law and transgrssion - was Re: Race & Murder

Jim heartfield jim at
Tue Apr 27 12:34:54 PDT 1999

In message < at>, Wojtek Sokolowski <sokol at> writes

>Richard Rubenstein (_The cunning of history : the holocaust and the
>American future_ New York: Harper and Row, 1978) convincingly argues that
>spontaneous popular riots, such as Kristallnacht, is anti-thetical to
>institutionalized repression of minorities, because it "shortcuts" the
>control mechanisms of the totalitarian state, i.e. it is an initiative from
>below rather than from above. Fascist violence might look to an untrained
>eye as outbursts of mob behavior, but it is usually carefully orchestarted
>by the powers that be. "Law and order" "authority toward below,
>responsibility toward below" and structured institutional order are the
>essence of fascism.

This sounds very interesting. There is a passage in Franz Neumann's 'Behemoth' on Nazi Germany, written in 1944 where Neumann speculates that, paradoxically, the German people were amongst the _least_ anti- Semitic. I think he meant that Germany's race laws were introduced through terror, with the armed suppression of opposition groups and the effective suppression of democracy.

By contrast, white supremacy in Britain's empire, and in America's deep south were introduced with the support of the mass of people.

It's a somewhat forced argument, but I take it to mean something like this: racial ideology is a spontaneous identification of people with their race/nation. Such freely willed racism is rather different from the armed repression of fascist institutions. The resort to rule by terror is a sign that rule by consent has failed. -- Jim heartfield

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