Debunking Popular Myths and Disinformation About Wilhelm Reich
first question. Q. Was Reich a member of the Frankfurt Group of cultural Marxist radicals?
A. Absolutely Not.
The "Frankfurt Group" (FG) or "Frankfurt School" got its start in Germany at the University of Frankfurt around 1923, when a group of radical Communists founded the Institut für Sozialforschung, (Institute for Social Research). They promoted Soviet and other Marxist-authoritarian ideology and agendas through the writings of hard-left radicals such as Felix Weil, Karl Korsch, Carl Grünberg, Max Horkheimer, Georg Lukacs, Theodor Adorno, and Freudians such as Eric Fromm and Abraham Maslow.
While during his early period in Europe as an anti-Nazi freedom-fighter, Reich joined the German Communist Party (KPD), attempting to merge the ideas of Freud and Marx. He openly called for the Marxist parties to accept various social-sexual reforms, such as legalization of divorce and contraception, aimed at increasing human happiness and prevention of neurosis. Within a few years, however, he became critical of anti-freedom Marxist policies and leaders, rejecting their ideas about "class struggle" and pointing out how difficult human problems such as sexual impotence, wife-beating, child-abuse and neurotic behavior was present in both "bourgeois Nazi" and "revolutionary Soviet" society.
Reich emphasized the need to end arranged marriages, legalize divorce, contraception and abortion, to support abandoned women with children, and give women equal rights before the law, with equal pay, and to end pornography and prostitution by eliminating their causes in repressive obstacles to natural sexual love. For such radical ideas, he was attacked by both the Nazis and the Communists, who banned and sometimes burned his books; he quit the KPD in 1933, which also formally expelled him in the same year.
Reich was subsequently publicly denounced in both the Nazi and Communist newspapers of Germany and Scandinavia, having fled to Denmark and Norway. In 1936 he was placed on an NKVD (Soviet secret police) death list, something the Nazis had done in prior years. Reich was factually expelled from every socialist-communist organization he ever joined during his youth, and broke with them completely in 1933, far earlier than most other notable Western socialists.
Shortly before his move to America in 1939, Reich became disillusioned with Marxist concepts as well, beyond his opposition to the Communist political organizations, and in a few years became a vocal anti-Communist. In November 1940, writing to his friend A.S. Neill in England, he wrote:
Around 10 years after Reich's death, all that was to change when his early Marxist writings, which he had repudiated during his American period, were resurrected by the 1960s New Left Communist radicals. They distorted his findings on authentic sexual freedom and heterosexual genitality, and inappropriately mixed them up with the unscientific sexual license "anything goes" poly-sex and pornography-promoting ideology of writers such as Alfred Kinsey.
While Reich's writings on heterosexual genitality advocated for a freer sexual life and lessening of laws prohibiting people from living a self-regulated and healthy-responsible love-life, his ideas were nearly always exaggerated to extremes by the New Left radicals. For reasons of their own anxiety-driven inner turmoil, they wrongly claimed an equivalence of loving genital heterosexuality with neurotic sexual expressions such as homosexuality, bi-sexuality, group sex, sado-masochism and coercive polygamy, or criminal expressions such as pedophilia, child pornography and so on. Reich by contrast wrote that such non-genital or pre-genital fixations were neurotic in character, or seriously criminal activity as with pedophilia, from which children had to be protected.
Reich's original and authentic healthy conservative findings and ideas about sexual freedom were never adopted by any Communist, Leftist or Marxist group, much less by the Frankfurters. However, similar perverse Leftist groups frequently hated Reich to extremes, and in later years used the "reversed Big Lie" to attack him. They falsely claimed he was advocating such things as they were promoting themselves, as a means to destroy his credibility in the eyes of the conservative majority, as well as to discredit his pointed anti-Communist writings among their fellow Leftists.
Reich had written how the German Nazi movement was dominated by sexually disturbed characters, including many "macho" type homosexuals and pedophiles, with a decided homoerotic and anti-female content in their artwork, public policy and laws. He called the Nazis Black Fascists, and this got him on the Nazi death lists. However, he later called the Communists Red Fascists, showing their close functional identity to the Nazis with regard to such sexual matters, and that got him on the Communist death-lists.
By contrast, neither the Frankfurt Group leaders nor their Institutes were never attacked by the Communist Party nor placed on any Red death-lists, nor attacked in Communist-run American media, as was the case with Reich. Instead after moving to America, the Frankfurters were given a welcomed greeting at Columbia University, where they formed a new International Institute of Social Research, and a new journal, Studies in Philosophy and Social Science.
And it was from that mainstream-accepted high social position, in addition to the voluminous writings of their individual members, that radical-left cultural Marxist influences were spread across the USA and internationally. Reich, by contrast, died a nearly forgotten man, destroyed primarily by Communist radicals who distorted his message of healthy heterosexual love into one of pornographic license, either to discredit Reich in the eyes of conservatives of the 1950s, or to advance their pornography and related themes during the rebellious 1960s.
While some of Reich's concepts and writings were occasionally cited by the Frankfurters and their step-children in the New Left (ie, Alan Ginsburg) -- notably his criticisms of the severe obedience-demanding patriarchal authoritarian family structure of Nazi Germany -- they ignored his criticisms of the Soviet collectivist family, and distorted his ideas into a basic "anti-family" and "anti-love", or poly-sex and homoerotic extremism which Reich never advocated.
They also considered him to be a "bad Marxist". For example, Reich never advocated for "class warfare", murdering of oppositionists, nor for "dictatorship of the proletariat" or dictatorship of any variety. He wrote in favor of human freedom and self-regulation, even during his early "Marxist" period. As an older man, better aware of the social disaster that awaited nations who converted over into socialist or Communist organization, he became openly anti-Communist.
The specific modern myth of Reich as a "cultural Marxist" or "member of the Frankfurt Group" was specifically fabricated by conservative critics of the 1960s sexual and Red-political rebellions, but only based upon what they had read by leftist writers who had distorted Reich's ideas into sexual license. While many of the conservatives were rationally critical of the Leftist agendas towards poly-sex, homoeroticism, pornography and the sexual abuse of children, they were misled by the Leftist writers to believe Reich was one of them, a life-long Communist radical who had approved of such things. This is simply not true.
For example, Reich's books The Sexual Revolution and Mass Psychology of Fascism were written by Reich during his Marxist period, but were redrafted by Reich after his emigration to America, to eliminate much of the Marxist jargon. But they still retained lingering references to Marxist ideas which, in my opinion, were historically releveant, but scientifically irrelevant to the most centrally-important sexual-social discoveries he had made, about the roots of totalitarian social movements in patriarchal sex-repressive social, family and character structures.
Both references -- the outdated Marxist concepts and the fully accurate social-sexual relationships -- served to elicit severe scorn by right-wing theocratic extremists opposed to divorce, contraception and abortion, or those espousing "old time religion" or "women out of schools and workplace, and back to the kitchen". As Reich showed, those were views and attitudes predominant within both the Nazi and Soviet social systems. Reich consequently was attacked by the Hard-Left for being "too conservative" in his abandonment of rigid Marxism and Communist dictatorship, and attacked by the Hard-Right for being "too liberal" in his advocating of peer-oriented adolescent and premarital sexual freedom and family planning measures.
To this I can add the following proof: My own subsequent cross-cultural research made a serious investigation of Reich's sex-economic theory, proving beyond question the relationships between infant trauma, child-abuse, sex-repression and patriarchal social institutions. All those variables, however, were also strong predictors for a larger hierarchy of family and social violence, and of totalitarian-fascist social structures.
Most notably, my work exposed a similar "Mass Psychology of Islamic Fascism", quite similar in nature to Nazism and Communism. And yet, my work made no inclusion or even mention of Marxist-Communist ideas or theory. They were completely unnecessary for the evaluations and important discovery of the Saharasian geographical patterns (* see below) which exposed and resolved the Origins of Violence question.
This was something Reich had correctly and intuitively felt was of an ancient-historical nature. My work, utilizing Reich's sexual-familial discoveries and concepts, proved this was so, without any reference to Marxist nor any other politically-driven ideas. And not surprisingly, my work on Saharasia is also hated by both the Left- and Right-wing extremists.
The bottom line is, Reich never joined the Frankfurters' Institutes, in Europe or America, nor was he ever invited by them to give lectures at their Conferences, nor to join them at the big university in America. Philosophically, he was at odds with them, in sharp disagreement on centrally-important aspects. The influence of the New Left and cultural Marxists flourished only years after Reich died, with no honest reference to his writings.
While the Frankfurters and the New Left which was spawned by them have taken up some of his ideas on the sex-repressive psychology of authoritarian societies, they predominantly eschew his analysis that Communist societies founded on International Socialism are quite similar to National Socialism or Nazi-type dictatorships in this respect. The Frankfurter's writings make scant reference to his name. He was simply not sufficiently radical for their liking, and nearly all Marxist histories present the false view that Reich went insane shortly after his break from the German Communist Party in 1933, and with the onset of his biophysical research into the bions and orgone energy.
2. Q. Did Reich promote or support pornography, prostitution, homosexuality, pedophilia and sexual perversions?
A. Again, Absolutely Not!
As detailed in the essays above, Reich considered all such behavior as expressions of sex-frustration or neurosis, or as with pedophilia, a criminal act requiring police to protect children from adult seducers or rapists. He considered pornography and going to prostitutes as evidence of a sexually disturbed society, being the consequence of loveless marriages and forbiddance of divorce. Partners in healthy loving relationships would not seek out either pornography nor prostitution, nor engage in things like "group sex" activity of any sort -- those, Reich argued, were founded upon sexual impotence and lack of full sexual gratification. He considered homosexuality to be a neurosis but argued for its decriminalization, believing it was borne from traumatic early childhood experiences, as from violent and fierce actions of adult caretakers, or child seduction, molestation and rape by adults. Sado-masochism he viewed as a deep neurosis, where people only could obtain sexual excitation and a bit of release by the breaking of the skin. Pedophilia he viewed as a violent psychopathic assault upon children, from which they had to be protected. All those who claim Reich was "for pornography" or similar things, are either lying outright, or repeating lies as they got from his most malicious slanderers. One can look forever through Reich's writings and never find statements by him which support such things.
* For further discussion on these themes, with full citation references, see the following books: Saharasia: The 4000-3500 BCE Origins of Child Abuse, Sex-Repression, Warfare and Social Violence, in the Deserts of the Old World. by James DeMeo http://www.amazon.com/Saharasia-Origins-Sex-Repression-Warfare-Violence/dp/0980231647
In Defense of Wilhelm Reich: Opposing the 80-Years' War of Mainstream Defamatory Slander Against One of the 20th Century's Most Brilliant Physicians and Natural Scientists. by James DeMeo http://www.amazon.com/Defense-Wilhelm-Reich-Mainstream-Defamatory/dp/0980231671/
Wilhelm Reich and the Cold War: The True Story of How a Communist Spy Team, Government Hoodlums and Sick Psychiatrists Destroyed Sexual Science and Cosmic Life Energy Discoveries. by James Martin. http://www.amazon.com/Wilhelm-Reich-Cold-War-Psychiatrists/dp/098023168X
These books are available from the given links at Amazon and other on-line bookstores, also from here: http://www.naturalenergyworks.net
3. Q. Did Reich promote or support orgonite, orgone generators, chemtrails and similar things?
A. Again, No.
Please see these two documents:
http://www.orgonelab.org/orgonenonsense.htm On Atmospheric Disturbances, "Chemtrails" and the "Croft Chembuster": Critical Discussions
Here is a list of the titles of Reich's books and major research journals, to give the reader a sense of what's at issue. Space does not allow for any explicit discussion of their contents.
Current editions, English language only.
Does not include many small pamphlets and archive materials.
Available from Natural Energy Works, or the Wilhelm Reich Museum Bookstore
* American Odyssey: Letters and Journals 1940-1947
* Beyond Psychology: Letters and Journals 1934-1939
* The Bioelectrical Investigation of Sexuality and Anxiety
* The Bion Experiments: On the Origins of Life
* The Cancer Biopathy (Discovery of the Orgone, Vol.2)
* Character Analysis
* Children of the Future: On the Prevention of Sexual Pathology
* Contact With Space: Oranur Second Report
* Cosmic Superimposition: Man's Orgonotic Roots in Nature
* Early Writings
* The Einstein Affair
* Ether, God and Devil
* Function of the Orgasm (Discovery of the Orgone, Vol.1)
* Genitality in the Theory and Therapy of Neuroses
* The Invasion of Compulsory Sex-Morality
* Listen, Little Man
* Mass Psychology of Fascism
* The Murder of Christ (Emotional Plague of Mankind, Vol.2)
* The Oranur Experiment
* The Orgone Energy Accumulator, Its Scientific and Medical Use
* Passion of Youth: An Autobiography, 1897-1922
* People in Trouble (Emotional Plague of Mankind, Vol.1)
* Record of a Friendship: The Correspondence of Wilhelm Reich and A.S. Neill (1936-1957)
* Reich Speaks of Freud
* Selected Writings: An Introduction to Orgonomy
* The Sexual Revolution
Research Journals edited by Wilhelm Reich:
(English language only - photocopy editions available from the Wilhelm Reich Museum.
Does not include journals published after Reich's death.)
* International Journal of Sex-Economy & Orgone Research: 1942-1945
* Annals of the Orgone Institute: 1947-1949
* Orgone Energy Bulletin: 1949-1953
* CORE - Cosmic Orgone Engineering: 1954-1955
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