|Some dare call it|
|What THEY don't want|
you to know!
“”"Cultural Marxism?" What the holy hell are you talking about?
|—Any liberal when exposed to the term for the first time|
Cultural Marxism refers to two things:
- First, extremely rarely, "Cultural Marxism" refers to the application of Marxist ideology and/or critical theory to social sciences.
- Second, much more commonly, "Cultural Marxism" is used as a snarl word by reactionaries to red-bait anyone with progressive tendencies. The term alludes to a conspiracy theory in which sinister left-wingers in media, academia, and science are engaged in a decades-long plot to undermine Western culture. Perhaps with some "Sexual Bolshevism" thrown in for good measure.
The conspiracist usage originated in Nazi Germany, where Kulturbolschewismus ("Cultural Bolshevism") was used as a political term of abuse, as well. The Nazis being the Nazis, they of course often mixed it with their idea that all Bolshevism was a Jewish plot.
So if anyone rants about "Cultural Marxists taking over culture!", kindly remind them that they're literally spouting Nazi propaganda.
 Academic usage
In legitimate academic circles, Cultural Marxism was originally a criticism of the lack of revolutionary Marxism at the Frankfurt School by more orthodox Marxists and Historical Materialists; it remains an informal term for the school.
The term "cultural Marxism" was first sighted around 1973, in The Critique of Domination: The Origins and Development of Critical Theory by Trent Schroyer. Schroyer originally coined the term as an accusation that some theorists were failed Marxists: merely cultural "Marxists" who had been subsumed by middle class capitalism. Later, people like Fredric Jameson[wp] went so far as to propose renaming Cultural Studies as "Cultural Marxism" to bring the Marxism back in, though this didn't stick. The term did see some use, however, in particular being retrospectively applied to one stream of cultural studies popular in British academic circles from the 1960s through to the 1980s.
Marx himself never wrote at any length about culture (what he deemed "the superstructure[wp]"), and the fact that cultural theorists have often used the lens of class, alongside other factors such as race, gender, and sexuality to analyze culture doesn't necessarily relate to Marxist classifications and is more likely to have come from the Chicago School[wp] of Sociology's emphasis on crime and criminal statistics as a source of sociological data.
 Right-wing usage
In current wingnut usage, the term is a favourite of Pat Buchanan and, to the most dangerous extent, Anders Behring Breivik. It is a Cold Warrior's way of decrying "political correctness" or "multiculturalism."
It's become a favorite term of many of the nuttier Gamergaters—demonstrating the movement's attraction of many anti-Semites, white supremacists, and MRAs — to explain why those bitch slut whores won't shut up about sexism in video games. They got their collective jockstraps in a knot when discussions on Wikipedia pre-dating their obsession with the term resulted in the "Cultural Marxism" article on Wikipedia being redirected to the "Conspiracy theory" section of Frankfurt School[wp], restored after appealing to the God-King, no consensus after that, then deletion and redirection back to the conspiracy theory.
The term is odious enough that people wanting to use it now apologise in advance, much as nobody behaving in a blatantly racist manner will accept the label "racist".
The first usage of the phrase "cultural Marxism" in the conspiracist sense was by William Lind of the Free Congress Foundation in a July 1998 speech, "The Origins of Political Correctness", to right-wing group Accuracy in Academia, in which he described "political correctness" and "cultural Marxism" as "totalitarian ideologies" that were turning American 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." Lind gave this speech many times; a 2000 version sets out his thesis:
|Political Correctness is cultural Marxism. It is Marxism translated from economic into cultural terms. It is an effort that goes back not to the 1960s and the hippies and the peace movement, but back to World War I. If we compare the basic tenets of Political Correctness with classical Marxism the parallels are very obvious.
How does all of this stuff flood in here? How does it flood into our universities, and indeed into our lives today? The members of the Frankfurt School are Marxist, they are also, to a man, Jewish.
The conspiracy theory was also pushed around this time by Paul Weyrich's Free Congress Foundation, who spent the 1990s railing against "political correctness", culminating in the 1999 video tape Political Correctness: The Dirty Little Secret, attacking the Frankfurt School.
Pat Buchanan, at an October 2000 campaign stop in Denver for the Reform Party, accused Native Americans attempting to block a Columbus Day parade of "cultural Marxism" in the Rocky Mountain News. In his 2001 book The Death of the West, he described "cultural Marxism" as a "regime to punish dissent and to stigmatize social heresy as the Inquisition punished religious heresy. Its trademark is intolerance."
"Political correctness" had become the popular snarl word of choice after a 1991 speech by George H. W. Bush, with ensuing press coverage and a Washington Times op-ed by Laurence Jarvik of the Heritage Foundation decrying "storm troopers" attacking "Western culture."
 Tenets of the theory
“”it [sic] slowly started off by homosexuality becoming acceptable,now [sic] its [sic] starting to justify pedophilia, and eventually will lead to accepting beastiality [sic] and necrophilia in the future. America ,europe,australia [sic] and the whole world is doomed. cultural marxism [sic] is the best weapon the jew[sic] has ever used so far, after realizing communism[sic] will not win.
|—YouTube comment on young boy twerking at a Gay Pride parade (with grammar corrections).|
The associated conspiracy theory asserts that the Frankfurt School, instead of being the relatively arcane strain of academic criticism that it was, actually was a Marxist plot to destroy the capitalist West from within, supposedly spreading its tentacles throughout academia and indoctrinating students to hate America and freedom. Thus, rock'n'roll, the Sixties counterculture, the civil rights movement, the anti-war movement, homosexuality, modern feminism, and in general all the "decay" in the U.S. and elsewhere since the good old days of the Fifties are literally products of this conspiracy. It's also the work of the Jews.
Despite its widespread popularity among the hard-right, many both on the right and left have thoroughly debunked the concept as not being Marxist at all, including Christian Dominionist Gary North and actual Marxist Michael Acuña from Common Ruin. How to Paint Your Panda has debunked it as well.
 See also
- Critical legal studies – based on the Frankfurt School, not the conspiracy theory
- Cultural Christian
- Modern art and architecture
- Red baiting
- Sexual Bolshevism (yes, really)
- Ben Alpers. The Frankfurt School, Right-Wing Conspiracy Theories, and American Conservatism. US Intellectual History Blog Jul. 25, 2011.
- Dennis Dworkin. Cultural Marxism in Postwar Britain: History, the New Left, and the Origins of Cultural Studies A history of the term before it became a dirty word.
- Cultural Marxism: A Measured Response (HBomberguy)
- ↑ See the Wikipedia articles in German[wp] and English[wp].
- ↑ https://theconversation.com/cultural-marxism-and-our-current-culture-wars-part-2-45562
- ↑ Bill Berkowitz. Cultural Marxism Catching On. Southern Poverty Law Center Intelligence Report, Summer 2003, Iss. 110.
- ↑ Anders Behring Breivik. How It All Began -- Political Correctness is Cultural Marxism, in Breivik's Manifesto, 2083: A Declaration of European Independence. (This will probably be analyzed by criminal studies professors for years to come.)
- ↑ Archive of "Cultural Marxism" Wikipedia article
- ↑ http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/edwest/100178296/criticising-cultural-marxism-doesnt-make-you-anders-breivik/
- ↑ http://www.academia.org/the-origins-of-political-correctness/
- ↑ http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/aponline/20001009/aponline112905_000.htm
- ↑ http://www.cbsnews.com/news/pat-trashes-columbus-day-protest/
- ↑ http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/intelligence-report/browse-all-issues/2003/summer/reframing-the-enemy
- ↑ Duffy, Nick.Watch: Little boy twerks at Pride parade and upsets homophobes, Pink News. Accessed 15 June 2015.
- ↑ Jeffrey T. Kuhner explains why the gay agenda is Cultural Marxism!
- ↑ This Daily Bell article sets out the claim pretty unambiguously.
- ↑ http://www.jaegerresearchinstitute.org/articles/dummies.htm James Jaeger makes documentaries about Cultural Marxism
- ↑ http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/intelligence-report/browse-all-issues/2002/fall/mainstreaming-hate William S. Lind implicates the Jews
- ↑ Cultural Marxism Is an Oxymoron, garynorth.com
- ↑ Michael Acuña. On the Myth of "Cultural Marxism", commonruin.wordpress.com
- ↑ Michael Acuña. My Final Word on “Cultural Marxism” , commonruin.wordpress.com
- ↑ Cultural Marxism, Cultural Conservatism and the Frankfurt School: Making Sense of Nonsense, paintyourpanda.blogspot.com