National Socialism

From Anne Applebaum at the WaPo in May, 2016:

It’s been highly amusing to watch the international press struggle to describe Norbert Hofer, the candidate who has just lost, by a tiny handful of votes, the Austrian presidential election. Hofer bitterly opposes immigration and uses nostalgic language about “pan-German” culture, views which place him in the “far-right” category of European politics. At the same time, he and his Freedom Party denounce the “neoliberal” economic consensus and deplore the evils of international capitalism — views that place him in the “far-left” category of European politics.

It’s a confusing mix. Which is why, in order to explain Hofer and his soziale Heimatpartei — social homeland party — I propose to rescue the term “national socialism” from the ashes of the Second World War. By national socialism I don’t mean Hitler, and I’m not talking about the Holocaust. I don’t even mean fascism, although of course we could eventually get there. I’m talking instead about a political philosophy which combines “nationalism” — a strong belief in the significance or even superiority of one’s own ethnic group or nation-state — with “socialism,” the belief that the state should intervene very heavily in the national economy, and maybe in other realms, too…

All across Europe, the parties that used to be known as “far right” are rapidly remodeling themselves, adopting policy and language that once would have sounded Marxist. Marine Le Pen’s National Front party now holds annual rallies on May 1, the old international socialists’ holiday. At these events, she also attacks “neoliberal” policies and “globalized elites.” In their place, she wants a “muscular state,” which taxes imports, advocates protectionism and nationalizes foreign companies and banks. Not coincidentally, she also wants to withdraw from both the European Union and NATO.

And Putin, having fought the central bankers to a stand still and then some, bestrides them all, as champion over the oligarchs.  Wherever a Wells Fargo filches its customers or Goldman Sachs shorts its own advice, there Putin and Bannon, if not Trump, will be.

Revolutions need new vocabularies and I’ve been going on about neoliberalism for years.  Sheldon Wolin’s corporatized democracy or inverted totalitarianism has been another big one.

Revolutions also need new heroes and none come better than the Russian people, having clandestinely marshaled the defense of Donbass after Vickie “Fuck the EU” Nuland and her neo-nazis fired on a crowd of police and protesters, in the Kiev Maidan coup of 2014.

Since then they weathered our attempts to crash their currency and ruin their economy with sanctions.  In reaction, they’ve diversified the economy and now provide the major part of Europe’s GMO-free produce.

Seventy years of our nuclear threats have resulted in preeminence on the battlefield.  Whereas, we tend to think more about offense, Russia’s defensive electronic countermeasures continue to defeat the Ukrainians.

Syria is the best display of Russian policies and tactics.  As we saw in Novorussia, Russians send humanitarian supplies regularly and have an excellent record of re-patriating recovered neighborhoods.

So follow Bannon, but he is not the master.  Another is, about which you’ve been told many bad things, all lies.  But now everything is a lie.


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