This blog is dedicated to the memory of David Weintraub, who took on insidious astroturfers and won.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Fascism or Freedom? (part 4)

     Joseph Stalin was a son of the peasantry. His mother Ekaterina led a religious life full of drudgery as a washerwoman. Vissarion, his father, was a drunkard who worked as a shoecutter. As such, Joseph could not afford what the sons of wealthier parents could. Like Hitler, he was faulted at school by authority figures, in this case at a seminary. Consequently, his hatred grew for the school administration, the affluent middle class, and everything that was feudal.

     After the revolution occurred, a state apparatus formed devoting itself to proletarian liberation. Yet, the high ideals of Marx and Trotsky were quickly subverted. Where Lenin erred was in his faith that after an interim period of a dictatorship of the masses, there would be a peaceful change to self-regulating work-democracy. However, in place of the dictatorship of the proletariat was borne a state-capitalistic machine that Stalin grew out of. Stalin betrayed the original high ideals of the revolution and kept the machine for his own sadistic endeavours. He surely kept some of the old Bolsheviks around as propaganda. Stalin, however, was the classic authoritarian character who gains pleasure from hurting others. This was evident in how he would sadistically tell victims they were safe, only to then have them killed. Joseph Stalin was also known to have had the family members of foes jailed and tortured.

     Much attention has been given to the authoritarian character. Now we shall shift to introspection of mass culture and the automation of alienated labour. It is important to understand how masses end up clinging to authority figures such as dictators. By not seeing weakness as virtue, massive numbers of individuals can easily become circumscribed into the infernal aura of fascistic nationalism. From The Mass Psychology of Fascism, Wilhelm Reich made many observations on the relationship of the automaton to the fuhrer.

          The reactionary lower middle-class man perceives himself in the
          fuhrer, in the authoritarian state. On the basis of this identification
          he feels himself to be a defender of the `national heritage', of the
          `nation', which does not prevent him, likewise on the basis of this
          identification, from simultaneously despising `the masses' and con-
          fronting them as an individual. The wretchedness of his material
          and sexual situation is so overshadowed by the exalting idea of
          belonging to a master race and having a brilliant fuhrer that, as time
          goes on, he ceases to realize how completely he has sunk to a
          position of insignificant blind allegiance. (14)

     In fascistic societies there is a cleavage between the actual economic situation and ideology. The economic crisis in Germany, for example, should have led to a revival in revolutionary thinking among the masses. However, as the economy had pushed intellectual thinking to the left, fascist exploitation manipulated large masses of the population toward reactionary vigour. Reich acknowledges this form of mass deception has some of its roots in the mysticism of family, church, and nation. Reich's mission was to uncover the irrational, social psychological structure of the masses which allows for tyrants to take such absolute power.

     According to Wilhelm Reich, a crucial social factor in the formation of fascism is sexual repression and how it suppresses people in such a way as to make them act in ways contrary to their real interests. Here are Reich's summary of the facts:

          * Mankind is biologically sick.

          * Politics is the irrational social expression of this sickness.

          * Whatever takes place in social life is actively or passively,
             voluntarily or involuntary, determined by the structure of
             masses of people.

          * This character structure is formed by socioeconomic processes
             and it anchors and perpetuates these processes. Man's biopathic
             character structure is, as it were, the fossilization of the
             authoritarian process of history. It is the biophysical reproduction
             of mass suppression.

          * The human structure is animated by the contradiction between
             an intense longing for and fear of freedom.

          * The fear of freedom of masses of people is expressed in the
             biophysical rigidity of the organism and the inflexibility of
             the character.

          * Every form of social leadership is merely the social expression
             of the one or the other side of this structure of masses of people.

          * It is not a question of the Versailles Peace Treaty, the oil wells of
             Baku or two to three hundred years of capitalism, but a question
             of four to six thousand years of authoritarian mechanistic civil-
             isation, which has ruined man's biological functioning.

          * Interest in money and power is a substitute for unfulfilled
             happiness in love, supported by the biological rigidity of
             masses of people.

          * The suppression of the natural sexuality of children and
             adolescents serves to mold the human structure in such a
             way that masses of people become willing upholders and
             reproducers of mechanistic authoritarian civilisation.

          * Thousands of years of human suppression are in the
             process of being eliminated. (15)

     I must interject at this point. One of my professors at the time was very impressed with this work. The grading is much different in Europe. This one scored me the grade right below perfection. Anyway, this guy said that Reich was a genius, but that he had this other stuff that was way out there and not considered by academics as fruitful. It's like when donkeytale was referring to Freud and Marx getting too much of a bad rap for things they had nothing to do with nobody. Reich's analysis fits right in with what the other thinkers also observed. The world is not groovy, man, and that sucks. It's not copacetic.

     It doesn't escape my sense of irony that Reich spoke of an orgone power. That is something some crazy "chemtrail people" have pushed. I looked into chemtrails a long time ago. Folks know that, if they are aware of my early, blogging schtick years. It's like with McCain and Stranahan talking a lot of trash about Critical Theory. That's another mind-blowing coincidence. Though those kind of things are ultimately insignificant, I must say in an Ed Grimley sort of way.

     In Reichian terms, to define freedom is to define our sexual health. If people do not partake in healthy, organic ways, freedom will become a hollow myth utilised to perpetuate authoritarian leadership. The fear of natural sexuality found in the irrational character type has led to a general disintegration of positive societal ties. The one-dimensionality of modern times has left people rigid, complacent, and pitifully malleable by outside negative forces. Reich felt that a solution can only be attained once historic biological repression has been reversed. That is, only when the people's orgastic longings are put back on the organic plane will humankind begin to heal.

     (this is probably coming off as intellectual soft-porn by donkeytale. but i digress and have rudely interrupted this instant classic.)

     Reich claimed to have discovered orgone energy. He described it as the primordial cosmic energy which when choked, orgastic impotence is the result. It follows its own natural rhythms, and as such according to Reich, one attuned to its magical and erotic pulsations can be said to be enlightened, at one with the cosmos (or tao), and in a state of perpetual peace. This does not imply that those attuned to it will become unburdened. By allowing self-growth through natural work-democracy, each person begins a natural progression towards knowledge, love, and an increased capacity to help others. In short, a world march toward organic and natural life-styles would instantaneously change the course so far taken. Sexuality would no longer be distorted, but would demolish the repressive socialisation process of delayed gratification and rigidity.

     In the benediction to his book Reich says that,

          Love, work, and knowledge are the well springs
          of our life. They should also govern it. (16)

     Natural work-democracy is the solution. It is not based on any specific politician or fake guru who directs others on how to live. It entails that every single one of us be more critical of society in order to escape its conformist, dogmatic claws and then recreate it anew. It emphasises the development of every person's core-self in contrast to the continuance of relationships based on domination. This does not imply that one retreat and whither away, but that each person has the responsibility to check the flow of their own natural processes. To live, love, and work with a concreteness and meaning derivative from the core-self and core-Eros can only accelerate a world-wide movement toward universal Eros and shield us from divisive human experience once and for all.

next up: the exciting conclusion to this recycled mess of a long ago written seminar paper with some more quotes from Marcuse and Fromm, along with the footnotes and bibliography for those wondering wtf.

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