Wednesday 4 February 2009

Socialism- Right or Left?

I have seen a number of blogs recently debating that age old question; whether the Nazis were left wing or right wing.

Interesting question.

On the one hand, very potent question.
On the other, totally meaningless.

It is potent, because it pinpoints the falsity of the current left-right paradigm. It is meaningless, because it at face value, it is stuck in that paradigm.

But let's look at what it's error is in principle. It's error, perhaps, is in misunderstanding Socialism and seeing Socialism as some would present it.

To clarify; I am most certainly NOT a Socialist.

Now you're puzzled...

Ok, I define myself as a Marxist. And Libertarian. Therefore, that makes me a Left-Libertarian. Yes, if you want to use that label. I would argue that you cannot really be a libertarian if you only want to replace the power of the state with the power of private corporations. I you truly want freedom, you want all power structures made small. You want true democracy, true popular control, in fact, you want what to many people is no government at all; You are a Positive Anarchist.

Unfortunately, Social Democracy in it's true sense- a true democracy of the people having full democratic control of the entire infrastructure and being in their entirety the Executive, Legislature and Judiciary has been confused with Socialism.

Or one might say, Socialists have seized Marxist rhetoric and used it for their own ends.
It is not that National Socialism is a fake form of Socialism; it is that Socialism itself is a fake, Socialism an ideology of the right. The far right. And it successfully achieves its goals by duping radicals into marching with it.

If right and left mean anything, they mean this. Right wing is those who are cautious about true progress, Left is those who embrace it. But quite obviously this has become perverted in the twentieth century by so many of the obvious standard bearers of the left actually being right-wingers in disguise, presenting Socialism as a logical development of the left, using the LANGUAGE and the ideals of progress and applying them to the true aims of Socialism.

And this of course, has meant that many Conservatives have seen themselves as the true progressives. Because often, they have been dimly aware that he perversity of this situation has meant the reactionaries have been the defenders of progress.

Why has this been so? Well, because the reality is, whilst Capitalism lasted, it had to be left to run it's course. Yes, Marx and others showed what the future will be. But a TRUE Marxist knows that the only way to progress is to let things evolve naturally. You can't 'overthrow' Capitalism, it will overthrow itself. So for much of the twentieth century, the way to progress has been working within democracy and trying to keep as much popular control of the system as possible, encouraging genuine democratic mass movements, keeping an eye on the party system, confounding the lies of politicians.

The aim of the true progressive is for the system to evolve naturally into a true democracy, with communal ownership and no centralised apparatus of state.

Now, when Socialist movements have used this language, it hasn't been their real aim.
What was/is the real aim of the Socialist movement?

The same. The end. Stalin. Hitler. It's all there in the beginning. INGSOC isn't a perversion of Socialist aims, it was always the aim of all Socialist movements.

From the start, it was based on the idea of finding a newer alternative to the Monarchical system. And it looks to find that in a centralised state with a centralised executive. A one party state.
The man in Whitehall really does know what is good for the people better than the people do themselves.

The problem is, people made the mistake of confusing Marxism with Socialism. That is to misunderstand Socialism.

The whole point of Socialism, is that it is Scientific Dictatorship. Read the writing of the Comte St Simon, the essential founder of it. He envisioned a centralised world state governed by the 'Council of Newton'. Socialism simply seizes whichever science or philosophy supports its aims. The Nazis perverted Darwin, the Bolheviks perverted Marx. But that doesn't make either Darwin or Marx responsible for the systems they set up.

And it is worth noting that a good look at much Socialist writings in Britain at the turn of the twentieth century- think HG Wells for a start- demonstrates that National Socialism fitted in very nicely with a lot of very traditional Socialist thinking. Wells, for example, happily talks of exterminating 'lesser races'.

Both Hitler and Stalin were equally Socialist. And Stalin stole the name of Marx, as Hitler stole that of Darwin.

Socialism has achieved a clever trick, it has provided a lamp to shine like a beacon for all those disillusioned with the system to flock to, not realising they're fleeing from the frying pan towards the fire.

Socialism is the systematic attempt to use the language of revolution, of democracy, of progress, of COMMUNISM (which is a TRUE progressive term) and use it to set up reactionary tyrannies of the type the French Revolution was supposed to have ended, only shiny and modern looking.

So in that sense, Tony Blair is one of the truest Socialist leaders the world has seen.

You see, it is the point I think Orwell missed. Orwell's INGSOC had chosen to freeze the pendulum, using the logic 'One does not establish a dictatorship to safeguard a revolution, one starts a revolution to establish a dictatorship'.

That has always been the point of ALL Socialist movements. The reason Marx appealed to Socialist movements is his theory concedes a temporary dictatorship may be necessary. So he's a useful canard for Socialists to use.
That's the point. Marxists want the revolution. Socialists want the Dictatorship. They always have. That is the POINT of the creed, Dictatorship for Dictatorship's sake. Their overwhelming success has been in hiding that and attracting to their cause millions who believed that it wasn't.

But never forget, Hitler and Stalin followed the same creed, the same creed outlined in 1984, the creed of reaction, the creed of the New Monarchy; Socialism.

The aim of Socialism has been to catch the power of the Kings before it trickled down to the People and could never again be caught.
To freeze history in a given moment.

In future generations, I'm sure, we will remember Marx as one of the greatest thinkers ever, and we will wonder how his name came to be associated with an ideology that bore no resemblance to his thought, a reactionary creed, aimed at autocracy where he strove for democracy.

So I guess Left and Right can mean little, really. It's a false construct.

The real point is; Do you believe that the people serve the system, or the system serves the people?


Anonymous said...

I got reprimanded (I mean I got sharp comments in red pen) for saying in a university essay that Hitler was left wing because his was the national SOCIALIST party. + I added for good measure that no other socialism lives up to it's ideals either ~ hence the low mark and exclamational comments I got in return!

Anonymous said...

Orwell's comment - rather, O Brien's comment - is meant as a satire on the dictatorship loving intellectuals in Europe who thought, or pretended to think, that the dictatorship was only needed for a bit, and utopia would follow.

Excellent post, though. How do you get the time to study all this stuff?

Anonymous said...

I get the feeling that any comments I make would be skew, for I don't know anyone who defines the terms socialism, nazism, left-right as you have done here. To me this is a prime example of Orwell's fear that language could evolve to become useless, for it doesn't allow us to form an arguments that have any similarity to how others perceive them.

I guess one could feel free to argue that we have a right to define words as we choose. But if that's the case, then we'll soon run into a type of Babel experience, with many people speaking their own personal language.

Anonymous said...


An interesting post. Definitely makes you think, and it did me, at least to organise things more in my head.

Firstly I think you concentrate too much on the left/right axis here. I see politics like a globe, or closed universe, with left and right the equivalent of east and west.

If you go far enough in one direction you get a communist dictatorship, the other way a fascist one. But the thing is... they blend into each other on the other side of the political globe, or universe.

Clearly Fascism grew out of socialism Mussolini's so-called "Third way". Socialism has many of the same roots as Communism.

I figure Communism and Fascism in their extreme authoritarian forms are related. Both seek to compel otherwise unwilling obedience.

I figure there is another political axis to plot on that globe/universe, one that mostly gets forgotten, or fudged/ignored, by the main parties and the MSM media. The Authoritarian/Libertarian axis.

Communism/Fascism is where the Left/right axis meets up right on the other side, along with Authoritarianism.

Fascism without the authoritarianism is just a set of laws and regulations that control how individuals and bodies like companies interact. The thing about imposing laws and regulations is that it gets out of hand and the more you need the harder they need to be enforced, a slippery slope.

And who gets to decide what to enforce, what is good?

Combined with Tribalism or Racism and eugenics a nightmare...