Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Revolution Hardly Anybody Noticed — Hope and Change and the Stealth Transformation of America

A funny thing happened on the way to Marx’s fundamental transformation of the social structure:

Gradually, Communists understood that things weren’t developing as predicted. There were many attempts to adjust to this unpredicted reality, ranging from Vladimir Lenin’s theory of imperialism through such thinkers as Antonio Gramsci, Georg Lukacs, the Frankfurt School; Third World-oriented interpretations like that of Andre Gunder Frank (whose book Hugo Chavez gave to Obama); Saul Alinsky; and the 1960s New Left. One of the most important New Left strategists from the 1960s, Carl Davidson, headed the Progressives for Obama group in the 2008 election. Bill Ayers pioneered using education for indoctrination.

The new approach argued that the proletariat and lower middle class had largely “sold out” and was now the enemy, clinging to guns, religion, and hatred of those different from themselves. This treason was related to racist and imperialist privilege. Swollen with imperialist and “white-skin” privilege, the United States was the cancer of the world. America was evil and Americans were the enemy, a stance quite different from that of earlier left movements.

So what was the revolutionary strategy to be? The most important basic principle is that the left must, in effect, wear a burqa, concealing its true nature and goals, pretending to be liberal or — stealing an old liberal reformist term also used by the Communists — progressive. This is purely opportunistic, a descendant of the 1940s Communist Party slogan claiming that “Communism is twentieth-century Americanism.” In the current incarnation, left-wing radicalism is said to be twenty-first century liberalism. Millions of Americans accept these ideas with no idea of their origin or goals.

Barry Rubin, “Needed: A Marxist-Style Analysis to Understand and Combat the Extreme Left’s Hegemony”, PJ Media, April 10, 2012.

Irony upon irony, as Marx’s faulty analysis of how the world works began to evaporate and sober reality set in — but Marxists are nothing if not flexible:

. . . rather than struggling to weaken the capitalist state to overthrow it, the strategy was to work “within the system” to seize control of the state apparatus in order to transform the society. Thus, the state is to be strengthened as a tool for transforming society rather than defeated. Such a tactic, called “entryism,” is by no means new. . . . [but thanks to their long march through Western cultural institutions] the New New Left had lots of cadre, money, and flexibility while the opposition was disorganized and unaware of what was happening. Victory [such as getting an enigma elected to the Presidency] was astonishingly easy. — Ibid.

Today’s Marxists (Rubins’s “New New Left”) are a somewhat different breed; they’ve been helped along by changes they and their outmoded philosophy couldn’t have predicted:

. . . structural changes in capitalism also indicated the best strategy. These included a “new working class” of experts and technicians along with the tilt toward managerial power over ownership best foreseen by James Burnham. These people, along with the children of the wealthy and capitalist, could be recruited to support the movement through educational indoctrination and perceived self-interest. Believing in efficient, “intelligent” management they would be inclined to think that the government would be the best agency to run things rather than the market. — Ibid.

Not only the struggle for the means of production but also for hearts and minds has continued unabated:

. . . the cultural-intellectual battle was even more important than economic appeals. A high priority was put on seizing control of universities, schools, the news media, publishing, and the entertainment industry. They would be used to indoctrinate people with the movement’s ideas. . . . [Thus] the new ideology argued for the abandonment of the Enlightenment and the principles of the American Founders: open debate, fairness, and professional ethics. It argued that these notions were phony means of maintaining capitalist hegemony. Since there was no such thing as objective truth and everyone was biased, there’s nothing wrong with lying and silencing dissent to serve the revolution. A journalist can be proud to slant his article; a professor pursues the greater good by twisting reality. The educator should be indoctrinated and become, in turn, the indoctrinator of others. — Ibid.

One thing hasn’t changed, however, and that is the Marxists’ ultimate goal of bringing down capitalism, even if it means hitching a ride on robber barons’ coattails:

Historically, radical Marxists defined the capitalist state as bad. Since it could never be used to do what they wanted, it must be subverted. In contrast, the New New Left views the capitalist state, if they control it, as the best base for furthering their agenda. That is why the former were revolutionaries while the latter practice what Obama called “fundamental transformation.” A “revolution” so subtle they can persuade millions of people that it isn’t even happening. — Ibid.

In the final analysis, the new Marxists are clueless on how to manage a society they have successfully weakened and usurped. The result is a situation spiraling out of control:

One weakness of the radical movement, however, is clear. The old revolutionaries created a new regime that ensured their hold on power. Failures, such as economic decline, need not worry them because they could repress any dissent and did not need to win fair elections. The New New Left, however, is trying to run an existing capitalist society in which its misfit policies inevitably produce failure and even disaster. What they are doing is somewhat akin to trying to get your computer to boot up by hitting it with a club. — Ibid.

Read Barry Rubin’s full article here. One account of the “New New Left” is here.

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