Category: Analysis
Brazile Fallout: Hillary Privatized the DNC with Help from a Washington Law Firm

Brazile Fallout: Hillary Privatized the DNC with Help from a Washington Law Firm

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: November 6, 2017

Hillary Clinton Tells Senator Bernie Sanders That There's No Evidence She Can Be Swayed by Wall Street Money During CNN Debate, April 14, 2016

Hillary Clinton and Senator Bernie Sanders During CNN Debate, April 14, 2016

Secret side agreements are a common maneuver by corporate law firms. Here’s how they work. An agreement that is legal and passes the smell test is drafted and submitted to a court or a regulatory body for public consumption. Then, a separate, secret side agreement is written and signed by both sides and it contains all of the smelly, shady, ethically questionable hard details on how the original agreement will be carried out.

Donna Brazile, the former interim Chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) during the 2016 presidential campaign, has written a new book, “Hacks: The Inside Story of the Break-ins and Breakdowns that Put Donald Trump in the White House,” and has revealed the secret side agreement that the DNC had with Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

In 2015, Hillary Clinton’s campaign set up a joint fundraising committee called the Hillary Victory Fund (HVF) with the DNC and over 30 state democratic committees. The public portion of the agreement indicated that Hillary would raise funds for her own campaign while also allocating a portion to the DNC to help the overall Democratic Party as well as allocating funds to state democratic committees in order to support down-ballot candidates in their local elections. But the secret side agreement that effectively privatized the DNC, giving Hillary and her campaign lawyers control of the DNC and its money, had yet to see the light of day.

This is how Brazile describes the secret side agreement in her book:

“The agreement—signed by Amy Dacey, the former CEO of the DNC, and Robby Mook [Clinton’s campaign manager] with a copy to Marc Elias [lawyer at Perkins Coie]  — specified that in exchange for raising money and investing in the DNC, Hillary would control the party’s finances, strategy, and all the money raised. Her campaign had the right of refusal of who would be the party communications director, and it would make final decisions on all the other staff. The DNC also was required to consult with the campaign about all other staffing, budgeting, data, analytics, and mailings.”

The Clinton camp has now attempted to defend itself by saying these terms are standard because they were not going to kick in until the Democratic Party had chosen its official presidential nominee at its party convention in July 2016. But that’s not what the actual secret side agreement says. It indicates the following: “Beginning October 1, 2015,” the HVF would begin transferring $1.2 million to the DNC at the start of each month with that release “conditioned on” Hillary Clinton’s primary campaign personnel being consulted “and have joint authority over strategic decisions over the staffing, budget, expenditures, and general election related communications, data, technology, analytics, and research. The DNC will provide HFA advance opportunity to review on-line or mass email, communications that features a particular Democratic primary candidate.”

Additionally, the secret agreement states that “the DNC agrees that no later than September 11, 2015 it will hire one of two candidates previously identified as acceptable to HFA” (Hillary for America, the primary campaign fund for Clinton) as its Communications Director. All of this is occurring in the fall of 2015 with the official Democratic nominating convention not taking place until July 2016.

As Politico reported in May 2016, the Hillary Victory Fund was a sham in multiple other ways. First, Politico writes that less than 1 percent of the money raised stayed in the state’s coffers. The Treasurer of the Hillary Victory Fund actually had the power to move money in and out of state committee bank accounts. Politico reporters Ken Vogel and Isaac Arnsdorf cite the following example to show how things actually worked:

“…the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party received $43,500 from the victory fund on Nov. 2, only to transfer the same amount to the DNC that same day. The pattern repeated itself after the Minnesota party received transfers from the victory fund of $20,600 on Dec. 1 (the party sent the same amount to the DNC the next day) and $150,000 on Jan. 4 (it transferred the same amount to the DNC that day).

“That means that Minnesota’s net gain from its participation in the victory fund was precisely $0 through the end of March. Meanwhile, the DNC pocketed an extra $214,100 in cash routed through Minnesota — much of which the DNC wouldn’t have been able to accept directly, since it came from donors who had mostly had already maxed out to the national party committee.

“A similar pattern transpired with most of the participating state parties. As of March 31, only eight state parties (most of which were in battleground states such as Colorado, Florida, Nevada, New Hampshire and Virginia) had received more from the victory fund than was transferred from their accounts to the DNC.”

Brazile backs up this account in her book, writing that “the states kept less than half of 1 percent of the $82 million they had amassed from the extravagant fund-raisers Hillary’s campaign was holding….”

Brazile notes in her book that the lawyer, Marc Elias, of the politically-connected law firm, Perkins Coie, was copied on the secret side agreement. Elias has repeatedly come under scrutiny for his multi-faceted roles in the 2015-2016 presidential campaign. Most recently, he was exposed as the guy behind the hiring of Fusion GPS which compiled the scandalous Russian dossier on Donald Trump, using both Hillary campaign funds and DNC funds. The Washington Post reported that Elias was allowed to spend these funds “without oversight by campaign officials, according to a spokesperson for his law firm.”

Elias served as the General Counsel to Hillary’s primary campaign committee, Hillary for America, as well as serving as one of a team of lawyers from Perkins Coie that provided legal advice to the DNC. (Elias also provided legal advice to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and Democratic Governors Associations, according to the Perkins Coie web site last year.)

As a legal adviser to the DNC, Elias should have known that its charter mandated fairness and impartiality to all primary candidates. But when WikiLeaks released emails last year that had been hacked at the DNC, Marc Elias was caught giving advice on how to tar Senator Bernie Sanders after his campaign suggested that the Hillary Victory Fund was skirting Federal election law. The email from Elias read:

“My suggestion is that the DNC put out a statement saying that the accusations the Sanders campaign are not true. The fact that CNN notes that you aren’t getting between the two campaigns is the problem. Here, Sanders is attacking the DNC and its current practice, its past practice with the POTUS and with Sec Kerry. Just as the RNC pushes back directly on Trump over ‘rigged system’, the DNC should push back DIRECTLY at Sanders and say that what he is saying is false and harmful the [sic] the Democratic party.”

Writing for Politico in 2014, Ken Vogel detailed how Elias and Perkins Coie have not only been the legal go-to guys for the Democratic party over the years but how they have also tinkered with Federal election law to shift more power to the 1 percent. Vogel writes:

“Perkins Coie’s political law practice, anchored by Elias and former White House Counsel Bob Bauer, has something of a stranglehold on the Democratic Party’s election law business, representing not only the party committees themselves but everyone from [Harry] Reid (whose various committees have paid $317,000 in legal fees to Perkins Coie over the years) to Obama ($7.4 million) to the major Democratic super PACs ($19 million).”

The thrust of the article, however, is that Elias played a central role in further opening the spigots for legal revenues his firm might be expected to collect in the future by tinkering with Federal legislation at the eleventh hour. Vogel writes:

“A powerful Democratic lawyer helped craft a provision that was slipped into a year-end spending bill allowing political parties to raise huge new pools of cash — including some for legal fees that are likely going to be collected by his own firm…

“The change has the potential to halt or at least slow the erosion of power of the political parties, since it would increase the maximum amount of cash that rich donors may give to the national Democratic and Republican party committees each year from $97,400 to $777,600 or more.”

The question that no one seems to be asking is who are the main beneficiaries of Perkins Coie’s heavy influence at the top of the Democratic Party. Despite Obama’s re-election for a second term, the Democratic Party shed nearly 1,000 seats from coast to coast. The Republicans now control both houses of Congress and the Executive Branch. A man with the lowest approval rating in modern history now occupies the Oval Office.

The primary beneficiaries of this hubris have been the 1 percent – Wall Street and hedge fund titans – and giant multi-national corporations that dominate the client roster at Perkins Coie.

Those within the Clinton camp and DNC who are suggesting to the American people that there is nothing to see here, time to move along, are dead wrong. Just because the Republican presidential campaign may have been corrupted by outside forces doesn’t mean that the Democratic campaign wasn’t also corrupted by its own outside forces. It’s time to follow the obscene political money trail wherever it leads.

Outrage Targeting Brazile Shows ‘Serious Decline in the Democratic Party’

Democratic party chairperson Donna Brazile talks with audience members before the debate between Republican vice-presidential nominee Gov. Mike Pence and Democratic vice-presidential nominee Sen. Tim Kaine at Longwood University in Farmville, Va., Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2016.

Outrage Targeting Brazile Shows ‘Serious Decline in the Democratic Party’

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In a post on Medium Saturday, nearly 100 campaign staffers signed an open letter firing back at Donna Brazile, former DNC chair, for her depiction of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in her book set to hit stores Tuesday.

“Donna came in to take over the DNC at a very difficult time,” the letter reads. “We were grateful to her for doing so. She is a longtime friend and colleague of many of us and has been an important leader in our party. But we do not recognize the campaign she portrays in the book.”

Despite (sort of) acknowledging the difficulties that the campaign faced, the signers also noted that it was “particularly troubling and puzzling that [Brazile] would seemingly buy into false Russian-fueled propaganda, spread by both the Russians and [Trump], about [Clinton’s] health.” This was a response to Brazile’s statement that she considered replacing Clinton as the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee with then-Vice President Joe Biden.

How could a political figure who’s been hailed as a “longtime Democratic insider” be tossed aside for not standing by the Clinton campaign?

For Anoa Changa, it’s just part of the mentality used to “undermine” anyone whose beliefs and statements don’t fall into lockstep with the whole of the group — in this case the Democratic Party.

​Speaking to Sputnik Radio’s Brian Becker and John Kiriakou on Loud & Clear, Changa, the host of “The Way With Anoa,” says that Brazile “never claimed she herself had the authority to circumvent the process and insert a new [Democratic] nominee.”

According to Changa, what Brazile did say was that while serving as interim DNC chair there was a “process in the bylaws that she would oversee, but that it was still a difficult process.”

“What she was talking about was just her experience in just those few months she served as chair, ahead of the election cycle,” Changa told Becker and Kiriakou. “And to see the mass panic and chaos is in some ways hysterical, considering a month and a half ago everyone was told to sit down and be quiet because Hillary, with the release of ‘What Happened,’ deserved to have the opportunity to tell her story on what happened [during the 2016 election].”

The pushback that Brazile is getting from the party reveals an even bigger issue, says Changa.

“What the Donna Brazile commentary has been is a greater indictment on the problems in current capitalism that has infected the Democratic Party for the last 25 years,” Changa, also the director of political advocacy for the Progressive Army, said. “It’s been 25 years since Bill Clinton was elected and we have seen a serious decline in the Democratic Party in the last 25 years and that’s what she speaking to.”

In excerpts of Brazile’s upcoming book published in Politico last week, she presents evidence that the DNC rigged the nomination so that Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) was put aside in favor of Clinton and that the Clinton campaign was in control of the committee via its purse strings throughout the entire campaign cycle.

The Ignoble History and Legacy of the Balfour Declaration
| November 6, 2017 | 6:57 pm | Analysis | No comments
Palestinians take part in a demonstration on the 100 years anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, in Nablus, West Bank, Thursday, Nov. 2, 2017.

The Ignoble History and Legacy of the Balfour Declaration

© AP Photo/ Majdi Mohammed

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On 2 November 1917 the British government in the form of the country’s then foreign secretary, Sir Arthur Balfour, addressed a letter to Lord Rothschild, a leading figure within the British Jewish community.

In terms of its significance and impact this brief letter, known to the world as the Balfour Declaration, remains unsurpassed. Depending on your point of view it enjoys a place in history as the catalyst of Jewish salvation, leading to the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, or the cause of the unremitting injustice and suffering and endured by generations of Palestinians.

In the letter Balfour writes:

“His Majesty’s Government view with favor the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by the Jews in any other country.”

The stance enshrined in these words — involving the government of a European state arrogating to itself the right to hand over part of the land of another people to a third people without bothering to ask or consult said people — is staggering in its iniquity. It bespeaks the injustice upon which the British Empire rested and the country’s engagement with the developing world, one rooted in domination, exploitation and naked self-interest.

Compounding the egregious character of this history is the fact that Britain’s engagement with the developing world continues on much the same basis today, and will continue to until it acknowledges the wrongs committed in its name, such as the Balfour Declaration of 1917. Sadly, given the recent statement of the country’s Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, marking the centenary of Balfour, no such acknowledgement will be forthcoming anytime soon.

On the contrary, Johnson announced that the “Balfour Declaration was indispensable to the creation of a great nation. In the seven decades since its birth,” he declared, “Israel has prevailed over what has sometimes been the bitter hostility of neighbors to become a liberal democracy and a dynamic hi-tech economy.”

Here we have a perfect example of the revisionism that passes for truth in the hands of a British establishment intoxicated with its own myths. Israel’s supposed greatness has been established on the back of the dispossession of a people whose only crime was to live on a land coveted by a people whose undoubted poor and anti-Semitic plight in Europe since time immemorial had absolutely nothing to do with them. As for “the bitter hostility of neighbors,” critics of Israel would no doubt make the point that this particular claim conveniently abstracts the expansionist and aggressive actions of the country throughout its short history, not only where the Palestinians are concerned but also in its two invasions of Lebanon to its north, its refusal to vacate Syrian national territory of the Golan Heights, seized during the Six-Day War in 1967, and its saber rattling towards Iran.

In his book to mark the centenary of the Balfour Declaration, author and historian Bernard Rogan sets out in forensic detail the wider regional, international and geopolitical context and implications involved in its formulation.

“Imperialist interests were evolving from a focus on territorial acquisition and the retention of colonies to the control of natural resources, restricting access to trade routes or markets and generally inhibiting the economic development of others in the region,” Rogan writes.

Arriving at a serious analysis of Balfour it is vital to consider its relationship to the equally infamous Sykes-Picot Agreement of 1916, under whose provisions Britain and France agreed the carve-up of the Ottoman Empire in the Middle East in the anticipation of its collapse upon the eventual defeat of the Axis Powers in the First World War.

For the British, securing and defending access to the Suez Canal, a major sea route for goods passing between Britain and the jewel in the crown of its empire, India, was a burning priority. In this regard asserting and maintain control of Palestine was crucial.

A general view of the Suez Canal from Al Salam Peace bridge on the Ismalia desert road before the opening ceremony of the New Suez Canal, in Egypt
© REUTERS/ Amr Abdallah Dalsh
A general view of the Suez Canal from Al Salam “Peace” bridge on the Ismalia desert road before the opening ceremony of the New Suez Canal, in Egypt

Thus in granting Palestine as a home for the Jewish people, the British government had in mind a loyal proxy, in the form of a Zionist movement, willing and able to protect its interests in the region. Someone who was in no doubt of its advantages was Winston Churchill, declaring during this period that “if, as it may well happen, there should be created in our lifetime by the banks of the Jordan a Jewish state under the protection of the British Crown… an event would have occurred in the history of the world which would… be in harmony with the truest interests of the British Empire.”

The Zionist movement, inspired by Theodor Herzl, needed the support and patronage of a major imperial power in order to achieve its objective of a Jewish state. Interestingly, prior to Palestine being decided on by the Zionist movement as the intended location of such a state, Cyprus and Uganda were also briefly considered as viable options as locations for the establishment of a Jewish state.

In the wake of the First Zionist Congress in 1897, Herzl traveled across Europe, approaching the Ottomans, Germans and Russian governments, as well as the British, in an attempt to win support for his project. Though he died in 1904, thirteen years before his dream of a Jewish state began to come to fruition with the Balfour Declaration, Theodor Herzl is still revered as the founding father of the State of Israel by Jewish people in Israel and both Jewish and non-Jewish supporters of Israel throughout the world.

However there are some Israelis who take a different view of Herzl’s legacy and the Balfour Declaration. One of them is the historian Avi Shlaim: “Britain had no moral right to promise a national home for a tiny Jewish minority in a predominately Arab country,” Shlaim writes.

“It did so not for altruistic reasons but for selfish and misguided ones… the Balfour Declaration was a colossal blunder — it has proved to be a catastrophe for the Palestinians and it gave rise to one of the most intense, bitter and protracted conflicts of modern times.”

The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik.

Check out John’s Sputnik radio show, Hard Facts.

1917 October Revolution: The Single Most Important Event in World History
| November 6, 2017 | 6:51 pm | Analysis, Russia, USSR | No comments

Monday, November 6, 2017

1917 October Revolution: The Single Most Important Event in World History
By Ian Patrick Beddowes*.
Source: “Vanguard”, Organ of the NST of the Zimbabwe Communist Party, Vol. 2, No.3, 4th November 2017.
This year we celebrate the centenary of the Great October Socialist Revolution which took place in Russia on 25th October 1917 (Old Style) 7th November 1917 (New Style). To all those familiar with historical materialism, this is the single most important event in human history.
Because it represents the not only the first major step in the movement away from capitalism and the dawn of socialism, it was also the first step away from class society towards non-class society.
Human beings of the species Homo Sapiens have been in existence for ± 250,000 years. For most of that time we have been living in various stages of primitive communism, of non-class society. The emergence of class society emerged only about 10,000 years ago concurrent with the rise of civilisation. Even then, for most of the subsequent period, those living within a class society were a minority of the world’s population.
The young Marx and Engels in the Manifesto of the Communist Party (1848) said famously:
“The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles.”
Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, Manifesto of the Communist Party (1848) MECW Vol.6 p.482
to which the mature Engels, in a later footnote to a later edition, added
“That is, all written history…”
Frederick Engels, Footnote to English Edition of Manifesto of the Communist Party (1888) MECW Vol.6 p.482.
Engels and Stalin talk about 5 main modes of production, italicising the word ‘main’: these are: primitive communism, slave society, feudalism, capitalism and socialism; to these categories is often added the Asiatic mode of production used in ancient Mesopotamia (Iraq and Eastern Turkey) which is described by Marx. Only the first and the last are categories of non-class society.
When these writers talk about “main modes of production” they are recognising that within these main modes there have been variations — quite considerable ones — and that between these main modes there have been transitional forms. If we read Engels and if we study real history, we see that class struggle produces both revolution and counter-revolution, we see also that although one mode of production becomes dominant, that older modes still continue and also that new modes start to take shape, to emerge from the bosom of the old. Or as Lenin says in a number of places: “History does not move in a straight line: it zig-zags.”
We hear from some uneducated people that “Communism was tried and failed”. What a wealth of ignorance there is in that brief statement!
Firstly: COMMUNISM HAS NEVER BEEN TRIED. This is not because people do not want to try communism but because the social and economic conditions for the advance to communism do not yet exist. Since the time of Marx and Engels, communists have always been clear that there will be two stages, the first stage, which we now refer to as ‘Socialism’ will be “stamped with the birth-marks of the old society from whose womb it emerges”.
Karl Marx, Critique of the Gotha Programme (1875) MECW Vol.24 p.85.
‘Communism’ is the second stage which can only emerge after the worldwide defeat of capitalism in its imperialist stage and after the socialist mode of production becomes predominant in most countries. The process will inevitably stretch across an entire historical epoch. The alternative, of course, is for the majority to accept increasing impoverishment while a tiny élite basks in luxury and conspicuous consumption.
Thus we talk about the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (not ‘Communist Republics’) because as communists our analysis is not based on idealistic fantasy but on material reality. In fact, the concrete experience of the organising economies following the political independence of former colonies from the imperialist centre has shown us that, prior to even the building of socialism, it is, in most cases, necessary to build national democratic economies autonomous from imperialist control as an intermediate stage.
Secondly: Socialism in the USSR was immensely successful! It did not fail. In a few years a country the size of the whole of sub-Saharan Africa — a country in which the majority of people were peasants just as primitive in their production methods and as superstitious in their ideas as their African counterparts — was, under Communist leadership, propelled from the middle-ages into the 20th century. Even before the Civil War (1917-1922) was over, Lenin and the Communist technician Gleb Krzhizhanovsky (1872-1959) launched a plan for the electrification of the whole country; starting in 1920, it was completed in 1932. Industrial growth rates during the 1930s averaged 16% per annum and electrical generation more than doubled from the 1932 level. The living standards of the people advanced with the growth of production.
Then in 1941, came the German Nazi invasion which had the explicit intention of exterminating a large section of the Soviet people and enslaving others to make way for German settlement. By the time of the invasion the Soviet Union was building bigger and better tanks than Germany. These tanks were wholly designed and built by the Soviet people to Soviet designs using Soviet steel smelted with Soviet coal. This war is known to us as the Second World War or World War II and to the Soviet people as the Great Patriotic War. Although other nations participated in the Second World War, it was the Red Army of the Soviet Union which engaged 70% of the German Army and defeated it, most spectacularly at Stalingrad in 1942, the biggest battle in human history and again at Kursk in 1943, the biggest tank battle in human history. It was the Red Army which took Berlin on 2nd May 1945, forcing Hitler to commit suicide.
Despite the devastation of such a huge swathe of Soviet territory and the loss of at least 20 million citizens, the Soviet Union rapidly reconstructed only to be faced with the Cold War — the isolation of the Soviet Union and its allies by the USA and its satellites. After the Chinese Communist victory of 1949, the Soviets gave immense assistance to help China industrialise. In 1959 the USSR backed the Cuban revolution against US aggression and began giving massive aid to the African liberation movements without asking for anything in return.
True, by 1991 counter-revolutionary forces both internal and external as well as errors by the Soviet leadership created the conditions for the overthrow of Soviet power.
But did that lead to an improvement of the living conditions of the people of the former Soviet Republics?
No it did not.
Has this led to an improvement of the living standards and the reduction of war globally?
No it has not.
The conquest if state power by the working-class in Russia in 1917 not only immensely improved the living standards of the people who had previously lived in the backward Russian Empire but created the basis for successful socialist and national liberation struggles elsewhere, including Africa, including Zimbabwe. Soviet socialism was immensely successful.
Thirdly: the socialism of the Soviet Union was not produced from some kind of one-size-fits-all utopian ideal but had of necessity to fit the time and place. Anyone who has read the article Land Reform in the USSR in the August 2017 issue of Vanguard will realise that the land reform was a response to the conditions of the time and that in carrying it out, the traditional Russian co-operative known as the ‘artel’ gave it a form understood by the people.
Neither socialism nor capitalism can be built according to rigid formulas — in fact one of the disturbing features of the current era is the idealisation of the ‘Free Market’ which has pervaded the thinking of Western ‘economists’ since the 1980s and has led to the introduction of devastating ‘economic structural adjustment programmes’ now rejected even by such prominent bourgeois economists as Joseph Stiglitz, former head of the World Bank and former Harvard Business School lecturer David C. Korten.
It should be further noted that the ‘Free Market’ ideal has not been rejected by any of our leading Zimbabwean politicians, either in the ruling party or the or the ‘opposition’. As the great African writer, Frantz Fanon noted in his famous book The Wretched of the Earth in 1961:
“This economy has always developed outside the limits of their knowledge. They have nothing more than an approximate, bookish acquaintance with the actual and potential resources of their country’s soil and mineral deposits; and therefore they can only speak of these resources on a general and abstract plane.”
In terms of the socialism of the 20th century: we value and defend the pioneering work of the Soviet Union in which socialism was successfully built under the most appallingly difficult conditions. But although we have to learn from both the successes and the failures of our heroic predecessors, we have no intention of trying to mechanically reproduce the socialism of the USSR which began 100 years ago in 21st century Zimbabwe!
It is under the conditions of economic collapse that the Zimbabwe Communist Party calls for a National Dialogue for economic reconstruction.
In Zimbabwe, the ZCP has picked up the mantle of Marxism-Leninism hastily dropped by the bourgeois nationalist political leadership soon after they achieved National Independence and is simultaneously the Zimbabwean section of the worldwide communist movement started by Marx and Engels in 1848 and which launched itself as a serious world force in Petrograd in 1917.
A Luta Continua!
Without Revolutionary Theory there can be No Revolutionary Movement!
Viva Socialism! Viva!
iSando le Sikele!
Sando ne Sikere!
* Editor of the “Vanguard”.
‘From Awkward Loner to the Man We All Know’: Why Hitler Joined the Nazis
| November 1, 2017 | 9:08 pm | Analysis, Fascist terrorism | No comments

Adolf Hitler, center, confers with Field Marshal General Walther Von Brauchitsch, left, commander-in-chief of the Germany Army; and Colonel-General Franz Halder, Chief of the German Army staff, in Berlin on Aug. 7, 1941

‘From Awkward Loner to the Man We All Know’: Why Hitler Joined the Nazis

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Groundbreaking new research has revealed Adolf Hitler was forced to join the National Socialists after a larger far-right group in post-war Germany, the German Socialist party, rejected his advances. Professor Thomas Weber, the historian who made the discovery, has told Sputnik Hitler’s life is not as well documented as it could be.

Adolf Hitler only joined the Nazi Party after being rejected by the German Socialist Party, leading historian Thomas Weber, a professor of history at the University of Aberdeen, has revealed.

He made his discovery by unearthing a document, indicating that in 1919, the then-30-year-old Hitler sought membership of the German Socialist Party, but was shunned, being told they did not want him in the party, or writing for its paper.

The document records testimony of Hans Georg Grassinger, founding chair of the party.

“In the autumn of 1919, around September, Hitler appeared in the office of the publishing house to see Grassinger and offered to write for the paper, and join and work for the party. He didn’t have any money at the time and also asked to borrow money from Grassinger. But they told him they had no use for him in the paper and that they also did not want to have him in the party,” Professor Weber summarized.

Professor Weber explained Hitler approached the party in part, because he was looking for a place to belong and “fit in,” and find a new “surrogate family” of sorts.

“By this point his parents are dead, and he’s lost touch with his surviving siblings. After the war, he desperately tried to stay in the army, but all his peers who had accepted him were demobilized. It was a case of ideological and opportunistic drives coinciding,” Professor Weber told Sputnik.

Hitler’s ‘Radicalization’

The German Socialists, Professor Weber said, were a far-right group much like the National Socialists, but while they were far from massive, compared to the “nascent Nazis,” they were “huge.”The experience of the trenches had radicalized Hitler politically, and in addition to trying to “escape loneliness,” by then the ratification of the controversial Treaty of Versailles had confirmed Germany’s defeat in the First World War.

“People often mention the ‘stab in the back myth’ in connection with Hitler, but he actually only used the term once as far as anyone can tell. It’s not Hiterlian language — he used the language of biological intoxication and viruses, to explain how Germany lost, and how the country should be recast to survive in a rapidly changing world. He concluded the causes of Germany’s internal weakness were the Jews, and its external weaknesses stemmed from insufficient territory, manpower and resources,” Professor Weber told Sputnik.

Why Hitler Joined the Nazi Party

After his jilting by the German Socialists, Hitler turned to the Nazi Party. The German Socialist Party was dissolved the following year.He would not forget the snub, however — in 1920 and 1921 (the latter being the year he became the party’s leader), it was proposed the German Socialists would merge with the National Socialists on three separate occasions.

While most other senior Nazis were in favor, Hitler steadfastly refused, and even briefly resigned from the party over the dispute.

“If the two unified, as the clear junior partner in the union, the Nazis would’ve been absorbed, and Hitler feared he himself would be sidelined and ostracized. Hitler being turned down by the German Socialists is fundamental to his joining the National Socialists, and ensuring the party remained an independent entity. Not long after the failed merger, the picture flips, and by 1922 the Nazis are the bigger party — largely due to Hitler’s oratorical skills — and the German Socialists are dissolved,” Professor Weber said.

German Chancellor Adolf Hitler during his address to 80,000 workers in the Lustgarten, Berlin, May 1, 1936, s part of the May Day Celebrations.
© AP Photo/
German Chancellor Adolf Hitler during his address to 80,000 workers in the Lustgarten, Berlin, May 1, 1936, s part of the May Day Celebrations.

Challenging What We Know About HitlerProfessor Weber is no stranger to challenging conventional wisdom and breaking new information on the Nazi leader.

His 2010 work, Hitler’s First War, examined Hitler’s years spent as a soldier during World War I, and it was the very first work to do so. However, Professor Weber notes “gaping holes” have often plagued historical research on Hitler.

“It was only in the early 90s historians showed the commonly accepted story, of Hitler being radicalized in pre-war Vienna, didn’t make sense. The contradictions in the story were my starting point for my previous book — when that was complete, I realized I’d merely changed the questions, and he’d become even more of an enigma. I was very interested in how he made the leap from awkward loner to the man we all know,” Professor Weber told Sputnik.

Adolf Hitler, left, Nazi chancellor of Germany, and Konstantin von Neurath, German Minister of Foreign Affairs, (right center) as they returned to Munich, Germany, from their meeting with Premier Benito Mussolini of Italy, June 25, 1934.
© AP Photo/
Adolf Hitler, left, Nazi chancellor of Germany, and Konstantin von Neurath, German Minister of Foreign Affairs, (right center) as they returned to Munich, Germany, from their meeting with Premier Benito Mussolini of Italy, June 25, 1934.

Somewhat amazingly, Professor Weber noted the document detailing Hitler’s failed application to join the German Socialist Party had theoretically been available to researchers since 1961, in the archives of the Institute of Contemporary History in Munich, but had merely gathered dust since, despite Hitler’s spirited rejection of the proposed merger long-baffling historians.

“There are a million books on Hitler, but lots just synthesize what others have written. His personal history is not as well-documented as it could be. Some Hitler historians don’t speak German, and others in Germany are reluctant to revisit the darkest chapter in the nation’s history, and raise certain issues in the process. There’s also a worry an undue focus on Hitler could mark a return to the apologetic tendencies of the 1950s, where everything that happened under the Nazis was blamed solely on him,” Professor Weber said.

Professor Weber’s research will feature in his next work, Becoming Hitler: The Making of a Nazi, which will be published in November.

Catalan Independence Is Not Worth Dying For
| November 1, 2017 | 9:01 pm | Analysis, political struggle, Spain | No comments
People celebrate after the Catalan regional parliament declares the independence from Spain in Barcelona, Spain, October 27, 2017.

Catalan Independence Is Not Worth Dying For

© REUTERS/ Juan Medina

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John Wight

Catalan independence is not worth dying for. The region is not suffering oppression nor is it colonized. The Catalan independence movement is being driven by nothing more than cultural nationalism and economic self-interest. It is the self-determination of fools.

Yet, regardless, with the Catalan regional parliament in Barcelona declaring UDI (unilateral independence from Spain), and with the Spanish government in Madrid imposing direct rule on the region, the stage is set for a violent clampdown by a Spanish state that has already demonstrated its willingness to mete out violence during the course of this crisis. The outcome, unless sanity prevails, may well be bloody and brutal.

A woman reacts while the Catalan regional parliament votes for independence of Catalonia from Spain in Barcelona
© REUTERS/ Yves Herman
A woman reacts while the Catalan regional parliament votes for independence of Catalonia from Spain in Barcelona

The possibility of such a scenario when it comes to the cause of Catalan independence is especially mind-boggling, because arrive in Barcelona and you are confronted not by a downtrodden city where a heavy atmosphere of oppression lingers — such as Belfast in the 1960s and 1970s, for example, or the occupied territories of Palestine today — but by one of the most modern and affluent cities in Europe, located in one of the richest regions of Europe.

Barcelona is a truly international city, one that is alive with tourists. The shops, cafes, restaurants and cantinas are bustling. Culturally, it boasts an abundance of riches, while its infrastructure and transport network — bus, rail and underground — is first rate. Yet here we are, witnessing a crisis that appears more compatible with the Barcelona of 1936 than 2017..

Protesters hold fake handcuffs as they take part a rally outside the Catalan parliament in Barcelona, Spain, Friday, Oct. 27, 2017.
© AP Photo/ Santi Palacios
Protesters hold fake handcuffs as they take part a rally outside the Catalan parliament in Barcelona, Spain, Friday, Oct. 27, 2017.

I say “appears” because it would be a mistake to depict the current crisis as a re-run of the Spanish Civil War, despite the efforts of some to draw such a connection. The Catalan independence movement, as mentioned, is being driven not by anti-fascism or anti-colonialism, but by cultural nationalism and economic self-interest, during which both have been elevated to the status of political principle.

Spain today is a liberal democracy with a democratic constitution voted on and supported by the vast majority of Spaniards, including Catalans, when established in 1978. This being said, the alacrity with which Madrid deployed massed ranks of Guardia Civil riot police against unarmed civilians in Barcelona and elsewhere in the region on October 1, in an attempt to disrupt a referendum it deemed illegal, suggests that the germ of authoritarianism planted within the country’s political culture by its fascist dictator, Franco, is yet to be completely eradicated 42 years after his death.

In fact with every action he has taken during the present crisis, Spain’s Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, has only bolstered support for Catalan independence rather than minimize it. If politics is an art it is one he has failed to master to any meaningful extent. Because regardless of its provisions, the moment that a constitution is used as justification for unleashing violence against unarmed civilians as a first rather than last resort in any given crisis it loses legitimacy, as does the government acting in its name.

Spain's Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy leaves his seat during a debate at the upper house Senate in Madrid, Spain, October 27, 2017
© REUTERS/ Susana Vera
Spain’s Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy leaves his seat during a debate at the upper house Senate in Madrid, Spain, October 27, 2017

On the other side of the crisis, meanwhile, Carles Puigdemont and his separatist supporters have embarked on a kamikaze reach for independence regardless of the balance of forces arrayed against them. With the EU, Washington, indeed the entire international community, failing to register anything other than fulsome support for Spanish unity up to this point, one can only hope they have a plan B up their sleeves when it comes to facing down the wrath of a Spanish government that has, as said, proved it is prepared to batter, bludgeon and brutalize civilians who dare challenge or defy its writ. If not — if Puigdemont and his supporters do not have a plan B, given that plan A of appealing to Brussels for intercession and mediation has failed — they have merely exposed their supporters and people to more violence.

In politics, as in war, knowing when to retreat is as important as knowing when to advance. Indeed the former is often more difficult and requiring of more courage than the latter, due to the challenge it brings of managing the unrealistic expectations and demands of some within your own ranks; those for whom any backward step is tantamount to betrayal. With this in mind, it is clear that Puigdemont, faced with the choice of acting sensibly in the face of the aforementioned balance of forces militating against UDI, or succumbing to the pressure exerted against his leadership from within his own movement, opted to succumb.

Catalan President Carles Puigdemont sings the Catalan anthem inside the parliament after a vote on independence in Barcelona, Spain, Friday, Oct. 27, 2017.
© AP Photo/ Manu Fernandez
Catalan President Carles Puigdemont sings the Catalan anthem inside the parliament after a vote on independence in Barcelona, Spain, Friday, Oct. 27, 2017.

It is a decision that may well mark his political epitaph.

What also cannot be gainsaid is that Catalan opponents of independence have had their democratic rights subverted by their separatist counterparts’ declaration of UDI. Having boycotted the October 1 referendum in protest over its legality, they now find themselves confronted with the prospect of being ripped out of Spain against their will. How can such a state of affairs possibly be acceptable to those who believe in democracy?

The wider point is that neither side in this crisis is without blame when it comes to bringing it to the point of no return. It proves that stability, cohesion and unity can never be taken for granted — even within supposed Western bastions of democracy, such as Spain — and that the principle of self-determination can either be a shield risen in response to oppression, or a sword wielded in service to opportunism and self interest.

It bears repeating — the underlying cause of the crisis that has engulfed Spain is the same one that has fueled support for Scottish independence in recent years; the same one that drove Brexit and which is behind the emergence and traction of anti-EU parties across Europe. It is an economic model, neoliberalism, whose sustainability was shattered irrevocably by the global financial crash and ensuing recession, starting in 2008.

Yet instead of burying the corpse of neoliberalism, as they should have by now, political elites have for purely ideological reasons extended themselves in trying to breathe life back into it with the imposition of austerity programs that have sown even more misery and dislocation in the lives of millions of their own citizens.

Thus they are the authors of their own demise.

The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik.

Check out John’s Sputnik radio show, Hard Facts.

Declassified documents expose US role in the 1965-66 massacre of millions of communists in Indonesia

Monday, October 30, 2017

Declassified documents expose US role in the 1965-66 massacre of millions of communists in Indonesia
Declassified files have exposed just how much the US knew about and supported the massacre of millions of Indonesians in the 1965 anti-communist purges.
The non-governmental National Security Archive research group published 39 documents on Tuesday, out of thousands of pages of newly declassified files from the US embassy in Jakarta. They cover the period from 1963-66, documenting official knowledge and approval of the army’s death-squad operations to wipe out the three million-strong Communist Party of Indonesia (PKI) and its supporters.
Up to three million people were rounded up across the country, executed and dumped in mass graves. The files show that the US provided the Indonesian army with lists of senior communist party officials, equipment and money during the massacres. The purges led to the overthrow of communist-backed nationalist president Sukarno and the 31-year dictatorship of General Suharto.
The documents show US officials had credible evidence that contradicting the army’s claim about a supposed September 30 1965 bid by junior officers was ordered by the PKI — used as justification for the massacres.
A December 21 1965 diplomatic cable from the embassy’s first secretary Mary Vance Trent to Washington noted the “fantastic switch which has occurred over 10 short weeks.” Ms Trent estimated 100,000 had been slaughtered by then. A previously released April 1966 embassy cable said: “We frankly do not know whether the real figure is closer to 100,000 or 1,000,000” — and even the Indonesian government had only a “vague idea.”
A report covering November 1965 by embassy political affairs officer Edward Masters addressed the “problem” of holding and feeding suspected PKI prisoners. “Many provinces appear to be successfully meeting this problem by executing their PKI prisoners, or killing them before they are captured, a task in which Moslem [sic] youth groups are providing assistance,” he wrote.
A month later the US consulate in Indonesia’s capital Medan wrote that imams from the Muhammadiyah Muslim organisation were preaching that all communists should be killed, calling them the “lowest order of infidel, the shedding of whose blood is comparable to killing chicken.”
Britain also supported the massacres, documented by the historian Mark Curtis. Anti-communism appears to be on the rise in Indonesia, with rightwingers trying to shut down a meeting on the massacres just last month.
Source: Morning Star.