Category Archives: Nazism

Fascism – an ideology a la mode

If there is no indisputable definition of fascism there are anyhow specific characterizations of the phenomenon. The basic one, at the same time the most despicable, is lack of empathy for other human beings (outside a closed circle). Among fascists, the reasons for living are instead Race, Honor, War, Blut und Boden and equivalent concepts. (Empathy is something that a fascist occasionally may feel for animals.)

In line with these characteristics it follows that fascists see as deadly enemies all democratic movements in favor of equality and solidarity, such as labor movements and other associations engaging ordinary human beings. Fascists embrace mainly people and things that are strictly theirs in some sense, such as their ego, their family, their clan, their nation.

Fascism started, and is responsible for, the Second World War. It’s equally true, but nowadays repressed, that the Soviet Union carried by far the heaviest burden to defeat the worst and strongest of the monstrous fascist war machines. Soviet was then considered by many to be a workers’ state, and workers’ unions thus gained a strong position in most of Europe the years after the war.

This period have been called a Golden Age in industrialized countries. Economies flourished with high growth; income distribution was fairly equal (very much so by today’s standards), welfare measures were carried through and ordinary working families could acquire a comfortable life. Fascists were practically non-existent during these optimistic years (we had a few hibernating Nazis in Sweden, but they were commonly regarded as complete dimwits).

The backlash came in the late 1970s, when the capitalist class finally managed to regain political and ideological hegemony by using its economic power. In the name of neoliberalism, they could enable a strong reaction against wage workers’ acquired rights. Pitched as globalism, the new march backwards became international. One instrument of this redistribution of production results to the very rich was deregulation of the financial markets, resulting in repeated financial crashes hitting poor people the hardest.

With this capitalist reaction the groundwork for resurrection of fascism was laid. We had been through it once before in near history and should have learned, but those in real power doesn’t want us to learn. They obviously prefer fascism before progressive development that really deals with people’s grievances. The right wing paves the way for right wing extremism. Their most important objective is to keep progressives away from power.

A more polite term for right-wing extremism is populism, and both have kinship with fascism. The connections are illustrated in a recent article in New York Times dealing with the ideological preferences in the head of Stephen K. Bannon, the chief strategist in the most powerful administration in the world. He is said to be influenced by, or at least open to, the world of Julius Evola, an extreme traditionalist that inspired Mussolini and now is openly hailed by Alt-right leaders.

Evola himself broke with the Italian Fascists “because he considered them overly tame and corrupted by compromise. Instead he preferred the Nazi SS officers, seeing in them something closer to a mythic ideal. They also shared his anti-Semitism.” (Evola is called an influential “thinker” which is an odd epithet for a man who conspicuously prefer feeling ahead of thinking.)

Evola was Anti everything enlightened, rational, modern, liberal, progressive and humanitarian one can think of. An American scholar has described his ideal order to be based on “hierarchy, caste, monarchy, race, myth, religion and ritual”. This points a straight way back to the heart of medieval darkness. A way that Stephen K. Bannon, on the face of it, at least not entirely abstain from recommending.

All while our media are outraged by silly scandals, alleged leaks, fake news (including their own) and above all: The Russians. There is something rotten in the state of affairs, but it’s more dire than the headlines in our newspapers suggest.

The lukewarm war, threatening to become hot

One can’t stop wondering about the deep irrationality and inconsistency that the human species is capable of. I had a friend once who was very emotional and loved his children beyond everything. If they had died, he probably would have lost all reason for living himself. At the same time, he was a raving right-wing apologist, warmongering fiercely against our standard enemies. Never did he connect the two discrepancies and realize that his sons could be among those killed in the war he acted as to facilitate.

And this man is just one among millions deceived in the same way. We are all prone to swallow even the most stupid propaganda and conjure up hatred against “enemies” who for some reason are considered suitable. Today the number one of these enemies is Russia. And that’s nothing new.

Through the centuries Russia has endured constant pressure from western powers, and numerous attempts by them to conquer the vast Eurasian land. Not that Russia ever has posed a significant threat westwards; it obviously must be conquered just because it exists (like mountaineers say about the next mountain top).

In the beginning of the 18th century Sweden’s king Charles XII was one who tried but was stopped already in Ukraine by Петр Великий. Charles ruined his country through endless wars, which he carried through mainly because that kind of life pleased him. The positive side of his catastrophic adventures was that Sweden became forever cured from all dreams of being a permanent great power in Europe. (Instead we eventually turned into a role model in peaceful achievements.)

We know the other attempts to conquer Russia in wars of aggression: France under Napoleon, Germany in WWI and Western powers in the civil war following the revolution. When Germany again in WWII steamrolled its war machine eastwards it was at least with a declared motive, stated in Generalplan Ost. According to the plan, more than half the population in occupied East were to be exterminated or deported, the remaining to be used as slave labor in the service of the Nazi empire. Executing the plan started without delay, and 14 million civilians were murdered by SS and their accomplices before the killers were stopped.

Lack of aggression, comparatively speaking, on the part of Russia against other countries can hardly be attributed to moral superiority, rather to military weakness. Occasionally they have tried, for instance when they occupied Manchuria in 1900, where they were punched in the nose by the Japanese.

During the first Cold War (which we now experience over again) the Soviet Union was pictured by us as the main aggressive power, threatening the whole world. And yes, they performed some horrible atrocities in eastern Europe such as in East Germany 1953 (55 killed), in Hungary 1956 (3 000 killed) and in Czechoslovakia 1968 (72 killed). We have these crimes in vivid memory, frequently reminded by our propaganda outlets.

The Soviets engaged in one major military operation during the post-war period – the war in Afghanistan. It may have been as close to R2P one can get, since the objective was to help the Afghan government, probably the best government that country has ever had. Nevertheless, the Russians simply proved that war mostly lead to disaster. US was provoked to create the Mujahidin to fight the Russians, the government was overthrown and ultimately the Taliban arrived at the scene. In the end the Soviet system collapsed.

For being the giant threat to the world one must say that Soviet Union was rather modest compared to the western world, led by USA. In almost perpetual wars – one more illegal and immoral than the other – millions and millions of people have been killed, mostly innocent civilians. That is something we more rarely are reminded of.

(To be continued…)

Racial mathematics: 50 percent is more than 50 percent.

It’s regarded as self evident that Barack Obama is “the first black president in US history”. Sometimes it looks as if his adversaries think he should be content with that, and put up with the rather derogatory treatment they often have bestowed him with (as they at the same time have been tainting the very presidency).

But it’s something murky with the racial labels in the first place. As far as I know, Barack Obama is conceived by an American (“white”) mother and an African (“black”) father. With the mathematics I have learned he hence is 50 percent “white” and 50 percent “black”, in other words just as much “white” as he is “black”. Still everyone always calls him “black”, without a hint of hesitation, much less of discussion. That kind of thinking has obscure roots. (The term “African-American” is not a rescue here, since it’s synonymous with “black”, according to Wikipedia.)

Germany harbored some 80-90 years ago the very champions of racial thinking. In their world Aryans constituted the highest and purest race, the perfection of human development. If an Aryan intermingled with someone of an “inferior” race it was seen as a contamination of the more precious lineage. So, if one of these heroes fathered a child with a Jewish woman, the offspring became a half-Jew, not a half-Aryan. The Jewish “pollution” determined the taxonomy.

The same fishy thinking seems to underlie western parlance on race. Someone with three “white” grandparents and one “black”, and with dark enough skin, can’t call himself “white”, I suppose. And the mystery is why this embarrassing paradox isn’t discussed more (or at all) in public media. We seem to have inherited the thinking of primitive folks we otherwise wouldn’t touch with a barge-pole.

The US obsession with ethnicity is in general puzzling for many Europeans, experienced already in the paperwork necessary for traveling to the US. That’s not to say that racism and xenophobia is less common and rampant in Europe than elsewhere, but the manifestations are certainly different. (We all have a lot of cognitive therapy to do on this aberration).

Apart from the dubious grounds for racial categorizations of human beings mentioned above there are fundamental blows to racism served by modern molecular genetics. For one thing there are very small systematic differences in the genetic material between different “races”, smaller than incidental differences between individuals of the same “race”. Varying skin colors, eye shapes etc. accounts for minor genetic variations. (That’s why I’ve put “white” and “black” between quotation marks above.)

Consequently there may be characteristic diversities of appearances in different parts of the world; of course also varying cultural, religious and other habits, but no other “race” than the human race.

My collected reader’s comments to NYT articles

Follows a collection of commentaries I’ve made in the New York Times Reader’s Comments section on different articles (mostly for me keeping track of them myself). They’ll be accessible as long as NYT keeps the links alive, I suppose.

31 January 2015. A comment on the vaccine debate that followed the recent outbreak of measles in U.S.:

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/31/us/as-measles-spreads-in-us-so-does-anxiety.html?comments#permid=13989276
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25 March 2015. On signs of increasing poverty albeit growing wealth in the society (Sweden) as a whole:

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/25/opinion/how-poor-are-the-poor.html?comments#permid=14521337
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30 March 2015. On the horrific number of deaths in China during the Mao era, which we constantly are reminded of, compared to the even larger mortality caused by capitalism in India – which we very seldom hear of:

http://sinosphere.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/03/30/cambodian-historians-call-for-china-to-confront-its-own-past/?comments#permid=14562852:14581199
-.-.-.-

3 April 2015. Another complete imbalance in our fields of interest: our laser-like scrutiny of terrorism carried out by others, compared to the forbearance with our own, much graver and deadlier terrorist activities:

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/03/world/africa/garissa-university-college-shooting-in-kenya.html?comments#permid=14598017:14604023
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9 May 2015. This article appeared simultaneously in NYT and Dagens Nyheter (Sweden), not surprisingly. It’s that kind of text our propaganda model loves: a Russian author who more or less regrets that his country defeated Nazi Germany in WWII. He just thinks that one oppression was replaces by another, obviously unaware of the Nazi’s Generalplan Ost which aimed at exterminating most people in Russia and enslaving the rest. This was not some high-flying Nazi plan or empty threat, it was implemented from day one of the German invasion. The existence of the special Sonderkommando with the explicit task to exterminate Jews, Communists and other unwanted humans was the terrible evidence of that reality.

One could have hoped that NYT and DN had been kind enough to save the poor ignorant (or just propagandistic) author from his embarrassment, but the temptation to publish his sentimental excesses was maybe to overwhelming. As some Readers’ Comments point out, the article was also a slap in the face on Putin and Russia, on the very day, sacred for Russians, of commemorating the death of 27 million people which Russia had to sacrifice to defeat the most atrocious and inhuman ideology in all history: Nazism.

An interesting difference: Dagens Nyheter didn’t open its comment section on this article, as opposed to New York Times. This is one reflection on the difference in effective freedom of expression which is taken much more seriously in the U.S. than in Europe. My comment, like some other critical ones, was listed as “NYT Pick” by the editor, another sign of openness for critique. But on the other hand: the propaganda gain was taken home by the printed article. (I suppose that the reader’s comments are mostly read by the commentators themselves.)

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/09/opinion/mikhail-shishkin-how-russians-lost-the-war.html?comments#permid=14915384
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11 May 2015. A comment on one of Paul Krugman’s many enlightened columns in NYT.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/11/opinion/paul-krugman-wall-street-vampires.html#permid=14932711
-.-.-

17 May 2015. An article on the prospects for western economy after the last collapse, with discussions about singularities, neglecting the overall picture.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/17/upshot/dont-be-so-sure-the-economy-will-return-to-normal.html?comments#permid=14975427

“Mortality among the opposition” in Ukraine “is high”!

The murder of Boris Nemtsov right outside the Kremlin walls in Moscow was rightfully a very well covered story in Swedish media. Dagens Nyheter reported extensively and continuously for weeks, culminating during the large manifestations in connection with the funeral.

DN didn’t make too much effort to prevent readers from believing that Vladimir Putin had something to do with the killing. In a key editorial the paper declared that Putin’s name forever would be tied to this murder, even if any hard evidence for his involvement never may appear.

One should perhaps expect that DN’s moral outrage had something to do with the abomination of political assassinations as such, but not so, evidently. The important thing was neither the victim nor the principle; it just had to do with the alleged perpetrator, or at best, the immoral atmosphere created by the dictatorial leadership in Russia.

Evidence to that came with the political assassinations in Ukraine, not one but ten (so far), some of them possibly disguised as suicides. Among the victims are former prominent politicians in the opposition against the Kiev government: three PMs, a governor, a prosecutor, a police chief, a mayor, a journalist etc. In seven of the cases the police quickly stated that the deaths were suicides (even one where the victim was shot in the head – from behind).

It took some months for DN to even notice these deaths of unwanted political figures at all, in sharp contrast to the Nemtsov case. If there hadn’t been so many alternative media today covering the events, DN had most likely chosen to forget them altogether. But now they had to make some noise.

As to indicate its low interest DN didn’t appoint any of their own reporters to the job but just copy/pasted a short text from the news agency TT (as much biased as the rest of the media). The first sentence reads: “Mortality among the opposition to the new government in Ukraine is extremely high” (a jaunty remark, of course unthinkable in the case of the Nemtsov murder). Ukraine’s president is quoted as saying that it’s all “a deliberate action which plays into the hands of our enemies”, obviously pointing at Russia.

A foreign policy analyst in the Swedish Defense Research Institute just follows up on Poroshenko by referring to Ukrainian experts, “speculating that Russia lies behind the murders, aiming at destabilizing the situation in Ukraine before a possible upcoming military offensive in the east…” What the “expert” should have done to earn his salary would have been a plausibility test on that claim. It’s true that the Nemtsov murder had a destabilizing effect in that it deepened the critical attention on the already vilified Russian leadership. But there is no equivalence to that in the Ukrainian case.

The very idea that Russia would send agents to Ukraine to murder their own friends there, just to discredit the Ukrainian Nazis, is indeed far-fetched beyond the improbable. These Nazis have already discredited themselves to the extreme by killing innocent fellow citizens in Donbas, in the most unscrupulous and cruel way, without western media reacting significantly. Russia knew, as well as everybody else with eyes and a brain, that this apparent western cover-up would not change a bit by a few more Nazi murders.

Another Swedish “expert” prefers the suicide hypothesis, according to TT. The victims were namely facing criminal charges of different kinds, probably politically motivated in accordance with recent Ukrainian principles. This expert thus thinks that sane people, threatened with prison sentences, would desire to kill themselves instead of simply move to Russia with their families, where they would have been taken well care of. It seems as if the brains of these experts stop functioning normally as soon as the issues involve Russia. They are civil servants, paid by the public, engaged in what amounts to outright political propaganda, not research.

Not that I’m surprised. Nor disillusioned. I had no illusions to start with.

The Soviet Union – mainly Russia – defeated the Nazis

It’s a token of our superior western propaganda model that Russia’s role in WWII now is more or less marginalized in our media, and increasingly in people’s minds. That is: Russia’s positive role is diminished. For the rest of it the red hoards are put on rather equal terms with Nazi Germany, first of all by pointing at the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, leading to the Soviet occupation of eastern Poland and the Baltic states.

In this remolding of history the realpolitik of the 1930s is conveniently obscured. Among other things the main geopolitical goal for the Nazis, which was to conquer the land of the Slavs and make the entire Slavic region a service area for the Aryans in the future Germania. For that you didn’t have to read (the unreadable) Mein Kampf, it was reiterated in numerous speeches and texts by the Nazi leaders. So every sober observer realized that the pact between Soviet and Germany was just a tactical move and only temporary.

To understand Russia’s motives in that game is not really hard. The western countries, formerly great colonial powers, had declared war on Germany but were completely impotent militarily. They had been reluctant to form alliances with the Soviet Union who stood alone before the coming attack by the German war machine, the most impressive in history up till then. When the strike hit and an alliance could be formed, Russia still had to fight more than 200 elite German divisions for three years before the other members of the alliance were able to do at least some noticeable military effort against (significantly smaller) German units. (In the much hyped battles in North Africa Germany had three [3] divisions engaged.)

Immediately after the war everyone, Churchill, Eisenhower and the rest, admitted the obvious: Russia had overwhelmingly taken the blow and was the main victor. In Europe it was also a widespread feeling that the ordinary working people were the frontrunners. Soviet Union was still considered some kind of workers’ state (an illusion, at that time yet to be disclosed), and the partisans fighting the Nazis in many countries filled their ranks with ordinary citizens, many of them communists, anarchists or social democrats. In Greece, Yugoslavia and Italy the partisans played a crucial role in defeating the Nazis and liberating their countries.

In Sweden the labor movements, mainly the Trade Unions and the Social Democrats, came out strong after the war, captured the political leadership for many years to come and began building a solid welfare state. Hard to believe today is that a serious discussion of transforming Sweden into a centrally planned economy indeed took place. Business leaders realized that real democratic forces had been strengthened by the outcome of the war, and were compelled to make important concessions to at least avoid that. An era of consensus and compromise was solidified, lasting some 40 years, until neoliberalism started to wear down both those gains and a number of others.

To deprive Russia the honor of being the main victor in defeating the horrible and despicable Nazi regime in Germany is sickening in its stupidity (though Hillary Clinton claiming that USA defeated the Nazis is just ordinary and expected ignorance). And to do so as part of propaganda efforts regarding the situation in Ukraine is merely demagogic. As John Mearsheimer (and many others) thoroughly have demonstrated, the crisis in Ukraine has been meticulously prepared by the West for 25 years and, according to Victoria Nuland, with §5 billion invested. That these so called democratic countries then let pure neo-Nazis take the lead in the violent overthrow of an elected president is just simply shameful.

Sweden has a particular role in this process through a man named Carl Bildt, at times Prime Minster and Foreign Minister during this period. He has contributed greatly to undermine Russian security by working for the western area of influence moving closer, and sometimes up to, the Russian border. He will claim that he has been promoting “democracy”, but it’s easy to show that he in numerous cases has preferred highly undemocratic regimes, so far that they secure western superiority, which is his de facto main interest.
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These days it would be appropriate for us to celebrate the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany which laid the ground for truly democratic progress in many parts of the world. Russia itself eventually were to reform its authoritarian system 25 years later, only to undergo total break-down caused by capitalist “reforms” which killed 10 million people, a Harmagedon which a man named Putin started to raise his country from some 15 years ago. Since Russia has made progress with Putin at the helm, we obviously think that we have to intervene to stop him in any possible way. That’s us!

The second victim of war

The second victim of war seems to be the ability to think clearly.

“Putin is waging a war in Ukraine” wrote one journalist in our most mainstream paper recently, as if it was just self-evident. The combination of deep demagogy and shallow thinking we experience in our “enlightened” countries today will stun future historians. Not even the rebels started any war. They armed themselves in self-defense, but didn’t harm anyone. The war of aggression was launched by the Ukrainian leaders when they chose to meet their Russian speaking fellow countrymen’s grievances with deadly violence.

When the People’s Republics in eastern Ukraine were proclaimed Putin was from the very beginning hesitant to engage more actively with open support. That this stance has been upheld is clearly to show that the leaders in Russia are using their brains; thus concluding that there was nothing but problems for Russia to be gained from this uproar. Meanwhile we in the west avoided thinking, maintaining that Putin was about to invade Ukraine, an incredibly cretinous fantasy considering that such a step immediately would have engaged NATO’s entire military force which is some 15 times stronger than Russia’s. For us to believe such a thing Putin not only has to be stupid, he also has to be suicidal.

It could be claimed that a state has the right to use violence against armed insurgents, even domestic ones. Yes, but that’s in the first place why the Ukrainian leaders are the ones who’s waging a war. And secondly it’s a completely senseless way of trying to solve the real problems, unless the goal is to carry out total ethnic cleansing, driving everyone in the southeastern area out of the country, which of course is impossible.

Another consequence of war is obviously a hazardous shortsightedness. Ukrainians in the western and eastern parts of the country will have to live together in the future to come. For every day that passes the violence and the dead bodies on both sides will increase the hatred and thus aggravate the obstacles for a functioning agreement. The only solutions can come from negotiations, something that Putin has been pushing for tirelessly, others not.

Media in Sweden is almost unanimously propagandistic in favor of the attacking Ukrainian forces, spearheaded by neo-Nazis. No moral judgments are expressed about this so called militia’s ruthless killing of innocent civilians. No qualms are uttered whatsoever about the violent methods the Ukrainian leaders have chosen when met by understandable grievances from people in the southeast, which saw a government in Kiev formed after a coup and under supervision by US diplomats. The fact that this government included some neo-Nazi members and started by passing a law suppressing the Russian language hardly makes it inconceivable that the pro-Russian citizens in the southeast began to fear for their security and their possibilities to form their own lives.

The way our media palliates the Nazi connection is quite remarkable. Right now I happen to read Antony Beevor’s 1000-page book on World War II, published in 2012. In his view the Ukrainians were the ones most willing to help the German Nazis to liquidate Jews. He particularly mentions a method of extermination which he attributes to the Ukrainian Nazis. They simply locked people up in a house and sat it on fire. Those who tried to escape were killed. This shows an eerie resemblance with the horrible Odessa murders recently, where the same method was used.

Antisemitism has a long tradition in Ukraine, as has Nazi influences. The Nazi collaborator Stepan Bandera is still honored by large groups wearing swastika-like symbols. One obvious reason for anti-Russian sentiments may have been Stalin’s horrible atrocities against the kulaks, costing more than three million lives. Beevor also mentions propaganda spread by Kremlin blaming the Jews for Ukraine’s hardship. The roots being whatever they are, in today’s Ukraine Nazism should be harshly condemned by democratic nations. In Anglo-Saxon (and Swedish) MSM this whole embarrassment is met with almost complete silence. To get a somewhat balanced approach to the Ukrainian issue these days, one has to look for a German newspaper (or The Nation, for instance).