Arbeit Macht Frei

Here’s a short passage from Primo Levi’s excellent novel, The Periodic Table:

imagesOut of the shadows came men whom Fascism had not crushed—lawyers, professors, and workers—and we recognized in them our teachers, those for whom we had futilely searched until then in the Bible’s doctrine, in chemistry, and on the mountains. Fascism had reduced them to silence for twenty years, and they explained to us that Fascism was not only a clownish and improvident misrule but the negator of justice; it had not only dragged Italy into an unjust and ill-omened war, but it had arisen and consolidated itself as the custodian of a detestable legality and order, based on the coercion of those who work, on the unchecked profits of those who exploit the labor of others, on the silence imposed on those who think and do not want to be slaves, and on systematic and calculated lies. They told us that our mocking, ironic intolerance was not enough; it should turn into anger, and the anger should be channeled into a well-organized and timely revolt …

Interesting. Levi’s picture of Fascism in Italy around the second world war could very well have been written to describe the current situation in the United States of America. Read Levi’s words again … think about it. Don’t be reduced to silence.

 

The Remarkable Raymond Federman

FedermanRaymond Federman is one of those authors whose personal story is equally as fascinating as anything most writers come up with. It’s so interesting that Federman uses it as the basic of most of his own writing, with one caveat: Federman insists that he cannot tell the difference between imagination and reality. So, this Federman who is the hero of all the novels … is he the real Federman, an embellished Federman, based on Federman, Federman-like, what Federman wishes Federman was, just a horny French Jew who tells a lot of stories?

The reality is that Raymond Federman grew up in Paris as a very recognizable Jew (he calls attention to his nose constantly) until the Nazis marched into Paris and he was initially hidden and eventually smuggled to the relative safety of Vichy France. His family—mother, father, and two sisters—stayed behind and went to their deaths in the Nazi camps. Raymond, of course, did not know the fate of his family and expected to be reunited with them in Paris after the end of the conflict.

Federman’s novel, Return To Manure, tells the story of his three years working on a farm in the south of France.

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Holocaust Never Happened

Do you ever get the feeling that much of what you hear about Republicans and from Republicans is originating at The Onion or maybe even Mad Magazine. It’s like a bad dream and then you wake up and discover it’s true:  the GOP is unbalanced (maybe that’s why they’re against legalizing drugs, they want to keep them all for themselves). Consider the following from a newspaper in the Chicago area:

Republican Congressional Candidate Says ‘Holocaust Never Happened’

Art Jones, who hopes to challenge Democrat Dan Lipinski in Illinois’ 3rd Congressional District, neither denies nor repudiates his past affiliation with the neo-Nazi Party.

By Lorraine Swanson Email the author February 29, 2012

A congressional candidate running as a Republican in the upcoming Illinois primary says the “Holocaust never happened.”

Arthur Jones, 64, a Lyons, IL, insurance salesman who organizes family-friendly, neo-Nazi events around Adolf Hitler’s birthday, hopes to be the Republican candidate chosen to run against Democratic Congressman Dan Lipinski in Illinois’ 3rd Congressional District.

“As far as I’m concerned, the Holocaust is nothing more than an international extortion racket by the Jews,” Jones said. “It’s the blackest lie in history. Millions of dollars are being made by Jews telling this tale of woe and misfortune in books, movies, plays and TV.

“The more survivors, the more lies that are told.”

A member of the Nationalist Socialist Party in his younger days, Jones took part in the Nazis’ march on Chicago’s Marquette Park in 1978. While he doesn’t deny nor repudiate his “past affiliations,” he says he votes Republican “90 percent of the time.”

“Philosophically, I’m a National Socialist,” Jones said. “Officially, I don’t belong to any party except my own, the America First Committee.”

Jones hopes three’s a charm after blowing his retirement savings on two prior congressional runs. He hopes to win the Republican primary and go on to challenge Lipinski this November. The 3rd District covers portions of Chicago’s South Side and a large swath of the south suburbs. …

Jones compares today’s conditions in the United States to Germany following the end of World War I.

“Our country is falling apart economically, politically, culturally, militarily,” he said. “We are going down.”

A veteran of the Vietnam War with all of its modern horrors, he sees the same betrayal in the “so-called War on Terrorism.”

“These war-mongering fools in congress like Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney—we can’t let Iran have one nuclear weapon but we let Israel have all the nuclear weapons they want,” Jones said. “This is ridiculous.” …

I don’t know about you but when you put items like this alongside Rick Santorum’s disgusting rhetoric, too many ugly patterns are beginning to emerge and to quote Glenn Beck, I fear for my country. Remember what Mussolini said,

Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power.