English edit

Etymology edit

Coined in Trent Schroyer's The Critique of Domination: The Origins and Development of Critical Theory (1973).

Noun edit

cultural Marxism (uncountable)

  1. (conservative and right-wing discourse) A perceived Marxist conspiracy controlling modern progressive politics, mass media, and academia.
    • 2019 March 27, Benjamin Kentish, quoting Suella Braverman, “Conservative MP condemned for repeating far-right, antisemitic conspiracy theory about ‘cultural Marxism’”, in The Independent[1]:
      She said: “We are engaging in many battles right now. As Conservatives we are engaged in a battle against cultural Marxism, where banning things is becoming de rigueur, where freedom of speech is becoming a taboo, where our universities – quintessential institutions of liberalism – are being shrouded in censorship and a culture of no-platforming.”
    • 2023 May 15, Peter Walker, Pippa Crerar, quoting Miriam Cates, “Low birthrate is UK’s top priority, Tory MP tells rightwing conference”, in The Guardian[2], →ISSN:
      A Conservative MP has claimed the UK’s low birthrate is the most pressing policy issue of the generation and is caused in part by “cultural Marxism” stripping young people of any hope, at the start of a populist-tinged conference in London.
  2. (Marxism, academia) Marxist analysis applied to culture and cultural phenomena.
    • 2007, Anna Green, Cultural History, →ISBN, page 45:
      Both cultural Marxism and symbolic anthropology can, in retrospect, be seen to be part of a general movement towards the 'linguistic turn' within the humanities, with its focus upon the semiotic dimensions of human culture (the subject of the next chapter).
    • 2009, Philip Bounds, Orwell and Marxism: The Political and Cultural Thinking of George Orwell, →ISBN:
      Nothing illustrates Orwell's ambivalence towards cultural Marxism more powerfully than his writings on literature.
    • 2014, Lynn Hunt, Writing History in the Global Era, →ISBN:
      A student of youth subcultures, Hall crossbred the increasingly influential cultural Marxism, exemplified by E. P. Thompson, with the French structuralism of the anthropologist Claude LéviStrauss, which burst onto the intellectual scene in the 1960s and soon enjoyed international prestige.
    • 2021 November 18, David Brooks, “The Terrifying Future of the American Right”, in The Atlantic[3]:
      These people have certainly done their homework when it comes to cultural Marxism—how the left has learned to dominate culture and how the right now needs to copy their techniques. If I’d had to drink a shot every time some speaker cited Herbert Marcuse or Antonio Gramsci, I’d be dead of alcohol poisoning.
  3. (Marxism, academia) A form of Marxism perceived as subsumed by capitalism and thus as unauthentic by its critics (usually other Marxists).

Usage notes edit

In the sense of “Marxist conspiracy”, the word is strongly associated with conservative and far-right conspiracy theories about left-leaning groups.

Related terms edit

Translations edit

Further reading edit