Tim Stanley and National Socialism
On the 26th of February the Telegraph (Britain's oldest and most renowned national newspaper) published an article by the columnist Tim Stanley. The piece is called 'Hitler wasn't a socialist. Stop saying he was'.
Tim Stanley certainly isn't one of the better Telegraph journalists; though he may be one of the youngest. Quite simply, Stanley appears to have only consulted analyses of both socialism and Hitler which were written by Marxists. Whether or not all these historians and theorists are self-described "Marxists" is more or less irrelevant; as is the question as to whether or not Stanley knew that they were Marxist analyses.
Many British people have been bred on various Marxist historical and theoretical analyses of “Adolf Hitler and the rise of the Nazis”. Indeed some of the UK's best-known historians and theorists were Marxists (e.g., Eric Hobsbawm , E. P. Thompson, Christopher Hill, Perry Anderson, Edward Arthur Thompson, and Ralph Miliband). No doubt these Marxists, and other writers who aren't Marxists across the board, have provided Tim Stanley with some of the source material for his article.
Is Tim Stanley a Marxist? No.
Some of Tim Stanley's arguments -- if that's the right word -- are no less than childish. Take this one:
"Tony Blair once said he was a socialist [like Hitler], too. So labels can be misleading."
Tim Stanley, some claim, "once said" he was a conservative. (Stanley's beliefs have fluctuated wildly over the last ten years or so.) Despite that, he offers us a Marxist analysis -- quite literally! -- of Hitler and the Nazis. However, when I say that Tim Stanley -- or anyone else for that matter -- offers us a Marxist analysis of X or Y, I'm not thereby saying that he's an outright Marxist -- full stop. Marxists analyses of all sorts of things are in the air and have been for a long time. This simply means that many people aren't even aware that they are offering us a Marxist analysis of X or Y.
Take the very popular Marxist analyses of Islam which are prevalent at the moment. All of which seem to completely disregard Islam's religious nature and the autonomy or free will of Muslims. Islam, according to such analyses, is simply -- or basically -- the “super-structural” expression of “poverty”, “alienation”, “foreign interventions” or even of the high price of bread. That is, according to Marx and contemporary Marxists, Islam is simply “the sigh of the oppressed creature.” Marxists are, therefore, denying Islam -- and the minds of millions of Muslims -- the right or ability to run free of “socioeconomic material conditions”. In other words, this is classic Marxist materialism as applied to Islam and one billion Muslims.
Tim Stanley, as well as Marxists, also assume this very same lack of independence from socioeconomic material conditions -- or from capitalism -- in the cases of Hitler and National Socialism.
Hitler and the Capitalists
Many Marxists are one-tune merchants when it comes to Hitler and the Nazis. That single tune is that Nazism was all about capitalism. And, of course, blaming the entire ideology of Nazism on capitalism (as well as all the actions and beliefs of Hitler) is a bit like blaming everything on the Jews.
The Marxist Nazism-capitalism angle is two-fold:
1) Nazism arose because of capitalism and its failures.
2) Hitler gained power because of capitalism (or at least because of capitalists).
Marxists like simple explanations because they are politically simpleminded. However, that simplemindedness doesn't arise because Marxists are thick or stupid. The simplicity of Marxist theories or explanations are necessary for the revolutionary project.
In the case of Tim Stanley himself, what's his basic point? It really is very simple: some of the people who supported the Nazis were capitalists. I agree. Nonetheless, most of his supporters weren't. It is of course then added, by Marxists and Tim Stanley, that this capitalist support was what “really mattered” to Hitler because capitalists supplied money, power, and influence. Nonetheless, capitalists, of various kinds, have also supported various communist/Trotskyist parties, George Monbiot (the Green-socialist toff and snob), environmentalist parties and groups, the American Democratic Party, and the British Labour Party.
It's also the case that some capitalists - and who can blame them -- support the political party (as with the Nazis) which they think will gain power. Or, alternatively, they support the winners after they have gained power.
In addition, it could equally be said that Hitler required working class and (national) socialist support just as much as he required capitalist support.
Tim Stanley makes more of his capitalist-Hitler scenario when he tells us that "Hitler defined his politics so absolutely as a war on Bolshevism.” And because of that war, Hitler “won the support of the middle-classes, industrialists and many foreign conservatives.”
For a start, Hitler didn't win the support of all the middle-classes because many of them were communists, socialists, liberals, old-style conservatives, etc. He wouldn't have won the support of all the “industrialists” either because many of them would also have been old-style conservatives or liberals. And the idea that all “foreign conservatives” supported Hitler is outrageous and obviously false. (Tim Stanley doesn't use the word “all”; though that is what he implies.)
In addition, if Hitler had won the support of naturists or green environmentalists (which, in the latter case, he did); that wouldn't have shown us that Hitler's Nazism was all about naturism or all about green environmentalism. Neither would such support show that Hitler wasn't a socialist or that he was a friend of capitalism; as numerous of his own quotes show!
Surely only a Marxist would totally disregard Hitler's thirteen or so years of explicit socialism (from 1919 to 1933) followed by the following years of slightly less explicit socialism.
For a start, no one has ever claimed that Hitler's socialism was identical to Marx's (revolutionary) socialism. Then again, Lenin's or Trotsky's socialism wasn't identical to Marx's socialism either; just as, today, the socialism of the UK's Socialist Workers Party is not identical to that of the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB).
Tim Stanley himself says:
"Yet, by this very definition, Hitler wasn't a socialist. Marxism is defined by class war, and socialism is accomplished with the total victory of the Proletariat over the ruling classes."
Here Stanley succinctly and mindlessly fuses Marxism with socialism. This is a thoroughly Marxist analysis because it ignores all the other alternative non-revolutionary -- and even alternative revolutionary -- socialisms which existed both before and after Marx.
Tim Stanley also simply assumes, as do all contemporary Leftists, that socialists cannot “by this very definition” also be nationalists and racists.
This Telegraph columnist also displays his political inanity and naivety when he attempts to prove Hitler's anti-socialism by telling us that “within weeks of becoming Chancellor of Germany when he started arresting socialists and communists.” Stanley concludes from this that "Hitler wasn't a socialist”.
The fact that Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin, Chairman Mao, Fidel Castro, Che Guevara, etc. also arrested, killed, and committed acts of violence against the wrong kinds of socialist seems to have escaped Tim Stanley's confident mind. In fact, in the struggle for power that is politics, even if Hitler had an exact replica or counterpart he would have still fought against him. (Think here about the bitter and often violent battles between rival Trotskyist groups.)
Finally, the Bolsheviks mentioned by Tim Stanley offered a rival brand of socialism -- international socialism. It was a bad kind of socialism to Hitler because it wasn't national (or racial) socialism.
Marxists, and by osmosis many non-Marxists (such as Tim Stanley himself), have -- for the last 70 years or so -- effectively erased the socialism from National Socialism. (Evidently they have kept the nationalism and the racism.) And it has all been an utter con. Nonetheless, it is a fully understandable con -- from a Leftist perspective -- in that Hitler's socialism ties him to all our contemporary communist/Trotskyist/ “progressive” socialists. In other words, it's crystal clear that Hitler’s fellow totalitarian socialists don't like this dirty family secret being made known to the wider public. This is strange, really, because literally every day International Socialists in the U.S. and UK betray their totalitarian instincts (e.g., in the UK they are keen on ending free speech) and thus their many family resemblances to both Adolf Hitler and to National Socialism.