Cultural Marxism and how to combat it

The fight against cultural Marxism must begin on college campuses, because universities are the “source of poison” for leftist ideology.

That was a major takeaway from a panel discussion, “How Cultural Marxism Threatens America and How Americans Can Fight It,” last week at The Heritage Foundation. (The Daily Signal is Heritage’s news outlet.)

One panelist, Katharine Gorka, a former Heritage researcher, went so far as to urge parents to “stop sending their kids” to college to avoid indoctrination.

The other panelist was Mike González, a senior fellow for foreign policy studies at Heritage. Gorka’s husband, Sebastián Gorka, host of the radio program and podcast “América Primero”, moderated the discussion, which included the definition of “cultural Marxism” and the influence of various left-wing intellectuals.

Katharine Gorka and González recently published a special report on the subject, looking at how Marxism came to the United States and what strategies are most effective in reducing its influence.

González said the left is Marxist in nature and expanded on the brand of Marxism the American left has embraced in its rhetoric, which he says is a branch of older Marxist thought.

“It is Marxism that has gone through a couple of evolutions…. It has retained 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 heirs of the Frankfurt School, and they are heirs of Gramsci.”

Antonio Gramsci was an Italian Marxist philosopher who adapted traditional Marxist ideology for developed countries. Katharine Gorka explained how his ideas were central to infecting Europe and America with Marxism, since the “revolution of the proletariat” did not catch on in the West as it did in Russia and other countries.

Gorka and González’s special report details the actions of the Frankfurt School, which rose to prominence in Germany in the 1930s, then came to the United States when Herbert Marcuse, a Frankfurt School philosopher, rose to prominence in university circles for his writings in the 1960s at Harvard University. He said that Western capitalist democracies were hopelessly repressive and must be dismantled.

“Gramsci’s argument was ‘You can’t have a frontal attack,’ so you do it from the sides,” said Katharine Gorka. “[Marxists] He said, ‘Let’s get into the institutions and change ideas, and win that way,’ which is exactly what they did.”

According to the special report, Gramsci argued that communists should abandon the dream of violent revolution, which he called “maneuver warfare.” Rather, he argued, they should engage in “positional warfare” or hidden conflict. The supposedly oppressed groups would gain influence and power by taking over existing institutions. It would be the task of communist intellectuals to undermine the “hegemonic narrative” of the state and introduce a “counter-narrative” into the minds of the people.

González said the subversion of institutions that cultural Marxists engage in is not a conspiracy effort, but rather a product of powerful people being students of Marxist-derived schools of thought.

“There is no ‘plot’ in the sense that people go into basements in Cambridge, Massachusetts, or Berkeley, California, and discuss a plot and have secret meetings,” González said. “But they are all reading the same things.”

Katharine Gorka mentioned the power of philanthropy to advance cultural Marxism. She said they play a special role in advancing “diversity, equity and inclusion” initiatives, which the report says consist of “university officials most involved in enforcing cultural Marxist ideology.”

“I don’t think most Americans understand what a formidable enemy we have in our major philanthropic activities,” he said. “The amount of money [philanthropies] they are spending, the degree to which they are working together and coordinated, and the way they are pumping money into DEI [diversity, equity and inclusion] … . [W]We are not against this just because it is Marxism.”

He also said that universities should be “No. 1 priority” in the fight against cultural Marxism and agreed that universities are the “source of poison” for leftism.

“There are a lot of things that we have proposed [in the report]Gorka said. “One of the ways that this is funded is because of the whole system that we have for funding research at universities…. [W]When universities apply to the government for grants, they get 50% overhead… It’s what funds a lot of these DEI positions.”

The research funding that is driving 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 America and How Americans Can Fight It” is available for download on The Heritage Foundation’s website. Click here to access.

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