Histomat: Adventures in Historical Materialism

'Historical materialism is the theory of the proletarian revolution.' Georg Lukács

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Fascism and Big Business

Daniel Guerin would not have be surprised by the following story I saw in today's Metro paper, also reported here in more detail:

'NatWest branch hit by swastika row.
NatWest Bank yesterday refused to get rid of two swastikas from a branch. Bosses said the symbols, in the tiled floor of a branch in Bolton, Greater Manchester, were commonly used in architecture when it was built in 1927, six years before Adolf Hitler rose to power. But NatWest customer Mohammed Patel, 37, said: "The swastika is an offensive symbol synonymous with fascism. Jewish customers would be upset to see it." The NatWest said the symbols were an original feature of the branch, built for the Manchester and County Bank. A spokesperson said: "In all these years this is the first complaint. We have no intention of removing them."'

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At 3:55 pm, Blogger Philip said...

Didn't the Nazis pilfer the swastika from Hinduism or somewhere? That being the case, perhaps it's due for reclamation, though of course NatWest's motives are likely to be budgetary rather than cultural.

At 4:32 pm, Blogger Snowball said...

Indeed so philip. In the other news report of this that I linked to there is an interesting point made about this:

'Helen McHugh, chairman of Bolton Against Racism, suggested the bank hung a plaque next to the tiling explaining the origins of the symbol.

It is thought the swastika was first used as far back as 1000BC in ancient Troy. It has been adopted by various cultures around the world.

Ms McHugh said: "The symbol was originally meant to represent good, but to most younger people it no longer means that.

"If people were made aware of its origins, I believe there is less chance of people being offended."'

Again I suspect you are right that NatWest id hardly going to want to fund such an explanatory notice - though it would be nice.

I think NatWest's line that 'noone has ever complained of it since 1927' casts rather a dubious shadow over the local NatWest management during the 1930s (when Fascism was a force). Perhaps the local bank clerk saluted it or something every morning as he went to work...

At 2:18 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who is this Mohammed Patel aged only 37?

Who's name is a combination of the Hindu Patel and Islam prophet Mohammed. If neither the Hindu or Islamic cultures are not offended by the mix of their four-fathers names with other cultures, why has this only just recently been an issue to him? Islam is not the only culture or religion on this wonderfull planet and it is time that he should grow up and respect this reality. The swastica has been used for representing goodness, happiness and purity for thousands of years and long before the German Nazi's used it in their propaganda. Changing the Swastica symbol, would mean that Mohammed Patel has been brainwashed by the German Nazis' propaganda and seriously needs mental help.

At 8:51 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I live quite close to the bolton bank in this furore ove the swastika symbol. Luckily as a child I learn't about the hindu meaning and ancient meanings regarding what is now referred to as the "swastika"

However the anonymous before me makes a ridiculous statement. Can only Jewish people complain about the swastika because they felt the evil force of the nazi's hardist. Most people in the DEMOCRATIC world think we all have a right to express our ideas and freedoms.

My Grandfather was involved in the production of submarines for the second world war and I think he would be sickened that future britains yes muslims or hindus are british if they have citizenship would be able to complain about a nazi symbol.

Over 50million ppl dided due to the men who twisted this symbol.

I was born in bolton, grew up a stones throw away and went to school very close by I think its repulsive that a symbol many people associate with death is being held because "no-one's complained till now."

Im sure Natwest cares about the interest of their customers but really is having Adolf hitlers symbol a good idea???

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