After billionaire Tom Perkins likened his foreseeable future in America to that of a Jew in Nazi-era Germany we laughed at him. How many wage slaves does it take to kiss a plutocrat’s ass? Answer: I don’t know. Paste an asshole on the op-ed page and count who puckers up? The Wall Street Journal was not amused, apparently:
Ruth Wisse: The Dark Side of the War on ‘the One Percent’
Stoking class envy is a step in a familiar, dangerous and highly incendiary process.
Wall Street Journal | Feb. 3, 2014
Well this is getting serious. Now they have “a professor of Yiddish and comparative literature at Harvard” on their side, who’d surely hold a trump card in any game of Peoria Holocaust.
But is there something to be said for [Perkins] comparison—not of Germany and the United States, of course, but of the politics at work in the two situations? The place to begin is at the starting point: with the rise of anti-Semitism, modernity’s most successful and least understood political movement.
Lo these many modern years Jew-hating has been a more successful political movement than Democracy, or Communism, we’re told. Somebody really needs to get out more. Oh, right, this came from inside Harvard’s ivory tower – the Yiddish annex. Please, do go on.
These were some of its typical ploys: Are you unemployed? The Jews have your jobs. Is your family mired in poverty?…These critics might profitably consult Robert Wistrich, today’s leading historian of anti-Semitism. His “From Ambivalence to Betrayal: The Left, the Jews, and Israel” (2012) documents the often profound anti-Semitism that has affected socialists and leftists from Karl Marx to today’s anti-Israel movement…
So there. Perkins was right to worry that a final solution might be on the Occupy Wall Street agenda and beg for his life. Anti-Semitism is what the Nazis only borrowed from a much larger crowd, Professor Wisse informs us, the folks we commonly know as liberals. And the circle is closed.
…think of anti-Semitism as the purest and most murderous example of an enduring political archetype: the negative campaign. That campaign has its international as well as its domestic front. Modern anti-Zionism, itself a patented invention of Soviet Communism…
…and therefore the people currently sleeping in Zucotti Park. So we can take this roughly as Working Class –> Public Complaining –> Kristallnacht.
Got that? Wouldn’t want to argue with a professor now, would we? Well I tell you I find this all a bit ironic. You know who else complained about the greedy corporatists? Who it was that took a stand against the fascistic business interests of history?
Jewish Currents: The Jewish Labor Committee is in its seventieth year, which means it was founded in 1934.
Avi Lyon: Just as Nazism was taking power in Germany. Jews in the American labor movement were terribly concerned about developments in Europe. We had a range of contacts with European labor and socialist groups who understood the threat of fascism. We formed the Jewish Labor Committee to support organizations and people in the struggle in Europe. We were involved in anti-Nazi boycotts and, together with the American Jewish Congress, formed the Joint Boycott Council. In 1936, we organized a “counter-Olympics” [in response to the Munich Olympic Games — Ed.]. The “World Labor Athletic Carnival,” as it was called, was held on New York’s Randall’s Island.
As the war developed, the JLC took a very active role in helping to rescue Jews and labor leaders from Nazi-dominated areas. (We tend to forget that the first people the Nazis went after were Communists and labor union people, not Jews)…
Other Americans noticed the trouble as well:
Twenty thousand people packed Madison Square Garden in the largest anti-Nazi rally up to that time.
There were several speakers – Fiorello LaGuardia and others. But the one who stirred the crowd the most was John L. Lewis. He gave a detailed account of what had happened to German labor movement. He talked about the trade unionists who’d been tortured and murdered.
He described Hitler’s Germany as having become a medieval country where workers had been reduced to serfdom. And of course he talked about what was happening to the Jews. But that’s not all he said.
He said that there was only one guarantee that America would never fall victim to fascism itself – and that one guarantee was a strong, growing, labor movement.
And now we bring it all home.
Since retiring from his position as CEO of Home Depot, Bernard Marcus has become one of this country’s most vocal opponents of organized labor, criticizing unions in the media and on Capitol Hill. That is a long way from Marcus’s beginnings in a Newark, N.J., tenement some 80 years ago.
Marcus’s parents were immigrants from Eastern Europe and, as was the case in many Jewish families back then, his father joined a union. Marcus credits the union with helping his carpenter father stand up for his rights with a company that was not all that interested in the welfare of its employees.
“He wasn’t being represented well by the company he worked for. The union got him benefits and helped him move ahead,” Marcus told the Forward.
“But,” Marcus said, in his fast-paced, no-nonsense way of talking about the issue, “times change, and I think that employers today are much more enlightened. They understand that if their associates aren’t happy, they don’t produce. There was a time for unions, and there is a time not for unions.”
So this is Marcus’ time, or so he thinks. The time ‘not for unions.’ He’s a vicious bastard not because he’s Jewish but because he’s bent on dismantling organized labor. The important part here is that he’s powerful enough to do real damage. Check these comments on the Employee Free Choice Act:
“If a retailer has not gotten involved with this, if he has not spent money on this election, if he has not sent money to Norm Coleman and these other guys,” Mr. Marcus said, apparently referring to Republican senators facing tough re-election fights, then those retailers “should be shot; should be thrown out of their goddamn jobs.”
“This is the demise of a civilization,” said Marcus. “This is how a civilization disappears. I am sitting here as an elder statesman and I’m watching this happen and I don’t believe it.”
Like that rhetoric? There are many Americans who’d make better Nazis than some poor schlub sorting bolts in a warehouse. Some of them only need a change of clothes and a haircut.