Archive/File: people/c/cohn.werner/partners-in-hate/hidden-alliances.06 Last-Modified: 1996/12/05 [Archived with author's consent] [Partners in Hate: Page 89] From Marlen to Faurisson Faurisson is of course not the first to propose preposterous ideas or to use pseudo-rational methods in the process. Jacques Baynac and Nadine Fresco have recently reminded us that a certain Jean-Baptiste Peres denied as early as 1827 that Napoleon ever existed.<64> Today there is a California- based Flat Earth Research Society International, only a stone's throw from our Institute for Historical Review, whose leaflet assures us that it can "...prove [the] earth flat by experiment, demonstrated and demonstrable. Earth Flat is a Fact, not a "theory" ... Australians do not hang by their feet under the world." There is proof for everything. It is one of the misfortunes of the left wing, both in Europe and America, to have been afflicted with more than its share of Flat Earthers. Many of these marginal socialist and anarchist illuminati are adepts of the doctrine of malign equivalence, i.e. they see all government as basically "capitalist" including that of the Soviet Union, and they find all "capitalist" rule to be equally reprehensible. The autobiographical part of the new _Chomsky Reader_<65> shows us how Chomsky has adhered to such doctrines, from his earliest days to the present. But we shall also see how both he and_La Vieille Taupe_have gone beyond this anarcho-Marxist tradition to arrive at what amounts to a justification of Nazi Germany. Chomsky tells us (in page 14 of _The Chomsky Reader_) that he was fascinated by the "Marlenites" when he was a boy of fifteen or sixteen. This was about 1944 or 1945. Insofar as I can reconstruct it now, this ex-Trotskyist splinter group thought that the war was "phony" and that the Western Allies, the Soviet Union, and the Axis powers were all conspiring together against the international proletariat. All sides represented the bourgeoisie (including the Stalin "burocracy," as Marlen liked to spell it), all sides oppressed the workers, all sides were in every way morally equivalent. Chomsky now says that he "never really believed the thesis, but ... found it intriguing enough to try to figure out what they were talking about." I want to linger just a bit on the subject of the Marlenites. On the surface it would seem that there is little similarity between this small band of 1940's New York revolutionists and the Chomsky of today. The Marlenites had strange ideas but they were no apologists for the Nazis, so compared to Chomsky and his French "revisionists" they were models of sanity, of moderation, of judiciousness. But as it happens the Marlenites do afford us some insight, first into the atmosphere of the little radical groups that constitute the lineal forebears of todayOs left-wing neo- Nazis, and second into the methods of historiography that Chomsky and his friends employ today. It so happens that I myself had a brush with the Marlenite organization Leninist League, as it was then called. It was, at the time, led by the veteran New York splinter-group radical George Spiro. Like all American Bolshevists in those days, Spiro used a pseudonym in the hope of warding off the FBI. (The leadership of the Trotskyist Socialist Workers Party having been sent to jail in 1941, this precaution was not as fanciful as it would seem today.) When Spiro chose his "party name" he wanted to honor his (temporary, as it turned out) heroes and picked Marlen, Mar for Marx and len for Lenin. My first experience with the Marlenites predates Chomsky's by about four years. I was fourteen in late 1940 or early 1941 when I attended a meeting in Spiro's apartment on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. I had been invited by the Marlenite who distributed propaganda to one of the group's larger rivals, and I can't now remember whether this other group had been of the Shachtmanite or the Cannonite wing of the Trotskyists. Spiro and his Marlenites struck me as not much different from other Trotskyists in the manner in which they conducted their business except that the group was even smaller and even further removed from the common sense of the world. They seemed to have had an even more intense conviction of being the very small elite that alone knows all the esoteric truths about capitalism, war, the class struggle, the future of humanity. It was a matter of very heavy Rechthaberei, of disputatious knowing-it-better. When I first met Spiro he had already accomplished a considerable political journey. He had been expelled from the Communist Party and had joined the Trotskyists. He had next joined a splinter group led by Hugo Oehler and Thomas Stamm to found the Revolutionary Workers League, in opposition to the "official" Trotskyist organization. But soon thereafter he had discovered that Oehler and Stamm and in fact Trotsky himself were traitors to the working class, so he had left all these groups, with a very small band of followers in tow, to found his Leninist League and to declare World War II to be "phony." I don't think that the number of these Marlenites ever exceeded a dozen or so. I went to see Spiro again around 1956, in the same Lower East Side apartment where the earlier meeting had taken place. He told me then that the intervening years had brought him one disappointment after another. His researches had led him to see that not only Stalin and Trotsky had been traitors to the proletariat but that Lenin had been of the same stripe. And even the writings of Marx could not withstand his careful inspection. Spiro (he had by then abandoned his pseudonym for obvious reasons) discovered that yes, old Karl Marx himself had really been nothing but an anti-Semite in disguise. When I asked him about the other Marlenites whom I had met some fifteen years earlier, Spiro revealed to me that they, too, had been unmasked by him for what they really were, a bunch of anti-Semites.<66> Spiro was by then a mellow old man and I must say that I was shaken, not only by his madness but also because of the kernel of truth that his madness all but hid. He gave me a copy of what I take to be his last opus, Marxism and the Bolshevik State.<67> I am glad that I kept this volume. At one time in my life I owned other Marlenite literature but unfortunately I discarded it all except for that last big book. Marxism and the Bolshevik State has 1100 closely-printed pages, divided into 78 chapters, and gives evidence of a tremendous mental energy on the part of its author. Its thesis can readily be surmised by some of the chapter headings: The Stalin-Trotsky Betrayal of the British Workers; Lenin Disrupts the Potential World Revolutionary Army and Navy; Marx's Personal and Political Insincerity; A Marxist-Ignored Phenomenon in the Ancient and Medieval Class Struggles -- The Jewish Scapegoat; Marxist Anti- Semitism in the United States; Marxism's Hand in Creating the Reactionary Zionist State; Marxism -- The Last Bulwark of Anti-Semitism and Christianity. The book denounces all known government -- i.e. it embraces the doctrine of malign equivalence -- but it also holds open the promise of a new day, when, presumably under the guidance of enlightened leaders like Spiro himself, "Mankind will attain superabundance of the fruits of its labors, will plan its own history, will gradually gain mastery over the globe..." (p. 1077). Spiro could read German and Russian in addition to English, and he has perused thousands of old books and especially old newspapers, apparently all in the Reference Division of the New York Public Library. Whenever he saw something that he liked he would carefully note it and cite it in his book. As he himself explains the method in his preface: In the body of the work for example, we cite a parenthetical remark by Lenin which, to our knowledge, has never been used as source material, and which is of greater value to an investigator of the true history of the Bolshevik State than a shelf of histories produced either by the bourgeoisie or by any historians of that State. (p. 14) Spiro had no more critical sense about such sources than Faurisson and seemed to think that something printed in an old newspaper, if it tended to confirm his own convictions about history, constituted proof positive of the rightness of his cause. It would never occur to him to consult the work of the expert historians on a given subject, let alone to weigh one source against another. He was a completely self-educated erudite as well as a ceaseless polemicist and self-righteous moralist. Perhaps, had he acquired some sense of balance along the way, he could indeed have become what he thought he had become: an important thinker. With all that Marlen-Spiro was a rather amiable old crank, and I think that the same can be said for the Flat Earthers, "Marlenites" all. If I now suggest that Chomsky and Faurisson are also adepts of the Marlen method of historiography I must immediately add that Spiro's writings, with all their faults, were free of malice; there was vigorous polemic but there was no hate or vituperation. For these we must look to Professor Chomsky and his neo-Nazis associates. In any case, Chomsky only gives the faintest of nods to Marlenism in his autobiographical musings. His real political mentors, he says, are Rosa Luxemburg, Karl Korsch, Paul Mattick, Anton Pannekoek, and some others.<68> These writers are the founders of "Council Communism," and, as it happens, the very ones whom the "revisionist"_La Vieille Taupe_also claims as among its guides and teachers. Chomsky and VT thus have common professed ideological roots, Council Communism, and Chomsky is less than forthright when he suppresses this ideological tie in his autobiographical sketch and elsewhere. But what is Council Communism?<69> The beginnings lie in a small sect of left-wing, oppositionist German Communists in the 1920's who were in revolt against Moscow's domination of the German Communist party. Basing themselves partly on the anti-Bolshevist writings of Rosa Luxemburg, the group developed profound differences with the Communist International on organizational matters. It rejected the notion of a "dictatorship of the proletariat" as exercised by a party or state, advocating, instead, independent councils of workers as the government of socialism. Under the influence of writers like Paul Mattick and Karl Korsch (both of whom emigrated to the United States where they died after the war), Council Communists became fierce opponents of Stalin, were persecuted by both Stalin and Hitler, and in general maintained standards of political ethics that were widely admired. Council Communists were much more consistent than Trotskyists in their opposition to Bolshevist tyranny but they shared certain attitudes with both Trotskyists and anarchists during the Second World War. Wherever they could exist in Europe and America, these little groups and grouplets held to a radical anti-war position; they thought that neither the Axis nor the Allies merited their support. Unlike most of the Trotskyist groups, both Council Communists and the anarchists applied this anti-war position to the Soviet Union as well as to the West and the Axis. But none of these groups, and nobody in them, had anything but hatred for the Nazis. They all supported the resistance in Nazi-occupied Europe, and culturally and practically, insofar as they had any influence anywhere, they were part of the overall anti-Nazi front of all decent people. The current pro-Nazi position of_La Vieille Taupe_is, as far as I know, the first time that a group with authentically left- wing origins has broken this front. The history of _La Vieille Taupe_ has been told by Pierre Vidal-Naquet and Alain Finkielkraut.<70> A group of ex- Trotskyists led by Cornelius Castoriadis and Claude Lefort broke with Bolshevism in the late 1940's to start a movement called Socialisme ou Barbarie<71> with ideas broadly resembling those of the Council Communists. Many splits and mergers later, toward the end of the 1960's, one of the resulting grouplets called itself _La Vieille Taupe_. By about 1970, VT began to develop ideas and activities that contrast very sharply with any of its ideological ancestors. It had inherited a thorough-going rejection of "bourgeois" society, and had inherited also a tendency to equate "capitalist tyranny" with "fascism." But now, partly under the influence of certain ultra-leftist Italians (Bordigists), it began to reject the one article of faith that had hitherto been a common denominator for everyone on the left: anti-Fascism. At first it was a matter of declaring Nazism as no worse than the "bourgeois" capitalism of the West, of finding the Axis as no more guilty than the Allies of crimes against the working class. Such, roughly, were the ideas of the first anti-Semitic writer whom Vieille Taupe saw fit to promote: the ex-Communist, ex-concentration camp inmate Paul Rassinier, now deceased ("Revisionists" from Paris to California still accord him pride of place as the father of their particular branch of knowledge). But going from Rassinier on to Faurisson, whom VT discovered in 1978 and has promoted ever since, the group became more and more openly anti-Semitic and pro-Nazi, a process which reached a sort of apogee in 1986 when it published the 520-page screed of one of the most strident of the German post-War Nazis, Wilhelm Staeglich. In preparation for this essay I corresponded with some veterans of Council Communism and other far-left wing groups in France and elsewhere. My informants were unanimous in their observations that Guillaume and his Vieille Taupe, apart from his two or three tiny fronts groups, are absolutely and completely alone in this trajectory from anti- Stalinist radicalism to neo-Nazism. As one particularly knowledgeable correspondent put it: "Neither the Trotskyists nor the Council Communists can be held even indirectly responsible for Guillaume's wanderings." Authentic Council Communists will not have anything to do with him. Paul Mattick was one of the respected thinkers of this movement, and his son, Paul Mattick, Jr., wrote to me as follows: "A few years ago, Guillaume offered to publish a French translation of my father's last book, but we (my mother and I) of course refused him the right, as we do not want to be associated with these crazy people." Estimates of the number of Guillaume followers range from about ten to about thirty. Veterans of the left wing shun him, scholars laugh at him. But Guillaume does have two things going for him. First, as we saw, he seems to have ample finances; second, he has Noam Chomsky. *** The safety and welfare of the State of Israel mean a great deal to most Jews today no matter where they happen to live. There is a minority to whom Israel does not matter much, and an even smaller minority who are critical of both Israel and the Zionist enterprise. And after we have thought of all these categories and try very hard, we can find still others: there is an individual here or there who hates Israel so much that he is willing to aid the neo-Nazis in an attempt to dismantle the State. There is the sad Alfred Lilienthal, tireless pro-Arab propagandist and speaker at neo-Nazi conventions; there is the eccentric Dr. Howard Stein who translates Julius Streicher's propaganda into psychobabble; and there is Noam Chomsky. Some individual Jews have always turned against their own people. We call such people Oself-hatersO after the title of some biographical sketches describing such unfortunates during the Weimar republic.<72> It is of course anyoneOs inalienable right, in a free society, to be a self-hater, and most such cases are sad rather than interesting. The psychology of how and why a person reaches that stage, especially when that person has had the benefit of every privilege of Western society, is not something that I can claim to understand. All I can do here is to demonstrate the methods, the ways and means, of Chomsky's crusade against Israel and the Jews.
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