Last week I belatedly posted a response by Victor Onrust to an essay by Thai Peter. Below is Peter’s counter-response.
UPDATE: The Catholic Insight article referred to by Peter is here.
Cultural Nonsense? A Programmed Denial
That was an interesting response from Victor Onrust. It cuts across something I was working on already concerning Tony Blair and New Labour, but that is for another time. For now, ever since the concept of Cultural Marxism arose, the Left has been unanimous in the vehemence of its denial that it ever existed. At least Victor appears to be prepared to argue the point rather than resort to the usual name-calling and sneering.
There is one point I must refute from the start: I do not see, nor have I ever seen “Cultural Marxism” as a conspiracy theory. It was a conspiracy, pure and simple — a conspiracy to corrupt in order to impose a communist revolution by stealth. That is how I have always seen it, and it is still at work in the here and now. I first came upon the phrase “Cultural Marxism” in Melanie Phillips’ book “Londonistan”, though she attributed it to the work of Antonio Gramsci rather than the Frankfurt School.
Victor states in his opening paragraph “As with most conspiracy ideas, little is said about who the conspirators are.” Not true. The identities of the “conspirators” are well known. Among others, the main players were Georgy Lukacs, Herbert Marcuse, Theodor Adorno, Walter Benjamin, Leo Lowenthal, Erich Fromm, Max Horkheimer, and Jurgen Habermas — Victor mentions them in his fourth paragraph. As for having a definite plan, that was formulated decades ago and was designed to impose a world-wide Communist revolution by the gradual destruction of Western culture, particularly Judeo-Christianity. It has taken a long time, but it is closer to success today than it has ever been.
Towards the end of 1922, the Comintern (Communist International) began to consider why their 1917 revolution failed to spread into Europe and throughout the West. On Lenin’s initiative, a meeting took place at the Marx-Engels Institute in Moscow to “clarify the concept and give concrete effect to a Marxist Cultural Revolution” — presumably as opposed to a proletarian bloody one, which had already failed to take off outside of Russia. Georgy Lukacs was present at the meeting, and I am reminded that, soon after becoming a Communist, sometime in 1917, he wrote, “Who will save us from Western Civilisation?” Maybe he would.
Also at the meeting was one Willi Munzenberg, a German-born Communist propagandist and fundraiser. Munzenberg foresaw a top-down initiative to “mobilise all the intellectuals and use them to make Western civilization stink. Only then, after we have corrupted all its values and made life impossible, will we be able to impose the dictatorship of the proletariat.” It took a lot of time, but that seems to have happened, particularly over the last thirty years or so.
In 1924, after Lenin’s death, Stalin began to view Lukacs and like-minded people as revisionists, so a number of them decamped to Germany, where Lukacs chaired the first meeting of a group of Communist-oriented sociologists, a gathering that was to lead to the foundation of the Frankfurt School. It was from here that the basic principles of Cultural Marxism were formulated. When Hitler’s rise caused the primary members of the group to flee to America, a number of them were put to work by American institutions. For instance, Adorno — an accomplished musician — obtained the post of Head of the Music Section at the Office of Radio Research at the School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. Popularly known as the “Radio Project,” and funded by the Rockefeller Foundation, it examined how the media could affect the population and increase their susceptibility to mass indoctrination and control techniques.