Returning Fascism from Europe's Left

A (still tiny) red-brown left is emerging. It is using fascist ideas, assumptions, and tropes—not last about the Jews and about capital being “Jewish”—in pursuit of ostensibly left-wing ends.

This week’s exhibit is the ravings of a leading Norwegian academic Johan Galtung, the left-wing founder and doyen of the field of peace studies no less, who suggested that Israel’s Mossad may have given Anders Breivik his orders to massacre so many young social democrats.

Galtung goes on to say that The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the czarist-era propaganda concoction often called a warrant for genocide, is worth reading (“It is hard to believe that the Russian secret police was able to be so specific”), especially as a guide to the present (“It is impossible to [read it] today without thinking of Goldman Sachs”). 

On and on he ranted. “The Jews control US media and divert for the sake of Israel,” he wrote. “Six Jewish companies control 96% of the media.” Oh, and “seventy percent of the professors at the 20 most important American universities are Jewish.”

Pograms against the Jews in the medieval period had a “problematic” side, according to Gultang: “The Jews played a role in demanding payment from indebted peasants.” And before the Holocaust, it was “not unproblematic that Jews had key niches in a society humiliated by defeat at Versailles.”

Writing at Unrest Magazine, Richard E. Rubenstein, a professor of conflict resolution and public affairs at the School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution whose latest book is titled Reasons to Kill: Why Americans Choose War,dismissed “all this brouhaha” and offered an apologia that itself repeated themes and tropes from the red-brown milieu of the interwar period. Comingled with his talk of the “American Empire” was support for Galtung’s suggestion that Mossad were behind Breivik’s murders: After all, “one can see why he might have made this theoretical connection.”

Red-Brown politics is new to us. But it is not new. Between the first and second world wars, left-fascisms of sorts flourished in Europe, especially in France. We are going to have to dig out Zeev Sternhell’s book Neither Left nor Right, and read up on Richard Wolin’s writings.

Today, Israel/Palestine is being used as a cypher. The dangerously mad idea of the Jewish world conspiracy is back on the agenda, and not just on the fringes. This is a very dangerous moment.


Photo Credit: Seadart

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