Monday, April 20, 2015

The Mass Psychology of Fascism by Wilhelm Reich Revisited

On August 23, 1956, six tons of the printed works of psychologist Wilhelm Reich were burned, by court order, in a New York incinerator. 

Reich, an Austrian, had fled to American after being put on Hitler's death list in the late 1930s.

One of the books burned in New York was The Mass Psychology of Fascism, Reich's psycho-social analysis of the rise of Hitler.

Ironically, stocks of this book had been burned in Nazi Germany as well.

                                                                   Wilhelm Reich

Where Progressives Go Wrong

Reich obviously believes the progressive message – economic and political freedom – is more innately appealing to the working class than what fascism has to offer.

 His only complaint is the way the left tries to deliver it.

What he advocates is that instead of educating low income workers about economic and political injustice, progressives ought to directly address the emotional baggage the working poor carry from authoritarian family and school experiences.

 He proposes that the best way to do this is to engage in politically enlightened social reform activities, primarily directed towards youth – to help them become resilient adults unhampered by their parents’ insecurities – and towards women.

During his lifetime, Reich himself was an outspoken champion of women’s rights – arguing that freeing women from authoritarian family structures was the best way to free their children from them.

He campaigned tirelessly for women’s ability to access (free) birth control and abortion – recognizing that many women are forced to raise their children in a paternalistic, authoritarian families for economic reasons – as well as for laws and programs promoting women’s economic independence.

He also advocated that progressives involve themselves in parent and teacher education (to specifically address authoritarian child rearing and teaching styles) and health and sex education.


Democracy and Class Struggle publish a section of Wilhelm Reich's work on the Authoritarian Family.

Gender and Family figures strongly in the arsenal of the new Right and neo Fascism and Fascism in Europe.

The Revolutionary Left needs to learn from Reich  how to combat this rightist propaganda.

The Nazis struggle against Kultur Bolschewismus yesterday resonates with the Neo Fascist Rights struggle against Cultural Marxism Today and this requires us to revisit comrade Wilhelm Reich.



Future historians will be likely to conclude from Hitler's success that only the great man makes history, by firing the masses with "his idea." National Socialist propaganda was indeed built upon this "Führer ideology." The mechanism of their success was unknown to the propagandists of National Socialism, nor did they dare to comprehend the historical soil of the National Socialist movement. Quite in keeping with this, the National Socialist,

"Because National Socialism is an elementary movement, it cannot be countered with arguments. Arguments could only be effective if the movement had grown by arguments." Speeches in National Socialist meetings were indeed characterized by very clever manipulations of the emotions of the mass individuals and by strict avoidance of objective argumentation.

Hitler, in MEIN KAMPF, emphasized repeatedly that the only correct mass-psychological technique was that of avoiding arguments and of keeping the "big final goal" before the masses. The true nature of the "final goal" after the seizure of power is demonstrated by Italian fascism. Similarly, Göring's edicts against middle-class economic organizations, the failure of the "second revolution" to materialize, the failure to keep the promises of Socialist measures, etc., all these clearly showed the reactionary function of fascism. How little Hitler himself knew the mechanism of his successes is shown by the following statement:

[29] This broadness of outline from which we must never depart, in combination with steady, consistent emphasis, allows our final success to mature. And then, to our amazement, we shall see what tremendous results such perseverance leads to—results that are almost beyond our understanding.

(MEIN KAMPF, p. 185)*

Thus, Hitler's success could by no means be explained by his reactionary role in the history of capitalism, for had this role been openly admitted in the propaganda, it would have had the opposite effect from that which was intended.

Investigation of Hitler's mass-psychological success must start from the fact that a Führer or the advocate of an idea can succeed only if his ideology or program is concordant with the average structure of the mass individual. This leads to the further question, What historical and sociological situation created this mass structure? With that, the problem of mass-psychology is no longer one of metaphysics but of actual social life.

Only if a Führer structure is concordant with the structure of the average mass individual can a "Führer" make history. Whether he makes history in a lasting sense or merely temporarily depends only on whether his program is in the direction of the progressive social process or against it. It is misleading to explain Hitler's success by National Socialist demagogy, the "obfuscation of the masses" or such meaningless terms as "Nazi psychosis."

For the question is precisely why the masses were accessible to demagogy, obfuscation and a psychotic situation. The answer to this question requires an exact knowledge of what goes on in the masses. To say that the Hitler movement had a reactionary function is insufficient. For the mass success of the NSDAP seems to be at variance with this reactionary function.

Millions of people affirmed their own subjugation. This contradiction cannot be explained on a political or economic basis, but only mass-psychologically.

* Translator's note: The quotations from MEIN KAMPF—with the exception of one, which is so marked—are taken from MEIN KAMPF, by Adolf Hitler,

Translated by Ralph Manheim, Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, 1943. Permission to use these quotations was kindly granted by the Houghton Mifflin

Company and is hereby gratefully acknowledged.—T.P.W.

[30] National Socialism used different means with different classes and made different promises according to the class it wished to win over at a given moment. In the spring of 1933, for example, the revolutionary character of the Nazi movement was emphasized, in an attempt to win the industrial workers.

The Nazis proceeded to "celebrate" May Day after having first placated the aristocracy in Potsdam. To conclude from this that the success was due only to political swindle would mean denying the possibility of social revolution. The question is: why do the masses fall for political swindle? They had every possibility of evaluating the propaganda of various parties. Why did they fail to discover that Hitler promised to the workers the expropriation of the private means of production while at the same time he promised the capitalists protection against expropriation?

Hitler's personal structure and life history are irrelevant for an understanding of National Socialism. True, it is interesting that the middle-class origin of his ideas fits the mass structure which readily accepted these ideas.

Like any other reactionary movement, Hitlerism gained its support from the various strata of the middle class.

National Socialism laid bare all the contradictions which characterize the mass-psychology of the middle class.

We will have to comprehend these contradictions and their common origin in the imperialist conditions of production. We shall limit ourselves to the problems of sexual ideology.
The leader of the rebelling German middle classes was himself the son of a minor official. He relates how he had to go through that conflict which characterizes the mass structure of the middle classes. His father wanted to make an official of him, but the son rebelled and decided "under no circumstances" to give in; he became a painter and with that, poor. But alongside this rebellion against the father there remained the respect for hisauthority. This ambivalent attitude—rebellion against authority with simultaneous respect and submission—characterizes any middle class [31] structure at the period of transition from adolescence to maturityand is accentuated by straitened circumstances.

Of his mother, Hitler speaks with a great deal of sentimentality. He assures us that only once in his life did he cry: when his mother died. His theory of race and syphilis (vide infra) shows clearly his sexual defense and his neurotic idealization of motherhood.

As a young Nationalist, Hitler, who lived in Austria, decided to take up the fight against the Hapsburgs who, as he said, "delivered the German fatherland to Slavization." In his controversy with the Hapsburgs, the reproach that there were a few syphilitics among them assumes an important place. This would not seem important were it not for the fact that the idea of the "poisoning of the people" and the problem of syphilis came up again and again and formed, after the seizure of power, a central part of internal politics.

Originally, Hitler had sympathized with Social Democracy because it fought for universal suffrage by ballot which might have led to a weakening of the hated "Hapsburg regime." But he was repulsed by the Social-Democratic emphasis on classes, the negation of the nation and its authority, of the right to the ownership of social means of production, of religion and morals.

What finally turned him definitely against Social Democracy was the demand that he join the union which he refused to do.

His ideal became Bismarck, because he had unified the German nation and because he fought the Austrian throne. His further development was decisively influenced by the antisemitist Lueger and the German Nationalist Schönerer. He now formulated nationalistic imperialist goals which he intended to reach by better means than the old "bourgeois" nationalism. What determined the choice of these means was the realization of the power of organized Marxism, and the realization of the significance of the masses for any political movement.

Not until the international world view—politically led by organized Marxism—is confronted by a folk world view, organized and led with [32] equal unity, will success, supposing the fighting energy to be equal on both sides, fall to the side of eternal truth.

What gave the international world view success was its representation by a political party organized into storm troops; what caused

the defeat of the opposite world view was its lack up to now of a unified body to represent it. Not by unlimited freedom to interpret a

general view, but only in the limited and hence integrating form of a political organization can a world view fight and conquer.

(MEIN KAMPF, p. 384f.)

Hitler soon realized the inconsistency of Social-Democratic politics and the impotence of the old bourgeois parties, including the German National party.
All this was only the necessary consequence of the absence of a basic new anti-Marxist philosophy endowed with a stormy will to conquer.

The more I occupied myself with the idea of a necessary change in the government's attitude toward Social Democracy as the momentary embodiment of Marxism, the more I recognized the lack of a serviceable substitute for this doctrine. What would be given the masses, if, just supposing, Social Democracy had been broken? There was not one movement in existence which could have been expected to succeed in drawing into its sphere of influence the great multitudes of workers grown more or less leaderless.

It is senseless and more than stupid to believe that the international fanatic who had left the class party would now at once join a bourgeois party, in other words, a new class organization.

The "bourgeois" parties, as they designate themselves, will never be able to attach the "proletarian" masses to their camp, for here two worlds oppose each other, in part naturally and in part artificially divided, whose mutual relation can only be struggle. The younger will be victorious—and this is Marxism.

(MEIN KAMPF, p. 173f.)

The basic anti-Soviet tendency of National Socialism became apparent at an early stage:
If land was desired in Europe, it could be obtained by and large [33] only at the expense of Russia, and this meant that the new Reich must again set itself on the march along the road of the Teutonic Knights of old, to obtain by the German sword sod for the German plow and daily bread for the nation.

(MEIN KAMPF, p. 140)

Thus Hitler saw himself confronted with the following questions: How can the National Socialist idea be carried to victory? How can Marxism be fought effectively? How can one gain influence over the masses?

To this end, Hitler appealed to the nationalist emotions of the masses, at the same time resolving to organize on a mass basis like Marxism, and to develop a propaganda technique of his own and to use it consistently.

As he openly admitted, he proposed to achieve nationalist imperialism by methods borrowed from Marxism and its technique of mass organization. The reason for the success of this mass organization lies in the masses and not in Hitler.

His propaganda could take root because of the authoritarian freedom-fearing structure of the people.Thus Hitler's sociological importance does not lie in his personality but in the significance which he is given by the masses. The problem is made all the more acute by the fact that Hitler held the masses, with the aid of which he was to accomplish imperialism, in thorough contempt. He stated candidly that "the mood of the people was always a mere discharge of what was funneled into public opinion from above."

What was the structure of the masses that it made them absorb Hitler's propaganda in spite of everything?



We stated that Hitler's success was due neither to his "personality" nor to the objective role of his ideology in capitalism, nor to a mere "obfuscation" of the masses who followed him. We focussed attention on the question,

What was it in the masses that caused them to follow a party the aims of which were, objectively and subjectively,strictly at variance with their own interests?
[34] To begin with, the fact has to be remembered that the National Socialist movement, in its initial success,leaned on the so-called middle classes, that is, the millions of private and public officials, small business people and farmers. With regard to its social basis, National Socialism was originally a middle class movement. This was the case wherever it developed, be it in Italy, Hungary, Argentine or Norway. It follows that this middle class, which had previously belonged to the bourgeois Democratic parties, had undergone a change, that it had changed its political standpoint. The social position and the corresponding psychological structure of the middle class explain the basic differences, as well as the similarities, between the bourgeois-liberal and the fascist ideologies. The fascist middle class is the same as the Democratic-Liberal, only in a different epoch of capitalism.

In the election years of 1930-32, the growth of National Socialism derived almost exclusively from the German Nationalist party, the Wirtschafts-partei and the various minor parties of the Reich. Only the Catholic Center Party maintained its position even in the Prussian election of 1932. Only at that time did National Socialism succeed in making an inroad into the masses of the industrial workers. But the mainstay of the Swastika was always the middle class. During these years of 1929-32, the period of the severest economic disruption of the capitalist system, the middle class entered the political arena in the form of National Socialism and put the brakes on a revolutionary reorganization of society. Political reaction well knew the decisive importance of the middle class. "The middle class is of decisive significance for the existence of the State," said a handbill of the German Nationalists of April 8, 1932.

After January 30, 1933, the social significance of the middle class played an important role in the discussion of the Left. Up to that time, the question had been neglected, partly because attention was focussed on the development of political reaction, partly because the politicians did not think in mass-psychological terms. In these discussions of the "rebellion of the middle class" two main opinions were expressed. One group maintained that [35] fascism was "nothing but" the guard of big business. The other, while not overlooking this aspect, emphasized the "rebellion of the middle class." The advocates of this standpoint were blamed for minimizing the reactionary function of fascism, they were reminded of Thyssen's nomination as economic dictator, of the abolition of the middle class economic organizations, the retreat of the "second revolution," in brief, of the reactionary character of fascism which, in the summer of 1933, became increasingly manifest.

In these violent discussions, something important was overlooked, which led to a good deal of confusion: the fact that National Socialism revealed itself more and more as imperialistic nationalism which tried to eliminate vanything "Socialist" from the movement and which prepared for war on all sides, did not contradict the other fact that fascism, seen from its mass basis, was in fact a middle class movement. Without his promise to fight big business, Hitler never would have won over the middle class strata. They carried him to victory because they were against big business. Under their pressure, the Nazis had to institute anti-capitalistic measures, just as under the pressure of big business they had to scrap them again. One must distinguish the subjective interests resting in the mass basis of a reactionary movement from the objective reactionary function. These contradict each other, although they were at first united in the totality of the Nazi movement. Unless one makes this distinction one cannot have a common understanding because in speaking of "fascism," some will be referring to the objective role of fascism, and others to the subjective interests of the fascist masses. The antithesis of these two aspects of fascism is the basis of all its contradictions fust as their unification in the one form, "National Socialism," characterizes the Hitler movement. In so far as National Socialism had to emphasize its middle class character h(before the seizure of power and immediately afterwards) it was in fact anti-capitalistic and revolutionary. Insofar as (for the solidification and maintenance of its regime) it shed its anticapitalistic character more and more and showed its capitalistic function more and more exclusively, [36] it became the extreme defender of imperialism and the capitalist economic order. It is entirely irrelevant how many of its leaders had an honest or dishonest "Socialist" attitude or how many were out to deceive the people and to grab power for themselves. Such considerations are no basis for effective anti-fascist politics. One could have learned to understand German fascism from Italian fascism, for Italian fascism also showed these two strictly contradictory functions and their fusion into one concept.

Those who deny or underestimate the function of the mass basis of fascism claim that the middle class—because it neither possesses the essential means of production nor works with them—cannot really make history and thus oscillates between capital and the industrial workers. They overlook the fact that, while the middle class cannot make lasting history, it can make temporary history. That it can do so is demonstrated by Italian and German

fascism. We mean here not only the smashing of the labor unions, the untold victims of barbarism, but, more than anything else, the blocking of the development of the economic crisis into social revolution. It is clear that the greater in size and influence the middle class strata are in a nation, the more decisive is their role as a social factor.

Between 1933 and 1942 we witnessed the paradox that fascism, in the form of an international movement, was able to outstrip revolutionary internationalism.

The Socialists and Communists nurtured illusions with regard to the progress of the revolutionary movement compared with the progress of reaction. This meant political suicide, the best motives notwithstanding. This question deserves careful attention. The process which has taken vplace during the past decade in the middle classes of all countries deserves far more attention than the trivial and well-known observation that fascism means extreme economic and political reaction. With the latter, nothing can b done politically, as the history of the years from 1928 to 1942 has amply proven.

The middle class made its entrance as a social force in the form of fascism. What is relevant is not the reactionary intentions of a Hitler or a Göring but the social interests of the middle class [37] strata. The middle class, as a result of its character structure, is an enormous social power, a power far beyond its economic importance. It is that stratum which keeps alive several thousand years of patriarchy with all its contradictions.

That a fascist movement exists at all is undoubtedly a sociological expression of nationalist imperialism. But the fact that this fascist movement was able to become a mass movement and could thus attain the power to fulfil the imperialistic function—that is the effect of the mass movement of the middle class. Only out of these contradictions can the contradictory phenomena of fascism be comprehended.

The social position of the middle class is determined by three factors:

a) its position in the capitalist production process;

b) its position in the authoritarian state machinery; and

c) its specific family situation, which is directly determined by its position in the production process and which determines its ideology. While the economic situation of the small farmers, the officials and small businessmen is different, their family situation is essentially the same.

The rapid development of capitalistic economy during the 19th century, the progressive mechanization of production, the development of monopolistic syndicates and trusts all led to a progressive pauperization of the lower middle class business and tradespeople. Unable to compete with big business, small enterprises inevitably failed.
The middle class can expect nothing from this system but ruthless destruction. The alternative is: whether all will become a large

gray mass of proletarians where all have equally much, that is, nothing, or whether the individual will be able again by his own

strength and industry to create his own property. Middle class or proletarian: that is the question.

Thus speaks the Deutschnationale Partei before the Reichs-presidential elections in 1932. The National Socialists were not [38] clumsy enough to create a wide gap between middle class and industrial workers and were therefore more successful.

In the propaganda of the NSDAP the fight against the large department stores played a large role. But the conflict between the role which National Socialism played for heavy industry on the one hand and the interests of the middle class on which National Socialism depended was expressed, e.g., in Hitler's talk with Knickerbocker:

"We shall not make German-American relationships dependent on a shop (he was referring to the fate of

Woolworth in Berlin) . . . the existence of such enterprises means furthering bolshevism . . . It destroys many

small enterprises. For that reason, we shall not tolerate them. But you can rest assured that your enterprises of this
kind in Germany will be treated no differently from similar German enterprises."1 The debts of private business to foreign countries were a heavy burden on the middle class. But while Hitler favored their payment because his foreign policy was dependent on it, his followers demanded that they be scrapped. The middle class rebelled "against the system" by which it meant the "Marxist regime" of Social Democracy.

The economic crisis made a solid organization of the middle class strata necessary, but equally strong factors militated against it. The competition between the small enterprises had always prevented the development of a

feeling of solidarity such as the industrial workers had developed. Because of his social position alone, the middle class individual cannot develop solidarity either with his own social stratum or that of the industrial workers; with his own stratum because there competition prevails, and with the industrial worker because he fears nothing more than proletarization. Yet, in spite of this, the fascist movement brought about a unification of the middle classes.

The question is, on what mass-psychological basis did this take place?

The answer lies in the social position of the minor officials, government and private. The economic position of the average official is inferior to that of the average specialized industrial

1 After the seizure of power, in March and April, there was a mass attack on the department stores to which the NSDAP soon put a stop.

[39] worker; this is partly compensated by certain—or uncertain—prospects of advancement, and in the case of the government official, that of a lifelong pension. The official, thus dependent on government authority,develops an attitude of competition toward his colleagues which prevents the development of solidarity. The social consciousness of the official is not characterized by the fate he has in common with his colleagues, but by his attitude toward government authority and the "nation." This attitude is one of complete identification with state authority2 in the case of the government official, with the business enterprise in the case of the private official. He is a subject no less than the industrial worker. Why, then, does he not develop a feeling of solidarity like the industrial worker? Because of his position in between authority and industrial workers. On the one hand he is a subject of this authority and on the other hand its representative; as such he enjoys a privileged position morally even if not economically. The most clear-cut embodiment of this mass-psychological type is the top sergeant.

The power of this identification with the master is seen in a gross form in the servants of aristocratic homes, in butlers, valets, etc., who change completely by taking over the thinking and demeanor of the ruling class and often, in order to hide their modest origins, even exaggerate them.

This identification with the authorities, the firm, the state, the nation, etc., which can be expressed by the formula, "I am the authority, the firm, the state, the nation," is a potent psychological reality and one of the best illustrations of an ideology which has become a material force. At first the employee or official only has the ideal of becoming like his boss, but gradually, under the influence of the chronic material dependence, his being

actually changes in the direction of the ruling stratum. Always looking above himself, the middle class individual

develops a divergence

2 By "identification" psychoanalysis means the fact that a person begins to feel one with another, takes over characteristics and attitudes of the other person,

and takes in phantasy the place of the other person. By this process, the individual who identifies himself with another person undergoes an actual change, in

that he "introjects," takes up, the characteristics of the other person.
[40] between his economic position and his ideology. He lives in straitened circumstances but keeps up

appearances, often to a ridiculous degree. He feeds himself poorly but invests in "decent clothing." The silk hat and the Prince Albert coat became the material symbol of this character structure. Few things are, at first glance, more characteristic of a population than its clothing. The attitude of "Keeping up with the Joneses" specifically distinguishes the middle class structure from that of the industrial worker.3

How deep is this identification with authority? That such an identification exists has long been a well-known fact. The question is, however, in what manner emotional factors—superimposed on the immediate economic conditions—give a solid basis to this middle-class structure to such an extent that it stands firm even in times of crisis, at a time when unemployment destroys the immediate economic base.

We have said that the economic position of the various strata of the middle classes varies, while their family situation is essentially the same. This family situation is the emotional foundation of the structure just described.


The family situation of the various strata of the middle classes is, to begin with, not separated from their economic position. The family is—except for the employees and officials—identical with the small economic enterprise. The family members work in the small business; this saves the hiring of expensive help. On the farm,the identity of family and mode of production is even more complete. The close interweaving of family and economy is the reason why the agricultural population is "bound to the soil," why it is "traditional" and thus so accessible to the influence of political reaction. It is not merely the economic situation which creates these "ties to the soil" and this traditionalism; rather, the mode of production requires a strict familial attachment of all family members to one another, and this attachment presupposes a far-

3 This is true of Europe. In America, the middle-class character of the industrial workers obliterates this distinction.

[41]reaching sexual suppression and repression. Only the combination of these two factors creates the typical peasant thinking the center of which is patriarchal sexual morality. The difficulties which the Soviet government encountered in the collectivization of agriculture were due not to the "love of the soil" but essentially to the authoritarian family ties which result from the agricultural mode of production.
For one thing, the possibility of preserving a healthy peasant class as a foundation for a whole nation can never be valued highly enough. Many of our present-day sufferings are only the consequence of the unhealthy relationship between rural and city population. A solid stock of small and middle peasants has at all times been the best defense against social ills such as we possess today. And, moreover, this is the only solution which enables a nation to earn its daily bread within the inner circuit of its economy.

Industry and commerce recede from their unhealthy leading position and adjust themselves to the general framework of a national economy of balanced supply and demand.

(MEIN KAMPF, p. 138)

This was Hitler's point of view. It does not matter that it is nonsensical from the standpoint of economics or that the political reaction will never succeed in stopping the development of mechanized farming with its danger to the small farmer. Its mass-psychological propaganda value is, nevertheless, enormous because of its appeal to the compulsive familial structure of the middle class.

The close relationship between family attachment and agricultural mode of production inevitably found its expression in National Socialist measures.Since the Hitler movement was basically a middle-class movement, one of its first steps to win over the middle strata was the edict concerning the New Order of Agricultural Ownership of May 12, 1933. This edict went back to age-old forms and concepts such as the "inexorable tie of blood and soil." A few typical excerpts will make this clear:
The inexorable tie between blood and soil is the indispensable pre-[42]requisite of the healthy life of a people. The agricultural legislation of past centuries in Germany safeguarded this tie which exists in the natural feeling for life of the people. The farmstead was the unsaleable heritage of the ancestral farm family. Later, foreign laws came in and destroyed the legal basis of this custom.

Most German farmers, with their healthy feeling for the basis of their country's life, nevertheless retained the custom of handing down their farm, intact, from generation to generation.

It is the imperative duty of the government of an awakening nation to secure the inexorable tie between blood and soil by the institution of a law regulating the right of succession.

The inheritance of a hereditary farm (Erbhof) which is registered in the local district court takes place according to the Anerbenrecht. The owner of an Erbhof is called farmer. A farmer has only one Erbhof. He has only one child which can take over

the Erbhof. This child is the Anerbe. The other heirs are supported by the farm until such time as they reach economic independence. If they become needy through no fault of their own, they still can take refuge on the farm. If the farm is not registered, the right of succession takes place according to the Anerbenrecht.

An Erbhof can be owned only by a farmer who is a German citizen and of German blood. Nobody is of German blood who has among his male ancestors, or among his other ancestors for four generations back, a person of Jewish or colored origin. It goes without saying, however, that every Teuton is, in the sense of this law, a German. Marriage with a person not of German blood will deprive the children of such marriage of the right to own an Erbhof.

The purpose of this law is that of protecting the farms against heavy indebtedness and harmful splitting up through inheritance, and of maintaining them enduringly as the heritage of free farm families. At the same time, it intends to effect a healthy distribution of agricultural property. A great number of well-functioning small and medium farms, distributed as equally as possible over the whole bnation, is necessary to maintain the health of the people and the state.

What tendencies are expressed in this law? It was in conflict with the interests of the large landowners whose aim was the absorption of the small and medium-sized farms. This conflict, however, was more than outweighed by a second potent interest [43] of the large landowners, that of maintaining the agricultural middle class which was the mass basis of their power. Not only does the small farmer identify himself with the large landowner in the sense of being a private owner of land. What is more important is that the continued existence of small and medium-size farms guarantees the continued existence of the typical patriarchal atmosphere of the family which is identical with the economic unit.

This type of family produces the best Nationalist fighters and changes the women structurally in the direction of the Nationalist ideology. This is the basis of the famous "moral value of a healthy peasantry." The problem is, however, a sex-economic problem.

The interweaving of individualistic production and authoritarian family in the middle classes is one of the sources of the fascist ideology of the "family with many children." We shall meet this problem again in another connection.

The alignment of'the small economic units one against the other is reflected in the alignment of the families against one another and the competition between them. These phenomena are characteristic of the lower middle classes, in spite of the fascist slogans of the "corporate idea." The basic elements of fascist ideology are individualistic principles, such as the "Führer principle," family politics, etc. What is collectivistic in fascism derives from the socialist tendencies in its mass basis, while the individualistic elements derive from the interests of high finance and the fascist leadership.

In view of the natural organization of humanity, such an economic and familial situation could not continue to exist unless its existence were safeguarded by other basic elements. One of the most important among them is the patriarchal relationship between man and wife and a specific kind of sexual living.

In trying to distinguish himself from the manual worker, the lower middle class individual can do so only in the forms of his sexual and family life, since his economic position is no better than that of the industrial worker.

He compensates for what he lacks economically by way of sexual morality. This is the official's [44] strongest motive for his identification with state authority. Since one does not enjoy the economic position of the upper middle classes but at the same time identifies oneself ideologically with them, the sexual moral ideologies must make up for the economic deprivations. The forms of sexual and, with that, of cultural living, serve mainly the purpose of snobbish distinction from the "lower" strata.

The sum total of these moralistic attitudes—the core of which is the attitude toward sexuality—expresses itself in ideas—ideas, not behavior—of honor and duty. The effect of these two words on the lower middle class is normous and deserves the closest attention. They also constantly recur in the fascist ideology of dictatorship and race. In practice, everyday middle class existence and middle class business produce precisely the opposite

behavior. In private trading, a bit of dishonesty is part of existence. When a peasant buys a horse, he will depreciate it in every way possible. When he sells the same horse a year later, it has become younger and better.

"Duty" is based on business interest and not on national character. One's own wares will always be the best, that of the other fellow always inferior. Depreciation of the competitor, rarely an honest act, is an essential tool of "business." The overpoliteness and deference to the customer on the part of small business people show the brutal compulsion of economic existence which in the long run must warp even the best of characters. In spite of this,the concepts of "honor" and "duty" play a dominant role in the lower middle classes. This cannot be explained on purely economic grounds. For in spite of all hypocrisy, the depth of feeling connected with these concepts is genuine. The question is its source.

The analysis of the lower middle class individual leaves no doubt about the connection between his sexual life and his ideology of "honor" and "duty."
The father's economic position as well as his position in the state are reflected in his patriarchal relationship with the other members of the family. The authoritarian state has a representative in every family, the father; in this way he becomes the state's most valuable tool.

[45] The father's authoritarian position reflects his political role and discloses the relationship of family and authoritarian state. The same position which the boss holds in the production process, the father maintains in the family. He in turn reproduces submissiveness to authority in his children, especially his sons. This is the basis of vbthe passive, submissive attitude of middle class individuals toward Führer figures. Without really knowing it, Hitler built upon this attitude of the lower middle classes:
The people in their overwhelming majority are so feminine by nature and attitude that sober reasoning determines their thoughts and actions far less than emotion and feeling.

And this sentiment is not complicated, but very simple and all of a piece. It does not have multiple shadings; it has a positive and a negative; love or hate, right or wrong, truth or lie, never half this way and half that way, never partially, or that kind of thing.

(MEIN KAMPF, p. 183)

It is not a matter of being that way "by nature" but of being a typical example of the reproduction of an authoritarian social system in the structures of its members.

For the patriarchal position of the father requires the strictest sexual inhibition on the part of the women and children. Under lower middle class influence, the women develop an attitude of resignation which covers up repressed sexual rebellion; the sons develop, in addition to a submissive attitude toward authority, a strong identification with the father which later becomes identification with any kind of authority. It will remain a mystery for some time to come as to how the psychic structures of the decisive stratum of society fit the economic system and the purposes of the powers that be like the parts of a watch. What we are describing as the mass-psychological structural reproduction of the economic system is the basic mechanism of the formation of political ideologies.
The attitude of economic and social competition becomes a factor in the development of middle class structure only at a very late stage. The reactionary ideologies which are then formed are [46] built up secondarily on psychological processes which take place in the infant when it is growing up in the authoritarian family atmosphere. There we find, to begin with, competition between the children and the adults, and between the children among themselves in relation to the parents. This competition, which in adults and in extrafamilial life is predominantly economic, takes place in the framework of the highly emotional family relationships of love and hatred. This is not the place to discuss these in detail. What is important here is the following: the sexual inhibitions which constitute the prerequisite of the continued existence of the authoritarian family and the essential basis of the structure of the lower middle class individual are brought about with the aid of religious fears which thus become sexual guilt feelings and deeply anchored. This leads to the problem of the connection between religion and denial of sexual pleasure. Sexual weakness undermines self-confidence; compensation is effected by rigid character traits or brutal sexual behavior. The necessity for sexual self-control, for maintenance of sexual repression, leads to the development of compulsive, emotionally highly charged ideas of honor, duty, courage and self-control.4 The compulsiveness and emotional charge of these ideas, however, is in strange contrast to the actual behavior. The genitally gratified individual is honest, conscientious, courageous and selfcontrolled, without making any fuss about it. These attitudes are organic parts of his personality. The individual with a weakened genitality and a contradictory sexual structure, on the other hand, must incessantly remind hmself to control his sexuality, to preserve his sexual honor, to fight temptations courageously, etc.

Every child ad adolescent goes through the struggle against the temptation to masturbate. In this struggle, all elements of the reactionary human structure develop. In the lower middle classes, this structure is most strongly developed and most deeply anchored. This compulsive suppression of sexuality provides mysticism, of whatever kind, with its energy and also with some of its contents. To the

4 Particularly instructive in showing these connections is a book by the National Socialist, Ernst Mann, DIE MORAL DER KRAFT.

[47] extent to which the industrial workers are under the same social influences, they also develop the corresponding attitudes; due to their different way of living, however, they develop opposite, sex-affirmative atitudes to a far higher degree. The emotional anchoring of these structures by means of unconscious anxiety and their masking by apparently asexual character traits make it impossible for one to reach these deep layers of the prsonality with intellectual arguments. The importance of this fact for a practical sex policy will be discussed in Chapter VIII.

We cannot discuss here in detail the significance of the unconscious fight against the individual sexual demands for the breeding of metaphysical and mystical thinking.


We shall only mention one aspect which is characteristic of National Socialist ideology. Again and again one finds the series, personal honor, family honor, race honor, national honor. This series is consistent with the series of stages in individual structure formation. But it should include the socio-economic background patriarchy, compulsive marriage, sexual aggression, personal fight against one's sexuality, compensatory idea of honor, etc. The last in the series is the ideology of "national honor."

It is the irrational core of National Socialism. Its comprehension requires a further preliminary consideration.

The fight of authoritarian society against the sexuality of children and adolescents takes place in the framework of the authoritarian family which thus far has proven the best institution for this fight. By their very nature, sexual needs impel contacts of various kinds in the world. If they are suppressed, they can express themselves only within the narrow framework of the family. Sexual inhibition is the basis of the familial incapsulation of the individuals as well as the basis of an individualistic ideology.
Metaphysical, individualistic and familial sentimental behavior are only different aspects of one and the same process, sex negation. Realistic, non-mystical thinking on the other hand, go with loose family ties and, to say the least, indifference toward ascetic sexual ideologies. The important point is that sexual inhibition is a means of producing a fixation to the authoritarian family; that it turns an original biological tie of the child to the mother—and [48] of the mother to the child—into an indissoluble sexual fixation and thus creates the inability to establish new relationships.5 The core of the family tie is the mother fixation. The subjective, emotional core of the ideas of homeland and nation are ideas of mother and family. The mother is the homeland of the child, as the family is its "nation in miniature." Thus one understands why the National Socialist, Goebbels, took the following as a motto for his Ten Commandments, in the National Socialist Volkskalender for 1932: "The homeland is the mother of your life, don't ever forget it." The Angriff wrote on the occasion of Mother's Day in 1933:

MOTHER'S DAY. The national revolution has blown away everything that is petty. Ideas are leading again and are leading us together, family, society, nation. The idea of Mother's Day will honor that which signifies the German idea: The German Mother!

Nowhere has the woman and mother as important a role as in the new Germany. It is she who preserves the family life from which spring the forces which will lead our nation ahead again. She, the German mother, is the sole bearer of the German national idea.

The idea of "mother" will always be the same as "being German." What could unite us more strongly than the idea of honoring the mother?

As untrue as these sentences are, economically and socially speaking, they are correct with regard to human structure. Nationalist feeling is the direct continuation of family attachment and, like the latter, is based on the unconscious, deeply anchored mother fixation. This cannot be explained biologically. For this mother fixation itself is a social product.

The attachment to the mother would be replaced at puberty by other attachments, for example, by natural sexual relationships, if it were not made permanent by the general suppression of natural love life. Only this socially caused perpetuation makes it the basis for nationalist feeling in the adult and makes it a reactionary social force. The fact that the industrial workers develop nationalist attitudes to a

5 The "Oedipus complex" discovered by Freud, then, is not so much the cause as the result of the social inhibition of infantile sexuality. The parents, however, quite unconsciously execute the intentions of society.

[49] much lesser degree is to be ascribed to the difference in their family situation.

This statement by no means implies a biologizing of sociology. For we do not forget for a moment that the difference in the industrial worker's family situation is itself conditioned by his position in the production process.

One must ask oneself why it is that the industrial workers are especially accessible to internationalism while the lower middle class tends equally strongly to nationalism. Only the inclusion of the specific family situation in its dependence on the economic process explains this. The Marxist theorists display a peculiar aversion to considering the family situation as a factor which is equally as important as the economic factors in the formation of structure; more than that, it is the decisive factor for the anchoring of the social system in the psychic structure.

This aversion is caused by their own family attachments. The fact that the family fixation is the most intensive and most highly emotionally charged cannot be overestimated.6

The basic identity of familial and of nationalist ideology goes further. The families are set against each other precisely as are the nations. In either case, the ultimate basis lies in economic motives. The lower middle class family is always under the pressure of economic worries. The economic tendency to expansion on the part of the lower middle class family with many children thus reproduces the imperialist ideology of the "Lebensraum" of the nation. This is why the lower middle class individual is so easily accessible to imperialist ideology. He tends to identify

6 He who has not overcome his fixation on family and mother, or is not able at least to exclude it from his judgment, should not engage in the study of ideology formation. Brushing these facts aside by calling them "Freudian" betrays scientific cretinism. Talking without knowing the facts is not scientific argumentation. Freud discovered the Oedipus complex. Without this discovery there could be no revolutionary family politics. But Freud is as far from a sociological interpretation of the family fixation as the mechanistic economist from a comprehension of sexuality as a social factor. To deny facts which every worker knew even before Freud discovered the Oedipus complex, instead of pointing out a possible erroneous application of natural science, is inadmissible.

Fascism cannot be overcome with slogans but only with knowledge. Errors occur and can be corrected, but scientific narrow-mindedness is reactionary.

[50] himself fully with a personified nation. In this way, state imperialism reproduces itself in family imperialism.

In this connection, it is interesting to see what Goebbels writes (in DIE VERFLUCHTEN HAKENKREUZLER) in answer to the question whether the Jews are humans:

If somebody hits your mother in the face with a whip, are you going to say, thank you? Is he human? He is not human, he is a

beast! How many worse things has the Jew done to our mother Germany [italics mine, W.R.] and is he still doing! He has spoiled our race, he has undermined our morality and has sapped our strength . . . The Jew is the personified demon of decay . . . he begins his criminal butchery of the nations.

One cannot properly judge the effect of such sentences on the unconscious emotional life of the mass reader unless one knows the significance of the idea of castration as punishment for sexual wishes; the sexpsychological background of the phantasies of ritual murders and of antisemitism in general; and the magnitude of the sexual guilt feelings and the sexual anxiety of the reactionary individual. Here are the psychological roots of National Socialist antisemitism. Could this be called "just obfuscation of the masses"? True, it is obfuscation also. But the fact should not be overlooked that fascism, ideologically, is the revolt of a deathly sick society, sick sexually as well as economically. It is the revolt against the painful and forceful tendencies of revolutionary thinking in the direction of sexual as well as economic freedom. The very thought of this freedom makes the

reactionary individual tremble with fear. The establishment of economic freedom of the working people goes hand in hand with the dissolution of the old institutions, especially the sexual ones, a process of which the reactionary individual is afraid. Specifically, the fear of "sexual freedom"—which in reactionary thinking is represented as "sexual chaos"—checks the longing for freedom from economic exploitation. This will be so as long, but only as long, as this idea of the sexual chaos prevails. It can continue to prevail only as long as [51] these decisive problems remain unclarified in the masses. This is why sex-economy belongs in the center of any endeavor to regulate social conditions in general. The more extensive and the deeper the reactionary structure formation of the masses, the more decisive is the sex-economic work on the education of the masses in social responsibility.

In this interplay between economic and structural facts, the authoritarian family stands out as the most important place where reactionary thinking of any kind is reproduced: it is the factory of reactionary ideology and structure.

The "preservation of the family," that is, of the reactionary family with many children, is therefore the primordial cultural tenet of reactionary politics. This is what hides behind the slogan of the "protection of the state, of culture and of civilization."

In a proclamation before the Presidential election in 1932 (Adolf Hitler: Mein Programm) we read the following:

Woman, by nature and by fate, is the life companion of man. They are not only life companions but also work companions. Just as the economic development over thousands of years changed the fields of work for the man, so it did for the woman. But higher than the compulsion of working together is the duty to preserve the race. In this, the most noble mission of the sexes, lie their individual and unalterable differences which Providence in its eternal wisdom gave them. The highest task, therefore, is that of making possible for the two life and work companions the founding of a family. The final destruction of the family would mean the end of any higher form of humanity. No matter how far the woman's field of activity may be extended, the ultimate goal of a truly organic and logical development must always be the formation of the family. It is the smallest but most valuable unit in the whole structure of the state.

Work honors the woman as it does the man. But the child raises the woman to nobility.

In the same proclamation, under the heading, "Preservation of the peasantry means preservation of the German nation," Hitler stated:

[52] In the preservation and maintenance of a healthy peasantry I see the best protection against social ills as well as against the racial degeneration of our nation.

In this connection, one has to remember the traditional family fixation among the peasantry. Hitler goes on to say:
I believe that a nation, in order to increase its resistance, should not live according to principles of reason alone. It also needs a spiritual and religious hold. The poisoning and disintegration of the national body by our Kultur bolschewismus are almost more disastrous even than the effect of political and economic Communism.

Since, like Italian fascism, the National Socialist party took its origin from the interests of the large landowners, it had to win over the masses of small farmers as a mass basis for its movement. Naturally, it could not emphasize the interests of the large landowners in its propaganda, but had to appeal to the structure of the peasants, a structure as it develops from the identity of economic and familial existence. Only in this stratum of the lower middle classes is it true that man and wife are work companions. It is not true among the industrial workers.

Even with the peasants it is true only in a formal sense, for in reality the peasant woman is the domestic servant of the peasant.

The fascist ideology of the hierarchic structure of the state is preformed in reality in the hierarchic structure of the farm family. The farm family is a nation in miniature and every member of the farm is identified with this miniature nation.

The soil for the acceptance of the imperialist ideology, then, is given in the peasantry and wherever in the lower middle classes economic unit and family are identical. We are struck by the idealization of motherhood.

What is the connection between this idealization and reactionary sexual politics?


In the mass-psychological structure of the lower middle class individual, national and family fixation are identical. This fixation [53] is intensified by another process. The Nationalist Führer means, to the masses, the personification of the nation. A personal fixation on him develops only to the extent to which he actually personifies the nation in terms of the nationalistic feeling of the masses. If he knows how to arouse the familial fixation in the mass individual he also becomes an authoritarian father figure. He becomes the object of all the emotional attitudes which the mass individual, as a child, had toward the protecting and—in the child's thinking—representative father.

In discussing the untenability of the contradictory program of the NSDAP with National Socialist followers, one heard again and again the argument that Hitler knew all these things much better, that "he would do it all." Here we see clearly the infantile leaning on paternal protection. It is this attitude f blind trust and of seeking protection on the part of the masses which gives the dictators the power to "do it all."

This attitude is at variance with social self-determination, with rational independence and cooperation. No genuine democracy should try to build on this.

Even more important, however, is the identification of the mass individual with the "Führer." The more helpless the individual was made by his upbringing, the more strongly does he identify himself with the Führer, the more does the infantile helplessness take the form of the feeling-one-with-the-Führer. This tendency to identification is the psychological basis of national narcissism, that is, of a self-confidence based on identification with the "greatness of the nation." The reactionary middle class individual believes he discovers himself in the Führer, in the authoritarian state. On the basis of this identification, he feels himself the defender of "the nation," even though, on the basis of this very identification, he despises "the masses" toward whom he has an individualistic attitude. His economic and sexual misery is drowned out by the exalting idea of "Herrentum" and of the genius of the Führer; it makes him forget to what extent he has become an insignificant, uncritical follower.

In contrast, the professionally conscious worker identifies himself with his work instead of the Führer, with the international [54] totality of working individuals and not with the national homeland. He feels himself a leader, not on the basis of an identification but on the basis of doing vital, socially necessary work.

It is not difficult to see what causes this difference. The emotions in this opposite mass-psychological type are the same as in the nationalist. But the content is different. The need for identification is the same, but its object is he fellow worker instead of the Führer, the work instead of the illusion, the working individuals of the earth instead of the family. It is a matter of international professional consciousness versus mysticism and nationalism.

The self-confidence of the worker is not based on his identification with illusory concepts but on his identification with his work.

The past fifteen years have confronted us with a fact which is difficult to understand: Economically, society is sharply divided into various social strata and professions. According to economistic concepts, social ideology derives from the respective social position. If that were so, the ideological strata would always correspond to the socio-economic strata; the industrial workers as a whole would develop more collectivism, the small tradespeople more individualism. The employees of large concerns would have a collective feeling similar to that of the industrial workers. As we have already seen, structure and social position are rarely concordant. We distinguish the professionally conscious, responsible worker from the nationalistically mystical reactionary subject. Both types are seen in any social or professional group. There are millions of reactionary industrial workers, and there are as many work-conscious revolutionary teachers and physicians.

In other words, there is no such thing as a mechanistic relationship between social position and character structure.

The social position is no more than the external factor in the determination of the ideological process in the mass individual.

What remains to be investigated is the emotional force which causes the various social factors to attain exclusive dominance in the psychological structure. It certainly is not hunger, otherwise the economic world crisis of 1929 to 1933 would have led to international revolution. As much as this finding conflicts with well established economistic concepts, it cannot be doubted.

[55] When sociologically limited psychologists explain the social revolution by the "infantile rebellion against the father" they are thinking of revolutionaries in intellectual circles. In them, this is indeed the decisive motive.

But the same is not true of the industrial workers. The suppression of the children by the fathers is no less pronounced among the workers, it is often even more brutal. This is not the difference. The difference lies in their different attitude toward sexuality. True, the parents among the industrial workers also suppress infantile sexuality. But among the lower middle classes, there is only suppression of sexuality. Among the industrial workers, things are different. They show, along with their moralistic ideology, their own sexual attitudes which are strictly opposed to the moralistic ones. The difference in housing and the collective work life of the factory are further factors which tend to counteract a moralistic sexual ideology.

The average industrial worker differs from the average middle-class individual by his open and matter-of-fact attitude toward sexuality. He is incomparably more accessible to sex-economic concepts than the typical middle class individual. What makes him more accessible is the absence of precisely those attitudes which play a central role in the ideology of National Socialism and of the church: the identification with the authoritarian state power, the "supreme Führer," the nation. This is further proof that the basic elements of National Socialist ideology have a sex-economic origin.

The peasantry, due to its individualistic economy and marked familial isolation, is very accessible to reactionary political ideology. This is the reason for the divergence between its social position and its ideology. In spite of strictest patriarchy and the corresponding morality, the peasantry develops a natural—though distorted—sexuality. As among the industrial workers, its youth starts having sexual intercourse at an early age, but as a result of the strict patriarchal education sexuality is disturbed or brutal; the sex life is clandestine; frigidity among the girls is the rule; sex murders, brutal jealousy and subjugation of the woman are typical phenomena among the peasantry. Hysteria is nowhere as preva-[56]lent as out in the country. Peasant economy makes patriarchal marriage the ultimate goal of education.

Among the industrial workers, an ideological process has been taking place during the past few decades which one can observe in pure culture in the workers' aristocracy but which did not spare the average industrial worker.

The industrial workers of the 20th century are no longer the proletariat of the 19th century of which Marx speaks.

They have essentially taken over the forms of living and the attitudes of the middle class. True, formal democracy has not eliminated economic class distinctions any more than race prejudices. But the social endeavors which took place within its framework obliterated the structural and ideological boundaries between the various social strata. The industrial workers of England, America, Scandinavia, and Germany took on more and more a middle class character. In order to understand the manner in which fascism penetrates the workers' stratum one has to follow this process in its various stages from formal democracy to openly fascist dictatorship.


Fascism penetrates the stratum of the industrial workers from two sides: the so-called "Lumpenproletariat" (a revolting expression) by means of direct economic corruption, and the so-called "worker's aristocracy" by means of material corruption as well as by ideological influence. German fascism unscrupulously promised everything to everybody. Dr. Jarmer, in an article entitled "Kapitalismus" (Angriff, Sept. 24, 1931) wrote the following:
On the German National party day in Stettin, Hugenberg took an admirably clear stand against international capitalism. But at the same time he emphasized the necessity of a national capitalism.

In doing so, he made again clear what separates the German Nationals from the National Socialists; for the latter clearly realize that the capitalist order which is in a state of collapse all over the world must be replaced by a different order, because even in national capitalism there can be no justice.

[57] This sounds almost Communistic. Here, the fascist propagandist appealed to the revolutionary feeling of the industrial worker, consciously and with fraudulous intent. The question was why the National Socialist industrial workers did not see that fascism promised everything to everybody. It was well known that Hitler negotiated with the captains of industry, received financial support from them and promised them anti-strike legislation.

Obviously, there was something in the structure of the average worker which made him overlook such contradictions, in spite of the intensive propaganda of revolutionary organizations. In talking with the American journalist Knickerbocker, Hitler said with regard to the recognition of private debts to foreign countries:
I am convinced that the international bankers will soon realize that Germany under National Socialism is a safe place for

investment, that an interest rate of about three per cent will be readily granted.

("Deutschland so oder so," p. 211)

If the task of revolutionary propaganda was that of "defogging the proletariat," this could not be done merely by appealing to its "class consciousness," nor by keeping the subjective economic and political situation constantly before their eyes, nor simply by unmasking the fraud that was being perpetrated on them. The primordial task of revolutionary propaganda should have been that of comprehending the inner contradictions in the worker, the fact not that the worker had a clear-cut revolutionary will which may have been covered up or "befogged," but, rather, that the revolutionary element in his psychic structure was partly underdeveloped, partly counteracted by opposite reactionary elements in his structure. The crystallizing out of the revolutionary elements in the masses is the prime task in the process of liberating their social responsibility.

In times of "quiet" formal democracy, the industrial worker has, in principle, two possibilities open to him: identification with the middle class above him, or identification with his own social [58] position which gives birth to forms of living of its own which are contrary to the reactionary forms. The first means envying and imitating the reactionary and—given the economic opportunities—completely adopting his way of living. The second means refuting the ideologies and forms of living of the reactionary and emphasizing one's own. Due to the simultaneous influence of both the social and the class living, there is an equally strong pull in either direction. The revolutionary movement also underestimated the significance of the seemingly unimportant small habits of everyday living; more than that, it made the wrong use of it.

The middle-class bedroom which the "proletarian" acquires at the first opportunity even though he may be Communist; the suppression of the woman which goes with it; "decent" clothes on a Sunday; stilted forms of dancing; these and thousands of other little things, in their everyday repetition, have an incomparably more powerful reactionary influence than can be counteracted by thousands of revolutionary meetings and pamphlets. The impact of a narrow reactionary life is continuous and fills every cranny of everyday living; the factory work and the pamphlet have an effect only for hours. To try to "reach the masses" by arranging festivities was, therefore, a miscalculation, because it appealed to the conservative tendencies in the workers. In such methods, reactionary fascism was far more successful. The bbudding revolutionary forms of living were not being developed. The "evening dress" which a worker's wife put on for such a "festivity" contained more truth about the reactionary structure of the worker than hundreds of learned articles. The evening dress and the family beer parties are, after all, only the external manifestations of a structural process in the worker, a sign that the soil was already prepared for the acceptance of National Socialist propaganda. When the Fascist then promised "abolition of the proletariat" and was successful in such propaganda, his success, in ninety out of a hundred cases, was due not to his economic platform but to the "evening dress."

These aspects of everyday living deserve much more attention. It is they that form, in a concrete manner, the social process, be it progress or reaction, and not the [59] political slogans which create only a fleeting enthusiasm. Here waits a field for fruitful and important work. The revolutionary mass propaganda in Germany was restricted almost exclusively to the propaganda "against hunger." As important as this argument is, it proved too narrow. The youthful worker, for example, has innumerable worries of a sexual and cultural nature as soon as he has stilled his hunger to a degree. True, the fight against hunger is of primary importance, but the backstage processes of human life must also be ruthlessly placed in the spotlight of the comedy in which we are both spectators and actors.

If that were done the working people would show themselves infinitely creative in their attempt to develop their own concepts and their own natural forms of living. No matter how infested they might be with reactionary attitudes, social comprehension of their everyday life would give them an invincible impetus. Detailed and concrete work on this problem is imperative; it will safeguard the victory of the revolution. To object that such a proposition is an illusion means failure to grasp the problem. This fight for the development of work-democratic living means a militant turning away from what is reactionary and the development of a mass culture which alone will guarantee lasting peace. As long as social irresponsibility outweighs social responsibility in the worker he will hardly learn revolutionary, that is, rational behavior. This mass-psychological work, furthermore, is indispensable for still another reason.

The debasement of manual work—which makes the manual worker ape the reactionary white-collar worker—is the mass-psychological strength of fascism when it tries to reach the workers. Fascism promises the abolition of classes, that is, doing away with one's being a proletarian; in this manner, it appeals to the social inferiority feeling of the manual worker. Workers which have only recently migrated from the country to the city still have the family ideology of the peasant, which, as we have shown, is one of the most fertile soils for imperialistic nationalist ideology. There is, in addition, an ideological process which thus far has been neglected in judging the chances of the revolutionary move-[60]ment in countries with a high industrial development on the one hand and those with a low industrial development on the other.

Kautsky (SOZIALE REVOLUTION, 2. Aufl, p. 59-60) found that the worker in highly industrialized England was politically backward compared with the worker in industrially little developed Russia. The political events of the past thirty years the world over leave no doubt that revolutionary movements develop more readily in countries with a low industrial development as is shown, e.g., by a comparison of China, Mexico, and India on the one hand and England, America, and Germany on the other. This in spite of an older, better trained and organized labor movement in the last mentioned countries. Leaving out of consideration the bureaucratization of the labor movement—which in itself is a pathological symptom—one must ask oneself what is the reason for the extraordinary anchoring of conservatism in the Social Democracy and the trade unions of the Western countries.

The mass-psychological basis of Social Democracy is the conservative structure of its followers. As in fascism, the problem is not so much one of the politics of the party leadership as one of the mass-psychological basis in the workers. I shall point out only a few significant facts:

In early capitalism, there was not only a sharp cleavage line between bourgeoisie and proletariat but an equally sharp ideological, in especial, structural demarcation. The lack of any social politics, the exhausting workday of sixteen or eighteen hours, the generally low living standard of the industrial workers (as classically described by Engels in his Lage der arbeitenden Klasse in England)all these things prevented a structural adaptation of the proletariat to the bourgeoisie. The structure of the proletarian of the 19th century was characterized by humble submission to his fate. The mass-psychological characteristic of this proletariat, the peasantry included, was indolence. Middle-class thinking was absent. This indolence did not prevent revolutionary feelings, on

appropriate occasions, from breaking into the open with unexpected intensity and determination.

In late capitalism, however, things became different. The [61] workers movement had made certain gains such as shorter hours, the right to vote, social security, etc. This meant, on the one hand, a strengthening of the working class. At the same time it had an opposite effect: the raising of the living standard led to a structural adaptation to the middle classes. In times of prosperity this middle class adaptation was intensified; in ensuing economic crises, it acted as an inhibition of a further development of revolutionary feeling.

The strength of the Social Democracies during the years of the crises—which cannot be explained on political grounds—was the expression of this conservative infestation of the workers.

This has two main reasons: the Führer fixation, that is, the unshakeable belief in the infallibility of the political leader;7 and the sex-moralistic adaptation to the conservative lower middle class. The upper middle class helped this adaptation along as best it

While in its beginning it had literally used the stick, it now held it in reserve in the countries which were not yet fascist and used it only against the revolutionary worker. For the mass of the Social Democratic workers, however, it had a far more dangerous weapon: the use of conservative ideology.

When the Social-Democratic worker found himself in the economic crisis which degraded him to a coolie, the development of his revolutionary feelings was inhibited by the conservative structure which had been cultivated in him for decades. Either he remained in the Social-Democratic party, in spite of all his criti-

7 In the summer of 1932, after a meeting in Leipzig, I talked with Social-Democratic workers who had attended it, about the political crisis. They agreed with all the arguments brought forth against the Social-Democratic propaganda on the "way to Socialism," but otherwise did not differ from Communist workers. I

asked one of them why they did not draw the consequences and separate from their leaders. The answer amazed me: "Our leaders know what they are doing."

Here was the conflict of the Social-Democratic worker in a tangible form: the fixation on the Führer, which kept the worker from translating his criticism—which he did not lack—into action. It was a mistake, then, to try to win the Social-Democratic worker by attacking his leaders. As he was identified with them, such attacks would only repulse him. The inner rottenness of German Social Democracy showed itself when, shortly before Hitler's seizure of power, a few armed men arrested Severing, the Social-Democratic Minister of the Interior. There were twelve million Social Democrats, but they did not

prevent it.
[62]cism and rebellion. Or, oscillating between his revolutionary and his conservative feelings, and disillusioned by Social-Democratic leadership, he followed the path of least resistance and switched to the NSDAP, hoping to find better leadership there. In this situation, it depended on the correct or incorrect mass leadership of the revolutionary party whether or not the worker would give up his conservative tendency and would develop the full consciousness of his responsibility in the production process, that is, his revolutionary consciousness. The Communist contention that it was Social-Democratic politics which had helped fascism come to power has—mass-psychologically—correct.

Disillusionment in Social Democracy must, in the presence of a conflict between pauperization and conservative thinking, lead into the fascist camp if there are no effective revolutionary organizations. Thus there was, for example, a fascization of the workers in England after the fiasco of the Labor

party in 1930-31; in the elections of 1931, the workers, instead of swinging to Communism, shifted to the right.
Democratic Scandinavia, also, was threatened by such a development.8

Rosa Luxemburg contended that a revolutionary struggle with "coolies" was not possible. The question is which kind of coolie is meant: the coolie before he has acquired a conservative structure, or afterwards. Before this alteration of structure, there is an indolence which is difficult to break through, but there is also a great capacity

for revolutionary action. After the alteration of structure, there is the disillusioned coolie. He is much less accessible to the revolution. How long will fascism be able to utilize for its own purposes the disillusionment of the masses in Social Democracy and their "rebellion again the system"? Though this question cannot be answered now, it is certain that the international revolutionary movement will have to take it into consideration if it is not to fail.

8 The collapse of Norway in 1940 was in no small part due to the same effect of Social-Democratic conservatism. The Social-Democratic government had, for example, prohibited the parading of military organizations. But in 1939 the Norwegian Fascists were the only ones who still marched through the streets and held training exercises. Quisling's betrayal was greatly helped by such "liberalism."


Copy of PDF of Mass Psychology of Fascism :

Sympathetic Video  about Wilhelm Reich and his ideas


Anonymous said...

Does Comrade Glais think that the proletariat should build orgone accumulators, to use the energy to fight imperialism?

Wilhem Reich was a free sex guru, and more of an anarchist/libertarian than a communist, altho he was a member of the CP.

nickglais said...

Wilhelm Reich has been slandered not only by Nazis and Fascists but also by Leftists. Nature Magazine published a compilation of slanders in one article which was replied to by psychologists from all over the world. The following article which refuted those slanders here and is worthy of serious study :

nickglais said...

A review of the actual facts of Wilhelm Reich’s life and work suggests a tragic
historical-scientic misjudgment and prejudiced dismissal. It is well past time for serious physicians and natural scientists to ignore the court jesters and skeptic clubbers, and take a fresh and unbiased look at Wilhelm Reich’s actual work

nickglais said...

The Reich legal case has similarities to the Scopes “monkey trial”, but was far worse in malicious intent, in the willingness of Reich’s persecutors to openly lie, and in
the final outcome. Reich’s persecution is only truly comparable to Scopes, if Darwin himself had been dragged into court, slandered as a sexual pervert, thrown into prison on a technicality with his laboratory violated by federal police, followed by the axing of his research instruments, and his books and journals carried off for burning – and then for poor Darwin to be continually held up for public scorn and ridicule,
including within the scientific and medical community, over many decades after his death. All that happened to Reich. And the public ridicule and misrepresentations are still happening today, some 50+ years after his death, as revealed most recently in the Glausiusz Nature article.

nickglais said...

nickglais said...

Anonymous said...

Q. Did Reich promote or support pornography, prostitution, homosexuality, pedophilia and sexual perversions?

A. Again, Absolutely Not!

As detailed in the essays above, Reich considered all such behavior as expressions of sex-frustration or neurosis, or as with pedophilia, a criminal act requiring police to protect children from adult seducers or rapists. He considered pornography and going to prostitutes as evidence of a sexually disturbed society, being the consequence of loveless marriages and forbiddance of divorce. Partners in healthy loving relationships would not seek out either pornography nor prostitution, nor engage in things like "group sex" activity of any sort -- those, Reich argued, were founded upon sexual impotence and lack of full sexual gratification. He considered homosexuality to be a neurosis but argued for its decriminalization, believing it was borne from traumatic early childhood experiences such as early rape, or from violent and fierce actions of adult caretakers. Sado-masochism he viewed as a deep neurosis, where people only could obtain sexual excitation and a bit of release by the breaking of the skin. Pedophilia he viewed as a violent act against children, from which they had to be protected. All those who claim Reich was "for pornography" or similar things, are either lying outright, or repeating lies as they got from his most malicious slanderers. One can look forever through Reich's writings and never find statements by him which support such things