This is Not Populism : John Bellamy Foster; and Crossing Hitler: The Man Who Put the Nazis on the Witness Stand

What is fascism and how to fight it

Kyle Rittenhouse got away with murder and the growing forces of violent reaction have been emboldened. Trump invited Rittenhouse to Mar-a-Lago and praised him as a fine young man. Street thuggery and violence against the opponents of his fascist party was the hallmark of Hitlers rise to power. His goons, called Brown Shirts, smashed enemies on the left, trade unionist, and socialists. But Hitler always denied that he had any connection with the Brown Shirts, attempting to perpetuate an illusion that he respected the rule of law.

In 1931, two years before Hitler and the German fascists eventually took power, the courageous young German lawyer Hans Litten sued Hitler in Berlin. He put Hitler on the witness stand grilling him for three hours. He showed Hitler to be a liar. By contrast, and as a measure of how serious things have gotten in our country , Kyle Rittenhouse continues to be wildly praised by the right and the fascists, like the Proud Boys with whom he took publicity shots. They all have mobilized behind Rittenhouse. We rebroadcast what we believe to be two profound interviews on what fascism is and how to fight it.

This is Not Populism : John Bellamy Foster

Is Trump a neofascist? Thoughtful analysts on the left like Cornell West, Noam Chomsky, and Judith Butler think he is. But mainstream liberal commentators refuse to associate the Trump phenomena with fascism. They call him a right wing populist. What is neofascism? Right wing Populism? Does it really matter what Trump is called? The great German playwright and political thinker who lived in Germany during Hitlers reign, Berthold Brecht, asked in 1935: How can anyone tell the truth about fascism, unless he’s willing to speak out against capitalism, which brings it fourth? We speak today with John Bellamy Foster, the editor of the venerable magazine Monthly Review. He wrote the lead article in the current June 2017 issue titled This Is Not Populism.

Guest ” John Bellamy Foster is editor of Monthly Review and professor of sociology at the University of Oregon. He has written widely on political economy and has established a reputation as a major environmental sociologist. He is the author of Marxs Ecology: Materialism and Nature (2000), The Great Financial Crisis: Causes and Consequences (with Fred Magdoff, 2009), The Ecological Rift: Capitalisms War on the Earth (with Brett Clark and Richard York, 2010), and The Theory of Monopoly Capitalism: An Elaboration of Marxian Political Economy (New Edition, 2014), among many others.


Crossing Hitler: The Man Who Put the Nazis on the Witness Stand

Author Benjamin Hett outlines the fascinating and tragic story of a young lawyer Hans Litten in his recent book Crossing Hitler: The Man Who Put the Nazis on the Witness Stand. Before the Nazis rose to power in the early 1930s, they incited calculated violence among the working class in German taverns. Four Nazi stormtroopers were charged with firing randomly into a dance hall where a communist hiking club were holding a party. Three young men were wounded. Hans Litton was the advocate for the 3 men.

Hans Litten called Hitler to the witness stand to show that the Nazi party was a violent party, and by cross examining Hitler he tried to prove that. Litten forced Hitler to contradict himself, reducing him to humiliating rage that revealed his true intention. At that time, Hitler wanted to be a legal party in Germany and of course you couldnt be a party that was extra-constitutional and legal but at the same time he didnt want to disappoint the base of his party which was this violent working class aspect. Two years later, the Nazi Party rose to power.

What came after the Reichstag Fire was the arrest of about 5 thousand people across Germany who the Nazis have identified as opponents or potential opponents. Hans Litten was among them and sent to a concentration camp. Author Benjamin Hett describes a powerful narrative of Hans facing torture yet still telling stories and teaching art to other prisoners.

Hans Litten was born in 1903 in Halle in Central Germany, his father was a law professor and Jewish but converted to German evangelical (Lutheran).

Guest ” Benjamin Hett, author of Crossing Hitler: The Man Who Put the Nazis on the Witness Stand. Hett is a former trial lawyer, and now Associate Professor of History at Hunter College.

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