Fascism and Desire

Josef Albers, The Command All-Stars with Josef Albers Persuasive Percussion, Volume 3, 1960
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By TALES AB'SÁBER

The psychic nature of fascism and genocide in Brazil

Anyone who read Freud thinking about groups knows how the leader, who is in the place of the “ideal of the ego”, one of the dimensions of the “superego”, has the power of hypnotism over the massive group he dominates. If the leader says exterminate the Jews like cockroaches, for not being human, the group will produce gas chambers to kill people. If the leader says take an ineffective medicine that could kill them, the group happily takes the ineffective chloroquine that can kill them. If the leader says, don't wear a mask, it means your oppression, the group revolts against the mask. If the leader says, carry on with the plague as if nothing is happening, the group goes out into the street, to bars and clubs, as if nothing is happening.

Freud is hated by conventional political scientists, who disdain the psychic nature of fascism, for having shown that fascism is a desiring subjectivation, an irrational human structure of desire for power and submission, a technically and historically managed political modality of sadomasochism.

Fascism is the overcoming, through the desire for power concentrated in one and open war against others, of every commitment to rationality in politics. And Freud was the first to say that, and not his disciple Reich, who continued the analysis of fascism, highlighted by Deleuze and Guattari, who wanted to surpass Freud, as the one who would have said that fascism was desired. It was Freud who demonstrated that fascism is desire.

Bolsonaro, as the great fascist that he is, needs the death and extermination of the other as a counterpoint and as a vanishing point for his politics. There is no fascism without mass murder. What was done in Brazil is that the immense destructive impulses of Bolsonarism, unable to entirely destroy what they wanted – the left, minority representations, universities, artists – overflowed to destroy the whole of society.

Bolsonaro has clearly ordered people not to wear masks, to take fake medicine, and to happily expose themselves to the virus. He made an open political campaign against the vaccine, understood as “weapon of the enemy”. He condemned thousands of Brazilians to death, who, in love with him, or unaware of their loving bond with him, carried out the suicidal policy he needed. The death of a people out of love, without thought, for its fascist leader.

*Tales Ab'Saber is professor of philosophy of psychoanalysis at Unifesp. Author, among other books, of Dreaming Restored: Forms of Dreaming in Bion, Winnicott and Freud (Ed. 34).

Originally published on GGN newspaper.

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