zondag 26 februari 2012

Farewell to Hitlerism - Hepp-Kexel-Gruppe

This declaration became necessary because in "national" circles more and more nonsense is told about us. With these notes we do not only say farewell to Hitlerism, but to each and every other manifestation of bourgeois nationalism and the fetishists of the so-called National-Socialist movement.

The Hitlerism of 1933-1945 has put the German people in the constant destruction of 1945, in which we are still stuck to this day. After the West imposed the "Diktat of Versailles" to Germany, the NSDAP grew as a force against Versailles as well as the KPD and the National Revolutionary forces did. While the NSDAP had some very good revolutionary forces in the beginning, through the course of time they left the movement (Otto Strasser, Walther Stennes, Gregor Strasser, etc.) because the party changed into a more and more bourgeois Hitlerite party. While for instance Ernst Niekisch clearly saw that the enemy was the Western bourgeois Capitalism and not the Russian Bolshevism, on the side of the NSDAP they already started flirting with the West. This led to a point that Hitlerism, after they had gained the power and killed the last revolutionary fraction around Röhm - without whom Adolf Hitler never could have gained power - undertook a humiliating attempt to win the favour of England. Even after the West managed to fool Hitler into a war - through her bastardchild Poland - he and a small group around him still tried to reach a settlement with the West. After Germany rapidly reached an alliance with Russia in 1939, they invaded that same Russia on June 22 1941, by far the most unfortunate day in our history. This "ostfeldzug" brought unmentionable suffering to both the German as well as the Russian people. Both peoples have sacrificed the elite of their youth in this war. The West rewarded Hitler’s flirtation with the genocide of the German people by bomb terror. This all is to blame on Adolf Hitler, who as supreme leader, warlord and Reichs chancellor had the ultimate accountability for the course of play. The result of Hitler’s politics is the situation we live in these days.

Maybe we should spend some more words on the historical National-Socialism, which we do not consider to be identical to Hitlerism. Historical National-Socialism had some correct and good leads at its disposal, especially on the subject of social, family, youth and cultural issues. Hitlerism has managed, thanks to the excellent skills of its leader, to bring these good sides into practice; this is why the enthusiastic people did not resist the following running amok by Hitler. How right was Ernst Niekisch when he in 1932 predicted that at the end; a coffin was placed in which the post-war youth, which Niekisch had put his hopes on, would be lost because of its urge for resistance would be broken by the demagogue.

"A tired, exhausted and disappointed people remains, that abandons all hope and tiredly doubts the meaning of each further German resistance. Though the Versailles order will be stronger than ever."

Hitler - Ein Deutsche Verhängnis

In horror we had to grow aware of the fact that the far right is more and more caught in a Hitler worship, that only distinguishes itself from other cults and religions because that it isn't surrounded with the slaughter of sacrificial animals and the smoke of incense. Anyone these days who has the opinion that Adolf Hitler is our leader (Führer) and Reichs chancellor, we strongly advice to portray this kind of nonsense not as politics, but to start a parish where the relics - Jesus Christ, cross and Bible are exchanged for Hitler, the Swastika and Mein Kampf - can be worshipped. This is also a call to the young comrades that are still seeking, not to subject to the dogma of Hitlerism, but to submit it to a critical research, like we did, who were also caught in narrowness.

Alike Hitlerism we also condemn the bourgeois Nationalism, which is once again flirting with the West or even openly proposes an alliance with them. We can be fortunate that a wall runs in Germany, because in the east of our country there are still 17 million healthy Germans, while the people at our side are mentally and psychotically perishing. Next to these two degenerated forms of Nationalism unfolds a third one, that of the National-Socialist and uniform fetishism. We will not spend any words on this movement, because who on the basis of personal gratification and lack of own personality is searching for a fetish, can't be taken serious on a political level. So we ascertain that these three unmannerly movements of Nationalism damage the actual cause of our people - the anti imperialist liberation struggle - more then they are helping it. We have no doubt that in this scene still good and revolutionary powers exist, but this doesn't change the principled rejection of it. It's not our aim to turn the wheel of time back and revive a State based on the Hitlerist model; our goal is to fight an undogmatic liberation struggle which guarantees the survival of our people. In this struggle against Americanism we welcome everyone who - just as us - has recognized that only when the activist youth - that's founded in left and right circles - disposes her dogma's and unifies in the liberation struggle, we can stand a chance. Obviously we also welcome foreign anti-imperialists who live in the BRD to join our struggle.

In conclusion we want to emphasize that we're neither “rightwing” nor "leftwing" and we're not a proponent of a US federal State nor do we want to make another Soviet republic from Germany. We don't deem a system that works for Russia automatically transmittable to our country. We don't deny the antibourgeois and anticapitalist strike force of bolshevism and it is our wish and will to live in peace and friendship with Russia as a neutral Germany.

In this spirit - forward in the anti-imperialist liberation struggle!

"Nationale Proletariër"
30 June 1982,
Walter Kexel en Odfried Hepp

woensdag 8 februari 2012

The concept of National-Syndicalism

National-Syndicalism suggests that the people of the European nations defend themselves through the development of Syndicalist sections into massive economic worker movements. These should take immediate action to expropriate the capitalists. These should also take immediate action to let the workers lead the production and to form peoples communes.

The French revolutionary Syndicalism originated in the reality of the former unions. The theory was later derived from this practice. The former Revolutionary Syndicalism took place as a protest that originated from the bitterness that came from the bourgeoisation of the Socialist movements. It doesn’t wish the conquest of State power, but the complete annihilation of the State and the transfer of administrative functions to the union movement.

National-Syndicalism seeks out principled reasons for direct economic action and denounces parliamentary action by representatives. It’s not about the “success” of the moment, but about the expropriation of the capitalist class and the liberation of the people and the nation. Immediate action strengthens the spirit of struggle and sacrifice. It strengthens the individual conscience, while leaving it up to the representatives or the trade union bosses who will only let the Dutch people live on in their indifference. The goal is not to make capitalism bearable, but the realisation of a free Nationalist and Socialist nation.

The philosophical basis of National-Syndicalism is the insight that man is influenced by impulses rather than by considerations. National-Syndicalism wishes to organize the movement in such a way that the activity and impulsiveness of personality will find a good feeding ground. It involves the ongoing and irreconcilable struggle against the capitalist system, the capitalist State and its instruments of power.

The contrast between federalism and centralism is an “eternal” contrast, which comes back time and time again and in different forms. No community can exist when everything is regulated from one central point. Of course neither centralism, nor the freedom of parts is possible in the extreme consequence. The question is whether you wish control from a central point or whether you wish to maximize the freedom and self-determination as a necessity. We can acknowledge without objection that the autonomy of units comes with a certain danger. But out of centralism comes a bigger and more serious danger. The fundament of federalism is “connection”. So we’re not talking about splintered parts but about an organic whole of cooperating autonomous units within the nation. These units will voluntarily sacrifice a part of their own self-determination.

No person can develop itself without receiving and giving to its people and its nation. Sorel thought us that with centralisation bureaucracy inevitably grows. Any centralisation that goes to far, every opportunist contempt for the self-development of the components, leads to rigidity and conservatism. From this statement we can draw the simple conclusion that who’s a revolutionary, can only be a federalist.

National-Syndicalism aims to move the attention from the political terrain to the economic terrain. It wants the socialisation from the basis: a system of distribution from local units, in consultation with the National federation, on the fundament of a production and consumption statistic. As well as the organisation of the production by national industrial federations.

National-Syndicalism is primarily a warning against the bourgeoisation of Nationalism and Socialism. It has brought the spiritual factor of will, the meaning of the psychological element in the Nationalist and Socialist struggle, to the front. National-Syndicalism offers rejuvenation with the elements of impulse, rebellion, desire for freedom, identity and respect for ones people and homeland which is permanently needed.

Source: Vrije Nationalisten Noord-Brabant / Netwerk Nationale Socialisten

Fight the system

zondag 5 februari 2012

The leftwing of National-Socialism Part 4

The break between Dr. Goebbels and Kampfverlag

The tensions between Dr. Goebbels and the Strasser brothers escalated on 16 February 1927 after a violent altercation, which was about the anti-Semitism issue. From now on the Berlin gauleiter saw Otto Strasser as the evil genius that was incited by his brother - the devil of the movement. Quarrels, suspicions and intrigues from that time on became the normal course of events and according to the diary of Goebbels, these attacks mostly came from the fraction surrounding Kampfverlag. The suspicion arose that the VK group tried to arrange a change of power.

Attempts from Goebbels to expel Otto Strasser were shipwrecked because Hitler - who was also concerned about the situation - did not involve in the problems. In the Berliner Arbeiter-Zeitung on April 24, 1927 an infamous article written by Erich Koch appeared in which Goebbels was compared to the French diplomat (and opportunist) Talleyrand, who also limped. The article also very delicately pointed out the negative (both physical and mental) consequences of racial mixture. This attack was possibly the answer to the incitement by Goebbels during the chaotic conditions in the Ruhr gau. The issue degenerated during a fraud investigation into a wild brawl between Goebbels and both the Strasser brothers. The function of Goebbels as the gauleiter was further undermined by the prohibition of the Berlin NSDAP (May 5, 1927) due to a series of street fights and brawls. Doubt arose within the Gau Berlin about the tactics of Goebbels, Hitler too expressed his concerns.

"Kampfverlag" versus "Angriff"

As soon as at the end of 1925 Dr. Goebbels had the idea to publish his own magazine, which at that time wasn't realized because of the Kampfverlag project with the Strasser brothers. In the beginning of 1927 there were meetings between Dr. Goebbels and the Munich "Eher-Verlag" to publish the "NS-monathefte", which led to great opposition within Kampf Verlag. In the midst of May he left his position as editor of the "NS Briefe", which now became led by Gregor Strasser and Kaufmann. Immediately after the termination of this participation, preparations took place to launch a weekly journal in the Berlin shire. The Kampf Verlag group had the plan to use "Berliner Arbeiter-Zeitung" for the publications in the now disbanded shire Berlin. Dr. Goebbels certainly had the same plan. The position of his "Angriff" was now directed against "Kampf Verlag" which would cost Kampf Verlag circulation figures. The KV-group and also the NSDAP party in the Reichstag led by Dr. Frick, were "not amused". After Hitler launched stressful negotiations, a compromise was reached. The "Angriff" was labelled as an organ published on personal title, while the "Berliner Arbeiter-Zeitung" remained the official party organ in the Berlin district. With this Hitler backed up his Berlin gauleiter and thus consolidated his shaky position. Open attacks on party members in the Nazi press were henceforth to be omitted. The position of Dr. Goebbels was strengthened, however from that time on the leftwing of the movement was divided into two distinct camps. Although Angriff was meant as a competitor for the KV group, the publicity basis of the leftwing was widened as a whole. From July 4, 1927 gazette agitated in similar manner as the KV-radical group, moreover neither "Angriff" nor the KV group became marionettes for Munich.

The conflicts didn’t end there. After Hitler had intervened several times, the two fighting fractions came to a peace treaty. Dr. Goebbels, Gregor Strasser and Hitler kept speeches at a joint meeting convention in Munich (19 December 1927) through this they demonstrated their unity. Circulating rumours concerning imminent or deep divisions within the Party were vigorously denied by the National-Socialist press. Gregor Strasser didn’t have an interest in an open crisis within the party, because he would become Reichsleiter and de facto he would take on the role of second man after Hitler. In the subsequent period he step by step retreated back from "Kampf Verlag" and reached a compromise with Hitler. The latter of course retained the ideological leadership, but Gregor Strasser wanted to obtain control over the party organisation and thus over the practical politics of the NSDAP. After the first rupture of the Berliner leftwing, Strasserism was also falling apart into two separate groups: a moderate faction of Gregor Strasser on the one hand and a radical faction around his brother Otto Strasser on the other hand. This split clearly would come to light during the party crisis in the summer of 1930.

zaterdag 4 februari 2012

The leftwing of National-Socialism Part 3

The new National-Socialist Leftwing

With the dissolution of the AGNW a potential "Fremdkörper" disappeared from the scene. The battle for a leftwing political direction however continued, although the circumstances had changed. Even the Munich creed of "Lebensraum im Osten" was not without controversy. In particular count Reventlow, but also Dr Goebbels and Otto Strasser gave clear signals in the direction of a rapprochement with the Soviet Union. The Bamberg events were in no way meant as a domination by the Volkischer wing, which was not able to gain supreme power within the movement. Nor was there a change of sides by Dr. Goebbels, who at that time still remained an integral part of the leftwing. The leftwing in the party recovered quickly and established strong bases, partly through personal contacts, especially in the industrial regions in the West, in Saxony and Berlin. Furthermore a new publishing company - Kampf Verlag - was set up, and its publications - those of the Völkische Beobachter - eclipsed the whole of Northern Germany. Contemporaries compared the position of the Kampf Verlag dominance with that of Huge Berg's newspaper empire within the DNVP (German Nationals: the reaction). The leftwing also took advantage of the fact that Hitler tried to integrate the leading figures in the party, they also received reinforcement by influx from the national-revolutionary spectrum. The Führer tried to win his former rivals by stating that the big companies, transport, public transport and the production of finished goods would be nationalized. In addition he removed Herman Esser, who the leftwing hated, from the leadership of the propaganda committee. His place was taken by Gregor Strasser (September 1926).

The new leftwing of the National-Socialists was actually a remarkable fusion (symbiosis) of strength and weakness. It didn’t have an independent organizational unit, but from this moment on the entire NS movement was saturated by their ideas. The statement dated from May 22, 1926 regarding the full validity of the 25 points, it revealed itself to be an unexpected advantage; from now on the leftwing could use the party program in her advantage and she would be able to criticize Munich on the basis of the 25 points.

The overarching Ruhr district

On 7 March 1926, the regional party congress in Essen took the unanimous decision to the arbitrary merging of the two shires North Rhine and Westphalia. Dr. Goebbels welcomed this formation as a new phase in the struggle. The leadership was - in contrast with the party structures - a collective in which the mutual responsibilities was taken on by the triumvirate Kaufmann, Dr. Goebbels and Pfeffer. It took a bit of time until Munich endorsed this new district and its leadership. The ambitious project of a Western bloc however suffered problems as a result of the conflicts - both of political and personal level - within the triumvirate and the intrigues of the district leaders who wished to impose their own views. In June 1926 Hitler and Strasser were forced to intervene and had to ensure clear relationships. Kaufmann was appointed to Gauleiter, Goebbels and Pfeffer were assigned to other functions. Dr. Goebbels was promoted away to take on the Berlin leadership and thus the Elberfeld front was finally defeated. However it would still take years before the peace in the Rhine and Ruhr district returned; Kaufmann was incapable of stopping the course of his district leaders.

Dr. Goebbels takes over the leadership in Berlin

In the summer of 1926, Dr. Goebbels was involved in an incessant series of conflicts, not only with his former comrades at the Ruhr, but also with Gregor Strasser. The subject had been discussed since June (1926), so the formal request of the national leadership for Dr. Goebbels to take over the hopelessly divided Berlin came at exactly the right time. There is no doubt that the appointment of Dr. Goebbels was intended as a counterweight to the leftwing. His relationship towards Otto Strasser had been relatively good since their meeting in 1915 and he therefore introduced him to his new function in November 1926. Dr. Goebbels proved to be stronger than his internal rival Hauenstein (representative of the SA) and reorganized the Berliner party organization. However, since December (1926) the first tensions between Dr Goebbels and both the Strasser brothers appeared; the cause was mainly personal although it also concerned the issue of dealing with Hauenstein and to make the party of a more "new revolutionary type" (the party as a revolutionary avant-garde organisation).

The most rabid National Socialist forces soon concentrated themselves in the Berlin NSDAP and SA, to such an extend which never succeeded in the Rhine and Ruhr area. Dr. Goebbels developed his shire to be one of the most radical within the NS movement, not in the least because of his strong identification with the leftist program points. In his "goodbye letter" (beginning November 1926) Goebbels once again endorsed his social-revolutionary ideas. The aggressive and radical style of Berlin explained the weaknesses of the party doctrine and developed its own dynamics, which began to influence the other shires. More clearly than with the AGNW, the Berlin shire crystallized into a completely new movement within National-Socialism. The Munich section saw itself forced - taking into account this development - to leave its Völkisch anti-Semitic ghetto and to take on a more "modern" character.

The foundation of "Kampfverlag"

On March 1, 1926 Kampf Verlag with its seat in Berlin officially started its work. The "Nord Deutsche Beobachter" and her title pages were changed in the magazine "Der Nationale Sozialist". Gradually the 'Berliner Arbeiterzeitung'' developed into her main edition. The 'NS'' was intended as the weekly newspaper of the National-Socialist movement and served alongside the "Volkischer Beobachter" and Rosenbergs "Welt Kampf" to become the central body. Since the VB in the North and West German shires was hardly ever read, the KV magazines almost immediately acquired a monopoly on the potential readership. Direct competition with VB, however, was not originally intended (according to Otto Strasser in December 1925).

Anti-Capitalism and workers issues

In principle, there was no disagreement about the need for the formation of National-Socialist unions. However initially there was disagreement about the actual realization of such unions. The requirements (on the formation of NS unions) could count on positive acceptance by those who were representatives of class warfare and those who propagated mass action of the party and unions against the finance capital. On the background the idea to enforce Hitler to take this position also played a significant role. Gregor Strasser, Rosikat (alternate-Gauleiter of Silesia) and Dr. Goebbels demanded the overthrow of the bourgeois class ruling and the formation of an unity of the working masses against the exploitative big business (according Rosikat anyway synonymous with the majority of entrepreneurs). Dr Goebbels even went a step further and made, in May 1926, his call for a general strike against the "Dawes plan". Furthermore, the three mentioned above expressed a radicalism that's hardly to be surpassed by aggressive anti-capitalism, however it lacked concrete substance. Rosikat was well aware of this defect, because he pled for a sharper Socialist profile of the party and openly suggested that the dogma of the 25 points of the NSDAP should be open for discussion.

On the contrary, an union committee during a meeting at the party congress in Weimar (July 3, 1926) was only satisfied with the decision to support the existing Volkischer unions and to get greater influence within the Marxist unions. A trade union within the NS-movement had to be prepared (something the workers within the NSDAP had to wait for, for two years). Hitler had a unclear course about the union issue. He saw the potential of binding Volkischer workers to the movement, but on the other hand he had no interest in strengthening a mass standing above the party organization. Hitler also realized that a NS union meant a strengthening of the leftwing, moreover the direction to the union struggle would only sharpen the conflicts on the social issue within the party. A too strong orientation towards the working class would hardly have controllable effects on the social structure of the NSDAP. from that moment on Hitler declared himself against a targeted policy aimed at winning the workers, since he thought they would not be able to gain ground on the Marxists. Hitler wanted the target groups to be the classic middle class and white collar employees.

donderdag 2 februari 2012

The leftwing of National-Socialism Part 2

History of an organisation: the two-fold founding of the NSDAP

Rise and fall of the Arbeitsgemeinschaft Nord-West

During the meeting of the North German NSDAP in Hamm (22 February 1925) the decision was made to form a Western block within the party. Dr. Goebbels was assigned to take on the daily management. Besides the political differences, this decision was made because of the chaotic conditions in the Munich NSDAP and the fact that Hitler was surrounded by the wrong people – a clear continuation of the old conflict – dating back from 1924 - was created. However these rebels first had to take the overhand in the North Rhine district during a long power struggle with Gau leader Ripke that lasted for months.

The concept of a Western block was again raised during a meeting between the Elberfeld group and Gregor Strasser on August 20, 1925. Both the block that reached far into the western state of Lower Saxony as well as the newspaper "NS Briefe" served as means in the fight against the "entrenched bosses" in Munich. This Northwest version of National-Socialism had to be adopted by Hitler, it was certainly not meant as an internal coup. Gregor Strasser was somewhat sceptical about his party leader at that time. According to Strasser the National-Socialist idea was more important than its leader. He wanted that the leader just as any other activist had to prove his value over and over again. In a letter to Oswald Spengler (July 1925) Strasser had already proclaimed that the 25 point program of the party was not suitable to pursue a socialist revolution. Dr Goebbels shared this opinion; according to him the whole program was not radical enough. They meant to take the initiative from the hands of the NSDAP central in Munich. Wolfgang Horns stated:

"Since 1925 the development within the NSDAP is marked by the tension between the pretention from Hitler to be the bearer and embodiment of National-Socialism and the attempt from a part of the party to unify the leader and the National-Socialist idea together by making the party program complete and by creating internal discussions."

On 10 September 1925 the Elberfeld group took on the initiative of organizing a party conference in Hagen, where the merger of Nord Germany and AG Nord-West against the South German Völkischen was sealed. The shires of Rhineland and Schleswig-Holstein were also represented. Gregor Strasser was chosen as the chairman of the AGNW and publisher of the NS-Briefe, the daily management and job of head-director was assigned to Dr. Joseph Goebbels. The characterization of the AGNW as one socialist unity certainly didn’t come without any trouble. Even the most extreme social Darwinists - like captain Pfeffer von Salomon (Oberster SA Führer) - were part of this group while crucial issues such as participation in elections, the alliance with Soviet Russia or a stronger orientation towards the working class remained controversial. The main points on which a minimal consensus existed were:

- Anticapitalism

- Rejection of anti-Bolshevism

- No war against the Soviet Union

- Criticism on the bourgeois anti-semitism

- National and social integration of the working class

- A break with bourgeois nationalism and its adherence to certain privileges on a social, political and economical level

The first conference of the AGNW (including Berlin and Silesia) was held on February 22, 1925 in Hannover. There the decision was made that any cooperation with the Völkischen and Wehrverbände (paramilitaries) had to be rejected. The issue on trade unions was, until further notice, left to the Reichs leadership, meanwhile they took a firm stand against the yellow (= pro bourgeois) trade unions. With regard on the position relating to the Soviet Union, no reconciliation could be reached. However, the main result of the conference was the decision to specify the NSDAP 25 point program in a new design program. Together with his brother Otto a concept was made by Gregor Strasser. Kaufmann and Dr Goebbels worked on their own design of the program. Gregor’s program "Der Nationale Sozialismus" was finalised halfway of December. This was more a draft constitution and a moderate realization of the 25 points instead of a complete new program. Through the concretization of the 25 points the NSDAP leadership had to be recalled that the program of the movement had a binding character that should be defended against the rightwing populists. By unleashing a discussion about the party program the AGNW left the cadre of formal fraction formation and became dangerously close to an open rebellion against Hitler, who had taken a stand against such a discussion earlier in July. At no single time the sole leadership of the NSDAP by Hitler was this strongly criticized as by the AGNW.

The chances for success were not bad. The AGNW had been extended to Mecklenburg and all the way to the Oder, while contacts were being made with Saxony and Wurttemberg. Moreover Rosenberg, who was also in conflict with Esser, showed willingness to compromise. During the second party conference in Hannover (24 February 1926) a violent controversy arose about the representative of Munich, Gottfried Feder. The issue of expropriation (without compensation) of the German aristocracy was connected with the expropriation of the immigrant Eastern European Jews and the confiscation of all profits from the banking sector and the stock exchange (Due to the fact that these politics couldn't be realized it was constantly shifted ahead).

In the spring of 1926 the newly formed Kampf Verlag would begin with the publishing of its own magazine. The draft program of Gregor Strasser met with fierce criticism for various reasons. The group from Göttingen and OSAF Pfeffer, who continued to stay adherence to the social-Darwinian selection principle, the racial doctrine and the lebensraum program, were among the biggest critics - which shows that within the leftwing AGNW a rightwing opposition group existed. On the other side Kaufmann and Dr. Goebbels rejected the draft program because it was too moderate. Feder however continued to defend his original 25 points program. There were also disagreements regarding the draft program of Elberfeld. Although AGNW criticized the 25 points program - or rather the rightwing interpretation of it - they were not able to form a common position or a mutual agreement. As a compromise the decision was made to form a program committee headed by Gregor Strasser, which would give the results of her findings for review to the Munich central.

The simmering conflict with Munich now came to an open showdown, when the rejection of the blurry 25 points essentially turned against Hitler himself. Probably the only ones who were really prepared to cause an open rupture with the (in Hannover fiercely criticized) leader were Otto Strasser, Kaufmann, Dr Goebbels and Pfeffer. The only one who had actually been able to weld together a political power block of any supra-regional significance was Gregor Strasser, but he chose for unity within the party. Gregor Strasser never intended to bring down Hitler or forcing a rift within the party, he only wanted to get rid of the reactionary Munich wing. The controversy within the AGNW showed that a break with the "spiritual leader" Adolf Hitler would probably lead to a disintegration of the movement.

According to Pfeffer they began to realize that a leader with defects still has to be preferred over not having any leader. The observation of (Hjalmar) Shank fits this context; he said that Hitler didn’t reach the top because of his own quality, but by the total absence of those qualities in others. The final defeat took place at a meeting about the leadership convened by Hitler in Bamberg (14 February 1926). Leading up to the meeting Kaufmann urged to take a clear political direction, however Gregor Strasser was not willing to break and was only interested to keep the discussion going, while Dr. Goebbels was indulged in unwarranted optimism. In the end it was Hitler who made clear fronts with his speech. He stated:

- An alliance with Italy and Great Britain against France

- War for lebensraum in the East

- No alliance with the Soviet Union

- Respect for legitimately acquired private property

- And a ban on every discussion concerning the party program

The struggle for direction farced Hitler to choose for a Volkischer course or a National-Socialist direction. He managed to find an acceptable way out; he praised himself as the third way and raised his own views for the party program. A meeting followed in Gottingen where the situation was discussed and where the Elberfeld group once and again enforced her socialist position. At the 3rd conference of the AGNW (Hannover, 21 February 1926) the decision was made that they wouldn’t give up. The influence of the left wing should be strengthened through further activity within the Party. The failure of the AGNW had no further effect on the plans to publish a new journal and it was also scheduled to bring together the shires Rhineland-North and Westphalia as one Ruhr shire to form a new power block within the NSDAP. From that time on the AGNW led a sleepy existence and was silently dissolved by Hitler on 1 July 1926.

woensdag 1 februari 2012

The leftwing of National-Socialism Part 1

History of an organisation: the two-fold founding of the NSDAP

Early conflicts within the NSDAP

The conflicts based on the interpretation of National-Socialism date back from before 1925 and started during the early days of the party. Mainly the Sudeten Germans and Austrian National-Socialists were the ones who put the emphasis on the character as a true workers party, with which they emphasized the socialist character of the movement. During these days there certainly was an important discussion about the transferring of the means of production to the working class and they supported the necessity of non-politicized trade unions as representatives of the workers interests. With the Kapp-Putch of 1920 the leftwing of the NSDAP clearly distanced themselves from the reactionary "Junkertum" and the monarchists. In the struggle for power between Adolf Hitler and Anton Drexler, in 1921, the political positions of the left wing against landlordism played a major role. Hitler from the start aimed his worldview more on the racial doctrine and rejected the social and economic revolution propagated by the leftwing. He first wanted to create a unified nation before a start could be made with social reforms.

The Janus face of National-Socialism appeared as soon as in 1923. On the party congress in Munich (in January 1923) Hitler took a firm position to benefit the private property of entrepreneurs, while in Northern Germany an alliance was formed by the anti socialist and the union hostile Deutschvölkische Freiheitspartei (DVFP). Very swiftly resistance arose against this from local NSDAP groups in Lower Saxony. On the other hand the NSDAP took part in a major strike of brewers in Bavaria in 1923, where they took a principal stand for these justifiable economic strikes. They presented themselves as the class party of the working people and supported the völkische unions and combat organisations while emphasizing the plans for nationalisation and strongly opposing scabs actions.

The attitude of the NSDAP on parliamentary issues was also controversial. After they wanted to broaden their own organisational basis with the purpose to use parliaments as a platform for agitation, Hitler soon changed this direction and oriented himself along the lines of the KPD: extra-parliamentary mass movement and the revolutionary minority. The way to parliaments should only take place if a real possibility presented itself that allowed to take over total control. The prohibition of the party after the November Uprising was later used by Rosenberg, who through a merger with the DVFP started the parliamentarisation of the movement. The State power had to be conquered by using its political institutions. Hitler stated this political course in his publication Mein Kampf in the summer of 1925. Otto Strasser had argued earlier in 1924 for a dual strategy. Namely a formation of National-Socialists and Deutschvölkischen, who would use parliaments while winning the working class within the main industrial centres of the Reich. With this position he followed the same course as his brother Gregor, who despite his revolutionary orientation was one of the driving forces behind the alliance with the DVFP.

The directorate of North German organisations

As a protest against the merger with Deutschvölkischen (which was considered as a reactionary party of the bourgeois class) and against the parliamentary process of the movement the North German directorate was formed in June 1924. This group held noisy attacks on the parliamentarism, the excesses of capitalism and its bourgeoisie and denounced the dilution of National-Socialism by half-hearted compromises. The Directorate included local groups from Westphalia, Pomerania, Schleswig-Holstein, Hamburg, Bremen and Lower Saxony. In early 1925 contacts were established with the Ruhr and central Germany (Mansfeld coal basin). And so it had formed itself as an independent NSDAP which operated completely independent from the arguing fractions of the disintegrated Movement. They soon changed their name to Nationalsozialistische Arbeitsgemeinschaft. With the reestablishment of the old NSDAP (February 1925) it was eventually disbanded, but the start of the future Arbeitsgemeinschaft North West (AGNW) was hereby established.

Typical for this directorate was their scepticism about the Führer prinzip (leader idea) and their dislike of the personality cult surrounding Hitler. They however recognized the leadership of Hitler without reservations even though the Munich camarilla (Feder, Esser, Streicher and the South German Völkische wing) and the personality cult were strictly rejected. Initially they also rejected the ideas of the "centralist" Gregor Strasser, however contacts soon intensified which most certainly was reinforced by the closely inter-related socio-revolutionary aspirations and common enmity against the gang in Munich.

The Elberfeld group

In Elberfeld, the centre of the National-Socialists and Deutschvölkischen in the Ruhr area, another group of malcontents formed itself around Karl Kaufmann, Helmuth Elbrecher and Joseph Goebbels. The latter was driven by anti-bourgeois impulses and as a chief editor of the magazine "Völkische Freiheit" he became a spokesman for the leftist hard-liners in the West. Goebbels clearly saw the deadly threat for the people and the State that came from liberal capitalism and private ownership over the means of production. He demanded the suppression of predatory capitalism, sought a collectivist social model and agitated against the dictatorship of capitalism. Goebbels felt that Europe was the stage for the all-decisive battle between liberalism and socialism. National Socialism was to unequivocally speak out for the socialist revolution rather than only for social reform. To his opinion, National-Socialism was not rightwing but part of the leftist political camp. In January 1925 he went through such a radicalization, that he found himself on the basis of the class struggle and the Leninist concept - the revolutionary upheaval as the work of a small minority of toughened professional revolutionaries, the avant-garde -. This course had already led to internal conflicts during the autumn of 1924, which ended with the resignation of Goebbels as head editor of the VF. Just as with the directorate this was also connected with the liberation of Hitler (from his detention in Landsberg) and the hope for a soon to come break with Deutschvölkischen. However there was also some scepticism towards Hitler, especially because of his ambiguous attitude towards the reactionaries.

The two-fold founding of the NSDAP

On February 16, 1925, Hitler made it clear that he intended to re-establish the NSDAP without the participation of the Deutschvölkischen. His course concerning parliament remained unclear, but his main goals were the destruction of Marxism and the spread of anti-Semitism. As soon as the following day an agreement was made with Gregor Strasser. For the second time he joined the NSDAP, but this time as an employee and not as a follower. Hitler gave him the full authority over the party’s North German fraction. On February 22, 1925 the inaugural meeting of the NSDAP took place in Hamm (Westf.), even before the official re-establishment of the NSDAP in Southern Germany. Strasser, who from the beginning was popular, made the Northern Germans accept Hitler’s claims for power and made them loyally participate in the renewed party - this in opposition of local rivals such as Adalbert Volcke. On February 26, 1925, in the "Völkische Beobachter'' Hitler stated the importance of the pluralism within the party.

"Thus, my task will precisely be to meet the most diverse temperaments, abilities and characteristics, and give them that amount of space in which they - all working in tandem - can develop for the benefit of the general interest."

With this two wings within the NSDAP crystallized themselves:

1 - The Völkischer movement of the Reich that was founded in Southern Germany

2 - The in North and West Germany concentrated leftist National-Socialists.

The spiritual leaders of this last wing derived mostly from the "Konservative Revolution" (Niekisch, Jünger, Solomon) instead of the classical leftist scene. But these spiritual activators had little to do with the actual daily politics of National Socialist Left, which focused on strengthening the nation through social justice and redistribution of incomes. The leftwing within the NSDAP must not be seen as "socialist" in the classical Marxist sense, but nevertheless they had strong socialist demands and in this context they reacted significantly more radical than the usual social-populism of the traditional NS movement. Their idea of socialism could be seen as somewhere between full nationalization and social entrepreneurship on the one hand and a share in the profits and participation by workers in companies on the other. Unlike her predecessors in the early NSDAP (until 1923) this leftwing of the party orientated itself more on concrete social-economical developments while formulating their ideas substantially more clearly. For the strength and dynamics of National-Socialism, the social-revolutionary positions were of an enormous significance. To put it drastically: the leftist National-Socialists supplied the ammunition, with which the rise of National-Socialism into a mass movement was possible.

However the two-fold foundation of the NSDAP proceeded differently than Hitler had intended. Instead of a centralized and tightly from Munich runned unit, more or less independent NSDAP groups appeared outside of Bavaria – from so called grassroots initiative. Gau and local groups were more tied to his person than to the weak central governmental guidance in Munich. Precisely the new local leaders, who now flowed into the North German NSDAP, had a different view on Hitler. They did not worship Hitler as a god nor as the creator of National-Socialism. They regarded themselves as much the creators as Hitler was, because after all they very intensively participated in the construction of the movement and its further development on ideological matters. Since Hitler remained silent in most of the particular questions on practical, everyday politics, they were forced to develop their own political work. This resulted in a high political consciousness, which led them to form their own answers on programmatic issues. This did not end with the organizational dissolution of the Arbeitsgemeinschaft Nord-West (AGNW). Munich had to take account for these local leaders, because they formed an indispensable link between the central and the grassroots, this made them of immense significance for the party. The decentralized structure of the early re-founded NSDAP was destined to ensure that Hitler’s supremacy as an undisputed leader would be undermined, as it soon proved to be.

Bourgeoisie or working class

The National-Socialist leftwing regarded the NSDAP as the workers party for main- and manual workers and increasingly urged the formation of National-Socialist trade unions. The party leadership however continued to postpone on this issue; they first had to find a suitable leader and sufficient financial resources. Dr. Goebbels even went a step further: The NSDAP had to be transformed into a party based on the class struggle, in terms of propaganda while simultaneously the focus should be on the working class. He furthermore claimed that companies should be extensively socialized.

Gregor Strasser also took a stand for a semi-socialist organization of agriculture and a collectivist economic system. The editorial office of the "Volkischer Beobachter" however tended to a more moderate kind of shares capitalism (instead of a total socialization) and a type of share in profits for the workers. Hitler's speeches at the Hamburg National Club (industrialists) and the industrialists in the Ruhrarea showed that he had already campaigned to win the support of the bourgeois elite. At these speeches Hitler claimed that as long as he led the NSDAP, there could under no circumstance be socialization or a workers' share in the profits. The leftwing of the NSDAP also opposed the fetishism of legality (adherence to legality at any price) and the participation in the elections, although the Strasser brothers in this matter had a similar pragmatic course as Hitler. This is why the course of tactical participation in parliamentarism prevailed. A lot of conflict was also caused by the leftwing aspirations to form an alliance with Soviet Russia, which led to the first openly fought controversy with Alfred Rosenberg.