The Messy Psychology of Fascism

This is a time of fascism. Beyond actual ruling governments, fascist movements have mobilized openly in virtually all of the Western countries where so-called liberal democratic government supposedly prevails—Australia, Canada, England, France, Greece, Italy, Norway, the United States—to name only a few. In the US, of course, the figure of Trump has provided a concentration point—a rallying figure—for neofascists.

It has become more and more apparent that there are much more than typically economic and political forces stirring. Racism, misogyny, feelings of deprivation, economic resentments, more.

What, in particular, explains the support shown by the very people who might be feeling economic uncertainty for a billionaire whose entire life history was an affront to working class and poor people? How to explain the expressed love for the billionaire with the golden toilet by those who felt their own lives were going down the drain? How to explain the frenzy to which people worked themselves up in cheering on the offensive (racist, sexist) ravings of the billionaire con man? How to explain the open cheers for bullying and meanspirited targeting of inoffensive targets by people who otherwise would have seen themselves as decent, “salt of the Earth,” regular folks?

In addressing the mass phenomena being manifested in US politics, The Messy Psychology of Fascism deploys the works of Wilhelm Reich and his writings on the mass psychology of fascism, Felix Guattari and his work on micropolitics, and C .Wright Mills, especially his notions of anonymous insincerity and the sales mentality as dominant cultural forces in consumer capitalism.

This critical psychological approach connects psychological factors, cultural, personal drives, with political economy, with social and economic structures and processes. Throughout the analysis presented here the psychological and political economic are brought together. One informs and enlightens the other toward an overall examination of, an understanding of, a bigger picture, larger (mass) forces.

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