Sunday, August 12, 2007

From the blog Dissecting Leftism: Who said it?

"Why should the German be interested in the liberation of the Jew, if the Jew is not interested in the liberation of the German?... We recognize in Judaism, therefore, a general anti-social element of the present time... In the final analysis, the emancipation of the Jews is the emancipation of mankind from Judaism.... Indeed, in North America, the practical domination of Judaism over the Christian world has achieved as its unambiguous and normal expression that the preaching of the Gospel itself and the Christian ministry have become articles of trade... Money is the jealous god of Israel, in face of which no other god may exist".

Who said that? Hitler? No. It was Karl Marx. See also here and here and here.The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialistisch) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party".


At 12:41 PM EDT, Blogger bob said...

My first reaction is to disagree with the idea that Nazism is Leftism rather than Rightism. Just because it dressed itself in "anti-capitalist" clothes, it was right-wing in practice in every way. There was minimal socialisation of the economy; in general big business was un-touched. Trade unionists and socialists were the Nazis' first victims.

But on second thoughts, in what sense does it matter, as (one theme of your blog, I guess) isn't it time we abandoned the politics of "left" and "right" and the empty posturing they encourage?

At 8:09 PM EDT, Blogger The Contentious Centrist said...

I'm afraid 'Left' today means "Far Left" for which I have a list of nicknames: Ultra left, Indecent Left, Rococo Left (if I want to be kind), etc. The Left that includes Jewish intellectuals and those who are not Jewish but are favourably inclined towards the prosperous existance of Israel are not really "allowed" into the current Left. The "Right" is decided by the Far Left to be "neo-con". That carries a multitude of sins of prejudices within it which I shall not go into.

For a while, the quote under my blog's name read as the following:

"Capitulation to dogma over the spirit of open inquiry leads to the very catastrophes of totalitarianism that the unconscious proponents of dogmatism most fear--thus we have the book-burners of both left and right joined in common cause." It was a written by former friend, a poet of some insight into the darkness of the human heart and the ability to articulate it poignantly.

It's interesting that to some extent you sensed my intention even though it no longer adorns my blog. It's not that the terms Right and Left are no longer valid. It's that they are just indistinguishable from each other. Pat Buchanan is hugged by "Lefties", leftists find common cause with such a fascistic organization as Hizzbala, to name but two examples. Is there a line there to draw? I think not. My hope lies with the Eustonians of this world. They are the only ones left who genuinely understand and care about universal human rights.

At 6:31 AM EDT, Blogger bob said...

"Rococo Left" - I like that!

I agree with your basic point - the convergence between (at least part of) the far left and the far right, the domination of the left by (this part of) the far left, the need to escape this.

I guess the question is, to escape it by reclaiming left politics (as with Euston) or abandoning the left (as with Hitchens). On a bad day I'm with Hitchens, but on most days
I'm with Euston.

(Having said that, when I was a hardcore Marxist, I rejected the term left as being a petty bourgeois metropolitan elitist form of authoritarianism...)

At 8:54 AM EDT, Blogger The Contentious Centrist said...

Bob: There is very little water between Euston and Hitch. From where I'm standing, except that most Eustonians are much kinder in the way they talk about Israel. I say "most" and not all after I've had the doubtful pleasure of reading more recently how David Hirsh speaks of Israel ("A brutal regime of racist domination" or something like it). I think he is a signatory of Euston.

Maybe you can explain that to me?

PS: the term "Rococo Left" was minted by a friend of mine, a brilliant Turkish fellow whose personal history is extremely interesting. I may tell you about it sometime but not publicly. For a reason you will understand when you know it.

At 10:53 AM EDT, Blogger bob said...

The water between Hitch and Euston is surely precisely the choice of whether to re-claim the term left (Euston explicitly places itself within the left) or abandon it (Hitch explicitly says he has left it).

In specific issues, there are areas where Hitch is more "left" than Euston and vice versa, but, as you say, the exact positions are pretty close.

At 4:35 PM EDT, Anonymous The New Centrist said...

"I guess the question is, to escape it by reclaiming left politics (as with Euston) or abandoning the left (as with Hitchens). On a bad day I'm with Hitchens, but on most days
I'm with Euston."

As others have argued, Euston is broader and deeper than the left. Euston, IMHO, is about bringing anti-totalitarian democrats together. That includes democratic socialists, liberals, centrists and even the ever reviled neocons.

That's why folks like Ron Radosh (someone who has clearly "left the left") and Michael Leeden (never a leftist, to the best of my knowledge) signed the American Euston Statement aka New American Liberalism:


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