WHY DOES NO ONE READ WILHELM REICH ANY MORE?

 

Reich  has gone completely out of fashion. People read all sorts of awful guff – Toni Negri – but I haven’t heard anyone talk about Reich for years. Probably the fault of Kate Bush’s rainbursting video and those orgone accumulaors made of chicken wire you used to be able to buy on Portobello Road. Well – you’re all jolly well wrong – you should read Reich. For the answer to the fundamental question ‘Why does the working class consistently act against it’s own interests’ Reich provides some answers.’Why don’t the working class respond to rational arguments agaimnst inequality?’  Reich writes in ‘What is class consciousness?’:  ‘One of the reasons for the failures of the revolutionary movement is that the real life of individuals is played out at a different level than the instigators of the social revolution believe. They must find a connection with the petty, banal, simple everyfday life of people. They should politicise private life,fairs, dance halls,cinemas, markets,bedrooms,hostels and betting shops’. If you’d read Reich you’d never produce the kind of know-all hectoring holier than thou rhetoric of Socialist Worker.You’d never wonder why the Sun is the most popular working class newspaper. If Reich unadulterated is too heavy going start with Maurice Brinton’s ‘the Irrational in politics’ – things will never seem the same again. Chuck in some Gramsci and bob’s your uncle!

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22 Comments

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22 responses to “WHY DOES NO ONE READ WILHELM REICH ANY MORE?

  1. Harry White

    sounds to me essentially the same as the famous raoul vaneigem quote about people with corpses in their mouths.

  2. Reich is just pure class and you are right, what time is lost in reading Reich? to be frank it is none and Kate Bush is rather wonderful round here..

  3. Sharpe

    In fairness, anyone who has that attitude about being bemused about why ‘the working class doesn’t revolt’ is usually already one of the wanky middle class intellectual types who views us as an abstract entity/bunch of naive children.

    • often bemused about why ‘the working class doesn’t revolt’ so that makes me one of the wanky middle class intellectual types?

      so we should not read educate ourselfs?

      if we do we are erm middle class intellectual types?

  4. Ray

    Spot on as usual Ian and I’m glad that you mentioned The Irrational In Politics not just as an intro to Reich but as a stand alone brilliant example of Chris Pallas at his best. Reich lost it completely in later life and sadly many people only knew him now for his orgone boxes and other delusions.
    If you don’t know what to get the family fascist for Xmas – have a look at Listen Little Man.

    • ‘Listen Little Man’ is a must read, but not just for the ‘family fascist’.

      It’s for all those people who fail to question the aspects of their own lives which allow the fascistic elements of society to dominate. Seeing as we live in the third most surveillanced state on the planet we all should be asking ourselves some pretty fundamental questions 😉

  5. rab c nesbitt

    cant say ive read much by/or about him.way he died was well weird tho………….eh.

    • rab c nesbitt

      actually hawkwind playing orgone acummulator at windsor free festivalkinda gave me a sense of what he was a about………….eh.

  6. Sharpe

    if your part of the working class you’d fully understand why ‘it’ doesnt revolt, so if your confused yes, i’d say you have that wanky middle class attitude.

    i never said anything about reading. i read shit loads.

    • doog

      Oh really? Why’s that then?

      History is full of WC revolt, with often much sharper poverty etc. Tell us, oh god of teh working class, why they dont revolt?

      I think the main reason is that contary to the fantasies of teh extreme left, capitalism has delivered a great deal of peace and prosperity to working people. Why would the WC revolt? Think about the extreme concentrations of wealth and privilige in the developing world, and the fact that revolt often doesnt take a class direction (if it happens at all).

      Most WC people can afford a couple of weeks holiday every year, their digi boxes, playstations and access to decent grub. Throw into that the very real prospect for social / economic advancement and the power of the coroporate media and youre fucked.

      Hardly the basis for a popular revolution. Sorry bro, but them’s the facts.

      • Harry White

        Bollocks. Utter bollocks. ‘the very real prospect for social / economic advancement’? What fucking world are you on? Have the events of the past couple of years entirely passed you by? Have you missed the reports of social mobility being far less now than in the past?

        Capitalism has not delivered peace and prosperity (which incidently was Eisenhower’s campaign slogan back in the 1950s). The millions of people living in poverty in this country alone should have made you realise that. The way people’s lives are toyed with and thrown away – like the 500,000 public sector workers going to be sacked – should have made you realise that. Yes, the working class are in some ways better off than 50-100 years ago. But those gains are made in spite of, and not because of, capitalism. The return of diseases like TB suggests all’s not well. And just because people are in some ways more affluent does not mean that affluence is here to stay.

        Perhaps you should read some of the corporate media, their stories about the cuts for example, and you might work out that things are fucked. Working class revolt hasn’t gone away, you know – it’s just been resting.

      • doog

        We’ve gone into a generalised recession, which will most probably get worse, and then, because of the cyclical nature of capitalism, they’ll be a boom again.

        Capitalism in the west has delivered a relative peace and prosperity. What major interstate wars have there been between the captialist powers? That story doesnt of course translate in the developing world, but there has been an unprecedented period of peace and relative prosperity, with the idea of interestate war unthinkable (between the core capitalist states).

        The working class is not ‘in some ways’ better off than 100 years ago, it’s qualtatively massively better off, with universal health care, education, foreign holidays and transportation within reach of the vast majority of people. Yes, these things were won via social democracy, workers struggles and the Cold War compromise, and yes, neo-liberalism is still attempting to dismantle these things, but these things are very real, and go a long way in explaining why there’s not a generalised revolt against capitalism amongst the ‘working class’.

        Another thing, I love all this stuff on here about wanky students, poncy intellectual etc. Only a true middle class cunt would come out with stuff like that. As if bettering yourself, getting an education and knowing some basics of grammar is somehow indicative of class failure. Lol.

        The ‘poncy student’ etc stuff sounds just like the communist’s ‘bourgeois ideology’ stuff i.e. a way of not engaging.

        Sorry guys, but dems de facts.

  7. anonymous

    Great minds think alike, Ian – I picked up a cyber-copy of The Mass Psychology of Fascism recently – it is a work of utter genius.

  8. Joe 90

    That is because most of those who ‘speak for the working class’ are wanky middle-class students and their ilk.

    Most arenas where the working class gather ie. pubs, discos, down the football etc. are politicised but not to the liking of those wanky ‘class warriors’ because the working class are the first line in the bosses attack on their communities and suffer the direct consequence of cheap foreign labour.

    • Not trying to jump down your throat but… don’t you include the “cheap foreign labour” in “the working class”?
      Also the bosses keep people’s wages down regardless of the amount of foreign labour or not. It wasn’t like there were that many Eastern Europeans “flocking” here back in 1995 when I was making around £2/hour working for Somerfields.
      “to divide and rule is their only plan”… ever hear that song in the dancehall…

    • Camisard

      Perhaps, as you’re commenting on a thread to do with Wilhelm Reich, you’d like to acquaint yourself with his ideas rather than ritually trot out the same tired stuff about ‘bloody foreigners’. Give me strength!

  9. Camisard

    Yeah, Reich’s great. Funny. I gave away my copy of MB’s ‘The Irrational in Politics’ years ago – time I got another one… Being a bit of a ‘manque hippie’, I’m pretty partial to the orgone accumulator stuff as well, which would tie in pretty nicely with the Hawkwind/Lemmy thing going on on another thread…

  10. Peter Good

    This Wednesday London’s Cockpit Theatre is putting on “Reich Revisted” a multimedia exploration of the life and significance of Wilhelm Reich.
    Tickets: £10, £8 or mention The Cunningham Amendment.

  11. rab c nesbitt

    doog your a wanky student.i use english as a default language.much prefer the doric/scots toungue.big deal………eh.

  12. proletarian

    Good shout Ian. I tried reading Reich’s MPoF a while back but found it too vague and structurally all over the place. His orgone bollocks made me think of conspiraloons – Icke seems to dabble in similar ‘theories’ regarding consciousness. So all that shit put me off him. But fairplay i’ll give him another shot, his other writings that have been mentioned by comrades sound interesting too. Can you or anyone else recommend something by Gramsci? I’ve only heard of his Prison Notebooks a bit cos there’s a lecture on You Tube by an old Stalinist historian. He said there was a lack of revolt during Franco’s dictatorship for fear of returning to bloody and violent chaos of civil war and the regime offered some stability, order etc. I can understand his view but it seems a bit anti-materialist to me? Or just too straightforward. No doubt there were real concrete reasons, majority revolutionaries killed, imprisoned etc totalitarian state not allowing for opposition etc Perhaps more knowledgeable comrades can comment?

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