Antifa and the suicide of nations 2

Those innumerable politicians, historians, journalists, television pundits and other opinion-dealers who allowed the Left to get away with the claim that fascism is the opposite of communism – despite their knowing better – made a devastating mistake. Because of it, new generations learning that fascism is bad logically assume that ergo communism is good

Communism and fascism are collectivist and aim to be totalitarian. Communism is fascist.

What is not fascist is freedom. Only freedom. Freedom includes the free market, which communists prefer to call capitalism, to them a pejorative term.

Soeren Kern writes at Gatestone:

In the United States, Antifa’s ideology, tactics and goals, far from being novel, are borrowed almost entirely from Antifa groups in Europe, where so-called anti-fascist groups, in one form or another, have been active, almost without interruption, for a century.

Antifa can be described as a transnational insurgency movement that endeavors, often with extreme violence, to subvert liberal democracy, with the aim of replacing global capitalism with [global] communism. Antifa’s stated long-term objective, both in America and abroad, is to establish a communist world order. In the United States, Antifa’s immediate aim is to bring about the demise of the Trump administration. …

A common tactic used by Antifa in the United States and Europe is to employ extreme violence and destruction of public and private property to goad the police into a reaction, which then “proves” Antifa’s claim that the government is “fascist”. …

Germany’s BfV domestic intelligence agency, in a special report on left-wing extremism, noted:

Antifa’s fight against right-wing extremists is a smokescreen. The real goal remains the “bourgeois-democratic state”, which, in the reading of left-wing extremists, accepts and promotes “fascism” as a possible form of rule and therefore does not fight it sufficiently. Ultimately, it is argued, “fascism” is rooted in the social and political structures of “capitalism”. Accordingly, left-wing extremists, in their “antifascist” activities, focus above all on the elimination of the “capitalist system”.

… In an essay, What Antifa and the Original Fascists Have In Common, Antony Mueller, a German professor of economics who currently teaches in Brazil, described how Antifa’s militant anti-capitalism masquerading as anti-fascism reveals its own fascism:

After the left has pocketed the concept of liberalism and turned the word into the opposite of its original meaning, the Antifa-movement uses a false terminology to hide its true agenda. While calling themselves “antifascist”  and declaring fascism the enemy, the Antifa itself is a foremost fascist movement. The members of Antifa are not opponents to fascism but themselves its genuine representatives. Communism, Socialism and Fascism are united by the common band of anti-capitalism and anti-liberalism. The Antifa movement is a fascist movement. The enemy of this movement is not fascism but liberty, peace and prosperity.

The modern Antifa movement derives its name from a group called Antifaschistische Aktion, founded in May 1932 by Stalinist leaders of the Communist Party of Germany. The group was established to fight fascists, a term the party used to describe all of the other pro-capitalist political parties in Germany. The primary objective of Antifaschistische Aktion was to abolish capitalism, according to a detailed history of the group. …

During the post-war period, Germany’s Antifa movement reappeared in various manifestations, including the radical student protest movement of the 1960s, and the leftist insurgency groups that were active throughout the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s.

The Red Army Faction (RAF), also known as the Baader-Meinhof Gang, was a Marxist urban guerrilla group that carried out assassinations, bombings and kidnappings aimed at bringing revolution to West Germany, which the group characterized as a fascist holdover of the Nazi era. Over the course of three decades, the RAF murdered more than 30 people and injured over 200.

After the collapse of the communist government in East Germany in 1989-90, it was discovered that the RAF had been given training, shelter, and supplies by the Stasi, the secret police of the former communist regime.

It was “discovered” much earlier than that. My book, Hitler’s Children: the Story of the Baader-Meinhof Terrorist Gang*, first published in 1977, reveals that fact.

John Philip Jenkins, Distinguished Professor of History at Baylor University, described the group’s tactics, which are similar to those used by Antifa today:

The goal of their terrorist campaign was to trigger an aggressive response from the government, which group members believed would spark a broader revolutionary movement.

RAF founder Ulrike Meinhof explained the relationship between violent left-wing extremism and the police: “The guy in uniform is a pig, not a human being. That means we don’t have to talk to him and it is wrong to talk to these people at all. And of course, you can shoot.”

Antifa and the RAF shared the same aim – Marxist totalitarianism. Ulrike Meinhof’s daughter, the journalist Bettina Röhl, sees “the modern Antifa” as “a continuation of the Red Army Faction”. She thinks “the main difference is that, unlike the RAF, Antifa’s members are afraid to reveal their identities”. But there are more important differences than that. The RAF never became a mass movement as Antifa has become. They were a small group – only a few dozen active members – and they used terrorist tactics: kidnapping and murdering individuals as “representatives” of the state or the “military-industrial complex” or capitalism; and putting time-bombs in department stores, a newspaper’s offices, a police station. Antifa (as Bettina Röhl rightly points out) threatens violence and attacks against politicians and police officers. But the movement has not (as yet) kidnapped or killed any of them. On the other hand, its riots have rocked a nation, while the RAF never managed to lead a riot though they would no doubt have liked to.

In sum, the RAF was more lethal than Antifa, but less politically effective.

Western governments are finding Antifa a major nuisance, a contributing cause of widespread civil unrest and what can even be called insurrection in America.

The Federal Republic of [West] Germany did not perceive the RAF as an insurrectionist threat. The government treated arrested leaders and members of the gang as the criminals they were. They were brought to trial, sentenced and imprisoned. The leaders committed suicide in prison – in such a manner as to indicate to their followers that they should claim they’d been  murdered. That, they hoped, would provide “proof” of the “fascist” nature of the state, and cause such an outcry that it would spark a revolution. But the country remained unmoved by the deaths except perhaps to heave a collective sigh of relief that the pests were gone.

Germany, now including the former Communist “Democratic Republic”, has changed since those days, and much for the worse. Its so-called “conservative” government is now well over on the Left, as are almost all the “conservative” parties of Europe.

Proof of its leftward drift is provided by Bettina Röhl, as Soeren Kern reports:

In a June 2020 essay published by the Swiss newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung, [Bettina] Röhl … drew attention to the fact that Antifa is not only officially tolerated, but is being paid by the German government to fight the far right:

The flourishing left-wing radicalism in the West, which brutally strikes at the opening of the European Central Bank headquarters in Frankfurt, at every G-20 summit or every year on May 1 in Berlin, has achieved the highest level of establishment in the state, not least thanks to the support by quite a few MPs from political parties, journalists and relevant experts.

MP Renate Künast (Greens) recently complained in the Bundestag that Antifa groups had not been adequately funded by the state in recent decades. She was concerned that “NGOs and Antifa groups do not [meaning should notalways have to struggle to raise money and can only conclude short-term employment contracts from year to year.”  There was applause for this from Alliance 90/The Greens, from the left and from SPD deputies.

What can it mean if a state pays a rebel movement to destroy it? That apparently is what the German government is doing, or has done, and is being urged by some elected political leaders to do again more generously. We learn that the “conservative” dominated Bundestag  – not just lunatic-fringe Green and Alliance 90 members, not just the socialist deputies – has been (however “inadequately”!), funding Antifa.  

Do the Germans want to commit national suicide? Is their government trying to get the deed done in such a manner as to inspire all the nations of the West to do it too?

On the face of it the idea seems preposterous, impossible, absurd.

But Germany has already brought in its replacement population from the Middle East, Africa, and the Far East. It finances Antifa. Where Germany goes, there goes the EU. What Europe does, Britain and Canada do too.

Will America alone resist the rising red revolution?

 

Jillian Becker   June 19, 2020

 

*Click on the ad for Hitler’s Children in our margin.

Nazis, Communists, and the Prince of Denmark 1

There has been a heated exchange of views in our comments sections on some of our recent posts dealing with Nazis, Communists, and other socialists, particularly on yesterday’s post, Tomorrow belongs to them, and the extract from Jillian Becker’s essay The Fun Revolutionaries, July 26, 2015 (posted in full under the title The Darkness of This World [Part Two], to be found under PAGES at the top of our margin). Today we post an article by Jillian Becker on the same subjects, with an explanation of how it came to be written.

*

A new production of Hamlet is being put on at the Barbican Theatre in London, starring the impressive actor, Benedict Cumberbatch. The director, Lyndsey Turner, sees generation rebellion as an important aspect of the story, and observes that the events of the play take place some 30 years after a war between Denmark and Norway (a war which Denmark won). The assistant-director, Sam Caird, wrote to me on June 8, on behalf of the director, asking me (as the author of Hitler’s Children) to come and speak to the company about generational rebellion in West Germany in the late 1960s, when the New Left movement protested against the parent generation of the Third Reich (which of course lost the Second World War). I felt honored by the invitation, but explained that I could not travel from America to speak to the company, much as I’d have liked to. Instead I promised them a paper on the subject. Here it is:

Generational Rebellion and its Effects in West Germany, 1967-1977

Most of the declared causes of the 1967-1968 student protest movement in West Germany were ideological. The protestors were for pacifism, and against authoritarianism, capitalism, militarism, nuclear arms, the re-armament of Germany, and – intimately associated with all that – “Amerika”. A more immediate cause, and the one they felt most strongly about, was university reform. They wanted more representation on the governing boards, and the dismissal of teachers who had been members of the Nazi party.

Immediately after the Second World War, the victorious Western allies had carried out a “denazification” campaign. It had worked well. Most West German voters became firm democrats. Their children grew up knowing what the Nazi regime had done, but its ideology was literally locked away from them. Hitler’s “Mein Kampf”, for instance, was inaccessible to post-war generations. One could look at it in a university library, but only if a professor certified that one needed it for approved research. With that sort of policy, the campaign went too far. All ideas should be critically examined.

Shame and guilt kept most parents from talking to their children about what they had done and thought in the years of the Third Reich. Nevertheless, as a generation, the parents were stigmatized in the eyes of their grown children. Those fathers who survived the war had their personal authority weakened by the Nazi police state, and fathers and mothers alike were demoralized by defeat and the revelation of the death camps. The student protestors held the crimes – though not the defeat – against the older generation in general. Some of the more radical activists proudly proclaimed that they were doing what their parents had failed to do: denounce and defy the Nazi regime. They disregarded the fact that they were doing it many years too late. They saw Nazism in all authority – in the schools, the universities, the Federal government, the states’ governments, the press, the commercial world, the military, the police, the banks, and “Amerika”.

Among the fiercest of the student rebels were children of liberal parents. Their sons and daughters accused them of not doing enough to compensate for their past, and of hypocrisy – preaching egalitarianism but living in luxury while others were poor.

In fact, almost nobody in West Germany was poor. All classes had worked extremely hard; and aided by the Marshall Plan, by which America provided vast sums for reconstruction, they had succeeded beyond all expectation in creating astonishing prosperity. It was called an “economic miracle”.

And the student rebels have been called the “the spoilt children of the economic miracle” – ungrateful for the freedom and plenty bestowed on them. They were well housed, well fed, well educated, supplied with all the goods the cornucopia of the West could pour on them. What did they have to complain of?

The answer they needed came from the New Left political philosopher, Herbert Marcuse. He asserted that the apparently free peoples of the West were oppressed by plenty and repressed by tolerance. They were hoodwinked into an illusion of contentment by material abundance and ample choice, while they were actually subject to the vicious tyranny of big business, the military-industrial complex, and “American imperialism”. The student protestors, he declared, were the “advanced consciousness of humanity”, whose mission it was to lead the revolution.

It may seem strange that of all West Europeans, these young Germans, with their country divided between a Communist east and a free west, should be so easily persuaded that New Left Communism was preferable to liberal democracy. Some of them were even refugees from Communism, their families having fled to the West before the Berlin wall was built. How could West Germans be unaware of the poverty, the privation, the bleakness and anxiety of life on the other side of the Wall? Why did the students so naively swallow the Soviet line that the Russian-led Warsaw Pact was all for peace, while American-led NATO was a war–monger? Why did they so furiously demand that the West destroy its nuclear bombs, but not Russia? How could they not know that in the USSR rebels against the system were routinely imprisoned, tortured, killed? If they did know, the knowledge had little or no effect on their passionately held opinions. They blamed America for the war in Vietnam, the wretchedness of the peasants in South America, the oppression of the Iranians, and inequality everywhere; but the USSR they exonerated, and even admired, no matter what it did. Why? Because they accepted the lie that Communism is the opposite of Nazism, rather than its twin, which it is.

A voice raised in support of the protestors was that of the journalist Ulrike Meinhof. She wrote for a leftist periodical, Konkret, owned by her husband. Her columns were ardently pacifist, anti-American and pro-Communist. Her foster-mother Renate Riemeck, who had fled from Communist East Germany, typified the attitude of liberal West Germans to Communism. She believed that “anti-Communism was the fundamental foolishness of the twentieth century”.

Through the early months of I967, the demos in the universities and on the streets grew ever bigger and more unruly, and clashes with the police ever more violent. The students hurled stones at the police and clubbed them with thick staves; the police charged and struck about them with their batons. (Only a very few of the marchers knew that Soviet agents had launched the movement. Not until the fall of the USSR did evidence emerge that it had funded the “peace movement” in Western Europe.)

On the 2nd June, 1967, there was a very large demonstration in West Berlin protesting a visit by the Shah of Iran, and in the midst of a skirmish a student was shot and killed by a police bullet.

For days and nights following the event there were meetings of student organizations for highly emotional discussions of what had happened and what should be done. There was general agreement that the shooting had proved them right – the fascist state was out to kill them. They must organize for resistance. They could only answer violence with violence. At one gathering, a young woman named Gudrun Ensslin shouted , “It’s the generation of Auschwitz – you cannot argue with them.”

Protest demos continued at intervals for another year. In February 1968, older citizens, including large numbers of trade union members, staged a massive counter-demo organized by the Berlin senate, to protest against the students’ revolt and “anarchy”. It was a rare public display of anger by the parent generation.

After the middle of 1968 the students’ movement faded. The majority of protestors were mollified by new university constitutions granting the students more say in the conduct of their affairs. But there were some who could not easily give up the heady excitement and return to normal life. And there were a few who did not find their way back at all.

In 1969 there were random bomb attacks on property, and though they harmed no people, they created an atmosphere of fear and insecurity. The official explanation was that those responsible were “isolated individuals and small militant groups on the fringes of the New Left”. But not everyone believed it. Rumors spread of an “underground resistance” being formed. Gudrun Ensslin, the woman who had shouted that the older generation could not be argued with, and her lover, Andreas Baader, had firebombed a store in Frankfurt in March 1968.

They had been sentenced to three years in prison. But as the “fascist” authorities were in fact lenient to a fault, they soon let them out again, pending an appeal. The arsonists absconded, helped by sympathetic members of their parents’ generation: lawyers, parsons, teachers, professors, doctors, journalists, artists. As soon as asked, they provided the fugitives with cars, money, and apartments. Later they excused their weakness by pleading for the terrorists that “their hearts were in the right place, their aim for peace was good, only their violent method was wrong”.

When Baader was re-arrested and returned to prison, after he had been on the run for nearly a year, Ulrike Meinhof helped him escape again. She sought permission for him to work in a public library with her, and the all-too-soft authorities granted it. While they sat together in a room barred to the public, three raiders shot their way past two armed policemen guarding the prisoner, and got him out through a window. Ulrike Meinhof fled with them.

In their reports of the drama, the media designated Baader and Meinhof as the leaders of the group. They called it the “Baader-Meinhof gang”. At the same time the group itself took the name “Red Army Faction”. Its members robbed banks, shot policemen, bombed public buildings, maimed, kidnapped, tortured and murdered until most of them were caught and brought to trial.

At every point of the story until that stage was reached, the authorities of the Federal Republic of West Germany, far from exhibiting fascist tendencies, acted with so much restraint that it often amounted to foolhardy indulgence – at least partly because they feared to be accused of “authoritarianism”. It was the terrorists who acted like fascists.

Their generation could be called “Hitler’s Children” simply because they were born in the Hitler period. But when applied to the terrorist rebels, the label means more than just a generational relationship. It implies a family resemblance between the Nazis and the New Left activists.

An incident in their history illustrates the similarity. On June 27, 1976, an Air France airbus, on its way from Tel Aviv to Paris, was hijacked by two Germans and two Arabs. The pilot was forced to fly the plane to Entebbe, in Uganda, which was then under the dictatorship of Idi Amin (a keen fan of Adolf Hitler). The Jews were separated from the rest of the passengers. In return for the lives and freedom of the Jewish hostages, the terrorists demanded the release of fifty-three prisoners, of whom forty were held in Israel and six in Germany.

Among the Jewish hostages there were some who had been in Hitler’s concentration camps. Yet again they found themselves being sorted out from others by Germans, to be victimized and possibly killed. Again they were ordered about at gunpoint, slapped and shouted at to move quickly: “Schnell!” One of the captives showed the Germans his arm with a number indelibly branded on it, and told them he had got it as a prisoner of the Nazis. He said he had supposed that a new and different generation had grown up in Germany, but with this experience he found it difficult to believe that the Nazi movement had died. One of the hijackers snapped back that this was something entirely different from Nazism; that he was a member of the Red Army Faction, and what they wanted was world Marxist revolution. But the man with the number on his arm and the other Jewish captives could not see a difference.

All but four of the Jewish hostages were rescued by Israeli commandos. Along with the Arab hijackers and 48 Ugandan soldiers, the Germans were shot dead.

Did the terrorists themselves really believe that their actions would inspire a general uprising in West Germany? Or were they just playing a very dangerous game? As they had no obvious cause of their own to justify their tactics, they have been called “the fun revolutionaries”. They themselves feared not being taken seriously, which is why some of them, including Meinhof, Baader and Ensslin, went to Jordan in June 1970, to join the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and undergo “urban guerrilla” training.

The PFLP is an Arab nationalist and Marxist group, founded by a Greek Orthodox doctor, George Habash, who believed that his fight for the Palestinian and Arab nationalist causes was a necessary part of world revolution. He and his men came to despise the German men as soft, inept – and unserious. Both sides disliked each other, though Meinhof said that the training was “much more fun than sitting at a desk with a typewriter”. After two months the Germans returned home.

It was with the PFLP that some members of the group later co-operated in the hijacking of the Air France plane to Entebbe. Three of the six German prisoners whose release was demanded were “Baader-Meinhof” members, but Andreas Baader himself was not on the list. And by that time Ulrike Meinhof was dead, having hanged herself a few weeks earlier. New terrorists joining the “armed struggle” were not sorry to be rid of them. And their former helpers in the general population had finally lost sympathy with them. Meinhof had been given up to the police by a teacher with whom she had sought asylum.

Ulrike Meinhof, Andreas Baader and Gudrun Ensslin all killed themselves in prison: Meinhof in May 1976, before the court had given its verdict at their trial; Baader and Ensslin in October 1977, after they were sentenced to “three times life plus fifteen years”.

Some members of the gang admitted when they were caught that they had joined because it was “so romantic to go underground and make revolution”. Meinhof might have come close to convincing herself that she was working effectively towards the transformation of the world, but she became ever more confused, to a point where she was rapidly losing her reason. Ensslin, volatile and truculent, and Baader, a doltish bully and natural delinquent, finally understood when the judges pronounced their sentences that what they had done would not be admired, or excused, or forgiven. The game was over.

Their last hope was for martyrdom. They tried to make their suicides look like murder by the “fascist” state. They fantasized that their deaths would enflame multitudes to rise and avenge them by making revolution at last. Of course nothing of the sort happened. They neither led nor inspired a Communist uprising in West Germany. But all the Communist regimes in Eastern Europe collapsed, the Berlin Wall came down, and in October 1990 Germany was reunified.

An afterword: What did the Communist Party of the Soviet Union think of them? A Moscow publication of the late 1970s said (rather to my dismay) that I was right to call them “Hitler’s Children”. And it explained that the CPSU scorned them because they were “left-wing Communist individual terrorists” – meaning they were not controlled by the Party – and as such, according to Leninist doctrine, they were not acceptable participants in the “revolutionary armed struggle”.

 

Jillian Becker   June 2015