Friday, May 2, 2008

radical politics in Dachau

note: this post may or may not be filled with radical politics. if you are offended by radical politics, please stop here.

Today I went to a concentration camp five miles outside of Munich called Dachau.

Nothing can prepare one for the experience of visiting a concentration camp. nothing. no books or films or songs or pictures can capture seeing their barracks, prisons, torture rooms. I cannot describe to you the insights gained. I had thoughts of man's nature, the universality of brotherly love, and of mass complacency, the power of man post-industrial revolution, the ease with which indoctrination happened and happens. still today. with you even. My comprehension is still very fuzzy, but I know the outlines of the story and to me it is scarier than any tales of ghosts and demons and vampires.

People who are suffering become easily swayed, and most people follow the masses. Hitler took advantage of these two facts and once he gained the slightest majority (his party won by only a few percentage points), he granted himself supreme power and made laws as he saw fit.

Now, I don't know about you (here comes the radical part), but I see this happening still today. The Chinese are blocking the press and starting 're-education' for monks about the situation in Tibet. Chavez is trying to become dictator for life. Our president used American suffering to launch a war that had no basis in reality, and then our military tortured people there, and we are detaining prisoners without a right to a trial.

All it takes is a bit more widespread suffering (maybe the looming economic crisis on the horizon?), and a bit more rightist leader and we are on our way to another third Reich.

What makes me particularly angry about all of this is that the Right then is the same as the Right now. They have the same stances, almost identical. And everyone can stand back and denounce the holocaust as if it were some anomaly of history. But its not. It was people who were conservative as we find conservatives today getting too much power (not that the far left wasn't as bad, wanting to use violence to incite revolution, but they were always too split to gain a clear majority).

I just want you to be aware of this. See the suffering and understand its causes, look into your own nature and recognize the tendencies to hate, and also those to love. Try to trend towards the latter.

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