Nationalism and Class Struggle

“The name of the path is class struggle. The goal is the nation.” The national-bolshevist perspective on class struggle, by ‘Social-Revolutionary Nationalist’ Georg Osten

Radicalization was one of the defining features of Germany’s youth movement in the late 1920s, as it was for so many other sectors of German society. The country’s ongoing economic difficulties, its continued ‘subjugation’ under foreign powers, the seemingly moribund culture of its dominant right-wing forces, and the increasing tendency of its nationalist paramilitaries and parties to participate in the political mainstream via electoral politics had all engendered a strong sense of frustration and disillusionment in many of the idealistic patriots who made up much of the youth movement. The dire circumstances brought about by the onset of the Great Depression heightened these sentiments dramatically, leading many young nationalists, already dabbling in anti-capitalist and anti-bourgeois sympathies, to the conclusion that there might actually be an element of truth to Marxist critiques of capitalism and imperialism after all. A growing sympathy and appreciation for communism developed within segments of the youth movement as a result, leading to the emergence of a new variety of left-wing nationalism and to numerous attempts at forging a common political front between the country’s national-revolutionary forces on the one hand and the Soviet-backed Communist Party of Germany (Kommunistische Partei Deutschlands, KPD) on the other. The organization at the forefront of this new wave of ‘national-communism’ was the Group of Social-Revolutionary Nationalists (Gruppe sozialrevolutionärer Nationalisten, GSRN), founded on Ascension Day 1930 out of an amalgamation of various youth associations and one of the few entities to openly call itself “National Bolshevist.” Those affiliated with the GSRN, who like their principal spokesman Karl Otto Paetel were almost all intellectuals of middle-class origin, actively collaborated with the KPD and its front organizations and incorporated core conceits of revolutionary Marxism into their own nationalist worldview, proselytizing for a political ideology which placed Germany’s hopes for national liberation in the hands of the proletariat and in the ideal of violent class struggle. The article translated below, by Social-Revolutionary activist Georg Osten, presents the GSRN’s perspective on the issue of the class struggle and its centrality to the group’s nationalist ambitions. Originally published in national-revolutionary journal Die Kommenden in June 1930, Osten’s article was later reproduced in the 1930 booklet Sozialrevolutionärer Nationalismus, which effectively served as the GSRN’s programme for most of its existence. 

Nationalism and Class Struggle
By Georg Osten
1930

One certainly need not agree with Karl Marx’s thesis that all history is the history of class struggles in order to be capable of acknowledging that this proposition is at least thoroughly accurate to our time. There is no denying the fact that all struggles, of both a foreign-policy and domestic-political nature, take place upon the plane of economic struggle. Just a few years ago it was almost impossible to speak of class struggle as a historically-conditioned fact in circles which call themselves national or nationalist, but the events of the past seven years have brought about a remarkable transformation. It was previously considered good form, so to speak, to depict the class struggle as a perfidious invention of Jews and Freemasons who, in some clandestine gathering, had decided upon the destruction of the unified German nation [deutschen Einheitsvolkes]. Nobody wished to acknowledge that a development had taken place here which was conditioned by the expansion of industrial production capacities within the framework of the capitalist system.1

Only in more recent years has there been a growing understanding of the era-conditioned and natural processes known as ‘class struggles’. And yet already are our friends2 once again engaged in explaining that this notion has in actuality already been surmounted today, since a propertied class in the old sense no longer exists – and after all, every director, even in the largest companies, is only an employee of anonymous capital. Undoubtedly there is some truth to this argument. But they forget that what ultimately matters here in the end are facts, that a very significant proportion of the German Volk, on account of their bourgeois (class) educational privilege and the senseless contortion of the term ‘national’ into meaning ‘property protection’, feel compelled to (even without, in the strictest sense, actually belonging to the propertied class themselves) side with the numerically small group of actual capitalists and to thereby help stabilize the concept of this class. Furthermore, something which should not be overlooked is that very large segments of the middle-class, dispossessed by inflation, earnestly desire to see pre-war conditions restored, at least in terms of the economy, and thereby hope to become small capitalists again themselves. The lion’s share of the bourgeoisie have not yet realized that a process has occurred before our eyes which, in a certain sense, can already be termed a kind of ‘expropriation of the expropriators’, although for the time being this expropriation has taken place to the benefit of High Finance as the leading international global power. Incidentally, this development was foreseen by Marx and by his associates many decades beforehand. And in this context it is not without interest to cite the words of a well-known social-reformist: “Ever more powerfully are capital and labor shaping the means of power which they mobilize in their class struggles. These struggles are becoming ever more colossal, their goals ever more extensive; more and more do they move the whole of society, with every class growing more and more interested in the results. These social struggles are increasingly becoming the focal point of public life in our time. This, and not the mitigation of class antagonisms, is the consequence of the proletariat’s surmounting of the capitalist tendency towards impoverishment via its ascendancy in victorious class struggles.” (Karl Kautsky in the Heidelberg Programme of the SPD, page 15/16.)3 Continue reading

Merry Christmas for 2022!

And a Happy New Year from ARPLAN

For Christmas this year ARPLAN presents two brief articles from 1930s Germany, each exploring the celebration of Christmas from a Germanic, völkisch-socialist perspective. The first is a 1935 piece by Jakob Wilhelm Hauer, an academic Indologist and religious expert and the leader of the ‘neopagan’ German Faith Movement (Deutsche Glaubenbewegung, DGB). The second is an earlier, 1930 essay by Alfons Hitzler, a former brewer and industrial worker and the NSDAP Kreisleiter for Plauen, Saxony. In each article the author describes certain ceremonial aspects of the German celebration of Christmas – the Christmas tree, the lighting of candles, the veneration of the ‘child of light’ – with quiet reverence, tying them back not so much to the Christian religious doctrine which they ostensibly represent, but rather to key facets of the Germanic racial tradition and the “German soul.” Despite their authorship, neither article is overtly anti-Christian in tone. Hauer’s DGB was a federation of various paganist and Nordicist organizations, ‘German-believing’ communities (deutschgläubige Gemeinden), and ‘freethinking’ Protestant groups, with their overarching concern being that certain key features of Christian theology and religious practice (most particularly that of the figure of Christ) be divested of their ‘Eastern-Semitic’ character and reincorporated instead into a new faith tradition more suitable to German blood, spirit, and soul; this aspect of the Faith Movement worldview is reflected in the conclusion of Hauer’s article, where the author promises the “deepening” of the celebration of Christmas rather than “the naked renunciation of Christian tradition.” Alfons Hitzler is a somewhat more obscure figure than Hauer, and although his article is more overt in its defense of mainstream Christianity (he specifically criticizes the “anti-Christian preaching” of Social-Democracy), Hitzler did have “Gottgläubige” inclinations – a term used in National Socialist and völkisch circles to describe those who rejected Germany’s established religious denominations without rejecting a general belief in God, Christ, or in some other form of ‘higher power’. Like Hauer, Hitzler also seems to advocate a Christmas celebration oriented around the German Volk rather than any higher concern for humanity’s salvation, a position which places him among the ranks of the more religiously radical segments of the NSDAP. I hope that readers enjoy these articles, and that you all enjoy a safe and happy Christmas season.

Christmas – Yulefest
By Jakob Wilhelm Hauer
Published 21 December, 1935 in
völkisch newspaper
Reichswart,1 vol. 16, no.51

Christmas – Yulefest has a special place in the cycle of the year. Yule-solstice, that ancient Indo-Germanic celebration of the victory of light, of the birth of the young sun-god and the new year, requires a ceremony outdoors in the forest or on a quiet hill, where the deep winter night surrounds us or where the soul expands under the tree of light that is the starry sky. It makes sense to decorate with lights a fir tree, one perhaps covered deeply in snow, as a worldly-human response to the shimmering of the eternal stars. Currents of cosmic connectedness pervade our soul. And when we see the solstice fires flaring up over upon the neighboring heights, greeting ours throughout the night, we know that we are one with all of those celebrating among the Volk, and with those kindled hearts who have borne the light of the High Spirit and the love for Volk and German territory through the millennia of our Teutonic-German history. The German youth movement has discovered anew such a ‘Christmas’ [‘Weihnacht’] and has learned these celebrations out of a sense of deep emotion for such realities. These celebrations are among the most treasured memories of our lives. Today they should be the common property of all those who set out to search for something new. But such celebrations outdoors are only for the young, and for a few steadfast old ones. Continue reading

The Second Danger: A Warning from the Fatherland Front

Fatherland Front propaganda writer Dr. Edwin Rollett’s “wake-up call” to Austrians on the “second danger” to their homeland: National Socialism

On 19 June, 1933, the ‘National Socialist German Workers’ Party – Hitler-Movement’ (Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei – Hitlerbewegung, NSDAP-HB) was banned by the Austrian state. This measure was hardly a bolt from the blue – the Hitlerians had long been strident, aggressive enemies of Chancellor Engelbert Dollfuss’s own Christian-Social Party, and the threat they posed to the Chancellor’s government was compounded not only by their penchant for violent radicalism and their stated goal of undoing Austria’s sovereignty, but also by the fact that they were being  supported in their endeavors by the resources of Adolf Hitler’s administration across the German-Austrian border. Attempts had been made to entice the Austrian National Socialists into joining Dollfuss’s government prior to the ban, and attempts to do so would be made again afterwards – but for the most part the Hitlerians remained enemies of the Austrian state, with their enmity soon giving way to an escalating wave of underground activism and terror attacks which led, in July 1934, to a failed putsch and to Dollfuss’s inadvertent murder. Prior to his assassination, Dollfuss had begun the process of shoring up the position of his ‘patriotic’ government, not only by banning certain parties (including the Social-Democrats and the Communists), but also by laying the foundations for an emerging ‘Austro-Fascist’ state through the promulgation of a new, corporatist constitution, and through the founding of a mass movement which would serve as a unifying vehicle for cohesive political rule: the Fatherland Front (Väterlandische Front). The Front was more a coalition of various different right-wing forces than it was a totalitarian mass party, and as such its ideology and direction were not always clear. To help the Front clarify its positions to the Austrian masses a propaganda bureau had been established alongside it: the Österreichischer Heimatdienst. One of the key concerns of the Heimatdienst was combating the influence and propaganda of the National Socialists, who – as the most prominent remaining advocates of Anschluss – still held a considerable degree of popularity among Austria’s population in spite of their ban. The pamphlet translated below, The Second Danger: A Wake-Up Call to All Austrians, was written by Christian-Social journalist and literary critic Edwin Rollett for the Heimatdienst sometime between 1933 and 1936 (the actual pamphlet is undated; most online sources give the publication date as 1936, but a few place it as early as 1933). Emphasizing National Socialism’s hypocrisy and ‘Marxist’-style radicalism in particular, The Second Danger provides a fairly typical example of the kinds of arguments which the Austro-Fascists employed in their efforts to dissuade the Austrian public from abandoning their Austrian homeland to the cause of the National Socialists. Along with the translation, the layout of the pamphlet has been reproduced here as closely as possible, including the accompanying illustrations and the publisher’s ‘dramatic’ spacing choices.   

THE SECOND DANGER:
A WAKE-UP CALL TO ALL AUSTRIANS
An undated propaganda pamphlet by Dr. Edwin Rollett
Published by the Heimatdienst, propaganda bureau of the Fatherland Front

The Old Enemy and the New Danger.

Austria is presently in the process of liberating itself, with tremendous effort, from the murderous grip of Marxism.

Already we can feel the enemy’s muscle tension subsiding and the bonds loosening. Already we are breathing more freely and are readying one last, mighty release of strength which will free us forever from the wrecker of our homeland.

Yet the secular adversary of Western culture, the sworn enemy of social order and genuine liberty, still exists, the two-headed dragon is not yet lying dead upon the ground; it is still spitting poison and bile from its wide-flung jaws, is still menacingly raising its paws for a treacherous blow – and already we are being threatened from behind by a new danger.

This second great danger for our Austrian homeland is called:

National Socialism!

In its homeland, in the German Reich, National Socialism has undoubtedly accomplished a historic mission. Albeit with means and methods which we Austrians are not entirely sympathetic to, for they are far too reminiscent of the means and methods of the firm of Lenin, Stalin, & Co. Continue reading

Woman as National Socialist

A 1926 defense of women’s role in political life, by Austrian National Socialist activist Rita Marholz

On 25 November 1920, in a speech before the Czechoslovakian parliament, German National Socialist Workers’ Party (Deutsche Nationalsozialistische Arbeiterpartei, DNSAP) deputy Rudolf Jung declared, in response to an accusation of sexist conduct from a political opponent: “I would therefore like to explicitly state here that it was in no way my intention, as is evident from the full meaning of my speech, to insult women in general or any of the women here, or to suggest that I do not consider them to be equal. On the contrary. The turn of phrase which I chose was intended to give credit to the lady who spoke before me, not so much as a woman, but as an orator…. This should be self-evident to anyone who knows my party’s position on the question of women.” The “party position” Jung was referring to was section (h)2. of the DNSAP programme, which explicitly demanded “legal and political equality for women and further advancement of the Marriage Law.” This position set the DNSAP somewhat apart from its younger ‘brother-party’ (the NSDAP) across the border in Munich, whose programme offered no real stance on women’s issues beyond a mention of health care for mothers, and whose political culture was more overtly militant, masculine, and ‘conservative’ in nature; although the official position of the NSDAP on women was somewhat more complex than it is often given credit for, it was undeniably less progressive in regards to the ‘Frauenfrage’ (‘woman question’) than the older National Socialist parties in Austria and the Sudetenland. The original German Workers’ Party in Austria (Deutschen Arbeiterpartei in Österreich, DAPÖ), out of which the DNSAP had been reorganized following the end of the First World War, had featured women activists among its ranks from its first beginnings in 1904, and the DNSAP regularly ran women members as candidates in elections after the introduction of women’s suffrage in 1918, with a number even going on to win and to represent the party in municipal and provincial councils. This aspect of the DNSAP’s organizational culture was one of several challenged by the ascent of Adolf Hitler and the NSDAP in the early 1920s, particularly after the older National Socialist parties in Austria, Czechoslovakia, and Poland officially acknowledged Hitler as the supreme Führer of the NS movement in 1922 and subsequently came under increasing pressure to accept political directives issued from the more ‘rightist’ Hitler-party in Munich. The article translated below, written by activist Rita Marholz in 1926 and published in the Deutsche Arbeiter-Presse (the central party-organ of the Austrian DNSAP), presents a favorable perspective on the idea of women as National Socialist political activists. Marholz’s article can be seen as a defense of the more ‘traditional’ National Socialist perspective towards women – characterized by support for female equality and for women’s untrammeled participation in political life – in the face of the challenge posed by rising conservative elements among the movement. It is notable also for its ‘pro-worker’ language, such as its positive references to “proletarians” and to Social-Democratic politicians, a not uncommon characteristic of DNSAP publications. 

Woman as National Socialist
By Rita Marholz

First published 2 October, 19261 in DNSAP newspaper
Deutsche Arbeiter-Presse vol. 18, no.36

NS_Swastika

Women in political life! It sounds new, and yet it really isn’t. Only the historically illiterate or disinterested person who reads nothing and who never thinks holds the view that such a thing in our day would be an innovation. Even if women were not always in the foreground of political events, they have nonetheless often had considerable direct and indirect influence upon leading minds in politics, upon statesmen, kings, and high-ranking military officials. From the Greek Aspasia and the Byzantine Empresses, to the great English Queen and the Russian Tsarinas; from the mighty Marquise Pompadour and the Prussian Queen who went to plead with the Corsican conqueror for the oppressed Fatherland, to the national and municipal councilwomen of today; the one and the same path leads to the same exact goal: the exercise of political power, political influence, and political ambition. Yet motives were just as varied as methods and fields of activity. Elizabeth of England reigned as a true regent, borne along in all constitutional decisions by the spirit of her father, Henry VIII – i.e. by an audaciously masculine spirit – while the scepter of Catherine de’ Medici was guided by cruelty and bloodlust, especially towards her principal enemies, the Huguenots. Maria Theresa governed, which means she established reforms, waged wars with her royal neighbor, and involved herself in all of the important affairs of state alongside her chancellor and councillors. The Tsarina forged alliances; Queen Louise stood at the head of the German war party, wishing to see Prussia’s freedom secured by defending it with the sword. The refined but scheming spirit of the Pompadour wove the threads of French politics, though not for the benefit of the Bourbons and the French Volk, and it remains open to discussion how great her indirect share in the ensuing atrocities of the Revolution may have been, for as the mistress of the royal libertine she dominated him in the most unfavorable manner, both personally and politically; moreover, she squandered a great deal of money on her external people. Countess Dubarry, the “best friend” of Louis XV, unfortunately arrived too late… By contrast, the influence of the noble hetaira2 Aspasia on that renowned statesman of ancient Greece, Pericles, was the most advantageous imaginable. Thaïs, the lover of Alexander of Macedonia, appears to have influenced him in a heroic fashion. Antiquity recognizes both these female figures as heroines of the spirit, appropriate to the greatness of the ancient world. All of these women, as with men, practiced politics from different perspectives, dependent upon the circumstances necessitated by their country at the time. But for many, personal vanity and the pursuit of power played the greatest part in the influence which they enjoyed in political life, particularly when it came to imposing their opinions upon an influential statesman or king. Whether consort or courtesan – feminine beauty and devilry triumphed in particular cases, often enough to the ruin of a nation, a royal family, an individual man, etc. Empress Eugenie of France and Carlota of Mexico constitute striking world-historical examples of what one should not do in politics, in order not to invoke catastrophes of monstrous proportions. – A thirst for power and excessive ambition, these evil mainsprings of their actions led to a bitter end, including for themselves. Continue reading