The Name of the Game is Shame, Part II: From Slavery to Obama and Now Trump, Gilda Graff

ABSTRACT: In 2009 in “The Name of the Game is Shame: The Effects of Slavery and its Aftermath” I explained that I got the title, “The Name of the Game is Shame,” from words that were scrawled on the side of a building in a black ghetto, probably in the 1970’s or 1980’s. Those words remained there for nearly ten years. I wondered what that graffiti artist understood about shame and life in the ghetto. I recognized that shame is always present in trauma and, in the article, I explored the shame and trauma of slavery, the Jim Crow years, and beyond (Graff, 2011, p. 133).

 Eight years have passed since I wrote that paper. Our first black president has been followed by Donald Trump. In this paper, I ask, Is the name of the game still shame? Do white Americans understand the shame surrounding racial issues?

Jews Surviving on “Aryan Papers” in Nazi-occupied Poland: A Historical and Psychoanalytic Perspective Krystyna Sanderson

ABSTRACT: Describes how some Jews survived on “Aryan papers” in Poland during World War II and how the experience of passing as non-Jewish influenced survivors. Discusses the role of attachment theory, “true self” and “false self,” and posttraumatic stress disorder. Unless otherwise referenced, personal testimonies in this article are drawn from the book Holocaust and Identity: Polish Jews Who Survived on “Aryan Papers”: Analyzing Biographic Experience, by Polish sociologist Małgorzata Melchior,[i] and from an original tape-recorded interview with Sima Gleichgevicht-Wasser[ii] and Apolonia (“Pola”) Gorzkowska-Nikodemska.[iii]

On October 15, 1941 the German authorities in occupied Poland posted a decree announcing that departure of any Jewish person from the ghetto was punishable by death, and that anyone offering any kind of aid to Jews would also be put to death, themselves as well as their entire family.[iv] In spite of this statute many Jews left the ghetto secretly, risking possible death outside in preference to almost certain death inside. At a time when leaving the country had become virtually impossible, some Jewish people who found themselves able to pass as non-Jewish started life on the so-called Aryan side, either in hiding or living openly with false “Aryan papers.”


ABSTRACT: The topic of militarism could hardly be more timely. In 2015, the world failed to meet the Millennium Development Goals while spending over 1.6 trillion dollars on war and war preparations (Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, 2016), more than ten times what it would have cost to meet them (United Nations Development Program, 2012). Militarist fantasies consume the Republican Party (D’Agostino 2016) and President Trump proposes a massive expansion of the Department of Defense with equivalent cutbacks in the civilian agencies of government (Merica et al, 2017). Republican and Democratic politicians alike uphold a highly militarized economy and foreign policy (D’Agostino 2014). Yet the psychological sources of militarism are poorly understood, reflecting a balkanization of research in the relevant academic disciplines, including psychology itself. This paper presents a comprehensive theoretical framework for understanding militarism, building on a unique survey data set (D’Agostino 1995), feminist psychoanalytic theory, research on the effects of punitive parenting, and the application of control systems theory to human psychology.

Psychohistorical Perspectives on Current Events and Issues

Election 2016: A Psychohistorical, Psychoeconomic Analysis of the 2016 United States Presidential Election, Jay Einhorn

ABSTRACT: Although Donald J. Trump’s victory over Hillary R. Clinton in the 2016 United States presidential election came as a surprise, even a shock, to many, the author predicted that outcome in the summer of 2016. This prediction was based largely on his familiarity with the work of psychologist Hadley Cantril in his 1941 book, “The Psychology of Social Movements,” and the author’s analysis that socioeconomic conditions in the United States in 2016 were similar in kind, though not in severity, to those which Cantril found in the post Civil War American South, which led to the rise of lynchings of African-Americans, and in post World War I Germany, which led to the rise of Nazism. This social psychological dynamic is referred to as ‘psychoeconomic disenfranchisement.” Reflecting on the election with a Democratic researcher afterward, the author began to develop a list of psychological and socioeconomic dynamics explaining the outcome, and has been developing it since, with the goal of being as realistic as possible in understanding the process and outcome of the 2016 election. Learning the lessons of the 2016 election is a national task for everyone interested in truth and freedom in the U.S.A. This paper is offered as a contribution to that goal.

Book Review Essays

From History’s Victims to the Masters of Apartheid: South Africa and the Power of Historical Trauma, Michael Britton and David Lotto

Apartheid: Britain’s Bastard Child, by Helene Opperman Lewis. Reach Publishers, South Africa: 2016. 512 pp.

Powerful in content, eloquent in use of language, meticulously researched, Apartheid: Britain’s Bastard Child is a tour de force of psychohistorical work, a book urgently relevant for South Africa and for our world at large.   What does it mean to be a generation, a people, or I would add a world, reeling from massive historical traumas? How do victims in one generation become the victimizers in the next – and is it possible to choose otherwise? Large questions, addressed here in the particulars of South Africa and the emergence of the apartheid regime.

The popular narrative of apartheid considers it the work of white Afrikaners (Boers, descendants of Dutch settlers) who alone must bear the shame for having dreamt up the nightmare of apartheid. The author, a psychotherapist and Afrikaner herself, set out to understand the psychological underpinnings out of which such behavior could have emerged and found a far more complex story. The book serves as a cautionary tale for the rest of us: The dynamics that overtook Afrikaners could overtake almost any of us.

Hypocrisy in U.S. Claims of Reducing Violence Worldwide, Harriet Fraad

The Violent American Century, John W. Dower. Chicago: Haymarket. 2017

The Violent American Century is important reading for Psychohistorians. It shows us the history of the militarists who dominate American thinking and spending. Dower exposes the hypocrisy in our claims of reducing violence worldwide. The book is especially important now that Trump is the commander in chief who casually mentions using nuclear bombs against North Korea and has added 60 billion dollars to our already bloated military budget. The new budget of $639 billion does not count huge expenditures on veterans’ medical and psychological care Americans have permitted this. The Violent American Century illustrates how we as a nation have become inured to endless war. John Dower documents the history of what happened.

The US was the only power left intact after World War Two. The USSR revived enough to contest us in the cold war of escalating military spending. However, with the fall of the USSR, Pax Americana triumphed. Stalemates in Korea and Vietnam had called Pax Americana into question. The unwinnable war on terror should continue to call that into question, but it doesn’t.

One Trend Within Contemporary Psychoanalysis: Valorizing Ferenczi, Demoting Freud, Peter Lawner

The Legacy of Sandor Ferenczi: From Ghost to Ancestor, Edited by Adrienne Harris and Steven Kuchuck, Routledge (New York and London), 2015

This recent (2015) edited volume, containing a valuable editorial introductory chapter followed by seventeen individually authored chapters, is one of an array that have appeared in recent decades that examine the psychoanalytic contributions of Sandor Ferenczi (1887-1933). A major early protégé of Sigmund Freud( 1856-1939), who, for most of his professional career was a steadfast and passionate advocate for his “master”—an idealizing term used by many of Freud’s acolytes in relation to him— Ferenczi increasingly developed his own ideas. However, his most fully developed and articulated dissent from Freud’s views, in the last phase of his psychoanalytic career toward the end of his life in 1933, led, with Freud’s imprimatur, to his being repudiated by the worldwide Freudian psychoanalytic institutional community.

Such anathematizing of dissenters is a tragic phenomenon most familiar, though hardly unique, in relation to institutionally regulated religious orthodoxies. Over the decades during which the Freudian collective organized itself into a formidable international organization the requirement of adherence to its tenets has led to the departure from its ranks of many of its creative and accomplished former adherents. Alfred Adler and Carl Jung are the best known early examples. Otto Rank and Sandor Ferenczi maintained their acceptance within the Freudian fold longer, but ultimately diverged too far from psychoanalytic orthodoxy and were expelled. More recent bold challengers of Freudian orthodoxies such as Heinz Kohut managed to maintain liminal acceptance. However, there has been a recent vigorous revival of interest in Ferenczi’s contributions to psychoanalytic thought, now understood to be a rich source of inspiration for contemporary psychoanalytic perspectives and praxis.

Numerous publications and conferences, especially since the late 1980’s and early ‘90’s, have elaborated and celebrated Ferenczi’s once dissident views. The current book is among them, an update that includes important new findings and ideas from….