Posts Tagged ‘‘Arbeit Macht Frei’’

The Nazi Labour Front and Tory Employment Policy

December 4, 2018

I found this very interesting passage in Robert A. Brady’s The Spirit and Structure of German Fascism (London: Victor Gollancz 1937). It’s about the Labour Front, or Deutschearbeitsfront to give it its German name.

This was the Nazi organization which was set up to replace the trade unions, which the Nazis declared were ‘Marxist’ and banned. This provided some recreational services to German workers through the Strength Through Joy movement and a minimum of restraint on employers. Instead of the trade union committee, there was a Council of Trustees, elected by the workers, but selected by the employer, whose job was to explain and promote the boss’ decisions, and give him any complaints the workers had.

But German employer-worker relations were strictly hierarchical, and followed the Nazi Fuhrerprinzip or ‘Leader Principle’. Just as Adolf Hitler was the Fuhrer of the German people, so the employer was the Fuhrer of his workforce. German employment law forbade the sacking of workers, who had been employed for over year without giving them due notice. And mass discharges in plants over a certain size had to be preceded by giving the Council of Trustees due written notice.

But the workers were also bound to their employers, and could not leave them if they worked on farms, while those that were employed in industry would not receive unemployment benefit for six weeks if they left their previous job without proper cause. Brady writes

Here as elsewhere the whole machinery redounds primarily to the advantage of the employer. Every effort is made to cut down labour turnover. In late chapters various methods for achieving this effect will be discussed. But the Labour Front has not been content with programmes for attaching workers to a given plot ground,, and hence to a particular employer, nor with an absolute prohibition against strikes of all kinds. These it heartily endorses, but it goes even further.

It goes so far, for example, as to declare workers who leave agricultural employment during the crop season saboteurs and unworthy of German citizenship. It warns all that “to gather well and surely the harvest is your foremost and weightiest task. Whoever neglects this duty and leaves his position with the farmer without due warning in order to into industry is a saboteur, and must be excluded from the community of the German people…” There are other and more direct punitive measures: “A labourer who gives up his work place without important or justified grounds or who has lost his position through a situation which justified his immediate discharge can receive as a rule no unemployment subsidy for six weeks…” Simultaneously, he can be “locked out” from his place of last, and all other employment until such time as he can submit proof of the reasons for losing the first job. (pp. 130-, my emphasis).

So far, workers aren’t being stopped from finding another job if they leave their previous employment, and farm labourers who give up their jobs aren’t being denounced as saboteurs. But it is Tory policy not to give unemployed workers unemployment benefit for a certain number of weeks. I can remember when it was brought in under John Major. You weren’t given unemployment benefit for a set period if you had made yourself ‘voluntarily unemployed’. And this policy has been extended to any unemployed individual, regardless of whether they left their job voluntarily or not, through the delays Cameron and May have built into the benefits system, and particularly with the problems accompanying the rollout of Universal Credit. So far, however, the Tories haven’t also followed the Nazi policy sending the ‘workshy’ – arbeitscheu – to the concentration camps. But perhaps its only a matter of time.

Tony Greenstein on his blog showed how completely false the accusations of anti-Semitism made against Corbyn’s supporters in the Labour party were by discussing the case of one man, who was so accused because he put up a photoshopped picture of a Jobcentre sign saying ‘Arbeit Macht Frei’. This was the Nazi slogan on the entrance to Auschwitz, ‘Work Makes You Free’. But there’s nothing anti-Semitic in the photo. It’s a comment on the government’s policy towards the unemployed. Particularly as Ian Duncan Smith, or some other Tory minister with a similar hatred for the proles, had actually written a newspaper column with a paragraph stating that ‘Arbeit Macht Frei’ was quite right. Someone else spotted the paragraph, and had it removed from the website on which it was posted, before they thought too many had seen it. But they had, and many had taken screenshots.

It is no exaggeration in this respect to say that the Tories are following Nazi policy towards the unemployed. And this is likely to get even worse the longer they’re in power. And if they carry on as they are, eventually the Tory conferences will start with May goose-stepping on to the stage to cries of ‘Sieg Heil!’ and ‘Duce, Duce!’

Anti-Tory Memes

April 14, 2015

These memes were all posted by some of the commenters over at Johnny Void’s blog, where he put up the figures released last week showing the complete and utter failure of IDS’ welfare reforms.

These memes show the reality of the Tories’ welfare policies: suffering, homeless and death, all to save their rich donors money and provide a cringing, fearful labour force.

IDS Death Meme

The one below shows IDS’ absolute hypocrisy, in talking about the terrible atrocities at Auschwitz and then importing its slogan to justify his own workfare policies. Policies which are also based on forced labour, and in which the sanctions that form a vital part of the control mechanism have also resulted in deaths.

Not that IDS is alone in using Auschwitz’ notorious motto. One of the Tories writing in one of the national newspapers also began his piece with the statement that although the slogan had become notorious because of its use by the extermination camp, it was nevertheless still valid and true. That section of the article ended up disappearing, as even Lynton Crosby or someone very like him realised how outrageous it was. It’s a pity the writer didn’t before he put his fingers to the keyboard, or IDS before he opened his mouth.

IDS Auschwitz Meme

And then there’s this piece, which I think Mike has put up already on Vox Political, with a hat-tip to Mr Void. This also shows the twisted morality of the Tory party when they try to justify their policies of attacking the poor and defenceless, while claiming that somehow they’re helping them.

Cameron Sanctions Homeless Meme

In the coming weeks Cameron and the other Tories are going to be doing their level best to lie to the public, telling them how caring they are, and that their welfare reforms aren’t really sadistically cruel and futile at all. Cameron has already been in the Independent trying to tell the voting public that he’s really a ‘compassionate Conservative’. Well, if he’s a compassionate one, I’d hate to see what the really nasty specimens are like. Although I’ve got a good idea looking at IDS, Peter Lilley, Osborne and the entire membership of UKIP.

So let’s use these memes to remind people of the reality.