The Prophet Outcast by Isaac Deutscher (Vol. 3 in his Trotsky Trilogy), contains an interesting chapter on Rationalism and Irrationalism in terms of the unstable period following the Wall Street Crash of 1929, the period of economic depression, the rise of Fascism and the consolidation of power on the part of Stalinism.
Trotsky while analysing the rise of Fascism in Germany noted the resurgence of Nazism was not the surviving residue of 1923, a reference to the Beer Hall Putsch, but a harbinger of that which was to come... Hitler's regime and world war.
The frustration or 'radicalisation of the masses' had been channeled not to the forces of revolutionary social change but instead had been garnered by the Counter-Revolutionary reaction.
Socialism was supposed to capture the working class and elements of the lower middle class. Instead the anger and bitterness of these classes (in particular the petit bourgeoisie) was channeled into the Right.
The German Kleinburger or petit bourgeoisie, the lower Middle Class of small business owners, blue collar management, lower-end white collar workers.... who provided the social backbone and foundation to Nazism were motivated by security and fear. These feelings bred a strong desire for self-assertion or what we today might call a 'voice'. They looked for a leader who gave them that voice.
They were anti-Big Business and at times when criticising corporate power and finance, Trotsky said they would sound like Leftists.
And yet these same elements despise the actual working class, labour movements and minorities and will sound solidly bourgeois when criticising them.
They despise communism and Social Democracy and view all these combined forces as a sinister conspiracy working against them.
They're angry, looking for a voice and saviour.
The parallels are rather interesting. I'm not going to try and pretend Donald Trump is of the same calibre as Adolf Hitler. Hitler was far more intelligent.
Yet, the same forces are at work in both Europe and the United States. The conditions and being replicated and thus we're seeing something of a repeat. This resurgence may or may not result in overt Fascism and war. However, this cycle's failures and possible inconclusive results might lead to even more severe era of reaction at some point in the not too distant future.
We ignore history at our own peril. The same social forces (and classes) that rallied around Hitler and flocked to the banner of the Third Reich are the same social elements that in our day support Donald Trump and the Nativist movements in Europe... and for many of the same reasons.
This historical reference is not a call to political activism but instead vigilance and witness. Where was the Church in Germany during the 1930's? For the most part it was supporting Hitler because the great fear was Communism. Where will the Church be in America were another Hitler to arise? We have our answer. In fact our present scenario is very similar to the response of the German Church. Many don't support Trump, but will when faced with the alternatives.
Others, having severely departed the faith embrace him with great zeal and fervour. And later when someone else arises who makes Trump look like a lightweight, they will eagerly embrace him or perhaps even her.