[Translated from Gegenargumente Vienna]
Classical racism in theory and practice
In the third volume of Capital, one stumbles unexpectedly on a prime example of a racist argument, following a comparison between wage labor and slavery (“Now, the wage-laborer, like the slave, must have a master, who shall put him to work and rule him,” p. 510). Marx quotes a defender of slavery, a certain O`Connor, who held a widespread view about the nature of negroes. It can be studied as exemplary of racist thinking:“Now, Gentlemen,” he said amid great applause, “nature itself has assigned this condition of servitude to the negro. He has the strength and is fit to work; but nature, which gave him this strength, denied him both the intelligence to rule and the will to work. (Applause.) Both are denied to him! And the same nature, which denied him the will to work, gave him a master, who should enforce this will, and make a useful servant of him in a climate, to which he is well adapted, for his own benefit and that of the master who rules him. I assert that it is no injustice to leave the negro in the position, into which nature placed him; to put a master over him; and he is not robbed of any right, if he is compelled to labor in return for this, and to supply a just compensation for his master in return for the labor and the talents devoted to ruling him and to making him useful to himself and to society.” (New York Daily Tribune, 20 December 1859; cited in Capital Vol. 3, p. 510)
The relationship of master and slave, which is a force relationship and does not exist without force, O'Connor construes as a result of the different abilities and qualities of different human types. Abilities, which are independent of the relationship of master and slave, are given by nature and only produce this relationship. One human type is strong, but in O'Connor’s view a little too lazy to work because it is not in their nature to work for other people – from which, taken seriously, it follows that the “negro" very probably possesses the intelligence which the apologist for slavery denies him. The racist wants, however, to have investigated negro biology as a mixture of physical ability and mental deficit – on the one hand strong, on the other hand unwilling to work. The racist here already confesses that, if it is like that, then only one conclusion follows from this negro nature: the muscular black, unwilling to work, is never happier than when loafing – and somewhere else. The postulate that this natural negro strength would remain unused “for society” unless it is made accessible comes not at all from nature, not even from racist natural history, but from the society of that time. Bodily strength – by the way, not pigmentation – is indeed only an ability; it does not follow that it must be used.
The other human type is designed to complement the negro. He compensates for the negro’s alleged deficit by forcing him to work. But this “master,” who has to manage the “natural” deficit associated with the negro, is extremely puzzling. The human type designed for ruling is characterized only by the “intelligence to rule” and by the parallel “talent,” but just how from the brains for governing the appointed means to force other people to work develop is completely inexplicable. Because the mental ability of the crackpot “insight” that it is simply natural to perform slave work – when the racist has to physically force it – is in the end explicitly denied. If one takes the racist nature-fiction seriously for one second, the following idyll results: it postulates two described human types – and from this no relationship between them follows and does not guarantee slavery. One type is strong and unwilling to work, the other type is intelligent and talented for ruling. And every time the smart ones want to force the strong, unwilling ones to work, they have to get them into a muzzle – the unwilling are at the same time the strong. Such bad luck!
One notices immediately that the intellectual claims of racists are modest; on the other hand, it is clear that they are not the reason for the practice of making negroes be slaves, because slavery was not the result of an accidental scientific study of the negro – quite the reverse. The introduction of capitalism in the new world – whether in the colonies of the Caribbean or in the USA – led to an enormous upswing of the world market for slaves because too few free wage laborers were available there and because the immigrant worker was only invented many years later as the illegal immigrant. A shortage of manpower prevailed, the white immigrants could afford to be picky, the natives did not want it or died like flies; the increase of the invested capital in plantations and mines was not going to fail because of a labor shortage – so slaves were imported (see in addition Marx’s comments on “The Modern Theory of Colonization” in Capital Vol. 1, p. 931). Capital is not at all dogmatically fixed on free wage labor, it also takes slaves or prisoners of war or concentration camp prisoners, as is known. Historically, wage labor asserted itself not out of respect for the worker’s nature or because of human rights, but because of its superior efficiency compared to that of slaves (see in addition Marx’s note on the difference between slave labor and wage labor in Capital Vol. 1, p. 303-4, footnote).
In what now does the racism in the above representation consist in the narrow sense? The defender of slavery does not want to “argue” simply and truthfully for the interest in it and its benefits to the slave owners and the society of that time – rather, he wants to represent the violent treatment and requirement to work for others as facts which comply with the peculiarities of the inner nature of those who are forced to do it. They are constituted by nature so that for them slavery becomes profoundly fair. The contradiction consists in the fact that what the negroes allegedly are on their part must be brought about only by the application of a lot of violence against them and created for use against them. The expert on negro nature believes that violence is however completely in order, because if they are slaves by nature, then they also deserve to be treated as such. The racist does not even want to renounce the fiction of a higher harmony between the slave and the slavemaster hidden to lowly reason, that the slave is also of the Lord, etc., because the slave is forced “for his own good” and the slave master deserves a “fair renumeration” for the problems and stress which the slave causes by his unwillingness. The negro must be forced to his fate, says the racist, and the coercion against him is therefore in his own interest. This is the racist ideology as it was spread in that time by parsons, professors and other educators. The basis of this ideology is that the political economic conditions at that time – in which people were sorted by brute force into the socially useful function of slaves – were natural.
South African racism: Neither prejudice nor racial segregation
The final historic variant of the frequently-reformed apartheid system emphasized rather straightforwardly that the treatment of blacks there was due to political considerations. The method at that time defined South African negroes by law as foreigners, a similarity to the civilized European use of immigrant workers that is difficult to deny. Blacks possessed the right to work in South Africa insofar as they were needed in mines, factories, agriculture or as domestic servants, namely also and always in the darkest times of racial “segregation” – there could never be talk of a “separate development” of the “races.” In addition, in the view of the apartheid politicians, they needed no rights because no other state interest in them existed. The distinction between a white state volk with military rights and voting duties and blacks who were used as a living inventory like a “raw material,” or else resettled, was a continuation of colonialism internally, after the white immigrants and their descendants had become politically independent. The special legislation for non-whites that was ultimately hammered out was of a modern type, in that they were defined as citizens of foreign countries for the purpose of tolerating them in South Africa only for work and so they could be pushed away at any time, problem-free. They were allowed to enjoy the status of citizens in the respective “Bantustans” that were run by South Africa and were paid allowances for their upkeep as a “reserve army” of workers under tribal supervision; otherwise, they had no other possibilities of existence. The drawing of the borders along the fertility of the soil had already ensured that the only perspective left to South African negroes remained the South African free-market economy. In this way, the racist Republic of South Africa had taken decolonization into account and wanted the fiction to become practice; ultimately, their distinction of the natives in the “Population Registration Act” (into four groups) is only a variant of the “normal” distinction between citizens and foreigners. This fiction, however, was supplemented by the well-known bullying in everyday life: “whites only” public facilities, transportation and the famous park benches. A black in South Africa could go nowhere but to his or her toil, and if transportation to and from the workplace could not be avoided, they were only tolerated in “separate” establishments.
Neither South African nor international employers were embarrassed by the gradated rights granted by skin color; it was taken as what it was, i.e. a location advantage of South African capitalism. That led to a distinction in the working class (by “job reservation”) between a privileged white part and a black part without political and union rights in the only African political economy that was not based on the export of raw materials and “development aid,” but on capital accumulation. The unsurprising proof was provided that capitalism also functions with a proletariat without the rights of citizens; and without consideration for whether the workers could reproduce themselves on starvation wages and under ruinous working conditions because, within and outside South Africa, sufficient numbers of impoverished people stood ready to replace those used up. The reason for the classification of the population of South Africa was the interest of the sovereign there in defining its black subjects in the exclusive functions of arbitrarily resettled, otherwise rights-less workers and reserve army – the official reason obeyed the racist model, according to which a different treatment of humans would follow from the differences of the races based on skin color: the state would sort and abuse the different human types only according to their natures, and in this way let justice prevail.
Fascist racism: Aryan and Jew On the “Aryans”: The master race consists of a servile natureToday Hitler’s characterization of the “Jew” is considered perverse in every regard: “That to this 'race' he attributed closer standing to the animal than to human nature; on the other hand, that he did not want to award the Jew the 'innocence' of an animal, but discovered in them a parasitic will hostile to the people’s body, is nowadays judged by everybody as a hate crime against the Jewish people” (Huisken, Foreigner Enemies and Foreigner Friends, p. 67). Much less is chalked up against him for positive racism towards the Aryans; on the contrary, it is seen at best as an unjustified privileging of the Aryan “master humans” against other “races.”
The racism toward the Aryans is to be evaluated quite differently; if they are characterized by an assemblage of positive characteristics, which one may not attribute to other peoples, that throws an unusual light on these critics of racism. Hitler's praise of the Aryan outlines the total citizen who has nothing better to do than sacrifice himself. Hitler had, as is well known, big plans for the German people. He wanted, as has every German Chancellor before and after him, to lead Germany to the status of major world power, and what this means for the master race is clearly known: an existence as a human resource; the task of sacrificing one’s own interests and needs for work and war, thus the well-known fascist virtues of staying power, readiness for war and idealism in working for Germany. These demands on his beloved people, which he implemented with the Gestapo, conscription, martial law and people's courts, corresponded for him to the true identity of the Aryans, the characteristic state of these noble human types:This self-sacrificing will to give one's personal labor and if necessary one's own life for others is most strongly developed in the Aryan. The Aryan is not greatest in his mental qualities as such, but in the extent of his willingness to put all his abilities in the service of the community. In him the instinct of self-preservation has reached the noblest form, since he willingly subordinates his own ego to the life of the community and, if the hour demands, even sacrifices it… This state of mind, which subordinates the interests of the ego to the conservation of the community, is really the first premise for every truly human culture… The basic attitude from which such activity arises, we call – to distinguish it from egoism and selfishness – idealism. By this we understand only the individual's capacity to make sacrifices for the community, for his fellow men. In giving one's own life for the existence of the community lies the crown of all sense of sacrifice … But, since true idealism is nothing but the subordination of the interests and life of the individual to the community … it corresponds in its innermost depths to the ultimate will of Nature. (Hitler, Mein Kampf)
You are nothing; your people are everything! This already exists within the nature of the Aryans. What the fascist state requires and implements with violence is nothing but what exists in the abilities of the Aryans – the will to sacrifice, service to the community, life dedication. The fact that sacrificing one’s own life is the “noblest form” of the “instinct for self-preservation” was not a problem for the Fuhrer, as the Aryan is found both as an individual and as a natural type; if the individual sacrifices himself for the race, he continues to live on in it when he dies as an individual. This genus metaphysic expresses that there cannot be talk of a community, of common purposes, if there is always service, obligation, victimization, subordination for the individual – that is a very one-sided use of people. The embodiment of this morality in the volkish nature of the people’s comrades clearly shows that the will of the individual has no place; anyone who refuses to do his duties is by definition denatured, degenerate. The performance of duties is embodied in the German citizen genetically, we would say today. The beneficiary of all this virtue is the “race” and its “preservation”; “Hitler’s dialectic of race and comrade was never meant any differently than as an image for the people subject to the state which calls upon their services." (Huisken, ibid.) The fascist state used its people as the means of its world conquest and so served the preservation of the “race”; the people find their fulfillment in their being used, says this racial theory.
The “Jew”: Humans without a state are sub-human
In view of the existing order of things, the Fuhrer had to despair at the nation’s real situation. For a human material whose natural character definitely intended them for world domination, Germany as an empire had lost the world war and was in continuous crisis during the Weimar democracy. Constrained by the victorious powers, disrupted by a workers' movement, judged an insignificant location by “the markets,” with millions unemployed, Germany was beset by unproductive people’s comrades. There had to be a disturbance that prevented the Aryans from developing their species-specific virtues. The Fuhrer then promptly identified this disturbance, the destructive element in the people’s body, as the “Jews,” strictly according to the logic of his Aryan racism: if the master race is authorized and obligated by their willingness to make sacrifices to carry their state to world domination, then those who do not even establish their “own” state as a somehow independent “people” are subhuman. Only the state makes humans human, and a “human type” without a state, which according to the criteria of the national illusion represents a “people,” lacks the essence of true humanity! In members of just such a people the Fuhrer saw his beloved Germany infiltrated and “overrun,” as one says today:The mightiest counterpart to the Aryan is represented by the Jew…In the Jewish people the will to self-sacrifice does not go beyond the individual's naked instinct of self-preservation…His sense of sacrifice is only apparent. It exists only as long as the existence of the individual makes it absolutely necessary…That is why the Jewish state – which should be the living organism for preserving and increasing a race – is completely unlimited as to territory. For a state formation to have a definite spatial setting always presupposes an idealistic attitude on the part of the state-race, and especially a correct interpretation of the concept of work… Since the Jew never possessed a state with definite territorial limits and therefore never called a culture his own…He is and remains the typical parasite, a sponger who like a noxious bacillus keeps spreading as soon as a favorable medium invites him … wherever he appears, the host people dies out after a shorter or longer period. (Hitler, Mein Kampf)
Very sympathetically drawn, this “Jew.” No wonder that Hitler hated this construct and the humans he subsumed under it! This “Jew,” this construct, never thinks of sacrificing for the nation – therefore he has not, in the opinion of the Fuhrer, created his “own” state. The “Jew” is someone who takes himself and his interests seriously, and enters into alliances only for his own interests – “his sense of sacrifice is only apparent.” This “race” does not have the selflessness without which a state just does not function. Here, by the way, Hitler meant something that no state tolerates: a fight for one’s own quality of life rather than subordination, service and discharge of duties; no matter that the Third Reich did not identify such things with “Jews” in this sense. Perhaps “Bolshevism,” but that was for the Nazis a Jewish conspiracy anyway! The Fuhrer did not consult the actual activities of Jews in that time for his diagnosis of “parasites.” “People without a state” was the crucial finding.
Crisis and class war: consequences of the people’s character
This national mania, produced by the Nazis through several years of agitation, terror and some democratic elections, consistently viewed the crisis of the nation through national eyeglasses as a volkish problem. Whatever happens in the world, from economics and crisis to culture and war, was for the Fuhrer only a result of the different human types, the “races,” and thus an expression of different human characters. In everything that humans do they express nothing but their respective volkish identity, their nature and race, the Aryan and even the Jewish. The Nazis interpreted the economic crisis in the same way as the class conflict, not as social and economic phenomena, but as volkish questions, as an attack by an alien people on Germany. If the German workers, in their identity of being willing to sacrifice, could not hold ideas about class struggle that were harmful to the state, then how could they?! Only this way: “when I recognized the Jew as a leader of social-democracy it began to fall from my eyes like scales ... The more I got to know the Jew, the more I had to forgive the worker” (Hitler, Mein Kampf, p. 64 and 67). And if the sort of work that the Fuhrer cherished, of wage labor for capital, organized nothing but exploitation equivalent to the selflessness and willingness to make sacrifices of the German-Aryan race, how could the budget of the nation be in crisis?! Only because of this:Jewish finance demands not only the absolute economic destruction of Germany but its complete political enslavement. The internationalization of our German economic system, that is to say, the transference of our productive forces to the control of Jewish international finance, can be completely carried out only in a State that has been politically Bolshevized. But the Marxist fighting forces, commanded by international and Jewish stock-exchange capital, cannot finally smash the national resistance in Germany …(Hitler, Mein Kampf)
Hitler thus had no problem discovering in the German Social Democratic Party and the German Communist Party the camouflaged auxiliary troops of the stock exchange. The workers' movement and finance capital both weakened Germany, in both areas Jews were active, therefore finance capital and its apparent opponent were exposed as variants of a Judaism that decomposed Germany. “The Jewish state is territorially unlimited,” that is to say: Wherever a “Jew” is active, he must pursue – because of his “race” – an anti-German Jewish quasi-state purpose as an agent. He cannot behave any differently because this constitutes his identity. Just as the good German gives life to the Aryan – in case of reluctance, instructed by the Gestapo, etc. – so the “Jew” inevitably realizes his volkish nature:Neither pro nor contra would Hitler make himself dependent on the will of the people: On the Aryan he put the nature-given drive to national deliverance by force... On the Jew he executed the judgment, independent of their actions and practical thinking, that here parasites are at their state-destructive work. This judgment equaled a declaration of war and was led as a campaign against the enemy – up to their destruction, not in the surrender of a national sovereign, which was not there, but only in the extermination of a people. (Huisken, Foreigner Enemies and Foreigner Friends, p. 70)
Democratic racism: Resident and foreigner
This review of racism against “negroes” and “Jews” has arrived at the following intermediate results:
- Racism does not fix itself compellingly on physical characteristics. With the “negro” certainly, not with the “Jew.” Jews had to carry a star because they did not “look” it, even if the science of that time wanted to find such things with skull measurements or other tricks.
- Racism is not compellingly grasped as discrimination. Discrimination logically proclaims a complementary privileging that is also racist, just as the superior condition of the preferred type.
- To grasp racism as a prejudice or as a result of prejudice is a minimization. The starting point of racism is always a political or economic interest or lack of interest in certain people. The treatment resulting from it, what is done with them, racism twists into a consequence of their characteristics, qualities, their nature.
According to its self-conception, democracy is anti-racist. Racist remarks and acts are considered as detrimental to the reputation of the nation and are condemned by other democrats. Besides, democracy’s anti-racist self-portrait is simply the consequence of a stakeholder’s distinction. Only earlier, old-fashioned racisms – for instance, those related to “negroes” and “Jews” – are considered as such, while in democracy the recognized and usual racisms that are not complained about and have a firm existence in politics and public opinion are not considered racisms. Some examples:
National identity“The Germans and their identity... What actually is that: a German? First it is a natural circumstance to be German. It is the consequence of the fact that one was born here, grew up here, speaks the German language, feels at home here and part of a people. I am a German, like a Frenchman is a Frenchman, or a Russian is a Russian. That is neither a shortcoming, nor a merit. I did not select it ...” (R. Von Weizsaecker [President of Germany, 1984-1994]).
In this way, the former German President Von Weizsaecker talks about German identity. He regards the assortment of humankind into different peoples as a rather natural affair, which results from birth, from linguistic ability and from the feeling of being at home. In Germany, the foreigners who are born and grow up there, who can speak German and know their native foreign country only from vacations could easily inform him: to be a resident is a legal status, and therein exists the difference with foreigners. Both are posited by the state because of the limited reach of the force monopoly, and not immanent “consequences” of natural “facts.” That does not have anything to do with the natural occurrence of birth, but only whether a state uses the occasion to classify the newborn child into its people; and it does not have to do with language, but only whether a state requires linguistic proficiency of immigrants. For example, someone who was born after 1938 in the area of East Germany as a child of formerly Austrian parents was, in accordance with the balance of power at that time, a German, but in 1945 was converted back to being Austrian like his parents, without anything in birth or language having changed. The force monopoly was different after 1945.
Von Weizsaecker stated that the German race or “identity” is something beyond nationality and having a passport, thus prior to and beyond politics and law; to be German is due to common characteristics which differentiates them from other peoples and which is also settled beyond any conscious decision by an individual. One cannot resist this “identity,” one belongs to the “German” race whether one wants to or not – not possibly because the state recruits the next generation on the occasion of their birth without their being asked, but because circumstances which cannot be avoided – birth, speaking, growing up – determines someone to be a German citizen, as well as others to be French or Russians. What it probably means to feel “at home” in the fatherland is to stand positively to it. This way of talking about “national identity” declares that there would be citizens independent of states, there would be different nationally defined human places independent of states, and affiliation to it constitutes the essential determination of an individual, even his identity, and the necessity for different states exists in these different races. There must be a Germany because there is the tribe, the race of people, the species of the Germans, and not in reverse, as it is in reality.
“I did not chose it for myself,” Von Weizsaecker stresses, and thereby wants to have criticized nothing, but to state that incorporation into a national collective is a basic fact of human existence prior to politics and independent of the state to which one has to submit, which one has to accept: collectivism, as we know it. However, one already owes obedience to state directives.
“Illegals” and other foreigners: Culture, mentality, etc.
The difference between residents and foreigners as one of personal “identities” is an absolutely modern racism that is not considered as such. What is produced only by nationality rights and legislation on foreigners, the different handling of people, is considered as a mere political after-effect, as only a post facto “juridification” of phenomena that has its reason elsewhere. Modern racism has assigned the category culture to perform what in pervious times was carried out by nature. Where the fascist wants to define different types of people by blood and race in order for political power to execute invented imperatives of nature, so the democrat endeavors to determine the state organized environment from nationally quite different “ways of life”, to stamp life habits, preferences and customs on a “social nature” of people, which also parcels humankind into sub-types, like the category “race”: “ethnicity,” different “cultures” and even cultural identities. To avoid misunderstanding: of course there are “cultural areas” with various different living habits, preferences and customs. In Japan, people eat and pray differently than here, and likewise in Turkey. But, and this should be maintained categorically, the treatment of a Japanese who wants to invest in this country depends on the interest which exists in his money, and not according to his culture, which is courted because of his money; just as a Turk is not deported because of his culture or because of his Islam, but because, if he is only a poor wage worker, he has nothing to offer in which there is an interest.
In modern cultural racism, peculiarities of ways of life are inflated into a danger, which the fascist knows as the problem of “racial intermixture”: the types of people, democratically constituted by “culture,” are not compatible. Foreigners are different, therefore they belong outside; multiculturalism does not integrate them well! Individuals are considered as small “ensembles” of their native social relations, and so they attack the local as well as culture-conditioned ethnic “immune system” which produces reactions of repulsion. The economic context of the policy on foreigners emphatically disproves this conception. When there were too few workers in this country and extras were enlisted abroad, “mentality” and “culture” constituted nothing; linguistic and other difficulties in adapting were treated as practical problems that should not hinder the use of foreigners. Popular hostility against foreigners was even reprimanded from above. Since mass unemployment has become a permanent institution, politicians regularly remember that foreigners are not as radically available as residents – they still belong to another state, and this speaks against them. Meanwhile, hostility toward foreigners is considered “natural” and sympathetic accessories in the households of modern citizens; politics must take this emotion “into consideration” by harassment and deportation; some citizens take the matter into their own hands and incline to abuses on the basis of “feelings” which are a firm component of the local “culture.” It is not the “foreigners,” but the interest in them that has changed, therefore they are considered to be a “problem.” By the way, tourists may be like them in culture and mentality, but they are not considered foreigners in the same sense – they bring foreign exchange.
Today, by far the most radical racial figure, which is not considered as such, is the “illegal.” As the name already suggests, these are people who do nothing illegal in this country, but are completely and truly illegal. They have no right to exist; their entire person is illegal, unauthorized. What suffering they experience from legislation and law enforcement, everything that is done to them, is ascribed to their identity: they are ILLEGALS. They are treated accordingly; in case of resistance, bound in a straight jacket and deported. Marcus Omofuma died primarily of the racism against illegals, treated as a piece of illegal existence to be expelled. (The fact that he was also black surely did not help him.) The stubborn objection “no human is illegal!” sees in the mere existence of a human – possibly with “innate” rights – a contradiction to “illegality,” but it is enormously mistaken. Of course, it does not lie within these people that they are illegal – they are made this way by the law. In the modern world, a person is defined by what he is entitled to or refused in rights, and someone who possesses no right to exist in this country is still a person, but existing in it unpleasantly as a “wetback.” Incidentally, he cannot refer to human rights because deportation conforms to human rights.
Equality and human rights
If it suits the policy, one refers ideologically to ethnic differences of human types who cannot possibly peacefully co-exist in Soviet or Yugoslav “multinational states,” whereby foreigners are already a problem because of their presence. If it suits the policy, one can also refer to the contrary, namely to the equality of “the people.” Certainly, people are not the same, neither in abilities nor in needs; the bourgeois state power resolves to treat its subjects on an equal basis only in some respects as a requirement of the people’s nature. Indifferent to – one can also say: ruthless towards – differences in economic means, the state obligates its people to use property and money-making as their means of advancement. (The arising conflicts of capital and labor, of poor and rich, are consequences of this equality and do not contradict it.) A racist construct is also present here, as equal treatment is presented by the political power as a consequence of and a demand for an alleged equality of the people.
It is exactly the same with human rights. Their good reputation is partly based on a simple unawareness of the articles concerned; the common practice in the west of waging various wars in their name should make one at least suspicious. Anyhow, the rights and obligations codified in them are owed to the needs and interests of bourgeois politics, which creates “humans” – primarily their own citizens – and in this way makes them subjects and their means. Complementary to this treatment of the people in the various declarations is the figure of “the people” who are allegedly born with these rights, so that the political power just grants – as well as withdraws – them, and explains itself to be the mere executive branch of human nature: “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights” (Universal Declaration of Human Rights). Marx quotes in his essay “On the Jewish Question”:“Constitution of Pennsylvania, Article 9, § 3: ‘All men have received from nature the imprescriptible right to worship the Almighty according to the dictates of their conscience …’ and the “Constitution of New Hampshire, Article 5 and 6: ‘Among these natural rights some are by nature inalienable …’”
These rights have nothing to do with birth and nature, but a lot to do with the interest and point of view of the rights-granting authority. Huisken calls this a “total racism”:“The basic principles according to which these states govern their people claim to be absolutely tailored to the people, thus to the body of the human race ... Nothing less and nothing more is maintained than that it is only with the basic legal adaptation of human rights that the person becomes that which distinguishes him as human. In short: a true human becomes a human by the fact that he enjoys human rights. With this, there is a truly total racism … Democrats want their constitutional principles to be immediately given by the human type altogether ... The democratic state defines itself in such a way as the first human right for everyone. As the facilitator and guarantor of all these rights, wouldn't a human who would be missing it be without that which only makes a true human?” (Huisken, Foreigner enemies and foreigner friends, p. 71)
Humans are nothing without the state; only the state makes a person a human, by human rights and duties! In the image of a “natural” human equality and in the naturalization of the principles of bourgeois rule, the racist construction of the “white man” is generalized, “universalized”; this is absolutely expressed in the racial nature of the “human.” It remains a racist construct even if it is so total that humankind falls under it completely. It contains the joke of every racist construct: submission under a political rule and its legislation is glorified into a requirement of the race. The political power which by its force rules humans with rights and duties corresponds to the “human” condition, analogous to the condition of the “nigger” who is predestined, in the opinion of the racists at earlier times, to be slaves. It is thus not strange that democracy constructs a human nature destined to accord with state orders regarding the exercise of political power.
During the cold war, this racism of human rights was further developed into the “human rights weapon.” According to this understanding, the simple fact that humans in real socialism were governed in a different way was already a political crime because it was a deviation from the only fair and therefore blessed western principles for humans. Of course, the second superpower of that time was actually a disturbance with its world-political ambitions; however, the USA did not want to do without its declaration of war on behalf of the “enslaved” little Soviet people. One can see today what they got from their “support” by the west: the situation of human rights in the former Soviet Union has improved, the situation of the humans has gotten enormously worse.
With the ending of the apartheid regime by South African democracy, nothing has changed in the material situation of the majority of the black population. Nowadays, their lousy situation is not an international scandal because this situation is no longer based on their race, but on affiliation to the class of property-less people who search for a job because otherwise they have nothing. It was obviously never the mere misery as such that was the scandal, but the South African method of specifying misery to people according to skin color. For some years now, South Africa has aplied the internationally approved and human rights-appropriate version of dealing with commodities, money, wage labor and property, which forces a crappy life on so many.
The death of Marcus Omofuma has made known to a broad public the finer points of the proper constitutional and police state handling of “illegals.” Taping someone’s mouth shut with the consequence of death is not appropriate, as politicians quickly came to agree with that small part of the public that was actually outraged; but deporting people abroad if they desecrate the holy country’s earth by their illegal presence must be unobjectionable. The escalation of force against deportees is specified in detail in the relevant laws since the officials need certainty in the law, so that their understandable over-eagerness does not endanger the reputation of the republic once again.
The most common anti-racism in everyday democratic life consists of denying racist “generalizations” or “stereotypes” – and affirms thereby the racist standard. Anyone who wants to help blacks, foreigners or Jews with the suggestion that they are not at all like the racists claim skirts this argument, while reproaching the racist with a simple error, and implicitly agrees with the racist: if blacks or Jews really were “like that,” then what?
Racism is not a complicated, half-unconscious historic socio-psychological phenomenon. Racism is a very approved, moral view of one’s fellow citizens, of workers and entrepreneurs, millionaires and homeless people, residents and foreigners and illegals, women and men, which examines whether the individual deserves what he gets or whether what he gets corresponds to him. This view has its fixed orientation in the conviction that class society is a community in which each individual becomes whatever “talent” is already inside him, and for which he is “born” – at least in principle, even if the world is full of exceptions. In this view, capitalism and the distribution produced by it – of people into occupations, hierarchies and careers – becomes the attempt to do justice to people according to their different “gifts” and “abilities” – as if free market occupations and jobs exist in order to help people develop or “realize” themselves and not for the actual reason: that they make money. Those who stand outside of this select national “community” are, as is well known, considered a special case and are at best only tolerated.
For this consciousness, only the unobjective selection and treatment of humans is considered scandalous, in comparison to “objective” requirements; e.g. if career possibilities are not decided by accomplishments in school – is this the true “natural selection”? – but by skin color, origin or sex, thus according to irrelevant criteria in today's morality. The fact that someone is excluded from the university and higher education is all right as long as the procedure corresponds to the current standards, so women and Jews are in principle also admitted to universities. It would only be an outrageous scandal that people inevitably become poor in the free market economy if its institutionalization were carried out by the state according to skin color. Democratic anti-racism is usually not indignant about the outrageous results of the use and treatment of people in capitalism, but only about earlier methods of the institutionalization of poverty that are today recognized as despicable. “Nobody may be disadvantaged and preferred because of their sex, descent, race, language, homeland and origin, religious and political opinions.” So it stands in the German Constitution. But everyone must be “disadvantaged and preferred” because of his performance in school because this is how selection is practiced today. Everyone must be disadvantaged because of his nonexistent money or property and be excluded from the certainly existing social wealth. Everyone must be disadvantaged and preferred because of his class affiliation – wage labor or capital – because this corresponds to the laws of capitalism. Everyone may also beg without consideration of gender, race, etc., as long as the local government tolerates it. If hundreds of millions go hungry and millions starve annually according to the free market criteria, then it is really only because of the money that they do not have for getting access to all the available food. According to the free market economy, no non-objective, improper discrimination is present.
What is produced as unpleasant-to-ruinous “fates” by the competition in schools and universities, and later in the labor market and in the companies, is considered in this view to be a result of differences in individual abilities or “gifts,” if all the individuals participate equally. Thus the real nature of “humans” – in racist thought – arrives in the best of all possible worlds, at last, to that which corresponds to its development. And must not the result of the competition of nations – the “world order” of supervised nations, hard and soft currencies, “developed” and “underdeveloped” areas – have something to do with the different talents, abilities, qualities and habits of “ethnicities,” if they develop in accordance with their volkish “nature” and thereby produce exactly the “culture” which corresponds to them?
The black and Polish people natures
The very question is: in what respect do the following racist remarks by Jörg Haider [a right-wing, populist Austrian politician notorious for making racist comments – trans.] contradict the democratic worldview? Because they only complete the concept that there are just inescapable, inevitable, in this sense “natural” national “identities,” namely based on some information about the more specific qualities of other people. It would be very strange indeed if there absolutely must be, on the one hand, “Germans, Russians, French,” etc., and on the other hand, following that, if major differences in the abilities of the peoples would not even be noticeable – a racist thinks. Maybe one perceives it in the “populist's” choice of words, because it just belongs to diplomatic politeness between formally independent states of equal standing to appreciate the other people as long as they are used on the basis of mutual political recognition. Decolonization wanted to be understood as the crucial condition that would open the way to “development” for those peoples who had at last become independent. In view of the results of this development, the suspicion is: must it not be a reflection of the type of humans there, if these nations only become appendages of the world market, if the people starve and the states accumulate debts? Haider the ethnologist reports on an expedition to the black continent:I visited friends in Namibia – formerly called German Southwest Africa – because I wanted to find out how life is in a country where blacks hold the political majority. There is definitely a problem with those blacks. Even in places where they have the majority, they don't achieve anything. It's hopeless. (Haider, Austrian TV; January 5, 1995)
Certainly, there is an alternative to the volkish observation in this example. But one would have to be concerned with the principles that constitute the world market, whose appendages the former colonies have become, with as dry a subject as currency convertibility and aid to developing countries, with raw material stock exchanges and the IMF. Then one would at least be on topic. If, however, it is certain that the free-market economy is the only natural way for “humans” to get by; if every criticism of the world economic system or demand for a new one has to be wiped out; if the national independence of states is considered as somehow the natural arrangement of the globe and, on top of everything, a kind of provision for people that is independent of the calculations of those who establish this system of the world and independent of the means which African states possess or not – then either “disturbances” or “scandals” in the world-economic structure must “explain” hunger and misery, or one just draws the "conclusion" from the inability of blacks to achieve economic success that these blacks are like that and, therefore, simply “do not achieve anything.” And this “conclusion” is then democratic common knowledge whenever it positively appears as a compliment when politicians congratulate their people on their diligence and other – typically German? – virtues, with which they managed an “economic miracle" after an unconditional surrender. Who will remember such little things as the US interest in that time in anti-Soviet front states, which created something that otherwise exists only in ideology, namely a genuine, exceptionally appropriately named “aid to developing countries,” usually known as the “Marshall Plan"?!
Analogous to these intellectual performances, the following conclusion about the position of the nation from the moral quality of the people who personify themselves in the top state – again only to a volkish observer – so that with the sightseeing of the President the diagnosis of the “way of thinking” of his volk is already settled: “the Poles” want an “inheritance of the west,” to have its “prosperity” “without appropriate labor productivity”:If I think about the Polish people who believe that they can reach the same living standard as the West without working accordingly ... If I look at Lech Walesa, who, since he became President, has gained more weight than height, all this seems to me typical for their way of thinking: they believe they can hide their problems and get wealthy just by living from western help. Those who have not learned how to work will never have a wealthy country, and this is something that should be said to the people of eastern Europe. (Haider, 1991 May 1st celebration of the FPOE)
Yes, the blacks, the Poles and all other people! The trained eye recognizes their character, their nature in how “their” state asserts itself internationally. Again, any knowledgeable approach to the subject would only be annoying, like the question as to how its “transformation” into a market economy has ruined the Polish economy and what the European Union demands for terms of entry in the reduction of the real-socialist industry and in reduction of agriculture, and has already put through in the course of the existing trade agreements; or why, according to the laws of the market economy, the combination of shutting down of coal mines and a simultaneous lack of heating material is a reasonable requirement; or how far the shriveling of the social sector should go on the way to the eastern “backyard” of the E.U. – questions about the real subjects and criteria of the extension to the East would be due, and are replaced here with ethnology.
How not to fight against racism
One should not come to the defense of Jews by certifying that they are not at all like the Fuhrer or his kindred spirits today maintain. The objectively accurate information – the Jews are also fit for state building – affirms the fascist standard that is placed on them. It is not a compliment if it is repeated that people do not assert their interests; that they have internalized servitude and duties in every respect; that they are the “will to sacrifice” personified. It is not a complement to certify a people is like a fascist leader wishes his human resources to be. It is no good to maintain a positive racism towards the Jews by ascribing everything attributed as positive (!) deeply felt characteristics of the Aryans to this “Judentum.” Here one must really decide.
“Niggers” and “gypsies” are without doubt insult words and signify sub-humans – but only among racists. It does not help if one agrees with the racist linguistic usage and avoids, therefore, the designations niggers and gypsies by means of official versions – and “fights” racism by pulling the objects of racist aggression from circulation in a semantic way. It seems as if the anti-racist wants to tell lies himself: if there really was such a thing as niggers, one would also have no objection against their treatment as sub-humans, but because one has something against it, one avoids the discussion while cunningly signaling to the racist that he does not need to take action – there are no “niggers” here, only decent niggers, i.e.. blacks!? By the way, blacks are only differently pigmented, and from this nothing at all follows – if racists maintain that something does, it is a practical question of the power relations whether something does. The implicit denial or relativizing of facts – of different skin colors, in this case – or reference to the results of modern genetic research is also not suited for anything when it is done with an anti-racist intention. Racism is a political need, and not disprovable by scientific findings.
Every time I read “Sinti and Roma,” a picture appears in my mind's eye in which an overly-subtle anti-racist tries to dupe the Fuhrer. The Fuhrer gives the order for the final solution to the gypsy question, and the anti-racist presents himself as zealous and compliant: “I followed instructions, my Fuhrer, but there are no gypsies here. There are Sinti and Roma!” What if the Fuhrer does not fall for it? Incidentally, the attempt to escape racism by renaming it went wrong once before. German Jews also changed their “Jewish” names in the process of assimilation efforts. It was no help to them.