May 25, 2019

"Cultural Marxism" is a Euphemism

“THIS PAST WEEKEND, a man opened fire in the Chabad of Poway synagogue outside San Diego, killing one woman and injuring three other people. The shooter’s online manifesto includes a range of antisemitic conspiracy theories. He wrote that Jews control the media and the banks, and that he hated Jews for their “role in cultural Marxism.”

“Cultural Marxism” is a trope that is rapidly spreading from the far right to the conservative mainstream. The term first gained notoriety when white nationalist Anders Breivik cited it as a reason for killing 77 people in two lone wolf terror attacks in Norway in 2011. Poway shows once again how dangerous the idea is. It creates a rationale for violence against leftists, against Jewish people, and against anyone associated with either.

“Cultural Marxism” has been floating around as a term for some time, and hasn’t always carried its current connotations. For example, it’s been used to describe left cultural analysis by figures like Marxist British historian E.P. Thompson. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, the term first began to gain traction in right-wing venues when paleoconservative writer William Lind used it during a 2002 speech at a Holocaust denial conference.”

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