Just to set the record straight

The “Just to set the record straight” manifesto doing rounds on social media deserves a closer look. It reads like a PR effort by the “Occupy / 99%” movement to soften their public image of Marxist radicals. Judging by the number of “likes” on Facebook the ploy is getting some traction but what is it really telling us about those who wrote it? To spice up the story line I will refer to another, historical, political manifesto and do a line-by-line comparison of both documents to look for any common threads.

“I do not want free healthcare; I want affordable healthcare”

The State has the duty to help raise the standard of national health by providing maternity welfare centres, by prohibiting juvenile labour, by increasing physical fitness through the introduction of compulsory games and gymnastics, and by the greatest possible encouragement of associations concerned with the physical education of the young.

Not a perfect match but both texts raise concern about the availability of health care to the masses.

“I do not want money for nothing; I want the opportunity for a good job”

We demand that the State shall above all undertake to ensure that every citizen shall have the possibility of living decently and earning a livelihood.

Since the “Just to set…” manifesto demands action from the government the messages are almost identical.

“I do not expect every election to bring the result I want; I just want my vote to count”

The right to choose the government and determine the laws of the State shall belong only to citizens.

Again, both documents are very close – power to the people!

“I do not want businesses to be unprofitable; I just want them out of the regulatory and political process”

We wage war against the corrupt parliamentary administration whereby men are appointed to posts by favour of the party without regard to character and fitness. (…) We demand profit-sharing in large industries.

These quotes point in roughly the same direction – businesses are in bed with the politicians and their profits are too high.

“I do not want the wealthiest Americans to pay for everything; I just want them to pay their fair share”

All citizens must possess equal rights and duties. (…) [We demand] That all unearned income, and all income that does not arise from work, be abolished.

The message is reasonably similar – the wealthy cheat by not contributing enough to the kitty.

“REJECT THE PROPAGANDA. EMBRACE THE TRUTH”

We demand that there be a legal campaign against those who propagate deliberate political lies.

I presume the authors of the documents are the judges of what is the truth and what is a political lie.

Now the punchline: the other document I quoted from is the 1925 “25 Points Manifesto” of Adolf Hitler’s party NSDAP. It was instrumental in winning public support for the Nazis and, eventually, giving them political power in the Third Reich.

http://www.scrapbookpages.com/dachauscrapbook/25Points.html

So, am I saying that the “Just to set…” manifesto was written by Nazis? No, I am not. The term Nazi is an abbreviation of the German word Nationalsozialismus – national socialism. The Facebook manifesto was written by “Zi’s” meaning socialists, not necessarily of a national variety. People who “liked” the document on Facebook are much like ordinary Germans in 1925 – they want a job, dignity and decent life. Whether populist manifestos deliver what the punters hope for remains to be seen. In pre-WW2 Germany they did not.

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