maandag 24 juni 2013

Autonomous Nationalists: The AN movement in Germany

Within the nationalist scene these days most are well known with the concept of "autonomous nationalists". But what does the concept of "autonomy" really mean? In a series of articles we will try to explain this by getting a better insight in the origin, theory, practice and future of autonomism and its meaning for revolutionary nationalism. This third article will go into the phenomena autonomous nationalism and its German origin.

Around 1988 it seemed that the concept of autonomy also got following within the nationalist movement in Germany with the publishing of the magazine "Schwarze Fahne" (Black Flag) in 1988, which mentioned the term autonomous nationalists for the first time. In 1990 the "Autonom-Nationalistischen Zelle" (Autnomous-Nationalist Cell) published the "autonomous-nationalist manifest". This was the first attempt to introduce certain elements of the autonomous movement into the nationalist movement. During the '90's strong repression against nationalists from the German government resulted in organisational prohibitions and long jail sentences for leading figures. In 1994 certain nationalists groups in Germany came to the conclusion that autonomous organisation forms and the strategy of a mass-vanguard offered a solution against the ever increasing repression. Although at first this took the form of copying the strategy and tactics of the autonomous movement and it was not so much about a ideological elaboration, the basis of an autonomous nationalism was layed.      

However outside the appearance and strategical characteristics of autonomy, this also led to a re-orientation of the nationalist ideology. Anti-capitalist, anti-globalist and anti-imperialist themes became increasingly in the foreground within the autonomous nationalist movement. This ideological re-orientation soon led to several heated discussions within the nationalist movement. In most cases national-socialism remained the reference point and the discussion limited itself within the content of several tendencies (represented by the left- and rightwing of the NSDAP) within this historical movement. One of the precursors within this ideological discussion was the then nationalist Holger Hansen from Dortmund, who pleaded for the introduction of autonomy as a full concept. He proposed a current of sharp anti-capitalist criticism, complete decentralization and a consistent class struggle. This led to great outrage within the more traditional nationalist circles, which was the reason that Hansen was compelled to break with the nationalist movement to join the anti-imperialist movement  "Zusammen Kämpfen" in Berlin. In the national-revolutionary segment of the nationalist movement, that mainly grouped itself around the "Netzwerk Sozialistische Nation" (NWSN), "Fahneträger" and "Sache des Volkes" they were more consistent. The national-revolutionary groups already based themselves on the foundation of class struggle and proposed revolutionary anti-capitalist politics. Here the concept of autonomy as it once developed within the proletarian movement could find an easier access.

Mid 2012 after a prohibition on several autonomous structures it seemed autonomous nationalism in Germany had lost its momentum. Although autonomous nationalism gave a new revolutionary impulse to the nationalist movement and the German youth, it seems that at the moment it is torn apart by internal rivalry, ideological conflict and State-repression. With the loss of her autonomous structures an essential part of the autonomous nationalists seem to be trapped inside subculture and a course of party politics. With this the autonomous concept of clear and independent anti-system politics seem to play a less significant role within the German nationalist movement. After the ban on some of these important autonomous nationalist structures the nationalist movement declared; "Resistance is like the Hydra*". Therefore we are sure that the autonomous forms of action will undoubtedly resurface in Germany.  

* Hydra - The many-headed dragon which stands symbol for chaos and resistance. 

zondag 23 juni 2013

Autonomous Nationalism: The Autonomous movement in Germany

Within the nationalist scene these days most are well known with the concept of "autonomous nationalists". But what does the concept of "autonomy" really mean? In a series of articles we will try to explain this by getting a better insight in the origin, theory, practice and future of autonomism and its meaning for revolutionary nationalism. In this second article we will discuss the autonomous movement of Germany.  

At the end of the student revolts the unorganized anti-authoritarian current was next to Jusos (social-democrats of the SPD), the DKP (a Marxist-Leninist party) and the K-groups (several communist organisations), one of the most important tendencies within the leftwing movement of Germany. In the 1970's the Italian concept of "Autonomia Operia" started to influence this German current more and more. In West-Germany so-called  "Betriebsprojektgruppen" (Workplace project-groups) were created with the Italian model as an example. However, an important difference with the Italian autonomy was the fact that instead of the workers having a leading role, this role was fullfilled by student activists. Their intention was to introduce the anti-authoritarian activism of the student revolt into the factories. They saw direct action and militantism as ways to unite the anti-authoritarian revolt with the proletarian workers culture. However due to a lack of a solid basis within the German workingclass and the cultural barrier between worker and student, no broad autonomous workersmovement as in the Italian model developed itself in Germany. At the end of the 1970's this led to a sceptisism towards politics that focussed itself only on the workersstruggle. Many anti-authoritarians found entrance in the alternative movement, that wanted to create some kind of parallel counterculture, thereby trying to create a practical alternative within the dominant social order.     

In October 1975 the first edition of the journal "Autonomie" was published. This became the first theoretical platform for anti-authoritarian activists who tried to politically re-orientate themselves.  In 1979 this led to a break between the editors collectives of Hamburg and that of Frankfurt. The Hamburg group stuck to the traditional concept of operiatism and kept a clear Marxist-proletarian orientation. They accused the editorial collective of Frankfurt of abusing the term "autonomy" to revert from true revolutionary politics. The group from Frankfurt saw the anti-nuclear struggle as an alternative for a strong focus on the proletarian struggle and left the journal that kept being published by the Hamburg collective uptill 1985. The journal "Autonomie" created a historical bridge between the student revolts of May 1968 and the autonomous movement of the '80's.        

At the beginning of the 1980's unexpected new social movements developed from the alternative movement of the 1970's. Most of them developed from the many "one-issue" campaigns (anti-nuclear struggle, squattersmovement, peace movements, etc.) who started to broaden their perspectives. This social movements who shot from the social revolts of 1980 and 1981 were then products of a deep social and political discontent. In this a militant autonomous wing developed that consisted mostly of young activists. They went on to confront the bourgeois norms and values and put their own needs as the central political goal. They didn't propagate a resistance that was confined to the weekend or a certain location, but a resistance that included life as a whole. Therefore the autonomous movement didn't limit itself to a certain area of struggle or theme, but did broaden her struggle to fight against everything that would opress and destroy us. Within the new social movements of the 1980's the autonomy represented an indipendent political fraction. Within the autonomous movement of the 1980's there also developed a new discussion about the class struggle. In these times wagelabour was dominated by a core of politically integrated, specialized workers who were member of the trade unions. They had prospect on a relatively safe and long duration of work. Therefore the autonomous idea of a selfdetermined live and the struggle against capitalism did find much support within the factory. Although a lot of effort was done by the autonomous movement to form alliances with workers, not much succes was booked on this area and an emphasis was layed on the construction of a mass-movement and alternative culture.         

The German autonomous movement has published several thesis in which she tried to catch its most important characteristics. Some of these;

- We fight for ourselves and others fight for themselves. However by connecting our struggle we make ourselves stronger.

- We won't engage in any dialogue with those in power! We only formulate demands. Those in power can concede with them or not. 

- We all embrace some vague anarchism, but we're not anarchists in the traditional meaning of the word. 

- No power to no one!

- Our ideas are very different from those of the alternative movement, but we use the infrastructure of the alternative movement. 

- We are not certain if we want revolution or revolt. Some of us want a "permanent revolution", while others claim this is nothing else then a "permanent revolt". Those who don't trust the term "revolution" think it suggests a freedom that has to be realized at a certain point, whilst they think this is impossible. For them freedom is the short period of time between throwing the rock and the rock hitting its target. However we all agree that in first instance we want to dismantle and destroy - formulating affirming ideals is not our priority.  

- We are not by definition organized. Our forms of organisation are somewhat spontanious. There are squat meetings, telephone chains, autonomous assemblies and many many small groups. Short term groups form to perform an action or to attend a protest. Long term groups work on ongoing projects or very illigal actions. There are no structures more solid than this and there will be no hierarchy. Uptill today the movement has produced not one individual representative, spokesman or celebrity, that means no Negri, no Dutchke, no Cohn-Bendit, etc.  

Since the 1980's the German autonomous movement has lost its momentum. This movement however always remained a factor of political interest and its practice has inspired radical activists all over the world to use the militant practice and tactics of the autonomous movement for their own respective struggles.   

maandag 17 juni 2013

Autonomous Nationalists: Autonomia Operaia in Italy

Within the nationalist scene these days most are well known with the concept of "autonomous nationalists". But what does the concept of "autonomy" really mean? In a series of articles we will try to explain this by getting a better insight in the origin, theory, practice and future of autonomism and its meaning for revolutionary nationalism.

The origin of the autonomous movement can be found in the leftwing Italian movement of the 1960's, in which the unorganized Autonomia Operaia  (workersautonomy) developed itself. The basis of the trade union started to rebel against the vanguard pretensions of the Communist Party and its bureaucracy. It was this confrontation between the basis and the leadership that changed the behaviour of the Italian proletariat. To fight the old trade union bureaucracy the workers were forced to organize themselves. But this organisation was not a uniform process, but only accured on incidental moments during concrete events (like for instance the Workers uprise in Turin in 1962).    

While this started to develop itself further, the term autonomy got more and more meaning. Not as a symbol for a certain movement, but as a term to indicate a certain form of behavior. There was no concrete organisation, but the organisation took place on a hypodermic level; like circulating forms of struggle within different factories, who got connected with each other again. With this process the trade union basis became a force force to be reckoned with, that on itself was able to force the trade union bureaucracy to take their basis (the proletarians) serious again. Therefore autonomy represents the "mass-vanguard"; a vanguard that is not made up by individuals, but which arises on the basis of specific  battle experiences. In this no organisation structure is imposed from above, but it grows "wild" in the process of the struggle itself. Violence and direct, frontal confrontations against the bureaucracy and the State were seen as a necessary means of action.

In the 70's a new phenomena developed within the autonomous movement, the fase of "organized autonomy". In this time the economic crisis had caused several severe confrontations with the capital, that felt itself cornered by the struggle of committed workers and students. This led to a widening of the revolutionary struggle. As an answer to the workersautonomy  the politics of capital started to develop a form of democratic-reformism; a system with negotiations, mutual agreement, social partners, etc. This process of social reconstruction had as a goal to increase the production and to neutralize the political strength of the industrial workers. In '73 when the last factory occupation occured, it became clear that the industrial struggle was no longer sufficient enough and that the battle terrain needed a widening. This led towards a renewal of the practice and organisation of autonomy.

To become a factor of interest again the concept of autonomy had to be entirely re-developed. From this a new practice of proletarian struggle arose, which was mainly determined by the movement of young proletarians. These young proletarians came from the poor suburban areas and fully rejected the long-term politics of traditional organisations. They wanted to change their lives here and now and were prepared to fight for this. Their problems were from now on seen as political problems. From this grew a tendency that could be described as "organized autonomy", because it had its own specific struggle perspectives and militant methods of struggle. In this tendency all kind of small movements with their own specific details became connected on a national level, without losing their own specific identity. The cultural sphere became more and more explored and parties, concerts and meetings became the most important places where these autonomous groups crystallized themselves.      

At the end of the 1970's different tendencies had developed within the Italian autonomy. On the one hand there was the "organisation project" of autonomy: the idea that autonomy needed an organisational vanguard. On the other hand stood the traditional views about autonomy. They thought that the autonomous movement had to be used as a leverage, to become a new institutional factor which was able to negotiate with the system about new institutional opportunities. Within these two tendencies we find the majority of the autonomous movement, that rejects any attempt to build a Party or institutional movement. These are confronted with the problem of the selforganisation of all movements of all social layers. How do we realize a massive counterforce if the earlier mentioned alternatives are rejected? The answer must be found in the new experiences of the autonomous movement. The autonomous movements counterpractice can be seen as by the movement produced "micro-machines" (free radiostations, free spaces, assemblies), that undermine and destroy the "macro-machine" of the State. The power of the autonomous movement is found in its mobility and dynamics; in the eternal ability to expand its practical, political and cultural power.

zondag 16 juni 2013

Clément and Esteban: The tragedy of Idealism

On the 5th of June a young man, age 18, died in Paris. His life was taken by another young French man, age 20, - although other sources claim that he was not the main cause of the victim's dead. Clément Méric, a young man who was active for a social ideal in the circles of the Action Antifasciste became the victim of Esteban M. , a youngman who was also active within circles of social idealism, the Jeunesse Nationaliste Revolutionaire.

Should we consider this matter as a classical fight between the far "right" and the far "left"? A confrontation of nationalists against socialists, the nation against social politics?

Ninety years ago another viewing point was chosen in the matter of "the nation against social politics". This happened on the "Erweiterten Exekutive der Kommunistische Internationale" on the 20th of June 1923. Better said, from the position of Karl Radek on Leo Schlageter. A tradegy of a national activist, who was active in the Freikorps. Schlageter was a young man of only 29 years old, who gave his life at the hands of the reaction in the struggle for the nation and the liberation from French imperialism.

"When in circles of German fascists, who only want to serve the German people, they cannot understand the meaning of the faith of Schlageter, that would mean Schlageter fell for nothing and they should write on his grave: The wanderer into nowhere." Thus a citation from the Schlageter speech from Radek. Later on in this speech, he would illiustrate how Schlageter in his naive period of 1920 helped to knock down German mineworkers in the Ruhr area, because according to his believes at that time they were the main enemy. An enemy who stood in the way of national liberation. From 11 january 1923 - the invasion of the Ruhr area by French and Belgian imperialists, by the Entente in the name of the French capital - Schlageter was forced to reconsider about his enemy and his idealism. His enemy turned out to be the same as the enemy of the workingclass he hated earlier on; the enemy was capitalism. Therefore Radek forgave his earlier judgment; "Schlageter, the brave soldier of the contra-revolution, deserves to be honored manly and reputable by us, soldiers of the revolution."    

The death of SA-man Horst Wessel, a young man, 23 years of age, is also an example that runs parallel with the tradegy in Paris. The idealist Wessel found his death in his struggle for national and social liberation of the German workingclass. For this struggle he gave up his study together with his ensured bourgeois future. He moved to the neighbourhoods of the lumpenproletariat in Berlin and wanted to marry with a prostitute. A unprecedented act for the, by the bourgeoisie dominated, nationalism of that time. Wessel's struggle was ended in 1930 by a co-warrior for the proletariat, the communist Ali Höhler. Again the reason of this was a conflict between two idealists, who had the same vision, but did not understand each other.  

The nation and socialism do not out-rule each other, on the contrary they fullfill each other. The nation needs socialism as the only security for an equal and sincere society and economy for her people - the working producers and the working class. The ideal of socialism needs the nation for her sense of community as wel as an answer to globalism.

Where the nations of socialism, like the Sovjet Union and the Peoples Republic of China, were held in high regard by the "left", in Southern Europe the working masses, general strike and social care are held in high regard among the far "right". A fight between two idealists - who both stood for the interests of the working masses - let a third party prevail: the bourgeoisie and capitalism. There is nothing that they rather see more than these two parties fighting each other. However when they would both open their eyes - and get the insight that the State is the true enemy - the rule of capitalism and the bourgeois State would soon be dealt with.    

Another important lesson for idealists is that of misuse by their own movements. This is embodied by bureaucracy. The tradegy of the Dutchman Marinus van der Lubbe is probably the most noteworthy if it comes to this. As an idealist and soldier of the workingclass he wanted to make a a real difference for the German proletariat. In the Netherlands he was mocked on many occasions because of his idealism - this because of severe fights with the police and his radical tone in combination with his confused appearence. Many perceived him as a dreamer. When in 1933 in Germany Hitler arose to power, van der Lubbe thought that the working class in Germany would finally come into resistance against the upcoming fascism. Using his last bit of money he travelled towards Berlin; his class fought there, so he had to be there! This however wasn't true, the working class did nothing. Almost defeated by disappointment he tried to go home, but not before he set the Reichstag ablaze, the symbol of parliamentarism. The action succeeded, but he got arrested. His initiative didn't get any support or following from his own movement. Their own ideals were betrayed by their own bureaucrats - even by radical council-communists such as Anton Pannekoek. And so this young "dreamer" who believed in the pretty revolutionary words of his own circles, became outcasted because he wanted to put his words to action for a higher cause then himself: an ideal.

And so it seems Clément and Esteban appear not to be each others opposites. They both belonged to a political movement for revolutionary change. Both were young, belonged to a subculture and were fascinated by violence, driven by myth as a social force. For social justice and equality for people and nation. The hate for the system was important for both, but they - just as Schlageter in the beginning - looked the wrong way. They saw the enemy in each other instead of fighting together against the real enemy: State and capital. A misjudgment and so their respective quests for the right direction was prematurely terminated.  

Let us not limit Clément and Esteban to being martyrs and POW's in their own respective movements. Let this again be an example of how it shouldn't go on. Let the socialist thesis and the nationalist antithesis become a synthesis for a higher goal: the national and socialist liberation of globalisation, wageslavery and an end to the exploitation of one man by another. This in the context of the struggle against bureacracy, the bourgeoisie and capitalism worldwide. Let them not become wanderers into nowhere.

Thus: The  remarkable tradegy of idealism

With thanks to the comrades of the National&Socialist Action