Writing in the 1960s, Peter Berger (a Jewish refugee and 'peace activist' from Austria) became involved in a Leftist demo in the United States. He said that
"observing radicals in action, I was repeatedly reminded of the storm troopers that marched through my childhood in Europe".
It wasn’t just these Leftist marches that reminded him of the Nazis, he also said that Leftism (in the 1960s) formed a "constellation that strikingly resembles the common core of Italian and German fascism".
And even in terms of argumentation and rhetoric, the red and brown fascists seemed to merge into one another. Berger wrote:
"There is a near identity between the arguments of [Leftists]…. And Mussolini’s polemics for action against theory, against program."
The Nazi Brown Shirts and the Italian fascist squadristi (of the 1920s and early 1930s) were a bunch of street thugs who liked nothing better than a scrap. They also liked terrorising what they called the ‘bourgeoisie’ by breaking their windows and beating them up. Large chunks of the Left did similar things in the 1960s and 1970s.
Take the Weathermen.
The Weathermen had their own ‘Days of Rage’; which were on par with what Brown Shirts did in the 1920s and early 1930s.
When the Weathermen violently disrupted the 1968 Democratic National Convention their motto was: "Enough talk, more action!"
A man named Mark Rudd (part of the Students for a Democratic Society [SDS] at Columbia University) also talked about “direct action” and “raising consciousness”.
Mark Rudd was more honest about violence and riots than, say, the Socialist Workers Party is today (after all, this was the revolutionary 1960s). For example, how do you radicalise youth? Rudd said that in order to "revolutionise youth", there must have "a series of sharp and dangerous conflicts, life and death conflicts".
"Don’t vote… join us in the streets of America… Build a National Liberation Front for America."
You see, terrorism is just as much a tool of the Revolution as anti-racism, demos and loud-hailers. So it shouldn’t be a surprise to learn that from September 1969 to May 1970, the aforementioned Rudd (of the SDS) and his co-progressives committed 250 terrorist attacks. That amounted to one bomb every day! In one summer of 1970 there were 20 bombings a week in California alone.
Now take the police, whom a large number of Leftists hate and often want to hurt. (The British Socialist Workers Party sees the police as "an arm of the state".) Rudd said:
"It’s a wonderful feeling to hit a pig. It must be a really wonderful feeling to kill a pig or blow up a building."
Another mate of Rudd, Ted Gold, said that Leftists must "turn New York into Saigon". Now was this out of sympathy for the Vietnamese (or the Vietcong) or simply because the thought of an almighty scrap turned him on? Perhaps it was both. Rudd himself was even more honest when he said:
"You fucking liberals don’t understand what the scene’s about. It’s about power and disruption. The more blood the better."
Britain's own squadristi, Unite Against Fascism (UAF), is also always talks about ‘action’ (or 'mobilisation'). As Mark Rudd said, "organising is just another word for going slow".
You wonder why students and Leftists love Che Guevara so much. Is it really his politics or the fact that his face makes a saccharine and hip t-shirt?
For a start, Che appeared to be more in love with violence than Revolution. Or was it the case that Revolution was the best way to guarantee him violence and action?
Guevara often wrote about “the enemy”. Guevara himself said that
"hatred as an element of struggle; unbending hatred for the enemy, which pushes a human being beyond his natural limitations, making him into an effective, violent, selective and cold-blooded killing machine".
It's also been said that Guevara loved executing the Revolution’s prisoners. For example, while Doing the Revolution in Guatemala, he wrote this to his mother:
"It was all a lot of fun, what with the bombs, speeches and other distractions to break the monotony I was living in."
More powerfully, Guevara's actual motto was: "If in doubt, kill him."
Che Guevara killed so many people in his revolutionary career that Humberto Fontova said that he was "a combination of Beria [the Stalinist sadist] and Himmler".
Of course Guevara killed far fewer people than Stalin. That's simply because Stalin ran a massive state and empire and therefore had far more political power than Guevara. So God knows how many people Guevara would have killed had he had as much power as Stalin. (The same can be said about Trotsky, etc.)
The Black Panthers
The Black Panthers were violent, anti-Semitic, misogynist, racist, militaristic, etc. Yet white middle-class students - and many others in the US and UK - have always been titillated by them.
This inverted-racist tradition goes back a long time. It shows itself in the love of black violence and the hatred of - and opposition to - “white violence”. As the white philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre put it:
"To shoot down a European is to kill two birds with one stone, to destroy an oppressor and the man he oppresses at the same time."
Malcolm X famously told his fellow blacks to employ "any means necessary" to destroy the “white oppressor”.
What about the Black Panther militarism (resurrected by Public Enemy in the 1980s)? The Black Panthers wore black shirts which included pseudo-fascistic or military ranks and titles. This was, of course, mainly play-acting and peacocking because if the Black Panthers had ever been a real and independent military force, the U.S. military would have destroyed them overnight.
However, because the Black Panthers couldn’t have a conventional war, they settled for robbing banks, killing ‘pigs’ and ‘honkies’, kidnapping judges and children and calling for a separate black state.
Not only was there this Black Panthers fetish for violence, the movement explicitly grew out of fascism.
Marcus Garvey, for example, was the founder of the Back to Africa movement in the first decades of the 20th century. In 1922 he wrote: "We were the first fascists."
Large sections of the Left also adored the Congolese nationalist Patrice Lumumba simply because he was against the U.S. and represented the “black cause”. He was essentially a fascist and a killer.... though a black one! Thus the Left and the United Nations loved him.
This love of what may be called the black exotic (like the love of the brown exotic Muslim today) took on absurd and silly proportions. You often got white middle-class Leftists falling in love with all things black and sometimes even pretending to be black. In the America of the 1960s, for example, you had a white middle-class guy (John Gregory Jacobs) saying:
"We’re against everything that’s 'good and decent' in honky America."
The New Left of this period sincerely believed, and stated, that every white person was born with "skin privilege" – and thus innately (or racially) oppressive and evil. This was pure racism, of course. Though racism against whites is fine and dandy because Marxist theory says so.
This obscene guilt-ridden glorification - thus condescension - of all things black was often worse than that. One Weatherman claimed that "all white babies are pigs". There’s more. When a Weatherwoman saw a ‘honky’ breast-feeing her baby, she yelled: "You have no right to have that pig male baby." Then this psychotic Weatherwoman advised the white woman to "put [the baby] in the garbage".
Everyone knows that the German National Socialists (Nazis) glorified irrationalism and had a profound political commitment to violence. So now we've seen how these two positions began to be replicated (by International Socialists) from the 1960s onwards.
Both InterNazis and Nazis have also believed in - and used - terrorism to advance their various political ends. It may be no surprise, then, that many (or even most) radical Leftist groups (from SWP-UAF to Respect) have supported terrorism. Nowadays that's mainly in the form of Islamic terrorism; though, in the past, it was in the form of the PLO and various Maoist/Leftist terrorist groups. (National Socialists/fascists also supported various terrorist groups in the period from the 1960s to the 1980s.)
Consequently, the most dangerous mistake a person can make is to associate violence and genocidal Leftism exclusively with Stalinism, Maoism and the Khmer Rouge. It's clear that most of the things which characterised Stalinism – particularly - also characterise contemporary Trotskyist and other “progressive” movements. Indeed, in certain respects, even more so!
|Cambodian victims of the Leftist Khmer Rouge.|
Note) Some of the factual detail for this piece (specifically about the situation in the United States) was discovered in Jonah Goldberg's book Liberal Fascism.