Germany

Awesome! Robot Band Compressorhead Has a Singer At Last

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 25/02/2018 - 8:39pm in

As readers of this blog will have gathered, I’ve an interest in robots and robots as musicians. Compressorhead are an all-robot band from Germany, who play Hard Rock and Heavy Metal music. They started as purely musicians without a singer, but have at last built one. He’s called ‘Mega-Wattson’. The robot rolls around on caterpillar tracks, has a structure where a human’s eyes would be that resembles sunglasses, and, as a singer, has a massive mouth full of teeth. Oh yes, and he has a Mohican that raises and goes down in emphasis to what he’s singing. The band also sports a new guitarist and backing vocalist, ‘Hellga Tarr’. Her name seems to me to be a pun on ‘Hell Guitar’. She is very definitely female, as they’ve given her a waist and plastic boobs.

The song’s Motorhead’s ‘Ace of Spades’, and it’s dedicated to Lemmy!

Here’s the clip from YouTube:

This does, however, remind me of piece from the 2000 AD strip, ‘ABC Warriors’, in which the ‘Meknificent Seven’ of robot warriors for truth and justice discuss their favourite bands. It ends with Hammerstein saying that everything was rubbish after Led Zeppelin.

It’s from A.B.C. Warriors: The Volgan War – Volume 3, by Pat Mills and Clint Langley. I don’t agree that everything after Led Zeppelin was rubbish. And this is pure rock and roll. Rock on!

And one of the comments is also funny. One of them suggested that after this, there’ll be Cyborgs banging around down in the mosh pit.

The Campaign Against Anti-Semitism’s Secrecy over its Board, Labour Anti-Semitism Kangaroo Courts, and the Nazi Vehmgericht

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 25/02/2018 - 12:34am in

The Vehmgerichthofe were secret courts in medieval Germany, whose task was try and execute traitors. They’re supposed to have been revived in Nazi Germany, though I haven’t seen them mentioned in the orthodox works of scholarship on Nazi Germany.

But the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism, and the kangaroo courts established by the Labour Party to try those smeared and libelled as anti-Semitic because they criticised Israel certainly resemble these mythical Nazi courts. The identity of the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism’s management board is kept secret, no doubt to protect them from being sued by their victims. And the identities of those making the complaints and accusations are similarly given pseudonyms.

As for Labour’s own kangaroo courts, Mike’s experience was that it is all held in secret, you are not told what the evidence against you is nor the identity of your accuser, and there are no concrete charges. This is in violation of the principles of British justice, which states that the accused is innocent until found guilty, they must know the identity of their accusers and the evidence against, and not only must justice be done, it must be seen to be done, so that the courts are open to the public. Well, these were the principles of British justice, until Tony Blair and then Cameron and Clegg and now Tweezer started setting up secret courts to try those people in cases, where the disclosure of evidence and the identity of their accuser, would threaten national security.

In fact, these go further than the Nazi Volksgerichthofe (Peoples’ Courts), set up to try cases of high treason. The jury was composed of members of the Nazi party and president over by Roland Freisler. But despite the secrecy of the proceedings, everyone knew Freisler’s identity. And the rigged jury in these courts certainly resembles the very rigged courts in the Labour Party to settle allegations of anti-Semitism, which had obviously already decided that Mike was guilty, despite his strong refutation of the accusation.

The Campaign Against Anti-Semitism and the Jewish Labour Movement are Fascist organisations. Get them out of mainstream politics, and back in the gutter with their friends in the Islamophobic far right.

Israel, the Nazis and Racial Nationalism as the Basis for Citizenship.

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 25/02/2018 - 12:05am in

Israel is a racial nationalist state. Racial nationalism is the official policy of the Fascist right, such as the NF and BNP in Britain. It states that only White Britons should be allowed to hold citizenship. It is the ‘volksburgenschaft’, or folk citizenship, that the Nazi Alternative Fuer Deutschland wish to return to. And it was the state policy of the Nazi party, as expressed in their 25 point programme of 1922. And ethnic identity, in this case, Jewish, and preferably of White, European or American heritage, is the official basis for Israeli citizenship.

Other states also have made racial identity a condition of citizenship. Under Japanese law, only ethnic Japanese may be Japanese citizens. This had led to the denial of their civil rights to resident aliens, such as the Koreans, many of whom have been in Japan for generations. I am not impressed by the Japanese state’s racism either, though people I know, who have lived in Japan, have told me that the Japanese are personally a very kind people. This comes from a former Vietnamese boat person I worked with, who spent years living and working in the Land of the Rising Sun.

The racist nature of the Israeli state is laid out in their constitution.

This demands

1. The union of all Israelis in a Greater Israel.

3. The demand for additional territories for food production and to settle the excess Jewish population.

4. Citizenship to be determined by race; no Palestinian to be an Israeli.

5. Non-Jews in Israel to be only guests and subject to appropriate laws.

Okay, so this isn’t really the Israeli constitution. It’s actually from the Nazis’ 25 point plan. I’ve just swopped the wording around, replacing ‘German’ with ‘Jew’, and ‘Jew’ with ‘Palestinian’ where appropriate.

But it accurately reflects the racist nature of the Israeli. While other nations move towards ethnic diversity and multiculturalism, Israeli law still follows the racial nationalism of its founders.

And this also describes Israel’s continuing policy of annexing Palestinian territory and driving out the indigenous Arab population.

It is these policies and the racism at the very heart of modern Israel that the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism and Jewish Labour Movement have been establish to defend, by smearing anyone who mentions them or criticises them as an ‘Anti-Semite’. In these instances smearing very many decent, anti-racist people, including proud, self-respecting Jews.

The Campaign Against Anti-Semitism and the Jewish Labour Movement are Fascist organisations that should have no place in the political mainstream, let along influence and be part of the Labour Party. Get them out. Expell the JLM from the Labour Party, and remove the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism’s charitable status.

For more information on the Nazis’ 25 point programme, see James Taylor and Warren Shaw’s A Dictionary of the Third Reich (London: Grafton 1987) 252-3.

Utopia and inequality

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 23/02/2018 - 12:00am in

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Economic inequality is arguably the crucial issue facing contemporary capitalism—especially in the United States but also across the entire world economy.

Over the course of the last four decades, income inequality has soared in the United States, as the share of pre-tax national income captured by the top 1 percent (the red line in the chart above) has risen from 10.4 percent in 1976 to 20.2 percent in 2014. For the world economy as a whole, the top 1-percent share (the green line), which was already 15.6 percent in 1982, has continued to rise, reaching 20.4 percent in 2016. Even in countries with less inequality—such as France, Germany, China, and the United Kingdom—the top 1-percent share has been rising in recent decades.

Clearly, many people are worried about the obscene levels of inequality in the world today.

In a famous study, which I wrote about back in 2010, Dan Ariely and Michael I. Norton showed that Americans both underestimate the current level of inequality in the United States and prefer a much more equal distribution than currently exists.*

In other words, the amount of inequality favored by Americans—their ideal or utopian horizon—hovers somewhere between the level of inequality that obtains in modern-day Sweden and perfect equality.

What about contemporary economists? What is their utopian horizon when it comes to the distribution of income?

Not surprisingly, economists are fundamentally divided. They hold radically different views about the distribution of income, which both inform and informed by their different utopian visions.

For example, neoclassical economists, the predominant group in U.S. colleges and universities, analyze the distribution of income in terms of marginal productivity theory. Within their framework of analysis, each factor of production (labor, capital, and land) receives a portion of total output in the form of income (wages, profits, or rent) within perfectly competitive markets according to its marginal contributions to production. In this sense, neoclassical economics represents a confirmation and celebration of capitalism’s “just deserts,” that is, everyone gets what they deserve.

From the perspective of neoclassical economics, inequality is simply not a problem, as long as each factor is rewarded according to its productivity. Since in the real world they see few if any exceptions to perfectly competitive markets, their view is that the distribution of income within contemporary capitalism corresponds to—or at least comes close to matching—their utopian horizon.

Other mainstream economists, especially those on the more liberal wing (such as Paul Krugman, Joseph Stiglitz, and Thomas Piketty), hold the exact same utopian horizon—of just deserts based on marginal productivity theory. However, in their view, the real world falls short, generating a distribution of income in recent years that is more unequal, and therefore less fair, than is predicted within neoclassical theory. So, bothered by the obscene levels of contemporary inequality, they look for exceptions to perfectly competitive markets.

Thus, for example, Stiglitz has focused on what he calls rent-seeking behavior—and therefore on the ways economic agents (such as those in the financial sector or CEOs) often rely on forms of power (political and/or economic) to secure more than their “just deserts.” Thus, for Stiglitz and others, the distribution of income is more unequal than it would be under perfect markets because some agents are able to capture rents that exceed their marginal contributions to production.** If such rents were eliminated—for example, by regulating markets—the distribution of income would match the utopian horizon of neoclassical economics.***

What about Marxian theory? It’s quite a bit different, in the sense that it relies on the assumptions similar to those of neoclassical theory while arriving at conclusions that are diametrically opposed. The implication is that, even if and when markets are perfect (in the way neoclassical economists assume and work to achieve), the capitalist distribution of income violates the idea of “just deserts.” That’s because Marxian economics is informed by a radically different utopian horizon.

Let me explain. Marx started with the presumption that all markets operate much in the way the classical political economists then (and neoclassical economists today) presume. He then showed that even when all commodities exchange at their values and workers receive the value of their labor power (that is, no cheating), capitalists are able to appropriate a surplus-value (that is, there is exploitation). No special modifications of the presumption of perfect markets need to be made. As long as capitalists are able, after the exchange of money for the commodity labor power has taken place, to extract labor from labor power during the course of commodity production, there will be an extra value, a surplus-value, that capitalists are able to appropriate for doing nothing.

The point is, the Marxian theory of the distribution of income identifies an unequal distribution of income that is endemic to capitalism—and thus a fundamental violation of the idea of “just deserts”—even if all markets operate according to the unrealistic assumptions of mainstream economists. And that intrinsically unequal distribution of income within capitalism becomes even more unequal once we consider all the ways the mainstream assumptions about markets are violated on a daily basis within the kinds of capitalism we witness today.

That’s because the Marxian critique of political economy is informed by a radically different utopian horizon: the elimination of exploitation. Marxian economists don’t presume that, under capitalism, the distribution of income will be equal. Nor do they promise that the kinds of noncapitalist economic and social institutions they seek to create will deliver a perfectly equal distribution of income. However, in focusing on class exploitation, they both show how the unequal distribution of income in the world today is affected by and in turn affects the appropriation and distribution of surplus-value and argue that the distribution of income would likely change—in the direction of greater equality—if the conditions of existence of exploitation were dismantled.

In my view, lurking behind the scenes of the contemporary debate over economic inequality is a raging battle between radically different utopian visions of the distribution of income.

 

*The Ariely and Norton research focused on wealth, not income, inequality. I suspect much the same would hold true if Americans were asked about their views concerning the actual and desired degree of inequality in the distribution of income.

**It is important to note that, according to mainstream economics, any economic agent can engage in rent-seeking behavior. In come cases it may be labor, in other cases capital or even land.

***More recently, some mainstream economists (such as Piketty) have started to look outside the economy, at the political sphere. They’ve long held the view that, within a democracy, if voters are dissatisfied with the distribution of income, they will support political candidates and parties that enact a redistribution of income. But that hasn’t been the case in recent decades—not in the United States, the United Kingdom, or France—and the question is why. Here, the utopian horizon concerning the economy is the neoclassical one, or marginal productivity theory, but they imagine a separate democratic politics is able to correct any imbalances generated by the economy. As I see it, this is consistent with the neoclassical tradition, in that neoclassical economists have long taken the distribution of factor endowments as a given, exogenous to the economy and therefore subject to political decisions.

Alleging that Something Is An ‘Anti-Semitic Trope’ Is No Argument against the Truth

One of the tactics used by the Israel lobby and the Blairites in the Labour Party to smear their opponents as anti-Semites is by denouncing anything they write, which is vaguely similar in theme to some of the malignant and poisonous myths about the Jews, as an ‘anti-Semitic trope’, even when it is solid, documented fact. The person reading or hearing these denunciations is thus meant to believe that those they’ve libelled as anti-Semites really are such, and that what they have written is also false, and based on the earlier murderous lies about the Jews.

Thus Mike’s coverage of the secret meeting between members of the Tory party and Shai Masot of the Israeli embassy, where they plotted which members of the Conservatives they wanted in the cabinet, was brought up at his hearing in the Labour party. Mike had described it as ‘a conspiracy’, which it was. it was a secret plot, and Masot and his friends in the Tories were conspiring to affect changes in the cabinet. But because Mike described it as a conspiracy, the Blairites and Israel lobby seized on it as anti-Semitic because of the anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. They wanted people to think that Mike had written about it, because he’s anti-Semitic Fascist loon, who believes all the stupid conspiracy theories about the Jews controlling international finance and politics to enslave gentiles. And with that, they were then expected to ignore the fact that Masot and co really had been caught conspiring on camera by Al-Jazeera.

But such allegations are no argument or defence of Zionism and Israel, when the actions committed by them are documented fact. For example, in the 14th century Jews were accused of causing the Black Death, which is estimated to have killed 1/3 of the European population, by poisoning the wells. They did no such thing, but this lie was believed and led to terrible pogroms and violence against them.

But in the last days of the Second World War, or shortly afterward, a group of Jews did try to poison the drinking water in one of the lakes in Germany. They were led by a poet, Kovner, and wanted to kill six million Germans in retaliation for the six million Jews murdered in the Holocaust. There was a documentary on them broadcast on BBC 4 on Holocaust Memorial Day. I can also remember reading an article on them in the Daily Heil several years ago. This plot is documented fact, and as far as I know, no-one has accused the Beeb or Fail of anti-Semitism simply for covering this story. But it is similar to the medieval myth of Jews poisoning wells, and so, going by the logic of the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism and the Jewish Labour Movement, is an ‘anti-Semitic trope’.

Similarly, One of the methods the Israeli Defence Force uses to try to make life in the territories occupied by Israel unbearable for the indigenous Palestinians is to throw chemicals into the wells to make the water undrinkable. Again, this is documented fact. It’s similar to the lies about Jews poisoning the wells in the Middle Ages, but that lie has nothing to do with the reporting of this violation of the Palestinians’ human rights.

Just because something done by the Israelis now is similar to the poisonous medieval and Nazi lies, does not mean that the accounts of the Israelis’ crimes and conspiracies isn’t true. Nor does it mean that it is anti-Semitic to document and describe them.

Mike most certainly is not an anti-Semite, as his article on Shai Masot and his fellow co-conspirators shows. The allegation that what he wrote was ‘an anti-Semitic trope’ is a fraudulent lie, made by the Blairites and the Israel lobby to smear him, and cover up their own embarrassment at being caught. They are utterly disgraceful, and owe Mike a retraction and an apology.

The Nazis’ Collaboration with Zionists, and the Madagascar Plan

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 21/02/2018 - 4:33am in

This is a bit more on the way the Nazis initially collaborated with the Zionists to send Jews to Israel, before they started murdering them in the ‘Final Solution’. I put up a piece yesterday about the British Fascist leader’s, Oswald Mosley’s qualified support for Israel, and another post this morning about another British Fascist and anti-Semite, Charles Gore, who supported the idea of a Jewish homeland in Madagascar. These are all historical facts, but it’s the type of information that the Israel lobby and their British thugs and libellers, the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism and the Jewish Labour Movement really don’t want people to know about. It was because Ken Livingstone dared to say, quite accurately, that Hitler originally supported sending Jews to Israel, that he was libelled as an anti-Semite by the Israel lobby and the Blairites. And it’s because Mike wrote his pamphlet, The Livingstone Presumption, defending Red Ken and some of the others libelled by them, that the CAA has also libelled him as an anti-Semite and Holocaust denier, things he most definitely isn’t and which he finds utterly repugnant.

But the lies and libels of the Israel lobby and Blair’s faction in the Labour party don’t alter history. And the Nazis’ collaboration with the Zionists and the plan to turn Madagascar into a new homeland for the Jews are both mentioned in James Taylor’s and Warren Shaw’s A Dictionary of the Third Reich (London: Grafton Books 1987). This is a work of respectable, orthodox scholarship, which contains many entries detailing the persecution of the Jews, the Holocaust, and the Nazi death camps, including separate entries for the most notorious, like Auschwitz. And the entry for ‘Anti-Semitism’ mentions the Nazis’ collaboration with the Zionists in a passage, which reads

At the outset the Nazis had tried to drive the Jews out of German living space, and were briefly in collaboration with the Zionist movement. Eichmann studied this aspect seriously and even, in May 1938, tried to curb Streicher’s excesses. There were fantasies like the Madagascar Plan (to turn that vast island into a Jewish colony) and, late in the War, Himmler’s attempts to trade Jewish lives for war materials. (p. 38).

Madagascar also has its own entry in the book, which reads

Madagascar. As a solution to what the National Socialists insisted was the ‘Jewish Problem’, the idea of deporting Jews to the large island of Madagascar came up from time to time before the war. As a proposal it was probably as serious as many of Himmler’s fantasies. By 1941, however, the Madagascar option was no more than a smokescreen for the true nature of the Final Solution.

The Nazis’ brief, initial collaboration with the Zionists, and their support, and that of British anti-Semites like them, such as Charles Gore, for a Jewish homeland in Madagascar as a way of purging the countries of Jews, is a fact of history.

The only people lying about it are the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism, the Jewish Labour Movement and the Blairites.

Fascist Charles Gore’s Proposal for a Jewish State in Madagascar

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 20/02/2018 - 7:43pm in

Yesterday I put up a piece quoting Oswald Mosley, the leader of the British Union of Fascists, who in 1961 gave his qualified support to Israel in his book Mosley-Right or Wrong? This is the kind of material the Israel lobby wishes to obscure or erase from history, as anyone who mentions that real anti-Semites and Fascists have promoted the idea of a Jewish homeland elsewhere as a way of removing them from their countries is immediately denounced as an anti-Semite. Thus, Ken Livingstone was smeared because he said, quite rightly, that Hitler initially supported Jewish migration to Palestine. This was under the short-lived Ha’avara Agreement between the Zionist authorities in Israel and Nazi Germany. And Mike has similarly been libelled as an anti-Semite and Holocaust denier by the CAA because he dared to defend Livingstone and many of the other Labour party members, who have also been vilified and smeared for their support of the Palestinians.

But this doesn’t alter the facts of history. And Mosley certainly wasn’t alone amongst Fascists in supporting a Jewish state outside Britain.

One of the others was Charles Gore, a close friend and collaborator with Arnold Leese. Leese was a vicious anti-Semite, who founded a tiny Fascist group between the Wars, the Imperial Fascist League. He believed and promoted all the stupid, murderous conspiracy theories about the Jews, such as the myth that they were trying to enslave and destroy gentiles. In 1938 he was prosecuted for seditious libel after publishing a pamphlet repeating the ‘Blood Libel’ – the anti-Semitic myth that Jews murdered Christians in order to use their blood in the matzo bread at Passover. Gore wasn’t a member of the IFL, but he did collaborate with Leese when the latter wrote another pamphlet trying to justify himself after the trial, My Irrelevant Defence. And Gore also wrote a book arguing that a new homeland for the Jews should be set up in Madagascar.

This is discussed by Richard Thurlow in his book, British Fascism 1918-1985 (Oxford: Basil Blackwell 1987). He writes

Although not formally a member Gore had a profound influence on Leese. He thought that Fascism was played out in England and that the IFL should merge into a new organisation that he planned called the ‘National Union of British Workmen’. His literary pretensions were further highlighted when he sent a copy of his unpublished manuscript ‘The Island of Madagascar as a National State for the Jewish People and Why’ to Lord Rothschild, who forwarded it to the Board of Deputies in 1938. By this time Gore had split with Leese and offered information on the IFL to the Board of Deputies, which was declined. (P. 73).

I don’t think Gore was alone in arguing that Madagascar should be the new home of the Jews. I think it was considered at times by various other groups, including the early Zionists themselves, before they settled on Palestine. Other suggested locations for an independent Jewish state included Uganda.

It doesn’t matter what the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism or the Jewish Labour Movement (formerly Paole Zion) or indeed the rest of the Israel Lobby says. At various times anti-Semites and Fascists did support the demand for a Jewish homeland. And the above passage shows that Gore tried to interest the British community itself in his idea. It’s simple historical fact, and it is very definitely not anti-Semitic to mention it.

Mueller Indictments: truth v lies in“The Observer View”

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 19/02/2018 - 3:00am in

Today’s Observer View focuses on the Announcement by Robert Mueller that they are indicting 13 Russians and 3 Russian companies for “interfering” in the 2016 Presidential election. It is, unsurprisingly, full of misleading language, lies by omission and just straight up lies.

The guilt, dignity and pedagogy of shamelessness

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 14/02/2018 - 4:30am in

For centuries, Europe’s Christians
have shut Jews behind ghetto walls. Now, Polish Christians intend to shut the
voice of Jewish suffering into a ghetto of silence behind a legal wall.

lead lead Inscription at the gate of the Bełżec Holocaust Memorial. The Nazi extermination camp in Bełżec (pronounced [ˈbɛu̯ʐɛt͡s], in German: Belzec) in the Eastern Poland, operated from 17 March 1942 to the end of December. It is estimated that between 430,000 and 500,000 Jews were murdered at Bełżec. Photos by Adam Chmielewski. The author was born in the city of Łaszczów some 30 kilometres from the site.The Polish Parliament,
the Senate and the President all supported an amendment to the Act on the Institute
of National Remembrance which bans references to the Polish nation’s
participation in the Holocaust.

This law has
aroused controversy throughout the world and caused antagonism between Poland and
its rapidly diminishing number of allies. The main objection to this law, as formulated
in particular by Jewish communities around the world, is that it will prevent
Holocaust survivors and the descendants of Holocaust victims from speaking out
about the suffering inflicted upon them by persons of Polish nationality.

The Jews
perceive this law as an attempt to put a gag on their testimony to the truth.
To their suffering, this law will add the pain of enforced silence. For
centuries throughout Europe the Christians have been shutting Jews behind ghetto
walls. Now, Polish Christians intend to shut out the voice of Jewish suffering
behind the legal wall of this ghetto of silence.

It is hard to imagine a more painful blow to the sensitivity of Jewish
people. The book of Job (16, 18) says: “O earth, cover not my blood, and let my cry find no resting place!” These words are carved upon more than one monument commemorating the
Holocaust victims. The Polish legislator wishes to suppress this cry. How could
Jewish people agree with this law, tantamount to renouncing their holy book,
the book that is also holy for Christians?

Resurrected facts

The amendment as
adopted was erected on a structure comprising the terms “nation”, its “innocence”
and “dignity”. The ideological rationale for the legal protection of the moral innocence
of the Polish nation is made up of slogans about doing away with the “pedagogy
of shame” and the restitution of national dignity.

This construction
is flawed. The ideological errors floating around this law include a questionable
concept of “the nation”, a misunderstanding of the moral role of shame, and the
misconception of dignity. The new law also deploys the term “facts” in a
particularly controversial way.

The Polish ghetto
for Jewish words of suffering is to be built out of facts. The legislator has acted
on the assumption that there is a closed set of facts that
cannot be expanded any more. This assumption also conceals a value judgment
according to which facts unquestionably speak on behalf of the heroism of the
Polish nation.

First of all, the
whole notion of “facts” rests on a very risky concept. The basic commandment of
the methodology of history is that what facts a historian is able to fish from
the ocean of history will depend on the net that he uses. In this respect, the
science of history does not differ from the study of nature: it is doomed to
theoretical conjectures and empirical refutations. Moreover, theories are
inspired by experience while the refutations are guided by theory. This self-reference,
especially in the area of history, cannot be overcome, and cannot be abolished
by any law.

Secondly, the ocean
of facts is immeasurable. There is no closed set of facts available to human cognition
able to express the complete truth about past events. The prehistoric Homeric
legend of Troy ceased to be a legend and became a collection of facts only in
the nineteenth century. This example, along with countless others, indicates
that the historian's work is never done. This is true regarding any past event.

Furthermore, this is a truth that is particularly applicable in the context of the Holocaust. To reach back to the book of Job again. There have been numerous facts about the Holocaust which for a long time remained covered with earth, enclosed in milk cans, incinerated, imprisoned in the ghettos of archives. Recently they have been made to speak to us again. Thanks to the work of Holocaust researchers, including the Polish ones, they have been unearthed, discovered, opened and reconstructed. And they speak to us about what we did not know before.

Thirdly, the truth about Jewish and other Holocaust suffering is enriched with new facts and will continue to grow, mainly because many people, especially its main perpetrators, were very much keen on concealing the facts. The crematoria served this purpose. However, even burned, they left legible traces. The “facts” are therefore risky not only because of their indelible methodological ambivalence, but also due to their ability to rise from the ashes.

The three arguments above indicate that the set of facts about the Holocaust is not a closed set; the legislator cannot, therefore, build law on the assumption that it is.

Nation as a collectivity

Journalistic attempts to justify this legal-moral construct are dominated by an individualistic understanding of the nation which defines it as a “collectivity of individuals”. This usage is roughly consistent with the Constitution of the Republic of Poland which opens with a definitional statement: “We, the Polish Nation – all citizens of the Republic.” This is an inclusive understanding of the nation, based on the concept of citizenship. Defenders of the adopted law, adopting such an understanding of the nation, may admit that some members of the individualistically understood Polish nation did wicked things to Jews: they took away their lives, sometimes in an indescribably brutal manner. However, the individualistic concept of the nation allows them to claim that even if some members of the Polish nation committed crimes, this fact does not affect in any negative way the moral integrity of the other members of the nation.

Such a legal defense is counter-effective. However, even though the individualistic concept of a nation enables one to proclaim the innocence of the majority of Poles towards Jews during the Holocaust, it suffers from one irreparable fault. It invalidates the “quantitative” moral argument according to which the Poles are most numerous among the “Righteous Among the Nations”. Defenders of the controversial law interpret this statement as if the remaining part of the nation was entitled to a special moral satisfaction from the attitude of some of its members. In some interpretations one can even sense a suggestion that the number of the heroic Polish Righteous counterbalances, or even cancels out, the vile acts of some other Poles towards Jews, including 60,000 Polish Gestapo collaborators. The strength of this argument is further weakened by the fact that there have been 600 Righteous Among the Nations of the German nationality. If this fact cannot be taken as an acquittal of the remaining Germans, the Poles who committed crimes against Jewish neighbors cannot hope for a similar exemption.

If the individualistic-aggregative understanding of the nation has the advantage of not allowing the transfer of blame of some members of the nation onto others, it also has the disadvantage that it does not allow the transfer of moral merit onto some members of the nation. From the point of view of the individualistic understanding of the nation, only individuals can be the carriers of merit, dignity and guilt. The concept of nation understood in this way is reduced to a propaganda stunt or, at best, a metaphorical abbreviation.

The nation as a whole

The defense of the adopted law would have more sense if it were based upon an essentialist-holistic understanding of the nation. In this sense, the Polish nation would refer to some unique supra-individual substance in which every Pole would somehow participate, and his or her Polishness would result from his partaking in this national substance. However, any such essentialist understanding of the nation as justification for the controversial law would not only be counter-effective but also dangerous.

It would be counter-effective because if the supporters of this law admit that there were Poles who committed crimes against Jews, they must also admit that their actions did affect this supra-individual national substance. In other words, they would have to admit that the vile acts of individual Poles morally poisoned this national substance: the entire nation and all its constituent parts. Moreover, the very fact that some Poles turned out to be capable of extreme human vileness could be read as a proof of the evil residing in that supraindividual national substance itself. If the legislator employed the essentialist notion of the nation, and not an individualistic one, then his intention would be better served by the adoption of a law ordering the disclosure and prosecution of those parts of the Polish nation which, by virtue of the crimes committed by them, have poisoned its moral substance. This would be necessary for its moral purification.

The justification for the law based on a substantive concept of the nation would also be dangerous. This danger comes from the fact that it would sound disturbingly analogous to the concept of “Deutsches Volk” used by Nazi German ideologists, the true instigators and perpetrators of the Holocaust which aimed at “Vernichtung des jüdischen Volkes” and the enslavement of the Polish nation.

The essentialist understanding of the Polish nation would be similar to the Nazi ideology in the (rather circular) conviction that no one else but the Poles can participate in this supra-individual substance of Polishness. In contrast to the individualistic perspective, the essentialist understanding of the nation is racist and exclusive because it denies others, especially Jews, membership of the Polish nation, even if they were citizens of the Polish state. The denial is the first step towards denying them other rights.

However, even if the current defenders of this amendment would certainly like to avoid any such association, in the heated debates taking place, the racist distinction between Poles and Jews surfaces unabashedly and uncritically even in the words of representatives of the Polish state, supposedly erected on an inclusive Constitution.

Shame and morality

Many educators claim that arousing feelings of shame is detrimental to individual development. Indeed, shame suppresses self-esteem and weakens the creative abilities. A woman who is ashamed of herself and for herself, of who she is, of her appearance, her thoughts, her goals, would not dare to say what she thinks, do what she wants, protest when she thinks that it is right. Shame leads to conformity, imitation, mediocrity and meekness. It deprives the human being of her sense of agency and her ability to act independently.

Criticism of the concept of shame, however, ignores its key role in the moral development of man. When I feel ashamed, it means that I am aware that I neglected my obligation, that I did not fulfill what was my duty, that I did not stand up to expectations, that I should try harder than I did. To be ashamed is to be aware that one deserves to be reprimanded or punished. The purpose of shaming is not to punish individuals with the punishment for wrongs committed but to instill in them the conviction that evil should not be committed. Shame therefore has educational and motivating power. Above all, shame has a moral force: shame inhibits human wickedness, because wickedness is disapproved by others.

Undeniably, an excessive shame thwarts human development. But the inability to feel shame leads to an excessive self-satisfaction and is no less thwarting: a person unable to feel shame regarding his own shortcomings and wrongdoings falls into no less destructive complacency and has no motivation to improve.

Guilt and dignity

The amendment to the Act on the Institute of National Remembrance should also be considered in the light of an important development that occurred in the course of Polish discussion on this subject. It is the unequivocal acknowledgement of German guilt for the Holocaust by the German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel and Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The publication of the statement of official representatives of Germany, which publicly recognized German guilt, does not solve, however, the problem of the Polish emotional economy created by the proposed law. In the opinion of defenders of this problematic law, this statement did not make this legislation pointless. But also, it did very little to improve the intellectual credibility of those who want to prohibit the possibility of a conversation about the guilt of any Pole. This is because the reasserted admission of German guilt for the Holocaust by the high representatives of the German state, including their Nazi precursors, may be seen as an act that protects the dignity of the perpetrator of evil.

Confession is not the only way the perpetrator is able to protect his or her dignity. However, it is the most important one he or she has at their disposal. When a perpetrator denies his indisputable guilt, he denigrates himself. In doing so, while being condemned for the evil he has done, he condemns himself to two additional penalties: humiliation in the eyes of others, and in his own eyes. By denying his guilt, he demonstrates his own depravity and demoralization.

This leads to the conclusion that an integral part of human subjectivity is the ability to admit to one’s moral failures, to one’s guilt. Human dignity is about sincerity towards others and oneself. That is why dignity and responsibility are constitutive of human agency.

Polish non-agency

The Polish people were not the agents of the Second World War. They were its subjects. No more did they demonstrate their agency later on, when they did not want to admit to that part of the guilt which could truthfully be attributed to some of Poland’s members.

But the current legal attempt to prevent anybody from speaking about the possibility of Polish guilt is not a good way to defend the dignity of the Polish people. It is rather about avoiding the opportunity to regain dignity through entering a conversation, even if painful, about the possible guilt and responsibility of some of our ancestors.

Through supporting this amendment, some Poles demonstrate that they wish to continue to shun all talk of their agency. Undeniably, the repeated recognition of German guilt by the present Germans has been a dignified act. By defending the dignity of the Polish people by means of a misguided law, they are missing an opportunity to regain it. The attitude of the German dignitaries has shown us that they, descendants of the perpetrators of evil, have a greater capacity for dignity than some Poles engaged in a misguided attempt to defend it.

Encouraging wickedness

German guilt for the Holocaust cannot be questioned. Defenders of the controversial amendment to the law on the Institute of National Remembrance do not think that German recognition of their guilt makes the amendment unnecessary. None of them, however, took advantage of this opportunity to indicate that not only Germans bear the blame for the Holocaust. For there is one more guilt that rests upon their conscience. The key to understanding this second guilt is the moral truth that shame inhibits human wickedness, and a wicked example emboldens and encourages human wickedness.

Despite the wickedness of the general anti-Semitism of the Poles before World War II, widespread dislike and hatred of Jews, various anti-Jewish incidents, the situation of the pre-War Poland cannot be compared with the murderous behavior of some Poles against Jews which erupted with the German aggression against Poland. Before the German aggression, the Poles had had sufficient shame, most of the time, though not always, for it to inhibit their display of wickedness towards Jews. The guilt of the Germans who invaded the Polish state is that they also set an example that emboldened human wickedness in some Poles and encouraged it.

Pedagogy of shamelessness

The moral task of a human being is to root out the wickedness of his or her own soul, or at least take command of it and not reveal it. One should be ashamed of one’s wickedness, not show it off. The law currently proposed is not only poorly constructed. It is also morally wrong because, for some Poles, it has become an example which, once again, releasing the brake of shame, emboldens anti-Semitism and encourages a renewed hatred towards Jews.

The defense of dignity cannot be reconciled with wickedness. By defending the dignity of the nation in a misguided way, representatives of the Polish state cultivate a shameless pedagogy.

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