The danger with totalitarian ideologies – irrespective of colour


Democracy is important. However, it is a fragile system that takes a long time to build, but quickly can be destroyed through violence. Antidemocratic forces and ideologies could be Fascist, Nazi, Communist or Theocratic, (e.g. working for a society based on religious laws of some sort). A decline in a democratic system with equal rights to vote, gender equality, fairly well-functioning infra-structure etc might also be destroyed bit by bit through small, deliberate changes by important details in the society structures. I will here describe some examples from the early 20th century until the present day.

After World War I 1914-1918, and because of Germany’s loss of the war and the international punishment they recieved, various protest movements developed. In 1919 The German Labour Party (DAP) was founded. The former painter and corporal Adolf Hitler, 30 years old, joined the party. The following year it changed its name to The National Socialist German Labour Party, NSDAP, and in 1921 Hitler became its leader. They were angry for having lost the war, saw Brismarck and the other politicians as traitors and percieved the Versailles treaty as an insult. The Nazi ideology was against democracy, and they were also inspired by the Fascists in Italy. The Fascist and Nazi ideologies were similar, but within the Nazismus/Nationalsocializmus the antisemitism was an important ingredient. The race biology with master people and slave people was important, and the idea of a global Jewish conspiracy. In 1923 the Nazis tried to perform a coûp d’état, but failed and Adolf Hitler was sentenced to prison. In jail he wrote his legacy work “Mein Kampf I and II” in 1925 – 1926. When he was released the Nazis decided to try and get power through democratic elections, even though they deep down loathed democracy. In the 1928 election they just got a few votes, but after the Wall Street crash in 1929 and the following global depression the Nazis used the upset feelings and the worsened economic situation to gain the German people’s trust. After the German elections in 1932 Hitler and the National Socialists got 37,5% of the votes. Later the same year the Nazis abolished the democratic system and banned all parties except the National Socialists.

According to the Nazi ideology a strong people has the moral right to fight other weaker people, take their land, treat them as slaves or kill them. This is not valid only for Nazism, but goes for most totalitarian ideologies, be it Fascism, Communism, Islamism or any other. As I’ve said so many times before there are variations in perceptions of secular and religious ideologies, and many creeds can be used both for good and for bad, but extremism and totalitarian ideologies are always dangerous – irrespective of colour. For the Nazis it was important to keep the German people “race pure”, since a mix of people and “races” would weaken them. We see similar ideas among some Muslims, Jews, Sikhs, Mandeans, KKK-members etc who say that they can’t marry someone from another group because that would stain their people. The Nazis ruled by intensive propaganda, censorship, book burning, intimidation, the young Hitler Jugend, the secret police Gestapo  and an ideology based on violence. The power was concentrated to the Leader/Der Führer and a group around him, a strict hierarchy and a worship of the leader that took almost religious proportions. The Nazi goal was similar to that of the Marxist-Leninists – to reach the people. First to gather the strength within the German people, and then to expand the Lebensraum. The whole Nazi ideology was based on antiparliamentarism, ethnic nationalism, racism and corporativism. It also seems that the Nationalsozialismus contains influences from conservatism and socialism, and as such is a mix of ideas combined with the old race biology notions. Here in Sweden about a hundred Nazi groups have existed, but most of them fairly small.

In 1917 the Russian revolution broke out and a war between the White and the Red. The Zar family was  captured and executed and Vladimir Ilyitch Lenin became the new party leader of Communist Russia. The country was divided in sections called Soviets. The Communism was and still is a totalitarian ideology. The farms were taken by the state, the farmers property was confiscated, the crops etc to get as much food as possible, but as little as possible back to the farmers. Lenin promised the farmers that they should own their farms, but then he forced them to sell them to the state at a ridicously low price. Instead of the Gestapo the Soviet Union introduced the KGB and politruks that should spy on people to see if they tried to earn money for themselves, if they were brainwashed well enough, if they were good communists etc. Josef Stalin was even worse. 7 Million Russians died from starvation when the Soviet state took the harvests. Another 7 Million were sent to the concentration camps in Gulag,Siberia. This would last until the fall of the Soviet Union in 1989. But Communist atrocities have existed elsewhere too. In the 1940’s Mao Zedong in China came to power and introduced a Chinese Communism. The Great Leap caused starvation and killed 30 – 40 Million people, the Culture Revolution in the 1960’s 2 – 7 Million people when the Chinese Red guards and the state persecuted, beat, jailed and killed intellectuals, teachers, professors, or just any other ordinary Chinese. The occupation of Tibet has killed another Million Tibetans and the concentration camps another 15 – 20 Million. During the 1960’s and 1970’s many Swedish left-wing journalists, writers and other intellectuals supported the Communism in Russia and China: Jan Myrdal, Jan Guillou, Henning Mankell, Birgitta Dahl, Robert Aschberg etc. Mao Zedong died in 1976. The killing of 1000 – 3000 civilians in Tianmen Square is another famous example. Other Communist atrocities are the genocide in Kampuchea 1975 – 1979, the persecutions in Mugabe’s Zimbabwe or in Fidel Castro’s Cuba.

Then we have the atrocities in theocratic states like Iran, Afghanistan etc that seek to work for countries with shari’a laws. Religion and religious beliefs may be good when it is private, but any ideology forced upon someone never becomes good. Violence, surveilance, death camps, beatings, torture, genocides and wars are never ever good for any belief system: secular or religious. When a conviction comes from inside someone it is another matter.

In recent years a new wave of ultra-nationalist and/or racist parties have developed in many European countries. They have different ideology: On the left wing there are Euskal Herria Bilda in Spain, Sinn Feinn in Ireland and Scottish Nationalist Party in Scotland. On the right wing there are parties like Sverigedemokraterna here in Sweden, Fremskrittspartiet in Norway, Sannfinländarna/The True Finns in Finland, Dansk Folkeparti in Denmark, Nationaldemokratische Partei Deutschland in Germany, Vlaams Belang/Vlaams Blok in Belgium, Front National in France, British National Party in the United Kingdom and Forza Nuova in Italy. There are others as well in Spain, Hungary and in Greece the Nazis have appeared again. This worries me. To feel proud of one’s own people is okay, being worried for the state of affairs, for the protection of the own country or region, sure. But putting people against people, using totalitarian strategies and Machiavellan “rule and divide” is despicable. What we do need is to build societies that might be relatively stable, but also keeping the heart, empathy and fellowship in a biased and harsh world.

Anders Moberg, February the 18th 2013

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