Special thanks to Henrik Raeder Clausen for this excellent bit of information found at the Calvin College website. When trying to understand the thinking behind political movements, it helps to read what the leaders of those movements say, or have said, about the ideals and agendas of these groups. The meme that Nazism was a Right-wing movement, is so faulty, that it’s surprising that it still has currency with many people today.
[…] That is how things are today in Germany. Nationalism has turned into bourgeois patriotism and its defenders are battling windmills. One says Germany and means the monarchy. Another proclaims freedom and means Black-White-Red [the colors of the German flag]. Would our situation today be any different if we replaced the republic with a monarchy and flew the black-white-red flag?
[…] Bourgeois patriotism is the privilege of a class. It is the real reason for its decline. When 30 million are for something and 30 million are against it, things balance out and nothing happens. That is how things are with us. We are the world’s Pariah not because we do not have the courage to resist, but rather because out entire national energy is wasted in eternal and unproductive squabbling between the right and the left. Our way only goes downward, and today one can already predict when we will fall into the abyss.
[…] The sin of bourgeois patriotism was to confound a certain economic form with the national. It connected two things that are entirely different. […]
From this understanding, the young nationalism draws its absolute demand. The faith in the nation is a matter for everyone, never a group, a class or an economic clique. The eternal must be distinguished from the temporal. Maintaining a rotten economic system has nothing to do with nationalism, which is an affirmation of the Fatherland. I can love Germany and hate capitalism. Not only can I, I must. Only the annihilation of a system of exploitation carries with it the core of the rebirth of our people.
This lays to rest the meme once and for all, that, modern day Right-wing conservatism has an extreme side to itself, and its called fascism. It just isn’t so. In order to believe that, you would have to convince yourself that the National Socialists had no idea about their own ideology, and that they did not hate the middle class and merchants, as well as the Jews, who they wrongly believed were responsible for the creation of capitalism, and responsible for the destruction of the Weimar Republic.
We are socialists because we see in socialism, that is the union of all citizens, the only chance to maintain our racial inheritance and to regain our political freedom and renew our German state.Socialism is the doctrine of liberation for the working class. It promotes the rise of the fourth class and its incorporation in the political organism of our Fatherland, and is inextricably bound to breaking the present slavery and regaining German freedom. Socialism, therefore, is not merely a matter of the oppressed class, but a matter for everyone, for freeing the German people from slavery is the goal of contemporary policy. Socialism gains its true form only through a total fighting brotherhood with the forward-striving energies of a newly awakened nationalism. Without nationalism it is nothing, a phantom, a mere theory, a castle in the sky, a book. With it it is everything, the future, freedom, the fatherland!The sin of liberal thinking was to overlook socialism’s nation-building strengths, thereby allowing its energies to go in anti-national directions. The sin of Marxism was to degrade socialism into a question of wages and the stomach, putting it in conflict with the state and its national existence. An understanding of both these facts leads us to a new sense of socialism, which sees its nature as nationalistic, state-building, liberating and constructive.
The Marxists believed, as well as did a great number of the aristocracy who filled the leadership of both the Menshiviks and Bolshivik parties (at least 20% for both) that Marxist socialism provided the best counter answer to up-start capitalism. Great numbers of German National Socialists held prior membership, or at least owed their loyalty to, the various Socialist and Marxist parties in the Weimar Republic.
The Marxist dogma of class warfare, which soon lost its luster after WWI (when the European masses, or the proletariat, refused to rise up against the ruling class) was no longer deemed viable. German socialists however, were no longer willing to wait for the Russians to redefine socialism or their movement, action was needed, and Germany would show the way.
This is the only reason why there was friction, loathing and outright utter contempt between these two Leftist, Socialist movements for each other. They were in competition with each other for the hearts and minds of socialist masses. Pure and simple.
The bourgeois (TT: Capitalist) is about to leave the historical stage. In its place will come the class of productive workers, the working class, that has been up until today oppressed. It is beginning to fulfill its political mission. It is involved in a hard and bitter struggle for political power as it seeks to become part of the national organism. The battle began in the economic realm; it will finish in the political. It is not merely a matter of wages, not only a matter of the number of hours worked in a day — though we may never forget that these are an essential, perhaps even the most significant part of the socialist platform — but it is much more a matter of incorporating a powerful and responsible class in the state, perhaps even to make it the dominant force in the future politics of the fatherland. The bourgeoisie does not want to recognize the strength of the working class. Marxism has forced it into a straitjacket that will ruin it. While the working class gradually disintegrates in the Marxist front, bleeding itself dry, the bourgeoisie and Marxism have agreed on the general lines of capitalism, and see their task now to protect and defend it in various ways, often concealed.
We are socialists because we see the social question as a matter of necessity and justice for the very existence of a state for our people, not a question of cheap pity or insulting sentimentality. The worker has a claim to a living standard that corresponds to what he produces. We have no intention of begging for that right. Incorporating him in the state organism is not only a critical matter for him, but for the whole nation. The question is larger than the eight-hour day. It is a matter of forming a new state consciousness that includes every productive citizen. Since the political powers of the day are neither willing nor able to create such a situation, socialism must be fought for. It is a fighting slogan both inwardly and outwardly. It is aimed domestically at the bourgeois parties and Marxism at the same time, because both are sworn enemies of the coming workers’ state. It is directed abroad at all powers that threaten our national existence and thereby the possibility of the coming socialist national state.
Socialism is possible only in a state that is united domestically and free internationally. The bourgeoisie and Marxism are responsible for failing to reach both goals, domestic unity and international freedom. No matter how national and social these two forces present themselves, they are the sworn enemies of a socialist national state.