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Monday, 24 June 2013

What We Are Fighting For - 11 of 17

What We Are Fighting For - The British Way of Life vs The Snitch/Socialist Way of Life
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From Picture Post Magazine, July 13, 1940, pp 28-29
[...] And the fact remains that the entire working population, working harder than ever, is seeing its living standards become increasingly lower, despite Germany's gains in territory and wealth.

So that is what it means in concrete terms to be a working man under Nazi rule. But then Hitler and his fellows never pretended among themselves to have anything but contempt for the working masses. Their outlook, their ideals, were always said to be more sympathetic to the middle-class, especially to those small craftsmen and shopkeepers from whom they derived their greatest numerical support during the fourteen years' struggle for power.  It is therefore particularly interesting to observe what is happening to these "lower middle" classes.

So much was promised. The craftsman was to be raised on a pedestal of honour such as he had never occupied since the Middle Ages. The small shopkeeper, backbone of honest German trade, was to be freed from the unfair competition of department stores and monopolies. But what happened? AS we have seen, the turnover of consumer goods was limited in favour of armaments. "Guns not butter," said Goering. Oil not oranges. Steel not stockings. But the small shopkeeper doesn't sell howitzers or fuel oil or iron ore. With workers' wages low as the floor, with rations cut to the bone, it is small wonder that, by latest statistics, out of the four hundred thousand owners of provision stores, more than half (246,787) are so poor as to be exempt from Income Tax, and only about a quarter of the total (110,565) net an annual income of more than 3,000 marks -- £150 at par.

Small wonder, too, that, particularly since the war, in some towns whole streets of derelict shops are to be seen, the windows boarded, the mice scampering among the empty sample cartons on the dusty shelves.

So while the great smelting and refining plants of the Ruhr and the Rhineland pour their smoke into the air by day and by night, while labourers in the metal trades are working as never before, foodstuffs are scarce and clothing is scarce, and the unemployed bakers and drapers' assistants are going to school to learn to be machinists, making guns and tanks and bomb casings that nobody can eat or wear.

The following report from Munich will illustrates the craftsman's position: "Independent craftsmen who do not happen to have taken their master's degree are now required to pass the examination within a few months. If not, they may shut up shop and work in an armament factory. The fee to be paid for the examination is 200 marks, which must be paid all at once." This, of course, few independent craftsmen are able to do.

Quite apart from the impoverishment and regimentation of shopkeepers and craftsmen, black-coated workers by the thousands have also been ruined by topsy-turvy Nazi economics, and forced into factories or road-making or other labouring work. Recently, the B.B.C. broadcast as letter from a highly qualified office-worker, a "delicate frail little woman of about 45." It is well worth quoting here: --

"I have been on the sick-list for ten days because I have an infection of the quick of the finger-nails. Apart from this I do three days compulsory work at digging. As a result of my ailment I am exempt from this, but I shall have to start again directly I am off the sick-list. At first I was to have gone to the labour camp for Forestry Workers, but the doctor declared me unsuited for this. I think I would rather do this work than the sort of washing-up I have to do. My work at the camp could hardly be heavier than digging, and if I can do this, eight hours, three times a week, I ought to be able to stand forestry work. Forestry work is at least paid for, whereas I only get 40 pfennigs a day -- that's only a few pence -- for digging. I only get three marks (say 3s.) benefit a week and that only for a period of 20 weeks. After that I shall have to apply for state relief."

Probably the section of the German people most deeply disappointed in Hitler's achievements is the peasantry. Bismarck and the Kaiser aimed at making Germany self-supporting. Grain was the great thing, they said. For fifty years the rulers of Germany, like the generals in its army, have been drawn from the Junkers, the big landowners in the east. The Junkers, with their large estates, are the chief growers of German grain. Their hand was heavy on the peasant's throat. The peasant thought Hitler would alter all this. But nothing has changed. Hitler, like Bismarck and the Kaiser, aims at world domination. Hitler wants self-sufficiency, too. And, Hitler also thinks self-sufficiency means grain. Smallholdings are not suitable for grain. They lend themselves better to dairy-farming and the like. So the big estates remain. The big land owners remain, the Junkers, with their hands on the peasant's throat.

During the slump of 1930, the peasants lived on potatoes and skimmed milk. They fed their children on famine rations out of the fields. It was the same everywhere; in the Rhineland as in Silesia, in East Prussia as in Schleswig-Holstein.

(continued on WWAFF post 12)

Jay's thoughts:  The references to the middle and the lower-middle classes are important. Control them, you control a country. So most propaganda is directed at the middle classes, including the pro-British propaganda in this magazine -- because that's what you're reading up there. Propaganda -- and particularly effective propaganda. If you can sway the middle classes to your belief system, you've won the battles for hearts and minds. Once held, it is then easy for governments to systematically strip away any other beliefs, replacing them with socialist mantras of hatred against some other group or cause.

So-called pressure charities of tobacco control, alcohol control and public health nutjob academic socialists aided by the mainstream press have succeeded marvellously at convincing the middle classes that "Something Must Be Done!"  Well, it's always been the press's job to disseminate the propaganda of the day.  And academics have always been at the forefront of any social ideology, good or bad.  But charities are another matter entirely.

The charities of today, pressure or otherwise, act more like corporations with their stakeholders and boards of directors. It's not only about money.  They seek to influence political decisions rather than helping any person or group of people.  When you donate to, say, Cancer Research UK, don't you expect your money to go towards finding a cure for cancer?  You certainly don't expect it to be spent on a wiki at the University of Bath -- a site run by a Dutch woman whose only life experience is being anti-business activist who wrote a couple of anti-big corporation books you've never read, nor will you ever read. Nevertheless, some of your money has been siphoned off to the University of Bath's Tobacco Control Research Group to denounce, among others, bloggers and libertarians, none of whom are the cause for cancer, no matter how much tobacco control would have you believe it to be true.

And what do we make of pressure organisations that use children to do its dirty work? I speak of D-MYST, which is funded by Liverpool council and run by a marketing firm on the council's behalf. They call it "arm's length" by the way.  Although funded by the local government, the council pretends it has no say in what happens. I, for one, don't believe it. I'm certain that one council member is heavily involved with the D-MYST group.

So while we can trace the roots of socialism much farther back than even 1930s Germany, the brand of public health socialism we see today is closer to activism we saw in American and British colleges and universities in 1960s / early 70s during the Vietnam war.  It wouldn't be fair to blame the Baby Boomers for all of it, though, as much as I would like to do so. Just most of it.

Bonus comic:

The Family Life of Modern-Day Britain : Son Denounces and Turns In Father for Smoking.
"The duty of the child is first to the State and second to the parents," declared an anti-smoking group, speaking to a Guardian reporter. Thousands of children have acted on that declaration. Thousands have denounced their parents to anti-smoker politicians or anti-smoker charities.