Nouvelle Droite and the “Multiculturalism of the New Right”

Tamir Bar-On’s Idea of the “multiculturalism of the new right” is a concept that I found particularly interesting. It also reminds me of the discussion that we had a few weeks back about the use and manipulation of other countries by Hitler in David Motadel’s The Global Authoritarian Moment and the Revolt against Empire. An example being the use of British anti-colonial sentiments in other countries to mobilize them for the German Reich, but to do this for the liberation of their own country. This seems very similar to the Nouvelle Droite’s (ND) “multiculturalism of the new right,” as it focus on the differentness of different regions, and countries in their attempt to spread their ideas transnationally. It is interesting to see how these concepts in a way overlap, and much like Roger Griffen points out in his article, the similarities and ideas of German Fascism that the ND draws from.

Bar-On’s writes that the post war there was an increase in the popularity of left-wing politics. This is something that Alain de Benoist, the leader of ND, drew upon to further his goal of spreading this transnational “multiculturalism of the new right.”  He would use the tactics that the new left would use in spreading this goal. de Benoist was vocal about being anti-fascist, he would use terms such as “multiculturalism of the new right,” because he did not want to be connected with the ultra-nationalism of the German Reich, it was seen as “politically correct”. To push this idea that they were not associated with their concepts, but they were choosing their wording specifically to appeal to the promotion of the new right.

It is through these readings on can see the way in which the general conception of politics, and the political landscape of the times shifts the way that the ND present their ideology, in their attempt to promote this idea of transnationalism. This is quite evident in Griffen’s article. It makes one wonder the about the validity of perceived political dichotomies, but also about the how this notion of “political correctness” is used today? How does the ND’s understanding of political correctness differ from modern conceptions of what it means to be politically correct, what is the etymology?

“The good self” and the Fragebogened

It the face of self-defensive accounts and the construction of a “good self” what does this this have to say about the Fragebogened?

Sollors writes that these questionnaires were a failed experiment as they were widely unreliable. There is one question that was discussed on the German only Meldebogen that stuck out. It was in which category would they place themselves on the spectrum of the offenders? Did these people actually believe that they were not to blame because they were unaware of what was going on, if they did would that not affect the outcome of their answers to many of these questions? How much would that have altered the way in which Post-war Germany viewed these questionaries?

Also what constitutes the severity of the action by the offender?

What is known from Fulbrook is that not all victims were accepted as victims and encouraged to speak about their experiences. Roma and Sinti, as well as those experiences of gay men were not met with a willingness or sympathetic audience. What does that say about these questionnaires? They were produced for a society that came almost directly after the war. Not many Germans were willing to talk about the atrocities that happened during the war. This questionnaire was distributed by Americans, were they concerned with what happened to these people? Would what happened to these populations during the war be considered a crime? If they were confessed to would they have even been grounds for refusal of occupation?

Though, like Sollors writes, these questionnaires did not leave room for personal accounts of the war. Or the reasons in which Germans participated actively or passively, some of their answers being coercion, or opportunism. Regardless, in the attempt for the denazification of a post war Germany, by the Americans, there are many ways in which these questionnaires would have failed. Though, what these questionaries do illustrate is the lack of voice, whether it be the voice of the victim or the voice of the Germans being questioned.

Held “Hostage” by the Government: Boris Johnson’s Populist Rhetoric

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, made the commitment that either “do or die” by October 31st Britain would be leaving the EU. Though as that date comes closer, it is evident that that is not going to happen. Rather, after his return from Brussels with a new Brexit Plan, his plan to remain loyal to the October 31st date fell through in parliament. Today the EU has approved the extension of the the Brexit date to January 31st 2020. Johnson is facing backlash on all ends, from those in support of Brexit and those in opposition.

Johnson has proposed for an election to take place in December in the hopes that it will help his campaign and his plans to push his plan through parliament. He wants the votes in the hopes that he can secure a majority government which will in turn make passing his plan easier. It is evident that his concerns are not focused about leaving the EU with no deal, his “do or die” and a promise of a break soon do not leave room for a deal.

No one wants a no deal break.

The deal is what will make the transition out of the EU as successful for Britain as possible. Johnson is more focused on the break, rather than the success of the break, as seen in his “do or die” rhetoric. Regardless of being for or against Brexit, the deal provides the people of Britain with the opportunity to situate themselves in a Britain outside of the EU.

It is in the face of the Boris Johnson’s failure to live up to his “do or die” claim that Brexiteers have come to criticize Johnson who was supposed to be a pioneering figure for Brexit. As a Brexiteer himself, he had already faced opposition from the those who would like to remain in the EU.

Boris Johnson knows that he is losing momentum, he wants to fuel anger. He wants people to back him in the polls in December if the election takes place, as this would help in pushing his Brexit plans through parliament. Johnson is no stranger to utilizing populists concepts within his own rhetoric. Populism is the idea of “the people” against “the elite” and the elite making decisions for the people. Johnson is known to stand behind this ideal and has built a rhetoric around this ideal. Using the terms like the “surrender bill” and the government holding the country “hostage” he attempts to build up anger against the government in the hopes that it will call for an election, and that he will keep the support of the people if that election were to occur. Even through this rhetoric we can see that:

Boris Johnson is not a successful populist.

However, he is using populist rhetoric to persuade the country to continue backing him, regardless of their growing contempt for his failure to pass a deal within parliament. In the wake of his desire for an election, this rhetoric will not be successful. For one, he does not fully believe in it as he seems to be more concerned with leaving the EU than leaving with a deal. It is also difficult to unite the country against the government when the people themselves are not united. There is great division within the country, as illustrated in the protest orchestrated by the People’s Vote Campaign in London on October 19th; a campaign that fights for the voice of the people in decision making, pushing for a new referendum. The people’s voice is divided and everyone is frustrated with Johnson. His populist rhetoric approach is strengthening this division, rather than the division of the people and the government.

Johnson seems to believe that fear mongering with his populist rhetoric will help him gain the traction that he desires to end up with an election on December 12th. This is not the case. Johnson’s dance with populism has hindered his ability to maintain a backing that would urge for this election date. It is a last attempt at trying to show that he will “do or die” and get a deal passed to leave the EU. One will have to wait to see the success of this rhetoric when he proposes to amend the fixed terms act tomorrow, as he failed to get a majority of the government to an election on the 12th of December.

 

 

“A Feminine Brand of Toughness”

In Wendy Lower’s book Hitler’s Furies she writes that the expectation for German women in the Nazi regime was “a feminine brand of toughness”. I thought that this was an interesting way to understand the role that women played within fascist societies. As this “feminine brand of toughness” is also seen in Lopez and Sanchez’s Blue Angels. It was the idea that women were expected to prescribe to a certain image, of what women were expected to be. Though they were supposed to transcend that role to benefit their society, without infringing upon its ideologies. They were required to walk the line of what was considered feminine and masculine.

What stood out the most in Lower’s book was no longer only looking at the actions of these women as victimization and coercion, rather to acknowledge the agency that these women had. Women were still very much expected to be mothers, and maintain the “female identity”. Though this was branded as being tough, to use their femininity for a greater goal, in this case the purpose of providing more children for the Aryan Germany. Women were rewarded for having children. It was also this brand of tough femininity that procured women in a way to police the bodies of other women. Using their position in a typical feminine occupation like midwifery to decide whether those children survived. These women, genuinely believed in the goals of the reich, and utilized their femininity for that purpose.

Lopez and Sanchez, discuss in their article that when men recounted the participation of women they did it due to an extension of their femininity. They helped the men because it was in their nature, as they were caring and innocent. Though, we later see that the utilized their perceived femininity to become spies, or for their goals that were inline with the ideology.

These women were aware of their perceived identities as women, and they were not concerned that it hindered then, rather they were an identity that allowed them to achieve their goals, which happened to aid fascist sentiments. One can assume that women were coerced into the roles that they played in the crimes of war, though, that is not necessarily true. The utilized male perceptions of their femininity. Feminine was not bad, but something to strive towards, because it provided these women a place within their societies, feminine was tough. In turn feminine was a choice, as well as their feminine “actions” within these societies.

Works Cited

Wendy Lower, Hitler’s Furies (Houghton Mifflin, 2013).

Sofía Rodríguez López and Antonio Cazorla Sánchez. “Blue Angels: Female Fascist Resisters, Spies and Intelligence Officials in the Spanish Civil War, 1936–9.” Journal of Contemporary History, vol. 53, no. 4, (Oct. 2018), pp. 692–713.

Gendering of the “Ideal Citizen”

A theme that has run throughout the readings for this class is Fascist regimes using and mobilizing groups of people for the benefit and support of their own ideologies. It was evident in the way the Nazi regime manipulated the colonies of the British Empire to fight in their name when they had no desire to unify those colonies under their ideology. It can also be seen in the tourist trips and showing of the success of regimes in tourism in the hopes of illustrating the glory of living within these regimes.

This is also evident in the reading for this week. Gender and sexuality was also used as a way to promote the “ideal citizen” under fascist ideologies.

In Russia, under Stalin the forced labour camps took extreme measures to ensure that men and women in the camps were separated and women were not reproducing. Homosexuality was re-criminalized under Stalin, however, as the Healy reading points out queer spaces in the gulag were tolerated. They were tolerated because it promoted work and they could keep down the maintenance cost of labor. Post Stalin there was change in the attitudes of the toleration of homosexuality within the camps. It showed that the toleration when it benefited the organization of these regimes and the “ideal” figure and society that they wanted to promote, that it was essentially fine. Especially that it wasn’t excepted at the time but allowed because it enabled the gulag.

Where as in Romania, they idealized this figure of the “new man” in which they framed the ideal man of a new Romanian through education. To ensure that the intellectual riots were suppressed and as well as othering the Jewish populations. They stated that any man could be a “new man” through education, which was done in a controlled area. They used the gendering of the strong, powerful well educated men to entice and control the climate of protest and othering of the Jewish population.

There was significant control that these regimes were implementing through gendered and sexuality lenses. They would promote different behaviours even if it did not appeal to them, or make it exclusive to a certain group of people to ensure the “ideal” society or person.

What I wonder though is to what extent was this actually tolerated. In a way saying that these behaviours were tolerated in spite of a collective attitude towards them. We’re they as tolerated as we believe and what did this tolerating enable these people to achieve within these regimes?

Works Cited

Dan Healey, “Forging Gulag Sexualities: Penal Homosexuality and the Reform of the Gulag after Stalin” Russian Homophobia from Stalin to Sochi (London: Bloomsbury Press, 2017).

Valentin Sandulescu, “Fascism and Its Quest for the ‘New Man’: The Case of the Romanian Legionary Movement.” Studia Hebraica 4 (2004): 349-61.

Beyond Ideology

Was there appeal to Fascism beyond the ideology? While typically fascism is associated with anti-modernism, based on the readings for this week that is not entirely true. Rather, it seemed as though a form of modernism was what was appealing to fascism beyond the ideology.

De Grazia points out that in Italy there was a growing popularity of the radio, theatre shows, and mass sport participation. These things are all considered modern, however they were promoted by the fascist government in Italy at the time. Umbach looks at a variety of different photographs and scrapbooks created by amateur photographers. In Spain. While all of these things are not inherently fascist in nature, each author explore the promotion of them through their individual Fascist regimes. Which would make this modernism allowed within these regimes.

However, I do not think that it is fair to say that the participation in these modern activities is solely based on the idea that they were promoted by fascism or because they were the culture of Fascism. In the de Grazia article, she writes the the sport Bocce, which is something that even today is a sport seen in Italy as whole heartedly Italian, was not “approved of” by Mussolini. Rather was later promoted by the his government because of the popularity among people. People in the countryside did not watch movies because they were not accessible to them, and were only accessible to them after they was an alternative given to them by the government. That does not necessarily mean that that is the only reason they watched the films but could also be seen as an opportunity to experience something more modern.  There is agency in these acts, and it shows that these acts were not necessarily performed due to fascism.

This can also be said for the Umbach article, in the article he looks at the leisurely poses that the subjects of the pictures are taken. Ones taken by amateur photographers, and the ones that are taken for propaganda purposes. He also looks at the way in which Germans would hold themselves in picture on their travels, as well as, the pictures of the roads. Which he linked back to these amateur photographs representing more than a relaxing time, and rather exhibiting the culture of the nazi regime. I find it difficult to make any solid assumptions on the acts of citizens based on their photographs. There is no way of knowing or sure the intentions behind the photographs. That is why I do not think that they were taking these photographs in these ways because they were seen promoted by the Nazi regime. But, because they had access to cameras they didn’t and took pictures of comparatively different things on their journey’s, which in my opinion is why you travel to new places. The culture of fascism does not necessarily mean the culture of the country, but the curiosity of modernity that was allowed.

Works Cited

Victoria de Grazia, The Culture of Consent: Mass Organisation of Leisure in Fascist Italy (Cambridge, 1981), pp. 151-86

Maiken Umbach, “Selfhood, Place, and Ideology in German Photo Albums, 1933-1945” Central European History Vol. 48, Special Issue 3 (Photography and Twentieth-Century German History): 335-365.

 

Fascism and Internationalism

By Arianna Axe-Paterson

Nationalism is generally a term discussed in association with Fascism. Fascists tend to care about the prosperity and political unity of their own country and that countries people. Internationalism on the other hand is not something that I myself would directly associate with fascism. Internationalism implies that there is some kind of cooperation, more than likely political, between more than one country.  Though Ruth Ben-Ghait and David Motadel have allowed me to rethink the relationship between racism and Internationalism.  That Internationalism in relation to Fascism is calculated.

Ben-Ghait discusses how Mussolini efforts were to counteract the excessive individualism of Italians. Unity of political thought and ideology of Italians. The government in fascist Italy did this through the recruitment of intellectuals to study and go to other countries to see the weaknesses of their ideologies. An example being the freedom that women had in Russia. Or they would invite people into Italy to convince other intellectuals to join the Fascist movement. The promotion of the unity of other nation was not done with the intent that Internationalism would suggest, it was still for the benefit of Italy. To prove to the world the benefit of Fascism in Italy.

Motadel’s academic article focuses more on Nazi Germany. it discusses the rise in Anti-Colonial Nationalism in Germany during the Second World War. He points out that when Germany’s attempts at colonization failed they were in a position to call for the anti-colonization, which in turn aided them when looking for allies in the war. When the hope for an alliance with Britain failed, they could use Anti-colonization nationalist to mobilize with them against the countries that colonized them. This act of internationalism was done for the benefit of Nazi Germany during the war.

What is evident in both of these articles is that the fascist relationship with Internationalism was calculated and is utilized in a way that is very nationalist. Both Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany promoted the idea of Internationalism for the success of their counties. It was a calculated decision because it would benefit the unity of ideology in each country. It was never about the unity of political ideology in other countries but about strengthening their own. Motadel’s New York Times article he says that “these alliances can be fragile and full of frictions,” while these calculated choices could be beneficial they can also show how damaging the conquest of internationalism within Fascism can be.

Works Cited

Ben-Ghiat, Ruth. “Conquest and  Collaboration” in Fascist Modernities: Italy, 1922-1945, (University of California Press, 2004), pp. 17-45.

Motadel, David. “The Global Authoritarian Moment: The Revolt Against Empire” American Historical Review Vol. 124, Issue 3 (July 2019): 843-877.

Motadel, David. “The Far Right Says There’s Nothing Dirtier Than Internationalism but they Depend on it,” The New York Times.com. The New York Times, July 3, 2019. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/03/opinion/the-surprising-history-of-nationalist-internationalism.html

Understanding Fascism.

Understanding the definition of Fascism was more complex than I had initially believed. What I thought I knew before setting out on the reading for class this week was; Hitler, Mussolini and Trump are all Fascists. If someone would have asked me what a fascist was my answer probably would have been those three names without any real evidence to back up that claim. What I know now is that it is hard to define what fascism is, and that makes understanding Fascism easier.

In Gilbert Allardyce’s “What Fascism is Not” he explains that historians “have agreed on using the word [fascism] without agreeing on how to define it. I think that this is what makes it so easy to understand what fascism is and who and who not is a fascist. There is no true definition and so it to understand we agree that the word is used. He goes on to compare how Nazi Germany and Italians Fascism differ, and how they are comparatively different in ideology, or in concept. He uses these differences to illustrate fascism is not limited to boundaries. Understanding that to engage with fascism it is easier to deconstruct what everyone thinks it is or should be.

Comparatively the writings of Mudde and Matthews look at populism. The Mudde article focuses on the Populism and its rise throughout the twenty first century. Matthews asks five experts in Fascism if Donald Trump is a Fascist. To which his conclusion is that not he is not a fascist but a right-wing populist. Mudde discusses how the populism of today has populist voters who are voting for parties that undermine the democratic system due to new age media. Something that Matthew’s article states is a characteristic of Fascism. The Matthew article also focuses on how Trump is not a fascist because he does not fit into a certain set of guidelines to be a fascist, but ones that follow the guidelines set out for populism.

Allardyce wrote his piece in 1979, he remarks in his final paragraph to follow the research of fascism without the constraints of the word fascism. It seems that the research has shifted on to Populism. While I understand that using the term Populism helps to separate certain political thoughts from that of Fascism, will we not see the same thing happen to the Populism? Will the term grow with the populists? The Mudde and Matthew article provide two contradicting elements of populism. Are the lines getting blurred or were they already? According to Allardyce even Fascists in Italy did not know the definition of fascism. The proposition of Allardyce, while difficult in practice, allows for a broader understanding of what Fascism is, instead of attempting to explain what it is from inside a box.

Works Cited

Gilbert Allardyce, “What Fascism Is Not: Thoughts on the Deflation of a Concept,” American Historical Review 84 (1979): 367-98.

Dylan Matthews, “I Asked 5 Fascism Experts if Trump whether Trump is a fascist. This is what they said” Vox May 19, 2016 https://www.vox.com/policy-andpolitics/2015/12/10/9886152/donald-trump-fascism

Cas Mudde, “Populism in the Twenty-First Century: an Illiberal Democratic Response to Undemocratic Liberalism” The Andrea Mitchell Center for the Study of Democracy, University of Pennsylvania, https://www.sas.upenn.edu/andrea-mitchell-center/casmudde-populism-twenty-first-century