I’m “mit Ihm”: On electoral compromise

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Was won­der­ing where Hil­lary got her cam­paign slo­gan from: Turns out it was Gen­er­alfeld­marschall Paul von Hinden­burg. In­cid­ent­ally, he was sup­por­ted by the SPD in the hope he would stop Hitler. No soon­er was he in of­fice, however, than the Junker oc­to­gen­ari­an de­cided to ap­point the Nazi lead­er chan­cel­lor.

Yes, that’s right. A party foun­ded only forty years earli­er on os­tens­ibly Marx­ist prin­ciples was now cheer­ing “I’m mit Ihm.”

Be­fore Trump’s cam­paign star­ted tank­ing a little over three weeks ago, you heard the word “fas­cism” be­ing thrown around a lot this elec­tion cycle. Many on the Left were say­ing that Trump must be de­feated at any cost, even if that means sup­port­ing a hawk­ish Demo­crat like Hil­lary Clin­ton.

Paul von Hindenburg - “mit Ihm” campaign poster 1932 copy

Some­body some­where noted the irony: “Just for the sake of his­tor­ic­al ac­cur­acy, you’d think more people would men­tion that prag­mat­ic elect­or­al com­prom­ises meant to pre­vent fas­cism are ac­tu­ally what res­ul­ted in fas­cism.” Or at least in the Ger­man Bona­partism that later led to the fas­cist con­sol­id­a­tion of power.

Don­ald Trump is no Ad­olph Hitler. And Hil­lary Clin­ton’s cer­tainly no Paul von Hinden­burg. Even if she does fa­vor mil­it­ary solu­tions to for­eign policy prob­lems, the com­par­is­on is a bit of a stretch. Žižek, des­pite his re­cent lapses in judg­ment, gets Trump about right. Trump is more of a cent­rist lib­er­al than any­thing else.

Re­gard­less, it’s not as if Clin­ton would ap­point Trump to some sort of cab­in­et or min­is­teri­al po­s­i­tion after the Novem­ber vote. Fas­cism as a mass move­ment is still not really a threat in the West. Largely be­cause the rul­ing class does not feel it­self threatened enough to re­sort to sup­port­ing dic­tat­ori­al meas­ures that might sup­press in­cip­i­ent re­volt.

His­tor­ic­al ana­lo­gies are usu­ally mis­lead­ing. Cer­tainly this one is, if taken too lit­er­ally. Per­haps this might simply serve as a healthy re­mind­er of the per­ils of vot­ing for the “less­er evil” once every four years.

3 thoughts on “I’m “mit Ihm”: On electoral compromise

  1. ‘No sooner was he in office’.

    Hate to be Commissar Pedantic but Hindenburg became President in May 1925 – over seven and a half years before Hitler became Chancellor on 30 January 1933.

    Even his re-election (the one where the SPD had no real option other than to call for a vote for him as only two possible winners were Hindenburg and Hitler) was held in April 1932 and was thus 8 months before he was persuaded by von Papen to appoint Hitler.

    And you probably know the joke that when the brownshirts paraded under his balcony on 30 January 1933 the victor of Tannenberg was heard to say that he had no idea we’d captured that many Russians…

  2. Ugh, Zizek can be so dumb sometimes. Sure, sometimes he says he won’t touch healthcare and minimum wage. Then other times he says that he thinks there shouldn’t be a minimum wage and that we should deregulate Wall St. more. The truth is that he can say whatever he wants – if he gets into the WH he will sign/veto the bills that come across his desk and they are all going to come out of a Paul Ryan congress. ie big time anti-worker legislation. This is all, of course, putting aside his penchant for nativist proposals, encouragement of political violence, and other similar elements of his campaign that are incompatible with any sort of liberalism.

  3. Those of us who have been tilting at neo-liberal and neo-con windmills for years now with little concrete results on the ground, can still dream the impossible dream.

    That being Hillary is indicted and Bernie runs for the Democrats and crushes Trump. The sad truth here being that while Bernie’s victory would be an accurate reflection of the unprecedented disenchantment of the electorate with establishment politics, the chances of his being able to implement his policies in the face of an intransigent Congress are similar to the chances of my fanciful scenario itself taking place.

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