Understanding Cultural Marxism
I recently finished an exceptional book: Patrick Buchanan’s The Death of the West. Needless to say, I recommend this book’s reading to all.
Within The Death of the West, Buchanan has an especially striking chapter: ‘The Four who Made a Revolution’. In this segment, Buchanan reveals a great deal about Cultural Marxism; how it emerged; and how the modern Left has largely embraced its tenets.
In summarising Buchanan’s chapter and my own thoughts on this field, it seems necessary to answer 2 challenges often posed by critics of the ‘Cultural Marxism’ term:
- How did Cultural Marxism emerge, and where are all the ‘secret communists’? And;
- What is Cultural Marxism? Is Cultural Marxism anything in particular, or is it simply a Right-wing tool of attack?
1. How did Cultural Marxism Emerge, and Where are the ‘Secret Communists’?
In elucidating the origins of this insidious force, Buchanan discusses how European workers responded to World War One’s outbreak. Throughout the late 19th and early 20th century, Marxism latched onto widespread discontent at human displacement, and abysmal working conditions across the industrialising world. It is important to understand Marx’s forecast, that concerned how workers would successfully revolt against their oppressive surroundings. Marx predicted that if war ensued between the dominant European powers, workers would seek international solidarity with other workers, and fight against the oppressive capitalist systems in their own countries.
However, despite Marxist revolutionaries becoming numerous by 1914, once the Great War broke out, Marx’s prediction proved to be mistaken. In the words of Barbara Tuchman, “When the call came, the worker, whom Mark declared to have no Fatherland, identified himself with his country, not class… The working class went to war willingly, even eagerly, like the middle class, like the upper class, like the species.”
Powerful pre-existing sources of identity–racial, ethnic, religious, cultural, and national–which prevented communism from taking root across Europe in World War One; similarly stifled progress in the newly communist Soviet Union. While Soviet communism was being earnestly implemented during the post-war period, “only through terror could the regime compel obedience.”
According to one prominent Italian communist–Antonio Gramsci–this demonstrated the flaws in solely administering Marxism from the top-down. Gramsci believed that instead of initially imposing Marxism through government force, communists should first change the culture so that eventually, “power would fall into their laps like ripened fruit.” This could be done via a ‘march’ through the institutions–the arts, cinema, theatre, schools, colleges, seminaries, newspapers, magazines–until each had been “politicised into an agency of revolution,” and ultimately, members of society would grow subservient to communist rule. Gramsci believed that because Western culture had given birth to capitalism and had maintained it, if this same culture was destroyed, the capitalist system would consequently fall.
Today, we’ve a similar ‘march’–through social media, the ABC, the mainstream media, the Human Rights Commission, elite professions, universities, the public school system and sporting codes–to the point that virtually all prominent institutions have been converted into either active, or passive proponents of Cultural Marxism (which will be later described).
There are some who claim Cultural Marxism represents a conspiracy theory, and is used to castigate all Left-wing opponents as being ‘secret communists’. To this, I’d say 3 things.
First, there are indeed a small minority of avowed Marxists who seek to decompose Western culture first, in order to bring about international solidarity with workers from all over, and cause a communist revolution. Organisations such as Socialist Alternative are abundantly clear about this.
Second, on a certain level, modern Leftism is markedly distinct from the views of Gramsci and the Frankfurt school– in their embrace of transnational business conglomerates, including Facebook, Twitter, Google, Youtube, Amazon, and others. Those clamoring for censorship by all-powerful corporations, are scarcely demonstrating a sincere desire to one day terminate capitalism. Nevertheless, the political behaviour and language used by today’s progressives remains influenced by the work of Gramsci and the Frankfurt school. So while most contemporary Leftists may disagree with these figures on the need to implement communism; they agree with them on the need to decompose a supposedly toxic Western civilisation, and lay siege to straight, white, cisgender, Christian males.
Third, and this goes to those on the Left who claim ignorance= non-compliance with Cultural Marxism– one doesn’t have to be well read on Gramsci to be enacting the Cultural Marxist agenda. As whilst those that exclusively understand the world through racism, sexism, disablism and fascism are often NPC’s; they are ‘useful idiots’ for advancing Cultural Marxism.
2. What is Cultural Marxism?
Whilst the peripheries of Cultural Marxism can be vague, there are some unambiguous aspects to this dogma.
Perhaps the most obvious component to Cultural Marxism, is the Left-wing appropriation of Marx’s socioeconomic analysis of class warfare. Marx said the competing interests of the Proletariat (the worker) and the Bourgeoise (those who own the means of production), gives rise to class conflict.
But now, Cultural Marxism’s new Proletariat are people of colour, transgenders, gays, Muslims, Jews and women– whose plight is continually cited to dismantle Western Culture; in a similar vein to how problems facing the working class were adduced by Marx, to justify deconstructing capitalism. Meanwhile, the new Bourgeoise is starkly manifested through the white, straight, cisgender, Christian male. Today’s Left largely embodies this Cultural Marxism, as ascendant institutions incessantly proclaim the need for more ‘diversity’, and lobby for the interests of Proletariat groups. This is done, so we are told, to bring about ‘equality’. But when designated Proletariat groups actually succeed over the majority population–African Americans in the NBA, Asians in medicine, and Jews in the media–Leftists grow awfully quiet, as this news doesn’t advance their Cultural Marxist agenda and view of society.
Early Marxists believed “what advanced the revolution is moral,” as morality and even truth itself were considered social constructs. This has clearly influenced the dishonesty of today’s Left–who advocate for women’s rights while encouraging Islamic immigration; denigrate men but sympathise with the cause of black males; deny the existence of race but promote organic expressions of racial identity–among many other illogical, contradictory views. These double standards were once regularly slammed on this site. But once we discern that today’s incongruous Left are predominantly Cultural Marxist and are therefore: 1) inherently more likely to lie; and 2) more interested in tearing down Western civilisation than being intellectually honest, we possess a more comprehensive understanding of our political enemies.
Key to Cultural Marxism is Critical Theory, as developed by the Frankfurt School. Critical Theory can be explained as:
The essentially destructive criticism of all the main elements of Western culture, including Christianity, capitalism, authority, the family, patriarchy, hierarchy, morality, tradition, sexual restraint, loyalty, patriotism, nationalism, heredity, ethnocentrism, convention and conservatism.
The purpose of critical theory is to eventually induce a “cultural pessimism” within capitalist countries, which would cause people “to see its society and country as oppressive, evil, and unworthy of loyalty and love.” This type of emotional blackmail is commonly perpetuated against white people nowadays. When Leftists routinely describe Western civilisation as exemplifying evil, this serves a vital purpose. For if such sentiment is believed by enough members, this leads to the dismantling of national pride, holidays, statues as well as societal bonds, and ultimately, Western culture itself.
Spreading “cultural pessimism” is constantly done through employing select pejoratives against dissidents: ‘racist’, ‘sexist’, ‘Nazi’, ‘anti-Semite’, etc. On the origins of this modus operandi, Buchanan cites an ever-relevant transcript from the Moscow Central Committee in 1943:
Members and front organisations must continually embarrass, discredit and degrade our critics. When obstructionists become too irritating, label them as fascist, or Nazi or anti-Semitic… The association will, after enough repetition, become “fact” in the public mind.
How often have we heard modern progressives repeat such slogans (as well as racist, sexist, etc), with the goal of psychologically conditioning their audience, rather than convincing them through logical arguments? Palpably, they do so enough to conclude the modern Left has been significantly influenced by these central communist thinkers.
The use of ‘racist’, ‘sexist’ and ‘Nazi’ in response to so-called ‘politically incorrect’ behaviour, is done to facilitate the deconstruction of traditional Western norms. Therefore, in enforcing today’s political correctness on selective issues, the Left transparently upholds a Cultural Marxism conceived by the likes of Gramsci and the Frankfurt School.
Cultural Marxism is not conspiracy theory; it’s a legitimate force that has prevailed through much of the modern Left.
All unreferenced quotes throughout this post are Patrick Buchanan’s and taken from The Death of the West.