Issue #45 October 2021

Wilhelm Reich on Class Consciousness and Voluntary Servitude

Cyril Power - The Exam Room (ca. 1934)

Eine deutsche Version des Textes findet sich hier.


Wilhelm Reich’s What is Class Consciousness? is a Document. “Document” here refers to a text that belongs strictly to a specific historical point in time, that is, could only be written at this very point in time and is therefore an expression of it, in so far as it tries to read and to understand the historical situation. The situation that Reich analyzes in this text is the collapse of the labor movement before global fascism, but also the relapse of the Soviet Union into dictatorship, that is, Stalinism:

“The severe defeat of the socialist movement in Germany is already exercising an adverse effect in other countries, and fascism is today rapidly gaining ground on the revolutionary movement everywhere. Both the Second and Third Internationals have shown their inability to master the situation even theoretically, to say nothing of the practical side.” (280)

In saying “everywhere”, Reich also subordinates Stalinism to the phenomenon of fascism – later he will speak of “red and black fascism” – but it is not fascism itself that constitutes the defeat; rather, fascism is its consequence. The defeat refers to the failure of the world socialist revolution after the “starting shot” of October 1917, as well as the proletarians slaughtering each other in the First World War, rather than together turning against those who led them to the slaughter; since this is a “miscalculation” by Lenin, who himself always thought internationally, Reich will have to deal critically with his thinking in this text, albeit mostly implicitly, and look for the reasons for this frustration.

This defeat should not only be understood, this understanding must also serve as an impulse to revive and strengthen the workers’ movement, to counter fascism – when the text was published in 1934, the hope was still there to prevent the worst. Reich thereby draws on the tradition of Marxism; as well as through the terminology he uses and the practice of “reading” history, even if, as we will see, he fundamentally reinterprets this practice. On the other hand, however, he does not see this defeat as a catastrophe bolting in from the outside, fascism as a “conspiracy,” for example, but sees its reasons within not only the parties that failed to “retain” and mobilize the masses, but in the masses themselves, which of their own volition moved to the “right”. What is Class Consciousness? is therefore not only to be understood as an analysis of a historical situation, but above all as a self-criticism of the Marxist tradition of thought. This means that the failure of the labor movement is not only a matter of “tactical” mistakes of the parties, not even Stalin’s “betrayal” of the revolution, but a matter of a fundamental blindness within this thought.

Reich sees this blindness, and in this he builds on Lenin, in the fact that Marxism as a science understood how to “read” the “objective factor” of history, i.e. the economic and social forces at work, but ignored the “subjective factor”. Although Lenin himself managed – if we follow Reich’s interpretation here – to lead Russia’s masses to revolution, and thus activated the “subjective,” voluntarist factor, i.e. the will of the masses for freedom, this being-revolutionary soon turned towards a new authoritarianism, and perhaps Stalin was inherent to Lenin right from the beginning. If Reich thus seemingly builds on Lenin in this text and primarily turns his polemics against the communist parties of his time, his critique nevertheless reaches deeper. The basic questions for Reich in What is Class Consciousness? therefore are, according to its historical situation: Why did the international revolution not come, even though the first successful socialist revolution had taken place (the possibility of revolution was thus shown)? Why did the imperialist war and the carnage it caused not lead people to reject the power structures that led them to the slaughter? And why did the one nation that successfully carried out the revolution and gained freedom voluntarily relinquish that freedom in such a short time? Why, then, has Marxist-Leninist theory and practice failed to lead the masses out of exploitation and towards international revolution?

However, this fundamental self-criticism is nothing less than Reich’s escape route out of the impasse, so as to revive the workers’ movement; the subtitle of the text is accordingly “A Contribution to the Discussion on the Reform of the Workers’ Movement”. The question, therefore, of the conditions of revolution, of the revolutionization of the masses, thus continues to arise in his thought, and in this respect Reich also remains true to the perspective of Marxism, even if he later abandons its terminology as too narrow. Marxism as a freedom movement never asked itself another question: What are the conditions of possibility for the revolution? That is, what keeps the masses from freeing themselves? How to realize these conditions? How to realize a classless society in which no one is exploited, in which no one rules over the other? What is Class Consciousness? is obviously too short, and too programmatic, a text to answer these questions, and does not set itself this goal; the goal is rather to find out, how, in view of the historical situation, these questions can be rethought:

“We believe that this unhappy state of affairs is due to our clinging to old, worn-out, ossified dogmas, words, schemas and methods of discussion, and that this clinging is in tum due to the lack of new ways of posing problems, new ways of thinking and of seeing things with a completely fresh, uncorrupted eye.” (282)

“New ways of thinking” must indeed be understood radically, for it will lead us not only to rethink the fundamental concepts of Marxism, but to separate the question of (class) consciousness from that of knowledge; this will lead us to the “fundamental problem of a correct psychological doctrine” (294), namely the question of voluntary servitude, which radically questions the spontaneity of the masses. This “fundamental problem,” which we shall elaborate hereafter, reappears throughout all of Reich’s work, and is prepared in What is Class Consciousness? within the framework of Marxism. What this radical questioning will lead to, is the affirmation of the absolute self-responsibility of the individual, which is therefore beyond the power of any revolutionary leadership or party. So if Leninism failed, and was not simply “betrayed,” Reich must confront it and uncover the reasons for its failure. And this is what we will do in the following.


“Two Kinds of Class Consciousness”

Right at the beginning of the text Reich distinguishes between “two kinds of class consciousness” (279) and differentiates between the masses and leadership. This sounds, as the anonymous preface to the German edition of 1972 confirms, like a Leninist ‘move’, and Reich also quotes Lenin’s passage from What Is To Be Done? where the latter affirms that the working class can only acquire a “trade-unionist consciousness” of its own accord and must therefore be brought to revolution from the outside by the party. This was Lenin’s modification of Marxism on the basis of his re-reading of history, since certain historical events, such as the imperialist war, were not comprehensible within the framework of traditional Marxism. Reich also seems to follow Lenin when he immediately afterwards affirms the necessity of revolutionary leadership and speaks in relation to the masses rather of “preliminary forms or elements of what is called class consciousness, or revolutionary consciousness” (286). But if he speaks of two kinds of class consciousness, he also modifies, without making it explicit, Lenin’s conception: where the latter basically saw a gradual difference between the class consciousness of the revolutionary and the masses – the mass does not have “enough” of it – for Reich the two types of class consciousness stand side by side as equals, as qualitatively and principally different types.

Reich understands the class consciousness of leadership very ‘classically’ in the sense of “a precise understanding of the objective historical process” (289), i.e. knowledge. It is this knowledge that empowers the Leninist revolutionary to lead the masses to revolution by reading history and the objective sociopolitical processes. Since it is a complex and specialized knowledge, Lenin sees himself entitled to exclude the masses from this knowledge, at least to a certain extent, and Reich follows him in this.1placeholder It is precisely this lack of knowledge, in Lenin’s view, which prevents the masses from becoming genuinely revolutionary and makes the revolutionary as well as the party necessary; the masses know how to represent their interests and form trade unions (“trade-unionist consciousness”), but because they do not see that they will continue to be exploited, even if they’re temporarily doing well, they do not push for expropriation and autogestion. Consider how much this motive stands in the spirit of the Enlightenment since Kant and his “scholars,” who have to bring knowledge to the people, whereby this knowledge, as it is still the case in today’s cult of experts, pertains to only a minority and continues to produce patronizing conceptions of the masses, as well as of democracy. In this historical perspective, it becomes clear how radical Reich’s break is and to what extent it will in turn allow it, as we will see, to affirm radical democracy.

Cyril Power - Whence and Whither?, c. 1932

Thus, lack of knowledge for Reich does not exclude the masses from class consciousness; rather, this suggests that the masses (potentially) possess another class consciousness, which is not based on the knowledge of the “objective historical laws”. However, what is the principle of this other class consciousness? What Reich excludes, in addition to knowledge, as a principle that should lead to the revolutionization of the masses, is “hunger”2placeholder, the suffering of the people, i.e. an instinctive or intuitive conception of class consciousness, but also “freedom”3placeholder, whereby certain ideals or ethics would lead to revolution. Reich therefore excludes any ‘instinct of the masses for freedom’, as it is understood in the conception of the spontaneity of the masses; the problem for Reich is precisely that people do not want freedom, i.e. a life without domination and oppression, life in full self-responsibility. We must see here the fundamental difference to Lenin’s view. Lenin believed that the masses want revolution but do not see clearly enough (i.e. do not have enough knowledge) to realize this revolution. Reich rather thinks that if the masses should want the revolution – and this is a basic prerequisite for it to be a genuine revolution, and not merely a coup – they will not do it on the basis of a knowledge of the “objective laws”, but out of themselves, out of the need to create and shape one’s own way of life. But how can Reich continue to believe in the revolution if he rejects both a knowledge of the masses, as much as a freedom instinct and an idealism of the masses?

“The content of the revolutionary leader’s class consciousness is not of a personal kind – when personal interests (ambition, etc.) are present, they inhibit his activity. The class consciousness of the masses, on the other hand […], is entirely personal.” (289f.)

“[The class consciousness of the masses] is guided solely by the subjective reflections and effects of these objective facts in and upon an immense variety of trivial everyday matters; its content is an interest in food, clothing, fashion, family relations, the possibility of sexual satisfaction in the narrowest sense, in sexual play and entertainment in a wider sense, such as the cinema, the theater, amusement arcades, parks and dance halls, and also in such questions as the bringing up of children, the arrangement of living space, leisure activities, etc.” (290)

This change of perspective on everyday questions may seem harmless, perhaps naive and self-evident; but we have to see how much it actually gives new categories to the freedom movement. After all, the question of whether a group of people is free can not be answered only regarding whether they are “objectively” exploited, but they have to live their freedom in their everyday lives: “We make and change the world only through the mind of man, through his will for work, his longing for happiness – in brief, through his psychical existence” (290f.). Of course, the conditions of exploitation also prevent this – Reich holds on to the overcoming of capitalism – but these are themselves based on something else. People endure exploitation not only because they do not know about it (lack of knowledge) – indeed, people rarely do not know that they are being exploited – but because they voluntarily accept this exploitation. And the principle of this is the principle of self-denial (Entsagungsprinzip)

“Political reaction, with fascism and the church at its head, demands that the masses should renounce happiness here on earth; it demands chastity, obedience, self-denial, sacrifice for the nation, the people, the fatherland. […] The reactionaries take advantage of the guilt feelings of mass individuals, of their ingrained modesty, their tendency to suffer privation silently and willingly, sometimes even happily, and they take advantage of their identification with the glorious Führer, whose “love of the people” is for them a substitute for any real satisfaction of their needs. […] If one wants to lead the mass of the population into battle against capital, to develop their class consciousness, to bring them to the point of revolt, then one must recognize the principle of self-denial as harmful, lifeless, stupid and reactionary. Socialism affirms that the productive forces of society are sufficiently developed to ensure a life corresponding to the average cultural level of society for the broadest masses of all countries. Against the principle of self-denial preached by political reaction, we must set the principle of happiness and abundance on earth.” (292)

Here we finally arrive at the principle of this “second” class consciousness of the masses, its criterion: the masses are not the more conscious the more they acquire a knowledge, but the more they want to realize their own happiness here on earth. The masses are therefore revolutionary if they want self-responsibility, if they claim the right to satisfy their needs; they are reactionary if their way of life is based on the principle of self-denial and take upon themselves an ascetic way of life. This self-denial is not based on objective biological or economic processes, as the capitalist doctrine of scarcity wants it, but it always arises with regard to an authority – a ruling class – which exempts itself from this renunciation principle, and can “enrich [itself] and extend [its] power” (292) (in the German original, Reich writes “become thick and fat”). For this reason, the principle of self-denial is tied to the establishment of a ruling order, while the revolution intends to dissolve it. The problem therefore changes fundamentally: no more Lenin’s “how do I bring class consciousness to the masses?”, but “how to make people abandon the principle of self-denial?” It is precisely here that the full significance of the new perspective on “everyday questions” becomes clear, for it is there that the seeds of rebellion against the principle of renunciation must be sought. In this rebellion against self-denial and in it against all authority, that the inner power, the inner life of the individual is expressed, because the individual can only be self-responsible if it is willing to shape its world out of itself. In short, the new problem is that of voluntary servitude:

“If two human beings, A and B, are starving, one of them may accept his fate, refuse to steal, and take to begging or die of hunger, while the other may take the law into his own hands in order to obtain food. A large part of the proletariat, often called Lumpenproletariat, live according to the principles of B. We must be clear about this, although we certainly do not share the romantic admiration of the criminal underworld. Which of the two types has more elements of class consciousness in him? Stealing is not yet a sign of class consciousness; but a brief moment of reflection shows, despite our inner moral resistance, that the man who refuses to submit to law and steals when he is hungry, that is to say, the man who manifests a will to live, has more energy and fight in him than the one who lies down unprotesting on the butcher’s slab. We persist in believing that the fundamental problem of a correct psychological doctrine is not why a hungry man steals but the exact opposite: Why doesn’t he steal?” (294)

Everything that contradicts the bourgeois order, everything that contains a germ of rebellion, can be regarded as an element of class consciousness; everything that creates or maintains a bond with the bourgeois order, that supports and reinforces it, is an impediment to class consciousness.” (295)4placeholder

Reich elaborates “concrete elements” of this class consciousness in the next chapter, using the examples of juveniles, children, women and adult men. What changes is not only the perspective, but also the method. It is no longer merely a matter of reading the objective laws of history, but of examining in the everyday life of men where they are revolutionary and where they are reactionary; it is a matter of politicizing private life. The further task is to uncover, criticize and dissolve the reactionary tendencies and to develop the revolutionary ones. Reich sees it as the new task of revolutionary leadership to nurture the development of the revolutionary tendencies.5placeholder However, it is clear at this point that this is not a conspirative concept, as it was with Lenin, and that the figure Reich envisages here is actually not a revolutionary in the normal sense. The one who is able to carry out this analysis and nurture this development is rather the scientist, but a politicized scientist that uses a new method. For the scientist is no longer the one that collects knowledge – “knowledge” is always the search for laws, as Lenin’s revolutionary searches for the laws of history – but remains attached to the singular case, i.e. to the everyday situation of the individual. He does not abstract, but seeks in each “case” for the oppositional tendencies in order to uncover them and to develop the revolutionary one. Certainly, the scientist is also interested in how, for example, the institution of the family produces the well-behaved and obedient individual, since it is always about working out the political core of everyday life. As a therapist, however, Reich adheres to the individual and its tendencies, as much as its unique character structure. If this results in types,6placeholder it is because the reactionary forces suppress the uniqueness of the individual and reproduce stereotyped personalities that are easier to control. The free individual, on the other hand, expresses itself in its uniqueness by shaping its world. As a writer, Reich too does not elaborate general laws, but produces documents,7placeholder that is to say, analyses of his time, which itself is permeated by internal contradictions and, despite its apparent hopelessness, has both revolutionary and reactionary tendencies. The scientist, whether as a therapist or writer, thus starts with the individual, who is not only the product but also the producer of a reality based on self-denial. The scientist is interested in the “subjective factor”; and this is not based on the model of knowledge, but analysis. It is only in this way that science takes the side of freedom, for as long as science merely produces knowledge – because knowledge, as Reich affirms following Lenin, belongs only to a minority – it is at the service of a minority which claims the right to determine over others, whether in the name of a party or of experts.

With regard to “the prophylaxis of neuroses”8placeholder it is clear that one needs to fight against exploitation and suppression; and Reich also underlines that his focus on psychology does not replace the political struggle. The revolutionary produces a knowledge by reading history, studying its laws, but this knowledge is ineffective unless he understands the causes of voluntary servitude; for this he needs the scientist. The revolutionary understands how exploitation is produced, but not why it is reproduced, why people keep perpetuating it. For this he needs the scientist who analyzes the revolutionary and reactionary tendencies in the singular case and learns to understand how the revolutionary tendencies can be developed so that the masses can overcome their anxiety of freedom.9placeholder

In his blindness, the revolutionary does not understand that even if he is able to bring the masses to revolution – as Lenin did in 1917 – this does not guarantee that the masses will remain revolutionary, i.e. will hold on to their liberty. “Objectively” the October Revolution eliminated the structures of exploitation, but “subjectively” it did not eliminate the need for authority. Thus, it is Reich’s explanation for Stalinism that although the masses freed themselves from Tsarism, they continued to fear this newly gained freedom and immediately handed it over to the next “Führer”. The masses overthrew authority and were thereby revolutionary, but they did not abandon the principle of self-denial. The powers that be perpetuate this not externally through violence – a violence that October destroyed – but through internalized morality and education; and, being internalized, the principle of self-denial can overwinter the revolution and reappear in the figure of Stalin. The question does not concern Lenin, who perhaps nevertheless had secret claims to power, nor Stalin, who might have betrayed the revolution; for if the people really want freedom, they will not let anyone take it. This is the radical democratic perspective of Reich, whose provocative character is hopefully very clear at this point.

Reich affirms that it was the masses themselves who wanted Stalin (as they also wanted Hitler in Germany), and therein lies the fundamental problem. However, this does not lead Reich to a defeatism, but rather to a more precise analysis of the phenomenon of (red and black) fascism. Fascism expresses for him not only the adherence to the principle of self-denial – the need for a “leader” – but above all an emotional impulse that has a revolutionary tendency. Fascism, too, is not a problem of “knowledge” for Reich in this sense – the masses were not deceived by Hitler and Stalin – but it is an expression of precisely this ambivalence, which is lived in the everyday life of people. Fascism is therefore permeated by an inner contradictoriness. Therefore, let us take a closer look at fascism as Reich understands it.

Cyril Power - The Tube Train (1934)

The Internal Contradictoriness of Fascism

“[The communist party] saw only the reactionary function of fascism and not the revolutionary energies of its mass base; and as a result it lost the battle.” (336f.)

The fascist masses are not revolutionary in as much as they submit to a leader, but they are nevertheless somehow revolutionary because they have an anti-capitalist and anti-authoritarian impulse and rebel against a “master” who supposedly oppresses them far more than the Führer.10placeholder The revolutionary potential of the masses of Nazi Germany was precisely that they submitted to Hitler, to fight a far more evil master: the “capitalist” in the form of the Jew. Why does National Socialism equate the capitalist with the Jew? Why did he replace the capitalist with the Jew? The fascist masses have an anti-capitalist disposition but they’re not going against capitalism, why? Because the fascist seems to deceive the masses: he claims that someone else is “the capitalists”; not the capitalists themselves, but the Jews and their global conspiracy. The deception of fascism is thus: by fighting the Jew, the masses are fighting capitalism. This is what Reich in The Mass Psychology of Fascism calls mysticism. Fascism therefore exploits the revolutionary energy of the masses, which arises in anger against exploitation, to use it for the most terrible reactionary policy. But in order to fight the “capitalist,” the masses must submit to the fascist, the Führer. For the Führer must have not only the power to destroy the “capitalists”, but also the “knowledge” to identify them (here again the ambivalence of knowledge). In this regard, the ideology of fascism is radically anti-capitalist. But this “capitalist” is not the capitalist. That is why fascism does not threaten capitalism at the same time. The capitalist class can continue to be the ruling class and earn its money, for example, from the armament industry; it can continue to send the proletarians into imperialist war.

Fascism is in this respect the first “instinctive” response of capitalism to prevent the revolution, to make the revolutionary mass reactionary and thereby to tame it. The ruling class, the bourgeoisie, must repel the revolution; therefore, it accepts fascism in order to save itself, so that there may be a war, but not a civil war. But this is still an understanding of fascism as a “conspiracy”; not of the “Jew”, but of the capitalist class. For Reich, however, such an explanation does not suffice. Hitler and his storm troopers would have remained pathetic thugs had the masses not brought them to power. Therefore, “deception” is not enough as an explanation, even if it is important as a method of fascism, which, like bourgeois politics, since they are both permeated with contradictions, must always mystify.11placeholder

We must therefore ask ourselves: how could fascism have deceived the people when it placed the Jews before them instead of the capitalists? Pogroms instead of expropriation? Because the people wanted to be deceived. Certainly no one could seriously think that the Jew who toils next to them in the factory is incidentally involved in a worldwide conspiracy. The people knew when they destroyed the Jew that they were not overthrowing the capitalist; for why did all the money and gold of the Jews not reach the German people? Why were the Jews destroyed, but not the people freed? Why did they need to annihilate the “capitalists” if they could simply expropriate them? In its core, there was no deception.

The problem was that if the German people with the Nazis had overthrown their actual masters, i.e. the capitalist class, if the Nazis had actually realized “national freedom”, it would have been up to the people to realize their self-responsibility and their freedom. But the people were afraid of freedom, they had pleasure anxiety. Therefore, it was preferable to get rid of the Jew, rather than the capitalist. Because they didn’t have to change anything; they could remain unfree and be guided (as before by the Kaiser) and the ruling class could continue to rule. But at the same time the people were angry because they were exploited by the capitalists. This is the fundamentally anti-capitalist attitude that leads the people to fascism: the people know that they are being exploited and they suffer from it, they want change. At the same time, however, change would mean radical freedom, and freedom would mean personal responsibility. So, we see how serious Reich is about the concepts of the anxiety of freedom and pleasure anxiety; it is always the fear of radical self-responsibility that drives people into slavery.12placeholder Fascism is, in that sense, not created by “big” Hitler, but by the little man. But we must be careful from othering the masses. As Reich says, there’s a little man in everyone of us; if we assume that it’s just “them” who are unwilling to realize their freedom, we once again turn a blind eye to our own radical self-responsibility. Each time we pass on the blame, we express our own reactionary tendencies.

The contradictoriness of fascism is that the exploited people insist on change and at the same time resist any change and prefer the crassest reaction. This reaction is able to transform the impulses of anger into impulses of hatred; an arrangement that at least temporarily suits the people caught in contradiction. Because through hate, it can let out its anger by active annihilation, but still not touch on its ruling class. The risk is that this escalating violence will lead fascism to an implosion. That is why capitalism nowadays prefers other methods, even if it cannot resolve the internal contradictoriness which it shares with fascism. Capitalist exploitation leads to anger, which, if it is not to lead to change, must be diverted. For this reason, capitalism cannot free itself from the specter of fascism, which makes its reappearance not only in the guise of right-wing populism, but in every instance of ‘change without change’. Capitalism and fascism are both based on the principle of self-denial, which has the function of damming the frustration of exploitation, of internalizing external violence, of transforming anger against authority into anger against disobedience and otherness; the critique of this principle therefore remains the central task of a political analysis directed towards freedom.

Timofei Gerber has an MA in philosophy from the University of Heidelberg, Germany, and an MA in film studies from the University of Zurich. He is currently writing his PhD at Paris 1 Sorbonne. He is also a co-founder and co-editor of this magazine.

Works Cited

Reich, Wilhelm. “What is Class Consciousness?”, in: Wilhelm Reich. Sex-Pol. Essays 1929-1934 (ed. By Lee Baxandall), Vintage Books New York 1972, pp. 275-358.


“Under capitalism it will never be possible, whatever propaganda methods we use, to instill such highly specialized knowledge in the broad masses who have to do the actual work of insurrection and revolution.” (288)


“[H]unger by itself, when it does not demoralize, often drives young people into the arms of various bourgeois welfare organizations.» (301)


“Wherein does socialist freedom differ from the national freedom which Hitler promises?” (287), Reich asks rhetorically.


It is this passage that Deleuze and Guattari refer to in Anti-Oedipus they follow Reich in regarding voluntary servitude as the fundamental problem of political philosophy.


“Lenin taught, rightly, that the revolutionary must be able to feel at home in every sphere of life. We might add that he must be able to develop the specific revolutionary tendency inherent in every sphere of life.” (340)


On this point, cf. Reich’s Character Analysis.


Note Reich’s very personal and narrative style, which is anchored either explicitly in the historical situation (like this text, or The Mass Psychology of Fascism), or in Reich’s personal situation (like The Function of Orgasm, or Listen, Little Man!), whereby he himself becomes a “case”. In contrast to Lenin, Reich does not produce a knowledge, but analyses, even though both try to read and understand their own historical situation.


In the course of his entire work, Reich insists that the prophylaxis of neuroses (Neurosenprophylaxe) is a fundamental goal, that as a therapist one should not only cure neuroses in individual cases, but should eliminate in the political field those forces and tendencies that produce the neuroses in the first place.


Here the important concept of pleasure anxiety (Lustangst) comes into play, that Reich develops in Character Analysis.


The following analysis does not strictly follow Reich, who does not analyze fascism in What is Class Consciousness?, but is based on principles that he develops here and in The Mass Psychology of Fascism, the “the contradictions between revolutionary and reactionary trends in fascism […], which, in fascist ideology, were presented as a unity” (336).


Cf. an example that Reich cites: “Some storm troopers had brutally murdered a Polish worker and had been sentenced to death. Hitler interceded for them vociferously. The real motive for this gesture was the snub he had received from Hindenburg. In other words, when his feudal connections failed him, he played the trump card of his mass base.

The masses had absolutely no idea of the game that was being played with them. Rather, they felt themselves “understood” by Hitler in an upsurge of nationalistic identification. Hitler’s open support of the men who, out of a “sense of national honor,” had shot down a “Marxist dog,” and his stand against the hated government that had sentenced the murderers to death, outweighed by far the effect of erroneous Communist propaganda whose famous policy of “unmasking” consisted only in calling the murderers murderers. An explanation, offered on a mass scale, of the connection between Hindenburg’s refusal and Hitler’s appeal to mass feeling would have been effective.” (323)



See also Listen, Little Man! from 1948: “You want guidance and advice, little man. You’ve had guidance and advice through the millennia, good and bad. It was not because of the evil advice, but because of your pettiness that you are still in misery.“


October 2021


Becoming-Woman and Ontological Dismemberment: Reflections on women and animals

by María Luisa Bacarlett Pérez

Science, Ideology, and Biopolitics in The Times of Covid-19

by Arianna Marchetti

Libertarianism as a Programmatically Incoherent Social Philosophy

by Robert Donoghue

Wilhelm Reich on Class Consciousness and Voluntary Servitude

by Timofei Gerber