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What’s wrong with ‘cultural Marxism’?

It’s cultural Marxism week at Spectator USA. The dialectic of Enlightenment, prodded by the Angel of History, has forced us to confront the false.
The dialectic of Enlightenment, prodded by the Angel of History, has forced us to confront the false consciousness of late capitalism and to choose between Eros and Civilization, socialism and fascism. Yay!If that sounds like drivel, it’s because it is.The meaningless bits in the previous paragraph are meaningful phrases in the mad Marxist dreamland of laugh-a-minute lefties Herbert Marcuse, Walter Benjamin, Erich Fromm, Theodore Adorno, and that other one that Adorno wrote TheDialectic of Enlightenment with. Collectively known as the Frankfurt School, because between the world wars most of them worked at the Institute for Social Research, a Marxist think tank in Frankfurt.

The Frankfurt School invented the intellectual pestilences now known as Cultural Studies and Media Studies. They called their method Critical Theory or Social Theory.The gist of their interminable argument is that the reason the proles don’t join the revolution is that their thick heads are blunted by capitalist culture and sexual repression. If this sounds familiar, it’s because the New Left took it up, then populated the universities of America with vulgar Frankfurters whose pretentious, chippy warbling, instead of pulling down the boss class, has crushed enrollments in the Humanities, and produced generations of replicant professors who know nothing about their subjects, and not much about Marx and Freud either.
For the Nazis, the Frankfurter School and its vaguely Jewish exponents fell under the rubric of Kulturbolshewismus, Cultural Bolshevism’. You can see why the Nazis might have thought this.But you probably wouldn’t characterize the Frankfurter style in your local English department as Cultural Bolshevism, because that would imply an endorsement of Nazi social theory. For the same reason, Americans now say people of color’, because colored people’ evokes the social theories of Jim Crow.
And while we’re about it, we need an alternative to the phrase ethnic cleansing’, which has Soviet and Nazi origins. Here, the Frankfurters were right about the inadvertent consequences of speaking the language of tyranny in the name of freedom.Which brings us to Jordan Peterson and cultural Marxism’. Peterson uses cultural Marxism’ as shorthand for left-wing ideology in the Humanities.So does Douglas Kellner, a professional third-generation Frankfurter at UCLA; see Kellner’s potted history of the whole tedious business, Cultural Marxism and Cultural Studies’. And so did the Frankfurt School.
The phrase cultural Marxism’ might even precede the Frankfurt School. Marx had applied his ideas to culture; the germ of false consciousness’ theory lurks in Marx’s reflections on the French revolution of 1848 and his report on the Great Exhibition of 1851.The Frankfurters certainly didn’t invent the idea of a comprehensive Marxism of culture, either. The key ideas arose in the aftermath of World War One, from the Hungarian literary critic Georg Lukcs, and the Italian communist Antonio Gramsci.It was Gramsci who adopted the dreaded term hegemony’, probably from Lenin, and devised the strategy now known as the long march through the institutions’.The problem is that in the 1980s, a hostile theory of cultural Marxism’ developed on the right, and then spread right over the edge.
William Lind of the American Conservative and the Free Congress Foundationseems to have beencentral to popularizing the idea that multiculturalism and Political Correctness’ were the latest face of the Gramsci-Lukacs-Frankfurt program to destroy Western culture and the Christian religion’ by mobilizing what Marcuse called a coalition of blacks, students, feminist women and homosexuals’.As with the Nazis’ Kulturbolshewismus meme, you can see what Lind is talking about, even if you dislike what he means.
The idea of political correctness’ has impeccably communist origins. The ideal of multiculturalism’ emerged from the Third-Worldist mood of 1960s’ Marxism-Leninist-Maoism.
But these are not coherent programs, and their subscribers, who struggle to organize a faculty meeting, don’t operate in organized terms. For Lind, however, the dots add up.Using Frankfurt theory against itself, Lind claims that the cultural Marxists brainwash us: Today, when the cultural Marxists want to do something like normalize homosexuality, they do not argue the point philosophically. They just beam television show after television show into every American home where the only normal-seeming white male is a homosexual (the Frankfurt School’s key people spent the war years in Hollywood).’All the names on Lind’s list of conspirators against the West and Christianity happen to be of Jewish background: Freud, Lukacs, Horkheimer, Adorno, Marcuse, and the man behind the curtain old Karl Marx’. In 2002, Lind even advanced his conspiracy theory before a receptive audience of Holocaust deniers.These guys were all Jewish,’ he said. Anders Breivik, the Norwegian neo-Nazi who massacred 77 people in 2011, pasted long sections Victoria, a novel of race-war against all in which white Christians expel the black population of Atlanta.Since the late 1990s, cultural Marxism’ has filtered into the mainstream from the racist alt-right. While a tiny number of academics have been one-upping each other with quotations from Lukcs and Adorno, millions of online racists have redefined its public meaning.
More recently, no one has been more influential in spreading its mainstream, non-racist use than Jordan Peterson.I think that Peterson, who has spent most of his life on campus in the Frankfurter-rich field of psychology, missed the fringe redefinition of cultural Marxism’, understood cultural Marxism’ in its original, Frankfurter sense when he started throwing it about.I also think that Peterson should have known better by 2016, when he posted a link on to a Daily Caller story titled Cultural Marxism is Destroying America’. Its opening sentence was: ‘Yet again an American city is being torn apart by black rioters.’ The author of this and more than 20 other Daily Caller articles was the pseudonymous ‘Moses Apostaticus’. In 2018, Jane Coaston of Vox exposed him as anti-Semitic conspiracist David Hilton.
This is the context in which I first read the words cultural Marxism’ in the early 2000s. Not from Marxist theory in the ivory tower, but from online conspiracy theorists.It had already become a buzzword for racists who have never heard of The Dialectic of Enlightenment. That is why I have never used it, even when attacking the influence of Frankfurt theory in the academy.
A neutral and more accurate term would be neo-Marxism’.Let’s face it: cultural Marxism’ hasn’t floated into common parlance among conservatives because they’ve suddenly developed a taste for the cod-Baudelaire musings of Walter Benjamin.It’s floated in from the racist fringe on the Internet, the same fringe from which terms like Zio’ have floated into left-wing parlance. This week, the Conservative MP Suella Braverman used cultural Marxism’ in a speech to a Euroskeptic think tank, the Bruges Group: As Conservatives, we are engaged in a battle against cultural Marxism, where banning things is becoming de rigeur; where freedom of speech is becoming a taboo; where our universities, quintessential institutions of liberalism, are being shrouded in censorship and a culture of no-platforming.’Braverman is the brown-skinned child of immigrants from Goa and Kenya. She has a Jewish husband.
I am certain that she didn’t mean to invoke an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory, or to render it kosher by alluding to it in respectable society. She was only speaking in memes, as politicians have to do, especially conservatives hoping to catch the Peterson crowd.
And it’s impossible to disagree with Braverman’s analysis, or her suggestion that some of the ongoing creep of cultural Marxism’ comes from that ongoing creep Jeremy Corbyn, whose long march through the institutions has been succored by online racism and conspiracy theorizing. But I’d be fascinated to know where a decent person like Braverman learnt to summarize her analysis in the catch-all cultural Marxism’.I imagine that when she apologizes, she’ll attribute it to false consciousness.Dominic Green is Life Arts Editor of Spectator USA.

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Civilian deaths in Afghan war hit record in 2018

KABUL: More civilians were killed in the Afghan war in 2018 than during any other year on record after nearly two decades of fighting, according to a UN report released Sunday.
The report’s release comes a day before the US and the Taliban hold their next round of talks aimed at ending the conflict, raising tentative hopes for peace along with fears that an American withdrawal could spark an even bloodier civil war.The talks in Doha follow years of escalating violence in Afghanistan. According to the UN, at least 32,000 civilians have been killed and another 60,000 wounded in the last decade when the organisation began compiling the data.
The uptick in violence in 2018 coincides with a significant increase in the number of deaths caused by the “deliberate targeting of civilians”, according to the report, mostly stemming from suicide attacks by insurgents allied with the Taliban or Islamic State (IS).”It is time to put an end to this human misery and tragedy,” said Tadamichi Yamamoto, the head of the UN mission in Afghanistan.”The best way to halt the killings and maiming of civilians is to stop the fighting,” he said. At least 65 suicide attacks were recorded in 2018 — the majority hitting Kabul — with militants responsible for the death of more than 2,200 civilians across the country.
An increase in air strikes by US and Afghan forces also led to more civilian deaths in 2018, with more than 500 civilians killed by “aerial operations for the first time on record”, the report noted.The US intensified its air campaign against Taliban and IS fighters as Washington seeks to pile pressure on the militants, dropping twice as many munitions on insurgent positions in 2018 compared to the previous year.Yamamoto said the civilian casualties were “wholly unacceptable” and called on all parties to take “immediate and additional concrete steps to stop a further escalation in the number of civilians harmed and lives destroyed”.Afghanistan has suffered nearly constant conflict since the Soviet invasion of 1979, which was followed by civil war, the Taliban regime, and the US invasion in late 2001.
The escalating violence comes as US President Donald Trump has been pushing to end US involvement in Afghanistan, where 14,000 American troops are still deployed.Marathon talks held in Doha in January sparked hopes of a breakthrough after the two sides agreed to a “draft framework” that included a Taliban vow to prevent Afghanistan from once again becoming a safe haven for international terror groups.But US envoy Zalmay Khalilzad — who is leading the American side negotiating with the Taliban — has emphasised that any troop withdrawal would depend on conditions on the ground. Critics remain skeptical of the talks for a number of reasons, primarily because they have not yet included the Afghan government, which the Taliban considers US-backed puppets.
Civilian deaths jumped by 11 percent from 2017 with 3,804 people killed and another 7,189 wounded, according to the UN figures, as suicide attacks and bombings wreaked havoc across the war-torn country.The report’s release comes a day before the US and the Taliban hold their next round of talks aimed at ending the conflict, raising tentative hopes for peace along with fears that an American withdrawal could spark an even bloodier civil war.
The talks in Doha follow years of escalating violence in Afghanistan. According to the UN, at least 32,000 civilians have been killed and another 60,000 wounded in the last decade when the organisation began compiling the data.
The uptick in violence in 2018 coincides with a significant increase in the number of deaths caused by the “deliberate targeting of civilians”, according to the report, mostly stemming from suicide attacks by insurgents allied with the Taliban or Islamic State (IS).”It is time to put an end to this human misery and tragedy,” said Tadamichi Yamamoto, the head of the UN mission in Afghanistan.
“The best way to halt the killings and maiming of civilians is to stop the fighting,” he said. At least 65 suicide attacks were recorded in 2018 — the majority hitting Kabul — with militants responsible for the death of more than 2,200 civilians across the country.An increase in air strikes by US and Afghan forces also led to more civilian deaths in 2018, with more than 500 civilians killed by “aerial operations for the first time on record”, the report noted.The US intensified its air campaign against Taliban and IS fighters as Washington seeks to pile pressure on the militants, dropping twice as many munitions on insurgent positions in 2018 compared to the previous year.
Yamamoto said the civilian casualties were “wholly unacceptable” and called on all parties to take “immediate and additional concrete steps to stop a further escalation in the number of civilians harmed and lives destroyed”.Afghanistan has suffered nearly constant conflict since the Soviet invasion of 1979, which was followed by civil war, the Taliban regime, and the US invasion in late 2001.The escalating violence comes as US President Donald Trump has been pushing to end US involvement in Afghanistan, where 14,000 American troops are still deployed.Marathon talks held in Doha in January sparked hopes of a breakthrough after the two sides agreed to a “draft framework” that included a Taliban vow to prevent Afghanistan from once again becoming a safe haven for international terror groups.But US envoy Zalmay Khalilzad — who is leading the American side negotiating with the Taliban  has emphasised that any troop withdrawal would depend on conditions on the ground. Critics remain skeptical of the talks for a number of reasons, primarily because they have not yet included the Afghan government, which the Taliban considers US-backed puppets.

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Afghans Mark 30th Anniversary Of Soviet Withdrawal

February 15 marks the anniversary of the complete withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan after a bloody nine-year war. Related News.
Related NewsSoviet Withdrawal, A Date To RememberEx-Soviet Soldier Who Stayed Behind Talks About Life In HeratHundreds of Afghans, who said they are families of war victims, gathered at the Loya Jirga tent in Kabul on Friday to mark the 30th anniversary of Soviet troops withdrawal from Afghanistan.
The speakers of the ceremony said the past years’ gains should be protected in any process which will help the country to move towards peace.“There are lots of people who have misused the sacrifices of martyrs.They should know that the heirs of the martyrs will stand on their own feet after this,” said Attaullah Safi, member of a newly-founded forum on war victims’ families.One speaker at the ceremony said they represent thousands of Afghans who lost their lives during the Soviet-Afghan war. “My first demand and expectation on behalf of the forum is a lasting peace and a peace with dignity,” said Abdul Razaq Bashardost, an organizer of the event.Those who attended the event said they want a bigger role in the peace process and that they support elections, democracy, and peace in the country.
Meanwhile, Abdul Wahid Qatali, head of the Administrative Office of the President, said the last big mission of President Ghani is to make the country stable and leave a sustainable Afghanistan for the next generation.Soviet Withdrawal from Afghanistan Thirty years ago today 5 February 1989, the former Soviet Union announced its complete withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, ending a nine-year war that claimed the lives of millions of Afghans.
In 1979 the Soviet Union entered then neighboring Afghanistan in the hope of shoring up the newly-established pro-Soviet regime in Kabul. Quickly almost 100,000 Soviet Union soldiers took control of major cities and highways around the country, but war soon broke out with the rise of the Mujahideen.
The war lasted nine years and, in that time, an estimated one million civilians, including children, were killed, along with 90,000 Mujahideen fighters, more than 20,000 Afghan troops and over 14,000 Soviet soldiers.Marking the anniversary, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said on Thursday on that “Feb 15 marks the end of the Soviet Union occupation of Afghanistan.Since the invasion, Afghans have paid a heavy price in life and treasure. I pay tribute to the Afghan nation in the fight against the Soviets and to those who have lost their lives during and after the withdrawal.
“But none of that has broken our resolve as a nation to invest in and to rebuild our country together. In the same spirit, we must be self-reliant economically to achieve full independence.“I, therefore, encourage all Afghans to stand behind government’s reforms agenda to increase our productivity and economic growth in order to restore a nation free of war and instability for our future generations,” he said.In 1979 Hafizullah Amin was the ruler of Afghanistan.The Soviets were told by its KGB spies that Amin’s rule was a threat to the part of Central Asia that was the USSR and they suspected that he was not loyal to the Soviet Union.The Soviets also suspected that Amin was behind the death of his predecessor president Nur Muhammad Taraki.In light of this they decided to remove him and on 22 December 1979, Soviet advisers to the army of Afghanistan took many steps. They stopped all telecommunication links in Kabul.No messages could come inside the city, or go outside the city. Soviet air force troops also reached Kabul.Noting some danger, Amin sought refuge in the presidential palace but on December 27, about 700 Soviet troops took over major government and military buildings in Kabul.On the same night, the Soviet troops reportedly destroyed Kabul’s communication systems and minutes later stormed the presidential palace.
By morning, Amin and his two sons had been killed. Babrak Karmal was immediately appointed as head of government and ruled the country until he resigned in 1986.Dr Najibullah Ahmadzai took over in 1987 and ruled until 1992.Soviet soldiers remained in control of most major cities thereafter, while the Mujahideen continued to fight them around the country.Globally there was dissatisfaction about the Soviet’s occupancy and the then president of the United States, Jimmy Carter, said the Soviet action was “the most serious threat to the peace since the Second World War”.By the mid-1980s, many Mujahideen groups had organized themselves and were receiving help from a number of countries including the United States, United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan.
At the time, Islamabad felt the Soviet war in Afghanistan was also a threat to Pakistan.As the war continued, and more and more Soviet soldiers were killed, the USSR’s leader at the time, Mikhail Gorbachev, was quoted as saying their war in Afghanistan was a “bleeding wound”.
The Soviets were also treated as invaders and morale among Soviets was low.But after their withdrawal, peace in Afghanistan remained elusive as civil war broke out.

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Afghanistan: 40 years of conflict

KABUL (AFP) – The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan 40 years ago kicked off decades of war that endured long after the Red Army’s retreat, which ended on February 15, 1989.

1979-1989: Soviet occupation In December 1979, at the height of the Soviet-US Cold War, Moscow invades the country — which is poor and mountainous, but also strategically situated  to prop up a communist regime.It faces fierce resistance from Afghan fighters backed by the United States and others.
Moscow eventually withdraws after a decade of fighting.1992-1996: Civil war The fall of Mohammad Najibullah’s communist government in 1992 unleashes a bloody power struggle that kills nearly 100,000 people in two years and partly destroys the capital, Kabul.
1996-2001: Taliban in power The Taliban, led by Mullah Mohammad Omar, seize power in 1996 and install a regime based on their hardline interpretation of Islamic law. They forbid women from working, close girls’ schools, and ban music and other entertainment.
Under severe United Nations sanctions, the regime becomes close to the Al-Qaeda militant network and shelters its leader, Saudi national Osama bin Laden.2001: US-led invasion In October 2001 the United States leads an invasion of Afghanistan in retaliation for the September 11 attacks on Washington and New York blamed on Al-Qaeda.
Washington and its NATO allies drive out the Taliban regime and bring Hamid Karzai to power, funnelling in billions of dollars of aid to rebuild the war-ravaged country.They deploy up to 150,000 soldiers to help the government assert control and bring security.
The Taliban go into hiding or flee to neighboring countries, and then launch an insurgency against Kabul and NATO.2014: NATO withdraws NATO pulls out its International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) combat troops at the end of 2014, with the Taliban insurgency raging.
Some NATO soldiers remain to carry out anti-terrorist operations and train Afghan forces.The Taliban continue to make gains, while carrying out major deadly attacks, as the Islamic State group begins to make inroads in Afghanistan in 2015.
2018-2019: Peace talks In late 2018 US President Donald Trump says he is withdrawing half of the 14,000 US soldiers stationed in Afghanistan, though officials caution they have received no order to begin draw down plans.Washington steps up negotiations with the Taliban to end the conflict, with both the militants and US officials touting progress after talks culminate in a six-day meeting in Qatar in January.Afghan hopes for peace are tempered by fears the US could withdraw before a lasting deal is reached with Kabul, however.Russia and Iran also hold talks with the militants.

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