Friday, March 14, 2014

Towards an Australian National Bolshevism

This article is about National Bolshevism and why Australian nationalists should take it up. Given that National Bolshevism is a controversial topic in the nationalist community, I spend a lot of time here arguing for my case.

To begin with, we should define some terms, seeing as the average nationalist reader doesn't, I think, encounter them every day.

Marxism refers to the theories of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels - political, economic, and sociological theories which portend the appearance of class struggle (conflict between the workers and the bourgeoisie) leading up to a class war, culminating in the inevitable transformation of capitalist societies into socialist ones after the collapse of capitalism 'under the weight of its own contradictions'. Marxist-Leninism refers to the development of Marx's ideas by Lenin and their embodiment in a political party (a vanguard party, which is well in advance of everyone else in terms of its thinking) which upholds the principles of 'dictatorship of the proletariat', the abolition of capitalism and liberal democracy through violent revolution, etc. Marxist-Leninism is more or less what we know as communism. There are only five communist states in the world today: Cuba, North Korea, Vietnam, Laos, China. At least one of them (China) has abandoned much of communism in practice, especially when it comes to the command economy and the abolition of property.

Socialism is another word communists use for Marxist-Leninism; they don't recognise the liberal and parliamentary forms of socialism, e.g., social-democracy (the socialism of the Australian Labor Party or the British Labour Party) as being truly socialist. Bourgeois refers to just about anything that is non-communist: the Australian Labor Party is a bourgeois party, not a true party of the workers. As for the working-classes themselves, this refers to the social class that doesn't own property and has to work for a living. Generally the communist ideology, in practice, only refers to them as working-class if the workers are capable of being recruited and ensnared by the communist movement; chavs, skinheads, conservative Liberal Party voters, anti-communist Catholics - these are not working-class, instead they are bourgeois, perhaps even reactionary and fascist.

National Bolshevism refers to a tendency in the German communist movement which first appeared in the early 1920s. Certain communist intellectuals argued certain sectors of German bourgeois society (especially the Far Right and the German military) should be won over to communism through a change in rhetoric; German patriots could form an alliance with the communists against the Versailles treaty, the French occupation of the Ruhr and Allied finance-capital. An alliance between Germany and Soviet Russia was endorsed; the two of them would stand, in an Eastern coalition, against the Allies in the West.

A good outline of German National Bolshevism can be found here. From this article, we can see that the history of National Bolshevism and the Red-Brown alliance can be divided up into two parts. National Bolshevism first appears in Germany political discourse in the early 1920s, when two prominent communists put forward the idea of a patriotic alliance against the Treaty of Versailles:

Though in pre-war German (unlike in Russia today) the term ‘National Bolshevism’ was not the name of any organised party or group in Germany – it was in Germany that it had its roots, the very terms ‘National Communism’ and ’National Bolshevism’ having first been coined by the German communists Heinrich Laufenberg and Fritz Wolffheim (the latter himself Jewish by birth) at the end of the 1st World War. What defined their stance was an appeal to German workers’ councils and soldiers, now freed from the dictates of the Kaiser and his generals, to reject the Versailles Treaty and instead continue the war against the Anglo-French entente - yet this time as a national revolutionary war – conducted in alliance with Soviet Russia against international finance capitalism.

Although their appeal to Lenin to follow this line was rejected, it was his slogan that they used to define ‘National Bolshevism’: “Make the question of the people a question of the nation; then the question of the nation will become the question of the people!”

‘Laufenberg and Wolffheim were expelled from the KPD after they attempted to resist the leadership of Wilhelm Pieck. Radek, after showing initial enthusiasm, soon also denounced Laufenberg’s ‘National Bolshevism’ vehemently. Laufenberg went on to become a founder member of the Communist Workers Party of Germany (KAPD), joining Wolffheim at the Heidelberg conference establishing the party. By 1920 however he had been expelled from the party, with his national Bolshevism the official reason for his departure. Laufenberg was mourned as a pioneer of National Bolshevism by Ernst Niekisch who wrote that “in 1919 Laufenberg already thought in terms of continents”.’

“Laufenberg … who in pre-war times had already made his name as a historian of the Hamburg workers’ movement, sickened by the dividedness of the working class and the impotent fight of all against all whilst the nation suffered unspeakably under the oppression of the victorious powers, demanded, together with his friend Wolffheim, the building up of a free and cohesive people’s organisation to bring down exploitative international finance capitalism. They sought to win allies from all strata among the freedom-loving people, conspiring also with officers, because only the unity of soldiers and workers could free the nation. The official parties defamed both determined heads as ‘National Bolsheviks’… “

The second phase of National Bolshevism was the attempt of the German Communist Party to lure Far Rightists (including National Socialists) into a united front:
The failure of the ‘National Communism’ of Laufenberg and Wolffheim was by no means the end of the story as regards the story of National Bolshevism in Germany i.e. the principle of uniting factions from both Right and Light, including dissident members of both the Nazi and Communist parties. In 1930 a new step in this direction was initiated under the banner of a new, ‘Social Revolutionary Nationalism’ - this time from associations of the nationalist Right and Nationalist youth. Hence the following press declaration from ‘Die Kommenden’ (‘The Ones to Come’) a weekly journal of the Association of National Revolutionary Youth [Bündisch-Nationalrevolutionären Jugend].

“On Ascension day 1930, what for long had been a loosely connected group of young National Revolutionaries who saw socialism as the essence of true nationalism were called together from different parts of the country to form a ‘Socialist Revolutionary Nationalist Group’ [‘Gruppe social revolutionärer Nationalisten’ or GSRN]. The group does not wish to form a new organisation but to create an umbrella embracing all young people with a similar world-view from diverse nationalistic groupings and associations – including both National Socialists and people from the ‘left’ – under the slogan of ‘Nation and Socialism’ and its realisation in the form of a state based on people’s councils.”

The aim of the Group was not only to build an “Anti-Capitalist Front of youth from both Right and Left” but an Anti-Fascist one – hence also the use of the term ‘Socialist Nationalism’ instead of ‘National Socialism’. And as its founder Karl Otto Paetel points out, the fact that it included in its ranks card-carrying members of Hitler’s National Socialist Party was so that the Nazi party could itself be infiltrated and its leadership ultimately overtaken, and its programme transformed into a thoroughly socialist one free of fascist elements. Indeed a new, more radically socialist manifesto for the National Socialist Party was distributed at a Nurenburg Party Conference. This concluded with the following words:

“Since total control over the whole of German industry lies today in the hands of organs of international finance capitalism, the national revolution is directed unconditionally against international finance capitalism. As a result, any fully realised German revolution will immediately call forth the use of all powers and means by America and its leagues of countries against the German worker’s and peasants’ state. The first task of National Socialist foreign policy is therefore the organisation of a revolutionary defence against the imperialist powers, unity with the Soviet Union and support for revolutionary movements in all countries of the world that oppose international finance capital.”

I will explain in a moment how certain of these ideas can be applied in an Australian context. But it should be noted that unfortunately there's not much in the way of theoretical content for National Bolshevism at the present time - the works of Niekisch, Paetel and others haven't been translated from the German; Otto Strasser's work (or ghost-written work) has been translated into English, hence the popularity of Strasserism, but really doesn't have much in value. Literature for National Bolshevism, National-Anarchism and Third Positionism is thin on the ground, and this leads to problems down the line. Anyone who is an activist of any ideology needs plenty of original content, i.e., content written for that ideology and no other. Because of the lack of original content, a National-Anarchist (for example) must either pass off the work of a nationalist thinker as being 'National-Anarchist' or go back to the old neofascist and racialist ideologies (and their endless preoccupations with Negroes and Jews) once one's stock of National-Anarchism runs out.

This isn't a serious problem so far as National Bolshevism is concerned, though. National Bolshevism is compatible with Marxist socialism, and there is a lot of Marxist-Leninist thought out there. All one has to do is import it into a National Bolshevist context - that can fill out the spaces left by the Niekischs and Paetels. The thing is to adapt the theory - Marxist and National Bolshevist - to the peculiar circumstances of one's country. Those circumstances include the 'revolutionary situation' (i.e., the amenability of that country to an uprising or revolution) the country is in.

Australia in 2014 is a capitalist country, of course, with a liberal democracy; it is, at the same time, in the process of being conquered, economically, demographically, politically, culturally, by Chinese imperialism. This is not what the old Maoists called 'social imperialism' - i.e., one communist power dominating a weaker one - but an imperialism of a new type. China is not fully communist and neither is it fully capitalist and liberal-democratic, but we can say, however, that it gone far down the capitalist road after the death of Mao and has transformed itself into a hybrid of a type which has never been seen before.

What is the response of the Australian patriot to Chinese imperialism? The answer is the same as that of the old Bolsheviks and Maoists: resistance, revolution, struggle. In fact, several old concepts of the Left - including the Maoist Left - can be dusted off and used again in this unprecedented situation. One such concept is Mao's New Democracy - that is, collaboration with the bourgeois (non-communist) elements which are patriotically opposed to the invader (in Mao's time, the Japanese) and who wish to form a resistance movement - what Mao called the national-bourgeoisie. In the present day Australian context, the national-bourgeoisie are the conservative groups (including businessmen), plus the reformist (social democratic and non-communist) trade unions, the right-wing intellectuals and others who are opposed to Chinese expansionism. An appeal to them can be made through patriotism, nationalism and racialism. But implicit in this appeal is the proposition that capitalism helped get us into this mess in the first place, and that the country will need to steer towards 'real socialism' once the invader has been driven from our shores.

As one can see, the National Bolshevist line in the context of Australia and Australia's national struggle in 2014 practically writes itself and tends to determine the tactics (propaganda, the methods of organisation, the attitudes towards other groupings in society, etc.) used. It's not too difficult to arrive at a blending of the most extreme socialism and nationalism which should appeal to some both on the Far Left and the Far Right.

I anticipate, contra to this assertion of mine, two responses: a) you don't really want to turn Australia into a Cuban or North Korean (or Venezuelan) economy do you, and b) are you so arrogant that you can really achieve this?

These objections are a case of another question hiding behind the question asked. In his 2009 book, The Rise and Fall of Communism, Archie Brown identifies six key fundamental tenets of what he calls 'communist systems', that is, countries run by communist parties. Two of these fundamentals are: i) the abolition of property and ii) the command economy. Now, at first sight, our interlocutor is asking us whether or not a Cuban or North Korean-style economy - where property is more or less abolished and where the economy runs along command lines - is desirable, here in Australia or anywhere else. It's a reasonable question to ask and one easy enough to answer. But any answers would be banal. I.e., one would respond with truisms to the effect that Cuba and North Korea have their good and bad sides, and as to whether or not the good preponderates over the bad, well, that depends on where you stand politically. Perhaps 'the truth lies somewhere in the middle'. I don't think the interlocutor is asking that question: no, what they are asking is, are Cuba and North Korea inevitable? Is the capitalist system heading towards a crash, as Marx and Engels claimed, and will the existing system be 'inevitably' replaced by a socialist one after a revolution of the working-classes?

Any sociologist can use Marx's method of class analysis and view society through the prism of class. One can do this and not be a Marxist. What makes one's analysis of classes truly Marxist is this (from a famous letter Marx wrote to Joseph Weydemeyer:
Now as for myself, I do not claim to have discovered either the existence of classes in modern society or the struggle between them. Long before me, bourgeois historians had described the historical development of this struggle between the classes, as had bourgeois economists their economic anatomy. My own contribution was 1. to show that the existence of classes is merely bound up with certain historical phases in the development of production; 2. that the class struggle necessarily leads to the dictatorship of the proletariat; 3. that this dictatorship itself constitutes no more than a transition to the abolition of all classes and to a classless society.

This is related to a third tenet identified by Brown: the doctrine that the 'socialist' (i.e., Communist Party-ruled) states were moving towards communism and the 'withering away of the state'. Khrushchev, in a 1961 speech, made the famous prediction that the USSR would attain communism by 1980. According to Brown, very few communist leaders believed, after 1960 or so, in the 'transition to communism' doctrine, although they continued to state, in public, that they did so. But the 'transition' doctrine is one of the fundamentals of Marxism, and is of a piece with the doctrine of the 'inevitability' of socialism and capitalist collapse. Marxism is built on the idea that history progresses 'inevitably' through economic, social and political stages, and this is something that distinguishes it from the other socialisms out there.

Which is why the events of 1991 were such a blow: given that the capitalist and feudal societies of Russia, China, Cuba, Vietnam, etc., had 'inevitably' given birth to socialism, there was no going back - and yet they did and it was as though Lenin had never existed and one of the decisive turning points in history - the 1917 October revolution - had never occurred.

In Victor Sebestyen's 2009 book, Revolution 1989: The Fall of the Soviet Empire, we find the East German leader Egon Krenz declaiming, in October 1989 (shortly before the fall of the Berlin Wall): ‘We [in the Communist Party] have no other interest than that of the people... Our historical optimism results from the knowledge of the ineluctability of the victory of socialism founded by Marx, Engels, Lenin’.

Krenz was putting a brave face on it, holding fast to the Marxist doctrine in the face of imminent defeat. Perhaps Krenz will be right in the long run: communism will eventually triumph in a hundred or a thousand years from now. But the point of Marx's and Engel's predictions of the 'ineluctable' collapse of capitalism and the triumph of socialism was that they would come true in the near future. The argument of Marxist-Leninism is that the prediction did come true, in Russia in 1917, a mere 22 years after the death of Engels. But the events of 1989-1991 in Europe and Asia disproved the Marxist hypothesis; they constituted a refutation of Marxism. Quite possibly communism will never recover. National Bolshevism, then, is wrong because it is built, in part, on the false theory of Marxism.

All is not lost, however. We have to look to the example of the Left. In the early 1990s, the communist Left was faced with two choices. One was to give up - and many of the pro-Soviet communist parties (including Australia's) dissolved themselves by 1991 - and the other choice was to soldier on. The Indian Maoist guerrillas - perhaps the last true Maoists in the world - soldier on; the hundreds of Trotskyite, Maoist, Hoxhaist and other communist grouplets in the West continue, in a half-hearted way, and attract little in the way of mass support. One can't say of them that they are a growing movement. But much of this is due to age and weariness. Many of them lived through the time of the Soviet Union and really couldn't conceive of a world without a great power - of the stature of a China or Russia - which was not a 'communist system' and didn't serve as an example to the communist parties struggling to bring about a socialist revolution in the West. After 1991, they lost heart; they couldn't bear to pick up the pieces and start over from scratch - even though Marxist-Leninism preaches that communists should struggle for revolution even in the most difficult conditions and in the most 'reactionary' settings.

This is one of the aspects of Marxist-Leninism which a nationalist should find intriguing: the starting from scratch, the modularity (that is, being able to carried from place to place) of the Marxist-Leninist revolutionary doctrine. Marxism doesn't accept things as they are; it is not content to sit still. They have a get up and go attitude, or at least, they did, before 1991. Only the Indian Maoists today have the same spirit.

So, if National Bolshevik ideologists such as Ernst Niekisch or Karl Otto Paetel were alive today, they would counsel National Bolshevists to follow the example of the Indian Maoists and, in the words of Churchill, 'Keep buggering on' - despite the notion that the collapse of the Soviet empire, and the backsliding of China into capitalism, disproves Marxism.

So how do we implement National Bolshevism in the context of (Far Right nationalist) political group? The first thing to do is to change one's propaganda line. Here are a few suggestions.

For starters, a nationalist group can reach out to the Left - towards a particular socialist nation, that is, and not to any particular Trotskyite or Maoist group - by putting a 'Hands off Cuba' or 'Hands off North Korea' icon on the sidebar of one's site. (The really novel thing to do would be for a nationalist group to organise a sight-seeing trip to North Korea and then write an article on it once one gets back to Australia - 'North Korea: Positive Aspects'. If Holocaust Revisionists like Dr Fred Toeben and Dr Robert Faurrison can attend conferences in Tehran, why can't nationalists go to Pyongyang?).

The second thing is to downplay certain elements of Far Rightism: no obvious white nationalism / Whitakerism, WWII or Holocaust Revisionism, anti-Semitism, etc. in one's propaganda - these subjects can be brought up in face to face conversations, but can't be identified publicly with the organisation. Similarly, one's language can be cleaned up - Chinese aren't referred to as 'gooks', 'slants' and 'chinks, and perhaps one can use the old Soviet euphemisms for Jews - 'Zionists' and 'cosmopolitans'. It's all about how one wants to be perceived by other people at the start of one's interaction with them.

Nationalists can adapt their rhetoric in these face to face conversations with non-nationalists. One can alter the thrust of one's conversation, depending on whom one is talking to - a left-winger or a right-winger. To a left-winger, a nationalist can talk about anti-capitalism and the struggle for worker's rights and better conditions, and then slowly shift to the topic of Chinese economic, political, cultural and demographic expansionism (demographics can be left to last) and how openness to the importation of Chinese capital and labour undercuts Australian workers; then talk about how China has changed since 1978 after Deng Xiaoping and how it has deviated from Maoism; then finally, on to the Maoist concepts such as New Democracy and the national bourgeoisie and how they are to be applied in a present-day Australian context. For a right-winger, one has to make the same progression backwards: one condemns the Gina Rinehart comprador class (the comprador class is the section of the capitalist class which benefits economically through a relationship with the foreign imperialist power) and the Chinese capitalist expansion, and then sketch out the difference between the Rinehart comprador bourgeois and the 'patriotic' national bourgeoisie, and how a real worker's revolution here in Australia would overthrow one and then the other.

This strategy has some real merits, which I will go on to argue for in a moment. But the question may be asked: to what extent do should a group publicly identify itself with National Bolshevism? Should it call itself a National Bolshevist party, like Limonov's group in Russia? Should it adopt the 'Nazbol' symbol? I would answer in the negative, because of the risk of sectarianism - that is, alienating the working-classes and the masses from the cause and isolating itself from them. This alienation and isolation comes about when a communist group becomes too overtly radical, and hence frightening, and when it refuses to work with non-communist elements of the Left (and the general population) for a common cause (e.g., nuclear disarmament) because it considers itself to be ideologically pure and believes that it will be tainted by contact with non-communist groups. We know from our own activism that there is a sectarianism of the Far Right as well as the Far Left.

Another reason why any nationalist should hesitate before aligning themselves with the National Bolshevik movement as it is today (Limonov, et al.) simply for the reason that there's not much there. The author of the National People's Party website doesn't seem to have a grasp of Marxist-Leninism - he seems to be more an anti-bankster populist in the C.H. Douglas / Lyndon Larouche vein - and any half-decent Marxist-Leninist who encountered him would be able to tear his ideas to shreds. It's a matter of substance. What's needed are national intellectuals who can apply the ideas of Marx, Lenin, to the Australian revolutionary situation (or lack of it) and to a certain extent simplify the ideas for the Australian patriotic working man.

On top of this, the National Bolshevist groups - Strasserist and non-Strasserist - go out of their way to criticise Hitler, National Socialism and the NSDAP and, on that topic, sound like liberals. I don’t know why they do this: perhaps they are under the mistaken assumption that they will get a free pass from liberals and the Left. At any rate, any of this criticism is sectarian and tends to alienate the traditional Far Right base. (It’s not that Hitler and National Socialism can’t be criticised; it’s that the self-professed National Bolsheviks are trying to make a political point through that criticism. There are plenty of people one can criticise from that era - Churchill, Roosevelt, De Gaulle, Stalin, Chiang Kai-shek - why Hitler? It’s because the National Bolsheviks are desperate not to be seen as run-of-the-mill ‘Neo-Nazis’, which is fine, but antagonising the Far Right base is not the way to do it).

My proposed Australian National Bolshevism avoids such a quandary by downplaying WWII, Holocaust Revisionism, Jew-baiting, etc., and it must be admitted that these topics don’t have much relevance to the Australian revolutionary and national struggle today (as a cursory examination of Hitler and the NSDAP’s texts will reveal).

A nationalist ought to get involved in trade union struggles as part of a National Bolshevik strategy. But this presents a danger to nationalists and it is one that is often encountered by the radical Left.

Australia has a large social democratic party (the Australian Labor Party) and trade union movement, and while the latter is declining, it is still a powerful force, politically, to be reckoned with. Communists have long sought to infiltrate the union movement world wide, build power bases there, and steer it towards strikes and other manifestations (as they see them of) class struggle leading up to class war and thence revolution. The trouble is that they can get absorbed by the trade union struggle and swallowed by it whole; they end up losing their identity as communist activists and getting dissolved. This is opportunism and has always been a big problem for communists. No doubt nationalists adopting a National Bolshevism will face the same problem and be unprepared for it more than the communists, given their inexperience with working inside mass organisations. The nationalists in the trade union must always keep in mind the three struggles: the trade union struggle (trade unionist), class struggle (socialist) and national struggle (nationalist).

The flip side of opportunism is sectarianism, and again, one has to be careful not to be sectarian. National Bolshevism is an eccentric, unusual doctrine and I know from personal experience how alienating such doctrines can be. I was part of a nationalist group which was gradually infiltrated by a National-Anarchist tendency. I was told, by the National-Anarchist in the group, that the National-Anarchist mixture of ‘left’ and ‘right’ symbols (similar to the Nazbol symbols) was good in that it ‘confused the Left’, who would be unable to identify National-Anarchism as being on the Left or Right, and, furthermore, would be perturbed by an erstwhile Far Right nationalist group’s appropriations of their symbols. (Obviously, this strategy of the National-Anarchists, and the term National-Anarchism itself, was inspired by the National Bolshevist formations). In practice, however, the National-Anarchists weren’t very convincing anarchists and didn’t seem to know what they were talking about on the topic of anarchism; it would have been impossible for them to successfully infiltrate, for example, an anarchist gathering and convince the attendees that they were dyed-in-the-wool anarchists. (A really clever, Machiavellian stunt would have been for Troy Southgate, the founder of National-Anarchism, to publicly renounce Far Right nationalism and ‘racism’ altogether and then attempt to pass himself off as a bona-fide, born again conventional anarchist and libertarian communist. He could have used his newfound position as an anarchist penitent to sow racialist ideas in the Left. But that would have required a discipline and long-term dedication that he didn’t have). The National-Anarchists didn’t make any inroads with the anarchist Left and, over time, ended up isolating themselves from the Far Right nationalist base, which they depend upon still for support (despite, at the same time, disparaging it). There is a lesson there, should they care to learn it, for the National Bolsheviks, Freie Nationalisten and any other Far Right groups which seek to introduce and apply left-wing ideas to the Far Right.

So what are the advantages of National Bolshevism? Let's look at this from a perspective most Far Right nationalists will find unusual - the perspective of someone from the radical Left who may wish to form a Red-Brown alliance. As we have seen, this was one of the strategies of the communist Left back in Germany in the 1920s and 1930s. National Bolshevist rhetoric was used, especially by the KPD (German Communist Party), as a means of converting National Socialists to communism. We today in Australia don't find ourselves in a similar situation as the National Socialists and Communists in the early 1930s, of course. Today's Left is weak and fragmented, despite appearances to the contrary, and isn't the slightest bit interested in recruiting Neo-Nazis, neofascists, Far Rightists, right-wing nationalists or in changing their minds, simply because it doesn't see any political advantage in doing so. In the early 1930s, things were different; the NSDAP were stealing millions of working-class votes from the communists. All the same, the Far Right in the West is growing and should be categorised as a 'live' movement, whereas the Far Left is imploding (and has been in decline for at least thirty years) and should be categorised as dying if not dead. A really smart communist would use National Bolshevism in order to appeal to the Far Right and to nationalists.

So what are the benefits? The first is that any appeals to nationalism will make the Far Left cause more attractive. Most of the communist revolutions in the 20th century were national-communist - nationalism of some sort played a role - and often racialist. (We can look at Vietnamese communism, for example; Vietnamese communism was nationalist and anti-Chinese). The Western Left in the 20th century shot itself in the foot by abandoning nationalism. As Gilad Atzmon says, the Left has become deracinated, anti-nationalist and fragmented; its ideological world-view encourages us to see ourselves as atomised individuals with no race or history or nation.

Related to this is that the Far Left has become sectarian and ultra-left, and as a result, has only isolated itself from the working-classes (who tend more often than not to be conservative). The communists have always been for left-liberalism, of course; there has never been a time when they held to a socially conservative line. But in the 21st century they've gone overboard. No real working-class Australian, no blue-collar trade unionist, will have anything to do with the Trotskyite communists in this country simply because they recognise today's Trotskyite groups for what they are - homosexual and lesbian social clubs. The Left will always berate the workers for their racism and homophobia and argue that the fault lies in the workers and that the workers need to be lead away from their natural 'reactionary' beliefs. But there comes a time when one must stop trying to push further and further to the left and for more and more radical social change - to slow down and work with what one has instead of trying to continually adjust it. This is where National Bolshevism comes in. It can slam on the brakes. The Left will be adjusted and adapted to mainstream Australia instead of the other way around.

Another benefit for the Left (and this comes back to recruitment) is that National Bolshevism can get members of the Far Right thinking about anti-capitalism, socialism and Marxism. Most nationalists and Far Rightists are sympathetic to anti-capitalism; the Slovak nationalist platform, for example, calls for social justice (the Slovaks are inspired by the fascist and national-socialist Czech priest and wartime collaborator with the Germans, Father Tiso). A cunning leftist will be able to capitalise upon this. The Trotskyite Victor Serge recounts a speech given by a German communist to an NSDAP audience in 1923:

The three public debates between Fascist speakers and our comrade Hermann Remmele  – at Stuttgart on 2 and 10 August and at Göppingen on 16 August – have, like Radek’s articles, gone right around reactionary Germany, which is on a civil war footing.

Let’s look through the little pamphlet containing Remmele’s speeches to the South German Fascists, and we’ll be looking at what idiots – or dishonest politicians – are calling National Bolshevism. ‘You’re fighting Jewish finance’, says Remmele to the Fascists, ‘Good! But also fight the other finance, that of Thyssen, Krupp, Stinnes, Klöckner and so on!’, and he makes these anti-Semites applaud the class struggle. ‘You are fighting the workers because your masters, the big capitalists, want to divide and rule, want to divide you people from the ruined proletarianised middle classes, from us proletarians!’, and he gets these reactionaries to applaud the united front of all the exploited. ‘Are you patriots?’, he asks, and he shows how big German industry is linked in many profitable deals with French capital, selling it its manufacturing secrets, like the Baden aniline trust, preparing the way for the colonisation of Germany, and getting rich from the falling value of the mark. ‘Which of you wants to get killed for capitalist Germany?’, and he gets the whole hall to shout out: ‘None of us!’
In its positive part, his line of argument is simple:
Hungry Germany cannot be free without first shaking the yoke of its national capitalism.
The Treaty of Versailles cannot be cancelled until there is no longer a capitalist Germany.
One people has already shown you how to liberate yourselves: look at the example of the internationalist Soviets!
Together we are between 16 and 18 million proletarians whose wages have fallen by at least four-fifths; and between nine and 11 million small business people who have been ruined. They used to tell you that Communism would take everything away from you: it’s capitalism which has taken everything away from you. The proletariat will liberate you by liberating itself.

I have spoken here of the advantages of National Bolshevism for the Left; now I will list some of the advantages for the Right. The first is that the Marxist-Leninist component will give the Far Right a little more weight and solidity. Much of the Far Right racialist and nationalist ideology doesn't add up to much if you scratch the surface. The white nationalist and Whitakerite discourse is all about identity - 'Who am I? - and how one's identity as a white person is thrown into sharp relief when it is contrasted against the behaviour of non-whites, and in particular, one non-white race - the African race. The denizens of Birmingham, Port-au-Prince, Detroit and Soweto are very non-white indeed and any white person (whether they be from Portugal or Ireland) becomes very aware of his whiteness once he comes into contact with them. It's only in these extreme situations that slogans and phrases such as 'white power' and 'pro-white' have any concrete meaning. Otherwise, one descends into abstraction. As of the time of writing, we are faced with the inability of two very white, subracial groups - the Ukrainians and the Russians - to come to an agreement as to the status of Crimea. What's the 'pro-white' thing to do?

The counterpart of the white nationalist and Whitakerite ideology in the US is the left-wing campaign against ‘white supremacy’ and ‘white skin privilege’ (a term invented by an American Maoist intellectual). See here for a typical example. The Left in Australia allege that the Aboriginals are oppressed by the descendants of the European ‘invaders’ of 1788, but hardly anyone takes this sort of thing seriously. ‘White supremacist’ and ‘white skin privilege’ talk really hasn’t taken root here, mainly because Australia was never what America and South Africa were - segregated societies in which whites lived among a large, potentially hostile population of black people. White nationalism and Whitakerism doesn’t have a place here, whereas some form of national Marxism does.

Another of the advantages of National Bolshevism is that it could potentially broaden the base of the nationalist movement. Partially this is because Marxism is much more respectable than anti-Semitism, Holocaust denial, white nationalism / Whitakerism, neofascism; it is, in fact, part of the liberal establishment. Today's Australian communists are not the persecuted communists of the 1950s, forced to live semi-underground and in danger of being banned. They are allowed to flourish and work in the open. Marxist-Leninism is, paradoxically, today conservative. As such, a Marxist-Leninist veneer can give nationalists camouflage. So long as the nationalist activist is able to walk the walk and talk the talk, and gives the impression of really knowing his socialism (and not of being a faker, like the Nationalist-Anarchist), he can find fresh fields for nationalism; he can branch out and reach to the intelligentsia, the trade unionists, the students. Doors which have been traditionally been closed to the Far Right will open.

One can argue, contra to this, that National Bolshevism will only serve to alienate people, seeing as most Australians (presumably) don't want to live in a North Korea or a Cuba and don't vote for the communists who do bother to run in elections. I think that one has to distinguish between alienation and polarisation. National-Anarchists simply turned droves of people off, that is, it alienated them (which is a bad thing) when it intended to split them down the middle, that is, polarise them (which is a good thing). Bolshevism, in the beginning, was ultra-sectarian; that is, it relentlessly attacked and sought to distinguish itself from its competitors in the socialist movement. It split the Left down the middle and thereby made itself stronger. On top of that, it was not a mainstream, liberal-democratic and parliamentary movement; it positioned itself on the outside of liberal society. It refused to dissolve itself and become absorbed in mainstream political and trade union life. Nationalists can learn from the Bolshevik example. Radicalism and differentiation is a positive, and not a negative, and we know that any attempt by Australian nationalists to make nationalism 'respectable' and therefore appealing to a Liberal Party or mainstream conservative (i.e., Andrew Bolt) electorate has invariably led to failure. 'Mainstreaming' Australian nationalism has not raised its profile; rather, it has obscured it. What's more, it has encouraged dangerous delusions, among nationalists, that somehow the mainstream political parties will get Australia out of its current predicament.

The arguments I have made here can be applied to (what I call) the anti-China line. Chinese imperialism and expansionism serves better as a target for our propaganda than, say, Judaism, Illuminatism, Freemasonry or the American Negro (the obsession of the American Far Right) because it is visible, concrete and tangible. The Australian masses can see it and they understand it. China is not something abstract and it is not (in 2014) something in a far away land: it is right here, right now. What's more, it is not something that happened yesterday in other countries, like WWII and the Holocaust. The anti-China line efers to our present historical situation which is unique. China has never before been the imperialist, capitalist and expansionist power it is now and has never penetrated Australia demographically to the extent that it has now.

The anti-China line and National Bolshevism, then, are an improvement on the old Australian nationalist rhetoric. One of the defects of the nationalist anti-immigrant propaganda of the 1980s was that it continually referred to Asian immigration - i.e., that it used the term 'Asian', which is an abstract, anthropological immigration. It's always better, in propaganda, to use concrete terms. E.g., it's far more efficacious to refer to immigrants from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka as 'Indian' even if they don't hail from India. (As a slogan, 'We are against immigration from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka' is rather a mouthful; as for 'We are against immigration from the Sub-Continent', that's a little too anthropological and geographic - one doesn't want to get into a debate as to where and what 'The Sub-Continent' is). The same goes for immigration from Asia. Most of the Asian immigrants into Australia in the past ten years have come from South Korea, the Philippines, Vietnam and China - the Chinese making up the bulk. Australian nationalists are opposed to all such Asian immigration, of course and want all these immigrants (along with the Indian, Muslim and African immigrants) to be returned to their homelands. But they will find it far more advantageous to make the immigrants from China the main target of their propaganda. For one, 'Chinese' evokes a particular racial and ethnic type; 'China' evokes a nation which most Westerners have a dim view of (Colin Liddell remarks that most in the West see China as a 'totalitarian sweatshop'). Australians can be made to understand, quite easily, the links between Chinese demographic expansionism and Chinese cultural, economic, and political expansionism. In other words, the racial element of Chinese immigration can be linked to the political element, i.e., Chinese immigration as serving the purposes of expanding Beijing's political power.

The Australian mainstream is not (despite what some on the Far Right may think) completely oblivious to the Chinese takeover. Certain of the intelligentsia, the trade union movement, the media, academia and even the political class are discomforted by China's expansion into Australia and the South Pacific. The politically-conscious Australian knows, straight away, what you are talking about when you bring up the topic - he won't understand what the devil you're talking about if you bring up the subject of Masonry, Zionism, Illuminatism. Which is why the anti-China line can help the Far Right reach out to segments of the Australian population which have generally proven indifferent to Australian nationalism.

This is where National Bolshevism comes in. China has its hooks in Australia through the importation of capital and labour and through trade. One can speak of an embedding of China in Australia. 'White power' ideology doesn't provide us with the conceptual tools to explain all this and combat it, whereas Marxism-Leninism - and in particular, the Maoist rhetoric of national liberation - does. 'Comprador bourgeoisie' - this is a useful concept. So are the Marxist concepts of class struggle help illustrate that it is the Australian worker who stands to lose the most out of Chinese expansionism (whereas the Rineharts will do well).

No comments:

Post a Comment