Centuries later – still robbing neighbors
At the end of the 19th century, the struggle between proletarian resistance and state capitalist repression threatened to tear the recently construed German nation state apart. After the Anti-Socialist Laws failed to defeat Socialism, Imperial Chancellor Otto von Bismarck played his joker: He introduced the world’s first “modern” social insurance system, beginning with nationalized healthcare in 1883.
The very next year, Bismarck hurried into the imperialist partition of Africa, after years of stubborn resistance. Germany hosted the Berlin Conference, which formalized European “spheres of interest,” and Germany became a sea empire, allowing Emperor Wilhelm I. to give handouts to his favored subjects at home, robbed from his less favored subjects abroad.
In his own words, Bismarck intended to “bribe the working classes to view the state as a social institution, which exists for them and wants to provide for their welfare.” This converted most of the social chauvinists of the German populist party SPD, and the love marriage between socialists and nationalists has survived all republics and dictatorships to follow.
Ironically, the successor state to Bismarck’s Second Reich and Hitler’s Third Reich, the USA, continues Bismarck’s crumbs & guns policy with their wars on “drugs,” “poverty,” “terror” (read “poor people everywhere”) and their pre-industrial social security system, thereby delaying the revolution beyond the final economic collapse – whenever it may occur.
More ironically, Germans became the population majority in the USA after fleeing quasi-serfdom in Prussia in the decades following the failed bourgeois coup of 1848 and Bismarck’s blood & iron birth of the German nation. The Prussian spirit still informs the contemporary military-industrial complex in the US.
Only Bismarck’s introduction of social security in the 1880s, which used capital accumulated by force in the colonies to elevate German prolet-ARIANS to the level of sheltered profiteers, stopped the exodus from Germany. From 1880 to 1890, white flight from Germany peaked at almost 1.5 million. In the next decade, it dropped to only 500,000. Social security was Germany’s original “antikapitalistischer Schutzwall,” a protective barrier against the evils of capitalism in a system of state monopoly capitalism.
Now, more than ever, arose the need to define who was entitled to benefit from this protection. While Germans were emigrating to the USA, millions of Poles were migrating to the industrialized region of the Ruhr from the agrarian eastern regions of the German Empire. This region now belongs to Poland, but still provides cheap workers to the Incorporated Nation of Germany.
The Great Polish Migration of the 19th century precedented the industrial-scale exploitation of labor declared “German” but performed by people denounced as “foreign,” which peaked during the following bourgeois dictatorships of Nationalists, Socialists and Christian Democrats. “Made in Germany” means stolen from elsewhere.
“But aren’t Germans a people of builders and inventors?” Thus, even former enemies solemnly declare their respect for the “productive forces” of Hitler’s Volk. In fact, a good 50%of the laborers in “war-relevant” industries during WW II were kidnapped from the occupied countries in the east in slave raids by German soldiers. Their “Aryan” co-workers participated only as overseers, backed by the Gestapo.
Their labor paid for the privileges German prolet-ARIANS enjoyed for decades after the end of the war. They received not even the chance to sue for reparations, because only German citizens are eligible for Zwangsarbeiterentschädigung. More than 90% of Germany’s war slaves never saw a Pfennig.
More on the German tradition of racist exploitation in the next post.