Florian Cramer on 6 Oct 2000 14:39:48 -0000

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[Nettime-bold] Re: <nettime> HORST MAHLER: THE ROLE OF A SAD SACK

Am Thu, 05.Oct.2000 um 13:19:09 -0400 schrieb richard barbrook:
> 	John Barker <harrier@easynet.co.uk>

In Germany, this is rather old news. As a convert from the extreme left to
outright neo-fascism, Mahler is just the most extreme case of political
'turns' in the biographies of the German 1968 generation. But he is not the
only one. Examples:

- Rainer Langhans, prominent ex-member of "Kommune 1", today promotes
redefined fascism as a part of esoteric spirituality. In an interview, he
said: "We must be the better fascists, because in my view a fascist is
somebody who of course wants to have heaven on earth, somebody who wants
something good. In this viewpoint, Hitler of course as a great teacher for
all of us, and nobody will be able to reject this. In this special case of
spirituality I would say: Hitler is a failed spiritualist who had that what
belongs to the inner levels on his outer levels".[1]

- Reinhold Oberlercher was the leading SDS activist in Hamburg and a chief
theoretician of the German SDS (next to Rudi Dutschke and Bernd Rabehl). In
1981, he became a member in the FAU where he published a "Manifest deutscher
Anarchisten" ("Manifesto of German Anarchists") which claimed that "foreign
competition destroys the job market" so that "German anarchist demand an
immediate ban on hiring foreigners" ("deutsche anarchisten fordern daher
sofortiges einstellungsverbot für ausländer...", quoted from
<http://www.trend.partisan.net/trd1099/t321099.html>"). Today, he is
considered to be one of the most important ideologists of the German
neo-nazi movement. He advocates a "Fourth Reich"
(Oberlercher's homepage is located on the neo-nazi webserver
<http://www.deutsches-reich.de/oberlercher>). He also is a close
collaborator of Horst Mahler.

- Günther Maschke, a former SDS member in Frankfurt where he was closely
associated to Daniel Cohn-Bendit, became a writer for journals of the
extreme right in the 1980s (according to the left-wing source
<http://www.jungewelt.de/1999/02-03/008.shtml> and to a source on the
Neo-Nazi "Thulenet" <http://www.thulenet.com/texte/neudallg/text0009.htm>)
and today is a close collaborator of Mahler and Oberlercher.

Mahler, Maschke, and Oberlercher are the authors of a manifesto
"Kanonische Erklärung zur Bewegung von 1968" ("Canonical Declaration
concerning the Movement of 1968") which states that "the movement of the
years around 1968 stood up neither for capitalism, neither for Third World
or Eastern, nor for Western values, but solely for the right of every people
of national-revolutionary and social-revolutionary self-liberation".[2]
(Original German text on <http://www.horst-mahler.de/texte/kanon.html>.)
This manifesto praises the Baader-Meinhof group as a "Waffen-SDS" (alluding
to "Waffen-SS") and quotes Bernd Rabehl's infamous Danubia speech (see
below) that the 1968 movement wanted to create "seeds of a European
liberation front to push the great powers and their collaborators out of
Central Europe".

Gretchen Dutschke, Rudi Dutschke's wife, responded to this manifesto with an
article "Was Rudi Dutschke zu den Irrwegen der abgefallenen Achtundsechziger
sagen würde" ("What Rudi Dutschke would say about the aberrations of the
fallen-off 1968 activists") which is online under
<http://www.members.partisan.net/sds/sds00299.html>. Her response is
interesting since Dutschke considered himself a German patriot and was -
untypical for the 1968 movement as a whole - a passionate advocate of a
reunified Germany. She writes that Dutschke had been afraid that his theses
could be appropriated by the extreme right and that his former SDS comrades
are falsifying history. On the other hand, she admits that Dutschke was
never outspoken about the Holocaust, that he spoke against, literally,
"Americanization and Russification of the German people" (albeit, she says,
without nationalist intentions).

- Klaus Reiner Röhl, ex-husband of Ulrike Meinhof and chief editor of the
then-important left-wing paper "Konkret" in the late 1960s, turned it the
so-called "new right" around Rainer Zitelmann in early 1990s (Rainer
Zitelmann himself allegedly is an ex-member of the post-1968 communist party
"Kommunistischer Bund"). Today, Röhl is a writer for the right-extremist
paper "Junge Freiheit" (which the German Verfassungsschutz [internal secret
service] officially lists as an "anti-constitutional publication").

- Bernd Rabehl, one of the chief 1968 "student leaders" in the SDS/Rudi
Dutschke circle and professor of Political Science at my university, became
notorious with a lecture "Nationalrevolutionäres Denken im antiautoritären
Lager der Radikalopposition zwischen 1961/1980" ("National revolutionary
thinking in the anti-authoritarian camp of the radical opposition between
1961 and 1980") he held at a convention of the right-extremist student
fraternity "Danubia" in 1998.

In this lecture, Rabehl said that "the military, militant and
fundamentalistic seclusion of particular [immigrant] populations from their
hosts and the hostility to the national values of Western Europe and Germany
they articulate at the same time, create discord, hostility and
'xenophobia'. They also lead to the ghettoification of European cities and
smalltown. In addition, there is growing crime in the grey zones between
civil wars or in the framework of the seeds of foreign 'statehood' that are
growing inside the European Union."[3] Rabehl argued that the German 1968
movement understood its opposition against the U.S.-American and Russian
politics to a relevant extent as a "struggle for national liberation". (An
interesting analysis of his lecture can be read here:

Rabehl also drew heavy criticism from the public and his colleagues when he
tried to hire Horst Mahler as a guest lecturer at his department.


Is has always suprised me that the German 1968 movement, and even the
Baader-Meinhofs (who, at least when they had firmly constituted themselves
as a group, were not only a strictly hierarchically organized paramilitary
organization, but also straight-forward leninists whose utopia was Soviet
communism), become such a subcultural myth especially in Britain. There are
many unpleasant continuities from the Third Reich and 1930s ideology to the
political culture of the German left. The German Green Party, for example,
is the official successor of the party "Aktion Unabhängiger Deutscher (AUD)"
("Initiative of Independent Germans") whose historical roots were in a block
of extreme right parties ("Block der Heimatlosen und Entrechteten"). One of
the prominent founders of the Green Party, Herbert Gruhl, later signed the
right-wing "Heidelberger Manifest", which stated that immigrants are a cause
of environmental problems, and one of their once-most prominent politicians
in the federal parliament, Alfred Mechtersheimer, has also turned to the
extreme right. Both the German 1968 movement and the ecologist and "peace"
movements from the 1970s/80s had strong Anti-American undertones. If one
looks at German politics from outside, the Green and Social Democratic left
has actually been more nationalist (under Kurt Schumacher in the 1950s, with
Brandt's "Ostpolitik" in the 1970s, the peace movement in the 1980s and the
rhetoric against globalization today) - or nationally focussed, which boils
down to the same thing - than the Christian Democratic and liberal right
(which heavily pushed Germany's integration into the West in the 1950s and
1960s, the integration into the European Community/Union in the 1980s and
1990s, and made sure that the reunification in 1990 would happen within the
framework of NATO and EU; i.e. everything what Mahler & Company, then
on the "left", now on the "right", despise).

Mahler's, Rabehl's, Maschke's and Oberlercher's writings are interesting as
deconstructions of the agenda and rhetoric of the German post-1968 left.
They expose ruptures and subtexts in its political code, issues which used
to be overlooked, skipped and which those who identify with the left
avoid to face and refuse to acknowledge.

Another interesting issue: German neo-fascism must be taken serious as (a) a
strong underground culture and (b) as a net culture. It is a "rhizome" and,
as implied in the previous two points, a significant contemporary practice
of "minor media". It should teach other net cultures that being
"underground", a "net culture" or a "minor media" practice has no ethical
meaning and is nothing to be proud of per se. Romantization of these
terms and attributes is dangerous. 

Florian Cramer

(Two texts come into my mind who point this out: At Documenta X, 1997,
Samuel Weber investigated parallel terminology in Deleuze/Guattari and Le
Pen's Front National; and neo-fascists are also part of the underground
communication network in Thomas Pynchon's "The Crying of Lot 49" - which
might, we don't know, only exist in the imagination of the character Oedipa


[1] "Wir müssen die besseren Faschisten sein, denn der Faschist ist in meinen
Augen jemand, der erstmal natürlich das Himmelreich auf Erden holen wollte,
also der wirklich was (betont) Gutes wollte. (Schnitt, größerer
Bildausschnitt) Also unter dem Gesichtspunkt ist Hitler selbstverständlich
für uns alle ein großer Lehrer, das wird keiner dann äh, ablehnen können.
Äh, jetzt aber im speziellen Fall dieser Spiritualität würde ich sagen:
Hitler ist ein verhinderter Spiritueller und er hat äh, das, was in die
(betont) inneren Ebenen gehört auf den äußeren Ebenen" 

A quote from another interview: "Spirituality in Germany means
Hitler. And you have to be a step ahead to overcome this, but until then you
have to accept the heritage. We have no chance: We must take over this
heritage from our parents, not in the sense of faithful, excluding
anti-fascism, but in the sense of further developing what Hitler attempted
to do. We have no choice, even we try hard to avoid this. In this respect,
we have remained children, the negative theory of fascism from 1968 is not
sufficient, we have to develop it into a positive (theory of fascism)".

("Spiritualität in Deutschland heißt Hitler. Und erst wenn du da ein Stück
weiter bist, kannst du jenseits davon kommen, bis dahin aber mußt du das
Erbe übernehmen. Wir haben keine Chance: Wir müssen dieses Erbe von unseren
Eltern übernehmen, nicht im Sinne dieses braven, ausgrenzenden
Antifaschismus, sondern im Sinne einer Weiterentwicklung dessen, was da von
Hitler versucht wurde. Es bleibt uns keine Wahl, wir können uns noch so sehr
dagegen sträuben. Hier sind wir Kinder geblieben, die negative
Faschismustheorie der 68er reicht nicht aus, wir müssen daraus eine positive
entwickeln. <http://www.nadir.org/nadir/initiativ/daneben/langhans.htm>)

[2] "[...], daß die Bewegung der Jahre um 1968 weder für Kommunismus noch
für Kapitalismus, weder für drittweltliche oder östliche noch für westliche
Wertegemeinschhaft aufstand, sondern allein für das Recht eines jeden Volkes
auf nationalrevolutionäre wie sozialrevolutionäre Selbstbefreiung

[3] "Die militärische, militante und fundamentalistische Abschließung der
einzelnen Volksgruppen von den Gastgebern und die gleichzeitig artikulierte
Feindschaft zu den nationalen Werten Westeuropas und Deutschlands s"en
Zwietracht, Feindschaft und "Fremdenhaß". Sie führen auch zur Ghettoisierung
und Zerreißung der europ"ischen Groß- und Kleinstädte. Hinzu kommt die
wachsende Kriminalisierung, die sich in den Grauzonen der
Bürgerkriegsfronten oder im Rahmen der Konstituiereung der Keimformen von
fremder "Staatlichkeit" im Rahmen der europäischen Union vollzieht.

Additional Links 

An article on the 1968-turned-to-extreme-right people in the anarchist paper
"Graswurzelrevolution": http://www.comlink.de/graswurzel/237/68er.html

The attempt of a differentiated reading of Rabehl's lecture, from a
left-wing perspective:

(Personal note: I might not be able to reply to responses before Oct. 12, FC)

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