Many readers will find perplexing the very title of Raymond Raehn's article, which also sets the theme for this issue of the Occasional Papers. This is because, in the popular understanding, Marxism is reducible to the ideology of the Soviet Union, an ideology that presumably passed away with the state apparatus for which it apologized. Cultural Marxism, however, especially the variant associated with the so-called Frankfurt School, is very much a living force, and nowhere more so than in the United States. Commander Raehn surveys the victories that this Marxism has thus far achieved, primarily by abandoning the proletariat of Das Kapital and focusing on visible minorities and a fraction of women who have become estranged from their traditional sex roles.
The denouement to Commander Raehn's survey, in which he has Marx himself speak of his contemporary triumph, might seem to some readers to belong to the genre of political science fiction. However, the image of Marx presented here is corroborated by researches into the very early thought of Marx which have been presented in a essay published in 1968 in Encounter magazine by Lewis Feuer, "The Character and thought of Karl Marx: The Promethean Complex and Historical Materialism." The sentiments attributed to Moses Hess can be found in Isaiah Berlin's "The Life and Opinion of Moses Hess," collected in Against the Grain (1980), an anthology of Berlin's essays.The best source of information about cultural Marxism in America is undoubtedly Kevin MacDonald's The Culture of Critique, recently published in an affordable paperback edition which can be ordered from 1stbooks.com or amazon.com. The destructive ideology promoted by an alienated minority in American society seems to be a monumental (and ironic) expression of what some would call "false consciousness," for that minority had itself little material reason to be so alienated. How could the superstructure of ideas have wandered so far from its material base in this sad instance? Conservatives are not altogether wrong when they argue that ideas have consequences.
The Marxism which Peter Gemma exposes in his essay on the campaign for reparations for African American enslavement belongs less to the Frankfurt School than to the kind of wholesale Stalinism that one had hoped had ended in 1957. Albeit that it is primitive, it is being advanced by the weakening of popular resistance that has thus far been effected by the cultural Marxist campaign exposed by Commander Raehn.Finally, Professor Miles Wolpin ponders the triumph of something suggestive of the Leninist spirit of "the worse, the better" among the top leaders of American labor. While in the past, organized labor and its leadership had always opposed mass immigration because it exerted a downward pressure on wages, now mass immigration is defended and promoted even when it is detrimental to the interests of native-born wage-earners. Either the immiseration of the proletariat is now the goal of American labor leaders or else their peculiar break with tradition arises from an opportunistic quest for new members for their dwindling organizations. Perhaps what is involved is a mix of both Leninism and opportunism.
Marxism after Marx, as well as Marxism after the fall of the ostensibly Marxist regimes, is still living, still growing, still metastasizing.