In my previous post, I gave a grossly simplified picture of how communists operate. I said that the main objective of the communists in Hitler's time was to win over the working classes, who, in communist theory, were the most revolutionary of all the classes and were amongst those who suffered the most from the inequities of capitalism. The impression I gave - and the impression Hitler gives in Mein Kampf - is that the communists spent a lot of time exhorting, persuading and haranguing the working classes in mass meetings in the street or in smoky taverns and the like. The truth is, however, that they don't now go about it this way, and haven't done so for a while.
Perhaps one of the reasons why they don't manoeuvre in this manner is because they know, were they to put their ideas plainly and frankly to the working class, that they'd lose - almost every time. Just imagine a debate between a communist speaker and a nationalist in an auditorium filled to the brim with the type of Aussie 'bogans' - working class types - who attend Patriot / Reclaim Australia rallies. The communist would inveigh against the evils of capitalism, and attempt to win the working lads and women over to communism; the nationalist, on the other hand, would sell Far Right nationalism, perhaps even some variant of neofascism or white nationalism. It would be an interesting sight, watching the communist straining his rhetorical muscles and using all his intellectual power to win over converts to Trotskyism or Maoism or Stalinism or whatnot; but we can say in advance that he'd lose. Hitler once said that the German workers truly want socialism, just not socialism of the international - i.e., Soviet - type. The same could be said of Australian workers...
Communists then, knowing this, are inclined to try a different tack and go about their job in a more roundabout way. In his classic work, The Organizational Weapon: A Study of Bolshevik Strategy and Tactics (1952), Philip Selznick writes:
[The communist] use of “unity” tactics and of peripheral organizations is based on the assumption that leaders of mass organizations [i.e., the British Labour Party] and those who mold public opinion [i.e., intellectuals] are susceptible to manipulation. Through such activity, oriented to elites, the communists seek to gain access to the major sources of power in the society. In general, the direct relation of the communists to the masses comes only after considerable preparatory work among the “natural” leaders of workers, farmers, and middle-class groups. (Chapter 8, 'Problems of Counter-Offence')
In the Bolshevism of the early days - Lenin's times - communists were to look at such 'petit bourgeois' 'elites' as enemies; now they are to look them as potential friends:
Such intervening elites, standing between the communists and the masses, have always been regarded as the “main enemy” in bolshevik political strategy. Although this basic perspective has not changed, latter-day communism has adopted amore flexible and sophisticated approach to the “petty-bourgeois” leaders and publicists. Lenin stressed the need for a frontal attack upon these elites to isolate them from the masses. In this, however, he displayed too much faith in the potentialities of open communist agitation; his successors have relied more on deception, using the techniques he himself developed. This has required an attempt to gauge the differential vulnerability and potential utility of elite members for the movement, instead of writing them off as simple collaborators and defenders of the “class enemy.” (Ibid)
That's how, as I've written before, the British communist movement gained almost complete control of the British Labour Party: instead of appealing to the working class Britons who would ordinarily vote for Labour, they went straight to the political institution which (supposedly) represents those workers and took it over. In Selznick's book, the communist appears, not as an orator who stands on top of tables in smoky taverns, haranguing the workers (the image Hitler used in Mein Kampf) but as a giant, amorphous organism - a blob - which extends itself and probes every nook and cranny in an institution, every interstice, with the intent of exerting control.
British communists are not satisfied with installing the aged Marxist Jeremy Corbyn as leader: some holdouts - liberal socialist types - still exist in the party, which must, in the communist view, be turned into a 'party of the new type', i.e., a communist party, or to use communist weasel-words, one more responsive to the British people's need for 'social justice' and one that encourages 'participatory democracy'. To this end, communists set up a front group - a support group for Corbyn, called Momentum - as a means of giving communists an entry point into the party.
You'd think - given the irrelevance and powerlessness of the non-communist section of the Labour Party (which failed to oust Corbyn as leader) - that it would be all smooth sailing for the communists. Unfortunately, British communism doesn't consist of one 'vanguard' party - the monolithic Communist Party of Great Britain performed that function in the old days of the Soviet Union - but dozens. All sorts of sects and microparties have, since Corbyn and Momentum, emerged from the woodwork, and each of them wants their piece of the pie. We are now treated to the unedifying spectacle of several parties and groups - including AWL (Alliance for Worker's Liberty), Left Unity, Worker's Power, the Independent Socialist Network, the Communist Party of Great Britain (Provisional Central Committee) and a host of others - battling for power. This has been taking place not only in meeting halls but on Facebook and Twitter. They are fighting each other - and, incidentally, the hapless, naive non-communist liberals who wandered into Momentum thinking that its objective was to further the welfare of their communities.
The whole affair reminds me of a wrestling match, and it's one I enjoy hugely. Amusingly enough, some communist groups are so despised by the others that they seem to have been barred from participating in Momentum: these include the large and powerful, and obnoxious, Trotskyite sect the Socialist Worker's Party (SWP) and the Socialist Party of England and Wales (SPEW), which is descended from the Militant Tendency, which, as you may know, heavily infiltrated the British Labour Party in the eighties before being expelled.
Above the fray floats Corbyn, serene and untouched, a man who has been a member of the Labour Party for thirty years and a lifelong communist and admirer of the Soviet Union; Corbyn never made the mistake of commiting himself to a particular communist sect or party - he remained a 'lone wolf' communist his entire life. His non-sectarianism, and his deep cover entryism, are now paying off.
In an interesting article, the Jewish journalist Nick Cohen makes much of the ideological differences between the various actors struggling for power within the Labour Party:
To understand the collapse of the Labour party just at the moment we needed it most, you must understand the history of the far left. Stalinist communists used to hate and murder Trotskyists. By contrast, at least some Trotskyists could give the impression that they were against mass murder in the name of the revolution. These differences are less pronounced than they once were. But it is a measure of the morally and politically disastrous position Labour is in that these old battles, once of interest only to left-wing historians, have contemporary force.
Corbyn and much of the trade union leadership are the Stalinists’ fellow travellers. Corbyn wrote regularly for the communist daily the Morning Star, and still praises it today. His chief spin doctor Seumas Milne regrets the fall of the Soviet Union. The ‘Stop the War’ coalition Corbyn chaired has replaced support for the Soviet Union with support for Putin, as indeed has Milne. John Rees, Stop the War’s national officer, says that he is against ‘regime change’ in Syria. For good measure, the ‘anti-imperialist’ backed Russia’s annexation of Crimea, describing it as the ‘Russian state defending its interests’.
Most pertinent for our story is Andrew Murray, of the Communist Party of Britain, who was once parliamentary lobby correspondent for the Soviet state-owned Novosti news agency. He is now Len McCluskey’s chief of staff at Unite, and yet another Stop the War apparatchik. As luck would have it, he is also the father of that apparent enemy of the ‘hard left’ Laura Murray. No less a figure than Jeremy Corbyn hired her as a Labour party adviser.
The Alliance for Workers Liberty is, by contrast, resolutely anti-Stalinist. Its origins lie in Trotskyism. Shachtmanite Trotskyism if you want to be picky about it, named after Max Shactman, a mercurial American activist, who could at least see Stalin’s terror for what it was, and eventually gave up on Marxism. I will say this for the AWL, amid its totalitarian theory and regimented thinking, it has a record of honourable opposition to modern dictatorships, and has not joined the rest of the far left in supporting any secular or clerical variant of fascism as long as it is anti-Western. Naturally, the heirs to the Stalinists of the 20th century hate it.
Go through the article by the supposedly innocent Laura Murray and you see the ghouls of the past, shaking off the graveyard soil, and stalking the present. She objects to the ‘extreme Trotskyist politics’ of the AWL, in language that a Stalinist from the 1930s would instantly recognise. The supposed moderate damns them for their ‘uncritical support for Israel’ – by which she means that it does not want to abolish the ‘Zionist entity’ and drive the Jews into exile – and its ‘fanatical support for the European Union’ – by which she means that the AWL doesn’t see the EU as a capitalist club, as any supporter of Corbyn must.
Fascinating stuff, and this relates back to my earlier article on left-wing anti-Semitism. But Selznick - also a Jew - would regard these doctrinal differences as by and large irrelevant. He believed that once you let any Leninist - philo-Semitic or anti-Semitic or Semitic-neutral - into your organisation, your goose was cooked.
In his chapter, 'Problems of Counter-Offence', Selznick offers a comprehensive and subtle strategy for beating back communist infiltrators in academia, trade unions, political parties and other institutions which are frequently targeted by communists for penetration. In my view, the non-communist elements of the Labour Party should follow Selznick's recommendations; they could end up de-Marxifying the party and making themselves electable again.
Now, you may ask, is the British Labour Party worth saving? British nationalists would answer 'No'. They despise the Labour government of 1997-2010 for bringing millions of non-white immigrants - Indians, Chinese, Africans, Muslims - into the country. The men and women running the government at the time - Blair, Mandelson, Brown, Harman - were not, so far as I can ascertain, card-carrying communists; they were liberal socialists who hated the British working class and wanted to replace them. It's these 'Blairites' who now form the nucleus of the anti-Corbyn opposition within the party. What British nationalist would want to see them succeed?
The Corbyn and Momentum saga is important because it gives us a real-life political case study which serves to illustrate how communism works; Selznick's theses have been validated by it. And Selznick's observations pertain to, I think, nationalism. We on the Far Right are now being subject to manipulation by forces outside of us. Selznick defines the organisational weapon in his 'Introduction':
We shall speak of organizations and organizational practices as weapons when they are used by a power-seeking elite in a manner unrestrained by the constitutional order of the arena within which the contest takes place. In this usage, “weapon” is not meant to denote any political tool, but one torn from its normal context and unacceptable to the community as a legitimate mode of action. Thus the partisan practices used in an election campaign—insofar as they adhere to the written and unwritten rules of the contest—are not weapons in this sense. On the other hand, when members who join an organization in apparent good faith are in fact the agents of an outside elite, then routine affiliation becomes infiltration.
Organizational weapons exploit a source of power that is latent in every group enterprise. This is the capacity of almost any routine activity to be manipulated for personal or political advantage.
Selznick goes on to give some concrete descriptions of how an organisational weapon may be put to use. The essential thing is that it applies to us: Little Vladimir Putin, and the Kremlin, have put together an organisational weapon to subvert, manipulate, infiltrate nationalists and Far Right organisations such the National Democratic Party of Germany (NPD), Greece's Golden Dawn, France's Front National, Italy's Forza Nuova and others. Putin has done this not only to the Far Right but to the Far Left as well - and also to tendencies in between (such as libertarianism).