Behemoth Revisited: National Socialism and the Trump Administration

As Donald J. Trump, a rentier capitalist, television personality, and dilettante politician, became the unlikely winner of the 2016 U.S. presidential election, comparisons to 1930s Germany abounded in political commentary. Adopting themes, policy positions, and rhetorical styles reminiscent of National Socialists, Trump’s ethnic nationalistic campaign promised to “Make America Great Again.”

This was to be accomplished by cleansing the nation of “illegal immigrants,” building a wall on the southern border with Mexico, excluding visitors from Muslim countries, locking up his political opponent, strengthening the military, and waging an enhanced war on terrorism. Trump further promised an “America First” economic policy that would repatriate manufacturing jobs by renegotiating trade deals and by establishing a regulatory and tax environment favorable to U.S. capital. During the general election campaign in the fall, Trump’s campaign rallies drew larger, more effervescent crowds who chanted slogans of symbolic violence in response to Trump’s increasingly strident rhetoric. Comparisons to National Socialism intensified after the election as Trump appointees with ties to the “Alt-Right” and European ethnic nationalist movements assumed prominent positions in his administration.

So, is Trump a new Hitler and is Trumpism a new form of Nazism? Rather than making simple assertions about similarities and differences between these two illiberal movements, this article approaches these questions with a (re) reading of the most detailed, classic analysis of the rise of Hitler, the Nazi Party and the Nazi state: Franz Neumann’s (1944) Behemoth: The Structure and Practice of National Socialism, 1933-1944.[1] Neumann, a labor lawyer, Marxist political scientist, and associate of the exiled Institute for Social Research, analyzed National Socialism as a contradictory structure of four “machines:” the machinery of the Nazi party, the apparatus of the bureaucratic-administrative state, the military, and industrial corporations in cartels, trusts and other monopoly capital forms. Tensions between these four machines were mediated by the Fuhrer or Leadership principle and by anti-Semitic “racial proletarian” ideology, both of which broke up class formation and class consciousness, atomizing workers into easily controlled and manipulated mass formations. As a social system, Nazism blocked workers from unifying against capital, preventing class solidarity and egalitarian democratic rights. Workers masochistically submitted to “leaders” while sadistically identifying as a racial “folk” superior to degraded, internal enemies.

Parallels abound between National Socialism and the Trump administration’s positions and ambitions. National Socialism and Trumpism shared a distrust of liberalism and fear of working-class solidarity that might challenge or overthrow capital. Both had an ambivalent relationship to the state, glorifying military power, hierarchy and obedience, and National Socialism further promoted an ideal of society “fused into the army.”[2] National Socialism sought to invert liberalism’s strong civil society/weak state by reasserting a particular form of state power over civil society. To Neumann, “the imperialism of German monopoly capitalism” had destroyed the economic foundation for bourgeois civil society that had depended upon small capital, handicraft industries and competitive trade. Monopoly capital had centralized, cartelized, and concentrated industry, forcing out small business and liberal civil society based upon it, leaving behind a “network of authoritarian organizations.”[3] National Socialism did not seek to restore competitive small capital and civil society, but rather embraced the economic efficiencies that resulted from rationalization, concentration and bureaucratization.[4] Politically, monopoly capital dramatically expanded the pool of undifferentiated labor as small capitalists, craftspeople and tradesmen were displaced by big business. Enormous firms of great complexity yielded high efficiency, but reduced workers to an undifferentiated mass underneath highly technical administration.

The fallen or displaced middle-classes were one core constituency of National Socialism. But there were many others, including “the most diverse social strata … never hesitating to take in the dregs of every section, supported by the army, the judiciary, and parts of the civil service, financed by industry, utilizing the anti-capitalist sentiments of the masses and yet careful never to estrange the influential moneyed groups.”[5] No single, stable ideology could tie these groups together. Neumann describes the ideological writings of National Socialists as “abominable, the constructions confused, the consistency nil. Every pronouncement springs from the immediate situation and is abandoned as soon as the situation changes.”[6] Underneath “a mass of irrelevant jargon, banalities, distortions, and half truths” lay ongoing promotion of imperialism and the interests of monopoly capital.[7] Neumann’s description of Nazi ideology mirrors contemporary analysts of Trump’s confused pronouncements: the ideas are “constantly shifting,” promoting “certain magical beliefs,” including “leadership adoration … [and] the supremacy of the master race” but without system or consistency.[8] Like contemporary analysts of Trump’s supporters, Neumann asserts that only a minority of Germans was ardent Nazi’s. For most, its ideological message left them cold.

Both National Socialism and Trumpism were illiberal and critical of the weak political leadership of the “night watchman’s” liberal democratic state.”[9] Following Carl Schmitt, both reject the basic principles of liberal parliamentarianism: deliberation and debate, separation of powers, and universal law. To Schmitt, “rigid party discipline” meant that “debate is a fraud” and that “secret committees” made decisions behind closed doors so that the “publicity of the debate is a sham.”[10] Since monopoly capitalism eroded the essential features of civil society (freedom of speech, assembly press, association), and since parliamentary procedures were ineffective, the desire for rapid decision, efficiency, and strength led to a glorification of executive power: hence, “all power to the president.”[11] Trumpism clearly shares such a desire for executive sovereignty along the lines of Carl Schmitt.

Schmitt’s Decisionism, the Enemy, and the State of Exception

Carl Schmitt’s “decisionism,” which places the friend-enemy distinction at the center of politics, was the central political philosophy of National Socialism. In this philosophy, politics is organized by an essential struggle against enemies “who must be exterminated physically.”[12] The political emerges when opponents, competitors, outsiders, subordinates, and challengers are redefined as “enemies” who can neither be tolerated nor accommodated but must be destroyed. The Nazi state was more authoritarian (hierarchical rule of leader over subordinates) than totalitarian (identity between ruler and ruled). Hence, hierarchical leadership was rooted in superior rank that was “valid against the people’s will.”[13] Nazi’s viewed the state as the “form of life of the racial people” that provided “unconditional authority” for the state while maintaining (limited) autonomy for monopoly capitalism.[14] To Schmitt, sovereignty emergences in the capacity to declare and inhabit a “state of exception,” a charismatic claim that sets aside rational-legal and traditional forms of law so that sovereignty is absolute, unlimited. Hitler famously assumed emergency powers that were sustained throughout the entire Nazi period: the Nazi state was in a perpetual exception, a non-ending state of emergency that provided Hitler supreme sovereign power.

“Adolph Hitler is top leader. He combines the functions of supreme legislator, supreme administrator, and supreme judge; he is the leader of the party, the army and the people. In his person, the power for the state, the people, and the movement are unified.”[15]

Hitler was “sole legislator” whose will was the law, an embodiment of the executive, legislative and “infallible” judicial function, as well as supreme commander of armed forces, whose “power is legally and constitutionally unlimited.”[16] A full appreciation of the nature of sovereignty and the absolute consolidation of power in the hands of Hitler as Fuhrer emerges from a review of the oath of office required of every soldier in the army: “I swear this holy oath to God; that I shall give unconditional obedience to Adolf Hitler, Leader of the Reich and the people, supreme commander of the army…” Similar oaths were sworn by all cabinet members and civil service office holders: “I swear that I shall be true and obedient to Adolf Hitler, the Leader of the German Reich and the people, that I shall obey the laws and fulfill my official duties conscientiously, so help me God.”[17] These oaths of fidelity and loyalty to the person of Hitler contrast strongly against those sworn by U.S. soldiers: “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States…”[18]

National Socialism was constituted by full Schmittian sovereignty, supreme leadership of a personal, idolatrous, charismatic kind that was unconditioned by rules, laws, regulations or universal law. The U.S. elevation of constitutional law to the position of sovereignty that could not (in ordinary times) be overridden or suspended by persons, has been a crucial defense against Nazism. This is what makes a “state of exception” so dangerous: the temporary suspension of the rule of law consolidates absolute sovereignty in the charismatically justified hands of a single person. Liberal democracies, including the U.S., have been rooted in the separation of powers, deliberative decision-making, judicial review and, frequently, in multi-form array of jurisdictions (federal, state, local) that are inefficient and problematic from the standpoint of decisionism, but that serve as crucial circuit breakers against consolidated Nazi-like power. As Neumann reports, Hitler dissolved the power of individual states within the Reich to maintain state-level legislatures or to elect state officials. The Reich usurped all authority formerly possessed by states and municipalities so that authoritarian control was “complete from top to bottom.”[19] It is difficult to imagine Trump (or his replacement should he be impeached) in possession of such sovereign power to remove all state governors and replace them with lackeys under his control.

Trump’s rise to office occurred in the context of an almost non-existent legislative function in the U.S. Lawmaking, such as it was, during the 21st century, has been accomplished primarily through executive order or, in the language of Neumann, decree. The Schmittian state of exception similarly depowers the legislative function so that the executive absorbs lawmaking: Neumann describes the Nazi-era Reichstag as a “mere ornament.” Similarly, the U.S. legislature has almost ceased to function as a lawmaking body. Congress and the Senate now serve primarily as a “check” or limit upon executive sovereignty: e.g. to advise and consent or to conduct investigations. Nazi criticisms of parliamentary deliberation and debate are strangely applicable to the U.S. situation prior to Trump. Though congressional and senate rules of evidence and procedure were nominally designed to facilitate high-quality debate and to optimize collective decision, such legislative debate rarely takes place. Party leaders in consultation with and command of corporate owners formulate public issues and policies outside of deliberation. U.S no longer deliberates issues in which representatives might change their minds or consider their colleague’s words. Party discipline that aggressively punishes dissent prevents independent exercise of legislative judgment. Increasingly, actual law making has shifted to the executive branch that now serves as lawmaker in chief through executive decree.

The Party over the State

Like contemporary Republicans in the U.S., Nazi’s were primarily attached to and pursued the interests of party rather than country. As Hitler noted, “the state is not our master; we are the masters of the state.”[20] Neumann characterized changing conceptions of the relationship of the Nazi party to the Nazi state by describing National Socialism both as a “movement state” and, using Carl Schmitt’s phrasing, a “tripartite state,” in which state, movement, and people (nation as racial volk) distinct from each other. The Nazi party provided leadership to all three parts, mediating between and uniting them. Neumann notes that in the USSR, the Communist party completely dominated the state; in Italy, the fascist state completely dominated the party; while in Germany, the Nazi state remained in tension with the party, united together by the leadership principle (“Adolf Hitler, who is both leader of the party and chief of state….”).

The charismatic nature of Nazi party power brought it into contradiction with the “rational bureaucracy” of the administrative state.[21] The state was saturated with the characteristic traits specified in Weber’s famous ideal type concept of bureaucracy: “precision, permanency, discipline, reliability … rationality… impersonality … [action] without hate or passion … duty … without regard to person, with formal equality for everyone.”[22] Charismatic authority operates on an entirely different logic – magical, emotional, unsystematic, vanishing — hence the party and its leaders by necessity rejected and attacked the administrative state because rational law and formal order were contrary to charisma. Decisionism, the supreme power of a sovereign under charismatic authority, depends upon the state of exception, which is by definition a suspension of bureaucratic, rational-legal authority. The fantasies of the Trump administration here seem fully aligned with its Nazi predecessor, as highlighted by Steve Bannon, Chief Strategist of the Trump White House, when he stated that a primary objective of the Trump administration is the “deconstruction of the administrative state” (see below).

The Nazi party as a bureaucratic structure was autonomous from the Nazi state to a remarkable degree, with its own party courts, its own party sources of revenue, freedom from state taxation and from state control. Yet, by the 1930s, the party had grow so large that it had itself become a massive bureaucracy with thousands of officials in leadership positions in both the party hierarchy and state bureaucracies, a paramilitary organization that rivaled many standing armies, massive youth organizations and leadership control over most of associations in civil society. Compared to Hitler, who was the most important architect and developer of the Nazi party and who was fully identified with the party as its leader, Trump’s relationship to the Republican Party that he now leads was haphazard, even laughably accidental (he was registered as a Democrat in the early 2000s). Hitler’s party had bureaucratic durability, despite its charismatic claims. Trump has built no party at all, but a mob of spectators with weak ties to party leadership. Hence, Trump’s charisma rests upon a much more unstable footing: should he fail to prove his claims, there is no institutional structure to fall back on. Charismatic leadership is always a vanishing phenomena, and should Trump be impeached, quit, or become enfeebled, a “crisis of succession” will almost certainly arise.

Throughout Neumann’s book, the paramilitary appears as a uniquely important structure in National Socialism. The S.S. and S.A. were under the command of party leadership and were autonomous from and immune to the state bureaucracy and from the directives of the official military.[23] Paramilitaries unleash all of the lethal violence of formal armed services, but without their rules, regulations and disciplinary controls. Germany had a long tradition of paramilitaries (militia) that served as retention structures for officers, soldiers, and munitions suppliers between formal military deployments. Paramilitaries such as the Freikorp mustered routinely, maintained discipline, traditions and systems of honor and were heavily involved in the extra-legal civil war after the end of WWI.[24] Trump’s support was especially strong among gun enthusiasts and 2nd Amendment activists, including those with strong rebel-authoritarian tendencies and psychological attachment to myths of American outlaw biker gangs, badass militia, moonshine running stock car racers, and other cultural forms of anti-establishment rebellion.[25] Trump has even called upon his supporters to function as a paramilitary, asking them to harass and violently silence protestors at rallies and to ride Harley-Davidson’s as a defensive shield against protestors at his inauguration. However, it is difficult to see his gun toting, 2ndAmendment defending supporters forming a party-directed standing army with sufficient strength, discipline and acumen to pose a threat to state-sponsored armed forces (try to imagine a random collection of his aging, out-of-condition rally attendees marching in uniform, rifles at attention, vigorously goose-stepping in disciplined formation). Despite their admiration for Nazi militia, Trump supporters would simply not be able to function as a party-directed paramilitary equivalent to the S.S.

Anti-Semitism and the Racial Volk

As a Marxist, Neumann analyzes National Socialism’s “all-pervading anti-Semitism” as an ideology that disrupted working class solidarity and class-consciousness. Rather than identify as a proletariat vis-à-vis capital, anti-Semitism encouraged German workers to identify as a racial people (volk) vis-à-vis an exploitative, racialized enemy: “racism and anti-Semitism are substitutes for the class struggle.”[26] The emphasis upon racial identity integrated German (Aryan) workers into a racial state while negating class struggles against capital. Anti-Semitism substituted the “Jew” for “capital” as the Schmittian political enemy that organized politics and society along racial, rather than class, lines. Jews were “held in readiness as a scapegoat for all the evils originating in the socio-political system.”[27] Racial identity was not only implicated in definition of an internal political enemy, but also in the definition of external enemies and the project of German imperialism, defined as conquest of subordinate racial peoples. Together, anti-Semitism and racial identity supplanted class struggle with civil and imperial war.[28] The social psychology of National Socialism, following Fromm, was sadomasochistic: insignificant, isolated persons forced to submit to leaders with compensating discharge of sadism directed at internal and external enemies. Liberal democracies thrive when democratic characters embrace equality, spontaneity, and free development. National Socialism, on the other hand, was fully hierarchical. Anti-Semitism provided the white working class with social ascendancy over racialized others. The racial folk/Nazi state was strong when hierarchies were rigidly maintained and enforced. Nazi’s formed a reactionary middle-strata fighting on two fronts: outwardly toward external enemies and downward to suppress internal enemies. Fueled by out-hating and down-hating, this reactionary middle strata never fought “up” against elites, but masochistically embraced their domination while sadistically kicking down against enemies below.

The racial ideology of Trumpism is eerily similar. Racism in many forms, including anti-Semitism, anti-Muslim, anti-Latino, and anti-Black are defined as Schmittian enemies for Trumps’ followers. Each of these groups have rotated in turn as internal enemies that are down-hated by Trump supporters to elevate themselves in the social hierarchy. They have also rotated as external enemies out-hated by Trump supporters to purify and defend the racial people (volk). Metonyms for racial enemies appear frequently, including “liberal,” “terrorist,” and “criminal.” Trumpism is held together by the perpetual ignition of these Schmittian friend-enemy distinctions and the charismatic power generated by follower’s fear, hatred and aggression. The social psychology is more than just authoritarian or sadomasochistic, but destructive or necrophilic in Fromm’s specific meaning.[29]


Death of Civil Society and the Destruction of the Administrative State

Neumann highlights how bourgeois civil society (in a Weberian not a Marxist sense) was a barrier to the rise of National Socialism. The Nazi party sought to evacuate civil society, disrupt spontaneous social life, and overwrite free association with regimented administration. Liberal democratic society (autonomous civil rights, voluntary association, free assembly, free speech) was the enemy of the Nazi state. To weld atomized masses to the Nazi order, civil associations were broken apart and replaced with party-controlled substitutes. The forced atomization of classes into masses was one of the reasons why Neumann viewed German people as largely indifferent to Nazism. They were not fervently bonded to Nazi structures but were prevented from associating outside of them, always subject to party oversight, surveillance and control. Of course, a strong, vibrant civil society might have been a barrier to the rise of Trumpism, but civil society has been in decay in the U.S. for many decades (see the massive literature on community decline associated with Putnam’s Bowling Alone). In the contemporary U.S., churches remain as almost the sole voluntary association in civil society, a potential resource for left-resistance. However, the largest “fast-growth” churches in the U.S. are firmly aligned with the cultural right and frequently function as right-wing mobilizing structures, herding their flock toward nationalist, neo-liberal and neo-conservative candidates using a variety of hooks and crooks (abortion, gay marriage, gender). Outside of work, most Americans are tied to the wider world through the glowing screens of spectacle, which often places them in streams of data that confirm rather than challenge nationalist, capitalist and conservative views.

National Socialism’s hostility to the bureaucratic state was linked by Neumann to its charismatic party structure: the rules, regulations and universal law of the state generated a “Big Other” that mediated conflicts through a stabilized symbolic structure. The bureaucratic state stood between individuals, establishing a normative order. Without the triadic function of the state, parties in conflict must engage in dyadic struggle of a zero-sum variety. The Big Other of the state enables aspirants and contenders to compete without destruction, generating win-win social surpluses. By taking over the state, the Nazi party captured such social surpluses, enriching and empowering its members at the expense of the underlying society. The leadership principle and the massing of workers contributed to this exploitative situation. Leaders throughout the Nazi regime acted by arbitrary decision (decree) not by rational law. The power of the leader was unconstrained and unchecked to such a degree that law itself vanished. At the end of the book, Neumann argues that National Socialism was not a state because law did not exist, only arbitrary decision.[30]

National Socialism’s supreme sovereignty attacked all agents of the Big Other that mediated disputes and settled questions of truth: the judiciary, science, disciplined scholarship, investigative journalism. All information that remained was propaganda (which Neumann defined as “violence against the soul”) that advanced the interests of the Nazi party. The Trump administration has made similar moves for similar reasons. Bannon’s destruction of the administrative state targeted institutional agencies of the Big Other that generated and made “triadic” decisions based upon analysis of data. Science, public schools, environmental agencies, labor department, health and human services, interior department, state department all have been identified for severe budget and staff cuts. The government departments that have escaped in tact are those associated with “hard power,” such as the military, police, and prison administration. Trumpism aims to remove these triadic structures that mediate between differentiated interests, thus reducing all action to dyadic friend-enemy extermination or zero-sum conflict. Under Trumpism, the judiciary is also under siege, in part because it has been a safeguard of universal rights, a place of universal justice. In Trumpism, the judiciary is just another forum for friend-enemy struggle. Rather than providing impartial judgment of the Big Other, courts will be reduced to arenas for humiliation, defeat, and struggle between small others. Courts are not about justice, in this worldview, but “winning.”

The Trump administration also seeks to “complete” the neoliberal project pursued by conservatives at least since Reagan, gutting social services, repealing health care, cutting minimum wage and labor protections, removing collective bargaining protections, and forthcoming cuts to social insurance coupled with removal of civil rights protections for those who protest or resist the regime. The Trump administration also refuses to submit to international authority or collective agreements and has already weakened U.S. support for multi-national associations like NATO, the G-20, and even the United Nations. This is, again, an attempt to remove the triadic function of universal law, a Big Other, such that all nations are placed upon a single plane of dyadic struggle for power and “negotiation.” In such a system, the military and economic might of the U.S. will be leveraged to cut better “deals” in one-on-one bargains.

Both National Socialism and the Trump administration insisted upon preserving social and economic hierarchies while removing any triadic institution to serve as a “Big Other” that mediates between players in never ending friend-enemy dyadic struggles. Trump himself – a multi-billionaire by his own reckoning — refuses to pay and legally attacks small contractors, small political actors, and even small children as enemies that must be annihilated. This is the mark of a Lacanian psychotic psyche: structure is missing, hence paranoid insecurity lest one be defeated and displaced from the social order.

Trumpism, ultimately, is historically conditioned by the waning of post-Fordism and neoliberalism. Fordism – the relatively egalitarian regime of stabilized mass production and mass production, coupled with social democratic redistribution of income to ensure full employment – was already in full retreat in the early 1970s. Post-Fordism – explosive growth in income and wealth inequality resulting from the globalization of industry, deregulation and destruction of the social democratic state – is now in its fifth decade. Fordism has been in decay longer than it was in construction. There is already little actual memory of what life was like under Fordism. It is no longer a memory, merely a myth, and a pastoral for the 21st century. National Socialism arose contemporaneously with and was economically parallel to Fordism. As Neumann noted: ”National socialism is built on full employment. That is its sole gift to the masses … unemployment must be prevented so as to retain this one link that still ties the masses to its ruling class.”[31] National Socialism, unlike Trumpism, actually provided employment, social insurance, old age benefits, health and accident insurance to the working (Aryan) masses. Compared to Nazism, Trumpism provides its supporters equal levels of sadomasochism and racial hatred, but far fewer economic benefits. 


So, is Trump a new Hitler and is Trumpism a new form of Nazism?

Trump is at best a dilettante, an outsider to the political process, who parlayed the display value of celebrity into incessant media attention and votes. Hitler spent decades as a political operative, building the Nazi party and its extensive bureaucratic and paramilitary apparatus. Trump is over seventy years old, a narcissistic libertine used to incredibly soft living and sycophantic adoration from those he pays to be near him. Hitler was in his early forties when the Nazi’s seized power in Germany and had already bitten his cyanide pill at fifty-six. It is too late for Trump to personally forge Trumpism into any kind of lasting movement or to completely reform the Republican Party in his ethnic nationalist image. Trump’s sophomoric rhetorical skills and political ineptitude stand in marked contrast to almost any political leader. He has no obvious successor to replace him; his followers are hetereogenous and lack institutional stability. Given that charisma is always a vanishing form of domination, Trump will soon fail to prove his charismatic claims and his followers will cease to recognize him. He will appear to them as he does to most of us, a comic buffoon rather than a great political leader.

Trumpism exhibits many features that Neumann found in National Socialism. Both movements unite disparate, even contradictory “machines” into a single system: Nazism united a party apparatus, the military, the bureaucratic state and monopoly capital with a powerful racial ideology and charismatic leadership. Trumpism lacks a party apparatus (though the Republican party is temporarily on loan to Trump), but unites military, administrative state functions and globalized, neoliberal capitalism with a powerful racial ideology and destructive, but inept, charismatic leadership. Nazism was grounded in a much stronger form of Schmittian decisionism than Trumpism, meaning that the “state of exception” providing emergency powers was declared early and sustained throughout the Nazi regime, the friend-enemy distinction was deployed consistently and aggressively to sustain charismatic political power, and the leader/Fuhrer principle was deployed with great aggression. Trumpism, though grounded in a charismatic movement, has not, so far, been able to set aside universal law, rules and regulations by declaring a state of exception. This means that the friend-enemy distinction has not been deployed as violently or aggressively, and the leadership principle remains weak and checked by judiciary, legislative and even bureaucratic power. Despite an obvious desire to subvert norms of political civility central to liberal democracy, Trumpism has not been able to suspend law itself. Executive orders have been negated by judicial review, legislative processes and inquiries have been instituted to constrain and control attempts to increase executive authority. National Socialism developed a strong, bureaucratic and paramilitary party apparatus that was able to override and dominate the state. Trumpism has partially hijacked the Republican Party, but lacks its own party structure and is simply trying to deconstruct the administrative state rather than place the party in control of it. Finally, Nazism was fundamentally tied to the historical moment of Fordism and delivered to its (Aryan) adherents full employment and a basic array of social insurance and welfare protections. Trumpism is tied to the historical moment of waning post-Fordism and neoliberalism, and despite rhetorically promising to bring manufacturing jobs back to America, is actually completing the neoliberal project of dismantling the social insurance, welfare, regulatory and taxation systems without delivering jobs or prosperity to even its most fervent ethnic nationalist supporters.



[1] Franz Neumann. Behemoth: The Structure and Practice of National Socialism, 1933-44. With an Introduction by Peter Hayes, Chicago: Ivan R. Dee, 2009[1944].

[2] Ibid, p. 6.

[3] Ibid, p. 14.

[4] Ibid, p. 17.

[5] Ibid, p. 33.

[6] Ibid, p. 37.

[7] Ibid, p. 38.

[8] Ibid, p. 39.

[9] Ibid, p. 42.

[10] Ibid, p. 43.

[11] Ibid, p. 44.

[12] Ibid, p. 45.

[13] Ibid, p. 48.

[14] Ibid, p. 50.

[15] Ibid, p. 84.

[16] Ibid, p. 84.

[17] Ibid, p. 84-5.

[18] Oath of Enlistment, U.S. Army Website,

[19] Neumann, p. 55.

[20] Ibid, p. 65.

[21] Ibid, p. 80.

[22] Ibid, p. 80.

[23] Ibid, p. 69-71.

[24 See Klaus Theweleit, Male Fantasies, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1989. I want to thank Tony A. Feldmann for our conversation about the missing paramilitary in Trumpism.

[25] Daniel Krier and William J. Swart. NASCAR, Sturgis and the New Economy of Spectacle. Leiden: Brill, 2016, p. 150-82.

[26] Neumann, p. 125.

[27] Ibid, p. 125. Neumann here anticipates Slavoj Zizek’s argument in The Sublime Object of Ideology (London: Verso), 2008.

[28] Ibid, p. 199.

[29] See Doug Kellner, “Donald Trump as Authoritarian Populist: A Frommian Analysis,” Logos: A Journal of Modern Society and Culture, 15: 2,3, 2015.

[30] Neumann, p. 452.

[31] Ibid, p. 431.


Latest Issue

2024: Vol. 23, No. 1

Latest Issue

2024: Vol. 23, No. 1

By Judith Stein: Wall Street v. Main Street within the Trump Cabinet

By Dan Krier: Behemoth Revisited: National Socialism and the Trump Administration

By James Block: Beyond the Collapse: Clearing the Ground for What is to Come

By Harriet Fraad: Women, Class, Gender and the Trump Agenda

By Chip Berlet: Alt-Right: A Primer on the Online Brownshirts

By Jefferson Decker: The Ends of Reform: Liberalism, Trumpism, and American Politics

By Mark Worrell: The Twilight of Liberal American Imperialism: Trump, Debt, and War

By Stephen Eric Bronner: Back to Basics: Trump’s Counter-Revolution, Resistance, and Solidarity

By Chris O’Kane: “A Hostile World”: Critical Theory in the Time of Trump

By Werner Bonefeld: Authoritarian Liberalism, Class and Rackets

By John Abromeit: Right-Wing Populism and the Limits of Normative Critical Theory

By Samir Gandesha: “The Neoliberal Personality”

By Darren Barany: Explaining ‘Cult45’: What Can WWII-Era Research on Authoritarianism Tell Us about the Political Rise of Trump?

By Kim Scipes: Black Subjugation in America

By George Lundskow: White Like Them

By Geoffrey Kurtz: Andy Blunden, The Origins of Collective Decision Making. Leiden/Boston: Brill, 2016.

By Aidan J. Beatty: Stuart Jeffries. Grand Hotel Abyss: The Lives of the Frankfurt School (London: Verso, 2016)

By Brian Caterino: Martin Jay, Reason After It’s Eclipse: On Late Critical Theory Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2016.

By Matthew H. Bowker: Henry A. Giroux, America at War with Itself. City Lights Books, 2016

By Nate Liederbach: Vincent Czyz, Adrift in a Vanishing City, Rain Mountain Press, New York City 2015