"We were fools to think the fall of the Berlin Wall had killed off the far Left”
Skimming the newspapers to check their Berlin Wall coverage, Sean Gabb from Britain’s Libertarian Alliance discovered an unusually good piece in the Daily Mail. It’s not just unusually good (especially for the Mail), but it offers a good lesson in activism, as Sean explains in the postscript:
It's an article by Melanie Phillips and it titled "We were fools to think the fall of the Berlin Wall had killed off the far Left. They're back - and attacking us from within". The key paragraphs are:"Soviet Communism was a belief system whose goal was to overturn the structures of society through the control of economic and political life. This mutated into a post-communist ideology of the Left, whose no-less ambitious aim was to overturn western society through a subversive transformation of its culture....It's a good article and is worth reading in full. I mention it, however [says Sean], because Mrs Phillips might have been quoting from my book Cultural Revolution, Culture War. Indeed, I know that someone bought 50 copies of this two years ago and set them out to various opinion formers among whom was Mrs Phillips.
"But as communism slowly crumbled, those on the far-Left who remained hostile towards western civilisation found another way to realise their goal of bringing it down.
"This was what might be called 'cultural Marxism'. It was based on the understanding that what holds a society together are the pillars of its culture: the structures and institutions of education, family, law, media and religion. Transform the principles that these embody and you can thus destroy the society they have shaped.
"This key insight was developed in particular by an Italian Marxist philosopher called Antonio Gramsci. His thinking was taken up by Sixties radicals - who are, of course, the generation that holds power in the West today.
"Gramsci understood that the working class would never rise up to seize the levers of 'production, distribution and exchange' as communism had prophesied. Economics was not the path to revolution.
"He believed instead that society could be overthrown if the values underpinning it could be turned into their antithesis: if its core principles were replaced by those of groups who were considered to be outsiders or who actively transgressed the moral codes of that society.
"So he advocated a 'long march through the institutions' to capture the citadels of the culture and turn them into a collective fifth column, undermining from within and turning all the core values of society upside-down and inside-out."
I don't normally boast about influence. However, I had a long conversation yesterday with a friend who was rather depressed about the Libertarian Alliance's lack of impact in British politics. This is my answer. I will not claim that I am the only person putting this argument … However, I do think it reasonable to claim that I have *helped*, since I began writing about "The Enemy Class" back in 2001, to provide the conservative and libertarian movement in this country with a narrative that explains what has happened in England over the past few generations.
Who’s with us?