Mass Psychology and the Mass Line: What is Class Consciousness? by Wilhelm Reich

Published from exile in Denmark in June of 1934 as a pamphlet; What is Class Consciousness? by Wilhelm Reich criticizes the politics of the Communist Party that had been smashed by Hitler’s National Socialism in 1933.  In particular, he focuses on the Party’s lack of what Mao would call a mass line and mass perspective and it’s consequent inability to communicate with and win over the broad masses of Germans to the side of revolution, or as he puts it, “to achieve a joining of the consciousness of the revolutionary avant-garde with the consciousness of the average citizen.”

Wilhelm Reich

Revolutionary politics, in its content and the language it uses, is either an expression of the primitive, uneducated, life-centered character of the broad masses, or it is politics that merely calls itself revolutionary and is in effect reactionary and barren. Even where its position is correct in principle, it will not be understood by the masses and it will, therefore, objectively speaking, work against the revolution.

What is Class Consciousness.pdf

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