RSS FeedRSS FeedYouTubeYouTubeTwitterTwitterFacebook GroupFacebook Group
You are here: The Platypus Affiliated Society/The early Antideutsch and the working class

The early Antideutsch and the working class

Max Hörügel

Platypus Review 147 | June 2022

This article originally appeared as “Die frühen Antideutschen und die Arbeiterklasse,” Die Platypus Review 16 (Herbst 2021), available online at <>. It has been translated into English by Tamas Vilaghy.

GERMAN REUNIFICATION WAS A TIME of general decline for all organizations to the Left of the German Social Democratic Party (SPD). The helpless inability of the German Left to theoretically grapple with reunification and thereby effectively react to it, coupled with the collapse of the Eastern bloc, led to membership decline, organizational dissolution, and the rapid depoliticization of large circles of previously communist activists. The German Communist Party (DKP), for instance, which had around 57,000 members in 1986, shrank to a few thousand just four years later. To the German Left of the time,  the period after reunification appeared as one of the greatest moments of crisis in its history, at the level of both membership numbers and the social relevance of radical leftist positions.[1] Despite this, the collapse and integration of the actually existing socialist states brought forth optimism at the same time; thus the student organization of the DKP spoke of a “historically unique chance to renew socialism,” and the Trotskyist International Socialist Workers Organization (ISA) perceived a possible “unity of the German working class”[2] in the discontents of the East German population. The beginning of the 90s can therefore be conceptualized as a decisive moment in the further development of the German Left. Shocked in this moment, the Left was compelled by the collapse of the former (geopolitical) frames of reference to resituate the relationships between failed examples of actually existing socialism, missed revolution in West Germany, and its own history and practice within these. The end of the Cold War moreover allowed for sober reflection upon this history and that of the real socialist regimes, no longer forced, as before, one-sidedly into “for or against the Soviet Union.”

A new Left force did develop in this potentially decisive moment, the Antideutsch. It formed on the one hand from the organizational groups of two demonstrations, “Never again Germany” and “Death is a Master from Germany” (May 12 and November 3, 1990, respectively), and on the other, from the disintegration of the Maoist Communist Alliances. The Antideutsch appeared promising as they developed increasingly fundamental differences from the rest of the Left, giving the impression that they were the necessary critical force (through their rediscovery of the Frankfurt School, among other things) to use the historical moment and accomplish the realignment and reconstitution of a revolutionary Left.

This, however, did not happen. The moment of the Left’s potential self-reflection passed unused, and instead of working itself out of the one-sided divisions of the Left that preceded it, the Antideutsch only further obscured the question of what the Left is, and how it should exit its crisis. But why could the Antideutsch not bring about the reconstitution of a revolutionary socialist Left? My thesis in this article is that the Antideutsch were doomed to failure from the start. They had played out their potential role in rebuilding the Left already years before their positioning in Yugoslavia or later in the Iraq War, even before the splitting of the German Left into pro-Israel and pro-Palestine camps. Their critique remained a critique of symptoms, such as the Left’s contempt for modernity, their manic concern for the hated West, or their overidentification with the so-called autochthonous, now oppressed, people of the Third World. The Antideutsch criticized these false, one-sided notions with which the Left had transformed into the Right under the guise of revolutionary pathos. They never recognized, however, how all these phenomena were necessary expressions of the revolutionary Left’s estrangement from its proper task. This task was, and remains, to organize workers as a conscious social actor, and to guide this process of becoming conscious, the class struggle, in the direction of socialism. This essential problem, that the revolutionary Left no longer understood its own purpose, remained hidden to the Antideutsch. I argue in the following that they necessarily could not see the core of the Left’s problem, and thereby could not make use of this historical opening for self-reflection. This is because the Antideutsch unconsciously took up precisely the rest of the Left’s essential notions about the workers, leading them down warped paths where they tried to reject the problem of the working class entirely.

I will examine first the fringe group and privilege theory informed by Mao and Marcuse, what I call Soft Maoism following Mike Macnair, and second, the so-called mass line. Both notions are sediments of 20th century Marxism deposited onto the ideological foundations of the German Left. Both Maoist in their origin, these concepts were taken over in fragments by the New Left, further regressing under these conditions. I want to present both these concepts now, so as to show at the end how far they obscured the task of the Left, and thereby its reconstitution, for the Antideutsch.

Soft Maoism and fringe group theory

In his article “Intersectionality, the Highest Stage of Western Stalinism,” Mike Macnair shows that the privilege theory so prevalent on the Left today has its roots in the 1960s in what he terms Soft Maoism, namely the Western student version of Chinese Maoism.[3] According to Macnair, privilege theory arises out of a false reading of Lenin’s Imperialism (1916) pamphlet, in which too much emphasis is laid on the argument around a labor aristocracy. Lenin tried to clarify just how the better-off workers veered towards opportunistic social-chauvinism by connecting their political corruption to their capital-mediated share of the profits of imperialism.[4] Following Stalin’s death and the break with the Soviet Union, Maoism stretched this insight into a Manichaean opposition between oppressors and oppressed, projected onto the global balance of power: here the opportunistic mass unions in the grip of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union along with the corrupt, since privileged, white proletariat in the capitalist centers; there the repressed peoples of the Third World and the peasants who needed to be brought into opposition against the imperialistic nations as new revolutionary subjects, since the Western proletariat had frittered this role away.

This arrangement appeared conclusive to the New Left of the 1960s: in the industrial states where the New Left mainly formed, it faced a working class which by all accounts was fully integrated into consumption and mass society, often alongside a monolithic, Stalinist or opportunist social-democratic union bloc. From here the New Left lionized every uprising in the Third World and overidentified with every possible self-proclaimed anti-imperialist power, not least because it offered a pressure-release valve for revolutionary action which had accumulated in blocked practice. Concurrently, Marcuse’s fringe group theory provided the meager feed for the New Left, located as it was in imperialistic rather than peasant or colonized countries, to set off on its own search for new revolutionary subjects. In the last section of his 1964 book, One-Dimensional Man, Marcuse argued that the traditional style of politics had become “ineffective – maybe even dangerous,” in adhering to the idea of popular sovereignty.[5] The popular basis (Volksbasis) was conservative within the totalitarian tendencies of one-dimensional society, as the people (Volk) had become the ferment of social cohesion.[6] The working class became props for the dominant mode of life, and their rise to positions of control would only prolong domination and repression.[7] Marcuse’s newly oppositional, revolutionary force was therefore the “substrate of outlaws and outsiders: the exploited and persecuted of other races and colors, the unemployed and the disabled.” Their opposition struck the system from outside, and so would not be diverted through it.[8] To the most repressed, those who stood outside the system and were called upon by this externality to bring the revolution within, to the center of society, Marcuse contrasted a seemingly fully integrated working class dissolved within the people. This contrast recalls two Maoist concepts:  the revolutionary character of the Third World (“Third World First”), and the “Change of Cities” by peasants, an actually revolutionary class unburdened by capitalist deformations.

Following this logic, the New Left attributed system-transcending needs or extraordinary revolutionary energy to all possible fringe groups and minorities. This was also the basis for a privilege theory which classified social actors according to their degree of privilege, here understood negatively as repression; the Western white working class, especially their better-off sections, amassed privileges against those who were excluded and (apparently) non-integrated.

The primary social fringe group which the New Left chose as a new revolutionary subject were orphans and institutionalized children (Heimkinder). From 1965 to the end of the 60s, students supported escapees from children’s and youth homes, many of whom were taken to communes and experimental student residences. It became clear, however, how far the project of transforming these fringe groups into champions of socialism was doomed from the start: the orphans often proved incapable of directing their newfound freedom towards revolutionary ends, instead slipping into criminality or urban subcultures.[9] Besides frustration around the children, two further developments caused a final break with the fringe group theory: the 1969 wave of wildcat strikes in West Germany which seemed to refute the full integration of the working class, and the disintegration of the student movement and the SDS in the stagnation of the university struggle.[10] Almost all the groups at the so-called “Fringe Group Conference” of February 1970 finally abandoned the theory.[11]

The mass line and the K-Groups

In the course of these developments, the Left’s orientation to the working class completely reversed: especially the Maoist “Marxist-Leninist” K-Groups (Kommunistiche Gruppen) now took up the mass line, a notion adopted by Mao from the Stalinist proletkult and taken up by the German New Left through reading Mao, which is to say, Maoist readings of Lenin. The masses are always latently on the side of socialism in this other strain of Maoism:

The people, and only the people, are the driving force who create history. [...] The real heroes are the masses, and we ourselves are often laughably naïve. A great longing for socialism is hidden in the masses. Those people who can only move in the usual routine in revolutionary times don’t perceive this longing. They’re blind, with only darkness before their eyes. Sometimes they even go so far as to stand truth on its head and turn black into white.[12]

But because the masses in themselves were already socialist, to distance oneself from them represented the greatest danger for revolutionaries, meaning the leaders of the masses. If ever a revolutionary call went against the masses, it couldn’t be socialist: “The reason why evil manifestations like dogmatism, empiricism, commando rule, tailism, sectarianism, bureaucratism, and arrogance at work are absolutely harmful and unacceptable, and why people must absolutely overcome the evil they suffer from, lies in the fact that this evil separates us from the masses.”[13]

Revolutionaries thus had to subordinate themselves to the mass standpoint, the mass line, to melt into the masses, to swim in them like a fish in water. This is why new cadres in the K-Groups had to unconditionally break with their petit-bourgeois past in the student movement and transform themselves into proletarians, for agitation in front of the factory doors to succeed.[14] The Maoist cadre tried in their turn to adopt this or that idealized proletarian lifestyle: they swore off long hair, miniskirts, or bell bottoms and turned to “proletarian” dress; they  listened to “proletarian” singing groups with their kitschy new editions of workers’ songs instead of going to rock or beat concerts; they began once more to live in “orderly conditions.” Most respectable was living together with one’s spouse (and kids), a model which came to be idealized as the “proletarian family.”[15] Likewise upheld were the alleged proletarian ideals of “cleanliness, order, joy in work, and the ethical life (Sittlichkeit).”[16] These shifts on the New Left were an apparent 180-degree turn, in light of the fact that the Proletariat, the People, and the Masses were being written off as revolutionary subjects a year earlier. This was not lost on clear-sighted contemporaries even then: “the ideological buccaneering of the antiauthoritarian students has the tendency to turn into dogmatism and piety, anticommunism into Stalinism, organizational anarchy into supposed ‘proletarian discipline’; from the contempt for workers follows the deification of the proletariat.”[17]

For the German New Left, however, the “contempt for workers” originally had other, antifascist undertones. Here, the workers had compromised themselves not only by integrating into the blinding late capitalist society of pleasure and consumption, or profiting from Western imperialism. Rather, specifically as German workers, they had lost all moral integrity before the world through their participation in national socialism and its project of war and extermination. Also, and for precisely this reason, they completely failed as beacons of hope for a better, more humane society before their turn to the mass line. This is why the orphans were a welcome surrogate, being too young to be implicated in Nazi rule. It was this antifascist contempt which the Antideutsch again picked up in the 90s, repeating the moment of the New Left in distorted form.

Antifascist contempt for workers

In the wake of the fall of the Berlin Wall and German reunification, a long period of uncharacteristic German patriotism broke out in the early 90s. The fear of a Germany drunk on nationalism, reclaiming its full sovereignty, worried not only the remaining radical German Left but echoed all throughout Europe. At this moment, it was not just Leftist paranoia that the strengthening of the German state and the patriotic frenzy of reunification could bring about a Fourth Reich, but seemed plausible across political and national boundaries.

Indeed, this fear only grew in the later course of the Antideutsch Left: in response to unchecked Nazi mobs and Germans cheering pogroms in Rostock-Lichtenhagen, Hoyerswerda, and Mölln, the Antideutsch identified the reunified West Germany with the Weimar Republic of the 1930s and pretended to a sober analysis of internal political power relations.[18] In truth this was the experience of reunification itself, in which the Antideutsch tried to break from the mass line and thereby from the Maoist organizations they had formerly allied themselves with. The masses, so the thinking went, could hardly be “always right” when they were henchmen, in East and West, in constructing a feared new Nazi regime. The developing Antideutsch Left wanted to separate itself from the mass line more than from perhaps any other conviction of the “old” spin-offs of the New Left. These lines from a 1990 call for an election boycott in Konkret are exemplary:

In a time in which opportunistic adaptation to the national zeitgeist poses as sober realpolitik [...] and resentment breaks through even those who until now have known how to control it, we hold it necessary to part with “friendship with the masses” as a central political criterion. On the contrary, we consider it our task to build a front against nationalism in the population as well, clearly and without compromise.[19]

The “friendship with the masses,” meaning the orientation of Left politics to joining with the working class, was thrown overboard, since the “zeitgeist” had become “national.” This attitude, borne of a rejection of the masses from fear of a Fourth Reich, culminated in semi-essentialist projections onto Germans like that of Jürgen Elsässer, whose text Why the Left Must Be Anti-German Jan Gerber, member of the Bahamas editorial board, held up as a foundational text for the Antideutsch. Elsässer states that the Germans are “more susceptible to the worst forms of nationalist politics than other peoples, so the mass basis for aggressive racist and nationalist politics is stronger here.”[20] Elsewhere, the Antideutsch pinpoint the ultimate failure of the proletariat as revolutionary subject to January 20, 1942, or the Wannsee Conference. The complete integrability of the working class into the worst cruelty was shown by the extermination campaign of Hitler’s Germany; because of this — and the short-circuit is perhaps here most evident — the working class collapsed as a reference point for Leftist politics forever. As Joachim Bruhn wrote: “After the Wannsee Conference, all talk of class struggle is just historical embellishment and distortion. [...] The coming revolution will no longer be that of the working class, or of proletarian interests.”[21]

The Antideutsch transformed the failure of the Left to lead the working class to socialism into the moral corruption of the (German) workers themselves. They accepted history as it happened fatalistically, in that the mass politics of the Old Left, meaning class struggle and proletarian interests, indirectly but necessarily led to Auschwitz. For if there could never be a German Soviet republic due to the Germans’ overly nationalistic character, the question of what was needed for this political revolution was off the table from the start.

The Nazi takeover was not some foregone conclusion of the German workers history. Before the failure of world revolution, there lay possibilities for both socialist emancipation and fascistic barbarism in the real historical workers’ movement. The idea that the masses, the people, or even the proletariat supported Hitler in the end cannot be claimed transhistorically — it is well known that his voting base came from the déclassé petit bourgeois stratum. It can only be elucidated, rather, from the real political errors of the leadership of the workers’ movement, namely social democracy and Stalinism. As Trotsky wrote, Hitler’s coup can only be understood as “the last link in a chain of counterrevolutionary shifts;” it was in no way predetermined, but merely the conclusion of an “era of counterrevolution” which began with the failure of the German Revolution in 1918.[22]

The “era of counterrevolution” unfolding since then didn’t even appear to the Antideutsch as a result of the problems of socialist leadership, but as the ongoing sabotage of a working class which kept refusing to stand on the right side of history. Just like the New Left with their fringe group theory, the Antideutsch in the early 90s thus looked for a new frame of reference for political intervention and reoriented themselves towards “immigrants living in West Germany, minorities discriminated against as ‘un-German’ or ‘abnormal,’ and the global leftist and left-bourgeois public.”[23] Minorities and the excluded were not to ever change society again, but simply unite against the “New Germany”: they turned from still-hopeful revolutionary subjects for the New Left to mere opposition against the nationalist shifts of the moment for the Antideutsch. The horizon of socially transformative politics was consequently constricted: the new “utopia,” wrote Elsässer in his article, was the “destruction of the German state and its replacement by a multinational state, as well as the dissolution of the German people in a multicultural society. For this utopia, and these politics, we need individuals to be involved whose idea of the enemy is not really capital, but German nationalism.”[24]

Motivated to react to the growing nationalism of the 90s, the Antideutsch accomplished the third full reversal of the German Left in relation to the workers: from the opportunistic Old Left’s Proletkult and confidence in masses and progress to the New Left’s abandonment of the proletariat and valorization of fringe group theory; then from the obviously fruitless and frustrating fringe group strategy to the mass line of the Communist groups; and finally, through the Antideutsch, away again from the mass line to the complete detachment from class struggle and “proletarian interest.”

Two strains of Maoism thus opposed each other in the beginning of the 90s: the Maoist mass line and Soft Maoism. It is obvious that both sides are ideological poles of a hypostatization of the working class: workers, even German ones, are surely neither revolutionary nor counter-revolutionary in themselves, but potentially both, as their “proletarian interest” is self-contradictory rather than coherent: on one side, their social situation constantly gives rise to an underlying desire for freedom and a repressed inner rebellion against unfulfilled bourgeois promises of happiness; on the other, the reaction to this social situation hardens in them a psychic apparatus which negates the possibility of happiness, by which the workers project their own fulfillment on others and oppose in these others what they can’t allow themselves. Immigrants, blacks, and homosexuals are hated for their alleged sexual libertinage and potency; women, for supposedly showing a personal tenderness the male workers have learned to deny each other; Jews, for their apparent freedom from physically and mentally harmful factory labor, hated much like the intellectuals for this reason, but also because they threaten to reopen repressed wounds when they speak of a more human condition. Wilhelm Reich, looking back on the Stalinist politics of the KPD, wrote that, “corresponding to reality would have meant declaring the average worker contradictory, that therefore he is neither clearly revolutionary nor clearly conservative, but is rather in conflict: his psychic structure develops on the one hand from his social situation which paves the way for revolutionary attitudes, and on the other hand from the overall atmosphere of authoritarian society, which are in conflict.[25]

If the Antideutsch Left was outraged that a section of the masses cheered attacks on asylum homes, this outrage testifies to an initially naïve but painfully disappointed trust in these masses, from whom the rest of the Left, conversely, was reluctant to break no matter what inhumanities they committed. Both naïve trust and outrage towards the masses are two sides of the same false coin.

Dehumanization and its opposite

That the proletariat were no saints was always clear to a Left schooled in Marx, however. Marx and Engels in the Holy Family did not ascribe to the proletariat the world-historic task of revolutionizing themselves and society “because they took them to be gods,” but “rather the contrary: since in the fully-formed proletariat the abstraction of all humanity, even of the semblance of humanity, is practically complete; since the conditions of life of the proletariat sum up all the conditions of life of society today in their most inhuman form; since man has lost himself in the proletariat.”[26]

The workers are therefore the consolidated expression of the barbarism of capitalist relations. They most clearly show how far these relations dehumanize those bound by them. At the same time, it becomes possible to comprehend from the vantage point of dehumanization that being proletarian and being human (in the bourgeois-emphatic sense) are mutually exclusive; that a true human life in class society is really impossible. Furthermore, the working class interested Marxism not because it existed outside of bourgeois society or would remain uninfluenced by it. Rather, the historical possibility and task of taking over and leading society fell to the workers precisely because wage dependency was becoming more and more the fate of society as a whole, meaning the working class and society were becoming more and more identical. The consciousness of social actors is not more revolutionary the farther they are from the social center, i.e., the more they represent a fringe group that could strike “the system from outside.”[27] On the contrary: exactly because the workers stand in the center of the reified-fetishized exchange relations which (re)constitute society, because their labor power confronts them as a commodity and they confront themselves as a pure thing, can their (actually integrated, reified) consciousness turn revolutionary at all: every unmediated struggle of the workers can lead them closer to self-recognition as commodities, and consequently to the recognition of the essence of commodity society as a whole. As Lukács puts it, “The unique element [in the working class’s] situation is that its surpassing of immediacy represents an aspiration towards society in its totality ... [its logic] forces it to persevere in an uninterrupted movement towards this totality, i.e. to persist in the dialectical process by which immediacies are constantly annulled and transcended.”[28]

This process of gaining consciousness, in which the virtually already proletarianized society recognizes itself, is possible only when the workers stand entirely within alienated society and not at its fringes. Or, as Adorno writes:

Dehumanization is no external power [...]. It is precisely the intrinsic reality of the oppressed in the system, who used to stand out because of their wretchedness, whereas today their wretchedness lies in the fact that they can never escape [...]. This means, however, that the dehumanization is also its opposite. In reified human beings reification finds its outer limits. They catch up with the technical forces of production in which the relations of production lie hidden: in this way these relations lose the shock of their alien nature because the alienation is so complete. But they may soon lose their power. Only when the victims completely assume the features of the ruling civilization will they be capable of wresting them from the dominant power.[29]

So the life of the workers cannot be affirmed in itself, and these circumstances do not anticipate true life under socialism in a positive way as implied by the K-Group kitsch. On the other hand, neither can their dehumanization be one-sidedly despised, so as to bury the problem. That the masses or the workers celebrate attacks on asylum-seekers or take a nationalist turn, should point the Left to the failure of its own project. This is the point which the Antideutsch neglected to grasp in all its meanings. Had the Antideutsch been able to break with the one-sided antinomy of hatred or deification of workers, they could have been able to recognize the underlying political task, which remained as actual to their time as to the beginning of the 20th century and today: to lead the class struggle in forming the working class into a conscious proletariat, which would carry minorities and the excluded with it to take control of the state, then to dissolve in the classless society.

Whether the Antideutsch would have come closer to this task themselves is another matter, and what this practice of bringing social minorities in concert with the working class under socialist leadership would look like is questionable. How this socialist leadership should be organized is in any case not concretely foreseeable. But the collapse of the Stalinist Eastern Bloc and the disintegration of the New Left’s aftermath would have been the moment after which to ruthlessly work through the failures of the Left in the 20th century, in order to escape the one-sided juxtapositions of this century. This working-through would have perhaps prepared the ground for a new Left force which would have been ready to approach this question in a changed historical situation.

Yet the Antideutsch lost themselves in the occupational therapy of evaluating German foreign policy, the Middle East conflict, and the critique of the “German essence.” In maintaining their antifascist contempt for the rest of society, they displaced the working-through of this inherited antinomy, so that it remains opposed even today: an identity politics for workers and an identity politics for minorities. The task of a Left force yet to emerge remains to free the Left from both of these one-sided conceptions, since the Antideutsch Left revealed itself stillborn in this essential respect. |P

[1] Jan Gerber describes this period in the German radical Left as “one of the most serious crises—its historical origin understood to be the founding of the German Jacobin Club around 1789—of its approximately two hundred-year old history,” in Nie wieder Deutschland? Die Linke im Zusammenbruch des „realen Sozialismus“ (Freiburg: ça ira Verlag, 2018), 15.

[2] Quoted in Gerber, Nie wieder Deutschland?, 89.

[3] Mike Macnair, “Intersectionalism, the highest stage of western Stalinism?,” Critique 46, no. 4 (2018): 541–58.

[4] See Wladimir Iljitsch Lenin, Der Imperialismus als höchstes Stadium des Kapitalismus, in W. I. Lenin Werke, Band 22 (Berlin: Institut für Marxismus-Leninismus beim Zentralkomitee der SED, 1960), 189–309, available online at <>, and in English at <>.

[5] Herbert Marcuse, Der Eindimensionale Mensch. Studium zur Ideologie der fortgeschrittenen Industriegesellschaft (Springe: Zu Klampen, 2014). Published in English under One-Dimensional Man: Studies in the Ideology of Advanced Industrial Society.

[6] Ibid., 267.

[7] Ibid., 263.

[8] Ibid., 267.

[9] See Jens Benicke, Von Adorno zu Mao: Die Rezeption der kritischen Theorie und die Auseinandersetzung mit der nationalsozialistischen deutschen Vergangenheit von der antiautoritären Fraktion der Studentenbewegung zu den K-Gruppen (Freiburg: ça ira Verlag, 2010), 141, available online at <>.

[10] Ibid., 131.

[11] Ibid., 140ff.

[12] Mao Tsetung, Worte des Vorsitzenden Mao Tsetung (Essen: Neuer Weg Verlag, 1993), 140ff. Published in English as Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-Tung.

[13] Ibid., 147.

[14] Jan Ole Arps, Frühschicht: Linke Fabrikinterventionen in den 70er Jahren (Berlin: Assoziation A, 2011), 76ff.

[15] Ibid., 82.

[16] Ibid., 83.

[17] Fritz Kramer, “Über Sozialismus in China und Russland und die Marxsche Theorie der Geschichte,” in Rotes Forum – Organ des SDS-Heidelberg 3 (June 1970), 5. Available online at <>.

[18] Gerber, Nie wieder Deutschland?, 92ff.

[19] Regula Bott, Theresia Degener, Thomas Ebermann, autonome Lupus-Gruppe / Rhein-Main, max. & sab., Heiner Möller, Maren Psyk, Karl Heinz Roth, Oliver Tolmein, Rainer Trampert, Detlef zum Winkel, “Keine Stimme für Deutschland,” Konkret 11 (1990): 15.

[20] Jürgen Elsässer, “Weshalb die Linke anti-deutsch sein muß,” ak – Zeitung für linke Debatte und Praxis 315 (February 1990): 32.

[21] Joachim Bruhn, “Metaphysik der Klasse,” Phase 2 11 (March 2004).

[22] Leon Trotsky, “Porträt des Nationalsozialismus,” Die neue Weltbühne 2, no. 28 (July 1933), available online in English under the title “What is National Socialism?” at <>.

[23] Elsässer, “Weshalb die Linke,” 34.

[24] Ibid.

[25] Wilhelm Reich, Massenpsychologie des Faschismus (Cologne: Anaconda, 2011), 42. Published in English as The Mass Psychology of Fascism.

[26] Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, Die heilige Familie oder Kritik der kritischen Kritik, in Karl Marx / Friedrich Engels – Werke, Band 2 (Berlin: Institut für Marxismus-Leninismus beim Zentralkomitee der SED, 1972), 38, available online in English as The Holy Family or Critique of Critical Criticism at <>.

[27] Cf. Marcuse, Der Eindimensionale Mensch, 267.

[28] Georg Lukács, “Die Verdinglichung und das Bewußtsein des Proletariats,” in Frühschriften II. Geschichte und Klassenbewußtsein (Bielefeld: Aisthesis, 2013), 358; “Reification and the Consciousness of the Proletariat,” in History and Class Consciousness: Studies in Marxist Dialectics, trans. Rodney Livingstone (Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press, 1971), 174, available onlineat <>.

[29] Theodor W. Adorno, “Reflexionen zur Klassentheorie,” in Gesammelte Schriften, Band 8, ed. Rolf Tiedemann (Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, 2020), 391. Available in English as “Reflections on Class Theory,” in Can One Live after Auschwitz? A Philosophical Reader, ed. Rolf Tiedemann, trans. Rodney Livingstone, et al. (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2003), 109–10, available online at <>.