Hugo Boss’s Secret Nazi History

Hugo Boss’s Secret Nazi History

Made to Measure (2017)

Film Review

This documentary traces the history of the iconic menswear fashion brand Hugo Boss.

It begins by reviewing the life of founder Hugo Boss, whose fashion business was bankrupt before he joined the Nazi Party (in 1922) and received a commission to make uniforms for the Nazi army and the SS.

Boss, whose company employed slave labor, was tried at Nuremberg. He was sentenced to pay a fine of $100,000 Reichsmark.

For the Nazis, elegant uniforms were essential to their branding of Aryan superiority (see Mumia Abu Jamal Murder Incorporated). Most were high waisted to make the wearer’s legs seemed longer. Charlie Chaplin deliberately parodied this feature in his film The Little Dictator.

Boss’s grandsons revived the company following his death in 1947. At preset, the Boss brand represents a “uniform” for the corporate man – designed to symbolize “power, aggression, darkness and danger.”

 

Coca Cola: The Ugly History

Mark Thomas on Coca Cola

BBC (2007)

Film Review

This documentary investigates the unsavory history and practices of Coca Cola, the world’s largest soft drink corporation. Including

  • their support of the 1936 Olympics in Nazi and ongoing business collaboration with Hitler during World War II. When the US entered the war in 1941, its Germany subsidiary developed Fanta especially for the German market, owing to their inability to import cola syrup.
  • their refusal to promote African Americans to administrative and management positions, leading Martin Luther King to call for a nationwide Coke boycott the day before his assassination. The issue remained unresolved until 2000, when Coke settled a federal civil rights lawsuit for $200 million.
  • their longstanding battle with Indian farmers over the depletion of aquifers they rely on for well water.
  • their collaboration with right wing paramilitary groups in Columbia to murder labor activists and their families for protest poor pay and working conditions in local bottling plants.
  • their refusal to crack down on their sugar supplier in El Salvador for illegally employing 30,000 children under 12 in sugar cane fields.
  • contamination of local residents’ drinking water in Nejapa El Salvador.
  • refusal to honor growing call by child health advocates to cease advertising caffeinated drinks to children under 12.

Colonization: Deciding It’s OK to Steal Someone Else’s Land (and/or Body)

In the following presentation, Native American activist Ward Churchill offers ones of the most fascinating explorations of colonization I have ever encountered.

He maintains that indigenous people have an inherent right both to self-determination and to fulfill their duty to manage land and habitat to guarantee the survival of their descendants for seven generations into the future.

With colonization, colonists dispossess a native population of their land for some alternative use.

He explains the concept of “settler colonialism” – giving the Nazi occupation of Europe as the prime example (along with the Israeli colonization of Palestine, the European colonization of North and South America and the English colonization of South Africa, Australia and New Zealand).

He also introduces the concept of “false colonization,” which occurs when settlers continue to deprive native peoples of  their land and rights despite breaking away from the mother country.

He blames the plight of African Americans on “black colonies,” which he defines as “internal colonial constructions.”

Churchill believes Europeans themselves have been colonized, which he traces back to Charlemagne (737-814 AD), when early European tribal groups (“barbarians”) were dispossessed of their land and right of self-governance in the formation of nation states.

Anarchism and the Spanish Civil War

last great cause

The Last Great Cause

V.G. Tenturini

Search Foundation (2010)

Book Review

The Last Great Cause is a virtual encyclopedia of Spanish political history, starting from the Napoleon’s invasion in 1808. Although I was chiefly interested in the history of Spanish anarcho-syndicalism, the book also provides a comprehensive overview of the fascist coup Franco launched in 1936, the International Brigades who fought (unsuccessfully) to save the second Spanish Republic, the so-called “transition” following Franco’s death in 1975 and more recently efforts by the crusading Spanish jurist Baltasar Garzon to achieve justice for tens of thousands of victims of the Franco regime.

Venturini begins by identifying unique features of 19th century Spanish society that provided fertile ground for a major anarchist movement. Among these were Spain’s failure to achieve industrial revolution (except in Catalonia), the absence of a Spanish middle class and strong separatist movements in Catalonia and the Basque region of Spain. Unlike socialism, which historically develops among middle class intellectuals, Spanish anarchism had its origin in the working class.

The Rise of Spanish Anarchism

In 1868, a group of disconnected generals led the first major effort to depose the Spanish monarchy. The same year, Mikhail Bakunin, known as the father of collective anarchism, sent his disciple Giuseppe Fanelli to Spain to organize Spanish farm laborers. Within five years, the number of anarchists in Spain totaled 50,000.

The resulting “glorious revolution” produced in the First Republic. It lasted eleven months before the monarchy was restored.

Spanish history between 1902 and 1929 was marked by profound political and economic turmoil. During the early 1900s, Spanish anarchists merged with the Syndicalist* movement. In 1911, they formed the CNT.** CNT membership grew from 14,000 to 700,000 by 1919. In 1917, the CNT joined forces with the UGT*** to stage the first general strike.

In 1929, continuing popular unrest would lead to Alfonzo XIII’s removal from power and the creation of the Second Republic in 1931.

The Forces Backing Franco’s Coup

From the outset, the Republic faced powerful opposition from the Catholic Church, the Spanish military, wealthy landholders and Spanish and European Banks. Spain was embroiled in virtual civil war from 1933 on, as the forces of reaction engaged armed thugs (as the Falange Espanola) to thwart governmental efforts to carry out land and other democratic reforms.

These forces of reaction also assisted in planning and implementing the fascist coup Franco launched in 1936. The Republic was at a clear disadvantage in resisting the coup, owing to the major support Franco received from fascist Germany and Italy and the covert support he received from Britain and the US.  According to Venturini, Britain, which had major business interests in Spain, directly aided Franco with intelligence and naval support. American oil companies also provided him with oil (while refusing to sell it to Spain’s legitimately elected government), and Ford and other US manufacturers supplied him with trucks.

The International Brigades

Venturini estimates 40,000-50,000 volunteers from 53 countries participated in the International brigades. When Franco captured Catalonia in January 1939 500,000 Republican soldiers and civilians fled across the border to France. Many of the anarchists joined the Maquis, where they played a vital role in liberating France from the Nazis.

Venturini emphasizes that no allied troops fought in the South of France – that these regions were liberated by the Resistance – in many instances before the liberation of Paris.


*Syndicalism is a type of economic system in which industries are owned and managed by the workers.
**CNT Confederación Nacional del Trabajo National Confederation of workers.
***The Unión General de Trabajadores (UGT, General Union of Workers) is a major Spanish trade union, historically affiliated with the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE).
****Rural guerrilla bands of French resistance fighters.