Posts Tagged ‘Martin Bormann’

Adolf Hitler on Industry and Nationalisation

December 21, 2018

I’ve put up several articles making the point that the Nazis weren’t socialists, and that the promoted monopoly capitalism. However, Hitler did not want civil servants or Nazi apparatchiks to have interests in business because of the dangers of corruption. His example was the Danube Shipping Company, a private German firm which massively profited by having sitting members of the Weimar government on its board, who then awarded the company very large subsidies.

Some of Hitler’s views on the question of private industry versus nationalization can be found in his after dinner conversations, recorded by Martin Bormann, Hitler’s Table Talk (Oxford: OUP 1988). Hitler said

I absolutely insist on protecting private property.
It is natural and salutary that the individual should be inspired by the wish to devote a part of the income from his work to building up and expanding a family estate. Suppose the estate consists of a factory. I regard it as axiomatic, in the ordinary way, that this factory will be better run by one of the members of the family than it would be by a State functionary-providing, of course, that the family remains healthy. In this sense, we must encourage private initiative.

On the other hand, I’m distinctly opposed to property in the form of anonymous participation in societies of shareholders. This sort of shareholder produces no other effort but that of investing his money, and thus he becomes the chief beneficiary of other people’s effort: the workers’ zest for their job, the ideas of an engineer of genius, the skill of an experienced administrator. It’s enough for this capitalist to entrust his money to a few well-run firms, and he’s betting on a certainty. The dividends he draws are so high that they can compensate for any loss that one of these firms might perhaps cause him. I have therefore always been opposed to incomes that are purely speculative and entail no effort on the part of those who live on them.

Such gains belong by right to the nation, which alone can draw a legitimate profit from them. In this way, at least, those who create these profits – the engineers and the workers – are entitled to be the beneficiaries. In my view, joint-stock companies should pass in their entirety under the control of the State. There’s nothing to prevent the latter from replacing these shares that bring in a variable interest by debentures which it guarantees and which produce a fixed interest, in a manner useful to private people who wish to invest their savings. I see no better method of suppressing the immoral form of income, based only on speculation, of which England to-day provides the most perfect example. (pp. 362-3).

He also believed that the power industry should be nationalized in some way.

It’s obvious that the power monopoly must be vested in the State. That does not exclude the participation of private capital. The State would offer all its securities for investment by the public, which would thus be interested in the exploitation of the monopoly, or, rather, in the favourable progress of State business. The fact is that, when State affairs are not prospering, the holders of certificates can put a cross through their unearned incomes-for the various affairs in which the State is interested cannot be dissociated. The advantage of our formula would be to enable everyone to feel closely linked with State affairs. To-day, unfortunately, most people are not clear-sighted enough to realise the closeness of this link.

What is true of the power industry is equally true of all the essential primary materials – that is to say, it applies also to petroleum, coal, steel and water-power. Capitalist interests will have to be excluded from this sort of business. We do not, of course, contemplate preventing a private person from using the energy of the tiny stream that powers his small works.

In fact, Hitler was resolutely against profit-sharing and anything remotely like worker’s control in industry. He despised socialism, which he reviled as ‘Marxism’ and the trade unions. They were banned, and their members sent to the concentration camps. In their place was the Labour Front and its councils of trustees in factories, which were there to mediate between the workers and management, and to enforce the authority of the latter.

But Hitler is absolutely right about the problems of joint-stock firms. The Korean economist, Ha-Joon Chang, in his book 23 Things They Don’t Tell You About Capitalism, states that one of the problems with shareholder capitalism is that if the firm appears to be in trouble, the shareholders withdraw their money to invest in a better prospect somewhere else. This exacerbates the firm’s troubles. Those enterprises, which are either wholly or partly nationalized, or which have a degree of worker’s control, tend to be much more resilient as the state and the workforce have a greater interest in maintaining it as a ongoing concern.

As for the nationalization of the power and related industries, that was so obviously needed in Britain that when the Labour party nationalized the electricity and coal industries in late forties there was little opposition from the Tories and the Liberals.

Now Hitler’s own ideas on nationalization are very peculiar. He seems to wish to retain some aspects of capitalism after nationalization by allowing people to buy bonds in them. Or something like that. But when Margaret Thatcher was busy privatizing the utilities and everything else she was able to get her grubby mitts on, one of the leaders of the Labour party at the time also suggested that the party should instead look at schemes of issuing bonds in nationalized industries. This would also combine the perceived advantages of privatization with those of nationalization.

This scheme was suggested at the time when Maggie’s privatization programme was popular, or pretended to be. Her aim was to spread corporate ownership far beyond its traditional narrow base in the middle class, hence her reforms of the stockbroking industry. Britain was to become a capitalist nation of small investors.

This dream came to an end over a decade ago. By the early years of this century the Financial Times reported that the ordinary people at whom Thatcher had aimed her share-ownership scheme, had sold theirs and that all, or almost all of them, were once more back in the hands of major investors. In other words, the traditional, property-owning middle class.

Hitler was a monstrous tyrant, whose party plunged Europe into a war which killed forty millions, and who murdered 6 million Jews and 5 1/2 million non-Jews in the hell of the concentration camps. And it shows how far wrong Thatcherite orthodox economic theory is when even he talks sense about some subjects.

Privatisation has failed. It has failed to provide the investment needed to maintain and expand the utilities and other industries, and instead any profit these firms make now go out of the country to their foreign owners. It’s about time this was ended, and the firms renationalized, with their workers given seats on the board and a role in management.


Hitler and the Imprisonment of the Unemployed in Concentration Camps

December 15, 2018

A week ago I put up a passage from Brady’s The Spirit and Structure of German Fascism about how the Nazis prevented anyone, who had left their job without good reason, to receive unemployment benefit for several weeks. I pointed out that this was similar to legislation passed in the 1990s by John Major’s Conservative government, which also prevented those, who had voluntarily made themselves unemployed from getting benefit for a set period of time. And a few years or so ago now, I also put up pieces about the Nazis’ incarceration of the long-term unemployed, whom they stigmatized as ‘workshy’ – arbeitscheu – in concentration camps.

Flicking through Hitler’s Table-Talk (Oxford: OUP 1988), the Nazi leader’s dinner conversation as recorded by Martin Bormann, I found Hitler’s own ideas about it. Hitler said

The ten or fifteen thousand professional loafers who were lounging around Germany at the time of our assumption of power, and who showed no inclination to take a regular job when once German industry had started to function again, have been put into concentration camps. For it is ridiculous to try to deal by ordinary methods with muck of this kind. The fear of being put into a concentration camp has had a most salutary effect, and it greatly facilitated the gearing up of the gigantic industrial activity which our rearmament programme demanded. (p. 559).

This supports the case of one of the left-wing Labour supporters, who was falsely accused of anti-Semitism by the Blairites and the Israel lobby. He was accused because he’d put up on his webpage a photo of a jobcentre, with its sign reading Arbeit Macht Frei. This was the infamous slogan the Nazis had placed on the gates of Auschwitz, hence, presumably, why the poor fellows accusers tried to claim he was an anti-Semite. But the slogan simply means ‘Work Makes You Free’, and it was put over the top of many of the concentration camps even before the Nazis embarked on their vile ‘final solution’. And among the prisoners in them were long-term unemployed. The accused man was also quite justified in using the slogan to attack the Tories’ attitude towards the unemployed, because one Tory minister – I’ve forgotten who it was – had actually started an article in the online version of one of the papers defending the Nazi slogan and saying it was quite right. Until someone had a quiet word with him and told him that supporting the Nazis in anything was not the way to gain support and would just alienate people. As it would and should. So that part of the Tory’s article vanished soon after.

The Tories haven’t yet started imprisoning the unemployed in concentration camps. But they are killing them through their reforms to the benefits system, reforms which have seen tens or hundreds of thousands of people thrown of benefits for even the slightest infraction of the rules. Even when it involves matters beyond their control, such as if they were in hospital when they were supposed to attend their appointment at the jobcentre. And the very many disabled people, who have been forced into misery, starvation and death because they were declared ‘fit for work’ under the unscientific and fraudulent Fitness for Work tests.

The unemployed have also been used as a supply of cheap labour for private industry through the ‘welfare to work’ scheme. In this, they have been forced to take unpaid work in various firms and charities, if they wish to continue receiving their jobseekers’ allowance. This is supposed to prepare them for work. But research has shown that it does not, and in actual fact those forced onto these schemes are actually worse off at finding proper employment, than those who are able to make their searches.

The Tories aren’t working the unemployed to death in concentration camps just yet, but they have the Nazis contempt for them, which is poured out regularly in the pages of right-wing rags like the Scum and the Heil. But you do wonder how long before the Tories get sick of pretending to support the welfare state, and end unemployment benefit completely, leaving the poor to starve and die. Or else start opening concentration camps in which to imprison the jobless in order to teach them how to support themselves by working.

It would only be a natural extension of workfare, after all.

Hope Not Hate: Polish Fascist To Visit Britain

March 9, 2016

Dzien dobry mojym polskim przyjacielom! Which I hope means ‘Good morning to my Polish friends. One of the great events that have changed the world for the better in my lifetime has been the fall of the Iron Curtain. I really do think it’s great that people from eastern and western Europe can meet in peace and friendship, and visit and go to work and open businesses in each others’ countries. What worries me, is the rise of the extreme Right across Europe.

Hope Not Hate, the anti-racist, anti-religious extremism magazine posted up on their website yesterday the news that a Polish Fascist, Marian Kowalski, was coming to Britain in April to try and drum up recruits from the Polish community over here. See their report at Britain has benefited from its links to Poland and Polish workers. One of my uncles was Polish and Bristol has a Polish church. A few years ago, the Polish community in Bristol put on a display in the Central Library, showing some of their nation’s history and culture. Amongst the pilots who fought in the skies to keep this country free during the Second World War, most of the enemy aircraft shot down were by the Free Poles serving in the RAF. My old college also ran for a few years an exchange with a Polish college. The people I know, who went over there were impressed by their Polish exchange partners’ hard work. They told me that Britain had was greatly respected in Poland, because of the way we had stood and fought with them against the Nazi invasion that launched the Second World War.

It therefore amazes me that anyone in eastern Europe, and particular Poland, should support the Fascist right in any way whatsoever. I’ve blogged on this issue before. A day or so ago I put up a couple of pieces from Hitler’s Mein Kampf, Goebbel’s Diary and a Russian soldier describing the horrific atrocities and maltreatment the Nazis inflicted on Poles, and the other Slavonic peoples of eastern Europe. Hitler also made his contempt for the peoples of eastern Europe and his plans to enslave them very clear in his Table Talk, which was recorded by Martin Bormann. An English edition of this was published by Oxford University Press in 1988.

Here’s what the Fuehrer said about the Slavs:

It’s not a mere chance that the inventor of anarchism was a Russian. Unless other peoples, beginning with the Vikings, had imported some rudiments of organisation into Russian humanity, the Russians would still be living like rabbits. One cannot change rabbits into bees or ants. These insects have the faculty of living in a state of society – but rabbits haven’t.

If left to himself, the Slav would never have emerged from the narrowest of family communities. (p. 24)

The Slav people are not destined to live a cleanly life. They know it, and we would be wrong to persuade them of the contrary. It was we who, in 1918, created the Baltic countries and the Ukraine. We must likewise prevent them from returning to Christianity. That would be a grave fault, for it would be giving them a form of organisation.

I am not a partisan, either, of a university at Kiev. It’s better not to teach them to read. They won’t love us for tormenting them with schools. Even to give them a locomotive to drive would be a mistake. And what stupidity it would be on our part to proceed to a distribution of land! In spite of that, we’ll see to it that the natives live better than they’ve lived hitherto. We’ll find amongst them the human material that’s indispensable for tilling the soil. (Ibid).

As for the ridiculous hundred million Slavs, we will mould the best of them to the shape that suits us, and we will isolate the rest of them in their own pig-sties; and anyone who talks about cherishing the local inhabitant and civilising him, goes straight off into a concentration camp!

At harvest time we will set up markets at all the centres of any importance. There we will buy up all the cereals and fruit, and sell the more trashy products of our own manufacture. In this way we shall receive for these goods of ours a return considerably greater than their intrinsic value. The profit will be pocketed by the Reich to defray the price of the campaign. (p. 617).

And here’s Hitler sneer about the Poles:

‘As regards the Pole, it’s lucky for us that he’s idle, stupid and vain’. (p. 234).

This was how the Nazis regarded Poles and the other eastern European peoples, Czechs, Slovaks, Belorussians, Ukrainians and Great Russians – as sub-humans to be exploited and worked to death as slave labourers for the Reich. I’m acutely aware that the Poles have had to fight for their freedom against foreign domination in a way which Britain has been extremely fortunate not to have had to undergo. Nevertheless, Fascism and Nazism don’t have anything to offer anybody, except brutality, exploitation and mass murder. The last thing the peoples of Europe, in Britain, Poland, Germany or anywhere need is another set of fanatics trying breed hatred in the name of a perverted patriotism.