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Were Nazis lefties?

Discussion in 'World History' started by Socrates99, Aug 16, 2018.

  1. Lexicus

    Lexicus Deity

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    How is concentrating economic power in the hands of a corrupt Party oligarchy left-wing in any sense?

    The only social area where I'd say he was remotely left-wing was social equality for women.
     
  2. innonimatu

    innonimatu Deity

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    That's the funny thing about Stalin: while he lived the party oligarchy as you call it had to thread carefully, fall from grace was always a present danger. It was only after Stalin that corruption set it. This often gets overlooked.

    Of course there was corruption, power corrupts, aways. You'll have to get rid of the state to end it. Nor merely invent a bigger state. But no one in the USSR ever got near that goal. Stalin at least hit upon the traditional way of controlling corruption, one that had worked in Russia: the autocrat punishing his underlings and keeping them in fear. It kind of worked. Insofar as anything could work in that setting.
     
  3. Imaus

    Imaus Prince

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    This is why the Authoritarian/Libertarian axis exists on top of Left/Right.
     
  4. Lexicus

    Lexicus Deity

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    But of course there are many more than two spectra or axes of political beliefs. And my view is that authoritarianism is right-wing.

    I don't think this is true at all. Don't know what else to say. Everything I've ever read about the USSR under Stalin suggests that corruption - mostly relatively petty corruption, I'll grant - was endemic.
     
  5. HoloDoc

    HoloDoc Emperor

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    Well, your view is wrong. Authoritarianism is neither right nor left. Unless you'd like to explain how Chairman "peasant revolutionary" Mao was right wing.
     
  6. Lexicus

    Lexicus Deity

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    The same reasons Stalin was right-wing. Paranoid militarist, concentrated power in the hands of a corrupt oligarchy. Those are not typically considered to be leftist ideas or policies.

    The main way that Leninists (which includes Stalin and Mao; Maoism is an offshoot of Leninism and so is Nazism for that matter) are left-wing is aesthetically. They mouth the slogans about worker power and overthrowing the old order but it's all nonsense. Like any reactionaries they set up a system where surplus value is brutally and violently extracted from the population and political freedoms, independent institutions etc. are a joke.

    There is a reason that many US Trotskyists, Leninists, and Stalinists ended up hardcore neoconservatives later in life. The Manicheanism and authoritarianism don't change.
     
  7. HoloDoc

    HoloDoc Emperor

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    I'm sorry, but you massively misunderstand twentieth century politics if you think Nazism was an offshoot of Leninism. Stalin's paranoia is neither left nor right; it's just paranoia. He wasn't overtly militaristic until WWII broke out. As for the corrupt oligarchy; the USSR was not an oligarchy until after Stalin's death.

    Reactionaries very rarely murder royal families and overturn the previous political establishment. The Bolsheviks were self-evidently revolutionaries, not reactionaries. Now, if you want to call some of the latter Soviets reactionaries, like Brezhnev, you'll be on far sturdier ground than claiming Stalin or Lenin, who lead a violent revolution against the aristocracy, were reactionaries.

    And the fact that most prominent neocons are fallen liberals is well known. That's far more likely to be a disillusioned overreaction than anything. Like Tony Abbott gay men that are massive homophobes.
     
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  8. Traitorfish

    Traitorfish The Tighnahulish Kid

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    I'm vary of talking about "left" and "right" as if they were objective characteristics of individuals or movements, rather than the ways in which individuals or movements align themselves in a given context. Stalin wasn't "left-wing" or "right-wing" because those don't really describe the political culture of the Soviet Union, at least not in that era.

    Marxism-Leninism is tricky because it represents the appropriation of Marxist theory to support a program, not of class struggle, but of national development. What we now recognise as "Marxism-Leninism" doesn't really begin to take form until the 1930s and isn't really codified until after World War 2, and is deeply shaped by the experience of a "Great Patriotic War" and the opening of the colonial world to Soviet influence. The obsession of ML sects with "anti-imperialism", even when this means cheerleading for authoritarian and even borderline-fascist regimes, is not simply the romance of dashing men in uniform. As a tradition, it's indisputably left-wing, but in more of an 1848 sense than a 1917 one. I think it's more productive to engage with it on those terms, than to condemn them for failing to be something they're not really trying to be, even if they do have an annoying habit of loudly insisting that they are trying to be that thing.

    Not, mind you, that I'm particularly interested in engaging with Western Marxists. I'm talking about the Nepal Communist Party rather than, say, the St. Louis Red Guards. People who actually have something to say, rather than weirdo kids who've read almost all of the Wikipedia entry on "People's War".
     
  9. innonimatu

    innonimatu Deity

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    Petty corruption does not make an oligarchy. It hampers one. It means that any rules that the oligarchs set up to benefit themselves can be skirted.

    Now that you mention this an interesting anecdote occurs to me. In one of the major russian movies from that era (or rather, from immediately after) one of the characters buys his way out of conscription during WW2. That is the kind of corruption that has happened everywhere in history, during any way. Including now. And it happened there. Whereas Stalin's own son was sent to the front and got captured and killed. An oligachy would have been very different. The people at the very top would be doing it and unashamedly so, not the ones further down and discreetly.

    Me, I always distrust a country without petty corruption. But then again, I'm a "mediterranean", stereotypes and all...
     
  10. Lexicus

    Lexicus Deity

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    On the contrary, one of the keys to understanding twentieth century politics is the realization that all movements attempting to set up a single-party state are variations on a single theme. Both the Bolsheviks and the Nazis attempted to abolish the distinction between civil society and the state using the Party as a vehicle; all social activity had to be brought under control of the Party and both were hostile to the church(es) because it (they) represented social activity that could not easily be controlled by or subsumed into the Party.

    Your problem is that you are mistaking aesthetics for substance. The substance of Bolshevik rule was the brutal extraction of surplus value, on such a scale that the population could not even reproduce itself and millions died of starvation. It was, ironically, a magnificent example of what Marx called "primitive accumulation".

    Reactionaries very commonly destroy the previous political establishment, actually. The relationship of fascist parties with the ancien regime in many countries was uneasy - if fascists didn't murder many monarchs the reason was because those monarchs tended to knuckle under to them before it came to that.

    I'm talking about the ones who are fallen Leninists, Stalinists, and Trotskyists, not fallen liberals.

    Corruption is the result of unaccountable power. This is almost as absurd as your idea that allowing every state in Europe to unilaterally pursue its own interests is the best way to have peace.

    Tell me - do you honestly believe that the higher-ups in the Communist Party (including Stalin) were living like peasants or factory workers? Or were they living in large nice houses with plenty of access to luxury goods that were unavailable to common people?

    Of course, I too love having to pay bribes whenever I need to get anything done :rolleyes:
     
  11. HoloDoc

    HoloDoc Emperor

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    And your problem is that you are mistaking one aspect of the Bolsheviks for the entirety of their programme.

    Single party states were hardly an invention of Lenin. I hereby propose that Leninism was an offshoot of Alcibiadesism. Stalin and the Bolsheviks actually strengthened worker rights and the union movement, albeit under the umbrella of the state. Hitler and the Nazis actively destroyed the union movement and favoured the corporations. The Bosheviks actively destroyed the aristocracy. The Nazis co-opted it. The Bolshevik anti-clericalism was pursued explicitly because anti-clericalism was a Marxist concept. In fact, the later compromises with both Catholic and Orthodox officials after WWII are far more egregious from a Marxist standpoint. The Nazis attempted to take over the churches as a locus of power to increase their societal control.

    Destroying the previous political establishment is kind of necessary if one is part of a revolutionary political movement.

    There is not a single example of fascists murdering a monarch. Zip, zilch, zero. This is because fascism is not really at odds with the idea of hereditary privilege. Socialism is.

    And reactionaries typically react to the current regime by longing for an earlier, usually imaginary, golden age. Trump is a reactionary. They tend to tear down the current regime to bring back that glorious golden era. What glorious golden age was Stalin bringing back?

    which negates my point how?

    As a matter of fact, the average Stalinist official lived a life rather similar to a mid-level bureaucrat in most countries. Even Stalin himself didn't live in great luxury, except when it came time for a state orgy feast. Not that this compares living conditions of most of his citizens, of course.
     
  12. Lexicus

    Lexicus Deity

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    The modern single-party state is clearly an invention of Lenin via the notion of the vanguard party.

    Can you articulate why we should view a regime that violently extracted surplus value from the working class after violently destroying its independent institutions as leftist though?

    Which is precisely what the Bolsheviks did, except the "corporation" they favored was called the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.

    Here is an example of how the Bolsheviks "strengthened" worker rights and the union movement:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kronstadt_rebellion

    There are otoh plenty of examples of fascists carrying out actual or de facto coups d'etat against monarchs who were sidelined and prevented from exercising any real power.

    Again, don't mistake aesthetics for substance.

    Like I said, they enjoyed a much higher standard of living than the common people. Which is characteristic of oligarchies.
     
  13. innonimatu

    innonimatu Deity

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    It is characteristic of hierarchies. Some day you'll outgrow your anarchist phase.

    I'm not going to argue other points because you really believe what you believe...
     
  14. HoloDoc

    HoloDoc Emperor

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    Lenin didn't invent the concept of the evolutionary vanguard either. I'll grant you that he was one of the few to bother writing about the theory behind the vanguard.

    Can you articulate why we should view a regime that promoted universal healthcare, universal education, re-distribution of wealth, abolition of private property, and equal rights for women as rightist though?

    That surplus value was for redistribution to society as a whole. Granted, that never actually occurred, but one can fail to achieve an ideal and still believe in it. See: every single religious person. As fr independent institutions; you don't know a lot about Tsarist Russia, do you? While there were periodic attempts at economic and political reforms, they tended to not work, often due to the assassination of said reformist.

    Well you've convinced me. Never before has an authoritarian regime violently suppressed dissent.

    No one is actually stating the USSR was all sunshine and rainbows. The fact is that wealth was NOT redistributed to CCP officials, to the point where Brezhnev's daughter attempting to do so became a massive internal scandal that almost toppled his government. And that was decades after Stalin's death, when the regime had most definitely moved right.

    No there aren't. The closest is the March on Rome, which wasn't even a coup.

    Not an answer. What glorious golden age were the Bolshevik "reactionaries" heartening back to?

    Lol.

    That's ridiculous. Every society in history has an elite that enjoyed a much higher standard of living than the common people. Under that provision, Og, Caveman Emperor, led an oligarchy. Most tribal structures are oligarchies. Marriages in which the husband gets the big piece of chicken are oligarchies.

    Innonimatu is right; these are characteristics of hierarchies.
     
  15. Lexicus

    Lexicus Deity

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    I conceded that social equality for women is one aspect of the Soviet regime fairly characterized as left-wing. I don't agree that having the state become the owner of all property constitutes the "abolition of private property" in any real sense; as for universal healthcare, universal education, and redistribution of wealth, plenty of regimes we all agree were right-wing promoted those things, including the Nazis.

    Authoritarian = right-wing, as I said before.

    Spain and Greece. I suppose most of the other examples I can think of are associated with the Nazi occupation of various countries rather than being proper coups.

    For propaganda purposes they hearkened back to the war against Napoleon for example during World War II; but I don't believe this kind of thing is really relevant to whether a regime is right-wing or not. It is a matter of aesthetics rather than a matter of substance.

    An oligarchy is a type of hierarchy, as seems rather obvious to me. And hierarchy is, uh, not leftist at all.

    There's some delicious irony in you claiming that you hate the EU because it restricts democratic decision-making, and then disdaining me because I'm an egalitarian. Because hierarchy doesn't merely restrict democratic decision-making, it always and everywhere presents an existential threat to democracy.
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2018
  16. HoloDoc

    HoloDoc Emperor

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    And everyone wth a brain agrees that the Nazis stole those ideas from the left. Regardless, the "state" didn't own all property in the USSR in any meaningful sense. Certainly, I have already used an example of a case in which the state couldn't appropriate property just because; Brezhnev's daughter. There were appropriate bureaucratic channels for the appropriation of property in the USSR. Whether those channels were followed or non-corrupt is a separate issue.

    There's also the issue that the Nazis promised universal healthcare; so long as you were Aryan. The Soviets aimed to abolish social classes (in theory), whereas the Nazis set about actively increasing the number of social classes. There's a reason Hitler explicitly stated he wanted to visit India and study their caste system. Himmler too.

    And you're wrong. There is a reason the political compass exists. You can't just randomly invent your own definitions.

    Women = raccoons. This is why my ex spends all her time today with tish. Discuss.

    Lolwut? I must have missed the memo on Franco launching a coup against the monarch during his takeover of the Spanish Republic.

    And Metaxas was explicitly placed in power by the King. You can't even really call Metaxas a fascist at any rate; he was a garden-variety authoritarian monarchist who adopted some fascistic models to blunt the appeal of fascists. More Bismarckian than Hitlerian.

    Regardless, he was far and away the most competent of the minor state leaders confronted by the Nazis and Italians, so I have a soft spot for the First Peasant.

    Funny how every time I make a point that disputes your little theorem, you label it as "aesthetics." I could as easily label the authoritarian nature of the USSR as being aesthetics rather than substance to push them further left.

    You effectively just established a total ignorance of political theory right there. Not worth arguing with on this point anymore, as you don't have a clue what you're talking about, and clearly refuse to learn. If everyone right of Rosa Luxembourg isn't allowed to be "left," no one is. You, and other anarchists, are not the sole arbiters of left and right.

    Democracies are the explicit imposition of a hierarchy through mutually agreed-upon means. Egalitarianism and anarchism are not the same thing; Abraham Lincoln was egalitarian. Do you claim he was not also an hierarchical figure?

    Ridiculous. Innnimatu is right, albeit condescending; this really is a phase you need to grow out of. Authority exists in every society, and is a product of human nature. Denying it is just stupid.
     
  17. Lexicus

    Lexicus Deity

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    :lol: The political compass is a bunch of definitions that someone just invented.

    You could easily do that, but it would be silly. You are explicitly talking about a propaganda pose rather than anything of substance.

    *clears throat*
     
  18. HoloDoc

    HoloDoc Emperor

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    No, it is a bunch of definitions a team of political scientists invented. Unless you're a team of political scientists, their opinions hold far more weight than your own.

    You are not the arbiter of which features of a polity are substantial and which are not. Do we claim that Trump's support for conservative causes such as stacking the SCOTUS and attacking feminism are merely propaganda, whereas his creation of positions for his daughter and elevation of women to Cabinet positions are a sign of his belief in female empowerment? He is a former Democrat; maybe he's taking over the Republicans to drag them left?

    Did I state that hierarchies were desirable? You'll note that every left-wing organisation that has ever existed has a hierarchy. The Paris Commune had a hierarchy. Every Communist Party ever has had a hierarchy. The anarchists during the Spanish Civil War had a hierarchy. That's just human nature. It's what we do with said hierarchies that determines whether a person's politics are right or left. If Wikipedia is simplifying things to that level it is merely a sign of how stupidly reductionist that site can sometimes be.

    I once read the Wiki on religion. It's stated definition did not match the references it cited. Use Wiki to discuss historical events. Don't use it to cite philosophy or politics. Anything opinion-based tends to be complete crap on that site.

    I also note you fail to offer any rejoinders to the majority of my post.

    EDIT: Interestingly, I just checked Paul Johnson's definition of right-wing politics while I wait for my dinner to cook. It does NOT match that on Wikipedia. Not in itself shocking, except that Johnson is the author Wiki cites as producing the definition you posted. OOPS! Almost like you don't know what you're talking about. And hilariously, for someone decrying hierarchies, you just attempted argument from authority.
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2018
  19. Lexicus

    Lexicus Deity

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    There are obviously many more than two spectra of political beliefs. The two-axis scheme of the political compass is really not much more sophisticated than a single right-left scale. And appealing to the political compass as if it is some sort of factual or real thing is frankly silly. Personally I generally find the work of sociologists to be a lot more valuable than the work of political scientists, but whatever floats your boat I guess.

    You're making arguments you know are silly because you know you're wrong here. The authoritarian nature of the USSR was embodied by almost every aspect of its political economy and social life. There was a police state with secret police force operating completely outside the law, informers, denunciations, show trials, a network of slave-labor camps hosting millions of people at any given time.

    "We're returning to a past golden age" is a propaganda pose, it's not a substantial feature of a society's political economy. If they are actually restoring past social relations in some concrete way that is a different story.

    "Inevitable, natural, normal, or desirable"
    If you believe that they are inevitable, natural, and normal, whether they are desirable is sort of beside the point.

    What point to that? You signaled you weren't interested in any real discussion when you began insulting and condescending to me (and btw you were far more condescending and insulting than inno was). The core of our disagreement is that you expressly believe that hierarchies are inevitable and so left-wing politics cannot possibly be defined by opposition to hierarchy (as well try to jump your way out of gravity I guess), while I believe that hierarchy is not inevitable and that the fundamental characteristic of left-wing politics is opposition to hierarchy. The notion that hierarchy is inevitable is imo thoroughly falsified by modern anthropology and archaeology as pre-state/pre-agriculture peoples clearly lived in egalitarian societies without any clear elite element. But the other aspect of the disagreement is interpretative and won't be settled empirically, which you've already implicitly conceded with the phrase "opinion-based" in your denunciation of wikipedia.
     
  20. red_elk

    red_elk Deity

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    Communist officials had access to everything they needed. They didn't own yachts, palaces and personal planes though, like modern oligarchs do.
    Decent house and special food supplier might be a luxurious things in mid-XX century USSR, but not comparable to luxury of XIX century monarchs and landowners, nor present-day oligarchs.

    Can you give an example of a non-oligarchic government then? Like, any historic one?
     

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