The Mass Psychology of Fascism in the 21st Century – part 5

The battle with the unconscious and the mass psychology of fascism.

One fascism leads to another.

In the film ‘It Happened Here’ – a fictional and brutal account of a post Second World War Britain under Nazi occupation and a violent British partisan resistance – many Brits are portrayed accepting of the ideology of the Nazi fascist racism, and co-operating even with the killing programmes within Britain for East Europeans, the disabled and the elderly.

This phenomenon, the oppressed cooperating with, and even identifying with, the brutality of the oppressor is played out again in Philip K Dick’s novel The Man in the High Castle.

In this novel, whilst under Japanese occupation in San Francisco, Robert Childan, a North American, experiences and displays the multi-layered complexity of the way fascism self-perpetuates. At a meal with two younger liberal minded Japanese who implicitly question the ideology of Nazism, Childan is at first subservient, and even obsequious in his attempts to, at least, not upset his hosts, but this seems to be in bad faith, that is, his identity is of a man oppressed, and who knows it, but acts as if he isn’t. Then, he blurts out an obviously anti-Semitic sentiment: if the Nazis and Japs has lost the war then the world would be controlled by Jews – an idea that he has absorbed, perhaps, from Nazi propaganda, a sentiment which visibly ‘chills’ his Japanese hosts. At which point he, in good faith it is implied , at least now, embraces his own white supremacist identity which thinks of his young Japanese hosts as little more than subhuman, ‘monkeys’ with good memories and imitation skills, but no genuine critical facilities. Because he thinks this in (apparent) good faith, these thoughts seem to be self-fulfilling and reinforce his white supremacism and he leaves his hosts house full of his (racist) self-confidence.

This is actually a vivid portrayal of a racist psyche at work from a man living already under oppression himself.

And, the young Japanese that he is invited to dine with portray voices of quiet resistance to fascism as they describe the banned book The Grasshopper Lies Heavy which reimagines a world in which the Nazis and Japan lost the war.

Fascism breeds fascism, oppression by fascism itself can breed fascism. Even those oppressed by fascism can work to support and sustain fascist ideologies.


This is subjectivisation at work; the formation of a subjectivity (identity) by its subjugation to its objectivisation. A process described by Foucault who perhaps maintained this was done in full consciousness and explained by Lacan who attributed it to a capacity to make unconscious certain meanings in order to create an identity dependent on incompatible meanings.

Today, it is possible we see the same phenomenon being played out in Israel and its apartheid (racist) so-called Jewish State and the occupied territories. Though I hasten to add that many Jews globally disapprove strongly of the Zionist concept behind such as state.

The Jews, victims of the European Holocaust in the twentieth century, were oppressed by Nazi fascism. This may have inculcated or at least incited a reactive xenophobia, directed toward the Muslims in the Middle East, as some sought to invade and colonise Palestine. Now, it is the oppressed who have become the oppressor. Have the extremist racist political and religious zionists embraced the proto-fascist identities of their Nazi oppressors? It is good to colonise, to create Y’Israel, or so the 2018 Israeli Nation State Law proclaims. But this ideology is incompatible with caring with love for the indigenous natives of Palestine, the Arab Muslims and Christians and the Bedouin. The Palestinians, like Childan’s Japanese in Dick’s novel. are not valued as human but as ‘vermin’, as existential threat, to be despised. feared and destroyed.

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