vendredi 8 décembre 2017

National Bolshevism and the Extreme Right

National Bolshevism and the Extreme Right 

Response to a Political Science Student in the Context of a Thesis

Robert Steuckers (May 1988)

What are the relations between “National Bolshevism” and the “extreme right?” Does the latter have the same social program as the revolutionary parties?

A difficult question which requires returning to all the classic literature in this domain: Sauermann, Kabermann, Dupeux, Jean-Pierre Faye, Renata Fritsch-Bournazel, etc. In summary, we can say that the rapprochement between nationalists (militarists and conservatives) and the German Communist Party in 1923, rests on the context and the following historical facts: 

1) Germany was defeated and had to pay enormous reparations to France. Its economy was weakened, it lost its colonies, it didn’t have room to dump its population overflow or surplus industrial production, it was not self sufficient in the alimentary scheme (the loss of Posen, rich in grain, to the benefit of the new Polish state), its social and industrial structures were undermined.

2) The communist USSR was outcast among nations, boycotted by the Anglo-Saxons. It had trouble settling down after the civil war between the Whites and the Reds. 

3) Through an alliance between Germans and Soviets, the Reich could find external markets and sources of raw materials (Siberia, Ukrainian grain, Caucasian oil, etc) and the USSR could have a stockpile of finished industrial products at its disposal. 

4) In order to prop up this alliance, which would be endorsed at Rapallo in 1922 by the ministers Rathenau and Chicherin, it was necessary to soften the ideological differences between the two states. For the Germans, that meant deconstructing the anti-communist ideology which could be roused in Germany in order to ruin the achievements of Rapallo. Communism must be made acceptable in the German media. For the Soviets, the Germans would become victims of Western capitalist rapacity and French militarism. 

5) The conservative circles around Arthur Moeller van den Bruck elaborated the following theory: Russia and Prussia were unbeatable when they were allies (as in 1813 against Napoleon). Under Bismarck, the tacit accord which united the Germans and Russians granted peace to Europe. Germany remained neutral during the Crimean War (but still showed sympathies for Russia). Thus the Germano-Russian alliance should be an untouchable axiom of German policy. So the change of ideology in Russia should not change anything about this principle. Russia remained an unassailable territorial mass and an immense reserve of raw materials from which Germany could benefit. Moeller van den Bruck was the translator of Dostoevsky and drew the principal arguments of his pragmatic Russophilia from “A Writer’s Diary” by his favorite author. To understand the mechanics of the Germano-Russian alliance, and consequently, the rapprochement between “Bolsheviks” and “nationalists,” implies understanding Dostoevsky’s arguments in “A Writer’s Diary.” 

6) On the communist side, Karl Radek engaged in talks with the diplomatic corps of the Reich and with the army (invited to train in Russia; cf. the military work of General Hans von Seeckt; in order to understand the Soviet point of view, cf. the work of the English historian Carr). 

7) The Franco-Belgian occupation of the Ruhr prevented the industry of the Rhine from fully serving the Reich, and thus in turn the USSR, whose only serious ally was the Reich, despite its momentary weaknesses. The communists, numerous in this region and well organized, henceforth participated in strikes and boycotts against France. Lieutenant Schlageter, who organized sabotage with explosives and attacks, was arrested, condemned to death, and shot by the French: he was a hero of the nationalists and communists in the Ruhr and throughout Germany (cf. the homages that Radek, Moeller van den Bruck, and Heidegger made to him). 

8) The Germans and the Russians intended to raise up the dominated peoples in the French and English colonies against their oppressors. In the framework of “National Bolshevism,” one sees support for the Arabs, Indians, and Chinese develop. The anti-colonialist ideology also gave birth to a certain anti-racism (notwithstanding the glorification of Germanity in conservative and nationalist ranks). 

9) Another factor in the Germano-Soviet rapprochement: Poland which the Germans and Russians deemed to be instrumentalized by France against Berlin and Moscow. In fact, in 1921, when the Polish invaded the USSR following the Soviet attack, they were commanded by French generals and armed by France. In the 1920s and 30s, France co-financed the enormous military budget of Poland (nearly 37% of the GNP). 

10) The axiomatic ideal of a Germano-Russian alliance reached its apogee in the clauses of the German – Soviet Pact of August 1939. They would be made null and void in June 1941, when Hitler’s armies invaded the Soviet Union.

11) In the new iterations of “National Bolshevism,” after 1945, many factors need to be taken into account: 

a) The refusal of the anti-Soviet logic of the Americans during the Cold War and especially after Reagan’s accession to the presidency following the November 1980 presidential elections. This refusal culminated in the pacifist wave in Germany (1980 – 1985), where they opposed nuclear war on European soil. It was also the era where the principal ideologues of National Bolshevism were rediscovered, commented upon, and re-edited (for example Ernst Niekisch). 

b) Restoration of one form or another of Germano-Soviet (in Germany) or Euro-Soviet alliance (elsewhere, notably in Belgium with Jean Thiriart). 

c) Creation of a Eurasian space as an ersatz geopolitics of internationalism (proletarian or otherwise).

d) Demonstration of a preference for martial ideologies against mercantile ideologies, spread by Americanism. 

e) The search for an alternative to Western liberalism and Sovietism (deemed too rigid: “panzercommunism,” “state capitalism,” the rule of apparatchiks, etc.) 

f) The search for this alternative lead to the remembrance of dialogues between the “extreme right” and the “extreme left” before 1914 in France. From this viewpoint, the works of Cercle Proudhon in 1911 where the Maurrasian nationalists and the Sorelian socialists compared their points of view, in order to fight against a “swamp” of parliamentary politics, incapable of quickly solving the problems of French society. 

g) This “neo-National Bolshevism” retained an anti-colonial or anti-neo-colonial preference from the 20s and 30s, leading the majority of national-revolutionary or national-Bolshevik circles to champion of the cause of the Palestinians, Gaddafi, Iran, etc. and share the cult of personalities like Che with the leftists. Likewise, they supported ethnic guerrillas in Europe (IRA, Basques, Corsicans, etc).
The question of the social program is complex, but we must not forget the context. The German bourgeoisie was ruined, it no longer had immediate interests and could accept extreme social claims. The mark was worthless, inflation reached unbounded proportions. Between 1924 and 1929, when German society seemed to stabilize, the divides reappeared but were swept away again by the Crash of 1929. Don’t forget that Germany, unlike other Western states, had established an optimal system of social security, with the contribution of the social democrats, who had been involved with political power since Ferdinand Lassalle (leader of the social democrats at the end of the 19th century). Thus in Germany the notion of social justice was more widespread than in the West. The left and the right both dreamed of restoring the functioning of the Wilhelmine social system. The majority of debates oscillated between redistribution of wealth (from the nationalists to the social democrats) and the expropriation of private property (the ultra of the communist left).

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