9

According to Wikipedia, cultural marxism is a conspiracy theory that says that the Frankfurt School wants to destroy western culture by controlling the media, academia, etc., using as its method the advancement of gay rights, feminism, racial equality, etc.

It names as prominent proponents of the theory "paleoconservatives" such as William Lind, who linked the theory to Jews, as well as the so called alt-right and white supremacists.

This New York Times opinion piece says that antisemitism and cultural Marxism are "inseparable".

This is also the only definition and context that I have come across the issue. The theory uses antisemitic canards, and is always explicitly or implicitly linked to Jews (see eg this post on a neo-Nazi site which seems representative).

However, in a recent question of mine, another user questioned if the conspiracy theory of cultural marxism is indeed inherently tied to antisemitism. Have political scientists analyzed the origin and contemporary usage of the term in this regard?

27

That is just a comprehension problem.

This line from the question brings about the confusion:

This New York Times opinion piece says that antisemitism and cultural Marxism are "inseparable".

What that claim in question means is not that "cultural marxism" is connected to antisemitism via "Cultural marxists" being also antisemites.

It's the opposite. Those claiming that there is a dominating "cultural marxism" are conspiracy theorists. And these conspiracy theorists are almost always anitsemites, sometimes without even knowing it, and almost always denying it. Partly as they do not understand or deny the concept of structural antisemitism.

Modern antisemitism doesn't need any real Jews to function. It sufficed historically that the Nazis equated Jews with Bolshvism, running the world – despite the inability to prove that Lenin or Stalin were anything "Jewish". It now suffices that these 'hidden agents' are now supposedly promoting a Marxist agenda in for example the media, despite nothing of that kind to be found in reality.

What is antisemitism?

However one defines antisemitism, two points must be kept in mind: first, antisemitism presupposes that the Jews are radically “other.” This simple central point is a universal, timeless characteristic of antisemitism. There is one other point to be made about antisemitism: Antisemitism is not a Jewish problem; it is a non-Jewish problem. There is nothing that Jews can do about antisemitism, other than monitor it and do some little counteraction. I will return to this matter later in the discussion. Leonard Dinnerstein: "My Assessment of American Antisemitism Today", in: Steven K. Baum (Eds): "Antisemitism in North America. New World, Old Hate", Brill: Leiden, Boston, 2016, p 53–60.

What is "cultural marxism"? Radically "others", infiltrating America, destroying it, planned since the 1930s, invented by Jews, yeah, we get that now.

Case in point, but really stereotypical classic antisemitism paired with Holocaust denial:

William Lind has long been a point man for cultural conservatism, a key player in the world of right-wing politicians, and, in recent years, the head of the Free Congress Foundation's Center for Cultural Conservatism.
He also seems to be cultivating friends in some remarkable places. This June 15, at a major Holocaust denial conference put on by veteran anti-Semite Willis Carto in Washington, D.C., Lind gave a well-received speech before some 120 "historical revisionists," conspiracy theorists, neo-Nazis and other anti-Semites, in which he identified a small group of people who he said had poisoned American culture. On this point, Lind made a powerful connection with his listeners.

"These guys," he explained, "were all Jewish."

Meaning the first generation of theorists from the Frankfurt School. One of them was Karl August Wittfogel, German name, German ancestors, and yes, a Marxist. Early on. But when he came to America – to "spread his influence in the culture industry"? – he even turned fierce anti-communist. Claiming that he was a "Jewish" is not even wrong. It's pure paranoia.

And in a quite direct line, in America, that has a very nice explanation for everything, even Hitler:

But the agitator's preferred method of establishing the connection between capitalism and communism is by suggesting that "atheistic Communism" was "originally spawned in Jewish capitalism and Jewish intellectualism." The most striking formulation of this theory traces all modern -isms back to a common Jewish ancestor:

One must remove the causes to get rid of recurring effects … we are concerned with liquidating the causes which created the concept of Hitlerism in the minds of men. These causes run back from Stalin to Lenin; from Lenin to Marx; from Marx to the Rothschilds; from the Rothschilds to the Bank of England; from the Bank of England to the pack of usurers who transubstantiated a vice into a virtue in the sixteenth century…

Quote: Coughlin, Social Justice, Dec.2, 1941, p.4., quoted from: Leo Lowenthal & Norbert Guterman: "Prophets of Deceit. A Study of the Techniques of the American Agitator", Harper: New York, 1970, p44.

What proponents of "cultural marxism" see is something like this:

enter image description here
A Flowchart History of "Cultural Marxism" according to 4chan's /pol/

And that looks pretty much like a duck. The Frankfurt School of Critical Theory can very well be criticised in many ways. Blaming everything on those theorists as planned, and successfully conducting an un-American campaign for over 80 years? Without understanding in the slightest what that Critical theory is critical about? That means "Cultural Marxism n. 1. A meaningless phrase used to signal that the writer or speaker has no idea what he or she is talking about."

This connection is analysed in quite a few books and articles about far right activists and haters. For example:

Jérôme Jamin: "Cultural Marxism and the Radical Right", in: Paul Jackson & Anton Shekhovtsov (Eds): "The Post-War Anglo-American Far Right: A Special Relationship of Hate", Palgrave Macmillan: New York, 2014 p84–103 DOI:: 10.1057/9781137396211.0009

Illustrating how the pro-Israel conspiracy theorist Breivik got into believing in 'cultural marxism'.

Although anti-Semitic attitudes are much more heavily stigmatised in post-Nazi Germany than other forms of racism, it is by no means true that there is no longer any anti-Semitism. On the one hand, there are phenomena known to researchers as ‘secondary anti-Semitism’ and ‘structural anti-Semitism’. ‘Secondary anti-Semitism’ refers to the cultivation of resentments against Jews not just by reference to the traditional prejudices that continue to exist, but also by using new motifs. One example of this is the idea that Jews, allegedly, prevent Germany from ‘putting its past behind it’. This is an ‘updated’ form of traditional accusations, such as greed and lust for power. Jews are once again painted as disrupting German national identity - but this time through Vergangenheitsbewältigung (the process of coming to terms with the [Nazi] past).
‘Structural anti-Semitism’ refers to ideas that are not explicitly directed at Jews, but are similar to anti-Semitic ideas in their concepts and argument. One example of this is the differentiation between and personification of ‘money-grubbing’ financial capital and ‘working’ productive capital (this refers to Hitler’s terms ‘raffendes/schaffendes Kapital’). This personalising and abbreviation of Marxist social criticism is structurally anti-Semitic and can also promote hostility towards Jews.
Sabine Schiffer & Constantin Wagner: "Anti-Semitism and Islamophobia – new enemies, old patterns", Race & Class, Vol. 52(3): 77–84, 2011, DOI:10.1177/0306396810389927

The "Cultural marxism" theory is antisemitism:

Now that the real origins of political correctness in the cultural Marxism devised by a clever bunch of foreign-born Jews had been revealed, the full extent of the damage they had caused could be spelled out. Here is a list cited verbatim from many of the websites devoted to the question:

  1. The creation of racism offences
  2. Continual change to create confusion
  3. The teaching of sex and homosexuality to children
  4. The undermining of schools' and teachers' authority
  5. Huge immigration to destroy identity
  6. The promotion of excessive drinking
  7. Emptying of churches
  8. An unreliable legal system with bias against victims of crime
  9. Dependency on the state or state benefits
  10. Control and dumbing down of media
  11. Encouraging the breakdown of the family

Martin Jay: "Dialectic of Counter-Enlightenment: The Frankfurt School as Scapegoat of the Lunatic Fringe", Salmagundi Magazine, Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, 2011. (archive.org)

Or quite drastic summarised in this analysis:

Currently, the meaning of cultural Marxism is embattled and articulated for different political and ideological projects by the alt-left and alt-right, progressive and reactionary, socialist and fascist. The alt-right has constructed the meaning of cultural Marxism in a struggle to organize trans-national consent to fascism, and the alt-right’s meaning of Marxism is making an impression upon the minds of many. It is incumbent upon actual Marxists to look in the mirror held to them by the alt-right, and begin to counter the image and fascist movement behind it. This cognitive mapping of the alt-right’s discourse on cultural Marxism is a small gesture to that end.
Tanner Mirrlees: "The Alt-Right’s Discourse of “Cultural Marxism”: A Political Instrument of Intersectional Hate", Atlantis Journal, Issue 39.1, p 49–69 2018. (URL)

From the angle of philosophy:

The story, repeated again and again, tells of how a bunch of Jewish intellectuals infiltrated America through the minds of its youth, culminating in the sixties counterculture, which is framed as a low point in the culture war for preserving traditional American values. (In its traditionalism, and preoccupation with contamination, the concept can be seen to have a certain structural similarity to the charge of “cultural Bolshevism” which Weimar-era conservatives directed towards aesthetic modernists of their day.) This conspiratorial and often anti-Semitic concept imagines the corrupting and feminizing influences of European decadence as having spread octopus-like throughout the American body politic in particular via its infiltration of the academy (Walsh 2015).

The Cultural Marxist narrative attributes incredible influence to the power of the ideas of the Frankfurt School to the extent that it may even be read as a kind of “perverse tribute” to the latter (Jay 2011). In one account, for example (Estulin 2005), Theodor Adorno is thought to have helped pioneer new and insidious techniques for mind control that are now used by the “mainstream media” to promote its “liberal agenda” – this as part of Adorno’s work, upon first emigrating to the United States, with Paul Lazarsfeld on the famous Princeton Radio Research Project, which helped popularize the contagion theory of media effects with its study of Orson Welles’ 1938 broadcast of The War of the Worlds. In an ironical sense this literature can perhaps be understood as popularizing simplified or otherwise distorted versions of certain concepts initially developed by the Frankfurt School, as well as those of Western Marxism more generally. One such example might be the concept of “the Cathedral” (Yarvin 2008), developed by figures in the so-called neo-reactionary movement on the far right as a kind of critique of the hegemonic, unconscious consensus between powerful figures within academia and the media who use the concept of “political correctness” as a tool of oppression developed by those who (falsely) imagine themselves as being oppressed. Although the narrative of Cultural Marxism’s ineluctable triumph, which one encounters in all of these texts, seems patently false, defenders argue that seemingly unbiased research supports the claim that academics have moved markedly to left of the rest of Americans in recent decades (Abrams 2016). The polarization of these contested findings have in turn helped to breathe new life into the Cultural Marxist conspiracy theory, turning university campuses into sites of far-right activism in recent years.

And though the analysis of Marxism proffered by this literature would certainly not stand up to scrutiny by any serious historian of the subject, we can nevertheless understand Cultural Marxism as a prime example of how the ideas of conservatism grow above all in reaction to those of the left (Robin 2011).

Marc Tuters: "Cultural Marxism", Krisis Journal for Contemporary Philosophy, Issue 2, 2018, p 32–34. (PDF)

The following uses drastic language and hyperbole to illustrate how the New York Times article has to be read, and is therefore in quotes. You may read the above as the opinion of the author of this post. Please do not do that with the following material:

Anyone insane enough to speak in earnest of 'Cultural Marxism' is per definition a right-leaning wing-nut. Right-leaning conservatives are increasingly and uninterruptedly fascistic since the 1920s. Those are then perversely and 'progressively* antisemites, by ignoring precisely what Marx analysed about capitalism and blame all the misgivings that are inherent to "the system" or the structures of it, onto a small group of outsiders – to them, or those who should follow their idiotic ideas. For ordinary Nazis, these were the Jews.

These "unwanted elements" need not even be so much "real Jews", as 'Antisemitism' might imply. Right-wing antisemites find the Jews where they want to see them. This is "Structural antisemitism" or the anticapitalism as antisemitism of the idiots, as Kronawitter coined what is often ascribed to August Bebel.

In other words: anyone claiming that in an increasingly fascistic world – that marches firmly to the right-wing abyss with names like Trump, Bolsanaro, Orban, Putin, Duterte –'cultural marxism' would be an increasingly influential position,

  • says that what s/he sees in the world, or in his/her media-bubble, is not authoritarian, not fascist, not right-wing not inhumane enough for her/his likings.

  • signals immediately that s/he is an extremist on the 'right' side, therefore a Nazi sympathiser and that means ultimately pro-genocidal

Within the hermetic minds of those believing in 'cultural marxism', all of this answer is of course an example just proving their point. A maze without exits.


Empirical case in point, from a now deleted comment:

TL:DR: "A bunch of people who have ideological reason to like things that constitute cultural Marxism wrote pseudo-scholarly wording that amounts to "Anyone who disagrees with us must be an anstisemite, even if they are Jewish, the proof being that we said so". The fact that there can be non-antisemitic proponents of the theory doesn't get disproved, merely rejected based on no theoretical or empirical evidence.

Well, brilliant. The theory is that "Cultural Marxism" is a "Jewish Invention" and "conspiracy to destroy". That is at the very core antisemitism.
Now, conservatives can very well say "homosexuals no likey" for example. That is one questionable opinion that's tolerable to a certain extant. That is not antisemitic, 'merely' homophobia. But to say that "homosexualism gets promoted – by a conspiracy – to destroy American families and values – since the 30s" is just plain insanity on the one side. On the other side is that person an antisemite that says and does antisemitic things. The whole theory of "Cultural marxism" is antisemitic and anyone adopting an antisemitic theory is therefore an antisemite.
It were those people who coined that theory that said "…and it was those Jews who did that, to the last man." If that is not recognised as plainly open antisemitism, we're lost here.

On the genealogy of the very term "cultural marxism":

The same scholarship that supports Schroyer’s analysis, for example, gives a degree of superficial credibility to the likes of Lind, Buchanan, or Breivik.

Scholars such as Schroyer and Dennis Dworkin do not, however, suggest that the Frankfurt School or other “cultural Marxists” ever had a plan to destroy the moral fibre of Western civilization, or to use their critique of culture as a springboard to a totalitarian regime. That would be difficult to argue in all seriousness because Western “cultural Marxists” going back to the 1920s have typically been hostile to state power, social oppression of the individual, and Soviet Marxism itself. Moreover, they have shown considerable variation among themselves in their attitudes to specific social, moral, and cultural issues. There is no cultural Marxist master plan.

More generally, serious intellectual history cannot ignore the complex cross-currents of thought within the Left in Western liberal democracies. The Left has always been riven with factionalism, not least in recent decades, and it now houses diverse attitudes to almost any imaginable aspect of culture (as well as to traditional economic issues). Many components of the Western cultural Left can only be understood when seen as (in part) reactions to other such components, while being deeply influenced by Western Marxism’s widespread criticism and rejection of Soviet communism.

In the upshot, all the talk of cultural Marxism from figures on the (far) Right of politics is of little aid to understanding our current cultural and political situation. At best, this conception of cultural Marxism is too blunt an intellectual instrument to be useful for analysing current trends. At its worst, it mixes wild conspiracy theorizing with self-righteous moralism.

Right-wing culture warriors will go on employing the expression “cultural Marxism” (or “Cultural Marxism”) in a pejorative way, attaching it to dubious, sometimes paranoid, theories of cultural history. There is nothing I can do to discourage this usage, and nor can I deny that it includes grains of truth in, for example, associating a more culture-oriented approach to Marxism with the Frankfurt School. I assume that this weaponized usage will continue.

–– Russell Blackford: "Cultural Marxism and our current culture wars: Part 2", Cogito – Philosophy in the real world, The Conversation, August 2, 2015.

More to he point:

MacDonald was one of the earliest proponents of the concept of “cultural Marxism.” In The Culture of Critique: An Evolutionary Analysis of Jewish Involvement in Twentieth-Century Intellectual and Social Movements (1998), he argued that Jews criticize non-Jews’ desire to form “cohesive, nationalistic, corporate gentile groups based on conformity to group norms” while hypocritically pursuing their own cohesiveness. Jews, in other words, foist multiculturalism on the rest of us while maintaining their own ethnic enclaves.

The phrase “cultural Marxism” had first appeared in right-wing circles only a few months before, in July 1998, when William Lind, leader of the far-right Free Congress Foundation, gave a speech he titled “The Origins of Political Correctness.” Lind described political correctness and cultural Marxism as totalitarian ideologies that were transforming American college campuses into “small ivy-covered North Koreas, where the student or faculty member who dares to cross any of the lines set up by the gender feminist or the homosexual-rights activists, or the local black or Hispanic group, or any of the other sainted ‘victims’ groups that revolves around, quickly find themselves in judicial trouble.”

The phrase quickly became popular not just among white nationalists but also among paleoconservatives such as Patrick Buchanan, who, while campaigning for the presidency in 2000 on the Reform Party ticket, said, “America’s history and heroes and Western civilization itself are under relentless attack. The violence of this political correctness is nothing less than cultural Marxism.” The Council of Conservative Citizens warned in one of its videos: “Racism, sexism and chauvinism are powerful weapons in the Marxist psychological warfare against traditional American values. Political correctness, the product of critical theory, is really treason against the US Constitution and against America.”

The concept was similarly popular with the lingering remnant of white supremacists, Klansmen and neo-Nazis who remained active on the political fringes well into the twenty-first century. Indeed, many of these people and entities also embraced white nationalism through the 1990s and beyond in an effort to downplay their overt hostility to minorities and in hopes of making inroads into the political mainstream.

— David Neiwert: "Alt-America: The Rise of the Radical Right in the Age of Trump", Verso, 2017.

Since Frankfurter Schule was indeed real and was a German thing, but almost everything else in this crazy conspiracy and what supposedly 'follows from it' is not, let's look at the German word for 'Cultural Marxism': Kulturmarxismus.

Google says: "Ngrams not found: Kulturmarxismus or kultureller Marxismus" (Although at the latest to be found in 1923 albeit clearly in a different sense.)

And the DWDS – Digitales Wörterbuch der deutschen Sprache shows the following corpus search chart:

enter image description here

And curiously, most of these hits discuss Anders Bering Breivik and his world view or manifesto.

This shows quite convincingly, that the 'Cultural Marxism' is a late, American invention. Invented by the radical right (Thomas Grumke: "'Take this country back!' Die neue Rechte in den USA", in: "Die Neue Rechte – eine Gefahr für die Demokratie?" VS Verlag, 2004, p177.)

If 'cultural marxism' was a thing, being that old, and an ideology of German origin, one should be able to find traces of it in some German books?

Anyone who reproduces this conspiracy 'theory' should therefore have an easy time to reference the big word Kulturmarxismus (KM) in a book? Marxismus is no secret, gives you plenty of hits – thousands – in any search engine or library catalog.

But KM?

Google books gives for 'before 1990' almost exclusively false positives, hits based on bad OCR. Hamburg university library: 2 hits (0 before 1990), Bavarian state library: 3 hits (1). Dresden SLUB: 0 (0).. German National Library (Leipzig/Frankfurt): 2 (0). Google Scholar: 120 (2). Frankfurt University Library: 2 (0)!


Academic cultural marxism was a tiny niche of analysis that lost almost all of its appeal and has barely any adherents now.
Those antisemites and right-wingers that claim that cultural marxism exists in the way they want it to be — as a big conspiracy of 'praxis', and even based on this academic, sociologic analysis of music industry and theatre — stand there without any evidence: completely naked, empty handed and intellectually as well as morally bankrupt.

| improve this answer | |
  • 3
    This clears up a lot of the confusion. It's not that people who believe cultural Marxism is hurting society necessarily have any animosity toward Jewish people.The idea of cultural Marxism as evil is what some academics have dubbed "structural antisemitism." Structural antisemitism is a broader category that encapsulates a lot of populist, anti-capitalism, and anti-globalist movements on the left and right. It's not necessarily racist in itself, but can lead people to a place where they might switch to racist views. Am I understanding that right? – lazarusL Dec 6 '18 at 14:02
  • 1
    @lazarusL Well, looks like it. You can find some of this kind of antisemitism on the left (in fact most of what's found there is of that Kronawitter kind), and you can have a lot of this genuine antisemitism in people that have real Jews as son-in-laws. The concept is quite complicated (brainy?) and is sometimes applied in ways 'too broad' or 'just wrongly' (IMO) in political struggles. Although for these wrong diagnoses I do not know a lot of examples. Although antisemitism doesn't need Jews, CMT recurs in its origin onto exactly that. – LаngLаngС Dec 6 '18 at 14:13
  • 1
    This is a great and extremely comprehensive answer. It's so comprehensive, though, that it would benefit from a bit more organization, or maybe even a table of contents – divibisan Nov 7 '19 at 18:19
7

TLDR: Generally weak connection, but could be made

1) Antisemitism... Quite wide phenomena, spanning for centuries and existing too outside of Western culture (ex. Arabs from formation of state of Israel). Merely from the fact that concept of "cultural Marxism" is much newer phenomena in the Western culture, then overlap would have to be limited at best.

2) Cultural Marxism... what it is? Well there is a huge problem with its definition. According to left wing sources, is some kind of conspiracy theory used by right wingers. The only problem is, that among right wingers who actually use the term, it tend to be generally used for lumped together the Frankfurt School, intersectionalists, feminists, proponents of political correctness, postmodernists, etc. [Example of actual use by a right wing guru, Jordan Peterson]

There is a big problem, with calling everything a "conspiracy theory" where big part of starting premises or behaviour would be within mainstream, except diametrically different, partisan interpretation:

  • recently left wing shifted its focus towards identitarian ideologies, while suffering from erosion of support among working class => fans of Marxism got disappointed with working class that failed to start a global revolution, so decided to look for new vanguard of progress

  • it's normal to call far right "Nazi", even when people called so would be classified as subhumans (ex. Slavs) according to national socialism race theory => then some people would like to call "Marxist" people want to change base through changes in superstructure, even though it would make Karl Marx cringe (in both cases it seems as effective name calling)

  • there are cases of foreign (Russian) meddling that led to spread of potentially dangerous ideas in the US = > right wing is also allowed to have such to set doubts on legitimacy on their opponents, except that their choice would be Soviet subversion campaigns of spreading in the West fake news and possibly the most destructive ideologies, as described by defectors like Yuri Bezmenov. (when asked for some actual, fully fledged conspiracy here, that's when generally right wingers would point out) [Example of actual right winger claiming this origin of "cultural Marxism"]

  • Joe Biden: “Think - behind of all that, I bet you 85 percent of those [social-political] changes, whether it’s in Hollywood or social media, are a consequence of Jewish leaders in the industry. The influence is immense, the influence is immense. And, I might add, it is all to the good,” => Yes, main stream left wingers claim that most of those social changes were result of Jewish greatest efforts, so from logic perspective it makes harder for me to accuse anyone who says the same, just dislike the changes, as outlandish conspiracy theorist. (In no place I say that this estimate is true, I just point out that serious people of opposite viewpoint reached a similar conclusion)

In spite of the above I'd say, that there is some connection:

  • Believing in one conspiracy theory is a good predictor of believing in other too. It works even when those two theories are mutually exclusive.

  • There appears to be a perception that among preachers of those contentious ideologies Jews are being overrepresented (well, on this forum someone pointed out that similar perception happens for the opposite side too, on Intellectual Dark Web with notable thinkers like Steven Pinker or Eric Weinstein)

Bonus: there also prominent ideologies on the right that go mostly against antisemitism so overlap is not so strong, examples:

  • In the US hardline Evangelical Protestants tend to detest all things referred as CM, because "God in the Bible said so" they love Israel and Jews. (Yes, Evangelical Protestants have very good opinion about Jews, but it appears not to be reciprocated)
  • Even on websites considered as far right people are willing to accept studies suggesting that average Ashkenazi Jew IQ is estimated to be 110, thus higher than among Europeans (When one suspects Ashkenazi Jews of having genetically higher IQ, then it becomes hard to perceive them as inferior or be shocked by their success)
| improve this answer | |
  • 3
    Improving. But numerous issues. 'Russian Nazis' are just that, only not 'German', but hm, 'Aryan Europeans'? The core belief system is identical. One big error is 'pro-Israel = non-antisemitic' Millenaristic evangelicals and others still hate Jews, ascribe to them AS stuff. ECs want 'armageddon at Mount Harmagedon, Jews dying there & then', others want to put the Jews 'in their place', and value the strategic anger towards Muslims they think that would cause. 'Pro-Israel' proves nothing! Please read Eco: "Ur-Fascism".. – LаngLаngС Nov 13 '19 at 15:23
  • Re 'Slavic-Nazis', consider Patrol 36 or this craziness – LаngLаngС Nov 13 '19 at 15:40
  • @LаngLаngС Yes, you may say that right now those people chant: "no more wars among the white race". I'd say its a great progress and by standards of late '30s would be classified as some naively idealistic, pacifistic far left. :D :D :D Send them back in time, killing Hitler by causing heart attack after showing him his alleged disciples, seems suitable and deserved. // As far as I remember stats, those fundamentalists have very high opinion about Jews too. Setting aside, are we going the following path: the left likes Jews, but detest Israel, the right dislikes Jews, but is fine with Israel? – Shadow1024 Nov 13 '19 at 21:38
  • German racists believed that Jews were the threat and the rivals of the German race and that they controlled both Bolshevik Russia and capitalist America and that they stand in the German way of controlling the world. The thought was that jews were only second to Germans. Of course, the official German propaganda took a shortcut. – obdi Apr 1 at 18:38
6

Short answer: No.

Long answer:

Antisemitism is a category of hate. Essentially a sub-category of racism in general. That leads to this statement: All antisemitic people are racist, not all racist people are antisemitic.

Cultural Marxism is an ideological anti-conservative conspiracy theory. A conspiracy theory can be hateful in nature. The conspiracy theory is geared towards things conservatives hate, but it is based on the thought leaders exported from a school, not a group of people.

For the two to be inherently tied, the origination of the theory must directly link to Jews or Judaism first. The argument from the NYT piece is that it is an old, and clearly antisemitic conspiracy theory, was updated. While that can be true, the update is a clear departure from the antisemitic tones to a more generalized hateful tone. This is to say "Cultural Marxism" can be stated as inherently racist (or hateful), but not inherently antisemitic.

There are a great many antisemitic people in this world in just about every group of people. An unfortunate truth. But the school, people from the school, and thought leaders were not all Jewish. Even so, being of Jewish heritage doesn't necessarily mean the person can't be antisemitic. Likewise it is possible for a specific group of Jewish people to be hated independently from Jewish people in general.

Given that it is a conspiracy theory it is easy to tie to fringe groups or ideas. Which, when attempting to demonize it, would be easy to associate with antisemitism due to the time and location of many of the people at its origin.

However, many theories or groups can evolve over time. This can cause some concepts to become permanently associated. So it is possible for Cultural Marxism to evolve into an antisemitic form, if a branch of it isn't already there.

| improve this answer | |
  • 1
    "Not at its inception or at this present time": Do you have a source for this? – tim Dec 5 '18 at 21:40
  • 3
    @tim There is no source. The NYT opinion piece is the opinion saying it is linked. My answer states it isn't inherently tied, but it can become associated. Ill edit a bit more. – David S Dec 5 '18 at 21:47
  • This should be the correct answer. – dan-klasson Nov 9 '19 at 18:29
4

Offhand answer: yes, (if "the" theory is narrowly defined as only a racist conspiracy), and no, (since it needn't be so narrowly defined). There's a collection of various disparate things these different groups dislike, and the goal would be some sort of plausible mash-up that tries to abstract and unite those disliked things into some loathsome whole the better to terrify and unify those various groups before one common mash-up enemy.

But the antisemitism that pleases the racists isn't necessary to the mash-up, it's just a useful ingredient whenever there happen to be a certain number of racists. Lacking sufficient racists, a pro-zionist conspiracy minded paranoid anti-communist could mash-up their pet hates into some overarching commie plot category, and still roll merrily along.

The underlying question isn't the name of the particular flavor of mash-up, it's how do various groups answer the question: "What is Western Culture"? Or what books (and people) go on the bookshelf, and which (if any) go in the fire? Since the books themselves are so seldom read, moderns prefer to choose by proxy, by reading capsules and summaries usually written by celebrated partisans.

| improve this answer | |
  • 3
    This was a comment that got too long. It's sort of an answer tho... – agc Dec 5 '18 at 20:13
  • 1
    Thanks for your answer! I'm not so sure about this though. Generally, terms should mean something. I guess non-antisemites could come up with anti-communist conspiracy theories. But would these then still be related to the existing phenomenon of "cultural marxism" conspiracy theories? Even if you strip it of the idea that a small, shadowy group of people secretly controls the media to use equal rights to bring down "western culture"? – tim Dec 5 '18 at 20:27
  • 1
    It seems to me that would be a different theory, one that doesn't have enough in common with "cultural marxism" to use that term. If I am mistaken about the definition of cultural marxism, or if the original definition has changed and is widely used differently today, that would be interesting. But I would like to see some references for that if possible. – tim Dec 5 '18 at 20:27
  • 4
    Paranoia and bigotry are by nature sloppy and somewhat arbitrary, and will find targets where they can. Lacking one set of shadowy bad guys, they'd replace them with another set from some other religion or culture, who were really the power behind the old bad guys all along. See also Henry Beard's "“Americans United to Beat the Dutch”... – agc Dec 6 '18 at 4:06
  • Is it controversial to say that during the french revolution, the bolshevik revolution, Maoist revolution or rogue Khmer revolution the goal was to eradicate traditional culture? They were able to define it, but somehow today it is a vague term. Saying that Marxists want to eradicate culture is controversial? I also don't understand why in the west it is paranoid to be afraid of the communism, considering its death toll, but the same people see antisemitism everywhere. I see that opponents choose to ignore experience with the communism of people who do not look like they do. – obdi Apr 1 at 18:24
-3

No,

'cultural marxism' states that:

  • the social and economical changes pushed by the left for the last 50 years were coming from academia
  • those changes have origins in '68 student revolt
  • the revolt was fueled by the work of the 'Frankfurt school'
  • members of the 'Frankfurt school' schools were working on adapting among others the theories of Karl Marx.

The critics of the changes like to point out that they can be traced back to the work of morally and intellectually bankrupted ideologist - Karl Marx, responsible for the death and suffering of billions of people.

Enthusiasts of the changes like to think of them as an 'objective' scientific progress. They attempt to stigmatize the opponents by tieing them to antisemitism. They also equal the theory of 'cultural Marxist' with other conspiracy theories. However, they failed to notice that the influence of minority has been studied by marxists:

According Serge Moscovici's research:

Moscovici claimed that majority influence in many ways was misleading – if the majority was indeed all-powerful, we would all end up thinking the same.2 Drawing attention to the works of Gabriel Tarde, he pointed to the fact that most major social movements have been started by individuals and small groups (e.g. Christianity, Buddhism, the Suffragette movement, Nazism, etc.) and that without an outspoken minority, we would have no innovation or social change.

The study he is most famous for, Influences of a consistent minority on the responses of a majority in a colour perception task, is now seen as one of the defining investigations into the effects of minority influence:

Aims: To investigate the process of innovation by looking at how a consistent minority affect the opinions of a larger group, possibly creating doubt and leading them to question and alter their views Procedures: Participants were first given an eye test to check that they were not colour blind. They were then placed in a group of four participants and two confederates. they were all shown 36 slides that were different shades of blue and asked to state the colour out loud. There were two groups in the experiment. In the first group the confederates were consistent and answered green for every slide. In the second group the confederates were inconsistent and answered green 24 times and blue 12 times. Findings: For 8.42% of the trials, participants agreed with the minority and said that the slides were green. Overall, 32% of the participants agreed at least once. Conclusions: The study suggested that minorities can indeed exert an effect over the opinion of a majority. Not to the same degree as majority influence, but the fact that almost a third of people agreed at least once is significant. However, this also leaves two thirds who never agreed. In a follow-up experiment, Moscovici demonstrated that consistency was the key factor in minority influence; by instructing the stooges to be inconsistent, the effect fell off sharply.

In accordance with his work, the conspiracy part of 'cultural marxism' theory claim that the minority of 'cultural marxists' were able gain the influence in academia by following strategy of Rudi Dutschke:

He advocated a "long march through the institutions of power" to create radical change from within government and society by becoming an integral part of the machinery.1 This was an idea he took up from his interpretation of Antonio Gramsci and the Frankfurt School of Critical Theory;2 Accordingly, the quote is often wrongfully attributed to Gramsci.3 In the 1970s he followed through on this idea by joining the nascent Green movement.

As an example of 'cultural marxism' in the making, I would point openDemocrasy website which is funded by a person who is often accused of supporting 'Cultural Marxism'. The website is using the coronavirus epidemy as an excuse for advancing the Marxist agenda of abolishing family with its publication: Coronavirus crisis shows its time abolish family. The author self-describes helself as "writer interested in queer communism".

Of course there a big question 'why jews are vastly over-represented among the most influential cultural Marxists?'. There are some supporters of 'cultural marxism' that would raise an antisemitic conclusion, however, the theory is not claiming that 'cultural marxism' is bad, because it was created by the jews. It is the opponents that claim, that 'cultural marxism' was created by Jews, so any critic can be tied to antisemitism. This can be compared to a claim that anyone who criticizes Obama is a racist.

| improve this answer | |

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .