Henry Ford Supported Stalin Too (But Loved Hitler)

Henry Ford Supported Stalin Too (But loved Hitler)

 At a panel of the Third 2020 Global Conference in New York, we were proposed to return to the old theme of  “The role of today’s intellectuals.” To begin with I must admit that it produces us modesty and makes us uncomfortable every time we are presented with that elastic and discredited title.

But I think it is more important to analyze this modesty and defamation which results from the logic of the global dominant powers. Whom have political power, those who manage armies and own the world’s biggest capitals are considered moderate, realistic, and pragmatic. Those who must settle for the only use of words and ideas are accused of dangerous radicals, apart from being bombed with multiple “I and U”: Immature, Useless, Inconvenient, Unnecessary, Insensate, Unintelligible, Inefficient, Unrealistic, Incapable… But when you see radical intellectuals grouped on one side, look to the other to know where the real power and the organic intellectuals are.  

Of all the accusations thrown at them, the most popular is to be considered enlightened, destructive, authors or accomplices of catastrophic regimes. For some mysterious reason, the new clergymen, the organic intellectuals, the reasonable people, are not accused nor are the religious nor the generals nor the powerful men. In fact, it is accepted, as a virtue, for a religious person, to self-proclaim as enlightened, chosen, or saved, as it is accepted that a general, loaded with decorations, praise themselves for saving the homeland and honor as if some of it were more than criminal fiction.

In Latin America, for example, those generals (supported by traditional clergy and for the benefit of the owners of the capital) have been the ones who implemented dozens of genocidal dictatorships throughout history. Non-organic intellectuals’ regimes have been rare, nor have they persecuted military, clergy, and businessmen. The inverse has been the constant, the norm.

Yet the job of the intellectuals is not to lecture, let alone rule. There were in the past a few intellectuals who were presidents. For example, the case of the American founding fathers (beyond their serious racial, class contradictions, and hypocrisies). Or the case of Nicolas Solomon, Pi i Margall, and others who formed the First Republic in Spain in 1873, an island that lasted one year and was sunken in a sea of conservative fanaticism. Or the case of the professor Jose Arevalo, the president of the first democracy in Guatemala in 1944, destroyed ten years later by a plot by the United Fruit Company, the CIA, and the U.S. military that would leave 200,000 massacred in forty years of brutal dictatorships (all military and, above all, pragmatic and successful businessmen) and whose culture of impunity continues today, as in other countries.

The ideal of power is that the radical intellectuals dedicate to courtesan poetry or the analysis of the subjunctive in García Márquez. In fact, the secret agencies have invested fortunes with this objective. But the neutrality of an intellectual in social matters is indifference, opportunism, or complicity. Neutrality, such as the remuneration of the organic intellectual and the condemnation of the radical intellectual are products that transpire a dominant system. If a soldier disagrees with a general, the chances he will exercise a complete criticism are minimal. Same for any honest employee, from the manager of a big company to the humblest employee of a supermarket. A lesser criticism of his superiors can pass as the moral tax that the company and the senior chief accept to be considered democratic and tolerant. Of course, there are no democratic companies. When open criticism crosses certain limits, there will always be a good reason for that employee to be fired.

Beyond all the labor laws that exist in any country, a businessman always has the power to hire and fire. Only this power already is coercion against the critics, the opinionated, and the free-thinking of the subordinates. Not by chance, this power of coercion normally is in the hands of some businessmen who support and celebrate a system (for example the capitalist system and its neoliberal variation). If anyone depends on the will or desires of a boss to survive, it will never criticize him or openly fight injustice as a damned intellectual can.

The public opinion is not only created deliberately by advertising agencies and by the dominant media, but it is also a natural consequence of power. The damned, the immature, the loser intellectuals cannot push the same way. The only force of an intellectual is his ideas, not the manipulation of others’ needs. Intellectuals have no power of coercion.

It would be enough to put a classic example of the organic criticism, of the butlers of international power. The intellectuals who were wrong supporting Stalin are crucified every day, but few ones manage to mention some of those many who, still resisting the brutality of the historical right-wing fascism in the hemisphere, were opposed to the same left-wing dictator. The organic ones do not get tired of repeating that the French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre supported Stalin. It was a support of word, support based on its ideas, that is the most an intellectual can give. Was he wrong? I think so, and badly, although it is easier to say it now than it was sixty years ago. Few remember, and no one repeats in the big media, that many capitalist businessmen, like Henry Ford, supported both Stalin and Hitler, not just with words but with technical, logistic, and economic resources. Both Hitler and Stalin praised racist and skillful Henry Ford for his invaluable help, even during WWII. 

Power does not say “The investors are a calamity who believe they are enlightened.” On the contrary, the chiefs always return to the argument “the alternatives to Capitalism never worked.” Some of them did work, but they were destroyed or blocked to poverty.

Now, whatever alternative that had succeeded (military and economically) would have been presented as the “irreplaceable model,” not just moral but also economic. Because it is much easier to be a successful capitalist country that can harass the rest of the world than to be a poor capitalist country that must suffer the grace of the military and economic harassment of the winners. Not to mention different options. Like in the medieval era, triumph is confused with truth and power with justice. It’s like if Christians mock Jesus for having been a loser, tortured, executed, and disappeared by the Empire of the day as one criminal along with two others. The same Socrates, Jose Artigas, Simon Bolivar, and Jose Marti, among others.

But hegemonic powers not only write history but also present themselves as they want. The same system that invented the idea that our world was created and maintained by capitalists and businessmen, has despised and neutralized the activity of radical intellectual work while robbing and kidnaping centuries of inventions and discoveries made by wage earners, of geniuses that had nothing to do with capital obsession. Without these centuries of intellectuals (philosophers, artists, scientists, humanists, social activists) there would be not the best in our world. Surely, we would have some form of Middle Ages, like that we are heading towards now, with fanatical pride.

jorge majfud, August 2020.

By Jorge Majfud

Translated by, Le’ Tavia Cummings

¿Dictador o autoritario?

Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini in Munich, G...

Image via Wikipedia

Ni el alemán Diccionario De Gruyter, ni la Gran Enciclopedia Rusa, ni el Diccionario Biográfico de los italianos, todos ellos contrastadas referencias en el ámbito de la biografía histórica, tuvieron problemas para llamar «dictador» a sus respectivos dictadores, o para relatar -simplemente con rigor histórico- las variadas tropelías y atrocidades de estos auténticos sátrapas de la Humanidad. Muy al contrario que elDiccionario Biográfico Español y su ya tristemente legendaria entrada sobre Franco firmada por el historiador Luis Suárez, y dedicada a ensalzar la valía del Generalísimo en el campo de batalla y a evitar -con todo el cariño y toda la militancia- llamarle «dictador». Lo que fue.

– ADOLF HITLER (Diccionario De Gruyter,referencia en investigación histórica). «En su discurso ante el Reichstag el 30 de enero de 1939, Hitler había profetizado que en una nueva guerra mundial ‘se conseguiría el exterminio de la raza judía en Europa’. En otoño de 1941, después de estar dispuesto a aprobar la deportación de los judíos del Reich hacia el este, y cuando en diciembre una nueva guerra mundial se hizo realidad, Hitler aprobó la destrucción física de los judíos europeos».

– JOSEF STALIN (Gran Enciclopedia Rusa). «En los años 20, y en el curso de la lucha por el liderazgo en el partido y el Estado, utilizando el aparato del partido y las intrigas políticas, Stalin encabezó el Partido Comunista y estableció un régimen totalitario en todo el país. Llevó a cabo una industralización forzada del país y una colectivización por la fuerza. A fines de los años 1920-1930, eliminó a sus contrincantes reales y supuestos, e inició el terror masivo».

– BENITO MUSSOLINI (Diccionario Biográfico de los Italianos). «Figura emergente en el ámbito del recién formado Partido Nacional Fascista, inmediatamente después de la Marcha sobre Roma (1922), recibió el encargo por parte del rey de formar el Gobierno, instaurando al cabo de pocos años un régimen dictatorial. En la política internacional, afrontó la experiencia colonial en Etiopía, y se dejó involucrar en la persecución de los judíos por las buenas relaciones con la Alemania de Hitler».

– FRANCISCO FRANCO (Diccionario Biográfico Español). «Montó un régimen autoritario, pero no totalitario, ya que las fuerzas políticas que le apoyaban, Falange, Tradicionalismo y Derecha quedaron unificadas en un Movimiento y sometidas al Estado. Una guerra larga de casi tres años le permitió derrotar a un enemigo que en principio contaba con fuerzas superiores. Para ello, faltando posibles mercados, y contando con la hostilidad de Francia y Rusia, hubo de establecer compromisos con Italia y Alemania».