Wow, Cultural Marxism apparently is nightmare fuel to the wingnut, racist right.

Wow, Cultural Marxism apparently is nightmare fuel to the wingnut, racist right.

Cultural Marxism?  As the feminist tag in the wordpress reader becomes more diverse (read filled with dudes and their important ideas) this phrase is popping up all over as of late.  I’ve never seen it before, and as a minor logophile my curiosity was peaked.  The context of how the term Cultural Marxism (CM) is being used was my first clue that this is yet another sad portmanteau of the right-wingers/dudes to mischaracterize ideas and notions that make them uncomfortable.

It was this putrid nugget of a sentence, fresh from the high mountains of Turdistan, that started my logophilic escapade:

“Leftist ideology (cultural Marxism) ascribes all observed statistical differences in group performance to nefarious cultural forces, therefore nefarious cultural forces must be at work everywhere, therefore you must be oppressed at all times, thus you must dedicate yourself to finding the oppression in every aspect and moment of your life. “

What we can see above exhibit the hallmarks of what will be a reason-free mind-fap-festival of fail; usually with a side of misogyny or racism thrown in just for fun.  But, apart from the haphazard generalizations, the erection of grand strawmen and a generally uncharitable starting point, the above sentence is perfectly fine.

So doing some arduous research, a.k.a typing “Cultural Marxism” into Duck Duck Go, the fateful shrouds of mystery were slowly pulled back.  Oh the magic of Wikipedia:

The Frankfurt School (German: Frankfurter Schule) is a school of social theory and philosophy associated in part with the Institute for Social Research at the Goethe University in Frankfurt, Germany. The school initially formed during the interwar period in Germany and consisted of dissidents who were at home neither in the existent capitalist, fascist, nor communist systems that had formed during the interwar period. Meanwhile, many of these theorists believed that traditional theory could not adequately explain the turbulent and unexpected development of capitalist societies in the twentieth century. Critical of both capitalism and Soviet socialism, their writings pointed to the possibility of an alternative path to social development.[1]

Although sometimes only loosely affiliated, Frankfurt School theorists spoke with a common paradigm in mind, thus sharing the same assumptions and being preoccupied with similar questions.[2] To fill in the perceived omissions of traditional Marxism, they sought to draw answers from other schools of thought, hence using the insights of antipositivist sociology, psychoanalysis, existential philosophy, and other disciplines.[3] The school’s main figures sought to learn from and synthesize the works of such varied thinkers as Kant, Hegel, Marx, Freud, Weber and Lukács.[4]

Following Marx, they were concerned with the conditions that allow for social change and the establishment of rational institutions.[5] Their emphasis on the “critical” component of theory was derived significantly from their attempt to overcome the limits of positivism, materialism and determinism by returning to Kant’s critical philosophy and its successors in German idealism, principally Hegel’s philosophy, with its emphasis on dialectic and contradiction as inherent properties of human reality.

Erm…ya.  A lot of word salad that makes academics feel important and the basis of a school of interpretive historical though.  In other words, nothing about leftist ideology and ‘oppression seeking’ going on there outside of arcane historical theory relevant mostly to academic historians.  The Rational Wiki though has a pithy summation of Cultural Marxism which roughly aligns with my first impressions of the use of the word:

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.”[2][3] It’s when capitalism and democracy are still the law of the land, but they don’t work exclusively for you anymore.

Despite its widespread popularity among the hard-right, many on the right have thoroughly debunked the concept as not being Marxist at all, including Christian Dominionist Gary North, Michael Acuña from Common Ruin, and How to Paint Your Panda.[4][5][6][7]

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 predating their obsession with the term resulted in the “Cultural Marxism” article on Wikipedia being redirected to the “Conspiracy theory” section of Frankfurt School, restored after appealing to the God-King, no consensus after that, then deletion and redirection back to the conspiracy theory.

Laughing out loud forever – you know when the gamergaters show up sexism and misogyny are never far behind.

Well, fellow word travellers, that’s all there is for this session.  I’ve done the long form work here, but all you need to know is in the title of this blogpost.  :)