Unions: the real unions versus the nazi unions

Unions: the real unions versus the nazi unions

A Story by Evyn Rubin

historical analysis


I would like to use the unions as an example of the difference between the historic Nazis and the left.  Today, the left is being smeared by some people who claim falsely that the Nazis were leftists.  I'm saying, look at the unions.  Compare and contrast the original unions with the Nazis' so-called unions.  This will show who was who, and some of the difference between left and right, back then.


The real, original unions were labor unions, intended to bring workers together, to gain clout in relation to the owners and bosses.  The original -- leftist -- unions wanted collective bargaining power to counter balance the owners and executives, in the fight for better wages, reasonable hours, and safer conditions.


The Nazi "unions" were intended to unite labor with the bosses and the owners, while eliminating the Jews from the ranks of both.  Anti-Semitism, the ideology, held the Jews responsible for every problem, including the problems inherent in capitalism.  Thus Jews in labor were considered trouble makers, and any Jewish owners were considered greedy.  Thus, with the elimination of the Jews from labor and capital, labor and capital would get along fine with each other, according to them.

When Hitler came to power in Germany, he outlawed the old labor unions, imprisoning or shooting many of its leaders.  He also instituted his own pseudo-unions, not labor unions but an attempt to unify labor and managers and owners -- all with nationalist and racialist bonding, and the elimination of the Jews.  This was instituted by law.  The workers were also promised, and sometimes received copious gifts, including a new lunch room, a trip to the fiords, an automobile -- to further this bonding.


Socialism and unions had been popular in Germany, and in Europe generally.  The Nazis tried to use these words to their advantage, identifying themselves with words whose meaning they had totally negated.

In the United States, Henry Ford, major anti-Semite, helped Hitler in more than one way, with his propaganda, with financial aid to his party,  with technical assistance for his peoples' car, and more.  Ford also hated unions, discredited them as part of the Jewish Bolshevik conspiracy, did everything to keep them out of his company, and also dabbled in organizing company pseudo-unions.  These failed but a few labor leaders did succumb to Ford's enticements and crossed over.

The sharp contrast in principle between labor unions and Nazi pseudo-unions was real but no doubt there was a muddied or muddled version.  Decades before, the German socialist August Bebel said "Anti-Semitism was the socialism of fools."  He said this because  socialism and anti-Semitism were competing movements, competing lines of thinking, and they were competing in proximity to each other.

Anti-Semites helped themselves to good sounding words and phrases from the left, then distorted them beyond recognition.  But the left was also imperfect in its role as opposition, because left and right are part of the same society, and the flow of ideas creates infiltrations and grey areas of mixed thinking.


                                   *****            *****               *****



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© 2020 Evyn Rubin

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Evyn Rubin

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Added on September 4, 2017
Last Updated on January 14, 2020
Tags: unions, labor unions, Nazis, Hitler, Henry Ford, Jews, left, right, anti-Semitism