Something of the night about Brexit?

Picture -Berlin 1924 In der Volksküche by Otto Nagel |

It’s the 30th of January, 1933, somewhere in a nice suburb of Berlin. I know that the other ladies, sharing tea and cakes with me are voting for Ernst Thalman, the handsome leader of the German communists. I am voting for Hitler. This is because Thalman’s party, which I once supported, began to change in the mid-1920s. Breaking away from the centrist SDP, it is no longer politically accountable to its membership. In 1929 Thalman and Stalin agreed upon an ultra-left move against the centre, concluding that the Social Democrats were a form of ‘social fascism.’ This theory dictates that the extreme right and the centrist Social Democrats are essentially the same and anyone who disagrees with that is labelled ‘fascist.’

Even we ladies, not activists in any way, know the term ‘fascism,’ is being increasingly used to describe many people of all kinds, even some of our friends. The SPD-led government that ruled over us until 1930, was called by the left, ‘social fascist.’ When President Brüning formed a moderate right-wing government in 1930, the KPD declared that fascism had taken power.

Under Thalman, freedom of discussion and internal democracy have been replaced by unquestioning discipline and authoritarian leadership. Oppositional voices have been forced out of the party. The left, particularly the young, including many of our own grandchildren now go about declaring that defeating the ‘social fascists,’ is the ‘prerequisite to smashing fascism.’

What we see of the left is an irritating self-satisfaction and it often seems, a dire underestimation of the Nazis. Last year Thälman declared: ‘Nothing could be more fatal for us than to overestimate the danger posed by Hitler-fascism.’ He is hand in glove now with violent extremists who we see as alien and threatening.

The only man that I, a Berlin hausfrau, can see speaking the truth about all this, keeping his feet on the ground and addressing the ordinary man, and woman, is Adolf Hitler. I am a small ‘c’ conservative but he has distanced himself from extremists and seems to offer the safest way forwards.

On this basis he has got a lot of women like me behind him. Since the Great War which was followed by the economic crash women are the majority in the electorate and out there fully in the labour market, some working at two or three jobs to feed their children. In the 1931 September elections, three million women voted for Nazi candidates, almost half of the total of 6.5 million votes cast for the Nazis. In March 1932, 26.5% of we women voted for Hitler.

Those times came back to me recently as I voted for Nigel Farage and the Brexit party, something I never expected to do. I am not saying that Farage is personally anything like Hitler, the Left, then as now, spends its time calling perfectly decent people ‘fascists,’ the young using the term with no idea what it means historically, with no notion of the depth of depravity and cruelty it represents.

What struck me as similar to 1933 was not a Farage/Hitler comparison, but the similarity of  the times; our current insecurity and chaos, and weak leadership resembling to readily perhaps the Weimar Republic. Germany at that time of course did not have tried and tested democratic institutions, we have them, but now seem willing to jeopardise trust in parliamentary democracy.

Hitler, Corbyn and Farage, all extra-parliamentary men, they prefer grass-roots support, their basis is in public rallies, particularly supported by women and youth. The Nazis and the Brexit party also have a following among the working poor, shopkeepers, small business, small farmers, office and domestic workers groups which particularly like to hear denunciations of big business, banks and govern­ment. Hitler promised intensive de­vel­opment of Germany’s own economic resources, and support for private prop­erty. UKIP and the Brexit party also emphasise those things.

Neither Corbyn nor Farage show signs of homicidal mania or paranoid aggression against other countries, but like Hitler they offer an alternative to the familiar politicians we see regularly on TV, and particularly those who recently took part in the fatuous and boring leadership debates.  Hitler’s constant rage against, ‘The traitors of 1918’ is echoed in our current disgust and disappointment with these leaders of 2019, who have let us down so badly.

It made voting distasteful and difficult. Many people didn’t bother, too dispirited and perplexed; the left is deluded, the centre doesn’t exist, and the street fighting right is the only group which seems to represent a possible future and they want to fight their way out of Europe. How did it come to this? All I can hope, is that unlike the good women of 1933, I haven’t made a terrible mistake.

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18 Comments on Something of the night about Brexit?

  1. I don’t see a significant difference between socialism and fascism, the only difference between them being that they are on opposing cheeks otsa.

    Farage is neither, and if you have watched him for any length of time, you would know that, he is a conservative leaning classical liberal.

    The Austrian was a communist who left that party to join and eventually lead another bunch of socialist ragamuffins.

  2. John, the moderator does not allow me to leave an email contact, which is my given and family name with a dot separating the two parts, hosted by Google’s service gmail.

      • John, if I remember you are Canadian (or, what is better, an Ontarian), and I am your provincial cousin from upper-latitude Alberta.

        • Upper-latitude Alberta, Gaurav? Not Slave Lake by any chance? My wife used to live in Cold Lake (the RCAF base further south) and our children live in Edmonton. Next time I’m out that way, we should get together for a curry and some gossip about Myles Harris and Jane Kelly. Best wishes.

  3. Hitler was a German Original, the sort of seed that can’t take in any other soil, but his ghost travels far and wide, worrying everybody.

    • He wasn’t original for Germany – the novels of Elizabeth von Arnim (an Englander who married a Juncker military aristocrat) make that clear. One of her characters in book of 1898 was an anti-Semitic Lutheran pastor called – spookily – Adolph. When the Nazis arrived on the scene she saw them as just another rehash of Junckerism. My guess is that if we find a Christian country that has no anti-Semitic heritage it’s because we haven’t looked hard enough.

        • Ooof! When you look at – say – Spain and Italy – whose pernicious legal systems and social attitudes have been recently in the news, I’m not so sure Germany is or was any different or specially bad. Germans are certainly sad we are quitting the EU – unlike the French who, Wellington said, always have been, are now and (I trust) always will be our enemies. At last year’s Waldebuhne concert for Simon Rattle 22,000 Germans sang along to Land of Hope and Glory as happily as they did to Berlinerluft.

          • And why wouldn’t they? The German perversity isn’t sharp prejudice for the local or the familiar, virtually every locality in the world would vie for that title. Call it racial typology and outdated if you like, but here it is, and certainly I’m not the first to say it – the same turn that makes the Germans extraordinary in science, music, and metaphysics, renders them pitiless and monstrous in the lower psychology of populism. I don’t know about you, but I see the same red line of perfect love/perversity from the German language through every German I’ve heard or read, to every German I’ve known, my wife included.

      • Also, sorry, ‘German Original’ meant ‘original to Germany’ not ‘original for Germany’, may be my Canadian English.

        • If you mean in the direction of Islam, totally agree as it’s in the scripture and practice and history to this day. That aside, I wonder though … are India and China anti-Semitic?
          ‘Let his blood be upon us and our children’ – was a line we were reminded of by Jesuits at school in reference to WW2.

  4. Jeremy Corbyn is implacably hostile to Israel and the USA. He hates his own country, too. I think the word ‘England’ would stick in his throat.

  5. The mistake you’ve made is to say the Labour/Corbyn do not show paranoid aggression towards anyone. Israel? Anyone who utters the words ‘right of return of the Palestinian people’ is either ignorant of the ethnic cleansing that has reduced Jews to a thumbnail-sized piece of land in their own ancestral territory or just a bigot – fascist in the dictionary and historical sense of the word.
    The sad fact is that our biased and stupid press and broadcasting journalists are innocently ignorant of the history of Jews in Arab lands – persecuted, vilified, taxed and murdered since Islam’s anti-Semitic, racist teachings took hold of the Arab mind.
    However, your main point I think is that our floppy constitution is vulnerable to dictatorship in a way that the USA’s is not, and I agree. One could imagine an authoritarian and repressive PM, backed by some millions of Islamists of the sort we’ve seen in Birmingham, imposing backward social and educational policies and using ‘hate speech’ laws to silence and imprison dissent.