24 Sep

Who were those far right national socialists?

After today’s elections it seems likely that the Alternative for Germany party will hold seats in the country’s parliament. The BBC and all our newspapers are appalled. First item on the news this morning the presenter said, “This will be the first time members of the far right have achieved significant political representation since the days of Hitler’s Nazis.”

I can find only one thing wrong with that statement: the Nazis were not a party of the far right, or indeed of any sort of right

They were called The German Workers National Socialist Party. And the name was appropriate.

It is often argued that the Nazis were not socialists because they left industry and commerce – the means of production and distribution – in the hands of private companies. But this facade concealed the truth that the bosses of these companies were merely functionaries, managers who obeyed the orders of the actual owner which was the Nazi government.

The socialist policy of the Nazis was enforced three years into their rule when, in 1936 the government introduced controls over prices and wages. These controls inevitably lead to shortages, because they abolished the flexible system of supply and demand.

The response of a socialist government to shortages is rationing. This is made easier when the socialist government is also totalitarian and brooks no opposition.

Hitler’s totalitarian socialist regime didn’t stop at the regulation of wages and prices: it decided what goods should be produced, in what quantities and how these goods should be allocated and distributed. The thorough bureaucracy required to do this produces stagnation and economic chaos.

Figuratively speaking, in a National Socialist brewery, there wouldn’t be enough beer to organise the proverbial piss up.

Shortages produce endless queues for whatever goods might become available.

They also produce a flourishing black market. The government must clamp down very heavily on this and ensure harsh punishments for those convicted. This requires a huge network of informers which makes daily life hell on earth for the people who are forever in the most fearful doubt over who might be an informer – often one’s own friends or even family.

Convicted black marketeers were not tried by normal juries, because ordinary citizens sitting on a jury would never hand out the stiff sentences which the government required – for a trivial offence such as selling a pound of meat illegally. So judgement and sentencing were carried out by government-appointed administrative tribunals.

The last state of that polity which began with price and wage control was a regime which exercised total control and its instrument was the secret police, the Gestapo.

Welcome to the full-blown reign of terror. And it was a Socialist reign of terror as thorough as anything instituted by Joseph Stalin.