I resigned for linking Nazism to Socialism... but it's true

Rachel Frosh resigned earlier this week for linking Nazism to Socialism, but here she makes the case that it remains very much a valid view

Hitler... left or right?
Dr. Rachel Frosh
On 14 February 2013 10:29

I have been frustrated in the last two days that I have not been fully able to answer the press and Twitter enquiries about that retweet – where I retweeted someone else’s link to Nazism and Socialism.

I am conscious that the Police and Crime Commissioner needs to have constructive working relations with local politicians of all parties. Working for him has made it difficult to answer the questions about why I retweeted the comment in the first place. So I have therefore resigned – because he needs to get on with his job, and I want to answer these questions, and also be able to comment on national political issues.

So, my full answer is this:

First of all, I don’t remember retweeting it, and I do believe most Labour politicians to be honourable decent people who do not have any truck with the politics of hate. The modern Labour party bears no resemblance to the BNP or similar parties.

However, there is an accepted mainstream view that the origins of Nazism lie in Socialism, or that they have common roots. Nobel Prize winning economist Friedrich Hayek described this his book “The Road to Serfdom”. Even the Wikipedia entry says on the topic “Hayek challenged the general view among British academics that fascism was a capitalist reaction against socialism, instead arguing that fascism and socialism had common roots in central economic planning and the power of the state over the individual.”

The subtitle of the 1976 edition of The Road to Serfdom, is “A Classic Warning Against the Dangers to Freedom Inherent in Social Planning.” Hayek argued that socialism undermines human liberty and, if pursued far enough, must result in tyranny.

Other articles on the roots of Nazism and Hayek’s commentary are hereherehere and more on Hayek himself here.

This matters because in recent years we have seen some electoral gains by the BNP, even winning two European parliamentary seats. It is important to understand why, to prevent it from happening again. Commentators state that most BNP votes come from disaffected Labour supporters, not from other parties. It is important to make sure that this doesn’t happen again.

Others such as Iain Dale argue that the BNP is a left wing fascist party. His full comments on it in 2009 were:

"In a Tweet earlier this morning Plaid Cymru AM Bethan Jenkins described a comment by Michael Rock., chairman of Conservative Future, that the BNP is “left wing”, as a “disgrace”. I looked up Rock’s comments and can’t really see how any sane person could disagree with them.

"The consistent miss-labelling of extremist parties is very damaging to liberal democracy, as it creates false tensions and misaligns people with causes they do not understand fully. I’ve yet to meet a Tory who believes in clamping down on free-trade and the nationalisation of private companies. The BNP are both racist and fascist: all fascist parties have left wing tendencies as they predominantly believe in nationalisation, collectivism and forbid free expression, which makes fascism the very antipathy of right-of-centre politics."

I can understand why those on the left don’t wish to be branded in the same political mindset as the BNP. Now they know how those of us on the right feel. But the fact remains that BNP beliefs DO have more in common with Socialism than with Conservatism – centralised command control, trade tariffs, state owned businesses … I could go on. I struggle to think of a single issue which joins the BNP and mainstream conservatism. The Nazis were called National Socialists for a reason. Fascism is invariably described as a creed of the right. It isn’t. As with the BNP, fascism has far more in common with the left, at least in political theoretical terms.

I say this not to whip us some “you’re more fascist than me” type argument between left and right, but merely to explain to Bethan Jenkins why I am bemused by here disgust."

Iain Dale has a point.

My considered view is that the origins of Nazism do lie in traditional socialism, and when the BNP do well, it is with disaffected Labour voters.

That does not mean that people in the Labour party or any other mainstream party have views that are in any way akin to the BNP or other racist parties. They should be placed apart from other parties on the spectrum – but it is still important to understand the origins of any support they have, or used to have to ensure such parties never gain power again.

Rachel Frosh has been a doctor in the NHS for over 20 years. In 2010, she stood as the Conservative parliamentary candidate in Harrow West, a campaign which the editor of this website was proud to support, and still is. Until her resignation, Frosh was also the Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner in Hertfordshire

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