Leon Trotsky: What Is National Socialism? 1933

Leon Trotsky: What Is National Socialism? (1933) – The petty bourgeois is hostile to the idea of development, for development goes immutably against him; progress has brought him nothing except irredeemable debts. National Socialism rejects not only Marxism but Darwinism. The Nazis curse materialism because the victories of technology over nature have signified the triumph of large capital over small. The leaders of the movement are liquidating “intellectualism” because they themselves possess second- and third-rate intellects, and above all because their historic role does not permit them to pursue a single thought to its conclusion.

The petty bourgeois needs a higher authority, which stands above matter and above history, and which is safeguarded from competition, inflation, crisis, and the auction block. To evolution, materialist thought, and rationalism – of the twentieth, nineteenth, and eighteenth centuries – is counterposed in his mind national idealism as the source of heroic inspiration. Hitler’s nation is the mythological shadow of the petty bourgeoisie itself, a pathetic delirium of a thousand-year Reich.

In order to raise it above history, the nation is given the support of the race. History is viewed as the emanation of the race. The qualities of the race are construed without relation to changing social conditions.

Rejecting “economic thought” as base, National Socialism descends a stage lower: from economic materialism it appeals to zoologic materialism.

The theory of race, specially created, it seems, for some pretentious self-educated individual seeking a universal key to all the secrets of life, appears particularly melancholy in the light of the history of ideas. In order to create the religion of pure German blood, Hitler was obliged to borrow at second hand the ideas of racism from a Frenchman, Count Gobineau [4], a diplomat and a literary dilettante. Hitler found the political methodology ready-made in Italy, where Mussolini had borrowed largely from the Marxist theory of the class struggle. Marxism itself is the fruit of union among German philosophy, French history, and British economics.

To investigate retrospectively the genealogy of ideas, even those most reactionary and muddleheaded, is to leave not a trace of racism standing.

The immense poverty of National Socialist philosophy did not, of course, hinder the academic sciences from entering Hitler’s wake with all sails unfurled, once his victory was sufficiently plain. For the majority of the professorial rabble, the years of the Weimar regime were periods of riot and alarm. Historians, economists, jurists, and philosophers were lost in guesswork as to which of the contending criteria of truth was right that is, which of the camps would turn out in the end the master of the situation. The fascist dictatorship eliminates the doubts of the Fausts and the vacillations of the Hamlets of the university rostrums. Coming out of the twilight of parliamentary relativity, knowledge once again enters into the kingdom of absolutes. Einstein has been obliged to pitch his tent outside the boundaries of Germany.

On the plane of politics, racism is a vapid and bombastic variety of chauvinism in alliance with phrenology. As the ruined nobility sought solace in the gentility of its blood, so the pauperized petty bourgeoisie befuddles itself with fairy tales concerning the special superiorities of its race. Worthy of attention is the fact that the leaders of National Socialism are not native Germans but interlopers from Austria, like Hitler himself, from the former Baltic provinces of the Czar’s empire, like Rosenberg; and from colonial countries, like Hess, who is Hitler’s present alternate for the party leadership. [5]

A barbarous din of nationalisms on the frontiers of civilization was required in order to instill into its “leaders” those ideas which later found response in the hearts of the most barbarous classes in Germany.

Personality and class – liberalism and Marxism – are evil. The nation – is good. But at the threshold of private property this philosophy is turned inside out. Salvation lies only in personal private property. The idea of national property is the spawn of Bolshevism. Deifying the nation, the petty bourgeois does not want to give it anything. On the contrary, he expects the nation to endow him with property and to safeguard him from the worker and the process-server. Unfortunately, the Third Reich will bestow nothing upon the petty bourgeois except new taxes.

via http://www.marxists.org/.

%d bloggers like this: