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Cultural Marxists Like Us

Installation view of free distribution point of Jonas Staal’s Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals: A Pragmatic Primer for Realistic Radicals, 1971, in ‘Steve Bannon: A Propaganda Retrospective’, Het Nieuwe Instituut, Rotterdam, 2018. Courtesy the artist and Het Nieuwe Instituut, Rotterdam
Sven Lütticken unpacks the concept of ‘Cultural Marxism’ and how it perverts the aesthetic and cultural turn in twentieth century Marxism. The notion of Cultural Marxism has become a far-right byword for a sinister conspiracy, masterminded by none other than the Frankfurt School, to undermine ‘American’, ‘Christian’ and/or ‘Western’ values. Infiltrating academia during and after WWII, these ‘Jewish schemers’ have managed to corrupt the minds of generations of impressionable youth, leading to the current state of moral decay, emasculation and miscegenation. This short account is barely a caricature of the conspiracy theory of Cultural Marxism – a term I shall here use to refer to the discourse rather than to the phenomenon it supposedly denotes (when addressing the latter, I will use scare quotes). In book after book and YouTube video after YouTube video, the same few decontextualised facts, tenuous connections and made-up causalities are peddled over and over again.