An FNB Win
About This Issue
NET BRIEFS ON GREEK UPRISING
NET BRIEFS ON GREEK UPRISING
Bruce E. Levine
3 PIC Books
Roediger On Race
Gabriel San román
ON SECOND STREET
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It may be a questionable expenditure of energy to attack Tom Cruise's Valkyrie. For one thing, the film's backstory, along with its troubled production, is already well known. According to biographer Andrew Morton, Cruise proffered the film as a Trojan horse to gain greater access to the German market for his Scientology racket, and, coincidentally or not, the German government recently relented its efforts to ban the organization. However, one need not fillip the sleazy machinations of Scientology or its poster child to discuss the greater and more disturbing elements of this latest version of "Good German" revisionism.
The film is based on the unsuccessful July 20, 1944 assassination attempt on Hitler. Co-conspirator Claus von Stauffenberg, an aristocratic and staunchly nationalist colonel who had been injured with the Afrika Korps in Tunisia, enters a high-level briefing room carrying a briefcase armed with a timed explosive. Shortly after excusing himself to make a phone call, the bomb detonates. Four people were killed, but not Hitler, who, thanks to being shielded by a heavy oak table, was not even seriously injured. In response, the regime executed the conspirators and an eventual total of some 200 people.
This story should properly be seen as a bit of skin-saving infighting among brutal reactionaries on the brink of ruin. But in the hands of Bryan Singer and Christopher McQuarrie, who are better known for superhero action films like X-Men and Superman Returns, motive, context, and relevance are distorted if not obliterated all together.
For starters, this assassination attempt occurred in 1944, after Stalingrad, after the fall of Mussolini, and after Normandy. The question of who would win the war had been long decided, and the pressing concern for the Germans—and the Allies—was how far west the Soviet counteroffensive would reach. Indeed, German resistance leaders like Stauffenberg were nearly as vehement in their opposition to the Soviets and communism as were the Nazis. Beyond their vacillating assassination plots, this German resistance also reached out to the Allies in attempts to arrange a conditional surrender in hopes of keeping the USSR off of German soil and winning immunity after the war. Eager not to alienate Stalin, who was understandably fearful of being betrayed and wary of leaving Germany less than thoroughly defeated, the U.S. and Britain ignored these haphazard efforts.
Members of this resistance, moreover, were informed by the same longstanding Greater Germany aims that inspired the Nazis. German war objectives of acquiring so-called living space in the east—and the demographic displacement this required—were not exclusive to Hitler or the Nazis as a whole. Rather, German dreams of intra-European colonialism stretched back decades and were informed by William II's genocidal campaigns at the turn of the century in West Africa—campaigns that surely molded the values of the officer class that Stauffenberg personified. Stauffenberg et al. did not suddenly jettison the "survival of the fittest" mumbo jumbo that was a cornerstone of Nazi genocide, but rather applied its logic to their leader, determining that Hitler himself was now unfit to lead.
Just as German imperial aims transcended Nazism, so did anti-Semitism, a global phenomenon before and during World War II, and certainly prevalent in Germany apart from the Nazis. Accordingly, Stauffenberg was anti-Semitic. He wrote to his wife from Poland that Jews (and Poles) are a "people that is only comfortable under the lash. The thousands of prisoners will serve our agriculture well." But he was reportedly scandalized by some of the Nazis' graver crimes after Operation Barbarossa and he did not condone exterminating the whole of world Jewry.
Twice in the film, Stauffenberg (played rather well by Cruise) earnestly cries, "Long live sacred Germany." This premise that the Nazis represented an anomaly in German history and that this small and self-serving resistance reflected the "real Germany" is as dubious as it is ubiquitous, composing the theme of popular films such as Sophie Scholl and constituting the wish fulfillment of Germanophile revisionists in general.
Stauffenberg and his cohorts were motivated by similar geopolitical principles as was Hitler and their ideologies were more alike than not. As far as his would-be assassins were concerned, Hitler's main mistake, to paraphrase AJP Taylor, was losing the war.
Z Magazine Archive
HUMAN RIGHTS - The U.S. Human Rights Network will celebrate its 10th anniversary with the Advancing Human Rights 2013 Conference, December 6-8, in Atlanta, GA.
Contact: 250 Georgia Avenue SE, Suite 330, Atlanta, GA 30312; firstname.lastname@example.org; http:// www.ushrnetwork.org/.
AFRICAN/SOCIALIST - The Sixth Congress of the African People’s Socialist Party USA will be held December 7-11, in St. Petersburg, FL.
Contact: 1245 18th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33705; 727- 821-6620; info@aps puhuru.org; http://asiuhuru.org/.
SCHOOLS - The Dignity in Schools Campaign (DSC) will host a workshop on the DSC “Model Code on Education and Dignity: Presenting A Human Rights Framework for Schools” at the Mid-Hudson Region NY State Leadership Summit on School Justice Partnerships, December 11 in White Plains, NY.
Contact: http://www.dignityin schools.org/.
ANARCHIST/BOOKFAIR - The Humboldt Anarchist Book Fair will be held December 14, in Eureka, CA.
Contact: humboldtgrassroots @riseup.net; http://humbold tanarchist bookfair.wordpress. com/.
CLIMATE - The World Symposium on Sustainable Development at Universities is hosting a follow-up event to the 2012 Rio de Janeiro symposium. The gathering will be held in Qatar on January 28-30, 2014.
Contact: http://environment.tufts. edu/.
LABOR - The United Association for Labor Education (UALE) will host Organizing for Power: A New Labor Movement for the New Working Class in Los Angeles, March 26-29. Proposals are due December 15.
Contact: LAWCHA, 226 Carr Building (East Campus), Box 90719, Duke University, Durham, NC 27708-0719;lawcha @duke. edu; http://lawcha.org/.
MEDIA FELLOWSHIP - The Media Mobilizing Project is seeking applicants for the first annual Movement Media Fellowship Program. The Fellow will work with MMP to produce the spring season of Media Mobilizing Project TV. MMPTV is a news and talk show that tells the stories of local communities organizing to win human rights and build a movement to end poverty.
Contact: 4233 Chestnut St., Philadelphia, PA 19104; 215-821- 9632; milena@media mobilizing.org; http://www.media mobilizing.org/.
RACE - The 7th Facing Race: A National Conference will be held in Dallas, TX November 13-15, 2014. Organizers, educators, artists, funders and everyone interested in racial equity is invited to exchange best practices and learn about innovative models and successful organizing initiatives. Proposals must be submitted by January 24, 2014.
Contact: Race Forward, 32 Broadway, Suite 1801, New York, NY 10004; 212-513-7925; media @raceforward.org; http://race forward.org/.
VETERANS - They Were Soldiers: How the Wounded Return from America’s Wars - The Untold Story, by Ann Jones, is about the journey of veterans from the moment of being wounded in rural Afghanistan to their return home.
Contact: Haymarket Books, PO Box 180165, Chicago, IL 60618; 773-583-7884; http://www.haymarketbooks.org/.
LIBYA - Destroying Libya and World Order: The Three-Decade U.S. Campaign to Terminate the Qaddafi Revolution, by Francis A. Boyle, is a history and critique of American foreign policy from Reagan to Obama.
Contact: Clarity Press, Inc., Ste. 469, 3277 Roswell Rd. NE, Atlanta, GE 30305; 404-647-6501; email@example.com; http://www. claritypress.com/.
CHILDREN - Fannie and Freddie by Becky Z. Dernbach is about two bumbling villains who gamble away the savings of the people of Homeville.
Contact: fannieandfreddiebook @gmail.com; http://fannieand freddie.org/.
PROTEST/COMIC - Fight the Power!: A Visual History of Protest Among English Speaking Peoples, by Sean Michael Wilson and Benjamin Dickson is a graphic narrative that explains how people have fought against oppression.
Contact: Seven Stories Press, 140 Watts Street, New York, NY 10013; 212-226-8760; info@ sevenstories.com; http://www. sevenstories.com.
CHILDREN - Brave Girl by Michelle Markel and illustrated by Melissa Sweet is the true story of Clara Lemlich, a young Ukrainian immigrant who led the largest strike of women workers in U.S. history.
Contact: http://www.harpercollins childrens.com/Kids/.
FESTIVAL - The 2014 Queer Women of Color Film Festival will be held June 13-15 in San Francisco. The festival is currently accepting submissions until December 31.
Contact: QWOCMAP, 59 Cook Street, San Francisco, CA 94118-3310; 415-752-0868; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.qwocmap.org/.
IRAQ/REFUGEES - Ten years after the U.S.-led war in Iraq, thousands of displaced Iraqi refugees are still facing a crisis in the United States. The Lost Dream follows Nazar and Salam who had to flee Iraq in order to avoid threats by Al- Qaeda-affiliated groups and Iraqi insurgents that consider them “traitors” for supporting U.S. forces in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Contact: Typecast Films, 888- 591-3456; info@type castfilms. com; http://type castfilms.com/.
HUMAN RIGHTS - Lyrical Revolt! III will be held December 4 in Syracuse, NY. The event will feature hip-hop musician Anhel whose album Young, Gifted, and Brown was just released. The event is sponsored by ANSWER Syracuse, Liberation News, and SyracuseHip Hop.com. Performers and artists are encouraged to send submissions.
Contact: email@example.com; http://www.answercoalition.org/syracuse/.
FOLK - Musician Painless Parker has released his album Music for miscreants, malcontents and misanthropes featuring “Fuck Yeah, the Working Class.”
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://painlessparkermusic.com/.
COMEDY - Political comedian Lee Camp’s new album Pepper Spray the Tears Away has been released.