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from The Mass Psychology of Fascism

by gmoke Tue Jul 9th, 2024 at 09:26:47 PM EST

For some reason, I've been reading about Fascism these last few years.  Must be something in the air.  Wilhelm Reich is a problematic thinker but I found this book to be well-reasoned and well-researched.  I especially appreciated his remarks on Marxism and Leninism which are very clear.

May his ideas here be useful to us all.

My full notes on this book are available at http://hubeventsnotes.blogspot.com/2024/07/from-mass-psychology-of-fascism.html

The Mass Psychology of Fascism by Wilhelm Reich

NY:  Farrar, Strauss, & Giroux, 1970

(page xiii)  Viewed with respect to man's character, "fascism" is the basic emotional attitude of the suppressed man of our authoritarian machine civilization and its mechanistic-mystical conception of life.
It is the mechanistic-mystical character of modern man that produces fascist parties, and not vice versa.

(xiv)  In its pure form, fascism is the sum total of all the irrational reactions of the average human character. To the obtuse sociologists who lack the mettle to recognize the supreme role played by irrationality in the history of man, the fascist racial theory appears to be nothing more than an imperialistic interest, or, more broadly, speaking, a "prejudice."

(xxiv)  There are liberal capitalists and reactionary workers.  There are no class distinctions when it comes to character.

(18)  The basic traits of the character structures corresponding to a definite historical situation are formed in early childhood, and are far more conservative than the forces of technical production. It results from this that, as time goes on, the psychic structures lag behind the rapid changes of the social conditions from which they derived, and later come into conflict with the new forms of life. This is the basic trait of the nature of so-called tradition, i.e., of the contradiction between the old and the new social situation.

(37)  This ambivalent attitude toward authority - rebellion against it, coupled with acceptance and submission - is a basic feature of every middle-class structure from the age of puberty to full adulthood and is especially pronounced in individuals stemming from materially restricted circumstances.

(62)  From the standpoint of the masses, the nationalistic führer is the personification of the nation. Only insofar as this führer actually personifies the nation in conformity with the national sentiments of the masses does a personal tie to him develop. Insofar as he knows how to arouse emotional family ties in the individuals of the masses, he is also an authoritarian father figure.

(63)  Even more essential, however, is the identification of the individuals of the masses with the "führer." The more helpless, the "mass-individual" has become, owing to his upbringing, the more pronounced is his identification with the führer, and the more of the childish need for protection is discussed in the form of a feeling at one with the führer. This inclination to identify is the psychological basis of the national narcissism, i.e., of the self-confidence that individual man derives from the "greatness of the nation."  The reactionary, lower middle-class man perceives himself in the führer, in the authoritarian state. On the basis of this identification, he feels himself to be a defender of the "national heritage,"of this "nation," which does not prevent him, likewise, on the basis of this identification, from simultaneously despising "the masses" and confronting them as an individual. The righteousness of his material and sexual situation is so overshadowed by the exulting idea of belonging to a master race, and having a brilliant führer that, as time goes on, he ceases to realize how completely he has sunk to a position of insignificant, blind allegiance.
NB:   "Narcissism" can be very powerful and combine a narcissistic sociopath with a public prone to their own narcissism opens up a dangerous hall of mirrors where self-regard allows a lot of blood to flow.


(70)  Fascism promises the abolition of the classes, that is to say, the abolition of proletarian status, and in this way, it plays upon the social inferiority felt by the manual laborer.

(73)  Disappointment in Social Democracy, accompanied by the contradiction between wretchedness and conservative thinking, must lead to fascism if there are no revolutionary organizations.
NB:  "Disappointment in Social Democracy" is constantly with us but has increased under the weight of the "war on terror," the 2008 financial collapse, and COVID-19, along with our current slide into forever war.

(80)  The structure of fascism it characterized by metaphysical thinking, unorthodox faith, obsession with abstract ethical ideals, and belief in the divine predestination of the führer.  These basic features are linked with a deeper layer, which is characterized by a strong authoritarian tie to the führer-ideal or the nation.

(106)  The notion that sexuality is moral only in the service of procreation, that what lies outside the pale of procreation is immoral, is the most important feature of reactionary sexual politics.  

(115)  As we have already pointed out, when political reaction is successful with a certain ideological propaganda, this cannot be ascribed solely to befogging. It is our contention that a problem of mass psychology must lie at the root of each instance of its success. Something that we still haven't grasped is going on in the masses, and it is that "something" that enables them to think, and to act against their own vital interests. The question is decisive, for without this attitude on the part of the masses, political reaction would be wholly powerless. It is the willingness of the masses to absorb the these ideas - that we call a dictator's "soil of mass psychology" - that constitutes fascism's strength. Thus, it is imperative to seek a complete understanding of this.

(116)  Since mystical contagion is the most important psychological precondition for the assimilation of fascist ideology by the masses, an understanding of the psychological effect of mysticism in general is an indispensible part of an investigation of fascist ideology.

(141)  All reactionary types condemn sexual pleasure (not without impunity, however) because it attracts and repulses them at one and the same time.  They cannot resolve the contradiction between sexual demands and moralistic inhibitions in themselves.

(185)  Insofar as the abortion law causes distress, death, and grief, it is a question of general social politics. Not until, and only when, it is clearly and explicitly understood that people violate the law because they have to have intercourse even if they don't want to have children will the question of abortion become a sex-political question. This has passed unnoticed until now, despite the fact that it is emotionally the most important point of the question. If a reactionary, social politician should take it upon himself to tell the people: "You complain that the abortion law demands so many sacrifices in health and human life! You don't have to have sexual intercourse," then there would be an end to the approach that is concerned solely with population politics.  The question is meaningful only if one clearly, and openly speaks up for the necessity of a satisfactory sex life.
NB:  It would be good for those confronting the anti-abortion forces to keep on pointing this out as they move to enforce the Comstock Law, seek to limit or outlaw birth control, and tyrannize over any sexual freedom.

(200-201)  Hitler not only established his power from the very beginning with masses of people who were until then, essentially non-political; he also accomplished his last step to victory in March of 1939 in a "legal" manner, by mobilizing, no less than five million non-voters, that is to say, non-political people.  The Left parties had made every effort to win over the indifferent masses, without posing the question as to what it means "to be indifferent or non-political."
NB:  Something else to worry about come November 2024

(201)  To be non-political is not, as one might suppose, evidence of a passive psychic condition, but of a highly active attitude, a defense against the awareness of social responsibility.

(205-206)  It would not be farfetched to say that it is in the nature of a politician that he does not learn anything from experience.

(210)  It is in the nature of a political party that it does not orient itself in terms of truth, but in terms of illusions, which usually correspond to the irrational structure of the masses.

(214)  The word fascism is not a word of abuse any more than the word capitalism is. It is a concept denoting a very definite kind of mass leadership and mass influence: authoritarian, one-party system, hence totalitarian, a system in which power takes priority over objective interests, and facts are distorted for political purposes.

(252)  ... the fact that slave mentality is deeply rooted in the body itself, has become a second nature, as it were, so that the masses of people pass on their suppression from generation to generation.

(258)  We must never lose sight of the fact that Hitler always built upon the justified hate of masses of people against sham democracy and the parliamentary system - and with great success!

(266)  The tendency to see everything in terms of economy is catastrophic.  Every effort must be made to correct this tendency.
(300)  Illusions always prevent that which they pretend to be from _really
materializing.

(354-355)  It is ridiculous to argue with a murderer about his right to murder, but this ridiculous mistake is made again and again, in dealing with fascists.

(355)  Freedom does not have to be achieved - it is spontaneously present in every life function.  It is the elimination of all obstacles to freedom that has to be achieved.

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nato.int | NATO's military presence in the east of the Alliance, 8 July

[...]
As of July 2024, the eight battlegroups are composed of the following Allies:

Host nation: Bulgaria
Framework nation: Italy
Contributing nations: Albania, Croatia, Greece, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Türkiye and the United States

Host nation: Estonia
Framework nation: United Kingdom
Contributing nations: France and Iceland

Host nation: Hungary
Framework nation: Hungary
Contributing nations: Croatia, Italy, Türkiye and the United States

Host nation: Latvia
Framework nation: Canada
Contributing nations: Albania, Czechia, Iceland, Italy, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain

Host nation: Lithuania
Framework nation: Germany
Contributing nations: Belgium, Czechia, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Norway

Host nation: Poland
Framework nation: United States
Contributing nations: Croatia, Czechia, Romania, Türkiye and the United Kingdom

Host nation: Romania
Framework nation: France
Contributing nations: Belgium, Luxembourg, North Macedonia, Poland, Portugal and the United States

Host nation: Slovakia
Framework nation: Spain
Contributing nations: Germany, Slovenia and the United States

All eight battlegroups are integrated into NATO's command structure to ensure the necessary readiness and responsiveness.
[...]

by Cat on Wed Jul 10th, 2024 at 02:01:00 AM EST
This inclination to identify is the psychological basis of the national narcissism, i.e., of the self-confidence that individual man derives from the "greatness of the nation."  The reactionary, lower middle-class man perceives himself in the führer, in the authoritarian state. On the basis of this identification, he feels himself to be a defender of the "national heritage,"of this "nation" ...

Applicable too for a united Football Club or definition of a hooligan.

The very first group in the Netherlands to demonstrate and showed up by political rallies of Geert Wilders, the single member PVV party, were the football hooligans. Specifically Rotterdam and Feyenoord, PSV Eindhoven, FC Den Haag or The Hague.

Riots near House of parliament het Binnenhofin The Hague after murder of Pim Fortuyn

the bullet came from the "left"

Across all of Europe the identical wave of football hooliganism and the right-wing anti-immigration parties. The burden of the influx of mass immigration lies with the lower class neighborhoods, the areas often synonymous with fervent football club supporters.

Recent years right-wing xenophobia has become a conversation topic commonplace in the higher class. The same with support of electorate for extreme right anti-immigration parties. The flow of fascism ...

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Wed Jul 10th, 2024 at 07:42:49 AM EST
Why hidden xenophobia is surging into the open | Nature - 23 Dec 2023 |

Anti-immigrant sentiment is playing a major part in current events across Europe and North America. Ireland is reeling from destructive far-right riots in Dublin in November. Also last month, the Dutch Party for Freedom, led by Geert Wilders -- a staunch and unapologetic opponent of Islam and immigration -- won 37 seats in the 150-seat House of Representatives, the nation's lower house. In the past two years, Sweden, Italy and Finland have elected right-wing governments. And in the United States, a second Donald Trump presidency threatens.

The George Bush years after 9/11, triggered the continuous rise of the far-right in politics, and xenophobia. Other events the election of a black president in the U.S. , financial crisis  and austerity measures, conspiracy theory and distrust of citizens with political leadership. "Civilization" was ready for Trump and white supremacy ... chaos level is ripe for military conflicts.

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Wed Jul 10th, 2024 at 07:43:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Putin used judo and martial arts dojos to help him consolidate power.  Also look at people like Andrew Tate and the rise of right-wing MMA fighters as social/political influencers

Solar IS Civil Defense
by gmoke on Wed Jul 10th, 2024 at 07:04:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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