George Walford: Doing the Splits (64)

Under this head IC presents instances of the political divisiveness displayed by the eidodynamic movements; most of these come from the movements themselves. When possible we also offer, for contrast, examples of the emphasis on party loyalty, faith in the leader and ‘don’t rock the boat’ of the eidostatics. (Co-operation being less newsworthy than conflict, these come less readily to hand).

The above paragraph appeared in IC63; it went on to invite readers to send in counter-examples, instances of cohesiveness among the eidodynamics or divisiveness among the eidostatics. Frank Tutnauer, one of our earliest subscribers, has done so. We present, and comment on, his contribution below. First, however, some normal instances.

‘Goebbels’ propaganda… gave breadth to the movement by bridging seemingly unbridgeable differences, by holding together elements that did not belong together. When Goebbels … bound the proletarian-socialist part of the party’s base to himself and ultimately to the ‘reactionary’ Hitler… His actions… deserved credit for keeping the party together when the Bamberg conference, the Stennes putsch, or the Strasser crises might easily have split it in two.’ (R. G. Reuth Goebbels, quoted in NYR March 24, 10).

This feature (like the former one) appears outside the political field as well as within. Hard though Freud tried to turn psychoanalysis into a science comparable with the hard sciences (eidostatic), it persisted in retaining the tendency towards fission and divergence characteristic of the eidodynamic (a mode of thought finding its scope in the study of organic and social behaviour, rather than in that of inanimate matter). Dr. Herbert S. Peyser reports: ‘One could see multiple competing theories and schools arise in the case of psychoanalysis: classical, ego psychology, object relations, self psychology, Kleinian, systems theory, information theory etc.’ [1]

Returning to politics: ‘We had the same quarrels found in any other leftist political scene, only our disagreements were processed through a miasma of anarchist jargon.’ [2]

FRANK TUTNAUER has responded to our invitation to report splits among the eidostatics with two quotations. First: ‘Fascist movements are prone to schisms and ruptures. The leadership principle itself encourages pettiness of rank and internal empire building, and all of the distrust and betrayal consequent upon such administrative patterns… The NF, lacking a single leader of the status of Mosley, found itself particularly stricken in this respect!’ [3]

The passage recognises, in that last sentence, that a Fascist movement satisfying its own idea of itself includes one dominant leader. Usually this figure (supported in the effort by most of the members) manages to suppress any dissident minority (as Hitler did by having Roehm and his supporters murdered on the Night of the Long Knives). Failing this, he probably manages at least to keep it under control (as Mr. Major has so far done with dissension among the Tories). It was the NFs lack of this feature that left it particularly vulnerable to splits. Note the negative terms in which these divisions are described: ‘pettiness,’ ‘internal empire building,’ ‘distrust,’ ‘betrayal.’ A communist, socialist or anarchist movement in similar condition is more likely to be described (at least by an eidodynamic) as displaying rebelliousness or independence – in that milieu, terms implying approval.

Next: ‘The party was about to disintegrate anyway… Its leaders – like those of other right-wing splinter groups – quarrelled on both ideological and personal grounds; some were staunchly anti-communist in inspiration, while others favoured a neutralist line in the Cold War, and a few were even compromised by having accepted subsidies from East Germany!’ [4]

Reference to the context shows the author to be speaking of the period shortly after 1945. The party in question, the Socialistische Reichspartei, was one of ‘the right-wing splinter groups of which there were at least eighty in Germany in the postwar period,’ and its suppression in 1952 formed part of the process whereby the Nazi tendency was prevented from re-establishing itself. A movement of the type later to be known as Neo-Nazi, struggling for survival in Germany in the aftermath of the Nazi defeat, hardly provides a representative specimen. And the Socialistische Reichspartei, like the NF, lacked the dominant leader characteristic of eidostatic parties able to follow their inclinations.

As a follow-up to his first letter, Frank has sent another quotation: ‘the [model] which has become characteristic of Fascist movements since the Second World War, is the tiny marginal party of still tinier coteries. In this type of party the lack of a single ‘Fuehrer’ figure generally recognised as such by all the activists and supporters is both a manifestation and a partial cause of their powerlessness. [5] We have to add that while this is so, it shows a change less in Fascism than in the circumstances in which that movement now finds itself. In the West at least (Iran is a different matter) there is not, at present, the feeling of political, economic or military danger that produces a widespread reversion to fundamentalist political attitudes. (See Part III of The Future of Fundamentalism, above).

[1] NYR February 3, 35.
[2] Keith Sorel, writing on his Anarcho-Syndicalist experience, in Anarchy #39.
[3] Lewis D.S. Illusions of Grandeur; Mosley, Fascism and British Society.
[4] Laqueur W. 1971 Out of the Ruins of Europe, London: Alcove Press 376.
[5] Wilkinson P: The New Fascists.

from Ideological Commentary 64, June 1994.