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Posts tagged as Bravermans

Who’s afraid of Cultural Marxism?

Just in case the significance of Braverman’s interjection was missed, Foster was on hand to explain in a follow-up tweet: ‘”Cultural Marxism” .
A member of government using it and linking it to Labour is really worrying.And, in part, Foster is right. The phrase cultural Marxism does potentially allude to an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory.It is not the same thing as cultural Bolshevism, the term the Nazis used for art, especially avant-garde and modernist art, that did not conform to their vision of blonde boys and rustic kitsch. Rather, its provenance is much more recent, emerging as it did, on the loonier right-wing fringes of the Culture Wars of the 1980s and 1990s; in the speeches, essays and books of William S Lind, who claimed the Jewish emigres of the Frankfurt School had set in motion the destruction of ‘Western culture and the Christian religion; and in Patrick Buchanans 2001 jeremiad The Death of the West, which, again, blamed a long-line of Marxian, Jewish thinkers for undermining, well, Western civilisation.

All of which was taken up, and imbibed, by Norweigian mass murderer Anders Breivik, whose turgid and surely unread 1,500-page manifesto references cultural Marxist and cultural Marxism nearly 650 times, according to word searches.Since then, this theory, such as it is, has continued to be propagated from the bedrooms of the alt-right, and given a largely oblivious endorsement by Jordan Peterson, who, in 2016, retweeted a Daily Caller article by Moses Apostaticus, in which Mr Apostaticus notes the historical subversion of the nuclear family, traditional morality and concepts of race, gender and sexual identity, before attributing blame:This call to subversion was picked up by Marxist scholars based around the Institute for Social Research in Frankfurt, Germany.

In the tumultuous milieu of Weimar Germany, theorists such as Max Horkheimer, Herbert Marcuse, Erich Fromm, Theodor Adorno and Georg Lukács integrated the theories of Sigmund Freud with classical Marxism to develop the foundations of critical theory, deconstructionism, post-structuralism and postmodernism. Known as the Frankfurt School, many of these intellectuals fled Hitler’s Germany for the United States where they were welcomed by Progressives and socialist intellectuals.

The theories of the Frankfurt School unified the vanguard of the 1960s countercultural movement and have since spread to every discipline in our universities, colleges and schools. These theories, which obsess about colonisation, subjugation and oppression, have indeed colonised higher education in the West.
Its not true, of course. Postwar Western society was not undermined from without, by some sort of Freudo-Marxist diaspora.
It was already undermined from within, already suffering a crisis of legitimacy, moral and political, faced, as it was, by the chronic failures of prewar laissez-faire capitalism, the horrors of the war, and, of course, the Holocaust itself.As for the intellectual history, its just nonsense.Lukács was a committed Communist who later endured a vexed relationship with Stalinism; and the Frankfurt School were resolutely anti-Communist, with Adorno famously publishing a critique of Lukács in 1958 in, of all anti-Western places, the CIA-sponsored journal Der Monat.

Yes, Marx and Freud were significant influences on all, but equally, if not more, significant were Kant and Hegel, Nietzsche and Weber, and, in the case of Marcuse, Martin Heidegger, who taught him in the 1920s.But that, of course, would ruin the daft contention that there was something specifically Jewish about all this cultural Marxist malarkey.So cultural Marxism, in this sense, is as unpleasant as it is asinine, even by the standards of right-wing conspiracy theory.

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