27 March 2014

Hitler on the shelf

Probably the only thing that Kim Dotcom and I have in common is that we both own a second-hand copy of Hitler's Mein Kampf. But, in my case, it is a paperback English translation, not a signed first-edition.
Having got that disclosure out of the way, I am sure that anyone who knows my political views will support me in saying that, simply because I own a copy of that politically-charged text, it does not mean that I condone anything at all in it. Nor should we jump to conclusions about the significance of Kim Dotcom's ownership of a copy.
A certain blogger, however, claims that Kim Dotcom has a fetish for Nazi memorabilia and holds anti-semitic views. And hence that Kiwi voters should beware. Dotcom, in reply, argues that these allegations are all part of a 'smear campaign' coming out of the National Party.
Kim Dotcom, as a German, would probably know that the rights to Mein Kampf were acquired after the War by the State of Bavaria, which has since refused to permit its publication. This amounts to an official ban on the book in Germany. It would be a mistake then to think that Dotcom sees his acquisition of a very rare signed first edition as simply a smart 'investment', as Hone Harawira suggests. Dotcom's ownership of a copy is a snub (to put it mildly) to his home country's efforts to suppress Nazism.
But, even if Dotcom acquired his rare copy of Mein Kampf as just a collector's item that will appreciate in economic value, this episode only serves to muddy the waters for his political campaign and the Internet Party.
Kim Dotcom's true political-ideological allegiances are far from clear (probably to himself as much as to anyone else). He has dallied with prominent leftists, such as Hone Harawira, but let's not forget that he is a wealthy businessman. The Kim Dotcom business model may look like a kind of 'piracy' to some (especially some in Hollywood), but it is still a capitalist business model. The Kim Dotcom model represents the future, the digital age, whereas the Hollywood entertainment industry, clinging onto its intellectual property rights, represents the past.
I was amused to learn that Hone Harawira had trouble understanding Marx, but Marx would have warned us that the economic basis of a person's livelihood will tell us all we need to know about his actual political values.


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