Strasserism refers to the strand of
Nazismand neo-Nazismthat called for a more radical, mass-action and worker-based form of fascism, particularly hostile to finance capitalismfrom an antisemitic basis, to be initiated alongside nationalism. It derives its name from Gregor and Otto Strasser, the two Nazis initially associated with this position. Opposed on strategic views to Adolf Hitler, Otto Strasser was expelled from the NSDAPin 1930, while Gregor Strasser was killed during the 1934 Night of the Long Knives.
Gregor Strasser (
1892- 1934) began his career in ultranationalismby joining Freikorpsafter serving in World War I. Involved in the Kapp Putschhe formed his own "völkischer Wehrverband" ("popular defense union") which he merged into the NSDAP in 1921. Initially a loyal supporter of Adolf Hitler, he took part in the Beer Hall Putschand held a number of high positions in the Nazi Party. Soon however, Strasser became a strong advocate of the socialist wing of the party, arguing that the national revolution should also include strong action to tackle poverty and should seek to build working classsupport. After Hitler's rise to power, Ernst Röhm, who headed the SA, then the most important paramilitary wing of the Nazi party, called for a "second revolution," aimed at removing the elites from control. This was opposed by the conservative movement, as well as by some Nazis who preferred an ordered authoritarian regime to the radical and disruptive program proposed by the Party's left wing. Strasser was eventually killed during the Night of the Long Knivesin 1934.
Otto Strasser (
1897- 1974) had also been a member of the Freikorps, but went on to join the SPD and fought against the Kapp putsch. However he joined the Nazi Party in 1925, but nonetheless retained his ideas about the importance of socialism. Considered more of a radical than his brother, Otto Strasser was expelled by the Nazi Party in 1930 and set up his own dissident group, the Black Front, which called for a specifically German nationalist form of socialist revolution. He fled Germany in 1933 to live in Czechoslovakiaand Canadabefore returning to West Germanyin later life, all the while writing prolifically about Hitler and what he saw as his betrayal of national socialist ideals.
The name Strasserism came to be applied to this form of Nazism that developed around the brothers. Although they had been involved in the creation of the
National Socialist Programof 1920, both called on the party to commit to 'breaking the shackles of finance capital'. [C.T. Husbands, 'Militant Neo-Nazism in the Federal Republic of Germany' in L. Cheles, R. Ferguson & M. Vaughan, "Neo-Fascism in Europe", 1992, p. 98] This opposition to "Jewish finance capitalism," which they contrasted to "productive capitalism," was shared by Adolf Hitler himself, who borrowed it from Gottfried Feder. [ Ian Kershaw, "Hitler: A Profile in Power", first chapter (London, 1991, rev. 2001) ]
This populist and antisemitic form of
anti-Capitalismwas further developed in 1925 when Otto Strasser published the "Nationalsozialistische Briefe", which discussed notions of class conflict, wealth redistribution and a possible alliance with the Soviet Union. His 1930 follow-up "Ministersessel oder Revolution" ('Cabinet Seat or Revolution') went further by attacking Hitler's betrayal of the purported socialist aspect of Nazism, as well as criticizing the notion of Führerprinzip. [ Karl Dietrich Bracher, "The German Dictatorship", 1973, pp. 230-1] Whilst Gregor Strasser echoed many of the calls of his brother, his influence on the ideology is less, due to his remaining in the Nazi Party longer and to his early death. Otto, meanwhile, continued to expand his argument, calling for the break-up of large estates and the development of something akin to a guildsystem and the related establishment of a Reich cooperative chamber to take a leading role in economic planning. [ Ernst Nolte, "Three Faces of Fascism", 1969, pp. 425-426]
Strasserism, therefore, became a distinct strand of neo-Nazism that, whilst holding on to previous Nazi ideals such as militant nationalism and
anti-Semitism, added a strong critique of capitalismand framed this in the demand for a more "socialist-based" approach to economics.
It is disputed, however, whether Strasserism effectively represented a distinct form of Nazism. According to historian
Ian Kershaw, "the leaders of the SA[which included Gregor Strasser] did not have another vision of the future of Germany or another politic to propose." But they advocated the radicalization of the Nazi regime, and the toppling of the German elites, calling Hitler's rise to powera "half-revolution," which needed to be completed. [ Ian Kershaw, 1991, chapter III, first section ]
During the 1970s the ideas of Strasserism began to be referred to more strongly in
European far-right groups as younger members with no concrete ties to Hitler and a stronger sense of anti-capitalism came to the fore.
trasserism in Germany
Strasserite thought in Germany began to emerge as a tendency within the
National Democratic Party of Germanyduring the late 1960s. These Strasserites played a leading role in securing the removal of Adolf von Thaddenfrom the leadership and following his departure the party became stronger in condemning Hitler for what it saw as his move away from socialism in order to court business and army leaders. [R. Eatwell, "Fascism: A History", 2003, p. 283]
Although initially adopted by the NPD, Strasserism soon became associated with more peripheral extremist figures, notably
Michael Kühnenwho produced a 1982 pamphlet "Farewell to Hitler", which included a strong endorsement of the idea. The " Volkssozialistische Bewegung Deutschlands/Partei der Arbeit", a minor extremist movement that was outlawed in 1982 adopted the policy, while its successor movement, the Nationalist Front - League of Revolutionary Nationalists, did likewise, with its ten point programme calling for an 'anti-materialist cultural revolution' and an 'anti-capitalist social revolution' to underline its support for the idea. [C.T. Husbands, 'Militant Neo-Nazism in the Federal Republic of Germany' in L. Cheles, R. Ferguson & M. Vaughan, "Neo-Fascism in Europe", 1992, pp. 99-100] The " Freiheitliche Deutsche Arbeiterpartei" also moved towards these ideas under the leadership of Friedhelm Bussein the late 1980s. [C.T. Husbands, 'Militant Neo-Nazism in the Federal Republic of Germany' in L. Cheles, R. Ferguson & M. Vaughan, "Neo-Fascism in Europe", 1992, p. 97]
trasserism in the UK
Strasserism emerged in the
United Kingdomin the early 1970s and centered around the National Front publication "Britain First", the main writers of which were David McCalden, Richard Lawson and Denis Pirie. Opposing the leadership of John Tyndall, they formed an alliance with John Kingsley Readand ultimately followed him into the National Party. [N. Copsey, "Contemporary British Fascism: The British National Party and the Quest for Legitimacy", 2004, pp. 17-18] The NP called for British workers to "seize the right to work" and offered a fairly Strasserite economic policy. [M. Walker, "The National Front", 1977, p. 194] Nonetheless, the NP failed to last for very long. Due in part to Read's lack of enthusiasm for Strasserism, the main exponents of the idea drifted away.
The idea was reintroduced to the NF by
Andrew Bronsin the early 1980s when he decided to make the party's ideology clearer. [N. Copsey, "Contemporary British Fascism: The British National Party and the Quest for Legitimacy", 2004, pp. 33-34] However Strasserism was soon to become the province of the radicals in the Official National Front, with Richard Lawson brought in in a behind the scenes role to help direct policy. [G. Gable, 'The Far Right in Contemporary Britain' in L. Cheles, R. Ferguson & M. Vaughan, "Neo-Fascism in Europe", 1992, p. 97] . Ultimately this Political Soldierwing opted for the indigenous alternative of distributism, but nonetheless their strong anti-capitalist rhetoric, as well as that of their International Third Positionsuccessor, demonstrated influences of Strasserism. From this background Troy Southgateemerged, whose own ideology and those of related groups such as the English Nationalist Movementand National Revolutionary Factionwere influenced by Strasserism.
Third Positiongroups, whose inspiration is generally more Italian in derivation, have often looked to Strasserism due to their strong opposition to capitalism. This was noted strongly in Francewhere the student group "Groupe Union Défense" and the more recent " Renouveau Français" both extolled Strasserite economic platforms. [R. Griffin, "The Nature of Fascism", 1993, p. 166]
Attempts to reinterpret Nazism as having a left-wing base have also been heavily influenced by this school of thought, notably through the work of
Povl Riis-Knudsen, who produced the Strasser-influenced work "National Socialism: A Left-Wing Movement" in 1984.
The Strasser brothers and Strasserite thought in general has been claimed as belonging to
National Bolshevism, which has been influential in Russiaand to a lesser extent Germany.
United States, Tom Metzgeralso flirted with Strasserism, having been influenced by Kühnen's pamphlet. [M.A. Lee, " The Beast Reawakens", 1997, p. 257]
* [http://www.folkandfaith.com Folk And Faith - American Neo-Strasserites]
* [http://ciernyfront.wbl.sk Slovenský Čierny Front - Slovak Neo-Strasserites]
* [http://www.rosenoire.org/articles/hist13.php 'Revolution Vs Reaction' - Troy Southgate examines the Strassers' influence and Hitler's divergence from what Southgate regards as actual German National Socialism]
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
Nazism — National Socialism redirects here. For other ideologies and groups called National Socialism, see National Socialism (disambiguation). Nazi redirects here. For the Sumerian deity, see Nazi (god) … Wikipedia
Neo-Nazism — Part of a series on Nazism … Wikipedia
Sturmabteilung — SA Sturmabteilung The insignia of the SA Organization overview Formed 1920 Superseding agency … Wikipedia
American Nazi Party — This article is about the party formed in 1959 later renamed the National Socialist White People s Party. For the 1990s National Socialist White People s Party, see National Socialist White People s Party (Harold Covington). For Hitler s American … Wikipedia
Corneliu Zelea Codreanu — Codreanu redirects here. For other persons named Codreanu, see Codreanu (surname). Corneliu Zelea Codreanu Corneliu Zelea Codreanu Born Corneliu Zelinski September 18, 1899( … Wikipedia
Otto Strasser — This article is part of the Third Position series. This series is linked to the Politics and Elections series Varieties of Third Positionism National Anarchism National Bolshevism National syndicalism Nazism Socialism with Chinese characteristics … Wikipedia
Third Position — is the name applied to a nationalist political strand that seeks to emphasise its opposition to both communism and capitalism. The name Third Position is derived from the school of thought presenting itself as being beyond Capitalism and… … Wikipedia
Michael Kühnen — The title of this article contains the character ü. Where it is unavailable or not desired, the name may be represented as Michael Kuehnen. Michael Kühnen (21 June 1955, Bonn 25 April 1991 Kassel) was a leader in the German neo Nazi movement. He… … Wikipedia
Nationalist Front — Nationalistische Front (Nationalist Front) was a minor German neo Nazi group active during the 1980s. Founded in 1985 by Meinolf Schönborn the group, which had no more than 150 members, was characterized by its support for Strasserism rather than … Wikipedia
National Socialist Movement (United States) — NSM flag P … Wikipedia