The Mass Psychology of Anti-Fascism
Who could fail to be against fascism, the movement which drove Germany and Italy in World War II, which culminated in the murder of millions of civilians in concentration camps? But anti-fascism implies a lot more than simply being opposed to fascism.
1. Before World War II, anti-fascism was used to persuade the working class to unite with the left wing of the capitalist state against its right wing opponents. This led to the Spanish Civil War. If the left had won, Spain would have become a puppet of Russia, but the most enthusiastic recruiting sergeants for the capitalist war effort were anarchists, and its best opponents were a group of Italian Marxist-Leninists.
2. During the war, anti-fascism was used to recruit working class people to die by the million for the interests of the Russian and American ruling classes.
3. After the war, anti-fascism was the hypocritical standard by which the war crimes of the Allies were covered up, by emphasizing those of the losers.
4. Today, it exaggerates the importance of right-wing extremists, whereas the police are the main enemies of black people.
5. Anti-fascism is used to weaken opposition to Israel.
It is illogical to support Israel because of the Nazi holocaust. That is the point of this leaflet - not just to repeat once more the fact that the Allies committed crimes comparable to those of the Axis, the fact that murdering people by bombing them is just as bad as putting them in gas chambers, and that the treatment of German women by the Russian Army rivals anything done by the Nazis. If anti-fascism was always an ideology, today it is a neurosis. On the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz by the Red Army, the prime minister of Israel made a speech explicitly stating that, if you oppose the murder of Jews, you must support Israel.
Zionists in the USA produced this poster celebrating the death of peace activist Rachel Corrie under an Israeli bulldozer
This nonsense is embedded in the emotions of millions of people, especially in the USA. The media consistently refers to the Nazi attempt to wipe out the Jews as 'The' Holocaust, a gratuitous insult to the survivors of numerous other such crimes. Even within the Nazi holocaust, other victims are generally forgotten - gypsies, gays, Poles, Russians and millions of German opponents of Hitler also died.
The growing number of holocaust museums in the USA, instead of remembering the murder and enslavement of millions of Africans and indigenous people, are almost exclusively dedicated to a crime committed by another country. The media and US leaders frequently talk of a 'rise in anti-semitism' in Europe. What they mean, of course, is a rise in opposition to Israel. Why do politicians from more powerful countries grovel to Israel? It cannot be explained by reference to their material class interests. They recently travelled to Israel to pay homage at the new holocaust museum, which is within sight of Dayr Yassin, site of a major Zionist massacre in 1948. The message is clear: it is worse to kill Jews than other people. The constant reiteration of the uniquely evil nature of the Nazi crimes against Jews contributes to this message on a subliminal level. The left-wing Anti-Nazi League does as much to concentrate solely on these crimes, and de-emphasize other, similar crimes, as does the right-wing Anti-Defamation League.
It is arguable that the German holocaust was quantitatively the worst single crime in history, for its scale, its efficiency, its deliberateness, and its lasting consequences. One can believe this without accepting anti-fascism. But how can any sane person claim that German crimes were qualitatively different from those of America, Britain and Russia, which included burning cities to the ground using conventional and nuclear weapons, the murder of prisoners, ethnic cleansing, and mass rape? Yet this is effectively what we are being told, not only by the media, but by left wing anti-fascists. Anti-fascism means rejecting the view that the two sides in World War II were more-or-less equivalent. It means defending the official line that the Axis side was much worse; that murdering German and Japanese people is nowhere near as bad as murdering Jews. There is no point in anti-fascists saying they oppose Allied war crimes as well as those of Germany and its allies. If that were true, they would not be specifically anti-fascist.
Left wing writer Ward Churchill's controversial On the Justice of Roosting Chickens unwittingly exposes the contradictions of anti-fascism. Given that Germans were responsible for the crimes of the Nazis, he argues, Americans are responsible for the crimes of their rulers, so they can't complain about September 11th. Churchill takes anti-fascism to its logical conclusion; but its widespread influence has nothing to do with logic. Many people agree, on a rational level, with the contents of this leaflet, but will still act as if they do not. People who are capable of opposing the dominant society in every other way, half-believe that attempting to oppose Israel's influence would be a sign of anti-semitism. San Francisco Indymedia collective censored contributions containing the word 'Zionazi' from its website, though this word is clearly a critique of a political ideology, not of an ethnic group. No other political movement is given such deference. The Zionist guilt trip is particularly effective at weakening the substantial radical milieu in Germany. There was some resistance to distributing this leaflet via the usual channels because of this guilt complex.
We need to reject guilt and victim politics
Morality, identity with victims, is endemic to Christian civilization. Produce a victim, and rational scepticism goes out the window. In the nineteen-twenties, German psychoanalyst Willhelm Reich asked why masses of people supported fascism, clearly against their own interests. Today, we should try to answer the same question about anti-fascism. The next step is to reject the political correctness which led Indymedia to censor critics of Israel. It is clear that opposing US policies in the Middle East involves opposing its relationship to Israel. The collapse of the war effort in Iraq is the best opportunity for the class struggle on the home front since the seventies, but this opportunity is being missed.
1. A critique of anti-fascism in the Spanish Civil War: www.spunk.org/library/antifasc/sp000833.html
2. The Destruction of Dresden, by David Irving: www.fpp.co.uk/books/Dresden
Some will be more upset that we have included this link to the site of 'holocaust revisionist' Irving than they are about the subject of the book - the massacre of the population of the German city of Dresden by Allied bombers in 1945.
3. Anyone who doubts that there was little to choose between the two sides on the Eastern Front should read this article about the Red Army's invasion of Germany: www.guardian.co.uk/g2/story/0,3604,707835,00.html
4. On the Justice of Roosting Chickens, Ward Churchill, AK Press, 2003
5. The Mass Psychology of Fascism, Wilhelm Reich, Sexpol Verlag, 1933
6. The War for Palestine, eds. Rogan and Shlaim, Cambridge 2001
Fahrenheit 9/11 : A Liberal's War on Terror
A review by Frank Ophelia, (In)Dependence Day, 2004
The 'War on Terrorism' has failed. The peculiar nature of the enemy the USA claims to be fighting - Islamic fundamentalism - is that, the more you fight it, the worse it gets. You can terrorize some people into submission, but not the world's Muslims. However, the rulers of the USA are as arrogant as I am, and not as smart, and they haven't figured that out yet. But they are not completely stupid. They have collectively decided that the way the war is currently being fought is not leading to the expected results. In just one week, the party line has changed, and the sheep are bleating a shrill, moral, liberal bleat instead of a harsh, aggressive, conservative one.
In a blitz of negative publicity, the Bush regime is being ridiculed from all quarters. The CIA are fighting back against Dubya's attempts to blame them for the fiasco in Afghanistan, the disaster in Iraq, and the coming catastrophe in Saudi Arabia. If I were Dubya, I'd avoid downtown Dallas en route for Crawford. Even the media, like a mangy mutt kicked once too often, has turned on the current occupants of the White House and the Pentagon. Its weapon is Michael Moore's movie.
I saw Fahrenheit 9/11 in a packed house in a typical American shopping mall on July 4th. Everyone applauded except me. Most of the population of the land of the free believe exactly what they are told. America was the only country the majority of whose population believed that Iraq was responsible for September 11th - and many still do!! Now they are being told there's a better way to fight terrorism, and they will believe that too. Moore spends twenty minutes on the links between Bushes and the bin Ladens, and the fact that bin Laden's family were 'allowed' to fly out of America to escape possible retribution in September 2001. He believes America's hate crimes should be directed at rich foreigners instead of poor ones. His movie prepares the public for an invasion of Saudi Arabia. To be fair, he does quote Orwell to the effect that the purpose of continuous war is to attack the poor at home, but his stereotypes of rich Arabs, not Orwell, will stick in moviegoers' minds.
I felt closer to the cynical Congressmen who won't send their sons to die than to the moralistic Moore. As for Dick Cheney, he uses politics to advance his business interests. I'm shocked. Shocked! Moore unintentionally shows that Bush is not as dumb as he appears. Unlike John Kerry, he dodged the Vietnam war. I can't see why I should identify with dumb, poor people who believe in sending their sons and daughters to die (but only when its absolutely necessary), when there are clever, rich people who've seen through this nonsense, like I have. To paraphrase Wilde, you would need a heart of stone to be able to see, without laughing, the tears of a mother who lost her son in Iraq. Doesn't she know that wars kill people? I don't care about Lila Lipscomb and her son, but one moment of Moore's moralizing touched me. The charred bodies of Iraqi civilians, contrasted with the US tank crew who listen to heavy metal music while spreading death and destruction, reminded me I could never really support the Bushes and Kerrys of this world.
Some reviews of Fahrenheit 9/11 have pointed out Moore's failure to mention Israel in his film. Here's one: www.tompaine.com/articles/blind_or_a_coward.php. They miss the point. Moore is a coward (he attacks unpopular, but innocent, people, like bin Laden's family), but he is not blind. He is a propagandist for the American ruling class, which is currently subservient to Israel. If he did turn his lens on the influence of Israel, he would produce a series of images of rich Jews manipulating dumb Americans. He wouldn't do this, but he knows he can get away with doing the same thing to Arabs. Rich Arabs, rich Jews - unpatriotic foreigners running our country - where have we heard this before? I won't descend to comparing anyone to Hitler, but the Nazis were adept at adopting leftist prejudices to their own purposes.
History has given the American working class the task of defeating the most powerful and dangerous class society the world has ever seen. If Moore's heroes - honest, patriotic, hard-working ordinary people - are any indication, history has made a mistake. Moore is effectively saying the working class cannot rise above sentimentality, morality and patriotism. Let's prove him wrong.