March 21, 2006

Echos of history

From "Who Killed Christopher Marlowe?" Stephen Greenblatt, New York Review of Books, April 6, 2006:

Why would Elizabeth, who was not by nature impulsively murderous, have wanted Marlowe dead? Her government, to be sure, was nervous about the threat of popular rioting, incited by the placard signed "Tamburlaine," but Marlowe, off at his patron's country house, was not directly implicated in this provocation. Still, Riggs argues, the combination of the placard and the spy's report triggered in the Queen and her close advisers a "moral panic," the paranoid fear of "an emergent alliance between atheists and Roman Catholic provocateurs." After all, Protestant polemicists had so often repeated the line that the Pope was a cynical unbeliever and that the Catholic Church was the Antichrist's conspiracy that they had come to believe that it was literally true. The list of scandalous opinions attributed to Marlowe did not seem to them either a deliberate slander or a piece of grotesque comedy; rather it seemed like the smoking gun they had long expected to find. And if anyone had bothered to notice that Marlowe's "Catholicism" was a double agent's role and his "atheism" the unverified report of a paid informer who was a notorious liar, it would not have made a difference. The authorities were spooked by their own fantasies. ...

From The Guardian (U.K.), March 21, 1933:

The President of the Munich police has informed the press that the first concentration camp holding 5,000 political prisoners is to be organised within the next few days near the town of Dachau in Bavaria.

Here, he said, Communists, "Marxists" and Reichsbanner leaders who endangered the security of the State would be kept in custody. It was impossible to find room for them in the State prisons, nor was it possible to release them. Experience had shown, he said, that the moment they were released, they started their agitation again.

If the safety and order of the State were to be guaranteed, measures were inevitable, and they would be carried out without any petty consideration. This is the first clear statement hitherto made regarding concentration camps. The extent of the terror may be measured from the size of this Bavarian camp which - one may gather - will be only one of many. The Munich police president's statement leaves no more doubt whatever that the Socialists and Republicans will be given exactly the same sort of "civic education" as the Communists.

Absolute power for Hitler: The Cabinet at its meeting this afternoon decided on the text of the Enabling Bill which it will submit to the Reichstag. If this bill is passed, the Hitler Government will be endowed with absolute dictatorial powers. The Act will enable the Cabinet to legislate and to make laws even if these "mark a deviation from the Constitution", except that the Reichstag and the Reichsrat must not he abolished. But as these will be put out of action for four years, this provision will not inconvenience the Government, which will even have full powers at the end of four years to alter the electoral system by decree.

Military expenditure: As the Budget would be settled by decree, and as the figures would not need to be made public, there would be no extra-Governmental control of public finances, and the Government would be free to increase military and naval expenditure without the least publicity.

tags:  anarchism, anarchosyndicalism