Alexander Reid Ross: Against the Fascist Creep (Book Review)

Alexander Reid Ross
Against the Fascist Creep
AK Press, Chico, Oakland, Edinburgh, Baltimore, 2017
ISBN 978-1-84935-244-4

In the introduction, Alexander Reid Ross, who is a lecturer in geography at Portland State, explains what he means by ‘fascist creep’: it ‘refers to the porous borders between fascism and the radical right, through which fascism is able to “creep” into mainstream discourse. However, the “fascist creep” is also a double-edged term, because it refers more specifically to the crossover space between right and left that engenders fascism in the first place’.

Summing up different theories about fascism, he concludes: ‘fascism is a syncretic form of ultranationalist ideology developed through patriarchal mythopoesis, which seeks the destruction of the modern world and the spiritual alingenesis (“rebirth”) of an organic community led by natural elites through the fusion of technological advancement and cultural tradition’.

In the 390-page book he sets out to document this ‘creep’ from its beginnings to its current manifestations, from classical fascism to third positionism, national bolshevism, and autonomous nationalism. He also makes meaningful distinctions between the ‘radical right’, fringe ‘conservatives’, and neo-fascists or neo-Nazis without obscuring their many overlaps.

One of the difficult things to grasp about fascism is its fundamentally contradictory nature if one is looking at it in terms of a coherent program, philosophy, or ideology. This is something that has not been denied but rather celebrated by different fascist spokesmen, from Benito Mussolini to Armin Mohler, who emphasised that fascism rather than being bothered about its discrepancies in theory was more concerned with ‘style’. [Read more →]

Datacide 17 Record Reviews by Christoph Fringeli

HFK
[Rouge de Colere 11]

The Toolbox sublabel reserved for the fast and hard sounds is back with one of its best releases yet. The four-tracker starts with some mental hypnotic hardcore which would also fit in a more out-there tek set, then starts evolving into more speedcore inspired experiments. It’s not that extreme and comes of as quite rounded, but evolves with multiple listens to a great addition to the catalogue.

Molecule SCAM vs. HFK
[AcidNight 20]

The first side credited to Molecule SCAM is an epic digital acid excursion with nice progressions, but definitely nothing outside of the genre. This is what happens on the flipside where HFK is giving the old Jones & Stephenson track The First Rebirth (released in 1993 on Bonzai) a manic flashcore workover. Of course it’s tongue in cheek, but since I have no nostalgic feelings towards early 90s hard trance I find it hard to get into, although I can imagine there to be the right moment at a party for mixing in and out of this track. Pretty good is the final track where hardcore, speedcore and broken elements in the beat structure are combined with nervous bleeping loops and descending hisses. Overall a welcome addition to the Acid Night catalogue, especially with its genre-bending tendencies.

Cyclic Backwash
[Neurotrope NRT039]

Very prolific in the last couple of years, Cyclic Backwash appears on Neurotrope with a varied 3-tracker. Most interesting is the a-side with its combination of acid lines, resonating stabs and psychedelic progression with a slightly broken beat. [Read more →]

G20 in Hamburg

The 2017 summit of the G20, which is comprised of the leading seven industrial countries (G7), Russia, and a number of ‘emerging economies’ as well as the European Union, took place in the German city of Hamburg July 7 and 8, 2017. After the G8 (G7 plus Russia) summit of 2001, which had taken place in Genova, this was the first summit to take place in a major city in Western Europe. One reason for this had been that it was easier to police summits in remote locations and enforce restricted areas by only allowing counter-demonstrations far away from the actual summits.

The 2016 summit had taken place in Hangzhou, China, without any public protests. The Chinese authorities had made sure of that, simply by clearing a large part of the population out of the city altogether, either by issuing travel vouchers, shutting down factories (and thus forcing day labourers to look for work elsewhere), or putting dissidents under house arrest.

The German government couldn’t turn Hamburg – the second biggest city after Berlin – into a ghost town, but they too made it a priority to guarantee the seamless proceedings of the summit. The police force was later accused of prioritising the safety of delegates over that of the inhabitants of the host city. Apparently the police thought that by fiercely repressing any protest they would remain in control of the situation. Thus the first (legal) anti-G20 demonstration which took place July 6 under the slogan ‘Welcome to Hell’ was not allowed to march and was basically wiped off the street by water cannons, creating a panic situation that could potentially have caused casualties. [Read more →]

Jeffrey Herf: Undeclared Wars with Israel East Germany and the West German Far Left 1967-1989 (Book Review)

Jeffrey Herf: Undeclared Wars with Israel
East Germany and the
West German Far Left 1967-1989
Cambridge University Press, New York 2016
ISBN 978-1-107-46162-8

Jeffrey Herf is a history professor at the University of Maryland and has published extensively on Nazi Germany, the Holocaust, and political Islam. Undeclared Wars with Israel 1967-1989 is his latest book. At the core of this book is the ideological, economic and military support for Arab dictatorships and the Palestinian nationalist movement by the government of the German Democratic Republic in the period between the 1967 Six-Day War and the end of the East German state in 1989/1990. Herf uses extensive research of the Stasi (GDR secret service) archives, the official party press, documents from the United Nations, including the extensive reports by Israeli ambassadors regarding the territorial intrusions and massacres perpetrated by the PLO and its associated member groups in those years.

This (partially new) research is embedded in a history of the relationship of the Soviet Bloc with the state of Israel and the development of the struggle of Arab/Palestinian nationalists against Israel, whether through open warfare, shelling of Israeli cities across the border with rockets, guerrilla actions inside Israel – often consisting in massacres of civilians – or hijackings and murder in the international arena, or through diplomatic means on a bilateral level and often at the UN.

Herf is broadening this research to cover the role of the West German far left in the context of these conflicts. The post-1967 radical left is portrayed here as radically anti-Zionist, if not anti-Semitic. Prominent examples after that time are people and organisations like Dieter Kunzelmann and the Tupamaros Westberlin, Ulrike Meinhof and the RAF, the Revolutionary Cells and their partaking in the hijacking of an Israeli plane to Entebbe, as well as examples from the so-called K-Groups. In my opinion, Herf, while accurately displaying dubious points in the history of the radical left in West Germany, fails to describe the often contradictory developments of some of these groups. For this reason I divide this review in two parts. The first is the book review proper, while the second extends the discussion of the relationship of some of the groups on the West German radical left with both anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism in a way that goes far beyond the confines of a book review and hopefully offers additional insights. [Read more →]

Far-Left Press Coverage of the 2016 Anti-Semitism Row in the Labour Party and other Leftist Groups

“When Hitler won his election in 1932, his policy then was that Jews should be moved to Israel. He was supporting Zionism before he went mad and ended up killing six million Jews.”

April 28, 2016 at 8:50 in the morning, Ken Livingstone, former mayor of London and prominent figure in the Labour Party for several decades made the baffling statement quoted above on Leading Britain’s Conversation (LBC) radio. Supposedly he was defending MP Naz Shah1. She had reposted a meme on facebook in 2014, suggesting Israeli Jews should relocate from Israel to the US. This was made public in April 2016 and led to the suspension of Shah from the Labour party, because the posting was seen as anti-Semitic. Livingstone, asked to comment on it, said ‘her remarks were over the top. But she’s not antisemitic. And I’ve been in the party for 47 years. I’ve never heard anyone say anything antisemitic’.

While Shah made a concerted effort to minimise the damage to herself and the party and swiftly issued a number of apparently genuine apologies (and eventually got reinstated), Livingstone’s radio comments made the whole thing turn into a proper scandal and a gift to the right wing press and the Tory party, since the local elections were only a week away.

Livingstone was swiftly suspended from Labour and sacked by LBC, where he had hosted a show with former Tory minister David Mellor for 8 years. He remained unapologetic, quoting the book by Lenni Brenner, Zionism in the Age of Dictators, which tries to posit a collaboration and similarity of intention between Zionists and Nazis. This is not supported by serious historians. Hitler himself left absolutely no doubt that he detested Zionism. In Mein Kampf he dismissed the conflicts between liberal Jews and Zionists as mock fights, in his opinion the ‘inner togetherness’ of all Jews was beyond doubt.
Hitler’s professed anti-Semitism explicitly included anti-Zionism.2

What did Livingstone want to achieve with his idiotic statements? The Weekly Worker wrote in 2004 ‘Livingstone is an accomplished political operator, with a near genius for manipulation and backroom freewheeling’ whose ‘further ambitions (…) no doubt stretch to No10 Downing Street’, adding ‘Livingstone himself cheerfully admits: “I love meetings and plotting. I didn’t get where I am today without plotting”‘.3

What was he plotting this time? Was he trying to plunge Labour into a crisis a week before the elections? Perhaps he’s not so close to Corbyn after all? Or is he just a loose cannon — or more than that — a liability?

And what did the far left say about these incidents? Let’s look at a few examples. [Read more →]

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