The First “Anti-Globalization” Protester?

Posted by John Rosenthal

In my turbulent youth, nothing bothered me so much as having been born in a time that clearly would only still erect its halls of fame [Ruhmestempel] for shopkeepers and civil servants. The waves of historical events appeared to have calmed, such that the future appeared really to belong only to “the peaceful competition among nations” – which is to say, a placid mutual swindling – with all violent methods of self-defense being excluded. Individual states began more and more to resemble commercial enterprises [Unternehmen], which sought to undercut one another and to snatch away clients and contracts from one another…. This development seemed not only to continue unabated, but (according to the universal recommendation) was even supposed to transform the whole world into one big department store….

Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, volume I, chapter 5
(translated from the German edition of 1943, Verlag Franz Eher Nachf., p. 172)

It would have been entirely in the spirit of Hitler’s observations to have translated the last sentence: “This development seemed not only to continue unabated but (according to the universal recommendation) was even supposed to transform the whole world into one big shopping center.” But in order to avoid anachronism, I’ve translated Warenhaus literally as “department store.”

“Left-wing” German opponents of “globalization” profess shock and indignation when they find themselves joined in their protests by neo-Nazis. (See here, for instance, on last year’s anti-G8 protests in Germany.) Perhaps this is because the “left-wing” protesters do not in fact know anything about original Nazism. (It is worth considering that the de facto ban on the re-printing of Mein Kampf in Germany may have something to do with this.)

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