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(en) France, Alternative Libertaire AL #226 - Classics of subversion: Wilhelm Reich: The Mass Psychology of Fascism (fr) [machine translation]
Wed, 01 May 2013 12:28:41 +0200
The Mass Psychology of Fascism is a work of Wilhelm Reich, one of the founders of Freudian
Marxism. The current objective is to make a synthesis between the thoughts of Freud and
Marx. It lays the foundation for a sexual economy that analyzes sexuality and its
relationship to social structures. ---- This book was published in 1946, after the Second
World War. It aims to understand how fascism could develop, especially conquer such a mass
audience, to take power. ---- Most Marxian analysis of fascism (now fallen into oblivion)
ââfocused on economic factors such as the crisis and the organic links between fascist
parties and the big bourgeoisie. An example of this type of analysis is excellent Fascism
and Big Business by Daniel Guerin. Reich does not call into question the accuracy of these
analyzes, but think that fascism is not only explained by economic factors and rational.
For him, fascism thrives on a dark ground, lurking in the collective unconscious.
It is composed of social and psychological structures such as authoritarian family. More
broadly, it will all enforcement mechanisms of desire, libido that will create the
psychological conditions. It is thanks to them that the middle classes and some sections
of the working class will turn to what foul ideology Nazism.
This unit will stress psychological bully and alienate the true nature of the human being.
Reich called this particular configuration of authoritarianism and sexual frustration: the
emotional plague, which according to him, will be the primary characteristic of fascism.
Not content to analyze and criticize, Reich will also propose the creation of a sexual
economy. It will aim to get rid of social constraints, in order to succeed in creating a
human being truly emancipated socially and sexually. He took the opportunity to move to
sharply criticize the USSR and the KPD (German Communist Party) which he is a former member.
We can send him a critical sexual economy seeks to find a "man" pure and healthy issued
frustrations of civilization. Or one can doubt the existence of the latter, as well as the
existence of a "good" human nature in the dirt of civilization. It joins the myth of the
"noble savage" of Rousseau. We do not believe that human nature is in itself, but it is
built by the living conditions of human beings ...
Apart from this criticism, the book is nonetheless very interesting. It is a very fine
painting of conditions that allowed fascism to grow and a reflection on the stress and
Matthijs (AL Montpellier)
â Wilhelm Reich, The Mass Psychology of Fascism , Payot, 1998, 10 euros.
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