Thursday, August 31, 2017

Hitler the "Socialist" (1938)

From the November 1938 issue of the Socialist Standard

Many anti-Nazis who are also anti-Socialist are only too pleased to discredit Socialism by pretending that Hitlerism is what Hitler claims: a form of Socialism. The Evening Standard, serialising “My Struggle," headed its extracts on October 6th, 1938, “Hitler—Socialist." This is what the Evening Standard says: —
  It required an Austrian to lift up Germany, and an anti-Marxist to impose Socialism upon her. Hitler gave fair warning. Roughly half of the Twenty-five Unalterable Points of the Nazi creed, laid down in 1920, would make the British Labour Party shudder at their extremism.
   (i) Abolition of unearned income; (ii) ruthless seizure of all war profits ; (iii) nationalisation of trusts; (iv) share-out of profits from wholesale trade; (v) ban on land speculation; (vi) death for crimes against the nation, for profiteers, usurers and exploiters; (vii) communalisation of chain stores; and so on.
  As for “Mein Kampf” (My Struggle), there Hitler pours forth sentiments that have brought cheering to their feet millions of workers, and hundreds of thousands of ex-Socialists and Communists.
This might make the British Labour Party shudder, but it does not make Hitler’s programme a Socialist programme. Here it is necessary to add a word of explanation. When Hitler talked of the “abolition of unearned income” he did not mean what Socialists mean, for he borrowed from the Labourites the absurd notion that there are “two kinds of capital, one which is the outcome of creative labour, the other which owes its existence to speculation." It was the latter only that he promised to abolish. So even if Hitler had kept his promises (which he has not) Germany would still be what it is now: a capitalist country operating under fairly rigid State control.

One of the popular ideas about Germany is that Hitler has made life impossible for the capitalist. It has even been claimed that profit has been extinguished. That this is untrue can easily be shown by the fact that one of the major sources of Government revenue is a tax on profits. The Economist correspondent in Berlin wrote as follows (Economist, August 6th, 1938): —
  . . .  Now the taxation of profits has been sharply increased. . . . The increase is in the corporation tax. This tax is levied on the net profits of joint stock companies at a uniform rate (with some inconsiderable exceptions) of 30 per cent. Compared with depression times, its yield has increased more than that of any other impost, owing partly to the increase in its rate from 20 per cent, to 30 per cent, made in 1936, but mainly to the revival of company profits.
Before leaving Hitler and his attitude towards reformism it is interesting to read (Daily Telegraph, October 22nd, 1938) an official admission by the Nazi authorities that last winter no fewer than 9,000,000 German workers received help from the Winter Aid Fund, the reason being that their wages are too low to provide the necessities of life. The excuse given by the Nazis is that this condition of affairs is a legacy from the Government which preceded them, which they describe as a Government of “Marxists." Precisely the same excuse was used by that Government and is used by every Government unable to make capitalism satisfactory to the workers.

Another fact which indicates how little changed Germany is under Hitler, in spite of his nearly six years in office, is given by the Berlin correspondent of the Sunday Times (October 23rd, 1938). He gives figures showing that there are about 2,000,000 domestic servants in Germany, obviously indicating the continued existence of a large propertied class able to pay to be served and waited on.

In conclusion, the following statement by Hitler in "My Struggle" should serve as a warning to those who interfere with Mosley's meetings: —
  We chose red (as the Nazi Party colour) after exact and careful consideration; our intention was to anger the Left, get them in a rage, and so induce them to come to our meetings—if only in order to break them up—so we got our chance of talking to them.
Edgar Hardcastle

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