Thursday, March 16, 2017
Cultural Marxism and the Extreme Right
William Walter Kay looks at some of the fallacious explanations for the influence of Cultural Marxism, aka Political Correctness
Versions of the Frankfurt School's history as chronicled in Alt-Right videos are very similar. The videos often use identical quotations. William Lind's, The Origins of Political Correctness (2000) is the template.
Here is the Alt-Right's plot-line:
World War I threw Marxism into crisis because the working classes of Europe's warring states, rather than join in an international revolution as Marx predicted, dutifully donned uniforms and bravely fought for their homelands. Nationalism triumphed over communism.
The few uprisings occurring outside Russia quickly collapsed. One of these aborted revolutionary regimes, the Hungarian Soviet Republic, had for a Minister of Education Georg Lukacs. He later played a role in the Frankfurt School. As Education Minister, Lukacs foisted sex education onto the public school system, and this outrage facilitated the revolutionary regime's downfall.
After WWI, perplexed Marxists searched for alternative strategies.
In 1922 a wealthy German-Jewish Marxist, Felix Weil, summoned a symposium of Marxists: the First Marxist Work Week. Lukacs attended.
This symposium launched the Institute for Social Research (ISR, a.k.a. the Frankfurt School). While the ISR was founded by the "Marxist-Communist Party of Germany," it was named ISR to conceal its Marxist nature.
At this juncture, Alt-Right narrators introduce Italian communist Antonio Gramsci, usually referencing his Prison Notebooks, and citing a passage wherein Gramsci encourages fellow communists to embark on a long march through the cultural institutions of capitalist society in order to ready the proletariat for revolution. Other Marxists, often Lukacs, are then quoted to the effect that the previous revolution attempt failed because the proles were blinded by culture. Overthrowing the political order required first overturning the cultural order.
Thus the Frankfurt School dropped direct class struggle and switched to cultural struggle. They divorced Marxism from economics and replaced the proletariat with various, allegedly oppressed, races and genders. This reorientation of Marxism accelerated rapidly after Max Horkheimer became ISR director in 1930. Horkheimer prioritised the study of art and psychology. In 1932 Horkheimer welcomed Herbert Marcuse onto his team.
After the German Nazi Party assumed office (an event no Alt-Right commentator condemns) the Frankfurt School relocated to New York City as an adjunct to Columbia University. During its New York years (1934-1951) the Frankfurt School accomplished its most important work. The School's main figures were: Horkheimer, Marcuse, Theodor Adorno, and Erich Fromm.
Fromm and Marcuse focused on psychology and sex. They promoted sexual liberation and androgyny. Marcuse advocated "polymorphous perversity." Fromm contended that gender was merely a social construct.
In the 1940s Marcuse became a key member of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS, forerunner of the CIA) while Adorno and Horkheimer moved to Hollywood.
In 1950 Adorno published The Authoritarian Personality – an influential and damning critique of American culture.
Marcuse's Eros and Civilization (1955) elevated him to guru status among sexual revolutionaries in the "New Left" movement which appeared during the late-1960s student protest groundswell. During this period Cultural Marxism was rebranded as "Critical Theory."
The by now ubiquitous university departments of: women's studies, black studies, native studies, whiteness studies, gender studies, and gay studies are branches of Critical Theory. The doctrine disseminated by Critical Theory is often referred to as "Political Correctness."
Political Correctness is similar to Marxism in that: (a) both are ideologies; (b) both deploy unifactoral explanations (economics or power); (c) both divide society between good and bad people; (d) both seek to expropriate either property or rights; (e) both rely on self-serving analysis (economics or deconstruction).
While Political Correctness has invaded the mainstream media, it is far more deeply entrenched on college campuses. Political Correctness is also deeply embedded in government-run multi-cultural and affirmative action programs.
There is an Orwellian aspect to Political Correctness. Diversity is praised, but certainly not the diversity of viewpoints. The attack on discrimination and racism translates into racist discrimination against white people. Inclusion is preached; exclusion is practiced.
Frankfurt School influence is vividly displayed by the use of psychological terms to censor opponents. Persons questioning the gay agenda or Muslim migration are dismissed as homophobes, xenophobes, or Islamophobes – as though they were mentally ill.
A mantra of the Politically Correct is "diversity is strength" yet their multicultural and reverse discrimination campaigns divide and weaken society. Their promotion of political lesbianism and victim feminism fuels gender wars, which further weaken and divide society.
The Frankfurt School/Cultural Marxism/Critical Theory/Political Correctness crusade is aimed at fomenting catastrophic discord within Western (i.e. European) civilization.
There is much wrong with the Alt-Right's Frankfurt School narrative. Some inaccuracies will be rectified in accompanying articles; however, six much-repeated errors can be quickly dispatched. (There are more ludicrous mistakes found in this or that video, but they are not worth debunking.)
Firstly, the crisis in Marxism, circa WWI, resulted not from the fact that workers were stuffed into uniforms and blasted off as cannon fodder in yet another inter-imperialist war – that much was anticipated by the Marxist paradigm. No, the crisis arose because Europe's Marxist leaders themselves wholeheartedly took up the battle cry and, in defiance of what they had been preaching, spewed war-mongering chauvinistic rhetoric.
Secondly, the Hungarian Soviet Republic lasted for 133 chaotic days. (Baron) Lukacs was an education commissar for a few weeks. During this time, battles raged on Budapest's streets. The dubious idea that his sex-education policies were either perverse or consequential is a meme exclusive to loopy anti-Semitic publications where it is never footnoted. More importantly, while Lukacs attended Weil's Marxist Work Week, he was never part of the Frankfurt School.
Thirdly, there never was a Marxist-Communist Party of Germany. There was a Communist Party of Germany (KDP, est. 1919) which the Frankfurt School opposed. A bait-and-switch in the Alt-Right videos involves starting the story with the same grainy black-and-white photo of the 19 attendees to the Marxist Work Week among whom there were a few Communists. The "Frankfurt School," however, consists of a famous clique of scholars (Max Horkheimer, Theodor Adorno, Herbert Marcuse, Erich Fromm, and Jurgen Habermas), none of whom attended the Marxist Work Week. The few associates of the Frankfurt School who were briefly in the KPD are better known for their later anti-communist writings.
Fourthly, Gramsci had no involvement in the Frankfurt School. Gramsci was arrested by Mussolini in 1926 and died in jail in 1937, age 48. He never visited Germany and never met the Frankfurt scholars. His connection to "Cultural Marxism" began in the 1980s when a few publish-or-perish professors established a fertile niche mining his prison notebooks. This project had the obvious ingredients of a successful academic enterprise: (a) a revolutionary martyr unsullied by power; and (b) 3,000-pages of turgid prose based more on classical scholars than Marx. The notebooks (which were vetted by Fascist prison censors) were not available in English until the late-1970s and thus could not possibly have had the timely influence on academia that the Alt-Right alleges.
Fifthly, every Alt-Right video contains a quote, misattributed to Gramsci, about a crypto-communist strategy called the "long march through the institutions of power." The quote is actually from the West German academic Rudi Dutschke (1940-1979) who was primarily involved in anti-nuclear activism, Christian proselytising, and supporting dissident groups in Eastern Europe. The phrase "the long march" elicits Mao Zedong, not Gramsci. The idea that Gramsci reviewed real-time Italian translations of pamphlets from obscure Chinese peasant leaders while on his death-bed is absurd.
Finally, Marcuse was hardly a "key" member of the OSS or CIA. Rather he (and several other Frankfurt Schoolers) were but foot-soldiers in a vast cultural army deployed by the American government at the outset of the Cold War.
Historical inaccuracy is the least of the Alt-Right's problems. These are men freighted with baleful baggage. Many Alt-Right websites are openly, extremely anti-Semitic. Many glorify known fascist monsters. Their videos rely heavily on argument by repetition. Snarl words like "Marxist" echo obsessively. As well, their videos wander off into topics such as the Federal Reserve, the gold standard, constitutional jurisprudence, and other affairs where elite policy, reprehensible though it may be, cannot conceivably be the puppeteering of the invisible disciples of the Frankfurt School.
The Alt-Right's great analytical failing is their lack of effort to properly insert Political Correctness into the command and control structure of the universities and mass media conglomerates. Had the Alt-Right done this, they would have learned that the directors of such institutions are people without any real or even likely connection to Marxism. Alt-Rightists believe radicalized students control both university curriculum and mainstream media policy; i.e. the lunatics run the asylum.
Whether stated or not, the Alt-Right's Cultural Marxist critique presumes the existence of a sprawling network of Jewish conspirators.
Despite the above, Alt-Right theories about Political Correctness should not be casually dismissed. The Alt-Right is a growing concern, not because of their worn-out Jew-baiting/red-baiting malarkey, but because they are pointing out something that is real and troubling about the world.
A massive anti-white, anti-male, anti-heterosexist, anti-Christian campaign is being waged by academic and media elites. This is not a hallucination unique to persons baptised into Judeo-Bolshevik diabolism. The Alt-Right is growing because they are discussing something we are all witnessing. What the Alt-Right projects onto this observation; is quite another matter…
It’s okay to ban religious symbols: European Union court
COMPANIES may ban staff from wearing Islamic headscarves and other visible religious symbols, the European Union’s top court has ruled, setting off a storm of complaint from rights groups and religious leaders.
In its first ruling on an issue that has become highly charged across Europe, the Court of Justice (ECJ) has found a Belgian firm which had a rule that employees who dealt with customers should not wear visible religious or political symbols may not have discriminated against a Muslim receptionist it dismissed for wearing a headscarf.
The judgement on that and a French case came on the eve of a Dutch election in which Muslim immigration is a key issue and weeks before a similarly charged presidential vote in France, where headscarves are banned in public service jobs.
French conservative candidate Francois Fillon hailed the ECJ ruling as “an immense relief” to companies and workers that would contribute to “social peace”.
But a group backing the fired employees said the ruling may shut many Muslim women out of the workforce. European rabbis said the Court had added to rising incidences of hate crime to send a message that “faith communities are no longer welcome”.
The judges in Luxembourg concluded the dismissals of the two women may, depending on the view of national courts, have breached EU laws against religious discrimination.
They determined that the case of the French engineer Asma Bougnaoui, fired by software company Micropole after a customer complaint, may well have been discriminatory.
Reactions, however, focused on the findings that services firm G4S in Belgium was entitled to dismiss receptionist Samira Achbita in 2006 if, in pursuit of legitimate business interests, it fairly applied a broad dress code for all customer-facing staff to project an image of political and religious neutrality.
The Open Society Justice Initiative, a group backed by the philanthropist George Soros, said the ruling “weakens the guarantee of equality” offered by EU laws: “In places where national law is weak, this ruling will exclude many Muslim women from the workplace,” policy office Maryam Hmadoun said.
Australia: Why Coopers boycott is a disgrace
WHAT is happening to this country? There isn’t anything more Australian than two people sitting down, sharing a drink and having a yarn. Our core culture is built around this activity.
Our diversity and inclusiveness as a nation — by far one of the friendliest and most tolerant on the planet — has long been lubricated by people sitting down and sharing a drink together as they explore their differences, sort out their differences or just accept their differences.
And now we have this travesty. A beer boycott by inner-city hipsters who think they are right-on but actually are just outing themselves as ignorant twats.
If you haven’t heard, a bunch of pubs and bars in the “progressive” parts of Sydney and Melbourne have banned beers made by Coopers after the Bible Society produced a video featuring a debate about gay marriage.
Released last week, “Keeping it Light” features Liberal MP and former human rights commissioner Tim Wilson and Andrew Hastie having a “light discussion” on the “heavy topic” of gay marriage over a Coopers beer.
Wilson, who supports gay marriage, and Hastie, a conservative Christian in favour of traditional marriage, are each asked to state their case and then say which element of the other’s argument they found most convincing.
Coopers has released a statement saying it didn’t have any involvement in the video featuring its beer.
The video shows two perfectly respectable people offering two perfectly respectable but differing points of view.
The aim of the video is to foster rational and measured discussion about an important issue. What it’s done is flush some bigots out of their beard-grooming salons.
Bigots are people who are intolerant of other people’s points of view. The majority of Australia’s population can’t cop bigots.
The actions of the pubs and bars who have boycotted Coopers beer because of its appearance in the video are disgraceful. It is bigotry, pure and simple.
These venues are attacking an innocent party. They are having a hissy fit because an alternate view to the one they hold was given equal weight, and are punishing a neutral bystander to the exchange.
A cynic might say it is a marketing exercise to ingratiate themselves to their customer base. If that’s the case, shame on them.
What they should do is invite Tim Wilson and Andrew Hastie to their venues and use the occasion as a vehicle to promote inclusion, tolerance and recognition, the very things the gay marriage lobby are pleading for, and what the Bible society was hoping to foster. A society that accommodates opposing points of view is an admirable one.
Coopers will survive this. It is one of Australia’s great businesses and is a good corporate citizen. People love the company’s beer, and it is the largest Australian-owned brewery.
When Thomas Cooper first started making beer in Adelaide in 1862, Australia was a young country full of promise. The old codger had a beard that would make him feel right at home in the pubs and bars banning his beers. If he knew how prejudiced they were he wouldn’t be seen dead in them.
Beer has helped Australia recover from a dozen wars. Beer has helped people from dozens of nations assimilate into a country far from their original homes. Beer has been witness to our country’s greatest triumphs.
To ban a particular beer for no reason at all is bloody well un-Australian.
Australian public broadcaster has not learned the Trump lesson
Slavish devotion to minority causes tends to piss off the majority
IT seems to me the ABC is trying its hardest to become redundant. It focuses on progressive causes at the expense of reporting the news. No wonder it’s haemorrhaging viewers.
While the Brisbane ABC newsroom presents reasonably straightforward reports, the national shows like Q&A, Insiders and even the 7.30 Report have a distinctive left wing twang. It panders to the inner-city elites and leaves the rest of us scratching our heads.
I no longer turn to the ABC for the facts. I know I will not get balance and depth of coverage free from political influence.
And today ABC is again making the news rather than reporting it.
It has declined to apologise to the family of cartoonist Bill Leak for an on-air outburst in which an activist interrupted Monday’s Q&A program by calling him a racist,
Senator Seselja, who is Assistant Minister for Multicultural Affairs, yesterday labelled the protesters “a disgrace”, accusing them of “dancing on the grave of Bill Leak”.
“You really have a continuation of some of the Twitter hatred that’s been directed towards Bill Leak in his death, and I would just say to those individuals to perhaps have a little bit of decency and a little bit of compassion,” he told Sky News.
Senator Seselja said the pursuit of Leak over the cartoon through a complaint to the Human Rights Commission under section 18C had highlighted failures in the way the law dealt with race-hate allegations.
It is further proof the ABC has lost the plot and should be defunded.
Its broadcasters remain in denial about the threat of Islamic extremism and everything it touched reeks of political correctness.
Aunty, meanwhile, continues to pander to unions by giving them too much airplay. The ABC fuelled the hate campaign against Tony Abbott until his authority was so weakened he had to be removed.
It’s time our national broadcaster went back to its roots and did some in-depth reporting on the union underbelly controlling state and federal governments.
And I would like to see Aunty should stick to its original charter of providing radio and television and get out of digital this and online that. The ABC pays people to run no fewer than 350 websites. Why? It’s overkill and costly and you are paying for it.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.