I have been reflecting on typologies of rightward shifts among leftists, and so I am writing a few types of rightward shifts from the Marxian left. I am also planning to do the left-liberal and anarchist left shifts right:
“Anti-Revisionist who becomes a NGO Democrat”
“Maoist who becomes an elitists trust fund liberal,” example: Bill Ayers
“Maoist who becomes scared of the enthusiasm of the cultural revolution and becomes a neo-liberal,” example: Most of the French Maoists of the 1970s.
“Trotskyists who get frustrated with ideological purity and start to move either to neo-conservatism,’ examples: Max Shachtman, James Burnham, David Horowitz
“Trotskyists who get frustrated with reactionary leftism and start moving towards more and more neo-liberal positions” examples: Christopher Hitchens, Brendan O’Neill of Spiked! magazine
Western Marxist who gives in to Despair
“Critical Theorists and Western Marxists who cave to the Liberal Ideology,” example: Max Horkheimer
“Avante-garde cultural Marxists who gives up on the possibility of revolution,” example: Guy Debord, Herbert Marcuse
Marxists who start to engage in believe in rigid typologies and not in the dialectical method
Marxists who drop the method and become teleological “revisionists.” example: Bernstein, Kautsky
Marxists who drop dialectical thinking and move rightward, example: Gregor Lukacs
Structuralists Marxists who move towards popular right politicians, example: Luccio Colletti
Marxist Social Democrats Who Become Neo-Liberals
Latin Variety: Daniel Ortega
European Variety: François Mitterrand
American Anti-Communist “Socialists”: Sidney Hook
Now we move on the the most problematic element of the drift rightward from Marxists: Marxists and Other Socialists who became explicit fascists. This one we’re develop the typologies from the case studies. I will cover the anarchist and syndicalist link to Fascism through the right-ward shift typologies in the next in the series.
1. Maurice Barrès was a socialist politician and agitator as well as a anti-semite and French nationalist famous for the phrase: “L’individu n’est rien, la société est tout” (The individual is nothing, society is everything). He is generally considered one of the precursor thinkers to modern fascism, and while not a Marxist, he was definitely in the French socialist tradition that inspired Marx. He was always tied to reactionary politicians, such as General Georges Ernest Boulanger, whom he identified with populist and socialist-wing. He, however, thought that the nation as a corporate union should supplant the people as the means of organizing. He attained this from Counter-Enlightenment thinking in the monarchist tradition in which Barrès eventually sided despite his republican and socialist leans.
A few interesting side notes about Barrès that we shall see reappear: his interest occultism through his friend Stanislas de Guaita and his rejection of capitalism as dirtied the stage of history.
One can note that many Third-world socialist leaders have taken ethnic and nationalist tones over time (the Kim regime of the DPRK).
Typology: The left-winger who substitutes nationality/ethnicity for class as the subject of revolution and regresses towards non-modern thought which expanding the ideas of nation and state in modernist terms.
2. Ernst Niekisch, one of the intellectual founders of National Bolshevikism and generally considered a proto-typical of the S.A. and left-wing Nazis, began as a standard member of the Marxist German Social Democratic Party and was even involved in the extremely brief lived Bayerische Räterepublik of the German Revolution 0f 1919 which was absorbed into the Weimar Government. Expelled from the party in 1926 for his increasing nationalism and his anger the hypocrisy of the SDP turn to pacifism in light of the revolutions of 1919.
Although his theories were guiding of the Stasserite wing of the Nazi party, Niekisch denounced Hitler as a lacking any real sense of socialism, and instead endorsed Stalin as a model for a national socialism against “infantile leftism” of the internationalists. Niekisch, ironically, after spending most of the Nazi regime in prison, renounced many of his nationalist views while working for the East German university (although it is unclear where his renouncement was unclear), and after a worker uprising in 1953 failed, Niekisch retired in despair and died shortly thereafter.
While not as entranced with the counter-enlightenment, his anti-semitism and fear of internationalism led Niekisch to a position almost identical to that of the Stasserite left-wing Nazis, and Niekisch was highly influential on American fascist writer Francis Yockey. Ironically, Niekisch’s position of hopelessness with both nationalism and socialism is pathologically similar to that of the Jewish Western Marxist Max Horkheimer.
Typology: Nationalist Left Which is Not One, Also Western Marxist Gives Up in Despair.
3. Ikki Kita (北 一輝 ) was a Japanese Romantic Socialist, inspired mainly from non-Marxist and Romantic writers before 1848 but was also inspired by the Xinhai Revolution in which the nationalists and the communist fought off outsiders and the Qing Machu Dynasty. His first book was on socialism, The Theory of Japan’s National Polity and Pure Socialism, was a critique of Marxist ideology which Ikki Kita thought was too old fashioned and too influenced by social darwinism. He instead referred to the socialism in Mencius and Plato’s Republic for inspiration. Increasingly throughout his life he became an ultra-nationalist. His later career he started talking about not only self-determination and liberation of the Asian peoples from Western Imperialism, but also called for to Showa Restoration and the a coup installing or reinforcing someone like the Emperor against the Taisho government. In near complete contradiction, he called for an Imperial and expansionist Japanese policy as well. However, he did not have much time to really clarify his contradicting stances and his advocacy of something akin to Japanese fascism which has been made official policy during the Showa Restoration because he was excuted when the Generals tried this trick again in 1936 and failed.
Typology: Romantic Socialist unconcerned with self-contradiction.