Combating cultural Marxism must begin on the campuses of universities, because universities are the “source of poison” of left-wing ideology.
That was a key takeaway from a panel discussion titled “How Cultural Marxism Threatens the United States – and How Americans Can Fight It” at the Heritage Foundation last week. (The Daily Signal is Heritage’s news outlet.)
One of the panellists, Katharine Gorka, a former research associate at Heritage, went so far as to urge parents to “stop sending their kids to college” to avoid indoctrination.
The other panelist was Mike Gonzalez, Senior Fellow in Foreign Policy Studies at Heritage. Gorka’s husband, Sebastian Gorka, host of the radio show and podcast America First, moderated the discussion, which focused on the definition of “cultural Marxism” and the influence of various intellectuals on the left.
Katharine Gorka and Gonzalez recently published a special report on the subject, analyzing how Marxism came to America and the most effective strategies for containing its influence.
Gonzalez said that the left is Marxist in essence, expanding on the type of Marxism the American left has adopted in its rhetoric, which he says is an offshoot of older Marxist thought.
“It is Marxism that has undergone some developments … . He has kept the main elements of Marxism, but it is Marxism for the modern world,” he said. “…the people we have today are the heirs of the New Left, and the New Left are the heirs of the Frankfurt School, and they are the heirs of Gramsci.”
Antonio Gramsci was an Italian Marxist philosopher who adapted traditional Marxist ideology for developed countries. Katharine Gorka explained how central his ideas were in infecting Europe and America with Marxism, since the “proletarian revolution” was not taking off in the West as it had in Russia and other countries.
Gorka and Gonzalez’s special report details the actions of the Frankfurt School, which gained prominence in Germany in the 1930s and then found its way to America when Herbert Marcuse, a Frankfurt School philosopher, was recognized in university circles in the 1960s for his Writings became known Harvard University. He said that Western capitalist democracies are irrevocably repressive and need to be dismantled.
“Gramsci’s argument was ‘You can’t have a frontal attack,’ so you attack from the side,” Katharine Gorka said. “[Marxists] said, ‘Let’s sneak into the institutions and change the ideas and win that way,’ and that’s what they did.”
According to the special report, Gramsci argued that the communists should abandon the dream of violent revolution, which he called the “war of manoeuvre.” Rather, he argued, they should wage a “war of position” or hidden conflict. The allegedly oppressed groups would gain influence and power through the takeover of existing institutions. It would be the job of communist intellectuals to subvert the state’s “hegemonic narrative” and inject a “counter-narrative” into people’s minds.
Gonzalez said that the subversion of institutions in which cultural Marxists participate is not a conspiratorial effort, but rather a product of powerful people who are students of Marxist-derived schools of thought.
“There is no ‘conspiracy’ in the sense that people in Cambridge, Massachusetts, or Berkeley, California, go down to basements and conspire and hold secret meetings,” Gonzalez said. “But they all read the same thing.”
Katharine Gorka mentioned the power of philanthropists in promoting cultural Marxism. She said they have a special role in promoting “diversity, equity and inclusion” initiatives, which the report says consist of “the university officials most involved in enforcing cultural Marxist ideology.”
“I don’t think most Americans understand what a formidable enemy we have in our big philanthropies,” she said. “The amount of money [philanthropies] spend, how they collaborate and coordinate, and how they send money to DEI [diversity, equity and inclusion] … . [W]We are not against it just because it is Marxism.”
She also said that colleges are the “No. 1 Priority” in combating cultural Marxism and agreed that universities are the left’s “source of poison”.
“There’s a whole bunch of things that we’ve proposed [in the report]’ said Gorka. “One of the ways this is funded is the whole system that we have of funding research at universities… . [W]When universities apply to the government for grants, they get 50% overhead… . Many of these DEI positions are funded with it.”
The research funding that drives Marxist initiatives is additional “overhead” money from research grants, since the overhead money does not have to be spent directly on a specific research project.
The special report How Cultural Marxism Threatens the United States – and How Americans Can Fight It is available for download on the Heritage Foundation website. Click here for access.
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