Who are the Anti-Germans?
Interview by Stephen Cheng, May 2007
What was the “Kommunistischer Bund”?
I believe it‘s impossible to understand what the KB was, without understanding the Maoist – to be precise: the Mao-Stalinist movement that arose after Chruschtschev‘s secret speech in 1956. From then on we have to separate three different factions of Mao-Stalinism: First – groups like the illegal KPD/ML (Ernst Aust) or the late KABD (Willi Dickhut – today the MLPD); second – groups like the KPD/AO (”Aufbauorganisation” – structural organisation) or the KBW, that originated in certain factions of the SDS; third – the KB, an organisation founded by members of SALZ Hamburg, a young workers social centre (Ebermann / Trampert). All in all these groups were foolish Mao-Stalinists in their own different ways: the first group was the result of a split within the core of the illegal Communist Party. Historically its cadres were people that lost the struggle against Hitler‘s fascism without questioning the reasons for their defeat, especially without reflecting on anti-Semitism. The second faction were ambitious academics, a faction hoping – real Kautskyians – to build their future on teaching class struggle. The third faction was deeply infected by the anti-authoritarian revolt, but wanted to organize the revolt in a Leninist manner.
All these factions of Mao-Stalinism wished to monopolize working class interests, by making them their very own private property. They all wanted to produce cadres (like Elsässer). The first faction with a classic ”Thälmann”-attitude: this damned central committee of little Dimitroffs wanted to decide it all; the second faction in a quasi scientific way: ”scientific socialism” has to be brought as a gift from the intellectuals to the workers, the third faction by politics I would call ”movementism”. The KB was an anti-dogmatic dogmatic group. To explain this, I believe it‘s enough to remember that the German Mao-Tse-Tung edition appeared in four volumes through Beijing‘s foreign languages publishing house. The KB edited a fifth volume on its own, including some not sacrosanct writings: the contents of these writings were the same old story, but formally this was an anti-authoritarian act that the other Mao-Stalinists disapproved of – for me this little episode underlines the essence of the KB: this group was Mao-Stalinist and anti-Zionist like the others, its members being politicians like the others (this fact being relevant considering the KB‘s contribution to the founding of the green party in persona of Küntzel, Ebermann, Trampert, Trittin et al.). They were fans of Lenin‘s ”right of national self-determination” (especially in Palestine) and they were rigid opponents of Adorno‘s critical theory and the critique of state and parliamentarianism by Johannes Agnoli.
On the other hand the KB was the most pleasant Mao-Stalinist organisation. This group had – in the 70ies – strong ties to the spontaneous anti-dogmatic left; nevertheless the KB was an avant-garde organisation of Mao-Stalinism in the midst of the anti-dogmatic left. These comrades were go-betweeners, a fact, which is relevant when reconstructing the origins of the green party.
How did Gruppe K within the Kommunistischer Bund become a forerunner to the anti-German currents?
I don‘t know. At first I hoped that this turn would signal a development from the most anti-authoritarian group embedded in the cadre of Marxist-Leninist politics towards an anti-dogmatic, materialist and ”Adornite” view of things. For years I took this hope for real, but now I fear that the politician-ism of some comrades, especially Justus Wertmüller, is overwhelming the critical subversion of Germany. Today I believe: Once KB, always KB – K-group-socialization has produced a special type and character of militants, whose social destination lies in mediation, not in subversion, whose utopia it is to create the peoples front, formerly against fascism, today for the rescue of Israel. The problem is, that it‘s impossible to find any progressive liberals to cooperate with, because liberals have no political influence in Germany and never had any, not today and not in the 30ies. The division of the KB was in vain, and the editorial staff of the ”Bahamas” in reality is the last functioning local group of the former Ebermann/Trampert working class vanguard.
How did ISF take shape?
In 1981, the founding group of the ISF belonged to the ”Socialist bureau” (SB), adhered to their local Freiburg organization; later some comrades from the Trotskyite organization (GIM – Group International Marxist) and some non-violent anarchists (GAF – Gewaltfreie Aktion Freiburg) joined. Do you know the SB? If you want information about it please read Bock, Der linke Radikalismus in Deutschland, Frankfurt: suhrkamp 1976. The SB was founded in 1968, against (Mao-) Stalinism, Social Democrat-ism, anti-Semitism, anti-Zionism, the RAF and so on.
The periodical of the SB – ”Links. Sozialistische Zeitung” – existed until 1994. The SB included people like Detlev Claussen, Micha Brumlik and (!) Rudi Dutschke. For me – born 1955 in a small, but very bourgeois town, well educated by the youth center movement, later organized in the KPD/AO and engaged in antimilitarist struggle – my personal enlightenment took place when I came in contact with the SB, in 1975: There it was: the heritage of the Frankfurt School. In the ML-movement Adorno & Co. were unheard of and nobody had read anything by Hans-Jürgen Krahl, and the council communists never existed; and ideology was considered as manipulation, and Alfred Sohn-Rethel never existed; and Freud was an ordinary white male Eurocentric bourgeois and the PLO was the headquarter of world revolution. Then things changed. German fascism was no longer understood in terms of Dimitroff‘s thesis, but by the term National Socialism. We read Günter Anders ”Antiquiertheit des Menschen”, just to provoke ourselves to become more existentialist.
We studied the critique of political economy with a little help from Hans-Georg Backhaus, and we learned our lesson in the critique of state and politics through the writings of Johannes Agnoli (later on they all became authors of our ça ira-publishing house).
We prepared ourselves to confront the 80ies by trial and error. First: the founding process of the green party, second: the alternative (and esoteric) movement, third: the first peace movement 1982/83, fourth: the squatter movement and the non-proletarian autonomous movement, fifth (in the late 80ies): the crisis and collapse of Stalinism, that we analyzed as a form of state capitalism.
We left the SB in 1981 when this group couldn‘t decide if it should participate in the founding of the Green party or not. We stood by the thesis of Agnoli, while Joachim Hirsch, another important theoretician of the SB, developed a theory of ”radical reformism”, legitimating some form of left parliamentarianism. At this very moment, Wolfgang Pohrt began to publish. This was the second enlightenment: Prove that critical theory is not a form of academic enterprise, but instead has to be practiced in the tradition of the original Marxian notion of critique: denunciation, polemic – verum est index sui et falsum, proverb of Spinoza, preferred and often quoted by Adorno. Hans-Jürgen Krahl stated that critique is the theoretical anticipation of revolution, and Pohrt, a former member of the SDS Frankfurt supported this notion. We tried to follow in their footsteps and imitated this form of critique, and in the late 80ies we engaged in the critique of the RAF‘s armed struggle, and the critique of the political lef t‘s drifting off towards anti-Zionism. Anti-Semitism – marginalized by the entire German left in terms of their notion of Nazism – became the focal point of our critical efforts.
The German reunification changed everything. In 1983, we founded the ca ira-publishing house to support the continuity of left wing radicalism, meaning: to give succour to the annihilation of Leninism, Stalinism etc. pp. as barricades against the revolution. Our criticism on anti-Semitism/anti-Zionism followed the same intentions. Now Germany became our problem from a new perspective. Our first turn towards ”anti-German” critique was the critique of the German reunification, but we also started some actions in solidarity with the anarchist opposition in the GDR in January 1990.
How did ISF get into contact with Bahamas magazine?
Merely by coincidence – a comrade of the ”Gruppe K” (Clemens Nachtmann from Berlin) published a very positive review of the first issue of our journal ”Kritik & Krise”, published in autumn 1989, in “Arbeiterkampf”.
According to a few sources, ISF writers and editors came to ”dominate” Bahamas. How did this happen, assuming it to be true in the first place?
I don‘t think so, because the ISF (a group of merely five to eight comrades) – during the turn of the century overstretched by editing ”Kritik & Krise” and managing the ça ira publishing house and organizing local anti-politics – offered to found a common editorial board, but the ”Gruppe K” was fixed on the esoteric name of its journal and therefore refused our offer. Later there was a lot of cooperation, common political intervention and personal friendship – but the localism of the Berlin group was too strong to establish any kind of common organization. To recapitulate: ISF never dominated ”Bahamas”, but for a very long period of time both groups were denounced as the ”centre of anti-German ideology production”. After a few conferences – 1999 in Berlin, 2002 in Freiburg (”Value, capital, critique”) and Berlin (”Israel is our matter”) this came to an end, when the Berlin group destroyed the national anti-German coordination and renewed the popular front-politicianism.
How would ISF describe its own political views, sympathies, or ideology?
See above: ”How did ISF take shape?” – What remains to be said is that the ISF – Influenced by Alfred Sohn-Rethel‘s critique of the connection between the form of value and the form of thoughts (”Warenform und Denkform”) – developed a special critique of the leftist intellectuals (for example our book ”The theoretician is the value” from 2001 against Robert Kurz and the ”Krisis”-Group). This critique is based on the social division between the functional and the phenomenological status of things, i.e. between exchange value and value in use, constituting the entire axioms of philosophy and thinking in general, especially the schism between being/existence/function and apparition/phenomenon. The social praxis of the intellectuals as theoreticians is to mediate between the poles of this antinomy – in the perspective of the ISF herein lies the very source of ideology and the ”historical mission” of our group lies in the transformation of the intellectuals into critics. In our opinion this seems to guarantee the materialist view of the ”critique of the political economy”, not as a theory of capitalist development, but as critique.
For us, within social philosophy everything depends on a reflected reading of the Marxian ”Capital”, that – first – consists of an anti-ontological notion of social synthesis: Capital is not the major form of self-alienation of labour, Marx isn‘t the theoretician of the labour movement: society is generated as a negative self-moving and self-reproducing subject by value. This constitutes our opposition to Leninist, social democratic, Operaist and postmodern ideology. Second – this notion of value includes the notion of ideology and politics. They are co-constitutive, not ”superstructures”. Last, but not least, this notion of the state leads us to a special critique of anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism. Our thesis on Israel first published in 1990 as a complement to ”Kritik & Krise”, meanwhile has been published as a book that has already reached its 6th or 7th edition and has become one of the main documents of communist solidarity with Israel.
Was the Konkret editorial board the only group on the German left to take a hawkish pro-US government line regarding the 1991 Gulf War?
No. We published a leaflet titled ”Poison-gas and pacifism”.
How many anti-German individuals and groups merely opposed German intervention via NATO in the former Yugoslavia whereas others took up an actively pro-Milosevic position? Were antiwar activities at the time coordinated with anti-Imperialist currents?
I am unable to quantify this. But there was no coordination with the anti-imperialists because of our analysis of Titoism as a form of grasroots Stalinism.
How did the ”Nie Wieder Deutschland” campaign take place? What groups and individuals were involved? How many can be fairly identified as anti-German?
In Frankfurt 20.000 Militants were on the streets. I estimate that half of them wore the black-red-gold-banner of the better Germany (”Neues Deutschland”) in the east.
The absolute majority were ordinary leftist, i.e. people without any critique of state-capitalism, Leninism etc. pp, who shouted out for the dubious right of national self-determination, but hated those eastern German manifestations à la ”Kommt die D-Mark bleiben wir, kommt sie nicht, gehn wir zu ihr”. They remained captivated by the nation; they were blinded by the form of nation. This was a self-contradiction that paralyzed them: Self-determination for the Palestinians, but not for the eastern part of Germany.
At the same time this demonstration was the last carnival of dogmatism – for many years I have not seen that many DKP, KPD/ML, MLPD and other Stalinist mummies. Did you know that the symbol of the official communist party, the DKP, was the German flag? It really was a ”D”KP.
(By the way: Let me tell you a little story to clarify the percentage of anti-German communists at that manifestation: In early 1990 we published a number of our ”Kritik & Krise” with the title: ”Nie wieder Deutschland”. Because of this a left-wing ”anti-dogmatic” student group (”Linke Liste”) from the Frankfurt university invited me to hold a speech on the final manifestation on Römer square under the condition that I had to present my speech the day before to a cadre of this group – Andreas Fanizadeh, later known as a member of the editorial board of ”Die Beute”, a real Foucault-ian magazine. My thesis was that the anti-German left had to confront all anti-Zionist tendencies, and I developed this in giving a survey on these groups in the Rhein-Main-area. Fanizadeh censored this survey and I couldn‘t hold my speech, because he argued: We have to fight the main enemy, and my critique would only produce division and useless polemics.)
How did the demonstrations against the Dresden commemorations take place? What groups and individuals were involved? How many can be fairly identified as anti-German?
I don‘t know, because of purely pragmatic reasons the ISF did not take part. I believe that the hegemonic group at this demonstration was the journal ”17°”, dominated by Günther Jacob (Hamburg), who later converted to an obscure postmodernism.
How was Juergen Elsaesser involved with the anti-German currents? What led him to terminate his involvement? What are his present views?
I knew him since his studies in Freiburg in the very early 80ies, since the squatter movement and his presence in the local KB group. He was – and he is – a Leninist chameleon, whose thoughts circulate around the mediation between social and national liberation. He shares the same fate with Justus Wertmüller, even though they differ in articulation and perspective. Elsässer was Pro-Zionist, until he thought that Zionism had to be the synthesis of national and social liberation of Jews, in so far as the Jews had to satisfy his left wing Leninism, but Sharon disappointed him. He never was aware of Sohn-Rethel‘s reconstruction of the relation of the form of value and the form of thinking, meaning: of the notion of materialist critique. He always wanted to be an original thinker, autonomous and in the very midst and axis of mediation. His social utopia is the same as Wertmüller‘s, but Elsässer is far more unscrupulous. His actual political position is some idiosyncratic type of national-bolshevism, in the future he will have to choose between one of the Strasser-Geminis.
Roughly when, how and why did a reactive position against anti-Semitism transform into an actively pro-Israel stance?
Please explain to me why a ”position against anti-Semitism” should be ”reactive”? The ISF‘s first critique of anti-Semitism in the late 80ies was simultaneously a critique of anti-Zionism. After studying Moishe Postone‘s fundamental essay – republished by ça ira in 2005 – we considered anti-Semitism and the mass annihilation of the Jews to be the keys to any critique of capitalist society, but we also criticized Postone for his lack of understanding the notion of the state. We published the collected writings of Johannes Agnoli (the critique of state and politics) to whom politics are a part of the ”Basis” and not – in the traditional view – an ”Überbau” (superstructure). No capital without sovereignty, no sovereignty without capital.
Therefore we argue that anti-Semitism cannot exist without anti-Zionism – since the first emergence of eliminationist anti-Semitism in Germany (see Hitlers speech 1920 in Munich‘s ”Bürgerbräu”), anti-Semitism was also anti-Zionism. While anti-Semitism is based on the phantasma of the unproductive Jew, anti-Zionism is based on the phantasma of the Jews as a nation unable to found a well-organized state (”Volksstaat”). Hitler developed this ideology simultaneously with the geopolitical aspects of the nazi-fascist movement – the future alliance with the Arabs against the British and the Jews in Palestine.
Our ”active pro-Israel stance” is the result of all of this and is documented in our ”Furchtbare Antisemiten, ehrbare Antizionisten. Israel und die linksdeutsche Ideologie”, first published 1990, last published as a revised and extended edition 2003. For us the active solidarity with Israel is unthinkable without a materialist critique of German and capitalist society. Therefore we oppose the attempts to transform the solidarity movement with Israel into some ”agreement of nations” (Völkerfreundschaft), organized for example by the ”Deutsch-Israelische Gesellschaft” (for this see our leaflet ”Karl Marx, Israel und die Militanz der Vernunft” on the ISF-Website.), i.e. to organize some kind of ”Volksfront”.
It‘s a pity, but this has been the tendency since the ”Bahamas”-Congress in June 2003 in Berlin, where they invited speakers like Hannes Stein (an editor of Springer‘s journal ”Die Welt”) and one of the organizers of the Frankfurt group ”Honestly Concerned” (an active pro-Israel lobby, that acts towards Israel like an amnesty international for Jews).
Roughly when, how and why did pro-American government opinions coalesce?
While studying the Nazi attitude towards the U.S.A., we discovered that behind the entire anti-American attitude various resentments against the ”melting pot” are hidden, and that there is no anti-Semitic ideology without the projection that the White House is controlled by an obscure ”Israel Lobby”. There is no critique of anti-Semitism without critique of anti-Americanism.
How have the anti-German currents evolved since their post-Kommunistischer Bund/Gruppe K origins?
Let me say that fifteen years are a very long time (!). Today there is no city and rarely a larger town without some group labeling itself as ”antideutsch”, ”antideutsch-kommunistisch” and so on. There are a lot of Websites and print-journals, especially in the Ruhr Area with a strong group of young workers and engaged autodidacts. This is an unquestionable progress. On the other hand this movement has lost its focus on the task of practicing the critique of ideology and therefore its strength to enlighten. In a certain sense this movement has become a servant of the ”Deutsch-Israelische Gesellschaft”. There is a tendency to substitute the goal of a worldwide stateless and classless society with some kind of democratic politics. For example, if you look at Matthias Küntzel‘s speech in January 2007 in Berlin: ”Deutschland muß sich entscheiden” (Germany must decide) – ten years ago such an evocation would have been buried by roaring laughter. Another example is Wertmüller‘s speech in Frankfurt in June 2006: ”Under certain circumstances it is legitimate to show the German flag” – same story here. So my judgment remains ambivalent. Concerning the ISF, we still are 5 to 8 comrades, we still organize public discussion two times a month and we succeed in producing and distributing a lot of books. The general perspective depends on the anti-German reactions to the next clash in international politics regarding Israel: the Iran affair. There really is the possibility that the anti-Germans lose their subversive potential and develop into a faction of a new left wing state policy.
An interview contact called ”early” anti-Germanism an apparently temporary ”self-criticism” in which opposition to German nationalism was priority over class struggle. How did a specific form of anti-German ideology rise out of an apparent corrective measure launched by some German left currents?
I don‘t understand your question. In the tradition of critical theory the ISF engaged in a really new notion of capitalist society, which in itself carries the barbarian force which led – after ”Black Friday” – to Nazism. To make it clear: For me Adorno‘s critical theory was never ”self criticism” of the German left, but materialism out of social necessity. ”Class Struggle” was destroyed by the real subsumption of labour under capital und was destroyed by Nazism too (see the politics of ”Deutsche Arbeitsfront”). The transcending power of negation within the workers movement had been brought to an end and the working class had become a part of the across-the-board collective of mass-murderers. To be a ”leftist” no longer means to engage in the so-called class struggle, which has been transformed – see the analysis of early operaists – into a motor of the self-reproduction of capital. What you call the ”anti-German ideology” (Robert Kurz) is a behavior resulting from the inability to tolerate the entire negativity produced by critical theory: the need for ontologisation and positive thinking is too strong.
And I don‘t understand your question for another reason. You wrote ”German nationalism” – but a thing like that doesn‘t exist. ”Nationalism” is not a thing like politics. In Germany nationalism, racism and anti-Semitism are the very essence of the state, the ”Wesen” of political sovereignty. This state is the ”positive” result of mass murder, and it incorporates this in all its structures – see Gerhard Scheit, Die Meister der Krise, ca ira 2001 and also my book, Was deutsch ist. Zur kritischen Theorie der Nation. This state is not to be d e-nationalized or democratised, but abolished.
When did the concept of class struggle become relegated to the sidelines among anti-Germans?
Leo Löwenthal, a comrade of Theodor W. Adorno, has been asked the same question once. He said: Not I am a traitor of the working class, but working class has betrayed me and the revolution too. For me the central theme of the ”anti-Germans” is how to think revolution in a state of society, in which the working class has abandoned its own genuine former telos. In my opinion the (symbolic) date of this treason seems to be the 20th January 1942, the day of the Wannsee conference – a day when the ultimate necessity of the workers world revolution coincided with the total absence of the working class, indicating its total integration into the system of the ”Volksgemeinschaft”. On the 20th January the notion of class and class struggle definitely changed. Since then class struggle has been an ideology – see the essay of Theodor W. Adorno, Reflexionen zur Klassentheorie, written in 1942.
How many anti-Germans have begun to adopt an apparently radical form of classical liberalism (according to a few sources that I found, Hannah Arendt and Karl Popper have become new theoretical references)? What led them to this development?
No poll exists and I didn‘t do a survey either, but I think the reason is a total lack of materialist (not: marxist) thought and knowledge. Therefore the dialectic between liberalism and authoritarian state has been suspended – see Herbert Marcuse‘s, The fight against liberalism in the authoritarian view of state (1934), see also Adorno‘s aphorism, that no other bourgeois pointed out the dark side of liberalism like Hitler (1944). A Berlin group called ”Friends of the open society” (Popper!) recruits among former Members of ”Bahamas” and ”Antideutsche Kommunisten Berlin” – this group has transformed anti-German critique into a new anti-totalitarianism. I think it‘s the social destiny of leftist intellectuals to be original and creative and avant-gardist by any means possible. I know some people that used to be fanatic vegetarians with a strong lunatic drive, but they‘ve always kept their academic orientation. So I think it‘s necessary to investigate the social structure of the anti-Germans to develop a profound self-criticism of this tendency. Surly one aspect of this is – as Horst Pankow, a former member of the ”Bahamas”, pointed out three years ago – the turn from radical enlightenment to political propaganda, initiated by the ”Bahamas”-staff. As a last consequence I can‘t imagine the brain which denounces the Frankfort School using the ideological means of Hayek and so on.
When, how and why did anti-German thinkers take up an interest in the differences between civic- and ethnic- based states?
On behalf of the ISF this difference doesn‘t exist in a substantial or ontological manner. With regard to the capitalist way of social synthesis, the absolute need of homogenization by law exists, i.e. by subjectivation, as Marx pointed out in the chapter on the exchange of commodities. The other methods are homogenization by labour or by race. The criterion of transformation from the one into the other consists in the strength of the crisis of accumulation. The notion of state, i.e. sovereignty, is decisive.
How did Wolfgang Pohrt influence the anti-German currents? How did Eike Geisel influence the anti-German currents?
Especially Pohrt demonstrated the enormous polemic potential of Adorno et al. It truely was a new way of writing. Formerly critical theory in Germany was occupied by the academics, by the universitarians, by the Habermasians and so on. Pohrt (and Geisel too) invented a style of writing that was similar to Marx‘ early writings on criticism. Reading Pohrt was enlightening in the eighties.
Was there a Foucaultian section within the anti-German currents?
Yes, for a little while. They grouped themselves around the journal ”17° C. Zeitschrift für den Rest” (Günther Jacob), the ”jour fixe initiative” (Berlin) and some people in Frankfurt that were engaged in Gender Studies. This section dispersed resp. moved on to the universities. This fact is not surprising, because in my opinion the Foucaultian tendency is a form of re-importation of old fashioned Heidegger-ism to Germany. Did you read the French reactions to Victor Farias‘ study on Heidegger and Nazism? All these Lyotards and Derridas tried to make people forget Heidegger‘s profound hate of the Jews and his intention to exterminate them. This was very fascinating for left wing intellectuals – their problem is to find a form to articulate consensus disguised as opposition: Erich Fromm called this symptom the ”conformist rebellion”.
Is it true that a left-wing pro-Israel position, whether moderate or hardline, is not just confined to the anti-German currents? If so, is this a result of the influence of the anti-German critique?
No. In October 2006 Angela Merkel declared that the existence of Israel belongs to the very core of the German ”raison d‘Etat” (”Staatsräson”). This point of view means that the new Germany looks upon the Jews as classic ”Schutzjuden” and tries to make a deal to functionalize them. This has been prepared for decades by the DIG – Deutsch-Israelische Gesellschaft/German-Israeli-Society – which is a very strong ideological state apparatus (Althusser). Completely bound to state fetishism –all the parties of parliament are represented in its directory– the DIG represents the geopolitical aspirations of Germany concerning the Middle East with special regard to Israel, meanwhile the Deutsch-Arabische Gesellschaft (former president: Jürgen Möllemann) represents the same in regard to the Muslims. Some anti-German activists, for example Matthias Küntzel, are engaged in these DIG-structures and they find a great audience – but these anti-Germans don‘t argue in a materialist manner.
Has the term “anti-German” become as much (or more) a term of abuse among radical leftists in Germany as it is a descriptive term for a seemingly peculiar (at least to English-language political audiences) network of communist/ex-communist activists and thinkers?
Yes, ”anti-German” is an insult in the sense of ’inverted racist‘, ’philo-Semite‘ or ’left wing imperialist‘. A lot of books have been published to prove this. I think you need to know that the anti-Germans, regarded as communists, refer to the Communist Manifesto‘s differentiation between the Communists on the one and the feudal, religious, bourgeois and the German so-called ”true socialists” on the other hand. German Leftism really is a thing of stubborn common sense, a pro-justice attitude without any critique of the form of law. By insulting the anti-Germans the Leftists want to make the fact vanish that they are unable to read and to understand Marx after the experience of Auschwitz – meaning: all the fundamental categories of Capital are simultaneous notions in a quasi-Hegelian manner of a philosophy of the history of mankind. Nazi fascism has absolutely destroyed the possibility to understand Marx as a theoretician of class struggle, but the fact, that the working class has been – by its own desire – totally integrated in the German mass-murder collective doesn‘t mean that the Marxian critique of value has grown obsolete and doesn‘t signal that no other possibility to transform this negative society exists.
Therefore the negation-ism is deeply rooted in German leftism. The leftists want to push aside and (in a Freudian sense) to repress Nazi fascism in a its categorical meaning. I think the aversion against the anti-Germans is based on the fact that the leftist can‘t deny Auschwitz on the l evel of the phenomena, but they want to deny its consequences on the level of social critique. This creates a specific ambivalence and a practice which Freud called ”Ausagieren” (acting out).
If you study some products typical for all of this – for example the book edited by Gerhard Hanloser, Sie warn die Antideutschesten der deutschen Linken. Zu Geschichte, Kritik und Zukunft antideutscher Politik, Münster: Unrast-Verlag 2004 – you can see this ambivalence as a work in progress. On the one hand they argue for Israel‘s “right” to exist, but on the other hand they want to develop some kind of proletarian or socialist ”anti-Zionism”. On the one hand they declare their love for Adorno and critical theory; on the other hand they call him ”abstract” and ”lifted”. On the one hand they are against anti-Semitism, on the other hand they use exactly its basic terms. In this situation the anti-Germans are forced not only to be critics, but psychoanalysts too – all these insults are a signs of defence, repression and denial, the evidence of the coming out to come.
How did the Second Intifada affect the opinions, actions and goals of activists and thinkers who count themselves or have been called anti-German? As for 9/11 and the US government-led campaign against the Iraqi Baathist regime?
This uprising gave us a deep impression of the character of Arab societies. Jordan expelled millions of its own citizens – you know that the West bank belonged to Jordan for 35 years – and robbed them of their citizenship, producing large numbers of stateless people. After that we began to study the history of the Palestinian movement more intensively, especially the relations between the Mufti of Jerusalem, Islamism and Nazism. Die you know that in 1942 in Berlin there existed a German-Islamic-Institute? All this left a deep impression.
Have some anti-German currents made a move for the political mainstream by cooperating with pro-Israel Christian Democratic politicians during Israeli operations in southern Lebanon?
Yes, absolutely. There are factions whose politician-ism has overwhelmed their critique of capital and state. I believe that this phenomenon is the result of their former adherence to the KB: From Ebermann/Trampert/Elsässer with love. Justus Wertmüller had his personal coming out ultimately at the Frankfurt manifestation in July 2006 when he defined the conditions when to show German flags and when not. For them communism has to result in politics, not: anti-politics, aggregating interests is their destination and salvation. The invitation of Eckart von Klaeden, the foreign politics spokesman of the CDU in parliament, to the Berlin manifestation continues a fatal development, which started in June 2003 with the invitation of Hannes Stein, editor of Springer‘s ”Welt” to a ”Bahamas”-Congress in Berlin. This date marks the divorce of the ”antideutsch” movement. Earlier being ”anti-German” was the consequence of communism (”antideutsche Kommunisten”) – now the representative and speaker of the ”Bahamas” at the Berlin manifestation, Thomas von der Osten-Sacken, held a speech during a congress against totalitarian utopias, organized by the ”Freunde der offenen Gesellschaft” and the ”Friedrich A. Hayek-Foundation”. You know Hayek‘s Book ”The Road to Serfdom” (1947)? It really is a Milton Friedman-Manifesto. Hayek is the veritable Jesus of Ultra-Capitalism. What did Johannes Agnoli say?: Politics are stronger than people.
Dank an Paul Mentz für die Überarbeitung der Übersetzung (28.12.2009)