Monday, August 3, 2009

People should learn history

First of all, apologies for the silence. There were reasons to do with the BBC Russian Service, friends and family, and, finally, a rather unpleasant though not serious accident that has left me a little exhausted and looking the worse for wear.

Back to the main theme: what would it take for people in the media to realize that the twentieth century, which was probably the most horrific century of this millennium, had many other things in it apart from the growth and existence of Nazism? That’s the first question.

The second question is how long will it be before at least some of the commentators on history and politics in the media grasp that Nazism was National Socialism and fascism in general was a left-wing movement, parallel to the other heinous system that was based on International Socialism?

Thanks to Instapundit we get a story from Berlin in The Age, an Australian publication. It deals with a rather peculiar development in Berlin where car-burning seems to be done in a more organized fashion than it is in France. (Can one say Germanic and get away with it?
During the past six months, more than 170 cars have been destroyed by fire in Berlin and police confirm conservatively that 93 were politically motivated attacks.

A mysterious, single page website, (Burning Cars of Berlin), shows the number of cars set alight and where the crimes occurred, revealing clusters in ‘‘richer’’ areas, or in suburbs where gentrification and redevelopment are changing the demographic of local neighbourhoods.
The story itself is not particularly new and has been written up by various blogs for some months. Boing-boing calls it anti-gentrification (which is, let’s face it, the real politics of envy); the New York Times blog reported it in March, basing the story on Bloomberg; Monsters and Critics wrote about it in June.

Paolo Totaro’s article in The Age goes further: there has been a rise in left-wing extremism and violent activity directed at the police “and the property of businesses perceived to be involved in military or ‘‘imperialist’’ activities”. In other words, according to this, the arsonists and intermittent rioters have moved or, maybe, moving beyond a simple dislike of gentrification, a hatred of people progressing in life without referring to their intellectual socialist betters.
This is not, as it happens, activity entirely unknown in Germany, particularly in Berlin, though the author of the article seems unaware of certain historical events in the past.
In a city haunted more by its extreme right-wing past, Berlin is in the throes of a renaissance of extremist, left-wing political activism. And torching cars, particularly expensive ones, has become the crime de rigueur.
I would have said that Berlin is more haunted by the more recent events of the 1960s and 1970s that turned into the extremely violent and impeccably left-wing campaign associated with the names Andreas Baader and Ulrike Meinhof as well as their various cohorts. That movement, too, started with apparently small events and “understandable” unhappiness with certain changes in society.

One to watch, I think, but with a better understanding of history shown so far.


  1. Envy is the worst & most pervasive of the Seven Deadly Sins, and (am I correct?)largely peculiar to Europe where a 'hand-out' culture has replaced the Protestant Work is now an entitlement and if others have more it is unfair although they may have worked their guts out for it...that small detail is meaningless to those they are forced by Socialism to support.
    I didn't see this unpleasant phenomenon when I was in the US where most believed that they could aspire to, if not achieve, most things by dint of hard work...'B'Movie actors, peanut farmers, priapists & yes, even a (half)black man could achieve the highest office in the land.
    However, the last-mentioned could well be the nemesis who infects American society with this worst of European diseases...Remember the joyous cries of "Obama will pay my mortgage!" in the run-up to that fateful election.
    The American Dream could turn into the American Nightmare...the victim is already sound asleep.

  2. Well even in the 20s and early 30s Hitler had relatively less support in Berlin than in Munich. In particular Berlin was home to Rosa Luxemburg, and a key site for the failed 1918-19 revolution. Luxemburg remains a premier league icon to the international left, who love their saints.

    Fittingly, German posters to Rosa contain the slogan "Iche bien eine terroristin"