The Mass Psychology of Anti-Fascism

Who could fail to be against fascism, the movement which drove Germany and Italy in World War II, which culminated in the murder of millions of civilians in concentration camps? But anti-fascism implies a lot more than simply being opposed to fascism.

1. Before World War II, anti-fascism was used to persuade the working class to unite with the left wing of the capitalist state against its right wing opponents. This led to the Spanish Civil War. If the left had won, Spain would have become a puppet of Russia, but the most enthusiastic recruiting sergeants for the capitalist war effort were anarchists, and its best opponents were a group of Italian Marxist-Leninists.

2. During the war, anti-fascism was used to recruit working class people to die by the million for the interests of the Russian and American ruling classes.

3. After the war, anti-fascism was the hypocritical standard by which the war crimes of the Allies were covered up, by emphasizing those of the losers.

4. Today, it exaggerates the importance of right-wing extremists, whereas the police are the main enemies of black people.

5. Anti-fascism is used to weaken opposition to Israel.

It is illogical to support Israel because of the Nazi holocaust. That is the point of this leaflet - not just to repeat once more the fact that the Allies committed crimes comparable to those of the Axis, the fact that murdering people by bombing them is just as bad as putting them in gas chambers, and that the treatment of German women by the Russian Army rivals anything done by the Nazis. If anti-fascism was always an ideology, today it is a neurosis. On the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz by the Red Army, the prime minister of Israel made a speech explicitly stating that, if you oppose the murder of Jews, you must support Israel.

Zionists in the USA produced this poster celebrating the death of peace activist Rachel Corrie under an Israeli bulldozer

This nonsense is embedded in the emotions of millions of people, especially in the USA. The media consistently refers to the Nazi attempt to wipe out the Jews as 'The' Holocaust, a gratuitous insult to the survivors of numerous other such crimes. Even within the Nazi holocaust, other victims are generally forgotten - gypsies, gays, Poles, Russians and millions of German opponents of Hitler also died.

The growing number of holocaust museums in the USA, instead of remembering the murder and enslavement of millions of Africans and indigenous people, are almost exclusively dedicated to a crime committed by another country. The media and US leaders frequently talk of a 'rise in anti-semitism' in Europe. What they mean, of course, is a rise in opposition to Israel. Why do politicians from more powerful countries grovel to Israel? It cannot be explained by reference to their material class interests. They recently travelled to Israel to pay homage at the new holocaust museum, which is within sight of Dayr Yassin, site of a major Zionist massacre in 1948. The message is clear: it is worse to kill Jews than other people. The constant reiteration of the uniquely evil nature of the Nazi crimes against Jews contributes to this message on a subliminal level. The left-wing Anti-Nazi League does as much to concentrate solely on these crimes, and de-emphasize other, similar crimes, as does the right-wing Anti-Defamation League.

It is arguable that the German holocaust was quantitatively the worst single crime in history, for its scale, its efficiency, its deliberateness, and its lasting consequences. One can believe this without accepting anti-fascism. But how can any sane person claim that German crimes were qualitatively different from those of America, Britain and Russia, which included burning cities to the ground using conventional and nuclear weapons, the murder of prisoners, ethnic cleansing, and mass rape? Yet this is effectively what we are being told, not only by the media, but by left wing anti-fascists. Anti-fascism means rejecting the view that the two sides in World War II were more-or-less equivalent. It means defending the official line that the Axis side was much worse; that murdering German and Japanese people is nowhere near as bad as murdering Jews. There is no point in anti-fascists saying they oppose Allied war crimes as well as those of Germany and its allies. If that were true, they would not be specifically anti-fascist.

Left wing writer Ward Churchill's controversial On the Justice of Roosting Chickens unwittingly exposes the contradictions of anti-fascism. Given that Germans were responsible for the crimes of the Nazis, he argues, Americans are responsible for the crimes of their rulers, so they can't complain about September 11th. Churchill takes anti-fascism to its logical conclusion; but its widespread influence has nothing to do with logic. Many people agree, on a rational level, with the contents of this leaflet, but will still act as if they do not. People who are capable of opposing the dominant society in every other way, half-believe that attempting to oppose Israel's influence would be a sign of anti-semitism. San Francisco Indymedia collective censored contributions containing the word 'Zionazi' from its website, though this word is clearly a critique of a political ideology, not of an ethnic group. No other political movement is given such deference. The Zionist guilt trip is particularly effective at weakening the substantial radical milieu in Germany. There was some resistance to distributing this leaflet via the usual channels because of this guilt complex.

We need to reject guilt and victim politics

Morality, identity with victims, is endemic to Christian civilization. Produce a victim, and rational scepticism goes out the window. In the nineteen-twenties, German psychoanalyst Willhelm Reich asked why masses of people supported fascism, clearly against their own interests. Today, we should try to answer the same question about anti-fascism. The next step is to reject the political correctness which led Indymedia to censor critics of Israel. It is clear that opposing US policies in the Middle East involves opposing its relationship to Israel. The collapse of the war effort in Iraq is the best opportunity for the class struggle on the home front since the seventies, but this opportunity is being missed.


1. A critique of anti-fascism in the Spanish Civil War:

2. The Destruction of Dresden, by David Irving:

Some will be more upset that we have included this link to the site of 'holocaust revisionist' Irving than they are about the subject of the book - the massacre of the population of the German city of Dresden by Allied bombers in 1945.

3. Anyone who doubts that there was little to choose between the two sides on the Eastern Front should read this article about the Red Army's invasion of Germany:,3604,707835,00.html

4. On the Justice of Roosting Chickens, Ward Churchill, AK Press, 2003

5. The Mass Psychology of Fascism, Wilhelm Reich, Sexpol Verlag, 1933

6. The War for Palestine, eds. Rogan and Shlaim, Cambridge 2001