By: Brent Parrish
G. Edward Griffin does an excellent job in explaining a very important connection between socialism, communism and fascism — one that is routinely overlooked and misunderstood, in my humble opinion.
The often heard mantra from the left-side of the political spectrum, that fascism is a right-wing ideology, while communism-socialism is considered a left-wing philosophy, never made much sense to me.
Consider this article from 1925 that appeared in an edition of the New York Times from none other than Dr. Joseph Goebbels, the infamous propaganda minister of The Third Reich:
Let’s just be sure we are clear on what the previous screen capture shows from The New York Times newspaper. Dr. Joseph Geobbel’s allegedly said:
“On the speaker’s assertion that Lenin was the greatest man, second only to Hitler, and that the difference between communism and the Hitler faith was very slight …”
Now, if we carefully read the last part of Goebbel’s quote, we read something that flies in the face of what most Marxist educators teach. So I’ll include the entire quote below, my emphasis:
“On the speaker’s assertion that Lenin was the greatest man, second only to Hitler, and that the difference between communism and the Hitler faith was very slight, a faction war opened with whizzing beer glasses.“
— Joseph Goebbels
Well … wait a minute! (I hear the devoted Marxist saying right now), I thought socialism in Germany, at this time, was just a popular movement with the German people? Au contraire, comrade, hence the “whizzing beer glasses.”
Germans hated communists and Bolsheviks, and the like, at this time. Not surprisingly, early Hitlerite propaganda started to remove any glowing references to communism or Bolshevism. It was intensely unpopular with many Germans in the 1920-30’s.
It is worth noting, that when Adolf Hitler was still in the German Army, he was assigned the task of penetrating left-wing groups. It was one group, in particular, The German Workers Party, that Adolf Hitler eventually took over. This was the auspicious beginnings and original core of the group of people who ominously became the National Sozialistische Deutsche Arbeiter Partei (National Socialist German Workers Party), which are typically referred to as the Nazis.
The whole notion that there really isn’t a plug nickel’s worth of difference between fascism and communism is an assertion that will send your friendly, resident socialist into an apoplectic fit (at least in my experience). But what is the common link between socialism, fascism, communism, and every other ism known to mankind? Collectivism–the religion of the “common greater good,” the group over the individual, the state over the slave, the tyrant over the subjects. It is the wiping out of individualism, which is anathema to the collectivist.
And often times, this is the point where the collectivist attempts to divert the individualist into their swamp of isms, particularity if trained in some of our more prestigious institutes of higher leftist learning like Harvard, Yale, Columbia, etc.–The Eastern Establishment.
The “mission statement” of ideologies like socialism and communism — meaning: a borderless and classless world, where all will be one, living in perfect harmony, surrounded with endless abundance, where all wants and needs are provided for by the state (Nirvana, Heaven on Earth, Workers’ Paradise, Utopia, etc.) – exposes a rather glaring contradiction, when one considers the tactics and processes used in order to bring about a collectivist society.
Collectivism is riddled with factionalism. Ironically, creating factions and splitting apart their opponents is one of the tactics used by collectivists to bring about collectivism … for the alleged purpose of creating a classless society of “equality and perfect harmony.” The purposeful agitation and creation of conflict between groups of people forms the core political strategy for our radical leftist friends. Yet, I don’t think a proud collectivist can deny the existence of the many layers and flavors often attributed to socialist and communist ideologies, and systems.
When discussing the philosophy and history of collectivism in the academic setting, I have often been led on an endless and circuitous journey into the magical world of Ism by some of my esteemed instructors and fellow students. For example, under the umbrella of collectivism, we have communism, socialism and fascism. But, like one devoted Marxist I met in college years ago, with spittle flying from his lips, gently admonished me by saying, “DO YOU KNOW HOW MANY FLAVORS OF COMMUNISM THERE ARE?!”
Obviously, he was very correct. There are so many flavors of communist ideology–like Maoism, Stalinism, Leninism, Marxist-Leninism, Eurocommunism, Trotskyism, Stalinism, Titoism, Humanism, Prachanda Path, Luxemburgism, Council Communism, etc. Within the seemingly infinite types of communism, you have numerous factions of individuals–like Stalinists, Marxists, Socialists, Lovestonites, Trotskyites, Browderites, etc.
This is where we start going around in circles, and the contradictions start piling up thick, in my opinion. According to Dr. Bella Dodd, communist leaders never publicly proclaim communism, but rather socialism. Of course there are the various flavors of socialism — namely, National Socialism, Welfare Socialism, World Socialism, Economic Socialism, Economic Democracy, Social-Democracy, Global Governance, etc.
Ivor Thomas, a journalist and author who served eight years as a Member of Parliament (MP) in the British Labour Party, concluded, in his book The Socialist Tragedy (1951), socialism and communism have three identical aims: ownership, income, and planning. He wrote, my emphasis:
“We have now reached the conclusion that a fully socialist state, just like a fully communist state, would have the following characteristics:
“There would be no private ownership, but only public ownership and control, which in practice usually means state ownership and always means state control, of the land with its ores and minerals, the mines and quarries, the farms, works, mills and factories with their equipment, the transport systems, and the banks.
“No individual income would be derived from rent, interest or profit, but the only source of individual income would be wages and salaries, possibly professional fess, and state payments (pensions and allowances).
“All the economic activities of the country would be consciously planned by a central planning authority.
“These common features of socialism and communism are so all-embracing, and so many consequences flow from them, that we may feel tempted at this point without further ado to declare that a fully socialist state will not differ from a fully communist state. If we want a common name for socialism and communism there is not an inapt term in collectivism….”
Oh, but we are not done yet! This brings us to the present day, featuring even more stratification in the communist layers. Not only do we have the aforementioned variations of communism, i.e. socialism, but we now have new flavors–like Progressivism, Liberalism, Communitarianism, Alinskyism, etc., and so-called “Non-Marxist Communism“ like Christian Communism (see Liberation Theology) and Anarchist Communism (Anarcho-Syndicalism).
By the way, hero of the radical left, Noam Chomsky, identifies himself as an “anarcho-syndicalist.”
The attempt of the anarchist-communists to divorce themselves from Karl Marx et al. is rather laughable, since it all falls under the umbrella of collectivism, in my opinion. I do understand the distinction our anarchic-syndicalist comrades are trying to make–mainly, that the implementation of collectivism will not be accomplished via communist parties, but rather by mass organizations like labor unions, tax-exempt foundations and large corporations that fund and promote collectivist policies via the Democratic Party and the Progressive Congressional Caucus.
But I will have to take exception with the syndicalists. It was V. I. Lenin who wrote the labor unions are “the transmission belts from the Communist Party to the masses.” Labor unions are by far the biggest contributors to the Democratic Party. So, I think a more academically accurate description of the anarcho-syndicalist would be a Marxist-Leninist — a communist who does not simply theorize about socialism, but puts it into practice.
Granted, even at this point in the scholarly debate, the lumping of fascism and socialism together is just too much for the devoted socialist or democrat to bear (not to mention the “useful idiots”). But I’m certainly not the only one who has posited socialism and fascism are practically indistinguishable from one another … only in the sense that Hitler’s form of socialism was national, while Soviet communism focuses on the international. But this alleged distinction goes down in flames when one considers that Hitler’s ultimate aim was world domination. I guess I might call that “international” in scope as well. But that’s just me.
Hitler, spoken to Otto Strasser, Berlin, May 21, 1930:
I am a Socialist, and a very different kind of Socialist from your rich friend, Count Reventlow. . . . What you understand by Socialism is nothing more than Marxism.
On this, see Alan Bullock, Hitler: a Study in Tyranny, pp.156-7; and Graham L. Strachan “MANUFACTURED REALITY: THE ‘THIRD WAY’”
Gregor Strasser, National Socialist theologian, said:
We National Socialists are enemies, deadly enemies, of the present capitalist system with its exploitation of the economically weak … and we are resolved under all circumstances to destroy this system.
F.A. Hayek in his Road to Serfdom (p. 168) said:
The connection between socialism and nationalism in Germany was close from the beginning. It is significant that the most important ancestors of National Socialism—Fichte, Rodbertus, and Lassalle—are at the same time acknowledged fathers of socialism. …. From 1914 onward there arose from the ranks of Marxist socialism one teacher after another who led, not the conservatives and reactionaries, but the hard-working laborer and idealist youth into the National Socialist fold. It was only thereafter that the tide of nationalist socialism attained major importance and rapidly grew into the Hitlerian doctrine.
See also his chapter 12: “The Socialist Roots of Naziism.”
Von Mises in his Human Action (p. 171) said:
There are two patterns for the realization of socialism. The first pattern (we may call it the Lenin or Russian pattern) . . . . the second pattern (we may call it the Hindenburg or German Pattern) nominally and seemingly preserves private ownership of the means of production and keeps the appearance of ordinary markets, prices, wages, and interest rates. There are, however, no longer entrepreneurs, but only shop managers … bound to obey unconditionally the orders issued by government.
Another objection to the claim that fascism and communism only differ in minor ways is the very real historical fact that Hitler crushed both the communists and the labor unions in Germany. Well, Hitler eventually killed his own people, as did Soviet leader Joseph Stalin. Hitler simply co-opted left-wing groups and labor unions to facilitate his own rise to power; and then he clamped down with an iron fist, eliminating anything and anyone who stood in his way.
Joseph Stalin behaved in a similar fashion, even having completely innocent people executed, for the express purpose of instilling fear and terror into the populace and his inner-circle, and to demonstrate his ruthlessness to anyone who would dare threaten or challenge his authority as a Supreme Leader. As both Hitler and Stalin assumed more power, it became quite dangerous and precarious for those within the inner-circles of both merciless tyrants, proving deadly for some, if not many.
Furthermore, the Marxist votary is not fond of facing the historical fact of the close collusion of Hitler and Stalin–such as the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact (also known as the Non-Aggression Pact). The treaty permitted the trade of oil and material between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany, prior to the Nazis invading the Soviet Union in 1941. Stalin literally helped Adolf Hitler build his war machine, and then was stunned and shocked when Hitler attacked Mother Russia. Additionally, during the Nazi invasion of Poland in 1939, half of Poland was turned over to the Soviets per agreement with Germany.
But even though I may explain all of this to a devout communist-socialist, some will still exclaim that Hitler just co-opted socialism, claiming it was a “popular movement” among the German people, prior to Der Fuerher’s creation of the fascist, Nazi state, i.e. National Socialism. Well, at this point, my only answer to such a dogmatic stance would be … you must have missed the “whizzing beer glasses” part.