In this essay, Franz L. Neumann discusses the role of anxiety in politics. The article asks: How does it happen that the masses sell their souls to leaders and follow them blindly? On what does the power of attraction of leaders over masses rest? What are the historical situations in which this identification of leader and masses is successful, and what view of history do the men have who accept leaders? For answering these questions, the author suggests a combination of political economy, Freudian political psychology, and ideology critique. He sees anxiety in the context of alienation. Alienation is analyzed as a multidimensional phenomenon consisting of economic, political, social and psychological alienation. Neumann introduces the notions of Caesaristic identification, institutionalized anxiety, and persecutory anxiety. The essay shows that fascism remains an actual threat in capitalist societies.
Research Professor. Director at Learning Change Project – Research on society, culture, art, neuroscience, cognition, critical thinking, intelligence, creativity, autopoiesis, self-organization, rhizomes, complexity, systems, networks, leadership, sustainability, thinkers, futures ++
Giorgio Bertini does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from these papers, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.
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