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The Mass Psychology of Fascism

4.11  ·  Rating Details  ·  622 Ratings  ·  31 Reviews
In this classic study, Reich provides insight into the phenomenon of fascism, which continues to ravage the international community in ways great and small.

Drawing on his medical expereinces with men and women of various classes, races, nations, and religious beliefs, Reich refutes the still generally held notion that fascism is a specific characteristic of certain nationa
Paperback, Third Edition, 432 pages
Published November 1st 1980 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (first published 1933)
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Apr 04, 2008 Tosh rated it liked it
I often wonder if I am a fascist, and I know people who for sure hate Fascism to their very bone, yet I believe that they are fascists in their heart. In fact I wonder if Fascism is somewhat in our DNA. I often think the family trait, the love of animals, and a sense of order is somehow tied in to Fascism. And especially with the family we feel with other living beings. The need to belong to some social group. Isn't it better to join than be apart? Isn't our very sexual need is to be with someon ...more
Jul 30, 2011 Phil rated it really liked it
Very interesting read, especially bearing in mind that it was written in the middle of WW2 when Fascism was not just still a strong political force across Europe but a real threat. While I'm not sure I buy (or even fully understand) his theories of sex economics (the orgasmotrom and orgone theories - and its related accumulator don't appear in this book particularly), his analysis of not only the rise of fascism, but authoritarian regimes in general are fascinating: he pays particular attention ...more
Stuart Bramhall
Aug 22, 2010 Stuart Bramhall rated it it was amazing
With the recent rise of the New Right (viz the Tea Bag and Patriot movement), Wilhelm Reich proves himself as much of a prophet of Marx. Writing in 1933, during the rise of Hitler, he predicts the failure of the Left to engage the working class - without a total transformation in their organizing strategy. He also predicts the steady creep of western democracy towards greater and greater authoritarianism - accompanied by a steady increase in the passive, non-voting majority of the population.

Eric Phetteplace
good for the synthesis of Marx and Freud, a simpler predecessor to Deleuze & Guattari. bad for the rampant assumptions: 1) sexual repression during childhood is the root of all evils 2) people are innately good 3) there is an objective rationality which is evident to all once their illusions are stripped away. None of these are sufficiently defended, and Reich makes the typical mistake of overestimating the importance of his own discoveries.
Dec 30, 2014 Jake rated it really liked it
I wanted to read some Reich since I first read about him in Kerouac and Burroughs and Robert Anton Wilson. He was as weird as I expected. He made me think about some things in totally new ways which was fun. Sometimes it felt outdated and dry or just too nutty (cosmic orgone, etc). So I alternated between 5 stars and 2 stars. I liked the idea of fascism being made possible because of the psychological sickness of the masses. Irrationality, sexual repression, a patriarchal society, and mysticism ...more
Amai Freeman
Jan 30, 2014 Amai Freeman rated it really liked it
A very ambitious and far-reaching read. Reich does a great job of presenting very hard hitting criticisms of Fascist ideology and culture as well as Leninist Vanguardism. He synthesizes Freudian Psychology and Marxism in a very refreshing and honest way.

Some of his analyses unfortunately can be repetitive to the point exhaustion and at other times he presents his conclusions as complete and holistic when they actually focus too narrowly on a particular dimension of social life.

Much of the work i
Simon Grymonprez
Jan 28, 2015 Simon Grymonprez rated it really liked it
Impressive and important.

However, I fully agree with Martin Kitchen's assessment in "Fascism"(1976):
'an extraordinary book which combines brilliant insight with passages of pure nonsense".

Reich raises a few important questions, ("why did the Social Revolution of 1917 fail?""why is the worker not conscious of his condition?""is freedom for the mass really impossible?" etc.) but sometimes his answers are too deterministic and way too narrow.

Also, it would be extremely interesting to read an analy
Paula Kirman
Dec 29, 2013 Paula Kirman rated it really liked it
A very deep analysis of what leads the average person to fascism. He links a lot of his theory to his "sex-economy" beliefs so it helped that I have already read a couple of this books on that topic. This was first written in 1932 just as Nazism was rising, and much of it still holds up well.
Esteban del Mal
Fascism through a Freudian and Marxist lens.
May 17, 2009 Alex rated it really liked it
First written in Germany in 1932 as Hitler was coming to power, then revised in the US in 1944, this is a classic study of the characteristics of fascist movement. Reich, a former Marxist from the Frankfurt School, emphasizes that fascism is not unique to Germany or Japan or Italy, but is instead "the basic emotional attitude of the suppressed man of our authoritarian machine civilization and its mechanistic-mystical conception of life."

In other words it's not enough to blame Hitler or the Nazis
Jul 20, 2015 xDEAD ENDx rated it liked it
I'm basically in agreement with his ideas about the individual allure of fascism, though his linking of sexual repression with fascism is a little too Oedipal (i.e. "the mother land" speaking directly to little boys love for their actual mothers). Reich's writing is also very long-winded and seems to go on and on just to make the same point over again (and he's unfortunately short with parts I found interesting, such as the proposition that a swastika is a sexual symbol (actually, it's a frustra ...more
Scott Forbes
Sep 05, 2013 Scott Forbes rated it it was amazing
You need to read this book if you ever wondered why Hitler was so popular and why the other Germans allowed him to persecute innocent people. I'd also recommend _Games_People_Play_ by Eric Berne.

This book explores fascism completely, from the therapeutic perspective. So it is more concerned with what happens to people mentally, apart from the politics and the sociology. The interesting thing I thought about was how possible fascism is due to the psychic fact that it underlies a lot of other fact

Some reasons why you should read this:

-Reich is one of the most radical figures in the history of psychiatry
-many of the ideas here were reprised by current humanities champions Foucault and Deleuze.
-banned by the Nazis and the US
-but mainly to to try to understand why many (including myself) think that Reich was right when he said: It is the mechanistic-mystical character of modern man that produces fascist parties, and not vice versa.

There are some negatives though. It has a complete ignorance
Spicy T AKA Mr. Tea
I wasn't sure what I was going to be reading when I opened this. Once I started, i realized that it would have helped to read some of his work before this since he talks more extensively about what he calls orgone. That aside, a curious look at the psychology of fascism. I agreed with a lot of what he had to say but it felt like he was walking this tightrope of blaming the masses for the rise of fascism yet recognizing that fascism is all that could rise out of the environment it came from. Ther ...more
Apr 25, 2014 Fannie added it
Recommended to Fannie by: alfred krispin
A must read for each and every person who wishes to have a wider understanding of life, human nature and the surrounding world and who is not afraid to be overwhelmed by qustions whose answers do not come readily.
Jan 07, 2015 Antonella rated it it was amazing
A deep view into sexuality (and its control) and society. It's a cutting edge dissertation that crosses psychology, history and sociology. still actual. I strongly recommend it
Abril Pino
Jun 05, 2015 Abril Pino rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: i-own
Nunca he sido amante de este tipo de temas, pero este libro me ha gustado e instruído mucho.
Adrian Colesberry
Apr 12, 2009 Adrian Colesberry rated it really liked it
There's a great scene in this book where he describes how the parents of a teenage girl who had been raised agnostic one day found their child praying fervently. After some investigation, they discovered that she'd started masturbating, had felt super-guilty and so fell to praying despite the fact that she hadn't been brought up in any faith. This reminded me of my own hyper-religious period that started after puberty and continued until I was 20 or so.
There are many terrific insights in this p
Dec 07, 2007 علی rated it really liked it
ظاهرن "گوش کن آدمک" تنها اثر ویلهم رایش، روانشناس، پژوهشگر و زیباشناس آلمانی ست که توسط حسین آقایاری به فارسی ترجمه شده و البته در خارج از کشور چاپ و منتشر شده است. انتشارات نوید، آلمان، 1365
دکتر رایش که به متخصص امور جنسی هم مشهور است و آثار تکان دهنده ای در این زمینه نوشته، بانی نگاهی تازه به مساله جنس ، بدن زن و مرد و بنیادهای فیزیکی و روانی مسایل جنسی ست.
اثار او بصورت گسترده ای در همه ی زبان های اروپایی مورد استفاده قرار گرفته و در اکثر انستیتوها جزو ماده های درسی بوده است
Dec 06, 2008 Kandee rated it really liked it
great look at what it takes to make a fascist state, how the people behave individually as well as as a whole, what pieces need to be in place and how a government or society can cultivate certain elements to insure that the populace goes along with whatever the plan might be, it also eerily familiar.
Apr 23, 2011 wally rated it liked it
Shelves: reich
"as a result of thousands of years of social and educational distortio, masses of people have become biologically rigid and incapable of freedom. they are not capable of establishing peaceful coexistence."


surely, there is more.
Aug 09, 2008 David rated it really liked it
Reich managed to combine two now-outmoded glass bead games, psychoanalysis and Marxism, and finally went quite round the bend.

And yet, as I distantly recall this book, he was on to something.
Muzaffar Nizam
It' a remarkable study of fascist psyche; it helps understand today's terrorist mindset that is playing havoc with world peace....
Apr 09, 2009 andrew rated it it was amazing
a great read if you want to learn what leads people to accept fascism.
Jun 06, 2012 David added it
Disturbing in the best possible kind of way.
m. soria
Aug 04, 2008 m. soria rated it really liked it
you ever heard of an orgone machine?
Dragomir Uzelac
Jan 28, 2010 Dragomir Uzelac rated it it was amazing
the essence of life... A MUST!
Jul 17, 2007 Flint rated it liked it
Recommends it for: anti-fascists
Shelves: nonfiction, politics
Way better than that orgone nonsense.
Jan 29, 2011 Crystal rated it it was amazing
The PDF is widely available.
Samuel Smith
Nov 11, 2012 Samuel Smith rated it it was amazing
One of the best banned books.
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Jewish Austrian-American psychiatrist and psychoanalyst.

Reich was a respected analyst for much of his life, focusing on character structure, rather than on individual neurotic symptoms. He promoted adolescent sexuality, the availability of contraceptives and abortion, and the importance for women of economic independence. Synthesizing material from psychoanalysis, cultural anthropology, economics,
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“The socially irresponsible man is the man absorbed in sexual conflicts.” 0 likes
“Power, no matter what kind of power it is, without a foundation in truth, is a dictatorship, more or less and in one way or another, for it is always based on man's fear of the social responsibility and personal burden that "freedom" entails.” 0 likes
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