Horkheimer On Fascism

Here it is: http://thecharnelhouse.org/2015/03/20/the-jews-and-europe/

Regular visitors to this blog will note that I do not abuse the word “important.” Don’t miss this. Not a big fan of the Frankfurters generally nor Horkheimer specifically but this is extraordinary theoretical work.

I will add some analysis when I have time (which is not often these days) and it will be added here in this post.

Below is the comment I left under the piece.

Brilliant. So much to think about here. A few examples:

” The adaptation of individuals to fascism, however, also expresses a certain rationality. After their betrayal by their own bureaucracy since 1914, after the development of the parties into world-spanning machineries for the destruction of spontaneity, after the murder of revolutionaries, the neutrality of workers with respect to the totalitarian order is no sign of idiocy.”


“The lie of justice within modern society, the lie of the reward for achievement, the lie of success as a divine judgment, all the cultural lies that poisoned life, have either become transparent or been abolished. Bureaucracy decides on life and death. It does not shift the responsibility for the failure of individuals to God, as did the old capitalists, but rather to the necessity of the state. The inhumane people who now dispose over lives probably are no more unjust than the market, which was moved only by the will to profit, in selecting who will live and who will die.”

“The bourgeois were always pragmatists; they always kept an eye on their property. For its sake the privileges fell. Even the more radical development, interrupted by the fall of the terrorists, did not point only in the direction of greater freedom. Even then, people were faced with choosing between various forms of dictatorship. Robespierre’s and Saint Just’s plans envisioned statist elements, a strengthening of the bureaucratic apparatus, similar to the authoritarian systems of the present. The order which set out as the progressive one in 1789 carried the germs of National Socialism from the beginning.”

“To appeal today to the liberal mentality of the nineteenth century against fascism means appealing to what brought fascism to power. ”

This is great work. A few points of disagreement [notably that it has little to do with its title] but who cares. Horkheimer at his best. Thanks for this.

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The Revolution Has Begun

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Voline On Revolution

Emancipation can be achieved only by the direct, widespread, and independent action of those concerned, of the workers themselves, grouped, not under the banner of a political party or of an ideological formation, but in their own class organizations (productive workers’ unions, factory committees, co-operatives, etc.) on the basis of concrete action and self-government, helped, but not governed, by revolutionaries working in the very midst of, and not above the mass.

Found here.

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The Firebombing of Tokyo

Seventy years ago today, the United States needlessly killed almost 100,000 people in a single air raid.


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Blogger’s Note, 3/10/15

A bot has taken over my e-mail and is sending out who knows what. I’m sorry for your inconvenience and mine.

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Music David Rovics: Vanguard

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Quiz question: How does the contemporary American school system differ from that of 19th century Czarist Russia?

[This is actually a post I made at an education Facebook page]

Reading Avrahm Yarmolinsky’s Road to Revolution which deals with the rise of revolutionary sentiment in 19th century Russia. Good book. In it he discusses the educational reforms (among others) enacted by Nicholas 1.

A little background for those who may not be familiar with ol’ Nick: His father, Alexander1, was the Czar who defeated Napoleon (?) and tore west with his army all the way to Paris. He returned home a hero but his soldiers, nobles and peasants alike, had seen what the revolution had done in France and a good many became radicalized. Alex’ 1 implemented some reforms aimed at a) preventing another Napoleon-like invasion, and b) averting a revolution in Russia. These measures, not worth discussing here, had the opposite effect and when he died in December of 1825, and a succession dispute ensued, a group of officers and thousands of their follwers organized a rebellion on behalf of Nicholas, who was seen as the more progressive. The Decembrists were a mixed bag but in the main were bourgeois republicans who promised, sincerely or not, to liberate the serfs should they come to power.

As it turned out Nicholas didn’t need their support nor share their desire for a constitutional monarchy a la Great Britain. He ordered the regular troops to put down the revolt which they did, and some of the rebel leaders were hanged despite their having acted, nominally at least, on Nicholas’ behalf.

The new Czar then quite publicly enacted some of the reforms espoused by the Decembrists, but privately he and his advisers were making changes to avert another rebellion. His education minister, whom, oddly, Yarmolinsky does not identify, was astonishingly blunt about what he was trying to do. The Czar created a secret police whose “Third Division” was responsible for, among other things, checking the spread of subversive ideas, and the education system came under its jurisdiction. Yarmolinsky:

“The schools were subjected to rigid supervision, and an effort was made to confine education…to the privileged classes. The..sentiment, expressed by the Chief of the Third Division, was that…learning should be dispensed…by government prescription only. The head of the educational system stated that ‘the schools should be intellectual dams barring the influx of new ideas.’ He considered it his duty to retard the nation’s mental development…”

They introduced more religious instruction which included such useful things as classes in Old Church Slavonic.

Intellectual dams. I’m not sure why I’m surprised, but I am.

Quiz answer: Immaterially.

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