• March 2nd, 2024
  • Saturday, 03:09:13 AM

A Lesson for America 90 Years After Hitler’s Ascension to Power


 

Werner Lange

 

January 30 this year marks the 90th anniversary of the corporate-facilitated appointment of Adolf Hitler as Chancellor of a deeply divided Germany. There is an alarming lesson in this disastrous historic development for a deeply divided America today: Cutting deals with fascists to catapult a voraciously power-hungry politician to high national office places a nation in grave peril.

 

Right-wing German corporate leaders from the Freundenkreis der Wirtschaft (Club of Friends of the Economy) did just that in 1933 in the wake of national elections which led to the collapse of a conservative government and the rise of communist representation in Parliament. At secret meetings arranged by the influential banker, Kurt von Schröder (now generally recognized as “the midwife of Nazism”), it was eventually agreed after some contentious negotiations that a new government headed by the fascist Hitler was the preferential option of alarmed conservatives and capitalists. As Schröder himself later testified at the Nuremberg trials: “The general desire of businessmen was to see a strong man come to power in Germany who would form a government that would stay in power for a long time.” Corporate Germany got what it wanted and the rest of the world had hell to pay over the following 11 years.

 

Fast forward to January 2023 and the secret contentious negotiations that eventually culminated in Kevin McCarthy’s election as Speaker of the House. The anti-democratic deals cut for that embattled promotion were dictated by a pack of political wolves from the far-right House Freedom Caucus. They did not act alone. Alarmed by growing trends toward liberalism, even socialism, America’s ruling class seized the moment of a slight Republican majority in the House to call in their chips and demand a return on their political investments.

 

There is an alarming lesson in this disastrous historic development for a deeply divided America today.

 

A review of the mega-donors to the congressional campaigns of the 46 members of the House Freedom Caucus reveals it as an authoritarian gang hopelessly beholden to the most reactionary extremes of finance capital and corporate America.

 

The House Freedom Fund, a major financial trough for far-right House members, lavished more than $3 million on the campaigns of 33 House Freedom Caucus members, with its Chair, Scott Perry, and its Vice-Chair, Jim Jordan, pulling in more than $1 million and $65,000, respectively. The Club for Growth, a billionaire-funded corporate benefactor for far-right politicians, invested another $212,000 in Perry alone and more than $238,000 in other House Freedom Caucus members. Weapons manufacturers (Lockheed Martin, Northrup Grumman, Boeing, Raytheon) pumped $776,000 into the coffers of 30 members. Over $350,000 was funneled into the campaigns of 15 HFC members by major banking organizations such as the American Bankers Association, Mortgage Bankers Association and Bank of America. The notorious corporate supporter of all that is neo-fascist, Koch Industries, threw over $653 thousand into the campaign war chests of 28 members.

 

Save America, a Leadership PAC formed by the instigator of the January 6 fascist putsch attempt, Donald Trump, threw $5 thousand apiece to 30 of its members. The Majority Committee PAC, founded by the embattled House Speaker McCarthy, injected $545,000 into the campaigns of 31 HFC members; and the Huck PAC, founded by Christian Nationalist and former Governor of Arkansas, Mike Huckabee, helped fund the campaigns of 37 members with $260,000. More Christian Nationalist funding to the House Freedom Caucus came from the Family Research Council, Liberty University, Publix Super Markets, and Mountaire Corporation.

 

Given this major funding from corporate America and its billionaires, it comes as no surprise that the first official action of the duly constituted 118th Congress was an effort to strip some $80 billon from the IRS and thereby gravely impair its ability to audit wealth tax cheaters. During the raucous debate on this issue, a Democratic legislator used a classic line from It’s a Wonderful Life to denounce the House Freedom Caucus: “Republicans support this bill, because every time a billionaire successfully cheats on his taxes, a member of the Freedom Caucus earns his wings.”

 

Nor is it any surprise that many Republicans, the 121-member Insurrection Caucus, wanted to overthrow the 2020 election. Every HFC member, save one (Chip Roy), who was part of the 117th Congress voted to decertify the electoral college vote of 2021. Every one is also a supporter of Trump and his fascist MAGA movement. That includes all six new members (Elijah Crane; Anna Paulina Luna’ Mike Collins; Josh Brecheen; Harriet Hageman; and Andy Ogles). One new member, Ogles, gave voice to their general goal: “Liberals, we’re coming for you!” The NSDAP, the Nazi Party of a former Germany, had the same goal.

 

In fact, the House Freedom Caucus is the functional equivalent of the NSDAP.

 

However, there is a major difference between these two fascist forces. The HFC usurped only partial control of our lower house of parliament, not total domination of the government.

 

While these authoritarian legislators are hell-bent on eventually gaining totalitarian control of the government, they overplayed their hand in their disturbing grasp for power and clearly exposed themselves as fascists to the American people. That revelation, like the violent January 6 fascist putsch attempt, gives increasing rise and impetus to its dialectical opposite: a broad-based united front against fascism determined to throw these scoundrels out of office and see to it that government of, by, and for the people does not perish in America. The struggle continues, now more earnestly than ever.

 

 

Werner Lange, a retired educator and pastor, was born in the rubble that was Germany after the fascists got through with the Vaterland. He is Chair of the Ohio Peace Council and author of “Onward Christian Soldiers: the MAGA March toward a Fascist America”. This commentary is republished from Common Dreams under a Creative Commons license.