Many confound what they think with what they know. With Marx, personal notions of Marxism often justify arbitrary conclusions, reflecting the perceiver’s prejudice, fancy or indoctrination. Any related discussion turns then into a vicious circle of arguments searching for proofs, and proofs that are but someone’s opinions.
Furthermore, various currently-popular and alternative media sources, when referring to Marxism, utter remarkable nonsense and slander, “the which, in every language they pronounce, stuffing the ears of men with false reports.” (1)
All this may be of disturbing obviousness, though it should be stated, given some equally disturbing notions, circulating at large within both the current and counter-current cultural streams.
Far from me to assume expertise or academic Marxian knowledge. One must be in perfect health to read Marx, let alone his complete works. Besides, translating ponderous German sentences into simpler and more manageable English is a challenge even for seasoned translators. Which explains the many words still quoted in German, accompanied by the translator’s apology – that his English translation only approximately renders the meaning of the quoted German original.
But here we are beyond sophisticated and debatable interpretations of the original. It is a case where “so full of shapes is fancy that it alone is high-fantastical.” (2)
A situation has evolved where the current so-called ‘populist’ opposition accuses the neo-liberals of Marxism, actually of bolshevism. While the accused are indifferent to the accusation, for the origins of their philosophy was (and still is) improperly called “cultural Marxism,” as I will attempt to show.
In other words, in this upside-down philosophy and world view, the 1% are the ‘bolsheviks’ while the staunch, right-wing anti-socialists are the ‘proletarians.’
To account for this newly hatched paradox, a summary of the notions and facts involved is necessary.
We may start with the often quoted F. Fukuyama, philosopher and employee of the US State Department, who proclaimed the “end of history.” For, according to this pundit, the first successful “orange revolution” – i.e. the destruction of the Soviet Union – coincided with the final stage of history, and with the entire world turned capitalist and neo-liberal.
The only remaining task was to re-educate the misadvised ex-colonies about the ‘right way.’ Or even more Orwellianly, to wage genocidal wars to achieve capitalistic peace. The West would then establish worldwide ‘pax civilitatis’ (peace of civilization), at least according to the pop-philosophy of Karl Popper.
Even the New York Times said so, in a lead article of Apr 18, 1993 titled, “Finally colonialism is back. It was about time!” Meaning that the “moral mission” of the civilized world is to go and govern “these desperate places” and impose upon them the respect of “human rights.”
The appellation of “desperate place” was and is wide and elastic. It ranges(d) from the island of Grenada, to Panama (1500 plus dead civilians), Iraq (first and second Gulf War), Libya, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Afghanistan etc.
Soon even Eastern European nations qualified and, of course the Balkans – we all know who is the current colonial master in these East-European crucibles of newly established happiness.
It is as if the US extended the Platt Amendment to the world. The 1901 Platt Amendment guaranteed to the US the right to occupy Cuba militarily anytime when, in the judgment of the exceptional nation, “the quiet enjoyment of property, liberty and human rights were in danger.” Neo-liberalism before its time.
In less Augustan language, the very essence of neo-liberalism is to never be at heart’s ease while one beholds a greater than oneself, (3) be it among men or nations. For in the end, the triumph of the strongest is also the salvation of the weakest.
This has been particularly evident in some ex Soviet Republics – Ukraine, Moldavia, Georgia but not only – whose young now-abandoned males exported crime, and young females prostitution, into Western Europe. Something never seen, or even imagined, while these nations were subjected to the cruel Soviet yoke. But, as we know, the lure, the promise and the appearances of prosperity have dazzled stronger eyes, and disappointment is ever proportional to hope.
The whole thing almost amounts to superstition, about which it is vain to conjecture; for what reason did not dictate, reason cannot explain.
All this the world well knows, but how could neo-liberal ideology have anything to do with Marx, let alone Bolshevism?
I know not by what fatality or by what confederacy, but it began with “cultural Marxism,” which, in my view is neither Marxist, nor cultural.
Its seeds were planted in the 1930s, when a group of left-leaning academics in Frankfurt, Germany, invented what they called ‘critical theory,’ also known as the Frankfurt School. These luminaries found Marx inadequate to effect meaningful changes in society, and sought ways to correct his shortcomings.
Defining ‘critical theory’ is very difficult except for seasoned academics. But since an honest tale speeds best when plainly told, (4) ‘critical theory’ plainly means turning society upside-down, by relying on the wisdom, gravity and profound conceit of selected academics – those who assume that “I am sir Oracle, and when I ope my lips, let no dog bark.” (5)
The ‘critical theory’ blossomed in the 1960s among leftist caviar-intellectuals in American and European universities. Today it dominates academia, especially in social studies.
One of the most influential thinkers of this remarkable school was Herbert Marcuse. Even a cursory glimpse at what Marcuse said in print shows how the ‘critical theory’ has inspired and instilled a certain culture of inverted intolerance. A culture that now prevails in the caviar-academic world and, by reflection, osmosis and capillary action, in the world at large, thanks to the fake news media and the fake world of Hollywood.
Here is a quote from Marcuse’s book, “Oppressive Tolerance.”
“The small and powerless minorities which struggle against the false consciousness and its beneficiaries must be helped. Their continued existence is more important than the preservation of abused rights and liberties which granted constitutional powers to those who oppress these minorities.”
Social justice, feminism, neo-progressivism, post-colonialism, gender equality, multi-culturalism, and diversity are movements or ideologies inspired or associated with the ‘critical theory.’ And since the critical theorists saw themselves as new and improved Marxists, critical theory equates to cultural Marxism.
Gender, sexual orientation, family, race, culture or religion – every aspect of personal identity is in question. Every norm or standard of society should be challenged and ideally altered so as to benefit supposedly oppressed groups.
Historical Marxism opposed the bourgeoisie to the proletarians, in a class struggle aimed at a utopian or at least at a more balanced organization of society.
Critical Theory substitutes class struggle with a struggle between the oppressors and the oppressed, between those with privileges and those without them. If you are wondering why the term ‘working class’ has almost disappeared from what is called, at large, the ‘discourse’, it’s because it has been replaced by ‘minorities.’
Majority groups are typically defined as privileged and oppressive – with minority groups accordingly labeled underprivileged and oppressed.
Heterosexuals, sexual conformists, whites and Christians are oppressive. Those that do not fit into these groups are thus considered oppressed.
Consequently, if heterosexuals are oppressive the solution is to encourage other forms of sexuality. If whites are oppressive the solution is racial diversity, if sexual conformity is oppressive, the solution is to encourage transgender sexuality, if Christians are oppressors, the solution is to propagate Islam, etc.
Another member of the Frankfurt School, Theodore Adorno, wrote a book titled, “The Oppressive Personality.” In it he defines parenthood, pride in one’s family, Christianity, adherence to traditional gender roles, traditional attitudes towards sex, and love of one’s own country as ‘pathological phenomena.’
Branding as pathological opinions and modes of life differing from theirs is a characteristic of the ‘critical theorists.’
Different views are irrational fears or phobias. A person who feels uncomfortable living as a minority in an enclave dominated by Muslim migrants is an islamophobe, since wishing to live among those culturally and ethnically similar to oneself is considered sick or phobic.
But when, for example, Pakistani Muslims in Britain show in-group preference, converting entire sections of a town or city into a mini-Pakistan, there is no sickness or phobia, only multiculturalism. For a prelude of things to come see the short video here
Another notably popular and propagandist manifestation of cultural Marxism is political correctness, in which media channel and academia question common language.
Illegal immigrants are to be called undocumented migrants, while ethnic discrimination is described as affirmative action.
Defining and redefining words is a means to control the discourse and alter cultural norms. An ethnic minority woman, for example, cannot be racist or sexist towards white men.
Racism and sexism are a product of prejudice plus power, hence let’s promote a favorable view of groups that are marked as ‘oppressed.’ Therefore Islam is a religion of peace. Black Lives Matter is a peaceful, legitimate protest movement. Feminism is only about equality, etc. No criticism or deviation from this narrative is allowed.
In the end, while communism offered a resolution of class conflict in a utopian social system, cultural Marxism offers a desolate form of eternal warfare between ever more narrowly defined groups of offended minorities.
The only meaningful consequence that the wide application of cultural Marxism can have, is the marginalization of traditional European and Western culture. Which, incidentally, was the prophecy and the plan of Coudeneuve Kalergi, founder of the European Union. (see “A Tale of Two Pictures”)
From what we hear, the country where the process is more advanced is Sweden, where legislation is being discussed to make it a punishable ‘hate crime’ to express views unfavorable to the massive, uncontrolled injection of ‘undocumented migrants.’
And so it has come to pass that thanks to Academia, lick-spittle of the ruling class, the alt-right, which is currently the only something that resembles a Left, can call the 1% Bolsheviks, while the ‘Bolsheviks’ laugh ever harder behind the back of mankind, and, naturally, all the way to the bank.
But is cultural Marxism really ‘Marxist?’
The answer, in my view is no. To start, Marx advocated both a political and a humanitarian emancipation. Along with the economic emancipation of the working class, he promoted the removal of class dominion. In his vision, the revolution included not only the working class but the emancipation of nations – in his time he particularly referred to the independence of Ireland and Poland. And though Marx is associated with the notion of religion as ‘the opiate of the people,’ he equally considered religion as an essential ingredient in the formation of the nationalist spirit.
Marx advocated the elimination of slavery, but neither ‘diversity’ , ‘multiculturalism’ or ‘gender neutrality.’ He pointed to the class struggle not only as economic. He viewed the capitalist system as an assembly of more-or-less servile relationships imposed by one people on another internationally, by one class on another in one single nation, and by a man on a woman inside members of the same class.
On the latter issue he was not alone. For example, French philosopher and mathematician Nicolas de Condorcet, in 1790, had already defined as an ‘act of tyranny’ the exclusion of women from political rights – and he equally condemned the ‘power of habit,’ which dulls the sentiment of justice.
All these are ideas reflected and expanded in Marx’ writings. In other words, the cultural Marxists’ conversion of resistance to class discrimination into a universal classification of oppressors and oppressed, based uniquely on numbers, is arbitrary and unwarranted.
Caviar-academia has invented the term ‘populist’ to suggest contempt and irrelevance. Nevertheless, however unorganized it may be, it is ironic that the ‘populist’ alt-right is currently the only palpable or detectable opposition to neo-liberalism, war-mongering, turbo-capitalism, casino-banking, multiculturalism, diversity, borders abolition, sexual gender irrelevance and miscegenation – in other words, to the misnamed ‘cultural Marxism.’
Historians, accustomed to extend their views through a long concatenation of causes and effects, may discover the weakness of human schemes and detect the fallacies by which mortals are deluded, including the absurdities of ‘cultural Marxism.’
Whether reason will in the end prevail and recover some influence, in academia and elsewhere, I know not. For whenever I pretended to the prerogative of foresight, I was mortified with a new conviction of the shortness of my views.
(1) King Henry IV p2
(2) Twelfth Night
(3) Julius Caesar
(4) King Richard III
(5) Merchant of Venice
Jimmie, this is probably among the most layered pieces that you have written. I had to read it very slowly to digest it and it made me think a lot. If we had been face to face, I would have needed to ask you a lot of questions about this one. Thank you for the alternate view on “cultural Marxism,”.
Its a mark of the (wretched, lying and confused “post modernist” ) times that an attempt to explain Marx in what would have been considered simple orthodox terms in the 1930’s is now considered an “alternate view” ..As Jimmie explains more eloquently and in more detail, the creepy and dishonest phrase “cultural Marxism” was coined by the liberal arch-enemies of Marxism and of Marxists. Liberals, are , by definition not “Marxists” of any kind, especially “cultural” .
This article was also published by the sites, “The Saker” and “The Greanville Post”
As a graduate student in literature who’s also taking a class on 20th century political Progressive Thought on the different German Economic Schools, Marx, etc. I really appreciated the accuracy and eloquence of the article. This is one of the best descriptions of the alt-right I’ve seen thus far, of which I consider myself deeply a part. Thank you.
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