On 19 September 2019, the EU parliament adopted a Resolution in which the blame for the outbreak of the Second World War is no longer attributed to Hitler’s Germany, but distributed among Germany and the Soviet Union. Most media have not even mentioned this Resolution, Infosperber has reported on it in detail. Belgian Marc Botenga, himself a member of the European Parliament and a member of the Belgian Workers ' Party PTB, has subsequently issued a public statement on this Resolution and strongly condemned it. Above all, he warns against putting fascism and communism on a moral level.
Do we soon have to change street names across Europe, such as Karl-Marx-Allee in Berlin, ban the sale of Che-Guevara T-Shirts, censor anti-capitalist speeches or ban aspects of school curricula that are considered too positive compared to the previous communist systems? That, in any case, is what the fateful Resolution of the European Parliament on the start of the Second World War calls for.
This Resolution was adopted on 19 September 2019 by a majority of the extreme right, conservatives, liberals and a large number of European Social Democrats and Greens. According to this Text, the member states should use “the tragic past of Europe”, in particular the Second World War, “moral and political knowledge” as an opportunity to condemn today’s manifestations of fascism and communism, which are combined in the entire Resolution. A careful reading of this Resolution “on the importance of European memory for the future of Europe” makes it clear that it is in fact nothing more than a political recasting of European history, with the double effect of trivialising the rise of fascism and criminalising radical Left forces.
A Resolution that rewrites history
What stands out from the beginning is that the Resolution combines gross historical errors and rewrites history. In the resolution of the European Parliament, the Second World War is described as a “direct consequence” of the German-Soviet Treaty of 1939, the non-aggression pact, which delayed the German invasion of the USSR by two years. By reducing the origin of the Second World War solely to the “German-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact”, both Nazi Germany and the USSR are regarded as responsible for this world conflict and placed on a par. With a few very rare exceptions, however, no serious historian has ever doubted that the perpetrators of the Second World War were the Nazi fascists from Germany, Italy and Japan. The MEPs who supported the text of the Resolution even contradict the conclusions of the Nuremberg court. Moreover, the Resolution completely ignores the policy of pacification and reconciliation of the liberal ruling classes towards Nazi Germany.
The text annuls the Munich Agreement, which was concluded in 1938, before the German-Soviet Treaty, between France and Great Britain with Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy, with which Czechoslovakia was left to the Nazis (without their say). There is also no reference to the annexation, i.e. the annexation of Austria by Nazi Germany in 1938, which was in fact accepted by Great Britain and France. The Resolution also ignores the indifference and benevolence of the Western powers in the face of the collapse of the Spanish Republic in the years 1936-1939. nor does it mention the recognition of Franco’s fascist regime by Great Britain and France.
Massimiliano Smeriglio, member of the European Parliament as a member of Italy’s “Partito Democratico”, who is also very critical of the USSR, rightly points out that one of the causes of the Second World War “is the tacit complicity with which the liberal state allowed fascism and national socialism to develop against the Workers' Movement.”
And finally, the Resolution adopted by the majority of the members of the European Parliament places those who had the Auschwitz extermination camp erected and the Red Army, which liberated the deportees from there, on the same level. It extinguishes the decisive role of the communists in the liberation of the European countries from the fascist yoke, both within the resistance in the various European countries and in relation to the immeasurable price (in human lives, Ed.), which the USSR and the Red Army paid for it.
Massimiliano Smeriglio said: “I did not vote for this Text because the Western democracies and our own, born in 1945, must thank the Anglo-American and partisan groups and the Red Army for the final victory. This is the historical truth.“The Association of Italian partisans, which was founded by anti-fascist resistance fighters after the Second World War, also reacted: “the oppressed and oppressors, victims and executioners, invaders and liberators are gathered under a common rejection. And the terrible toll, the shed blood of the peoples of the Soviet Union – more than 22 million dead – was forgotten, even the symbolic example of the liberation of Auschwitz by the Red Army.”
By trying to put fascism and communism on the same level, the Resolution of the European Parliament de facto insults the legacy and struggles of all those communists, partisans and resistance fighters throughout Europe who have sacrificed their lives in the anti-fascist struggle.
Rehabilitation of fascism and anti-communism
The equation of fascism and communism is also wrong in its substance. Fascist ideology is essentially based on the idea of a hierarchy between races and cultures. The Nazis theorized that there were” subhumans, “non-Aryan” inferior people, " some of whom were to be exterminated. Fascism was basically the STOs troops needed to defend capitalism in times of crisis. The support of many large German companies and banks was decisive for the Nazi Party’s seizure of power in Germany at that time.
The Communist ideology is exactly the opposite: it is based on the principles of equality and the emancipation of all. It aims to put an end to the exploitation of Man by man and is an Alternative to capitalism. Equating Communism with fascism therefore means not only a new version of history, but also a de facto minimization and a kind of rehabilitation of fascist ideology at a time when fascism is reappearing throughout Europe and is increasingly being normalized by right-wing parties.
The Nobel Prize winner Thomas Mann wrote in this context: “to put Russian communism on the same moral level with Nazi fascism, because both are totalitarian, is at best superficiality, in the worse case it is-fascism. Whoever insists on this equality may appear to be a Democrat, in truth and in the bottom of his heart he is already a fascist and will certainly fight fascism only insincerely and as a sham, but communism alone with full hatred.”
It is no coincidence that the Resolution in the European Parliament was mainly sponsored by Viktor Orban’s party and that most of the far-right European parties voted for it.
Anti-communism has always been a pillar of the far-right movements, from Hitler in Germany to Pinochet in Chile. It is always a question of fighting all those who propose an Alternative to the capitalist System. Today it is no different. Brazil’s far-right President Bolsonaro also wants to make Brazil a “bulwark against communism” in Latin America.
A Resolution on the past, written for the present
The Resolution of the EU Parliament not only rewrites history, but also advocates removing all traces of real history and creating a new “shared memory culture”. It is not only a question of condemning communism in its entirety in the past, but also of using all means today to prevent the emergence of a left force that challenges the System. In order to achieve this, the Resolution even goes so far as to call for the destruction of historical monuments that, for example, acknowledge the contribution of the Red Army to the victory against fascism, to rewrite history lessons in order to remove aspects that would be too positive for the former communist systems, to rename the streets, to prohibit the sale of objects with communist symbols.
This Resolution contains another Element, its Severity can not be ignored: they legitimized in the name of “democracy”, the completely anti-democratic ban on Communist organizations in some countries of the European Union, and paves the way for an intensification and generalization of this prohibition. In countries where such laws exist, the communist parties and organizations are on an equal footing with the neo-Nazi forces, but the communist organizations are the first and most important opponents. It is therefore not surprising that it is often the same countries that openly rehabilitate fascist war criminals and present them as courageous national fighters.
The Resolution finally creates a new civilizational Mission for the European Union. This should also “preserve and promote democracy outside its territory”. This is exactly the same reasoning that underlies Western military interventions around the world. Colonial crimes were also committed in the name of this civilizing Mission. Does the European Union intend to grant itself the right, if necessary, to intervene militarily anywhere in the world in the name of “democracy”?
Against the background of the rise of the extreme right and fascism throughout Europe, this Resolution is therefore not only a genuine falsification of history, it is above all politically dangerous. It must be understood in the context of the process of normalization of fascism and fascistization that is taking place in our countries. The “Belgian Workers' Party PTB " has Of course voted against this Text and we will continue the fight against fascism in Belgium and Europe.