By Kate Daley-Bailey
American Nazis support the Occupy Wall Street Movement?
This headline ripped through the conservative news outlets like wildfire. Christmas came early for Fox News. My curiosity was peaked… I am a fence sitter regarding the Occupy Wall Street movement… primarily because I refuse to join a movement which will not outline its agenda and even then I am leery. I have to know specifically what and who I am protesting. My fence-sitting is engendered by my recent research into how the Nazis gained power in Germany and were backed surprisingly by many high standing church leaders, scholars, and much of the German population.
You can imagine my surprise when I read the above headlines. Was this yet another example of propaganda generated by the Fox News-types of the American media to damn the liberals of the Occupy movement? Yes… but it was also something more for me. Just as I cannot fathom how the general German population could have endorsed a megalomaniac and demagogic murderer like Hitler… I could not see how or why the American Nazi movement would endorse the Occupy Movement. The agendas of these groups seem counter to one another. So I went to the American Nazi website (and am, subsequently, on every FBI watch list). I had to see why this fervently anti-Semitic hate group was endorsing a movement whose views were so seemingly antithetical to their own movement. Here are two links to their websites … so you too can get on an FBI watch list
Upon reading the American Nazi endorsement of the OWS movement, I was struck by the common rhetorical devices utilized by these movements. Of course the Occupy Wall Street movement is not homogenous and champions itself as representing the so-called ‘99%’. The Occupy movement heralds itself as a people’s movement… much like the movement’s more politically conservative sibling- the Tea Party.
While the Occupy and Tea Party movements seem radically disparate on the surface, there are some common denominators shared between them… anger, vague slogans, fears over economic ruin and growing unemployment, outrage over a corrupt political system, untenable or nonexistent health care policies, and challenges to civil liberties. Both groups are disgusted with corporate greed and financial manipulation. While similar lists of grievances can be found in most modern social revolutions, these same critiques also arose during the most sinister time in modern European history.
The discourse put forth by the Tea Partiers and Occupiers show a semblance in content and tenor with the notorious 25 Point Program put forward by the NSDAP (the Nazi Party of Germany) in the 1920s. Published in the Nazi Party’s premier newspaper the Volkischer Beobachter (which roughly translates as the People’s Observer) the 25 point program states that all citizens should have the right to vote and have equal rights and duties. The state, according to this document, is required to create and maintain a healthy middle class, to dismantle large corporate entities and lease these facilities at cheap rates to small businesses, to “ruthlessly fight against those whose activities are damaging to the common interest” (profiteers and usurers were to be punished by death), to promote an education system focused on practical life skills, and to “break the slavery of interest.” The 25 point program was an attempt by the nascent Nazi party to construct a Weltanschauung, a systematic worldview or ideology, for the German Volk.
Some of the points enumerated would be more likely embraced by the politically right leaning Tea Party supporters—others might be more consistent with an Occupier mentality. According to the Nazi’s 25 point program all non-German immigration was to be prevented, all non-Germans were to be seen as aliens, given ‘guest status,’ and could be forcefully expelled from Germany at any time. Point 15 supports “an expansion of old age welfare” and point 17 demands “abolition of taxes on land.” Point 21 requires that the state protect the health of mothers and children and mandates physical fitness instruction of children. Point 24 supports a freedom of religion, of sorts. It reads as follows:
We demand freedom of religion for all religious denominations within the state so long as they do not endanger its existence or oppose the moral senses of the Germanic race. The Party as such advocates the standpoint of a positive Christianity without binding itself confessionally to any one denomination. It combats the Jewish-materialistic spirit within and around us, and is convinced that a lasting recovery of our nation can only succeed from within on the framework: common utility precedes individual utility.
The last phrase of this point is sometimes translated as “common need before private greed.”
While the earlier points may not have been particularly troubling… point 24 brings home why we should be skeptical of all political movements which use ambiguous slogans and feed off of general discontent of the populous. One group inevitably gets saddled with the blame…which often results in devastating outcomes.