Cultural Marxism

Cultural Marxism is a term that’s been used regularly here by kiwi guy, alongside his strong anti-feminist views. What is it apart from a general perjorative?

An insidious attempt to impose socialism by stealth? Or a nutter conspiracy theory?

Godwin alert!

Urban dictionary:

The gradual process of destroying all traditions, languages, religions, individuality, government, family, law and order in order to re-assemble society in the future as a communist utopia. This utopia will have no notion of gender, traditions, morality, god or even family or the state.

The Philosophy was proven not to Work already by Vladimir Lenin as he tried in vein to control and subjugate the people. He admitted before he died that capitalism was the only true system in which people understand how to live with each other….

Lenin knew that there were a few western Idiots who kept spreading the communist ideas long after Lenin gave up…. he called these people useful idiots as they had more emotion than brains and could be used to subvert the western states for a military takeover in the future as the citizens would already be perverted and sick and weak from poisonous ideas, decadent lusts and mindless entertainment.

An Australian perspective from Jason Wilson in ‘Cultural Marxism’: a uniting theory for rightwingers who love to play the victim:

What do the Australian’s columnist Nick Cater, video game hate group #Gamergate, Norwegian mass shooter Anders Breivik and random blokes on YouTube have in common? Apart from anything else, they have all invoked the spectre of “cultural Marxism” to account for things they disapprove of – things like Islamic immigrant communities, feminism and, er, opposition leader Bill Shorten.

What are they talking about? The tale varies in the telling, but the theory of cultural Marxism is integral to the fantasy life of the contemporary right. It depends on a crazy-mirror history, which glancingly reflects things that really happened, only to distort them in the most bizarre ways.

It begins in the 1910s and 1920s. When the socialist revolution failed to materialise beyond the Soviet Union, Marxist thinkers like Antonio Gramsci and Georg Lukacs tried to explain why. Their answer was that culture and religion blunted the proletariat’s desire to revolt, and the solution was that Marxists should carry out a “long march through the institutions” – universities and schools, government bureaucracies and the media – so that cultural values could be progressively changed from above.

Adapting this, later thinkers of the Frankfurt School decided that the key to destroying capitalism was to mix up Marx with a bit of Freud, since workers were not only economically oppressed, but made orderly by sexual repression and other social conventions. The problem was not only capitalism as an economic system, but the family, gender hierarchies, normal sexuality – in short, the whole suite of traditional western values.

The conspiracy theorists claim that these “cultural Marxists” began to use insidious forms of psychological manipulation to upend the west. Then, when Nazism forced the (mostly Jewish) members of the Frankfurt School to move to America, they had, the story goes, a chance to undermine the culture and values that had sustained the world’s most powerful capitalist nation.

And:

The whole story is transparently barmy. If humanities faculties are really geared to brainwashing students into accepting the postulates of far-left ideology, the composition of western parliaments and presidencies and the roaring success of corporate capitalism suggests they’re doing an astoundingly bad job. Anyone who takes a cool look at the last three decades of politics will think it bizarre that anyone could interpret what’s happened as the triumph of an all-powerful left.

The theory of cultural Marxism is also blatantly antisemitic, drawing on the idea of Jews as a fifth column bringing down western civilisation from within, a racist trope that has a longer history than Marxism.

It allows those smarting from a loss of privilege to be offered the shroud of victimhood, by pointing to a shadowy, omnipresent, quasi-foreign elite who are attempting to destroy all that is good in the world. It offers an explanation for the decline of families, small towns, patriarchal authority, and unchallenged white power: a vast, century-long left wing conspiracy. And it distracts from the most important factor in these changes: capitalism, which demands mobility, whose crises have eroded living standards, and which thus, among other things, undermines the viability of conventional family structures and the traditional lifestyles that conservatives approve of.

The story of cultural Marxism is also flexible and can be tailored to fit with the obsessions of a range of right-wing actors. As such, it’s one example of an idea from the extremes which has been mobilised by more mainstream figures and has dragged politics as a whole a little further right

Rational Wiki describes it:

The term “cultural Marxism” is most commonly encountered as a snarl word decrying everything right-wingers don’t like, alluding to a conspiracy theory involving sinister left-wingers in the cultural and artistic spheres, including the media and academia, supposedly being engaged in a decades-long plot to undermine Western culture. With bonus anti-Semitism.

Outside of graduate seminars in the history of critical theory, the term is primarily used by reactionaries to red-bait anyone with progressive tendencies.

The conspiracist usage was prefigured in Nazi Germany, where Kulturbolschewismus (“Cultural Bolshevism”) was used as a term of political abuse

Wikipedia says similar in a more long winded fashion in Cultural Marxism conspiracy theory:

A 20th-century conspiracy theory regards the Frankfurt School as the origin of a contemporary movement in the political left to destroy western culture, referred to as “Cultural Marxism” by theory proponents. It advocates the idea that multiculturalism and political correctness are products of critical theory, which originated with the Frankfurt School. The theory is associated with American religious paleoconservatives such as William Lind, Pat Buchanan and Paul Weyrich, and has received support from the Free Congress Foundation.

According to Chip Berlet, who specializes in the study of extreme right-wing movements, the Cultural Marxism conspiracy theory found fertile ground within the Tea Party movement of 2009, with contributions published in the American Thinker and WorldNetDaily highlighted by some Tea Party websites.

Philosopher and political science lecturer Jérôme Jamin has stated that “Next to the global dimension of the Cultural Marxism conspiracy theory, there is its innovative and original dimension, which lets its authors avoid racist discourses and pretend to be defenders of democracy”.

Professor and Oxford Fellow Matthew Feldman has traced the terminology back to the pre-war German concept of Cultural Bolshevism locating it as part of the degeneration discourse that aided in Hitler’s rise to power.

William S. Lind confirms this as his period of interest, claiming that “It [Cultural Marxism] is an effort that goes back not to the 1960s and the hippies and the peace movement, but back to World War I.