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13 May 2013

The Mass Psychology of Fascism

Book Review:
The Mass Psychology of Fascism (1946), by Wilhelm Reich

© 2007 L.L. Williams  

We have defeated communism but have we defeated fascism? Examining the transformation to fascist dictatorship experienced by Germany in the 1920s and 1930s, one finds no reason that it could not happen again. Sure, Hitler was crazy, but how did he recruit millions of accomplices?  

One plausible idea that does not presume millions of people are "evil" is to try to understand humanity in terms of elemental forces that transcend the boundaries of their everyday, individualistic, rational levels of being. 

A simple example is the herd and flocking instincts seen in many animal species. Each individual feels an elemental force to conform to a single group. Out of their multitudes a single agglomeration appears whose motions may not perfectly overlap with the interests of its individuals. 

In human political groups, the leaders may undertake policies which are detrimental to the individual interests. For example, a "conservative" political party may use the powers of government to benefit a very powerful few at the expense of the multitudes. Yet the same party maintains popular support among the people most hurt by its policies. As Wilhelm Reich confirms, the means by which leaders maintain power in the light of such contradiction is the psychology of fascism. 

The Mass Psychology of Fascism (MPF) starts by posing that very question: why do individuals lend their support to groups that hurt them? MPF is full of great insights and also a few screwy things I am not so sure about. To appreciate Reich's book, one must make allowance for how the world was when it was published, 60 years ago.

 At the end of World War II, it was realized that a fascist dictatorship (Nazi Germany) had almost pulverized the communist revolution (Russia). Reich sought to understand in general how a significant fraction of the working peoples of the world (Germany) turn away from the communist propaganda which was geared toward the common man. Reich calls this disconnect between self interest and party loyalty "the cleavage." 

Reich balances the scales in this case of irrational self-interest by invoking mysticism as a party policy. He ascribes mysticism as much a force in the motion of the people as is their self-interest. Reich says this is where the Marxists failed: they did not speak to the soul of the people, only their self-interest. The mysticism of the Nazis triumphed over Marxist economic theory. Reich would say that ideology is a material force.

 To pose the question of why impoverished masses could become nationalistic, Reich considers the inexorable logic that would pertain in the absence of mysticism:
"The basic Marxist conception grasped the facts that labor was exploited as a commodity, that capital was concentrated in the hands of the few, and that the latter entailed the progressive pauperization of the majority of working humanity. It was from this process that Marx arrived at the necessity of "expropriating the expropriators." 

According to this conception, the forces of production of capitalist society transcend the limits of the modes of production. The contradiction between social production and private appropriation of the products of capital can only be cleared up by the balancing of the modes of production with the level of the forces of production. Social production must be complemented by the social appropriation of the products. The first act of this assimilation is social revolution; this is the basic economic principle of Marxism. This assimilation can take place, it is said, only if the pauperized majority establishes the `dictatorship of the proletariat' as the dictatorship of the working majority over the minority of the now expropriated owners of the means of production."[p8] 

Of course, the dictatorship of the proletariat became the dictatorship of the few anyway. But in 1946, as now, the social question about devotion to a cause which is counter to material self interest still remains. 

With idealogy or mysticism admitted as a material, economic force, Reich makes the self-evidently simple statement that "every social order produces in the masses of its members that structure which it needs to achieve its main aims... In every epoch the ideas of the ruling class are the ruling ideas...The class which has the means of material production at its disposal also has the means of `ideological production' at its disposal. 

Reich contends that "the contradictions of the economic structure of a society are also embedded in the psychological structure of the subjugated masses." Reich calls it "the mainstay of the state apparatus."

As he probes the roots of this psychological cleavage, Reich attributes much to Freudian sex-oriented psychology and a concept of sex economy. Evidently, sex economy is based on control through sexual repression and suppression. Reich finds a strong link between sexual suppression and economic exploitation. 

Reich sees the roots of authoritarianism in the authoritarian family: "Man's authoritarian structure is ... produced by the embedding of sexual inhibitions and fear in the living substance of sexual impulses." Somehow sexual repression makes people submissive and impotent. The resulting conservatism and fear of freedom is what Reich calls "reactionary thinking." 

Sexual repression, according to Reich, leads to substitute gratifications and the distortion of natural aggression into brutal sadism, which itself is part of a mass-psychological basis for imperial wars. Reich maintains that sexual repression can lead a man to act, feel, and think contrary to his own material interests. The sexual repression and its attendant effects is evidently achieved through ideology and mysticism. 

Reich claims honor and duty are substitute gratifications for the sexual repression, and their ecstasy is genuine. Evidently Reich feels the sexual repression leads to mysticism, and that these feelings of honor and duty are part of mysticism. "All the elements of the reactionary man's structure are developed in this struggle [to resist the temptation to masturbate]." "Every form of mysticism derives its most active energy ... from this compulsory suppression of sexuality." Reich goes on and on about sexual repression, sexuality, and exploitation. 

The authoritarian state is reflected in every family in the father. The family is an instrument of power of the state. As father is to family, fuhrer is to nation. "In their subjective emotional core the notions of homeland and nation are notions of mother and family." Although Reich tend to view the patriarchal family as more of a tool of authoritarianism than the matriarchal family. 

"How it comes about that the psychic structures of the supporting strata of a society are so constructed that they fit the economic framework and serve the purposes of the ruling powers as precisely as the parts of a precision machine will long remain an unsolved riddle...What we describe as the structural reproductionn of a society's economic system in the psychology of the masses is the basic mechanism in the process of the formation of political ideas."[p54] 

The Nazis characterized themselves as "an elementary movement, it cannot be gotten at with `arguments'." Their rally speeches were conspicuous for operating upon the emotions of the masses and avoiding relevant arguments as much as possible. Hitler claimed that true mass psychological tactics dispense with argumentation and keep the masses' attention fixed on the `great final goal' at all times. 

Reich gives some discussion to the importance of the middle class to Nazism, and their role in the subjugation of the lower classes. He characterizes them with an "army sergeant" psychology. They are dependent on the upper class and on governmental authority for their position. Such a person begins to take on the attitudes of the ruling class and a corresponding cleavage between his economic situation and his ideology.

 There is a tie between national and familial ties in the lower middle classes. The fuhrer arouses emotional family ties in the masses, and this makes him an authoritarian father figure. He attracts all the emotional attitudes that were meant at one time for the father. The masses had need for protection and were allowing the dictator to manage their needs. 

The more helpless the mass-individual becomes, the more pronounced his identification with the fuhrer, and the childish need for protection is disguised in the form of feeling at one with the fuhrer. It is basically the self-confidence one may derive from greatness of the nation [Ed: or today, I would say sports teams]. 

Fascism is a problem of the masses, not of Hitler as a person or of the politics of the Nazi party. This is perhaps the main conclusion. Reich discusses symbology and racism, and provides more depth on the tie between sexual repression and mysticism, other aspects of sex economy. 

Authoritarian society reproduces itself in the individual structures of the masses with the help of the authoritarian family. Therefore the authoritarian family is defended as the basis of the state. This propaganda mines deep emotional forces. Reich seems to think a sexual revolution would shatter authoritarianism when he says "sexually awakened women ... would mean the complete collapse of the authoritarian ideology." There may be a kernel of truth to this in the sexual revolution of the 1960s. 

"The man reared under and bound by authority has no knowledge of the natural law of self-regulation; he has no confidence in himself." 

There is a "dictator's soil of mass psychology" which constitutes fascism's strength. 

Mysticism diverts attention from daily misery, to prevent a revolt against the real causes of misery. To fight the mystical thinking on which fascism is built is a way to fight fascism. Education tends to eradicate mystical thinking. 

"The reactionary man (fascist) assumes an intimate relation between family, nation, and religion." 

"It is in the nature of a political party that it does not orient itself in terms of truth, but in terms of illusions, which usually correspond to the irrational structure of the masses." 

"The word fascism is not a word of abuse any more than the word capitalism is. It is a concept denoting a very definite kind of mass leadership and mass influence: authoritarian, one-party system, hence totalitarianism, a system in which power takes priority over objective interests, and facts are distorted for political purposes." 

Reich feels that the Russian revolution started as democracy, that Lenin and Marx were both bourgeois property owners advocating a new form of democracy, but that under Stalin it became nationalism. Reich correlates the deterioration into totalitarianism to the fact that the sexual revolution was suppressed. The failure of the Russian revolution was due to the irrationality of the masses, whereas the revolution appealed only to economic rationality. Marx never mentioned the state as a goal. "...the founders of the Russian revolution had no inkling of the biopathic nature of the masses." "As Lenin conceived it, the dictatorship of the proletariat was to become the authority that had to be created to abolish every kind of authority." Engels viewed the state, in fact, as a mere tool of oppression of the weaker class by the economically dominant class. Reich goes on with a compelling analysis of the failure of the Russian Revolution. 

Contrary to the view that masses will always eventually liberate themselves, Reich feels they are doomed to enslavement. Instead, they can be shaped and molded to suit any ends. They are in fact incapable of freedom. The points in history where a new stage is reached, such as the American and Russian revolutions, are somewhat accidental coincidences of events. Yet Reich found room for hope. People can become capable of freedom. Since the incapability of freedom is rooted in "social suppression of gential sexuality", freedom could be realized if suppression were removed. 

Reich differs with the analysis of Fromm, who tied totalitarianism to fear of freedom and craving of authority. The core reason of sexual suppression is "inaccessible to rational understanding." Social revolutions based on purely economic considerations could not compete. In modern times, Reich would say "its not just the economy, stupid." 

Reich goes on to a detailed consideration of how the state and bureaucracy becomes instruments of oppression and totalitarianism. 

In summary:
  • the masses are irrational
  • their mass organization will reflect this irrationality
  • irrationality is as big a motive factor as any economic or rational consideration
  • sexual suppression is a tool of oppression
  • totalitarianism is a problem of the masses, not of the leaders
  • freedom is a capability of the masses, not of the leaders

12 May 2013

Who Is Who, And To Whom They Sold Their Souls

(Compiled By: Louis Turner) 

George Bush - Skull and Bones, CFR, Trilateral Commission, Committee of 300, Illuminati
Bill Clinton - Bilderberger, Trilateral Commission, CFR
Saddam Hussein - 33rd degree Freemason
King Hussein - 33rd degree Freemason
Tony Blair - 33rd degree Freemason
Gerhard Schroeder - 33rd degree Freemason
Benjamin Netanyahu - 33rd degree Freemason
Yasser Arafat - 33rd degree Freemason
Ronald Reagan - 33rd degree Freemason (on sight), Knights of Malta, Rosicrucian Order
Michail Gorbachev - 33rd degree Freemason
Helmut Kohl - Committee of 300
Shimon Peres - 33rd degree Freemason
Francois Mitterand - 33rd degree Freemason (Grand Orient Lodge)
Yitzak Rabin - 33rd degree Freemason
Willy Brandt - Committee of 300
Gerald Ford (frm President USA) - 33rd degree Freemason
Karl Marx - (Grand Orient Lodge)
Frederick Engels - (Grand Orient Lodge)
Franklin D. Roosevelt - (32nd or 33rd degree Freemason)
Sir Winston Churchill - 33rd degree Freemason (but Resigned from the English Lodge!) Member of the Druid Order
Harry S. Truman - 33rd degree Freemason
Neville Chamberlain - (Committee of 300)
Vladimir Lenin - Illuminati (Grand Orient Lodge)
Joseph Stalin - Illuminati (Grand Orient Lodge)
Leon Trotsky - (Grand Orient Lodge)
Henry Kissinger - (Committee of 300, P2 Freemasonry, Knights of Malta, Bilderberger)
J. Edgar Hoover - 33rd degree Freemason
Cecil Rhodes - 33rd degree Freemason
Aleister Crowley - Grandmaster Ordo Templi Orientis
Walt Disney - 330 Freemason
Olof Palme - Committee of 300, Bilderberger
Al Gore - 33rd degree Freemason
Tony Blair - 33rd degree Freemason, Bilderberger
Josef Mengele (Dr. Green) - Illuminati Implanter
Robert McNamara - 33rd degree Freemason (at least)
Pehr G. Gyllenhammar (frm Volvo) - Committee of 300
Percy Barnevik (ABB Sweden) - Committee of 300
Col. James "Bo" Gritz - 33rd degree Freemason
Billy Graham - 33rd degree Freemason
John Glenn (33rd degree Freemason)
Buzz Aldrin (330 Freemason)
Virgil I. Grissom (Freemason)
Edgar D. Mitchell (Freemason)
Plato (Illuminati)
Francis Bacon (Freemason, Rosicrucian Grand Master)
Lord David Owen - (Royal Institute of Int. Affairs, Committee of 300)
Lord Peter Carrington - (Committee of 300, Bilderberger)
Richard Holbrooke - (33rd degree Freemason, Committee of 300)
Jimmy Carter - (Tril. Comm., CFR)
Carl Bildt - (Bilderberger)
David Rockefeller - Czar of the Illuminati
Edmund de Rothschild - Illuminati
Alan Greenspan - Federal reserve Bank (Committe of 300)
Peter Wallenberg - S-E Bank of Sweden (Committee of 300)
Queen Elisabeth II - Queen of the Committee of 300
Prince Phillip - 33rd degree Freemason, Committee of 300
Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands - Committee of 300 (Bilderberger)
Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands - Committee of 300 (Bilderberger)
King Carl XVI Gustaf - (Bilderberger)
Prince Bertil - (Grande Orient Lodge of Freemasonry) 

Illuminati Members:
John Jacob Astor
McGeorge Bundy
Andrew Carnegie
Walter Freeman
W. Averell Harriman
Ted Kennedy
John D. Rockefeller Sr.
David Rockefeller
Lee Teng-hui
Baron Guy de Rothschild
Hillary Clinton - (60 Grand Dame)
Albert Pike - (co-founder of Ku Klux Klan)
Sam & Edgar Bronfman Jr. - (Seagram Whiskey)

David, Nelson, Winthrop, Laurence, John D. III
Lord J. Rothschild
Bertrand Russell (scientist)
Otto of Habsburg
George W. Bush Jr. - Illuminati , Skull & Bones
Irenee du Pont, Illuminati
Adam Weishaupt Founder of the Bavarian Illuminati


Pathocracy - Tyranny at The Hand of Psychopaths

by Jack Mullen
January 25, 2011
from ActivistPost Website

Were people consciously aware something was about to change in a very bad way just before Lenin and Trotsky appeared on the scene in Petrograd in the spring of 1917?

Did the German people realize accepting the 'hope' of Hitler would result in something so hideous and evil that tens of millions of people would die and a permanent bloodstain would appear on the history of Germany?

What was life like months or years before the Armenians suffered genocide at the hands of the Turks, did they know that government imposed gun control was really disarmament before extermination?

How about the Chinese before the tyrant Mao, or the North Koreans before the Kim Jung il family infestation?

Did these people know what was coming, but didn't know what they could do?

Most of written history is written on pages of blood.

I think today, right now, is another one of those moments just before something very bad is about to happen. And, this time, we have the written historical records of bad news to learn potentially lifesaving, culture-rescuing information before we slip into another example of blood and carnage insanity. 

Although Sigmund Freud introduced the world to the word psychopath in his book Psychopathology of Everyday Life, published in 1901, it wouldn't be until forty years later that a true definition of psychopathology was developed to include the personality type of psychopath: a scientific understanding that sheds light on past and current events.

One of the first researchers to study and document the nature of personality types called psychopaths was Hervey Cleckley, MD, in his book The Mask of Sanity, published in 1941.

In this classic work, Cleckley spent considerable time with prison inmates in Georgia; prisoners that,
"little agreement was found as to what was actually the matter with them."

And, according to Cleckley,
"[the prisoners] continued, however, to constitute a most grave and a constant problem to the hospital and to the community."

In addition to Cleckley, others in the time since 1941 have contributed significantly to our understanding of the psychopathic personality type.

One such heroic researcher was Andrew M. Lobaczewski, born 1921 in Poland.

After suffering Nazi occupation during WWII, and Russian occupation after Germany's defeat, Lobaczewski entered college to be trained as a psychologist, and soon thereafter began research into the nature of the psychopath. Lobaczewski and his colleagues risked severe penalties, including death, for documenting their research and experimentation.

Many decades would pass trying to get the work published (and many attempts were made by groups to destroy it). But, finally, in 1998, circumventing attempts of Zbigniew Brzezinski to stop the publication, Lobaczewski's book Political Ponerology - A science on the nature of evil for political purposes was published.

The book begins with an examination of prisoners, much like Cleckley's work covers, but this time scientists correlated the behavior of psychopaths with the depravity of massively oppressive political regimes; the results of which culminated in a new science he called Ponerology, the study of evil in man. Political Ponerology, then, is the nature of evil in politics.

According to Lobaczewski, organizations can become infested with psychopathic personality types who, if given the proper amount of time and growing conditions, will busily fill all positions of power within it.

In the case of governments, what emerges is defined as a pathocracy:
tyranny at the hand of psychopaths.

Lobaczewski defined governance by a pathocracy as a macrosocial disease, something unhealthy and brutally deadly if untreated. 

The book Political Ponerology provides a scary explanation for periodic times of brutal insanity in the history of the world. It is a light to scientifically expose a particular personality type within populations - a type, if left alone, will infest positions of power, pushing out normal personalities until they dominate the power structure.

From a position of total domination, psychopaths will aggressively and brutally protect the power they have gained. In the case of government, that means taking steps to eradicate any perceived opposition to their control and authority.

Since true psychopaths are emotionally dead, and work empathy-free (see Dr. Robert Hare's book Without Conscience; The Disturbing World of Psychopaths), the task of cleaning house to prevent loss of control can quickly evolve into the 20-million-plus killed in the Russian Holocaust, the 60-million-plus killed in the Chinese Holocaust, or the extermination camps of the Jewish Holocaust.

Although not on the same scale, recent mass murders such as the Waco Texas massacre, the Oklahoma City bombings, or the 9-11 false flag terror-murders should sound the warning alarms. Psychopaths are afoot.


11 May 2013

Zionists’ Failed Attempt To Recruit Gandhi

A recent book brings to light the Israeli lobby’s failed attempt to recruit India’s apostle of peace for its cause.

The Palestinian issue, more than any other wrangle in modern times, has huge overtones of a morality play and as an Indian living in this region, I have always been intrigued about what Gandhi, that apostle of peace and a strong advocate of morality above all in politics, had to say on this troubling matter. And all this takes on a special meaning on the eve of the upcoming historic debate and the move to table a resolution to recognise Palestine as a state in the UN.

A recent bestseller, Great Soul by Joseph Lelyveld, an old veteran at the New York Times fortunately throws light not only on Gandhi and the Palestinian question but adds a little spice as well. A clandestine effort is made to sly recruit the Mahatma for the Jewish cause and Lelyveld gives us a ring-side view of this duplicity in his brilliant book.

Nehru was the more vocal supporter of the Arab cause and the primary spokesman in all matters concerning foreign affairs, despite this, it was Gandhi who was approached furtively. The motive was more than the obvious, Gandhi the bigger name and the apostle of passive resistance. The reason for this was both straight forward as well devious.

The secret agent sent by the Political Department of the Jewish agency in Palestine was chosen specifically because he was a close buddy of Gandhi. Gandhi was not aware of this double dealing by his close friend of four decades, a relationship stretching back to his early struggles in South Africa.

Hermann Kallenbach is in an intriguing figure. He and Gandhi made a strange combination and Lelyveld examines this odd friendship in some great detail to the extent that some Indians have taken offence. Needlessly, because Gandhi comes out squeaky clean despite superficial evidence of a damning kind. But all this is takes us away from our main story.

Kallenbach was one among the many supporters of Gandhi of European stock. These converts to the cause were prepared to give up everything to follow their master, whether to work in the commune in Sotuh Africa called Tolstoy farm or in Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmadabad, India. In this gallery of disciples, Kallenbach is undoubtedly one of the more fascinating characters. A wrestler, bodybuilder and macho, yet a devotee of a man who preached non-violence.

They part ways after South Africa, Gandhi back in India, involved in the much bigger struggles while Kallenbach runs into trouble in South Arica, when he is interned as an enemy alien after breakout of the First World War. The two do not meet for more than 30 years until 1937-38 and the express purpose of this meeting is to recruit Gandhi for the Zionist cause. The Mahatma of course is blissfully unaware of these intrigues.

Before we move ahead, we need to step back to Gandhi and his Khilafat movement. The 1920s was the high tide of Gandhi’s herculean efforts to win favour with Muslims, who until then were sceptical and even dismissive of his ways. Non-violence, use of overly Hindu idioms in his fight against the British, his garb of a yogi — all of these made this seer a little suspect in their eyes. The Khilafat movement was Gandhi’s way to show solidarity with his brother Muslims.

This agitation was primarily to shore up support to Turkey and to force the Western powers from disbanding the Ottoman Sultan. A quixotic attempt at best, a brazenly opportunistic tactic at worst, this was not Gandhi at his best and shows yet again that he was not above breaking his own rules to win friends. No doubt to the anti-Gandhi crusaders all this is more grist to the mill that he was a hypocrite and humbug.

Lelyveld’s book, though, should put to rest these accusations because despite intense scrutiny on most of contentious issues Gandhi comes away looming larger than life. The title of the book is in itself Lelyveld’s way to pay homage to the great man. Gandhi’s failings only make him human and consequently his reputation stands burnished and not diminished.

To get back to our main story, Kallenbach stays on in India for more than a month doing a hard-sell of the Jewish stand to the Gandhi and hands out a twenty five page essay on the historical, spiritual and political underpinnings of Zionism. Gandhi is moved but with important caveats. I quote him in full: “In my opinion the Jews should disclaim any intention of realising their aspiration under the protection of arms. No exception can possibly be taken to the natural desire of the Jews to found a home in Palestine. But they must wait for its fulfillment till Arab opinion is ripe for it.”

Gandhi‘s message to Kallenbach is passed on to Chaim Weizmann who was the master mind behind this project in the first place. It is no surprise that this was never published. The conniving and scheming gone to waste and whole futile exercise abandoned. All this would have been lost in the dustbin of history but for Lelyveld’s book.

In this context, India’s stand on this continuing tragedy is worth recalling right from 1948 and even earlier. Nehru in 1930s was one of the first to question the theory propounded by Zionists, A land without people and a People without land; he emphatically rejected this outright then and India since has rejected this consistently.

In recent years India has been cozying up with Israel, despite this, it bears repetition that India was the first non-Arab country to recognise Palestine. India has been a firm friend of Palestine right from the beginning and this support is rooted in high moral principles. Principles, at the very heart of India’s own plurality and diversity; the foundation on which the nation was created in spite of horrifying challenges at its birth, consequently it is but natural that Palestine and India find common cause. 

08 May 2013

Hindutva: a schizophrenic nationalism

(THE discourse of Hindu nationalism – Hindutva – is best understood as a collection of eclectic ideas, images, and practices. It is easy to reject Hindutva as an intellectually bankrupt idea, as a collective fantasy of a few delusional individuals, as an illiberal attack on the secular multi-ethnic plurality of India, or as a regressive extremist movement based on a problematic and empirically flawed category of the ‘Hindu nation’. For instance, such rejectionist approaches were recently evident after the General Elections of 2009 with commentators discussing BJP’s defeat as a product of, as well as contributing to, the existential crisis within Hindu nationalism.

If Hindutva is indeed in crisis, what explains its tenacity and hold over a significant section of Hindus inside India and in the diaspora? Could this be a case of political setback without a serious dent in Hindutva’s cultural project and the long term vision for a Hindu India? That Hindu nationalism has so far failed to provide a stable basis for an ever-expanding political movement does not challenge its more pernicious project of shaping a Hindu samaj (society) and sanskriti (culture) into existence. There have been no stories of declining attendance at RSS shakhas, ABVP membership falling or sadhus abandoning VHP in droves.

The topic of Hindu nationalism has been approached by scholars, intellectuals, politicians, activists and ordinary people from many different angles. I do not offer a comprehensive overview of these approaches nor do I claim to provide an exhaustive account of Hindutva. In this short article, I put forward a simple idea – Hindutva is a schizophrenic nationalism.1

I do not imply that individual Hindu nationalists suffer from a pathological disorder or that no other nationalism is schizophrenic. I have no intention of dehumanizing individuals suffering from schizophrenia; I merely use a lay person’s idea of the disorder to analyze a collective phenomenon.)

In fact, all nationalist movements are to a variable extent based on contradictions, delusions, fantasies and fragmentations. Hindutva is akin to majoritarian nationalisms (such as Han chauvinism in China, Hutu supremacy in Rwanda, White supremacism in the USA, neo-Nazism and anti-Semitism in many Central and East European countries, radical Islamism in Egypt or extremist Zionism in Israel) that combine a cultural hubris with political anxiety about the presence of minorities in the body politic. A better understanding of Hindu nationalism may come from a comparative approach but in this article the focus is on Hindutva’s schizophrenic Self.

If Hindu nationalism had been an individual, it would have been classified as exhibiting an abnormality, one that may be amenable to treatment. But it is not an individual; it’s an idea for a collective movement. Curing Hindutva of its paranoia, hallucinations and delusions will dissolve the rationale for its existence. To put it simply, Hindutva’s schizophrenia is productive of its identity; without it, Hindu nationalism is a dead proposition.

There are many consistently identifiable patterns in the discourse of Hindu nationalism. Yet beneath the illusion of consistency there is a selective amnesia of several contradictions that populate the Hindutva world view. Here I highlight a few of these contradictions and fantasies which provide meaning to the majoritarian nationalism of Hindutva. The contradictions are as much a source of weakness as of strength. They militate against a coherent large scale political movement. But they also enable a flexibility, fungibility and ambiguity for extremist, parochial and illiberal ethos of Hindutva to pass itself off as moderate, universalist and enlightened. The primary contradiction is to do with a ‘Hindu nation’.

What makes Hindutva different from any other nationalism in India? It is the accent on Hindu. Unlike the mainstream Gandhi-Nehru-Congress civic nationalism which asserted its legitimacy in the name of all residents of India irrespective of their religious affiliation, Hindutva’s legitimacy is its ethno-religious claim2 to speak for the majority Hindu religious community. The raison d’etre for Hindutva is the privileging of the putative Hindu community in the territory of India.

Hindu nationalists imagine the Hindu community as consisting of all castes, subcastes, outcastes along with Sikhs, Buddhists and Jains, all religionists they call ‘indigenous’ except the ‘foreign religionists’ adhering to Islam and Christianity; in short everyone except Muslims and Christians.3 However, in practice, their relationship to Sikhism or Buddhism is problematic.

In contemporary times, Hindutva argues that Hindus are a distinct politico-cultural nation, a nation whose numerical majority has not translated into a political majority in post-independence India. This ‘discrimination’ is ascribed to a conspiratorial alliance of Islam, Church, Communists, Secularists and Westernized media. Hindutva wants the Hindu nation to acquire its rightful place within India. But where is this Hindu nation?

While Hindu nationalism claims to represent the Hindu nation, Hindu nationalists also lament the absence of a united Hindu collective. Hindu nationalist political consciousness has never been hegemonic among Hindus in India. A close analysis of the writings of Hindutva leaders and ideologues shows that while ‘Sanatana Dharma’ is used as the umbrella term and (mis)quotes from non-Hindutva leaders including Ambedkar, Aurobindo or Gandhi are selectively scavenged upon to make a case against Muslims and Christians, Hindu nationalism’s main grudge is against Hindus themselves for not being united. The exhortations of Hindutva ideologues is for the Hindus to ‘awaken’, ‘arise’, recognize the enemies, vote for pro-Hindu parties to punish anti-Hindu secularists and those who betray their earlier promises of being pro-Hindutva, organize as a vote-bank, and remind the ungrateful Muslim and Christian minorities who the ‘real’ (awakened Hindu nationalist) Hindus are.

The Hindu nation does not exist as a conscious corporate body and a Hindu nationalist seeks to create one. In this sense, while claiming to be a mere representation of the pre-existing nation, Hindutva’s main emphasis is on creating this imaginary nation. This process of representation-creation is intimately connected with the question of Self-Other.

Hindu nationalism is a celebration and affirmation of the Hindu Self, but it derives its meaning only from a negation of the minority Others and their allies (the Communists, Secularists, and Westernized elite). The Hindu Self is represented as a self-evident category of identity that has existed for millennia. The naturalization of this modern Hindu Self under-emphasizes the historical and political processes through which it has been created since late 19th century starting with the Revivalist movements and the beginning of religious-category based enumeration through Census. Going against the mainstream Indian nationalist movement, Hindu nationalism in the 20th century sought to present the Hindu Self as the Indian Self, rendering non-Hindu Indians as the untrustworthy Other, anti-Hindu and invariably anti-Indian.

It should be noted that Hindutva seeks to create a unified Hindu samaj, not by removing hierarchies nor by redressing the historical and contemporary injustices suffered by many Hindus, but by shifting the blame for all ills onto the ‘foreign’ Other. Everything that is wrong within Hinduism is a product of a society perverted through a series of foreign invasions mostly by Muslim rulers. Reform of Hinduism is touted only as a tool to counter the possible appeal of Islam or Christianity for the hitherto unprivileged and oppressed Hindus. There is no evidence of a genuine desire to make Hindu religion and practices progressive. By creating the spectre of the dangerous Other, inimical foreigners within the rightful homeland of indigenous Hindu body politic, Hindutva seeks to brush under the carpet, not very successfully, the tensions existing within the category ‘Hindu’.

The story of Hindu Self is thus a story of non-Hindu/anti-Hindu Other.4 Despite the half-hearted claims made by some Hindu nationalists in BJP that Hindutva is not anti-Muslim or anti-Christian but is universalist so long as Muslims and Christians accept to live on the terms set by Hindutva, even a cursory examination of the philosophy and ideology of all strands of Hindu nationalism shows that representation of religious minorities (Muslims and Christians) as inimical, is an obsession for many.5 The Hindu samaj, sanskriti, and sabhyata (society, culture and civilization) are under siege from Islam and Christianity – this is not a nightmare but a waking reality according to Hindutva. Deploying various stereotypes, the minorities, especially Muslims, are presented as waging a war against Hindu India. The extremely diverse Indian Muslims are reduced to a singular stereotyped identity – ‘Muslim’ – and invested with a belligerence and fanaticism that individual Muslims cannot escape.

Hindu nationalists may differ amongst themselves over the root of this supposed Muslim fanaticism – moderates in BJP may blame some Muslims for disloyalty and terrorism without mentioning Islam as a religion or Prophet Muhammad. But most Hindu nationalists from the Sangh Parivar, especially VHP, Bajrang Dal and even the RSS, do not shy away from rejecting entire Islam as the enemy. In treating all Muslims with the same Islamophobic brush, Hindutva plays a game of fear – Islam by its very nature is fundamentalist (the idea of moderate Muslims is an oxymoron); history of Muslim rule in India is nothing but a catalogue of crimes of violence, plunder and rape of Hindus; Muslims are solely responsible for the partition of Akhanda Bharat and those Muslims who stayed back in India did so because they were not satisfied with a separate Pakistan but desired the Islamization of entire India; Muslims, with the active backing of Pakistan and Gulf money, are waging a continuous war against Hindu India.

Terrorism, violence, genocide of Kashmiri Hindus, conversion, illegal infiltration by Bangladeshi Muslims, seduction and rape of innocent Hindu girls, and over-population are all conjured up as weapons used by the traitorous Muslims to overwhelm Hindus in India.6 Christians are said to collude in this war by seducing poor Hindus into conversion and by encouraging separatism in the North East. By stereotyping Muslim and Christian minorities as the irredeemable anti-Hindu, anti-India Other, Hindu nationalism generates a politics of fear, a politics that is set to continue.

This process of essentializing and stereotyping antagonistic identities (Self vs Other) is central to the Hindu nationalist project; a benign and pluralist imagination of minorities on equal terms will take the wind off the sails of Hindutva. A poetics and politics of fear is instrumental in explaining away the use of violence by Hindu nationalism as a spontaneous reaction.7

Violence is central to an understanding of Hindutva. It plays a dual role – it is the rationale for, as well as the product of, Hindu nationalism. Hindu nationalists frequently indulge in violence and yet it is the Muslims who are blamed for all violence. Acts of anti-minority violence are sought to be legitimized by ascribing them to just reactions and hurt sentiments of long suppressed, unusually patient Hindu samaj.8 In this way, the sufferings of Muslims in Gujarat in 2002 and Christians in Orissa in 2008 are seen not as the results of a conscious pogrom or a well-planned hate attack; rather, they are claimed to be the regrettable but justifiable and understandable reactions of the awakened Hindu community.

The state is absolved of all responsibility – after all, what can it do when it is the entire Hindu samaj that lashes out in hurt caused by an arrogant expansionary minority? Thus, in the Hindu nationalist view, complicity of politicians, police, activists and general populace are all bracketed under the rubric of an aroused Hindu nation. This performs an important function of explaining away individual responsibilities and state complicity. If it is the abstract Hindu nation which has reacted to the originary violence of expansionary minorities, how does one begin pinpointing responsibility for the violence? Numerous, well-documented acts of anti-minority violence committed in the name of Hindutva do not disrupt the self-understanding of Hindu nationalists where they see themselves as the wronged party.

Hindu nationalism can be conceptualized as a discourse of security, yet it feeds insecurity into society. As pointed out earlier, according to Hindutva, the minority Others, in alliance with secularists and communists, are waging a war against the Hindus. The stereotyped Muslim figure is represented as a danger to Hindu security at different levels – individual Hindu (especially female) bodies, Hindu neighbourhoods, Hindu India, as well as the entire world.

In the face of such hostile foreign religionists, Hindutva prescribes a multi-pronged approach – a propaganda warfare to ‘reveal’ (in practice, manufacture) the conspiracy of minorities and their secular allies to fool Hindus into believing that there is no danger; socio-cultural mobilization of Hindus so that they are proud of their unified Hindutva identity; political organization of Hindus to ensure that they form a vote bank; capturing the state to reflect the Hindutva interests; and using violence against minorities in the name of securing the Hindu body politic. The aim is to create a potent Hindu nation.

Hindu nationalism fantasizes potency (of a Hindu collective), yet it fears impotency. Nationalism, for Hindutva, is a politico-cultural project to create, awaken, and strengthen a masculinist-nationalist body.9 Elsewhere, I have conceptualized the extremist beliefs of Hindutva (held especially by Bajrang Dal and less overtly by VHP) activists as a porno-nationalism.10 The sexual dimension of the Hindutva discourse, as revealed in the jokes, slogans, gossip, and conversations of young male activists, is relevant not only as an ethnographic curiosity but because it is politically salient. Such a porno-nationalist imagination of the hypersexualized Muslim Other performs two moves at the same time: it assures the Hindu nationalist self of its moral superiority and yet instils an anxiety about the threatening masculine Other. Hindu nationalism, despite claiming to represent the majority Hindu community, has at its core a deep masculinist anxiety which, it claims, will be solved through a masculinist, often bordering on militarized, awakening.

The disjuncture between the imagined militarized Hindu nation and the actual fact of a rich plurality of Hindu society turns the rage of Hindutva against the Hindus themselves. The Hindu nation becomes a rarefied ideal which only the Sangh Parivar and its sympathizers are capable of appreciating. Other Hindus, under the spell of anti-Hindu ideas of Secularism, Communism, ‘Macaulayism’, Westernization, Women’s emancipation, and even Democracy, remain ‘ignorant’.

Hindu nationalists speak of secularism and democratic rights11 with a forked tongue. They reject the mainstream version of secularism as appeasement of minorities and as pseudo-secularism, they argue that a genuine democracy should recognize the primacy of Hindu majority, they argue for the Uniform Civil Code and against Article 370 in the name of equality. But the same Hindu nationalists will also reject secularism as alien (only Hindu sanatana dharma is ‘true secularism’), claim that the celebration of the diversity of Indian culture is a conspiracy to erase the essential oneness of India as expressed in sanatana dharma, promote Hinduization of public life, appeal to Islamophobic western ideologues to support their case, criticize state measures to promote equality (such as the right of daughters to have a share in paternal property) and progressive social and environmental movements as anti-family, and express intolerance of dissident views by beating up artists, writers and activists.

Democracy is not only about majority rule and minority rights, but also a political culture that allows for expressions of dissent without fear. Hindu nationalism has limited tolerance of dissent, resents minority rights and only focuses on majority rule. But its understanding of the principle of majority rule goes against the very principle of liberal democracy – democratic majority is a political majority (the composition of which changes all the time) and not an identity based majority. By investing the numerical Hindu majority with a political agency, Hindu nationalism seeks to make Indian democracy illiberal and potentially authoritarian.

The only ‘rights’ which Hindutva struggles for are those of Hindu nationalists to stamp their mark on the society, culture and politics of India. Otherwise, ‘rights talk’ (where individuals make a claim against the collective, or religious or sexual minorities demand a recognition of their difference, or hitherto oppressed groups struggle for justice) is viewed as promoting individualism and tensions within an otherwise pristine, family-based Hindu/Indian society.

It is tempting to view Hindu nationalism primarily as a political movement and therefore lament or celebrate (depending on one’s views) its limited influence on Indian democracy. The fact that Hindu nationalists have never won more than a minority share of Hindu votes or that Hindutva based parties such as the BJP have had to moderate their views for reasons of governance does not imply a serious setback for Hindu nationalism. The idea of Hindutva remains unsullied for many of its subscribers. The BJP’s defeat is perceived with the same old lens – an unholy alliance of minorities and opportunist secularists led by a foreign-born woman; unawakened and divided Hindus; and a Hindutva party that had gone against its principles. Varun Gandhi’s incendiary speech in 2009 or Narendra Modi’s hate speeches in 2002 may have contributed to BJP’s problems and losses, but it certainly brought a thumping victory in the targeted locales. Such politics of hate clearly worked for Narendra Modi’s party in Gujarat or Varun Gandhi in Pilibhit constituency.

Hindutva’s relationship to politics is one of a convenient split. The dominant self-image is of an apolitical cultural nationalism that despises the ‘dirty’ realm of politics and is primarily interested in a regeneration of Hindu society, protection of Hindu religion and culture, and establishing of a Hindu Rashtra in India. Politics is presented as a regrettable necessity which Hindu nationalists have to indulge in to protect dharma, samaj, sanskriti and sabhyata.

This seeming split of the political and the cultural domain allows RSS to selectively embrace or distance itself from other members of the Parivar and adopt a sanctimonious role of being ‘above politics’.12 If there is an outcry over Bajrang Dal’s hooliganism, RSS would claim that it has nothing to do with them. At the same time, the distinction between RSS, VHP, Bajrang Dal and so on is highly blurred and the personnel shifts between these.

Like other religious fundamentalisms, Hindutva has a bigger goal of socio-politico-cultural transformation. Setbacks in elections are seen as peripheral to the long term vision of a Hindu Rashtra – after all, in a narrative of a continuous war of hostile religious groups for more than a millennium, a decade of setbacks is not a big deal.

Hindutva as a social and cultural project remains active and thriving. RSS’s shakha activities continue uninterrupted; Hindutva ideologues adapt their ideas to suit the tastes of non-resident Indians (for example, linking Hindutva’s cause with that of Zionists or toning down the swadeshi agenda) and urban middle classes (for example, through Online Shakha); VHP adopts the internet for its agenda; and Bajrang Dal utilises new technologies for spreading intolerance. Hindu nationalism is here to stay in the Indian landscape.

While acting as a defender of faith and culture, Hindutva in practice intervenes in both, and seeks to transform them from fluid, diverse, highly contested entities to ones that can be mobilized for Hindu nationalist purposes. More research is needed on the myriad ways in which Hindutva scavenges upon existing religious and cultural practices, shapes the common-sense of a wider Hindu population, transforms what it means to be a ‘Hindu’, and selectively appropriates ideas of secularism, democracy, rights, equality, and security for its own long term agenda of establishing a Hindu India.

Contradictions, splits, fantasies, and paranoia continue to be mobilized by Hindu nationalist activists. The schizophrenic Hindutva Self remains a lethal threat to the ideas of democracy, secularism, liberalism, and plurality in India. A Hindu Rashtra, with domesticated unified Hindus and subservient minorities, remains a vision for which millions of Hindu nationalists continue to work.


1. For a discussion of schizophrenia and nationalism in a different context, see John Kane (2007), ‘Schizophrenic Nationalism and Anti-Americanism’, in Brendon O’Connor (ed.), Anti-Americanism: History, Causes, Themes, Vol. 2, Greenwood Press, Westport, CT, 29-54.

2. For a discussion of Hindutva as an ethnic nationalism, as different from civic nationalism, see Christophe Jaffrelot (1999), The Hindu Nationalist Movement: 1925 to the 1990s, Penguin, New Delhi.

3. This distinction between Indian and Foreign Religionists is made most starkly in a work on religious demography that sought to prove the theory of declining Hindu population in India (India here was seen as India, Pakistan and Bangladesh together). Lal Krishna Advani, the Home Minister of India at the time of publication, wrote a foreword to the book. See A.P. Joshi, M.D. Srinivas and J.K. Bajaj (2003), Religious Demography of India, Centre for Policy Studies, Chennai. Summary available online (accessed 5 July 2009).

4. On the history of this, see Jyotirmaya Sharma (2003), Hindutva: Exploring the Idea of Hindu Nationalism, Penguin, New Delhi.

5. See for instance, speeches and writings of VHP leader Ashok Singhal. Ashok Singhal (2005) Public Speech During VHP Dharma Sansad, 13-14 December, Hardwar, India; Ashok Singhal (n.d.), Secularwadiyon dwara hindu samaj par uttpan chaturdik hamla (Total attack on Hindu society due to secularists), VHP, New Delhi.

6. For a sample of Hindutva writings on this, see Goel, Krishnaswami, Swarup, and ‘Love Jihad’. Sita Ram Goel (n.d.), Hindu Society Under Siege, Voice of India, New Delhi, (originally published 1981, revised 1992). Available online http://voiceof (accessed 5 July 2009); Krishnaswami (n.d.), Islam and Pseudo-Secularists, Shradha Prakashan, Delhi; Ram Swarup (n.d.), Understanding Islam Through Hadis: Religious Faith or Fanaticism?, Exposition Press, Smithtown, New York. Available online http://bharatvani. org/books/uith (accessed on 3 July 2009); ‘"Love Jihad" – A Jihadi Organisation To Trap Hindu Girls’ (2009) Hindu Janajagruti Samiti 27 February. Available online (accessed 23 July 2009).

7. A detailed discussion of the poetics and politics of fear deployed by Hindu nationalists can be found in my forthcoming book. Dibyesh Anand (2010), Hindu Nationalism and Politics of Fear in India, Palgrave Macmillan, New York.

8. For a discussion of legitimisation of violence, see Paul Brass (2003), The Production of Hindu-Muslim Violence in Contemporary India, Oxford University Press, New Delhi; and Thomas Blom Hansen (1996), ‘Recuperating Masculinity: Hindu Nationalism, Violence and the Exorcism of the Muslim "Other"’, Critique of Anthropology 16(2), 137-172.

9. For an incisive treatment of sexuality, gender and Hindutva, see for example, Paola Bacchetta (2004), Gender in the Hindu Nation: RSS Women as Ideologues, Women Unlimited, New Delhi; Charu Gupta (2001), Sexuality, Obscenity, Community: Women, Muslims, and the Hindu Public in Colonial India, Permanent Black, Delhi; Kumari Jayawardena and Malathi De Alwis (eds) (1998), Embodied Violence: Communalising Women’s Sexuality in South Asia, Zed, London; Dibyesh Anand (2007), ‘Gendered Anxieties: Representing Muslim Masculinity as a Danger’, British Journal of Politics and International Relations 9(2), 257-269.

10. See Dibyesh Anand (2008), ‘Porno-Nationalism and the Male Subject: An Ethnography of Hindu Nationalist Imagination in India’, in Jane Parpart and Marysia Zalewski (eds), Rethinking the ‘Man’ Question in International Politics, Zed, London. See also Tanika Sarkar (2002), ‘Semiotics of Terror: Muslim Children and Women in Hindu Rashtra’, Economic and Political Weekly 38(28), 13 July.

11. See for instance, Thomas Blom Hansen (1999), The Saffron Wave: Democracy and Hindu Nationalism in Modern India, Princeton University Press, Princeton; David Ludden (ed.) (1996), Making India Hindu: Religion, Community, and the Politics of Democracy in India, Oxford University Press, New Delhi.

12. On Sangh Parivar, see Christophe Jaffrelot (ed.) (2005), The Sangh Parivar, Oxford University Press, New Delhi; Tapan Basu, Pradip Datta, Sumit Sarkar, Tanika Sarkar, Sambuddha Sen (eds.) (1993), Khaki Shorts, Saffron Flags, Orient Longman, New Delhi.