07 October 2008

It's Cloudbusting day

In many German meetings around 1930 revolutionaries, such as Otto Strasser, who were intelligent and honest though their thinking was somewhat nationalistic and mystical, would say to the Marxists: "You Marxists always point to the theories of Marx. Marx taught that theory is confirmed only in practice. But you always come up with explanations for the defeats of the Workers' International. Your Marxism has failed. The defeat in 1914 you explain with the 'defection of the Social Democrats,' that of 1918 with their politics of betrayal.' And now you have new 'explanations' for the fact that in the present world crisis the masses turn to the right instead of the left. But your explanations do not alter the fact of these defeats! Where, in the past eighty years, has there been any confirmation of the social revolution by practical action? Your basic error is that you deny or ridicule the mind which moves everything, instead of comprehending it." These were the arguments of many revolutionaries, and the Marxists had no answer to them. It became increasingly clear that their political mass propaganda did not reach anybody except those who already belonged to the left front, simply because this propaganda referred to nothing but the objective socio-economic processes (capitalist production, economic anarchy, etc.). The elaboration of material needs, of hunger alone, was not sufficient, for that was done by every political party, even the church. Thus, when the economic crisis was most acute, the mysticism of National Socialism defeated the economic theories of Socialism. It was evident that there was a wide gap in the propaganda and in the total conception of socialism, a gap which was responsible for its "political mistakes." It was a defect in the Marxist comprehension of political reality. True, the method of dialectic materialism had provided the means for correcting this defect, but they had not been utilized. In brief, Marxist politics had not included in its political practice the character structure of the masses and the social significance of mysticism.

If one followed and actually experienced the theory and practice of Marxism on the revolutionary left front between 1917 and 1933, one found that it was limited to the objective economic processes and to state politics. The so-called "subjective factor" in history, the ideology of the masses, its development and contradictions, were not even considered, let alone understood. The Marxists failed to apply their own method of dialectic materialism, to keep it alive, and to use it to comprehend every new social phenomenon.[...]

Like the works of many great thinkers, Marx's ideas were debased to empty slogans; they lost, in the hands of the Marxist politicians, their scientific revolutionary content. The politicians were so engrossed in everyday political struggles that they were unable to develop the principles of a live concept of social functioning as handed down by Marx and Engels. One has only to compare the books of, say, Sauerland, Salkind or Pieck with any of Marx or Engels to realize that functional methods turned into formulae, scientific research into rigid schemata. The "proletariat" of Marx's time had developed, in the meantime, into a gigantic industrial workers' class, the small tradespeople of the middle classes into masses of industrial and government employees. Scientific Marxism degenerated into "vulgar Marxism."

Emphasis added. Reich's Mass Psychology of Fascism is linked on the sidebar now. Start reading, and weep at how little has changed since 1933. Then take up Uncle Wilhelm's challenge and use dialectical materialism to understand culture, ideology, mysticism, and how we can all become as skilled as Karl Rove, for good rather than evil.