How the Left Has Reinvented and Adapted Marxism in the USA

by Guido Mina di Sospiro (May 2024)

Critical Race Theory —by Jonathan Harris, 2021

 

It could be argued that Obama’s greatest accomplishment has been the revival of racism. Until then, the general consensus on how to move away from racism once and for all was to be found in Martin Luther King’s celebrated words: “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” In one compounded word, such a sentiment could be summed-up in “color-blindness”—the color of your skin does not matter, what matters is what kind of person you are. Yet today color-blindness is anathema. What has happened?

We need to step back in time, to the days of Herbert Marcuse—then the reigning doyen of leftist ideology, a philosopher from The Frankfurt School—and his teachings at Brandeis University (1954-65) and then at the University of San Diego (1965-70). The influence of such teachings on western societies has been and continues to be incalculable. In characteristic Johnny-Come-Lately fashion the US are late by about fifty years, but in Western Europe Marcuse’s (penury of) ideas proved incendiary. In May of 1968 Paris went up in smoke with the first ferments of a leftist rebellion that soon would infect most of Western Europe’s youth (with Spain and Portugal excluded as they had at the time right-wing regimes). If the students of 1968 were somewhat idealist and believed in pacifism, the Red Brigades were formed in Italy as early as in 1970—and believed in armed struggle. Marcuse’s Repressive Tolerance was the ideal vademecum for the Red Brigades and many other such trigger-happy revolutionary groups.

Marcuse began his essay Repressive Tolerance with:

 

This essay examines the idea of tolerance in our advanced industrial society. The conclusion reached is that the realization of the objective of tolerance would call for intolerance toward prevailing policies, attitudes, opinions, and the extension of tolerance to policies, attitudes, and opinions which are outlawed or suppressed. In other words, today tolerance appears again as what it was in its origins, at the beginning of the modern period—a partisan goal, a subversive liberating notion and practice. Conversely, what is proclaimed and practiced as tolerance today, is in many of its most effective manifestations serving the cause of oppression.

 

Further on he added:

 

Liberating tolerance, then, would mean intolerance against movements from the Right and toleration of movements from the Left.

 

The reinstatement of a genuinely free society, therefore, may well require “undemocratic means.” Moreover:

 

(…) In endlessly dragging debates over the media, the stupid opinion is treated with the same respect as the intelligent one, the misinformed may talk as long as the informed, and propaganda rides along with education, truth with falsehood. (…) Therefore, all contesting opinions must be submitted to ‘the people’ for its deliberation and choice. But I have already suggested that the democratic argument implies a necessary condition, namely, that the people must be capable of deliberating and choosing on the basis of knowledge, that they must have access to authentic information, and that, on this basis, their evaluation must be the result of autonomous thought.

 

Naturally such autonomous thought would have to be aligned with his own, as if he maintained that while everyone is capable of autonomous thought, his was more autonomous than theirs.

Intolerance was presented as tolerance, violence as non-violence, and totalitarianism as freedom. It would appear as if he were turning some of the core messages of democracy—tolerance and freedom of expression—upside down.

The Zeitgeist of the early 1970s made it impossible for Communism to take hold in the US, but in Europe such an “utopia” seemed at reach. Italy, France, West Germany all engaged in Marxist armed struggle that resulted in the deaths of hundreds of people and, at least in Italy, in a state of undeclared civil war; ultimately, however, Communism did not triumph.

Many of Marcuse’s students in the US have become professors. Marxism is cheerfully contagious because, while it is somewhat infantile in its simplicity, it gives the Marxist neophyte the feeling of having grasped something of universal value at the expense of every other idea. The newly arrived Marxist, never too clever a fellow, feels that he now is a world-class intellectual, and what is more, that everyone who doesn’t agree with him or her is clearly in the wrong and must be corrected or, where recanting should prove impossible, eliminated.

The contemporary US teems with Marxist university professors who, much in the face of the Socratic Method, are delighted to preach to students, and proselytize. The latter are, judging from the results, just as bright as their professors were at their age, and therefore indoctrination is easily and readily achieved. It must be noted that philosophy is not taught in high schools in the US. (Conversely, in continental Europe philosophy is taught in certain, not all, high schools, so sundry indoctrinators and propagandists had to forge the whole history of thought so that it would seem to arrive naturally at Marxism, presented as the apex of philosophical evolution.) And once the student attends a US university, unless he is a philosophy major, at most he will take a semester worth of introduction to philosophy as a general requirement class, if at all. This explains why average US students are so credulous: not knowing philosophy, the first thought system they hear, from their zealous leftist professor, automatically becomes the one and only system. There is only one considerable obstacle, or rather, there used to be.

At its core, Marxism is based on class struggle. It is fair to state that, in Europe, the poor envies the rich. That is a negative feeling that predisposes the former for class struggle. Conversely, in the US the poor admires the rich. That is a positive feeling: the poor person admires the rich one and believes that if he works hard enough, he too will become rich. In other words, a revolution based on class struggle in this country was out of the question. So Obama—who disliked Bill Clinton’s centralist view of the Democratic Party and who had been influenced by a sundry assortment of leftist exponents and ideologies—realized that the same mechanism could be activated to achieve the same results by substituting to class consciousness identity politics.

Suddenly the color of one’s skin mattered; it had to be acknowledged and amends had to be made. Suddenly to be white was to the equivalent of the exploiter in Marx’s writings, whereas all people of color were the exploited. Down to the last detail, the substitution shift was complete: the person who in Marxist ideology was a Lumperproletarian (a person who lacked awareness of class and of class struggle and therefore took no part in the latter), became, in Obama’s updated Marxism, the black man or woman who either does not vote or, worse yet, votes Republican. While in his writings Marx does not suggest that the Lumperproletarian should be eliminated, those who came after him and put his ideas into practice—philanthropists such as Stalin, Mao Zedong, Pol Pot and a number of equally enlightened leaders, decided that the achievement of the utopian classless society could use a shortcut or two. Instead of letting the painfully slow and gradual dialectic process eventually produce a classless society, all classes but the poor and exploited should be eliminated so that the optimal result would be reached much sooner. Hence the mentioned gentleman proceed to eliminate all opponents, outspoken or otherwise: Lumperproletarians; the clergy; the aristocracy; the bourgeoisie; anyone who had a university degree. In other words, “kill them all” but the peasants. That accounts for the forty million people killed by Stalin; the sixty million people killed by Mao; the one third of the whole Cambodian population killed by Pol Pot. It must be stressed that these were their own people, and not enemies from foreign lands.

Does this mean that the US Left intends to kill all white people in the Country? While it could be argued that all least some of them would be happy to employ the same shortcuts utilized by Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot and others, so far they have not dared to be so blunt. Rather, they have come up with another shortcut: why wait for interracial marriages to produce colored offspring (interracial marriages are heavily promoted today much like, a century ago, eugenics were heavily promoted, specifically and shockingly in the very US) when “importing” millions upon millions of brown people can achieve the same result in much less time? Indeed, the current administration is actively doing as much, not only in the hope that such newcomers will vote for them in perpetuity, thus achieving an indefinite majority and therefore indisputable power, but also to phase out white people and, in time, make them become a negligible minority. The Left is helped in this particular pursuit by the specter of racism, which is constantly evoked. In their view, people who are opposed to indiscriminate, illegal immigration are all racists, which explains why the current administration is getting away with an influx of millions of illegal immigrants. It is implied that anyone who is at variance with such an activity is a racist. Furthermore, The Great Replacement Theory is clearly a white supremacy bit of blatant disinformation. In that case a new name should be coined for this unprecedented phenomenon: the acceptance of millions of migrants coming into the country illegally. It is likewise difficult to explain why George Soros of all people would fund NGO boats that in the Mediterranean ferry migrants from Africa into the southern shores of Europe, chiefly Italy, Greece and Spain—they too entering such countries illegally. When Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani recently stated that migrants picked up at sea by rescue ships must be sent to the countries that support the NGO charities and demanded that an EU migration pact be redrafted, all hell broke loose. And that is, because in the face of abstract and arbitrary ideologies, common sense has become subversive.

In Italy, the period in which the extreme Left tried to seize power through armed struggle has been aptly named the Years of Lead—about twelve years of fratricide war in which it seemed that at any moment the Soviet Union, which sponsored the Red Brigades, would invade the country. I never would have expected to find such polarized and violent sentiments in the US. I came to this country a student at the University of Southern California when (the extraordinarily inept) Carter lost in a landslide to Reagan. Back then, Americans were above all a pragmatic people and, if one president could not do his job, he was out, regardless of which party he belonged to. Today America has been infected by ideology, at least a good part of the country, and ideology is very dangerous because it never takes into account reality.

I wish to remain optimistic and hope that America will rediscover and reevaluate sensible attitudes and policies. Certainly the reinvention of Marxism and the way it has been adopted is a formidable, Machiavellian opponent to plain old common sense.

 

Table of Contents

 

Guido Mina di Sospiro was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, into an ancient Italian family. He was raised in Milan, Italy and was educated at the University of Pavia as well as the USC School of Cinema-Television, now known as USC School of Cinematic Arts. He has been living in the United States since the 1980s, currently near Washington, D.C. He is the author of several books including, The Story of YewThe Forbidden BookThe Metaphysics of Ping Pong, and Forbidden Fruits.

Follow NER on Twitter @NERIconoclast

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3 Responses

  1. to these should be added Josip Broz Tito, the Yugoslav communist, the murderer and executioner who killed many priests, nuns, intellectuals, workers and peasants, Cardinal Alojzij Stepinac, his re-education camps were worse than Auschwitz according to testimonies, in them they killed the human soul and not the body that is worse.

  2. Good get, sir. Political recidivism, indeed. Whilst we sought to vanquish the most obvious totalitarian threats, the socialist worm thrived in the academy and eventually at the ballot box. Marcuse would be proud. We have become “them.”

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