Left Fascism

11-236_1.jpgBy spring 1936, the French literati George Bataille famously came to the conclusion that Fascism had to be fought with its own means. For a surrealist inclined intellectual, this meant not jibbing at the darker sides of human existence: desire, perversion, violence, torture, sacrifice, fanaticism and death. For this aspiration, Bataille has been, quite erroneously according to my view, branded “Left fascist” by Richard Wolin.*

batallodelamort01 kopiaI wonder whether there are connections between this aspiration of Bataille and his friends and fascist-like feature in anarchism? I’m especially thinking about the obscure anarchist “Batallón de la Muerte” aka “Centuria Malatesta” that fought in the Spanish civil war and wore uniforms that looked “fascist”, not only to us today, but likewise to the contemporary bystanders of its parade in Barcelona on the 3rd of March 1937. If anyone has information on this unlucky unit, I would be very keen to learn.

Makhno Ukraina.jpgAlready in the Russian Civil War, The Revolutionary Insurrectionary Army of Ukraine seems to have used a black flag with a skull. In the 1930s also the Sandino rebels in Nicaragua used a Jolly Roger-ish flag (in the image displayed by their adversaries, the American Marines).

U.S._Marines_holding_Sandino's_Flag_-_Nicaragua_1932.jpg* I find the Wikipedia article on “Left-Wing Fascism” overall misdirected. For me, if you defend the ideals of the French revolution, with whatever means, even fascist-like ones, you are necessarily opposed to Fascism. Maybe “fascist Left” is what the article is really about? In any case, “Left Fascism” ought to be reserved for people like Gabriele D’Annunzio in Italy, the Strasser brothers in Germany and Juan Yagüe in the Spanish Falange. So far in the history of fascism, we have recurrently seen the purging of Left Fascism within the victorious and ruling parties.

Sandino’s spiritism

Augusto_César_Sandino_cph.3b19320Remembering how left-wing friends in the 1980s took great interest in the Sandinista revolution in Nicaragua (recall The Clash’s album Sandinista! I personally backed the Contras, perhaps not my finest political decision), it is intriguing to learn from Donald C. Hodges’ Sandino’s Communism: Spiritual Politics For The Twenty-First Century (1992) how deeply involved Augusto César Sandino  was in spiritism and esotericism.

maestro_trincadoSandino seems to have taken a particularly keen interest in the religio-philosophical ideas of Escuela Magnético-Espiritual de la Comuna Universal, founded by Joaquín Trincado Mateo. The Magnetical-Spiritual School of Universal Commune, “the direct continuation” of the magical system “Moses founded 36 centuries ago”, if we are to believe Wikipedia, seems to still be around. I doubt however that the political dimension of the school, that first attracted Sandino, are vibrant still. In respect to early 19the century France, Julian Strube has recently studied the juxtaposition of socialism and occultism. It was news to me that such a joint adventure continued well into the interwar period.Emblem