The Cape Times’ Subaltern Studies

The Cape Times’ Subaltern Studies
Note: This is part of the Liberal Nazi’s thread, a copy has been sent to the newspaper concerned.(from

The Cape Times’ Subaltern Studies

Patrick Laurence’s pathetic attempt to exhonerate the nazi sympathiser Van Wyk Louw, in a piece published (and more than likely commissioned) by the Cape Times yesterday falls into a division of subaltern studies (the study of subordinate, dominated, marginalised or excluded “races”, castes, ethnic and linguistic groups, classes, genders and cultures) that looks at demagogues and the way their supporters contest power.

If Hitler wasn’t all that bad, the logic of Laurence’s argument goes, then Himmler and Goering could be forgiven for what they perpetrated against the Jewish people. It is easy to fall into the trap of equating the Nazi Holocaust with the apartheid state, but the real travesty is if we ignore the history of our nation, brushing aside growing concerns that we have not been fully reconciled as a people, nor totally in possession of the truth about the perpetrators of hate-crimes, especially when it comes to poets and writers.

Laurence manages to turn a “brief flirtation with Nazism” into an eloquent defence of Grand Apartheid and Separate Development. And while not a “devotee of Verwoerd” N P Van Wyke Louw, it is admitted, contributed to theories about racial superiority, and indeed, as Laurence recognises, justified Verwoerdian notions of seperate development in his own, unenviable way. It would take a grant from the Helen Suzman foundation to produce a closer reading of the texts in this debate, but from what I can gather, Laurance is dangerously close to prevaricating on the crime against humanity (known as Apartheid) and indeed, fabricating history.

If Apartheid wasn’t all that bad, goes Laurence’s own monologic, because it carried within it, the seeds of its own demise, then Nazism was even better, since only Hitlers suicide ended World War 2. It is impossible to retrace history, to correct mistakes and deviations in thought — all we have to go on is the solipsism of hope that future generations will not make the same mistakes as those of our forefathers, some of whom went to the grave denying that such a strange notion as non-racialism could ever exist in reality.

  1. Why bother.

    That the world dwells so continuously on past evils with the aim to never “repeat the mistakes of the past”, what hope do we have ?

    The only hope is that those that bring up the Nazis do so only out of historic curiosity and not out of some misguided view of the world we live in now.

    Luckily that much is true, so long as we try to keep it that way.

    Lets get off the treadmill of the past ?

  2. History is a bit of a petri dish, and without historical analysis, it is impossible to embark on new tasks. The nazis will always be an example of the depths to which educated, seemingly “civilised” society can sink.

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