Friday, 23 June 2017

Whatever Happened to, Dear old Lenin?



I've recently re-read Lenin's State and Revolution, arguably his most famous work. Its the one I've seen most referred to by modern Leninists who wish to get new members anyway. I read it and Imperialism years ago when I was still pretty new to left wing politics and they were both over my head.

State and Revolution is quite interesting as both a work of theory and a window into history, it was written in August and September (Old Russian calendar I believe) 1917 and Lenin makes that abundantly clear with numerous references to what was then current events. Its also quite easy to read, its fairly short and the translation on Marxists.org is very good, it reads like an English language original. I did have to look up what panegyric meant but other than that I had no issue understanding the text. The book is largely quotation, mainly from Marx and Engels who are praised heavily, and the German SPD members Kautsky and Bernstein who are criticised constantly. There's not that much of Lenin in the text and most of his words are tied heavily to the quotations or references to the then current political situation.

A fact that's often overlooked about Marx and Engels, even by numerous modern and not so modern Marxists, is that the pair were more than willing to adapt and alter and develop their ideas over time when they encountered new experiences. Their early pre 1848 writings are different from what they published after the Revolutions of 1848. Napoleon the Thirds coup in 1851 also provoked new developments in Marx's thinking. The 18th Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte isn't as famous as the Manifesto but a lot of people are familiar at least with the title and the quotation "Once as tragedy, then as farce". And of course most importantly the Paris Commune of 1871 was a very important experience that affected Marx. So much so that months before the uprising at Montmartre, Marx wrote an address to the Parisian workers warning them to remain disciplined and not try to overthrow the government of France. But once the uprising was under way and the Commune was proclaimed he championed it. Indeed he was so impressed with the Communes brief existence that he actually went and made a revision to the Manifesto to include a lesson from the Commune.

Personally I think this the most interesting thing about State and Revolution, the book is a good time line of Marx and Engels attitudes toward the state and explains how it developed in a more radical direction. If he died after writing the Manifesto, you could be forgiven for thinking Marx believed Communism could be achieved simply by taking control of the state by any means, an electoral landslide or a coup would do. Marx did stress the need for a revolutionary mass mobilisations of the workers, but the aim was the conquest of the state so you could be forgiven for wanting to skip a few steps.

That attitude is basically what Lenin was criticising the Opportunists-socialists who were willing to collaborate for state power- for doing. Throughout the work he criticises Kautsky and his fellows for deliberately (in his view) distorting Marx and Engels on the questions of the State and Revolution
Quote:
“We can quite safely leave the solution of the problems of the proletarian dictatorship of the future,” said Kautsky, writing “against” Bernstein. (p.172, German edition)
This is not a polemic against Bernstein, but, in essence, a concession to him, a surrender to opportunism; for at present the opportunists ask nothing better than to “quite safely leave to the future” all fundamental questions of the tasks of the proletarian revolution.
Quote:
From 1852 to 1891, or for 40 years, Marx and Engels taught the proletariat that it must smash the state machine. Yet, in 1899, Kautsky, confronted with the complete betrayal of Marxism by the opportunists on this point, fraudulently substituted for the question whether it is necessary to smash this machine the question for the concrete forms in which it is to be smashed, and then sough refuge behind the “indisputable” (and barren) philistine truth that concrete forms cannot be known in advance!!
This passage is from the final section but the tone and manner of argument is consistent from the first page. Kautsky is being dishonest, his dishonesty seems to be motivated by political expediency etc.
The books strengths are its criticisms of Kautsky and the way it outlines Marx and Engels, it even reproduces some rare letters of Engels not easily found otherwise. If you wish to see Marx and Engels views on the state in total State and Revolution is the easiest way of doing that.
However there are some interesting weaknesses in the book. Mainly it doesn't really explain the relationship between the State and the Revolution. Oh it talks about the two from cover to cover but its mostly reference, neither Lenin, nor Marx or Engels explain the necessary link. They all talk about how important it is to smash the bourgeois state machine (its parliaments, prisons, standing armies, police and bureaucracy) and replace it with a new one, the replacement is a bit vaguer but it involves the people armed and mandated and recallable delegates handling administration work without privileges beyond workmen's wages. And a system like the Paris Commune, but a bit different, like either a union of communes or the commune model on a smaller scale, depending on the quotation. And that this will eventually lead to the withering away of the rest of the state and complete the revolution with its abolishment.

But at no point do any of the three make the case why the state is necessary at all in this process. Lenin constantly criticises the Anarchists in the book for not realising why the state in its proletarian form is absolutely necessary for its completion for example

Quote:
We have now seen how, in their controversy with the anarchists, marx and Engels with the utmost thoroughness explained their views on the relation of revolution to the state. In 1891, in his foreword to Marx’ s Critique of the Gotha Programme, Engels wrote that “we”—that is, Engels and Marx—"were at that time, hardly two years after the Hague Congress of the [First] International, engaged in the most violent struggle against Bakunin and his anarchists."
Quote:
The anarchists had tried to claim the Paris Commune as their “own”, so to say, as a collaboration of their doctrine; and they completely misunderstood its lessons and Marx’ s analysis of these lessons. Anarchism has given nothing even approximating true answers to the concrete political questions: Must the old state machine be smashed? And what should be put in its place?
Quote:
It is safe to say that of this argument of Engels', which is so remarkably rich in ideas, only one point has become an integral part of socialist thought among modern socialist parties, namely, that according to Marx that state “withers away” — as distinct from the anarchist doctrine of the “abolition” of the state.
Quote:
It was solely against this kind of “abolition” of the state that Marx fought in refuting the anarchists! He did not at all oppose the view that the state would disappear when classes disappeared, or that it would be abolished when classes were abolished. What he did oppose was the proposition that the workers should renounce the use of arms, organized violence, that is, the state, which is to serve to "crush the resistance of the bourgeoisie".
These quotations are from all over the book and are only a couple of the many similar (actually identical in intent) criticisms. I thought about laying them out chronologically, but there really isn't any point while Marx and Engels develop throughout book, the attacks on anarchism don't really change.

Notice how they don't actually explain why there view is the correct one? Well we do get a slight substantiation in the last one about Marx commenting on disarmament. Here's the quotation Lenin was referring to in that last extract.

Quote:
This controversy took place in 1873. Marx and Engels contributed articles against the Proudhonists, “autonomists” or "anti- authoritarians", to an Italian socialist annual, and it was not until 1913 that these articles appeared in German in Neue Zeit.
Quote:
"If the political struggle of the working class assumes revolutionary form," wrote Marx, ridiculing the anarchists for their repudiation of politics, "and if the workers set up their revolutionary dictatorship in place of the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie, they commit the terrible crime of violating principles, for in order to satisfy their wretched, vulgar everyday needs and to crush the resistance of the bourgeoisie, they give the state a revolutionary and transient form, instead of laying down their arms and abolishing the state."
(Neue Zeit Vol.XXXII, 1, 1913-14, p.40)

Now Marx was specifically arguing with the followers of Proudhon (Mutualists) here, Bakunin the other major Anarchist contemporary of Marx whom he also hated, could not possibly be accused of pacifism. If anything Bakunins flaw was the opposite a bit to quick to emphasis violent insurrection. But even limiting the criticism to Proudhon and the Mutualists there are still some issues here. Firstly the Mutualists did take part in the fighting of Paris Commune, Proudhon himself while he was personally not a supporter of the use of force ideally, and never fought himself as far as I know[1], he did still go to the barricades in Paris 1848 and met with the revolutionaries there and he did support the revolutions throughout the continent, so even on this limited grounds its simply a false accusation.
In addition there's the equivalence of armed force and the state which is simply bizarre. By this point in time Marx was firmly wedded to the idea that for a revolution to be successful it must smash the old state machine including its repressive forces, the police and army, and that special armed bodies of men would be needed to carry this out. But if that happens, then the state has been broken down and you already have a means of organised violence already mobilised and bloodied, so why is a new state necessary then? The bourgeoisie have already lost their shield and the workers are already armed. In order to fulfil Marx's vision they would have to achieve quite a few of the preconditions of Anarchism and then step back from that.

But the weakness of the criticism of the anarchists is even shallower at times, here's a quotation from Lenin that may sound familiar to a syndicalist if reworded a bit

Quote:
We are not utopians, we do not “dream” of dispensing at once with all administration, with all subordination. These anarchist dreams, based upon incomprehension of the tasks of the proletarian dictatorship, are totally alien to Marxism, and, as a matter of fact, serve only to postpone the socialist revolution until people are different. No, we want the socialist revolution with people as they are now, with people who cannot dispense with subordination, control, and "foremen and accountants". The subordination, however, must be to the armed vanguard of all the exploited and working people, i.e., to the proletariat. A beginning can and must be made at once, overnight, to replace the specific “bossing” of state officials by the simple functions of "foremen and accountants", functions which are already fully within the ability of the average town dweller and can well be performed for "workmen's wages".
He gets another dig in at the Anarchists but after that he starts talking about something that seems very close to workers self organisation. The reference to Foremen is a bit odd but since he's lumped them in with accountants it seems more like a reference to work team leaders then say the Boss's toady. And he says that the workers can and should start taking on economic administrative tasks, so if they can do this immediately and under a hypothetical socialist revolution the majority of the workers are already mobilised into special armed bodies and mandated delegations, why is the factory and workshop movement lagging behind? And if it isn't lagging behind the others than again the state which Lenin says is just an instrument for one class to oppress another, becomes even more redundant.

If the bourgeoisie have lost the state machine, the people are armed and willing to fight, and the economy is quickly being taking over by the workforce, why do you need a rump state? What precisely can it do that the class conscious and mobilised working masses who keep in mind have already overcome the main physical threats to the revolution can't?

This question is just not answered in the text, and considering the subject, its the most important one to be addressed. Lenin himself criticised Kautsky for leaving important questions unanswered in his texts so why shouldn't the same apply here?

There was going to be a seventh chapter, but according to the notes that would be about the 1905 and 1917 revolutions so I doubt there would be an answer there.

I decided to read this again because it was recommended to me by several self described Leninists, but I honestly don't think they've read it recently either because it doesn't say what they seem to think it does. One actually went so far as to claim that Lenin wasn't a statist because he wrote this book. I'll be honest this book actually makes me think the Anarchist approach to the State and Revolution is more credible not less, and I've come to that conclusion largely agreeing with the text.

I actually enjoyed reading State and Revolution,it was written to attack the pro war Provisional Government and the Pro War German Social Democrats, so Lenins main targets are deserving of the venom and he is correct that the opportunists, Kautsky, Bernstein and Plekhanov did distort what Marx and Engels said on this issue.

But mainly I was impressed because I saw Marx, Engels and Lenins ideas develop after each section, and as they got more radical and more nuanced they seemed to get much closer to Anarchism. The specific hypotheticals of the new revolutionary society they came up with probably wouldn't be welcome in an Anarchist paper, but at there most developed the differences largely boil down to terminology (like Engels arguing that his proposed Commune system isn't really federal but a Union) and pacing issues. Its pretty weak criticism when you strip out the insults and mischaracterisations.
I can see why other Bolsheviks feared Lenin had succumbed to Anarchist deviationism, of course he didn't but it is amusing that even a number of Leninists think Lenin was at his best when at he was at his most Anarchistic.

1: I'm not an expert on Proudhons ideas or his life so its possible I'm wrong here, but if so I think this would make the criticism even weaker.

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Epilogue




When the war ended in 1945, my job was in jeopardy. For nearly four years i had worked as a translator-scriptwriter-broadcaster for the U.S. Office of War Information. Our teamof three took mimeographed releases from OWI headquarters in Washington, sometimes serviceable, sometimes bizarre, most of the time marvellously inappropriate, and fashioned brief anti-Nazi newscasts to be transmitted by European “black stations” set up by the British. To this day i cannot say whether our propaganda ever reached its target- people in Europe would be severely punished if they were caught tuning into these pernicious foreign broadcasts. Now the OWI was gradually being dismantled. But the loss of a job bothered me far less than what i was beginning to learn in great detail about the concentration camps.

Shortly after I reached America in 1938, I had established contact with a German-Jewish weekly called Aufblau (“Reconstruction”). I contributed articles on film, literature, and theatre. Aufblau  was one of the first papers in New York to publish documentation on the camps, on the destruction of Jewish communities. It printed eyewitness accounts by those who had lived through Dachau, Buchenwald, Auschwitz, and others. Only later, as more facts were disclosed in American and Swiss publications, did I begin to accept the unacceptable. I knew my father had not survived; it took years until my sister in Holland could find me, or, rather, until I could find her. And at night, when sleep evaded me, my brain conjured up Eric Langer, the one true friend of my Frankfurt years, who had joined the German navy in 1935and of whom I had no news for more than ten years. The day after Germany’s surrender I began writing Hilda, his mother, at their old address in Cronberg, near Frankfurt- but invariably the letters came back marked “Addressee moved. No forwarding address.” Again and again I flipped through the tattered pages of my Frankfurt address book, picking out names and places. But my missives went unanswered.

That Ferdi, another companion of my school years, never responded I could have anticipated. Ferdi, erratic, sexually compulsive, politically promiscuous, and altogether reckless, had for years lived in furnished rooms and changed them frequently. And of course no relatives of mine were still living in my hometown. In short, I was cut off. Only by revisiting Frankfurt might I find Eric, or at least discover somebody who knew of him and his mother. But while one part of me urged me to go back, leaving everything in America behind, the other part shouted the opposite: after what had happened in Germany, it was impossible to return. In some way or another, every adult beyond a certain age had collaborated; it seemed, with the barbarians. Only the very young could be trusted, and they could not provide the clues I needed.

One voice told me to leave behind, at least for a while, the first satisfying job I had obtained since the OWI broadcasting unit was disbanded. I had been hired on three days’ notice as an adjunct lecturer in German language and literature at the City College in New York. Against all expectations, I took my work. After a few semesters I had even learned the intricate procedures of academic etiquette, or, rather, I had learned which rules to observe and which to bend. Yet I felt so insecure that I did not dare take other than summer vacations. When I discussed my predicament with a chequered group of German-speaking émigrés who assembled every Saturday evening at the comfortable ramshackle apartment of a Viennese woman known as Countess Valeska- no one knew her real name- I received no advice, but a lot of heat. Several members castigated me for even thinking about setting foot on German soil; others, equally fervent, declared their intention of going home to help build a new strong German democracy.

Thursday, 8 June 2017

How I Became an Anarchist: A. Neselbergs



 A translation of an article published in 1931 detailing events in Latvia before WWII and how Esperanto played a part in the political development of the author, a Latvian revolutionary. The Esperanto original can be found here.


I was born in the year 1909 in Riga, the Capital of Latvia (then a province of Russia). My parents were workers. I passed most of my youth in Riga. In this city I also lived through many difficulties caused by the World War. During the Revolution I saw, the people fraternising with the soldiers and overturned the Tsars power. I will always remember those days when the people ruled themselves. I also remember the arrival of the Whites (Nationalists/Monarchists) their shameful power and butchery of thousands of workers. From these days though still a child I became an opponent of their religious dogma and an atheist. Because of the poor living conditions in the city my parents left for the countryside, settling in the provinces. My father hired himself out as farm labourer and I was employed as a Sheppard.

Working from sun up to sun down, seeing the lifestyle of our master I began to understand the difference between him and me, between exploiter and exploited. From that time I supported all kinds of workers party. Later I moved to the city of Jelgava and actively took part in the Socialist Youth Sports movement (in 1927).

After a short time I began to see that although the leaders in party offices talked about mass demonstrations and revolutionary acts, but during membership meetings took steps to collaborate with the bourgeoisie and state officials. I began to lose faith in them. But after the failure of an anti Fascist uprising, Lithuanian political exiles gathered in Poland, I became linked with them and illegally crossed the Poland-Latvia border to fight Lithuanian Fascists (in 1927).[1]

In 1928 I crossed the Lithuanian border carrying anti-Fascist literature and was arrested. As a result I was condemned to fifteen years in prison. While a prisoner I began learning Esperanto and received my first information about Anarchism via SAT.[2] After 30 months I received an amnesty and returned to Latvia. Now I was regarded as a suspect person. Three times I was arrested, and then released. After my return I was elected to the committee of the Latvian Sport Self Defence Association (Social Democratic) of Jelgava. I took with me the strength of class struggle consciousness and broke up the compromise policy, in response the central committee wanted me expelled. But the membership opposed that measure and the leadership did not succeed.
Later I drifted little by little away from the social democrats. En some old Esperanto newspaper I discovered the address of the Anarchist International Youth organisation. I immediately joined it and subscribed to its information service. Later I subscribed to the Libera Laboristo (Free Worker) the organ of the Ligo of Esperantistaj Senŝtatanoj (League of Esperanto speakers without a state). In August this year I joint SAT and subscribed to there [rest of sentence is missing in original]. Thanks to Esperanto I have relations with comrades in several different countries and Esperanto helped me find the life goal of Anarchy.

Published in the Sennaciulo on the 17th of December 1931.

 Footnotes:
1: In 1926 there was a coup that toppled the elected government and replaced it with the right wing Lithuanian Nationalist Union. Afterwards the regime faced sporadic uprisings and resistance for several years. Referring the Nationalist Union as Fascist today is considered rather controversial, as differences with Mussolini's Italy aside, the charge of Fascism was the justification used by the Soviet Union to conquer and occupy Lithuania in 1940.
2: The Sennacieca Asocio Tutmonda (World Non-national Association) a world wide assocaiton of Esperanto speakers active in the Labour movement. Still active today. http://satesperanto.org/

Sunday, 4 June 2017

Conclusion


The persecution and attempted extermination of homosexuals represents but one part of the exhaustive crusade the Nazis launched to purge Germany of contragenics of all kinds and to create an Aryan elite that would dominate Europe and, finally, the world. Today, hindsight enables historians more clearly to assess the successes and failures of the Nazi regime’s policies. But the distance of time and professional “objectivity” has by no means resolved the riddle of the Third Reich. The crimes committed, and the crimes planned, were so unspeakably monstrous that the human mind fails to apprehend their full dimensions. What happened is now known; the question of why it happened remains unanswered.

A number of historians have interpreted the Nazis’ war as a crusade, kindled not by greed for territorial and material gains but by a mission: to create an exclusively Aryan utopia. If millions had to be sacrificed for this lofty goal, it did not matter. Other historians consider World War II a replay of World War I. Both interpretations are partly correct. Hitler waged several wars, and Himmler waged several wars; occasionally their aims overlapped. The generals, whose obedience was assured after von Fritsch debacle in 1938, tried to carry out Hitler’s often amateurish orders in a professional way. After 1943, a few recognised his folly and occasionally thwarted his directives. Hitler’s aims were clear: he was as eager to conquer Europe as he was to annihilate the Jews. Toward the end, with one part of his mind registering the fact that final military victory might elude him- although until the last nights in the bunker he would not confront this- he decided at least to win that other war, the one against the Jews.

Himmler, for his part, was overtaxed. First, he had to carry out orders for the elimination of Jews, Poles, antifascists, and other “dangerous” groups. Second, he untiringly pursued his own efforts to strike out against other contragenics such as Gypsies, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and homosexuals. From a practical and strategic point of view, this campaign was not worth the huge policing effort it needed to succeed. But, then, few of his goals could be called reasonable or practical. While the Allies held Germany encircled, Himmler still wasted energy and personnel in pressuring the armed forces to more vigorously prosecute sexually deviant soldiers and sailors.

Himmler’s and Eicke’s innovation- the concentration camps- must be understood as the evil icons of our century. The Nazi’s totalitarian apparatus could not tolerate nonconformity of any kind, and all deviants were to be eliminated. The German military machine, however, was engaged in a conventional war of territorial conquest. As the net closed tighter around the naqzis, every able-bodied male was needed- at the front or in the war factories under Albert Speer. These two goals kept colliding: here castigation and slavery, there attempts to run an efficient economic machine. In vain Speer tried to obtain better conditions for his forced-labour battalions: they remained ill-fed, ill-housed, ill-clothed, and unable to fulfil work quotas. Whether Speer knew more about conditions in the camps than he admitted is debatable. Police authorities were continually meddling with the running of camp enterprises. They arrested inmate-labourers for trifling infractions. Throughout their tenure, Hoess and other commandants were caught in a double bind. The continually received contradictory orders- for example, to provide manpower for a new munitions depot, and simultaneously to apply stricter punitive measures against recalcitrant prisoners.  Even notorious commandants such as Franz Stangl of Treblinka or Josef Kramer of Belsen could not increase war related production in the camps while the prisoners who manned them were brutalised or eliminated.

By 1944, less ideologically blinded Nazis began to realise that what Hitler had brought forth was, indeed, a modern version of hell. The fact that some officials beame aware of the need to cover up their crimes can be seen from the frenetic efforts, starting as early as mid 1942, to erase all proof.  Records were burned and witnesses eliminated- which, of course, produced over witnesses. These exertions failed for several reasons. First, crimes of such enormity cannot be kept hidden. Even when Hitler cautiously began the euthanasia program in 1939, involving a limited number of native misfits and cripples, it could not be kept concealed. The villagers soon knew what the black smoke rising from the new “asylums” meant. Although many of the new penal colonies were purposely built amid vast plains and marshes of the East, the mass transports and the mass killings- and the smell of the smoke- could not be kept secret. Second, from early on, the antifascists and some of the better organised Jewish prisoners started copying and hiding important files and records,  sometimes burying them in the grounds or bricking them into the buildings they were constructing. Of course, most buildings did not last, and the hastily scribbled lists mostly disintegrated. But enough telltale evidence escaped oblivion. After 1943, Allied headquarters also knew of these infernos in the East, although the Allies preferred to deemphasise their true nature. And, naturally, not all camp employees could be counted on never to talk out of camp. Quite a few paid for their indiscretions and were arrested for “spreading subversive rumours”- but the damage was done. If the Nazis tried to create “holes of oblivion,” they failed on a vast scale.

 The Nazi penal machinery, as I have indicated, was both illogical and efficient. It sacrificed the practical needs for manpower and material to an ideological rationale that undermined the effort to win the war. The enormity of both the penal bureaucracy and the crimes committed by it and its chiefs compounded that inefficiency in both the short run and the long run, by destroying the war-winning capacity of Germany and by devastating the country’s national image for generations to come.

 The homosexuals, by a series of laws, were treated as subhumans does not seem in retrospect particularly illogical or even unexpected. After all, their classification as heretical deviants boasted a long lineage.  From the viewpoint of Nazi logic, the extermination policy concerning homosexuals had a kind of ideological justification. Himmler’s concept of a National Sexual Budget classified homosexuals as “propagation blanks” and diagnosed them as a health hazard because they spread a so-called homosexual infection. Eicke’s police needed no such ideological rationale: homosexuals were simply regarded with the hatred characteristic of ancient homophobic institutions.

In the course of European history, a vast number of bulls and mandates, pamphlets and tracts lumped together Jews, homosexuals, and other heretics, and linked them to witches, sexual deviants, and traitors. In the thirteenth century, for example, the Fourth Lateran Council of 1215 forbade Jews from holding public office; they were directed to wear special garments to distinguish them from Christians. Perhaps it was here that the practice of scapegoating by coded badges began, a technique  that, some seven hundred years later, the Nazis would use to identify contragenics. It seems that if the /inquisition called a man a heretic, it meant that he was a practicing homosexual and vice versa. And in England, from the thirteenth century on, as the Jews were driven out, a new code condemned to death arsonists, sorcerers, heretics, those who slept with the wives of their feudal lords, and those who had intercourse with Jews, animals, or their own gender. Again and again, authorities charged their opponents, both real and imagined, with religious (and later political) and sexual malpractices. From the thirteenth century to the twentieth, the hold of these anti-Semitic and homophobic mythologies has never been broken among large parts of the population of Western Europe.

Given this rich tradition of hatred in Western civilisation, a fundamental question arises as to whether certain features of Hitler’s reign of terror were an eruption of evil unique to twentieth-century Germany. Over this issue historians and sociologists have quarrelled violently and inconclusively. For some, Hitler and his followers represent a gang of perverted if not demented paranoiacs; for others, the Third Reich is judged to be the legitimate heir to the militarist-imperialist traditions of Germany. Neither explanation satisfies. Perhaps Richard Rubenstein was closer to the heart of the matter when he suggested that it was wrong to “isolate Nazism and its supreme expression, bureaucratic mass murder and the bureaucratically administered society of total domination, from the mainstream of Western culture.” The Third Reich forever destroyed the myth of inexorable human progress. In less than one hundred years after most Western nations had finally abolished slavery, Hitler and Himmler brought it back. This time the slaves were not a special ethnic group, exploited solely for economic purposes, but rather contragenics of all kinds who were pushed into the forced-labour battalions in the camps and the factories surrounding them. While the Gulag that dots Russia’s northern tundra was not designed to exterminate its inmates, it enslaves them and must be classified as a close relative of Hitler’s bone mills. One is tempted to say that the twentieth century has mistreated minorities in a more brutal fashion than many preceding periods. And it is precisely technological progress that has made possible ever more refined techniques of brutalisation, torture, and obliteration.

Thus the fate of the gays under the Third Reich may serve as a touchstone for all those victims swept away by the hurricane of hatred. To this day, the extent and impact of this catastrophe has not been fully understood. At the end of hostilities, when Allied soldiers first entered the concentration camps, they did not really comprehend what they saw. And despite the overwhelming flood of information about the Nazis’ infernal machine, we still have not understood what it may foreshadow. In many ways, the spectres of the Third Reich still haunt us- not because a few elderly Nazis may be hiding in South America and not because groups of younger neo-Nazis demand attention with recycled swastika ideologies and emblems. The spectres begin to come to life whenever fanatical fundamentalists of any sect- religious or secular- take over a nation and call for a holy war against its most vulnerable and vilified minorities.

__________________________________________________________________

Prologue
Introduction
Chapter One: The Calm Before the Storm
Chapter Two: The Roehm Affair
Chapter Three: The Grand Inquisitor
Chapter Four: Persecution
Chapter Five: In Camp
Conclusion
Epilogue
Appendices


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