Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Fri Sep 25 07:40:09 PDT 1998

>Marx: "The workers have no country."
>best, rakesh

"Bohemia and Croatia (another disjected member of the Slavonic family, acted upon by the Hungarian, as Bohemia by the German) were the homes of what is now called on the European continent 'Panslavism'. Neither Bohemia nor Croatia was strong enough to exist as a nation by herself. Their respective nationalities, gradually undermined by the action of historical causes that inevitably absorbs into a more energetic stock, could only hope to be restored to anything like independence by an alliance with other Slavonic nations."

--Karl Marx, "Panslavism--the Schleswig Holstein War"

List, like Marx and most 19th century thinkers, made ideological concessions to national chauvinism. For Marx and Engels, the explanation is that they considered the culmination of bourgeois revolutions to be a precondition for proletarian revolution. Hence, it was necessary to call for the supersession of "lesser" nationalities into the greater nationality. Their model was the French Revolution, which united all the various nationalities such as the Bretons into the French state, speaking the French language.

What is even more egregiously wrong is Rakesh's view of List as influencing the development of fascism in Germany. For all of his Marxist jargon, Rakesh often fails to interpret such institutions in a historical materialist fashion. He even goes so far as to quote a Frankfurter--Neumann--as an expert on fascism. The Frankfurters had a strictly idealist interpretation of the origins of fascism, unlike the Marxist approach of Trotsky or Guerin.

This notion of one set of ideas influencing another set of ideas until you end up with something like fascism is the sort of crap you get indoctrinated into in college political science courses, whose influence Rakesh seems to have trouble casting off.

The cause of fascism in Germany is neither List, nor Nietzsche, nor Wagner, nor any other nationalist thinker. It is rather WWI, superinflation, economic depression and failed bids for proletarian revolution. Hitler emerges out of this crisis and cobbles together a "program" based on whatever strands of national culture that can serve as an alternative to class-based socialism.

In Spain and Portugal, the main ideological prop of fascism was Catholicism. The speeches of Salazar and Franco are riddled with references to Jesus Christ and the need to extirpate godless Bolshevism from Iberian soil. So do we look to the Sermon on the Mount as a precursor to fascism?

Louis Proyect


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