalistic steamroller with a formal fury that expresses a sort of cold hate. In such an atmosphere of confusion, we move against the spirit of logos with its livable determination. Nothing here seems capable of subsisting, enduring, establishing itself or affirming itself, except maybe, the figure of the prophet philosopher who seems to possess, by himself and himself alone, the consistency of the particular and the magisterium of the universal. He judges without mercy, brandishing a Law as absolute as it is withdrawn from the common, the political works, the cultures, and the particular worlds of peoples (except Israel…) who desire to be someone in history. What remains, on the overall balance, is an impediment to thought and a Judaic contraband theology.

While Deleuze settled with his living concepts in an un-dialectical affirmation, Derrida administers to meaning an infinite correction which, only ever affirming the imperfection of the world, brought a master of obscurity to the professorship. So we go from one French theorist to the other, from the libertarian refusal of dialectic to its submersion in the cold waters of a negative theocracy. Both yield equivalent results: sharing the same hostilities – metaphysics against substance, politics against the nation – they bind philosophy to the cosmopolitanism of human rights.

Derrida showed himself to be more publicly discreet than Foucault. Enjoying comfortable marginalization in the French university, he stacked up American professorships, supported Czech dissidents, returned in 1995 to the support committee for Lionel Jospin, which he left in 2002 because he judged his immigration policy to be merciless … He ultimately accomplished the faultless path of a grand conscience of the “gauche pétitionnaire” – Sephardic Antigone of the amphitheater against the evil Creon of the state – who ventures onto the battlefield only sheltered under the Paraclete of cosmopolitan natural law.

Unless we believe in the Trojan Horse strategy, doubtful in general, we must return to the evidence: insomuch as these thoughts are highly desired by the centers of the “post-modern” capitalist world, which mix hedonism and legalism, they are unfit to fight its toxins. Worse, they expand them. Intellectually emasculating the political capacity of peoples, deconstruction distrusts the state and nation – the actor of power and its legitimate source – to the benefit of unaccountable resistances. Through nature according to Deleuze, through facts with Foucault, by law in the terms of Derrida, we end up losing measure of things, the authority of facts hesitates and the spirit of the laws become unthinkable. By driving away from leftists their patriarchal, national, and industrial configuration, they have lent their ample thoughts to the capitalist enemy, who I would say, have advanced to the puerile stage with them, globalist and consumerist. Through their particular cases the magisterium of 68 is to blame, with its “impossible heritage.”

The French Theorists deconstructed, criticized, or subverted the categories of the Western philosophical tradition. But the weight of things constantly thwarts their vanguardist pretensions of surpassing what, in this tradition, shelters the conditions of a livable world. Even when they approach it more humbly, the same logic of their thought causes them to mistreat “post-modern” history, they do not search in their own epoch, and so they only find expiration dates, shaking with pleasure for each death notice that they think they can announce. In reality, they are complacently posted wherever the “old world” is already dead, they only conjure up past threats by blinding themselves to the present dangers.

Let it be understood: I am not saying the intellectuals in question are behind the times. No, I am quite on the contrary shocked by their collusion with capitalism which seems to inform their critique. If they were “untimely” or “importune,” they would have played as Nietzschean hammers. If they surpassed their epoch, they would follow the totem of philosophers according to Hegel, “The owl of Minerva takes flight at the fall of dusk.” In short, if they thought about their epoch by moving away from it, by surmounting or surpassing it, they would have fulfilled the modern role to which they pretended. But by espousing the elite’s path of 68, they are bygones from a so-called Marxist libertarian revolution to the vintage “anti-racist human rightism” of the 80s. So onward to American universities. But they subsist today, the time of their splendor has passed, an implacable logic returns: by ignoring the basic permanence of things and rushing to the vanguard of the critique of domination, they were irredeemably condemned to espouse the forms that domination stipulated.

Basically old Jacques Duclos was right. In a small work published in the summer of 1968, the Stalinist leader warned against the descendants of Bakunin throwing stones in the Latin Quarter. These leftists he warned, spread a disastrous revolutionary “amorphousness”: their hatred of forms, mores, and institutions condemned them to define liberty as pure negation or, equivalently, as pure plasticity. “To destroy is to create,” thus said Bakunin the eternal adolescent.

At the dawn of modernity, Descartes had a premonition of the terrible audacity that would rise before infinite, unlimited and Promethean will whose power had been revealed by the new science. Power that could be exerted not only against an imperfect intellectual tradition, but also, and it was Descartes’ fear, against all moral and political orders. Thus he did not cease to warn in his “Discourse on Method” against a “democratic” extension of radical doubt that he practiced in the domain of pure thought. From the apprehensive grandeur of these beginnings, we have passed to consumerist “68er” leftism. If it retreats into the past, it continues to irradiate our present as a buried but still active geological stratum.

For forty years, modern liberty thus failed on an artificial beach which, after 1968, buried the hard, virtuous paving stones of the “Gaullo-Communists.”

A hateful little “me” acts there, made from fickle paste, who demands an allowance, and to consume without cleaning his room. Soon a father in roller skates singing Vincent Delerm, he doesn’t hesitate to wear dreadlocks, which are quite accepted at his “job,” hurting his case before the eternal judge of all styles. With age, he takes upon the aspects of an old, arrogant and whiny baby, claiming the nasty air of enjoyment again and again, and who resembles Dany Cohn-Bendit trait for trait, annoying everyone … But Cohn-Bendit will die soon, his world is in its terminal phase, and deconstruction will remain in the history of European thought as the symptom of a passing depression. Political realism, ethical decency, and philosophical consistency have begun their insurrection. But that’s another story. It’s opening before us.


Source: http://katehon.com/fr/article/misere-de-la-deconstruction-deleuze-foucault-derrida-french-theorists-au-service-du-nihilo

Revolutionary Syndicalism: A French Specialty- Rébellion – September 16th 2014

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French Syndicalism was born from the reaction of the proletariat against democracy” (H. Lagardelle)

In the history of the European worker’s movement, French revolutionary syndicalism holds a special place due to the originality of its organization and its style of action.

Its Origins

The confiscation of the Revolution of 1789 by the bourgeoisie to their benefit alone, lead to the establishment of its domination. One of its priorities was to prevent the workers from organizing themselves in order to defend themselves against their exploitation. Under the fallacious pretext of eliminating the guilds of the Ancien Régime, the “Le Chapelier” law of July 1791 forbid any agreement between workers to assure their interests. Any attempt on their part was judged as “an attempt against liberty and the Declaration of the Rights of Man.”

Consequently, the worker’s movement was born in secrecy. The growing development of worker’s mutual aid organizations was recognized under the Second Empire which ended the criminalization of unionizing in 1864. But the bloody repression of the Commune lead to the disappearance of the best revolutionary cadres; shot, exiled, or deported to penal colonies overseas following the Bloody Week.

The working class would then be under the draconian surveillance of successive governments. The bourgeoisie, fearing a general uprising at any time against its power, encouraged the harshest resolve. We cannot understand bourgeois selfishness without taking into account the permanent fear of being denied the property they had bought up. For the workers, the state became the repressive tool of Capital. In 1831, 1848, and 1871, the ruling classes responded with violence to the legitimate claims of the working class. This experience of repression forged the conviction of the proletarian vanguard that faced with the authorities, they could not negotiate but only fight. The anti-parliamentarianism of revolutionary syndicalism is explained by the conviction that no reform is possible in a system derived from and dominated by capitalism. Anti-militarism also comes from that. The army was no longer the defender of the nation, but the breaker of strikes. The deployment of troops was the response of public power to the people’s expectations. The intense anti-militarist propaganda of the revolutionary syndicalists meet a favorable response in the popular classes forced to see their sons drafted into the service of the repressive regime.

The Labor Exchanges

The proclamation of the Third Republic did not put an end to repression. The disorganization of the syndicalist structures lead to the appearance of reformist groups, preaching agreement with the state and the bourgeoisie, which only confirmed the uselessness of dialogue with oppression. Which transcribed itself into a resurgence of revolutionary oriented syndicates.

During this period, with the goal to control the circulation of its workforce, the employers encouraged municipalities to create labor exchanges with the goal of regulating the labor market at the local level. They multiplied with prodigious speed (the first in Paris in 1887 and from 1890 in Toulouse).

Very quickly, their re-appropriation by revolutionary militants turned the exchanges into centers of social struggle. Organizing workers’ solidarity, they were a laboratory for future forms of action by French syndicalists. This movement was lead by an exceptional man, Fernand Pelloutier who was one of Georges Sorel’s inspirations, who qualified him as “the greatest name in the history of syndicates.” He drove the creation of the French Federation of Labor Exchanges (Fédération des bourses du travail de France). The French workers’ movement owes the idea of the general strike and the independence of the syndicates from political parties and the state to him. He was then in total opposition with Jules Guesde, founder of the Marxist inspired Parti Ouvrier Français, which affirmed the priority of the party’s political action over syndicalist struggles.

The exchanges pursued two axes of action in parallel. In the first place, social action, which consisted of employee placement, to help the workers qualify professionally and improve themselves. The labor exchanges were concrete applications of the revolutionary socialist program through professional and general teaching courses, medical dispensaries charged with fighting against insurance companies too complacent with the employers during work accidents, libraries for the workers’ ideological formation and leisure, or legal teaching services to inform workers about new social laws of the Third Republic. The dimension of popular education was one of Pelloutier priorities, according to his famous quote “educate in order to revolt.” The emancipation of the workers happens first by the realization of the reality of their exploitation. As Emile Pouget declared, “the task of revolutionaries does not consist of attempting violent movements without taking into account contingencies. But to prepare the spirits, so that these movements erupt when favorable circumstances present themselves.”

Secondly, the action of connecting and unifying with worker’s syndicates. The establishment of exchanges lead to the development of syndicates that could rely on their networks. They were gathering places for striking workers, strikes funds were raised from dues in the factories in order to aid the workers in the struggle. CGT (Confédération Générale du Travail) and the Federation of Exchanges merged in 1902 during the Montpellier congress, thus constituting a single central organization composed of two sections, that of the worker’s federations, and that of the labor exchanges. But before that a founding event for the French syndicalist movement took place: the birth of the CGT.

 

1895: The CGT

In 1884, when the law authorized the creation of syndicates, the Republic tried to seduce the working class in order to make them forget its objective alliance with big capital. The majority of the workers remained distrustful, considering that this law was conceived in order to control the existence of structures that were clandestine until then.

After preliminary negotiations, at Limoges in September 1895 the Confédération Générale du Travail arose, which fixed its principal objective as “to unite workers in struggle on the economic field and in bonds of tight solidarity, for their complete emancipation.”

After the first chaotic years, under the leadership of Victor Griffuelhes the organization would experience a period of intense activity. Named secretary general of CGT, this old worker was a fierce Blanquist militant, devoted to making the organization a machine of class war.

With Emile Pouget, his faithful comrade, we find him everywhere where strikes erupt. Not accustomed to interminable discussions, he imposed his authority with an iron hand. For which he would often be reproached and which would earn him many enemies, but we can never question his interest. Thanks to his relentless character, disputes between different currents were muted and the syndicate could retain total independence regarding the state which tried to corrupt the syndicalist leaders.

During the adoption of the Charter of Amiens, during the confederate congress of 1905, we recall that : “The CGT, beyond any political school, gathers all the workers aware of the struggle to bring about the disappearance of wage labor and the employers… The congress considers that this declaration is a recognition of the class struggle in the economic domain that opposes the workers in revolt against any form of exploitation and oppression, both material and moral, established by the capitalist class against the working class.

Direct Action

In the socialist movement in January 1905, Victor Griffuelhes gave the following definition of direct action: “Direct action means the action of the workers themselves. That is to say, action that is directly exercised by the interested parties. It is the worker himself who directs his efforts; he personally exercises them against the powers that dominate him, in order to obtain the benefits he demands from them. Through direct action, the worker creates his own struggle, he leads it , resolved not to grant to another person the responsibility for his own emancipation.

The revolutionary syndicalists lead the struggle for the improvement of labor conditions so that “the daily struggle prepares, organizes, and realizes the Revolution” as Griffuelhes wrote.

Direct action, done by active and aware minorities, aimed to strike the spirits (like during the general strike of 1907 where Paris found itself plunged into darkness following a sabotage action by revolutionary syndicalist electricians). It must impose the will of the workers on the employer, the possible use of just proletarian violence can enter into this strategy. “Actually there is only complete emancipation if the exploiters and bosses disappear and if the slate is wiped clean of all capitalist institutions. Such a task cannot be conducted peacefully – and even less legally! History teaches us that the privileged have never sacrificed their privileges without being compelled and forced to do so by their revolting victims. It is improbable that the bourgeoisie have exceptional magnanimity and will abdicate willingly… It will be necessary to resort to force, which, like Karl Marx said, is the midwife of societies.” (Emile Pouget-La CGT).

The Myth of the General Strike in Action

A fierce battle between the CGT and the state for the eight hour work day engaged in 1904. The campaign culminated in a demonstration of force on May 1st 1906, which was actively organized for a year. All the forces of the organization were thrown into the battle for eight hours. The context was then insurrectionist, the world of labor was seething following the drama of the Courrières mine where 1200 miners found death. 40000 miners in Pas-de-Calais went on strike spontaneously. Repression didn’t solve anything and the anger spread. Nearly 200,000 strikers mobilized in construction (a bastion of revolutionary syndicalists), metallurgy, printing … the movement culminated with 438,500 strikers throughout France! The government maintained the fear of imminent social war and collusion between the two anti-system forces of the epoch: the revolutionary syndicalist movement and the nationalist movement (convergences observed by Professor Zeev Sternhell).

Before this alliance, the Republic rapidly reacted, Clemenceau, named Minister of the Interior, directed the repression. Griffuelhes and the principal directors of the CGT were arrested without reason (including the treasurer Lévy who would be returned by the police during his imprisonment). The 1st of May was accompanied by an important mobilization of the Republic’s guard dogs that multiplied the arrests and fired on the crowd of strikers. In common agreement, the authorities and the employers organized the dismissal of the functionaries and workers most engaged in direct action, blacklists of militants were created to make their hiring impossible.

But where Clemenceau and his successor A. Briand were the most effective, was in the turning syndicalist leaders through corruption and the infiltration of provocateurs (the archives of the police prefecture are full of their reports on the activities of the CGT) who spread discontent and discredited the action of revolutionary syndicalists. Furthermore, the aggravation of internal dissent and the wars of tendencies created an explosive situation among the leadership.

The Rupture: The Proletariat Against the Republic

It was the Draveil-Vigneux affair, assembled from scratch by Aristide Briand, then Minister of the Interior that put flame to gunpowder. A demonstration of diggers and railway workers in the Parisian region on July 30th 1908 turned into a riot. We note two deaths among the workers. The CGT called for the workers mobilization in a general strike. Following a demonstration at Villeneuve-Saint-Georges they lamented seven more deaths. By the aid of an agent provocateur, the Minister of the Interior found the pretext to arrest most of the confederate leadership, among them secretary general Victor Griffuelhes, which allowed the traitors to benefit from his imprisonment in order to stage a veritable putsch.

The liberation of the imprisoned leaders was not delayed, but in the shadows the henchmen of Briand, and notably the treasurer Lévy (likely corrupt) and Latapie, launched a veritable cabal against Griffuelhes, openly accusing him of misuse of funds in the affair of the purchase of a confederate local. The following congress exonerated Griffuelhes of any suspicion, but the crisis was opened, as the embittered secretary general resigned. Niel succeded him, who was elected the 25th of February 1909, as secretary general of the CGT with the reformist votes. But the revolutionary syndicalists didn’t leave him alone: six months later Niel was forced to resign in turn.

He was replaced by Léon Jouhaux. It is not astonishing that tension with the state powers started to rise again from 1910. In October, the strike of railway workers, situated in the scheme of a grand campaign against the high cost of living, made Briand envision the dissolution of the CGT. Briand decided to make an example: the Durand affair. The secretary of the charcoal burners syndicate of Havre was condemned to death for strike actions that he was entirely uninvolved with. A vast workers’ protest movement was unleashed.

At this crucial moment in its history, the working world was largely opposed to the liberal Republic. It was disgusted by the attitude of the old Dreyfusards (Clemenceau et Briand), who had called for the working class to mobilize for justice and then once in power revealed themselves to be assassins of the people. This rejection of democracy was demonstrated until the war. The eruption of the Great War was a failure for the revolutionary syndicalists. After having done everything to halt the march towards war, the patriotic elan towards the Sacred Union carried them away. Léon Jouhaux, at the grave of Jaurès, called for the workers to rally towards the regime. This rally towards the Sacred Union marked the end of the heroic period of the syndicalism of direct action within the CGT, which, after the war was taken over by bureaucrats who made it the reformist tool we know today.

Source: http://rebellion-sre.fr/le-syndicalisme-revolutionnaire-une-specificite-francaise/

Georges Sorel: A Revolutionary Socialist -Thibault Isabel – Rébellion – November 16th, 2016

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Georges Sorel (1847-1922) was one of the great leaders of socialism at the end of the 19th century and at the start of 20th. Similar in spirit to Charles Péguy, he was also a reconciler of Marx and Proudhon, he had a highly mystical and moral vision of revolution, which made him hate reformists “like Jaurès,” who he said were ready to sell the purity of socialist ideas in the name of a policy of conciliation with bourgeois and parliamentary democracy.

For Sorel, like for Proudon, the purpose of the fight for justice was firstly moral: men must strengthen their character through the exercise of struggle. It is exactly through the free action of syndicates that the working classes can preserve the greatness of their culture, free from any purely political purposes. Furthermore Sorel defended the values of the producers, attached to work, effort, creativity, and the shaping of material, in opposition to the decadent values of the propertied, only concerned with enjoyment and profiting from the work of others.

It was firstly and above all the nihilistic hedonism of the bourgeois world that repelled Sorel, as well as the absence of convictions that was inevitably its corollary, the small-mindedness, the pettiness, the narrowness of view. But paradoxically, in the eyes of the thinker, there was hardly any difference between the morality of the bourgeoisie and that of the socialist leaders: if he castigated the mediocrity of present world of money, which no longer even had the force and will that the grand captains of industry of the past demonstrated, he didn’t have words harsh enough for the existential misery that he found in all the reformist compromises, or even in the regular strikes lead by the workers, ready to sacrifice the nobility of their struggle in order to earn a few social advantages accorded for purely clientelist ends.

Sorel demanded that they substitute the idea of the general strike, borrowed from Fernand Pelloutier, and destined to serve as the regenerating myth of the worker’s world, in place of the aforementioned strikes. The general strike, he said, must be lead in a spirit of excess, with the goal of realizing the most worthwhile revolution, in which the greatest number are liberated. It must not reestablish an economic logic, but on the contrary aim at an ethical reform of society, furthermore it’s how the proletariat could truly learn to be itself and fulfill all its most remarkable potentials.

Long a supporter of unions, nevertheless Sorel would be immensely disappointed by the evolution of the social struggle. He therefore experienced a period of wandering, that would lead him to criss-cross alternately from the side of the royalists, the nationalists, and the Bolsheviks, before finally returning, not without a certain skepticism, to his first political loves. But, despite his multiple wanderings, Sorel’s ideas evolved very little, in substance, during the course of his life. If his personal journey lead him to successively join many different groups or movements, each time he was disappointed to see ideas as intransigent as his could hardly incite broad shared agreement. So he would eventually die quite disillusioned…

Source: http://rebellion-sre.fr/georges-sorel-socialiste-revolutionnaire/

Hitler vs Strasser, The Historic Debate of May 21st and 22nd 1930 – Otto Strasser

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The 21st of May.

Thursday May 21st, around 12:15, Mr Hess, Adolf Hitler’s personal secretary, called me to arrange a meeting with Mister Hitler at one at the Hotel Sanssouci. I was about to leave for Oranienburg in order to reorganize our weekly paper. I nevertheless accepted the invitation, which could permit the settling of old policies.

The meeting between Hitler and myself took place at 1, without witness, in his private room in the Hotel Sanssouci.

Mister Hitler welcomed me with a flood of reproach regarding the attitude of the Editions Combat press. Many articles, notably the ones published in April, were, according to him, against the program of NSDAP and the most elementary rules of discipline, and required his intervention against Editions Combat and the opinions expressed there.

Mr Hitler indicated to me that these attacks, prejudicial to the party, were too harsh. His patience was at an end, and he demanded after my repeated refusals, my final acceptance of the dissolution of Editions Combat, without which he would be forced to take all necessary measures.

Before this threat, I rose and said that I had expected this meeting would help clarify our differences, but that I could not accept an ultimatum.

Mr Hitler agreed that he wanted this explanation. He attached the greatest price to my work, he fully acknowledged my work and wanted to keep me in the party. That was the reason for his invitation. I was young, a front line veteran and an old National Socialist, so I could be convinced. On the other hand, a conversation with Count Reventlow would have been superfluous, as this caricature of a journalist was incorrigible, he reiterated the same theories for decades. I replied that his criticisms were too general for me to respond to them concretely. Regarding the articles of the last few weeks, we could say two things. Firstly regarding the formalities: except for two articles, A New Biedermeier by Wendland in NS Letters and Unfaithfulness and Infidelity by Herbert Blank in The NS of April 22nd, all the texts were reprinted by the very official NSDAP press bureau. The ND was only following the example of many other party journals. Then regarding the fundamentals: I entirely shared the opinions defended in these different articles and desired that they be at the center of our meeting.

On the first point, Hitler formally agreed with me, I was right, and that these men of the NSPK would be held responsible; in particular Stöhr would be removed from his role as director of editing. He raised his voice with much force against the two articles on the subject, about which he expressed the following opinion: “The article in NS Letters is an infamous attack against Mr Frick, the National Socialist prime minister. The nomination of Schulze-Naumburg is of high cultural significance, as Schulze-Naumburg is a first rank artist. Only a few artistic notions are sufficient to see that Schulze-Naumburg knows how to teach German art better than anyone. And you join the Jewish press to shove the dagger in our backs by your attacks against the nomination of a National Socialist minister!”

I replied that in a magazine of debates such as NS Letters, it was my duty to let the young National Socialist artists grouped around Wendland, himself an active artist, express themselves. And moreover this article, while fully recognizing the merits of Schulze-Naumburg, expressed a fear I shared. In the cultural scheme, National Socialism should not reject the current of modern art that seeks to come to light. It must not repress its precious and youthful forces by clinging to outdated models.

Hitler replied: “All that you’ve said only shows that you have no idea about art. There is not ancient and modern art, anymore than there is revolution in art. There is only eternal art, Greek art, Nordic art, and any other appellation: Dutch art, Italian art, German art, is illusory. Moreover, Gothic art doesn’t exist in isolation, it responds to the ancient canons. All that I claim for art necessarily claims its origin in Greece.”

I responded that actually, I was not competent to state definitive opinions in the matter of art, but that naturally, I saw in art the expression of the soul of the people. I only recognized rooted art. Art that could never lose its character through decadence, through phases of sickness. Naturally, and not by virtue of a theory of knowledge, I thought that the popular expression of art followed the mutations of dominant ideas, and thus by a sense of the world at the time. I then briefly replied that Chinese, Egyptian, etc art were expressions of different peoples.

On this point Hitler said: “You hold liberal opinions, there is no Chinese or Egyptian art. I already told you, there is only Greek and Nordic art. You should know that the Chinese and moreover the Egyptians are not homogeneous peoples. Dominating these composite and inferior populations, there is always a Nordic elite that created the master works we admire today under the name of Chinese or Egyptian art. And each time this Nordic minority disappears, the Manchus for example, art declines.”

Mister Hitler elaborated for a long time on the subject of art, the different styles, etc. I can only repeat that the importance of this question assuredly merited a discussion of which the incriminating article was only an introduction.

The Hitler’s criticism was just as vehement, regarding the second article, Unfaithfulness and Infidelity by Herbert Blank. According to him, the article incited party members to rebellion. Actually, it deliberately dissociated itself from the idea of fidelity to the Führer and prioritized faithfulness to the idea over the faithfulness due to the Führer.

Firstly I defended myself from wanting to denigrate his personality, that was not the intention of the article. And I added, “However, it’s a German Protestant trait that holds the idea in the highest esteem. All his acts are guided by his conscience. In the practical scheme, the Führer could fall ill, he could die, or become estranged from the idea. Thus conscience must rely on the idea, the directors of the party, at any level, are only its executors. Such is the cornerstone of German Protestantism in my opinion. Ideas are the divine essence, they are eternal. On the other hand, men are only bodies in which the Word was made flesh.”

Hitler: “You hide your ineptitude under pious discourse. In reality, you pretend to give to each member of the party the right to decide the idea, and even to decide if the Führer is faithful to the idea or not. But democracy has no place in our ranks. With us, the Führer and the idea are one, and each member of the party must do what the Führer, who is the is the embodiment of the idea and the only one who knows the ultimate goal, commands.”

Me: “Mister Hitler, your statements denote the Roman Papist vision of the world like Fascist Rome, and I can only respond with the words of Luther: Here I stand, I cannot help it! I must reaffirm that in my eyes, the idea, here the National Socialist idea, is essential, and that my conscience is ready to make a choice when it arises or the divide between the idea and the Führer increases.”

Him: “Yes, we diverge here considerably. You bring us back to democracy, and democracy is dissolved. Our organization is founded on discipline, and I will not let it be dismembered by a handful of writers. You yourself knew the army. See how your brother although he is not always in agreement with me, he bends to this discipline, for him I have much esteem. And I ask you if accept this discipline, yes or no.”

Me: “Discipline is only an instrument in order to lead a community in a direction, not to educate it in a single way. The world war sufficiently taught it. In the last months of the conflict, it was not discipline that lead us to accept the hardest tests of the soul and heart, it was an imperative of our conscience, the feeling of duty. Do not be mislead by the easy approval of the creatures that surround you…”

Him: “I cannot tolerate such calumnies against my collaborators!”

Me: “Mr Hitler, do not give us illusions! They have enough intellectual capacities to forge their own opinion, and the sufficient character to express it when it differs from yours. And do you really think that my brother would bend to this discipline if he wasn’t financially dependent on its mandate?”

Hitler swore that if he extended me his hand today, it was precisely in memory of my brother who had suffered greatly from our differences and for himself.

Him: “Once again, I offer you the post of national press leader. You will come with me to Munich, where you will be directly under my authority. You could put all your work and intelligence, which I esteem, in the service of the movement.”

I responded that I could only accept this offer if we were in fundamental agreement regarding political goals. I added verbatim: “If it turns out that our views still differ, you will have the impression that I have deceived you, and I myself the feeling of having been betrayed. The most important thing seems to me that we have a deep discussion on political objectives. I would be ready to return to Munich for four weeks and discuss all the questions with you and eventually with Rosenberg, whose hostility towards me I am aware of, and primarily the questions of foreign policy and socialism as in my opinion, Rosenberg is the most distant from my conceptions.”

Thereafter, Mr Hitler told me that this proposal had come too late, that I should decide for myself now, failing that he would take the necessary measures on Monday. That is to say he would declare that Editions Combat had brought harm to the interests of the party, that all members of the party would be banned from the dissemination and propagation of the Edition Combat’s magazines, that he would exclude me and the people surrounding me from the party.

I responded that Mr Hitler did indeed have the opportunity to take these measures, but he had thus proved something that I never believed was possible until now: his total disagreement with our revolutionary socialist will, as expressed for five years in Editions Combat, where it was the goal and essential object.

I roughly said this: “Mister Hitler, I have the impression that you forgot to say the true reasons that push you to destroy Editions Combat; the real stake is this revolutionary socialism we advocate, you desire to sacrifice it to establish the legality of the party and in order to cooperate with the bourgeois right (Hugenberg, Stahlhelm, etc)”

Mister Hitler rejected this opinion very quickly: “Unlike people such as the wealthy Count Reventlow, I am socialist. I started as a simple worker, and today still, I do not allow my chauffeur to receive another meal than me. But your socialism is Marxism pure and simple. You see, the great mass of workers only wants bread and circuses. Ideas are not accessible to them and we cannot hope to win them over. We attach ourselves to the fringe, the race of lords, which did not grow through a miserabilist doctrine and knows by the virtue of its own character that it is called to rule, and rule without weakness over the masses of beings.”

Me: “Mister Hitler, this opinion overwhelms me. A vision founded on race is erroneous. In my opinion, race is only the initial first material. For example, the German people are constituted by four or five different races. To which we add geopolitical, climactic influences, and others, external pressure, internal fusion, which forged what we call a people. The following step is born from living together and becoming aware of this life: this superior form is the nation, born for us in August 1914. The racial vision of Rosenberg that you have made yours denies the great task of National Socialism, the constitution of the German people into a nation, and will even lead to the dissolution of this people. So it denies, in my eyes, the objective and the meaning of the German revolution to come.”

Him: “You are a liberal. Every revolution is fundamentally racial. There are no social, political, or economic revolutions. Combat always opposes an inferior racial sub-stratum to a superior ruling race. When the superior race forgets this law, it loses the fight. All historical global revolutions, and I have studied many of them, are nothing other than racial combat. So read Rosenberg’s new book (Hitler meant the Myth of the 20th Century). You have all the responses there. The book has considerable breadth, even superior to the Foundations of the the 19th Century by Chamberlain. Your errors in the domain of foreign policy are explained by your ignorance of racial factors. For example, you are enthusiastic about the Hindu independence movement … you know the Anglo-Saxons have the mission to govern the people they have subdued, precisely in the name of their superiority. The Nordic race is called to dominate the world, and this right must guide our foreign policy. It’s why we cannot envision any rapprochement with Russia, which is a Slavic-Tatar body surmounted by a Jewish head. I knew Slavs from my home country. In the era where a Germanic head ruled the Slavic body, entente was possible, Bismarck outlined this rapprochement before. But today, it would be a crime.”

I retorted that it seemed to me that foreign policy could not be dictated by such considerations. “The only important thing to know in matters of foreign policy is if a population could serve Germany or harm it. In the first case, I would treat it favorably, even if I had great antipathy for that people, in the second case, it would treat it poorly, even if I was personally sympathetic to the people in question. In the matter, I am of the opinion that the first duty of Germany in regard to foreign policy is the abrogation of the Treaty of Versailles. If I go over the powers that – for purely selfish motives, of course – share this same desire, I only see Italy and Russia. That’s why I am favorable to rapprochement with Italy, although Italians are unfriendly to me, and, likewise, an entente with Russia seems possible, at least theoretically. I have as little enthusiasm for Bolshevism as I do for Fascism, and I am as indifferent to the personality of Stalin as I am to that of Mussolini, MacDonald, or Poincaré. I only see the interests of Germany.”

Mister Hitler agreed with me on the primacy of Germany’s interests in the matter of foreign policy. In his eyes, an entente with England corresponded with this imperative, the goal was the Nordic domination of Europe, and through America Nordic-Germanic domination of the world.

It was getting late – it had nearly been 4 hours – I asked to continue our conversation tomorrow, on the specific subject of socialism. He declared, “But the question of foreign policy is purely theoretical for the moment. Neither you nor me make decisions and I can satisfy myself with this formulation, that foreign policy only obeys a singular objective: the good of Germany. Cultural policy is not very important in my eyes, in any case it seems quite second rank now. In my eyes, the decisive and central question is economic organization and socialism, as it’s in this matter that I have the greatest doubts about the party’s policy.”

We agreed to resume our conversation tomorrow morning, the 22nd of May at 10.

We the undersigned declare that this account is faithful to the narrative that Dr Strasser gave of his meeting over the past few hours, the night of 21st of May.

Richard Shapke, Herbert Blank, Günther Kübler, Paul Brinkman.
Berlin, June 2
nd 1930

May 22nd

Thursday May 22nd, at 10 in the morning, after a brief meeting with my brother Gregor, I returned to the Hotel Sanssouci with Mister Hitler, as we had agree previously.

As we had outlined the plan of the day’s conversation yesterday, I had reflected on five fundamental points which I communicated to my brother in the course of our brief meeting, they were as followed:

1 We want a German revolution that fundamentally encompasses all domains and involves all means.

2 It follows from the above that we are equally opposed to bourgeois capitalism and internationalist Marxism.

3 In my eyes, property is not inalienable, we desire a German socialism, and thus participation in all the ownership, direction, and profits of the German economy.

4 This revolutionary position forbids us from participation in a coalition government.

5 This anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist attitude means that we do not envision military intervention against Russia.

I met Mister Hitler at breakfast. On this occasion, we would only discuss general questions, the announcement of the dissolution of the Saxon parliament, and perspectives on the next election. After which we met in the room of the hotel where I found myself in the company of many. Mister Adolf Hitler, his personal secretary Rudolf Hess, Minster Amann, director of the Völkischer Beobachter, my brother Gregor Strasser, Mister Hans Hinkel, associate of the Editions Combat Society and myself. I asked Mister Hitler if our conversation would take place between four pairs of eyes, because I wanted to know the real thoughts of Hitler, without there being other people to take into consideration. This proposition was rejected by Mister Hitler, as the people present were directly concerned with the debate.

On the other hand, I was indifferent about debating the fundamental questions of socialism before a larger audience, that’s why I accepted, knowing that my interlocutors were, in any case, favorable to Mister Hitler.

At Hitler’s demand, I began in roughly these terms: “The discussion yesterday showed that important points should be clarified. Namely to know if you, like me, are of the opinion that the revolution to which we aspire must be implemented on political, economic, and spiritual level. In which case that implies that we be inflexible and fight bourgeois capitalism and internationalist Marxism with equal ardor, which leads us to the central point of this meeting. Our propaganda must not only attach itself to the anti-Marxist struggle, it must equally attack capitalism and found a German socialism.

Which necessitates that we clarify the concept of property. I believe that religious respect for private property excludes all possibility of German socialism. We naturally know that all culture rests on ownership, but recognize the extraordinary importance of this ascertainment, namely that the material foundation allows the human being to flourish and have a proud and proper bearing, thus the necessity of giving the non-property owning 80% of Germans the possibility of acquiring a form of property. Today’s capitalist system doesn’t give them this possibility. The position to-day, is like that before the Wars of Liberation. At that time Baron vom Stein said these words which inspires us today: “If the nation is to achieve freedom and honor, it will be necessary to give the oppressed sections of this nation property and the right of co-determination.”

The oppressed then were the serfs who cultivated the land without owning anything, not even their bodies. It was necessary to liberate the peasantry. Today we must liberate the working masses. In that time, they authorized the henceforth free peasants to acquire land in participate in our common destiny. Today the working masses must acquire ownership and be involved in decision making.

Private property was conceived for agriculture, as the soil is divisible into little parcels. In industrial matters, things present themselves differently, so we must opt for collective ownership of the enterprises in which people work. In order to distribute land to the peasants, Stein had to confiscate it from the large landowners, as he couldn’t find un-owned land. Today we must do the same: the entrepreneurs maintain a monopoly on industrial property, so we must seize a part of this property to give to the workers, and in a broader sense, to the people collectively. These proposals will be treated as Bolshevism, but the large landowners treated Baron Vom Stein as a Jacobin. However: the liberation of Prussia was unthinkable without the liberation of the peasantry. Likewise, the liberation of Germany happens through the liberation of the German workers.”

On the demand of Mister Hitler, I declared that in my opinion, 49% of property and wealth should remain in the hands of their current owners, 41% should return to the state which represents the nation, and 10% to the personnel of the enterprise. Decisions should be made with equal representation between the entrepreneur, the state, and the employees, in a way that reduces the influence of the state and increases that of the workers.

Hitler: “That’s Marxism, Bolshevism, pure and simple. You pretend to extend this democracy to economics, which lead us politically to Russia, and ruins the entire nation in the same stroke. Likewise, you will end all progress of humanity, which was always made by an individual, by a great inventor.”

I replied by rejecting this notion of progress. For me, the invention of toilets is not a cultural act.

Hitler: “You want to completely deny the evolution of humanity since the stone age until the formidable inventions of modern technology, erase it with a stroke of the pen in the name of a system that you’ve imagined.”

I responded to him that I did not believe in the progress of humanity. Moreover, I think that man has remained the same for millennia, even if he has modified his appearance. Mister Hitler do you believe that Goethe is obsolete because he didn’t drive an automobile or Napoleon because he didn’t have the radio? I only see stages of alteration in this pretense of progress. The 20 year old man dreams of being 30 and that is progress. The man in his forties who will turn 50 will be more circumspect, and the 60 year old would hardly see the years to come as progress. Actually, contrary to what the liberals pretend, the organism doesn’t develop in a linear fashion, by through biological cycles of life and death.

Mister Hitler responded that my statements were purely theoretical. Practical life attests day after day to the technological progress of humanity, progress that always finds its driving force in the greater individuals.

I objected that the great names of history didn’t know the meaning of the role they played. Man is not the creator of history, he is the instrument of destiny.

Mister Hitler then brusquely asked me if I also intended to deny that he had founded National Socialism. I denied it in effect, as I saw National Socialism as the fruit of destiny, an idea implanted, more or less deeply, in the hearts of hundreds of thousands of men, and with pressing consequences. It had found a perfectly strong expression with him, Hitler, but the concurrent appearance of National Socialism and the likewise proved that it was a historical process more than an affair of man or organization. This observation holds for the establishment of capitalism, beyond notions of good or bad. Today, the capitalist system is in decline, it is moribund and must cede its place to socialism, which will forge the next 150 years.

Hitler: “What you call socialism is a purely Marxist vision. The system that you erect is academic work, it doesn’t correspond to the reality of life. In this sense there is no capitalist system. The head of the enterprise is dependent on his workforce, the willingness of his workers to participate in a common effort. If they strike, his property is worthless. On the other hand, by what right could they claim a part of this property, even to participate in decisions? Mister Amann, would you accept it if your stenographers suddenly wanted to take part in your decisions? The employer is responsible for production, and assures the workers their subsistence. Our great heads of industry are not concerned with the accumulation of wealth and the good life, rather they are concerned with responsibility and power. They have acquired this right by natural selection: they are members of the higher race. But you would surround them with a council of incompetents, who have no notion of anything. No economic leader can accept that.”

I replied that a simple look over the rulers of the capitalist system demonstrates that is exactly the opposite of natural selection in our sense. And is it natural, when selection is done by money! The acquisition of wealth is the worst criterion for a man aspiring to heroism. In contrast, the socialist system favors responsibility, service to the community, and respect for the citizens, creating an entirely different natural selection.

But when Hitler defended the idea that the economy should obey the criteria of profitability, I interjected: “In this regard, National Socialism defends a completely opposite position! In my eyes, the economy has no other meaning and no other duty besides that of assuring the nourishment, clothing, and dwelling of the nation, and securing reserves for times of war or want. But if we consider the economy as the means to cover our needs, it is indifferent to the costs of production being higher in Germany than in other countries. In a National Socialist Germany, it doesn’t matter if American farmers produce corn at half the cost, because the global market doesn’t interest us. Naturally, that implies economic autarky, and in order to implement it, a state monopoly on international exchanges that is the only guarantee of an advantageous trade policy for the nation.”

Hitler: “Your theories is disastrous and dilettantish. So do you think that we can withdraw ourselves from global commerce? We need to import the essential raw materials and export our own manufactured goods. A few months ago, I received a report from East Asia on global economic competition (Hitler was alluding to a letter from Lieutenant Kriebel, who was then in China). We cannot nor do we want to hinder this evolution. Quite the opposite, the white, Nordic, race has a mission to organize the world in such a manner that each country produces what suits it best. It is incumbent upon us to realize this grandiose project. Believe me, National Socialism would mean little if it was limited to Germany alone and did not seal the domination of the world by the white race for 1000 or 2000 years. That doesn’t mean the exploitation of other races. To put it simply, the inferior races are called to realize other destinies than the superior races. We want to assure the domination of the world in concert with the Anglo-Saxons.”

I replied that I was appalled by the definition of such an objectives that joins the ideal of high finance, which sees the world as a vast field of exchanges destructive to national economies and all differences between peoples. For me, National Socialism restrains its objectives to national autarky whose strength and vital force is the unique conditions of supply in the absence of any imperialist or capitalist objectives.

My brother intervened here in the debate in order to say to Mister Hitler that in his opinion also, we must aim for economic autarky and reduce our involvement with the global economy to the necessary minimum for the provision of raw materials.

Mister Hitler responded that autarky could be aimed for in the long term, but that wouldn’t be for 100 years, we could not subsist in the absence of external exchanges of goods.

A long economic discussion followed on that exact point, that I quickly brought back to the socialist field with a concrete question for Mister Hitler: “If you seized power in Germany tomorrow what would you immediately do with the Krupp firm? Regarding the shareholders, the workers, the property, the benefits, and the direction, would you keep things as they are?”

Hitler: “Of course. Do you think I’m stupid enough to destroy the economy? The state will only intervene if people do not act in the interest of the nation. There is no need for dispossession or participation in all the decisions. The state will intervene strongly when it must, pushed by superior motives, without regards to particular interests.”

Me: “But Mister Hitler, if you want to preserve the capitalist system, you don’t have the right to speak of socialism! As the militants are socialists in the first rank, they refer to the program of the party, which expressly demands the socialization of enterprises of national interest.”

Him: “The expression of socialism is faulty in itself, and above all: it doesn’t imply that enterprises must be nationalized, but only that they can be, in the scenario where they operate against the interest of the nation. For a long time that hasn’t been the case, it would be criminal to destroy the economy.”

Me: “I’ve never seen a capitalist claim that he acts for the good of the nation. How do you say that from the outside? How do you think to anchor the right of state intervention, without creating a body of functionaries with limitless and arbitrary power over the economy, and moreover is that not more disruptive for it than socialism?”

Him: “Fascism offers us a model that we can absolutely replicate! As it is in the case of Fascism, the entrepreneurs and the workers of our National Socialist state sit side by side, equal in rights, the state strongly intervenes in the case of conflict to impose its decision and end economic disputes that put the life of the nation in danger.”

Me: “Fascism has not found its way between capital and labor. It hasn’t even searched for it, it limits itself to containing social struggles by maintaining the all powerlessness of capital over labor. Fascism is not the overcoming of capitalism. On the contrary, until now in any case, it has maintained the capitalist system in its power, as you would do yourself.”

Him: “That is only theory. In reality, there is only a single economic system: responsibility upwards, authority downwards. I expect that Mister Amann will have authority over his subordinates and accountability for his acts before me. Mister Amann expects his department head to act responsibly towards him and demands the obeisance of his stenographers, which in turn are responsible before their department heads and exercise their authority in their duties. It has been like that for millennia and it cannot be else-wise.”

Me: “So what is the difference between the executive responsible before the board (he must realize maximum returns) who rules over his employees and workers, and the shop foreman who responds with his team before the director of the factory (he ensures everyone works hard) and has authority over the workers?”

Him: “The system is just, and there cannot be any other. The system today only lacks responsibility before the nation. A system that rests on anything other than authority downwards and responsibility upwards cannot really make decisions, it engenders anarchy and Bolshevism. That is clear from even the nature of the production process, which knows no distinction between capitalism and socialism.”

Me: “It’s true Mister Hitler, the processes of production remain the same. The assembly of a car is not much different in the socialist system than in the capitalist system. On the other hand, the policies of production, the economic objectives are the responsibility of the system. And a few years ago, the system gave to two or three dozen men, no better or worse than others, the judicial, moral, and economic means to throw 250,000 workers in the Ruhr into the streets, a million Germans including their families, because a title of ownership conferred them unlimited decision making power, I say that it’s the system that is criminal and we must change it, and not the men. The reality of capitalism and the necessity of instituting socialism is clearly visible.”

Him: “But in order to change this institution, there is no need for the workers to become co-owners of the enterprise or participate in its decisions. It’s the role of a strong state to assure that production serves the interests of the nation. If it is lacking in certain cases, the state will take energetic measures, seizing the enterprise and putting its destiny in its hands.”

Me: “But that would not change the destiny of the workers, objects of the economy, rather than subjects. Moreover, I note that you were ready to break with the sacrosanct principle of the inviolability of private property. Then take that step, why bother with arbitrary intervention case by case by functionaries insufficiently informed of local conditions and at the mercy of personal denunciations, why not directly and organically anchor this right of intervention in the economy?”

Him: “Some fundamental differences oppose us here, as collective ownership and decision making resemble Marxism. But, for my part, I reserve the right of intervention to an elite within the state.”

The debate found itself interrupted by the arrival of Mister Stohr and Mister Buch, who accompanied Hitler to his private room, joined by Mister Hess. It was about half past one. I stayed for a moment with the remaining people, nothing decisive was said. Mister Hitler never informed me of the results of these two long meetings, neither verbally, nor by writing.

Source: https://europapatrianostra.wordpress.com/2009/03/07/hitler-strasser-lentretien-historique-des-21-et-22-mai-1930/