Bulletin N° 787
We recommend Ken Russell’s classic film adaptation of the D.H. Lawrence’s novel, which depicts social relationships in rapidly industrializing societyafter World War I, at the time of the rise of Fascism in Europe, and before the second impersonal, anonymous, industrial-scale murder of millions of people in capitalism’s Second World War. Starring Alan Bates, Oliver Reed, Glenda Jackson, and Jennie Linden.
"Women in Love"
Subject : OPPRESSON, SUPPRESSION, REPRESSION : SOCIAL MOVEMENTS IN THE ERA OF SELF-CENSORSHIP.
25 February 2018
Dear Colleagues and Friends of CEIMSA,
There are two written records - one an historical account; the other an important literary achievement – that shed light on conditions that gave rise to German Fascism. We will continue to look at Fritz Stern’s account in Einstein’s German World (1999); then we will turn briefly to Christopher Isherwood’s character portraits in his novel, Berlin Stories (1935).
The liberal insights found in Stern’s history of 20th-century Germany are instructive today. In Chapter 8, where he criticized the much acclaimed book by Harvard historian Daniel Goldhagen, Hitler’s Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust (1997), Stern cites British historian Sir Lewis Namier, who once remarked:
the historical approach is intellectually humble; the aim is to comprehend situations, to study trends, to discover
how things work: and the crowning attainment of historical study is a historical sense – an intuitive understanding
of how things do not happen.(p.274)
Stern takes serious issue with Goldhagen’s metaphysics in this book. When, for example, he writes in Willing Executioners that, “German society . . . was axiomatically anti-Semitic” and that therefore “It is . . . incontestable that the fundamentals of Nazi anti-Semitism . . . had deep roots in Germany, as part of the cultural cognitive model of German society, and was integral to German political culture . . . . It is incontestable that this racial anti-Semitism which held the Jews to pose a mortal threat to Germany was pregnant with murder.” Stern challenges Goldhagen’s hypothesis: “I would say unprovable and implausible.”(p.276)
But was anti-Semitism the sole or even the most important bond between Hitler and the Germans? Was it responsible
for the failure of Germans to protest the first terrorist measures of the regime, the suppression of civil rights, the
establishment of concentration camps in March 1933? The existence of the camps was made public specifically
because they were intended to destroy political enemies and to intimidate potential opposition. From the very
beginning the Nazis used every vicious means of humiliation and terror – in public and sometimes , within the
insulated realm of the camps always – against all opponents, real and imagined, German or German Jew, man or
woman. They unleashed their pent-up savagery on Socialists and Communists (with the greatest brutality if they
happened to be Jews as well). Men were beaten in these camps, and murdered – yet silence was pervasive among the
Germans, who had begun to exult in their society’s outward order and slowly returning prosperity and power. Would
Goldhagen not acknowledge the likelihood of some link between Germans so sadistically falling upon their fellow
Germans and their treatment of people whom they came to demonize – Jews and Slavs in particular?(p.278)
Goldhagen’s book was on the New York Time’s best seller list for many weeks in the United States.
Note: Stern’s critical book review was first published in the autumn 1996 issue of Foreign Affairs.
On the question of Zionism, Stern ( 1926- 2016) emphasized the accomplishments of the Manchester University chemist Chaim Weizmann (1874-1952), who succeeded Theodor Herzl (1860-1904) as the apostle of Zionism. With the advent of Hitler and following a quarrel with Albert Einstein for his public criticism of Zionist policies in Palestine, Weizmann wrote that, “Einstein seems to be acquiring the psychology of a prima donna who is beginning to lose her voice.”(p.248) There is no question, that Weizmann had exhibited opportunistic genius in his calculations to wed Zionism to British imperialist interests.
Weizmann had made friends with and pro-Zionists of some of Britain’s great leaders, but no manner of ingenious persuasion would have prevailed but for this invocation of British self-interest; he kept insisting that after the defeat of Turkey and the assumption of British control over Palestine, a Jewish presence there would serve British interests. Meanwhile and immediately he served British interests at home. He had developed a new method for obtaining acetone, a vital ingredient in the manufacturing of heavy artillery, especially for the Royal Navy. The British government asked him to organize the production of acetone according to this technique. Weizmann threw himself into this new assignment in London, which enhanced his standing with the British establishment and added stature to his unofficial standing in the Zionist world. Thus the Great War, which saw the paroxysm of rapacious nationalism, proved as well to be the great historic chance for Weizmann and for Zionism.
By 1917, the Lloyd George government, itself but recently constituted, faced a desperate situation. The Germans had resorted to their ultimate weapon, unrestricted submarine warfare, and British losses on the high seas imperiled British subsistence. It was not certain that the country could hold out until American power could be thrown into the balance.
Meanwhile another battle had been going on for some time: the competitive exploitation of national discontent behind enemy lines. Germans encouraged rebellion not only in Ireland but in all possible areas of the British and Russian empires. The allies, somewhat less cynically, sought to rally the national minorities within enemy lands, especially those of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The subversion of Arabs against their Turkish rulers was an important, exotic enterprise - of great potential importance to Zionists. Some British liberals – here I think especially of R. W. Seton-Watson – had long studied and championed the demands of the Czechs, the Poles, and the South Slavs. For Britain now to champion their cause during the war was expediency gilded by principle ; the Americans came to take up the cause out of missionary zeal and a tinge of domestic political opportunism. Even as the Allies drew up plans for their own aggrandizement, they promised liberation to peoples outside their dominion. In many ways, the promise of national self-determination, however noble in the abstract, was to become the poisoned culmination of liberal hopes.
Already in peacetime, Weizmann had urged on leading British politicians the moral imperative of a Jewish homeland. I am thinking of Balfour, Lloyd George, Churchill, Mark Sykes, Robert Cecil and the great South African Jan Smuts. The war lent urgency to this demand just as his own scientific-practical talent in the service of British munition-making confirmed his loyalty. He now persuaded some of these same leaders that support of Zionism was to Britain’s immediate and long-term advantage: it would rally Jewish opinion in Europe and the United States at a time when the Germans were making serious efforts to claim Zionism for themselves and to play a pro-Jewish card in the parts of Eastern Europe they had newly conquered. Above all the British believed that support of Zionism would wean American Jewry from its pro-German (because largely anti-Russian) stance.(pp.236-238)
. . .
The Balfour Declaration of November 1917 marked the triumph of Weizmann’s early hopes. It was, in the words of a well-known diplomat-historian, Sir Charles Webster, ‘the greatest act of diplomatic statesmanship of the First World War.’ Here was a British commitment, a charter for the homeland. Weizmann knew perfectly well just how much British self-interest had inspired the declaration. As a leading historian recently pointed out, ‘The British were . . . determined to retain control of Palestine, once they had conquered it . . . to strengthen their position in a region deemed vital to the defensive system of the Empire.’ Weizmann assumed that there was and would remain an identify of interests between a powerful Britain and an emergent Jewish presence in Palestine, an identity of interests that would begin with a British protectorate over Palestine and ultimately promote Jewish statehood. He failed to foresee the decline of British power and self-confidence – but then only in retrospect do we see that the Great War desperately weakened the empire that had just endured its greatest trial. A country in decline, saddled with doubts about the imperial mission and with stirrings of guilt about the Versailles Treaty, would prove an uncertain protector of Zionism.(pp.239-240)
The unforgettable character portraits composed by Christopher Isherwood (1904-1986) in his book, Berlin Stories, reveal the social and psychological cost of Fascist activities in Berlin between 1929 and 1933, the same period in which my mother, a precocious young graduate from Kansas State University, had lived and studied in this city. The constant fear was palpable, and the meaning of life more or less limited by day-to-day survival tactics, with frequent attempts at escape from the dreary scenes of violence. Isherwood's memorable characters include the aging English gentleman, Authur Norris, whom we come to discover, is financially caught in the struggle between Nazis and Communists; then there is the protagonist, William Bradshaw - the author himself - who had just graduated from Cambridge University and had come to Berlin to teach English and to perfect his German language skills. He writes this account of his life in Berlin in the first person. Other characters include prostitutes, like Anni and Olga; pimps, like Otto Nowak; thieves - both small and big - like Gerhardt and Schmidt; political militants from the left and the right and the in-between, like Kuno, Bayer and Rudi; Anglophone expatriates like Friz Wendel and Helen Pratt and Sally Bowles; then there is his unforgettable landlady, Fraulein Schroeder; and the local police; and, of course, mysteriously behind the scenes, lurk the industrialists and the bankers and corrupt politicians, like Prignitz, Kuno, and van Hoorn, who remain amoral and ever ready to pickup large profits as opportunities appear in the looming European crisis.
Like any good literature, the essential elements in this autobiographical story are to be found by reading between the lines, in the nuances from living a life in daily terror. Below is one scene in which Isherwood captures the ‘banality of evil’ that characterized life in Berlin even before the Nazi seizure of power.
Early this evening I was in the Büllowstrasse. There had been a big Nazi meeting at the Sportpalast, and groups of men and boys were just coming away from it, in their brown or black uniforms. Walking along the pavement ahead of me were three S.A. men. They all carried Nazi banners on their shoulders, like rifles, rolled tight round the saves – the banner-staves had sharp metal points, shaped into arrowheads.
All at once, the three S.A. men came face to face with a youth of seventeen or eighteen, dressed in civilian clothes, who was hurrying along in the opposite direction. I heard one of the Nazis shout; ‘That’s him!’ and immediately all three of them flung themselves upon the young man. He uttered a scream, and tried to dodge, but they were too quick for him. In a moment they had jostled him into the shadow of a house entrance, and were standing over him, kicking him and stabbing at him with the sharp metal points of their banners. All this happened with such incredible speed that I could hardly believe my eyes – already, the three S..A. men had left their victim, and were barging their way through the crowd; they made for the stairs which led up to the station of the Overhead Railway.
Another passer-by and myself were the first to reach the doorway where the young man was lying. He lay huddled crookedly in the corner, like an abandoned sack. As they picked him up, I got a sickening glimpse of his face – his left eye was poked half out, and blood poured from the wound. He wasn’t dead. Somebody volunteered to take him to the hospital in a taxi.
By this time, dozens of people were looking on. They seemed surprised, but not particularly shocked – this sort of thing happens too often, nowadays. ‘Allerhand . . . .’ they murmured . Twenty yards away, at the Potsdamerstrasse corner, stood a group of heavily armed policemen. With their chests out, and their hands on their revolver belts, they magnificently disregarded the whole affair.(pp.200-201)
Such scenes of violence had a numbing affect on people living in Berlin during the much compromised Weimar Republic, when self-deception was the rule, and the ‘new normal’ had become self-censorship.
The 22 items below are presented as a harbinger of the approaching new phase of the crisis in which we find ourselves today. Certainly, we are not looking at the reenactment of European events of the 1930s, but this, in itself, is hardly reassuring, for "the first time is tragedy; the second time is farce . . . . "
Professor emeritus of American Studies
Director of Research
University of Paris-Nanterre
Center for the Advanced Study of American Institutions and Social Movements
The University of California-San Diego
Israel has long been the unchallenged bully in the Middle East, but now Tel Aviv will face consequences for its temper tantrums. That was the message from Damascus last weekend when the Syrian army shot down an Israeli F-16. The dramatic escalation happened as Israel claimed one of its warplanes was in Syrian airspace to intercept an Iranian drone that had been operating in Israeli territory. But, in reality, the Iranian drone was intercepted in the Golan Heights, which is Syrian land that has been illegally occupied by Israel since 1967. Of course, this didn’t stop major western publications like the Wall Street Journal from referring to the Golan as “Israeli airspace.” Nevertheless, the mainstream media was left in disbelief by the incident—the New York Times, for example, was startled to discover that “Israeli jets aren’t invincible.”
As usual, Israel painted itself as a victim of irrational Arab aggression. However, in fact, Syria was clearly acting in self-defence against repeated Israeli violations of its sovereignty. Even the head of the Israeli Air Force Air Division confessed that his country has carried out "thousands of operations in Syria" in the last year alone. This fact was missing from most mainstream news accounts, which portrayed Israel as a non-interventionist bystander in the Syrian conflict. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Not only has Israel repeatedly bombed Syrian government installations, it has also armed Jihadist rebel groups in the Golan Heights, coordinated with Al-Qaeda’s Syria affiliate against government forces and provided medical treatment to Al-Qaeda and Islamic State-linked rebels before sending them back into battle.
US Aggression in Syria – an Imperialist Blueprint
Information Clearing House Editorial, 23 February 2018
Syria’s prolonged conflict and misery going into its eighth year is no accident. It is by design. American imperialist design.
First though, we note the increasing reprehensible absurdity in this conflict. Turkey, which invaded Syria nearly a month ago in violation of Syria’s sovereignty, this week accused Damascus of “terrorism” after the Syrian government sent forces to defend the northern area near Afrin under assault from Turkey. Meanwhile, US forces, again illegally occupying Syria in violation of international law, claim to be fighting terrorist militia. Yet more often than not, the Americans are affording protection to various terrorist groups. Then when Syrian state forces advance to clear the terror groups, the US claims it is acting in “self-defense” by massacring whole units of the Syrian army. Further absurdity is due to France, which has been bombing Syria illegally along with the US and Britain, warning Iranian militia, who are legally present in Syria owing to Damascus’ approval, that they have to withdraw from the country.
Watch: Palestinian Killed
By Israeli Occupation Force Soldiers
by Tamara Nassar
A Palestinian man died after he was beaten by Israeli soldiers in the occupied West Bank city of Jericho early Thursday.
Yasin al-Saradih, 33, was arrested from his house at approximately 2 am, Eid Barahmeh, head of the Palestinian prisoners club in Jericho, told the Israeli newspaper Haaretz.
Israeli forces notified the family of al-Saradih’s death two hours later.
The Israeli military changed its story about the events surrounding al-Saradih’s death after a video emerged showing soldiers striking him.
The video shows a number of soldiers gathered around al-Saradih, some apparently beating him while he is on the ground. They then drag his body away. The video does not show al-Saradih posing any threat to them.
Finkelstein on Gaza: Who or What Has a Right to Exist?
Gaza ‘On Brink Of Collapse’
As Residents Remain ‘Caged In’
"Seventy percent of the people of Gaza are refugees. More than half are children. They're trapped, there's no way out," author Norman Finkelstein
Blowback: How Israel Went From Helping Create Hamas to Bombing It
by Mehdi Hasan
Palestine Is Still the Issue
John Pilger returned to the West Bank of Jordan and Gaza, and to Israel, to ask why the Palestinians, whose right of return was affirmed by the United Nations more than half a century ago, are still caught in a terrible limbo - refugees in their own land, controlled by Israel in the longest military occupation in modern times.
Israeli Soldier's Breaking the Silence
Avner Gvaryahu, Breaking the Silence's executive director interviews to BBC HARDtalk with Stephen Sackur.
From: "Moshé Machover"
To: "Moshé Machover" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Friday, 23 February, 2018 12:34:12 PM
Subject: Fwd: A new book in French: DOMINIQUE VIDAL ANTISIONISME = ANTISÉMITISME ?
Please see information below.
From: Arie Finkelstein
Subject: A new book in French: DOMINIQUE VIDAL ANTISIONISME = ANTISÉMITISME ?
Date: 23February2018 at 10:13:45 GMT
A new book in French: DOMINIQUE VIDAL ANTISIONISME = ANTISÉMITISME ?
I scanned several pages regarding Matzpen.
Masha Gessen: Russiagate Has Become a Conspiracy Trap Obscuring How Trump Is Damaging Nation
Human Rights over Religious Rites in Iceland
Iceland's mooted circumcision ban sparks religious outrage
HOW WE FIGHT FASCISM
Political theorist and activist Clara Zetkin (1857-1933). (Mr. Fish / Truthdig)
by Chris Hedges
In 1923 the radical socialist and feminist Clara Zetkin gave a report at the Communist International about the emergence of a political movement called fascism. Fascism, then in its infancy, was written off by many liberals, socialists and communists as little more than mob rule, terror and street violence. But Zetkin, a German revolutionary, understood its virulence, its seduction and its danger. She warned that the longer the stagnation and rot of a dysfunctional democracy went unaddressed, the more attractive fascism would become. And as 21st-century America’s own capitalist democracy disintegrates, replaced by a naked kleptocracy that disdains the rule of law, the struggle of past anti-fascists mirrors our own. History has amply illustrated where political paralysis, economic decline, hypermilitarism and widespread corruption lead.
Capitalism as Obstacle to Equality and Democracy:
The US Story
by Richard D. Wolff
The Cold War displaced the legacies of the New Deal. Time and Trump are now displacing Cold War legacies. Where capitalism was questioned and challenged in the 1930s and into the 1940s, doing that became taboo after 1948. Yet in the wake of the 2008 crash, critical thought about capitalism resumed. In particular one argument is gaining traction: capitalism is not the means to realize economic equality and democracy, it is rather the great obstacle to their realization.
If Extreme Capitalism is What Connects America’s Problems, Why Can’t Americans Figure it Out?
by Umair Haque
Here’s a tiny question. What links kids massacring each other at school, no functioning healthcare or retirement, no safety nets, no mobility or stability, the average person having less than $1000 in savings? They’re uniquely American problems, of course — and what connects them is extreme capitalism. No, they’re not the results of capitalism alone, as in sole cause and effect, of course culture and history play a role — but we’d be foolish not to see that capitalism is the thread weaving them together.
The Parkland High School Shooting
(February 14, 2018)
§ U.S. Military Trained Florida School Shooter to Be “A Very Good Shot”
· Emma Gonzalez’s Powerful Speech Demanding Gun Control
· “The Time to Act Is Now”: Florida School Shooting Survivors Confront Trump, Rubio on Gun Control
· “Young Karl Marx” Director Raoul Peck Responds to NRA Chief Calling Gun Control Activists Communists
Sent: Friday, 23 February, 2018
Subject: Marilyn Young Memorial Lecture; links to recent articles of interest; H-PAD broadsides
To members and friends of Historians for Peace and Democracy,
As a reminder, tonight from 6 to 8 pm Eastern time, a roundtable on "The Korean War Today" will constitute the first annual Marilyn Young Memorial Lecture at D'Agostino Hall, NYU Law School, 108 W. 3rd St., New York. It will be livestreamed at http://www.law.nyu.edu/livestreamb.
At the end of this message, following the links to recent articles, is a repeat of an announcement of H-PAD's series of "Broadsides for the Trump Era."
Links to Recent Articles of Interest
By Rebecca Gordon, TomDispatch.com, posted February 22
On the author’s experiences over the years teaching about the 9/11 attacks
By Nicolas J. S. Davies, Consortium News, posted February 20
Applies a 2003 analysis of the US “new imperialism” to the intervening years
By Dave Lindorff, London Review of Books blog, posted February 19
On the background of President Trump’s national security adviser, who insists that a military strike against North Korea be considered as a “serious option
By Scott Shane, New York Times, posted February 17
Contains many specifics of the past several decades
Articles by Robert Greenstein, Ryan Koronowski, Brett Samuels, and Fred Kaplan, Portside.org, posted February 15
By Stephen F. Cohen, The Nation, posted February 14
The author is a professor emeritus of Russian history and politics at Princeton University and New York University.
Canadian Dimension, posted February 7
Bruce Cumings teaches history at the University of Chicago.
By Jon Schwartz, The Intercept, posted February 6
By Fran Shor, Critical Education, posted February 13
The author is a professor emeritus of history at Wayne State University.
By Andrew J. Bacevich, New York Times, posted January 31
A review essay on Steve Coll’s new book Directorate S: The C.I.A. and America’s Secret Wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan
Thanks to Rusti Eisenberg and an anonymous reader for suggesting articles included in the above list. Suggestings can be sent to email@example.com.
Broadsides for the Trump Era
Historians for Peace and Democracy (H-PAD) is pleased to announce the publication of five broadsides, collectively called Broadsides for the Trump Era. You can access them on the H-PAD website, here https://www.historiansforpeace.org/broadsides-for-the-trump-era/ This is a new series of brief, printable handouts that summarize important historical events, movements, crises, and more that form the backdrop for our current political situation. And please check back at this site for additions in the near future!
The five broadsides, their authors, and a short summary of each is below.
Geoff Eley is a professor of history at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. His broadside, “Is Trump a Fascist?" addresses this question and draws on historical comparisons to determine what fascism is, and whether or not the current administration is, indeed, fascist.
Linda Gordon is a professor of history and a University Professor of Humanities at New York University. Her broadside explores “The Ku Klux Klan of the 1920s” and examines what the Klan was, its ideology, constituency, use of violence, and accomplishments, and women and the Klan.
Jeremy Kuzmarov, is the Jay P. Walker assistant professor of history at the University of Tulsa. His broadside explores the political myths, interests, and impact of the “The U.S. War on Drugs” from its origins in the 1910s to today.
Robert Oppenheim is an associate professor in the Center for East Asian Center Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. His broadside “North Korea and Nuclear Weapons” discusses why North Korea developed nuclear weapons, the potential for eliminating or slowing its production of them, and whether or not North Korean has cheated on nuclear agreements.
Ellen Schrecker is a retired professor of American history at Yeshiva University. Her broadside, “McCarthyism, 1947-1960,” answers key questions about McCarthyism, such as what was it, who sponsored it, how did it end, and what were the long-lasting results.
Margaret Power, co-chair, firstname.lastname@example.org
Note: You are receiving this email as a member or friend of Historians for Peace and Democracy (see https://www.historiansforpeace.org/). If you no longer wish to receive these occasional messages, send an email to email@example.com?subject=unsubscribe.
Sent: Friday, 23 February, 2018 6:36:28 AM
Subject: Saturday, Re-introducing Collective Resistance San Diego; Community Potluck, noon to 3, 2/24/18
Fellow Workers, Friends,
Please come to our Collective Resistance San Diego (CRSD) community potluck and please bring a friend.
We have been working to build CRSD since November 2016.
INVITATION: Re-introducing Collective Resistance San Diego
Community potluck, sponsored by Collective Resistance San Diego
When: Saturday, February 24 at 12 PM - 3 PM
Where: U.N.I.T.E. H.E.R.E. Local 30, 2436 Market St, San Diego, California 92102
"Collective Resistance San Diego, is an alliance of several organizations in the San Diego revolutionary Left. We are holding this potluck to celebrate a year of organizing, re-introduce ourselves to the wider Left community and the San Diego community, and to develop next steps to building a united and strong Left in San Diego and beyond.
"We will have food and drink for all. This is a potluck, so all are encouraged to bring food and drink if they are in a position to do so.
"Our Agenda for the discussion is as follows:
1. Short History of CRSD - 10min
2. The organizational members of CRSD, -20min
Who we are and why we are member so CRSD
3. Our Plan for coming year -20min...
- Legal Defense Committee
- Community Self Defense
4. Open discussion -20min
"Collective Resistance San Diego"