Poll

How relevant are Erich Fromm's ideas to contemporary developments?

highly relevant
0 (0%)
relevant with considerable qualification
1 (100%)
generally irrelevant
0 (0%)
absolutely irrelevant
0 (0%)
I am not a soothsayer
0 (0%)

Total Members Voted: 1

Voting closed: March 02, 2017, 02:24:32 PM

Author Topic: Erich Fromm on the rise of political authoritarianism  (Read 1033 times)

Offline Huon Wardle

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Erich Fromm on the rise of political authoritarianism
« on: March 01, 2017, 02:24:32 PM »
Erich Fromm: "Ideas often are consciously accepted by certain groups, which, on account of the peculiarities of their social character, are not really touched by them; such ideas remain a stock of conscious convictions, but people fail to act according to them in a critical hour. An example of this is shown in the German labour movement at the time of the victory of Nazism. The vast majority of German workers before Hitler’s coming into power voted for Socialist or Communist Parties and believed in the ideas of those parties; that is, the range of these ideas among the working class was extremely wide. The weight of these ideas, however, was in no proportion to their range. The onslaught of Nazism did not meet with political opponents, the majority of whom were ready to fight for their ideas. Many of the adherents of the leftist parties, although they believed in their party programmes as long as the parties had authority, were ready to resign when the hour of crisis arrived. A close analysis of the character structure of German workers can show one reason – certainly not the only one – for this phenomenon. A great number of them were of a personality type that has many of the traits of what we have described as the authoritarian character. They had a deep-seated respect and longing for established authority. The emphasis of socialism on individual independence versus authority, on solidarity versus individualistic seclusion, was not what many of these workers really wanted on the basis of their personality structure. One mistake of the radical leaders was to estimate the strength of their parties only on the basis of the range which these ideas had, and to overlook their lack of weight."

Offline John McCreery

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Re: Erich Fromm on the rise of political authoritarianism
« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2017, 01:29:09 PM »
Serendipitously, I came across this discussion after spending much of this afternoon composing questions about chapters 1 and 2 of Sam Ladner (2014),Practical Ethnography, which I am using as a textbook for the course on Business Anthropology that I am teaching this spring as a visiting professor at National Tsing Hua University in Taiwan. Having asserted that ethnography looks for meaningful details, Ladner goes on to assert that meaning resides in the intersection of identity and cultural context. Now I am wondering how this approach might or might not fit analysis of "authoritarian personality." As identity or cultural context or meaning at their intersection.

More specifically re Fromm's argument I wonder if the "weight" he is can be measured in the number of shock troops ready to put their bodies on the line for their cause.