Republicans in the Florida House of Representatives are worried that little children may be subjected to woke propaganda like the idea that LGBTQ+ people exist, and while they’ve already made saying gay a crime, they want kids to better understand the threat posed to America and freedom by communism. Communism, you see, is so much more than just a funny retro meme about paranoid Americans in the Cold War era (1946 to right this very minute).
That’s why a state House committee moved forward a bill — HB 1349 — requiring all Florida students from kindergarten to 12th grade learn about the history of communism, with “age appropriate” instruction in every grade on the “history of Communism in the United States and domestic Communist movements, including their histories and tactics,” which we assume would include the plot to sap and impurify our precious bodily fluids by fluoridating our water and even children’s ice cream. Currently, students are taught about communism and capitalism starting in seventh grade, but only as economic systems, not as pure evil and pure good.
The lessons would also have to cover “atrocities committed in foreign countries under the guidance of communism,” which should be age-appropriate fun for the kindergarteners, as well as the “increasing threat of Communism in the United States and our allies through the 20th Century,” which doesn’t appear to allow kids to question whether such a threat really existed, let alone “increased” in the USA.
And then there’s a fun line calling for teaching about the “philosophy and lineages of Communist thought, including cultural Marxism.”
No, the bill doesn’t attempt to define “cultural Marxism,” because you know it when you see it: It’s any cultural influence that is bad and promotes Marxism, duh. Just please ignore the teensy detail that “cultural Marxism” is an old antisemitic dogwhistle that suggest The Jews secretly run American (or world) culture, sowing the seeds for the destruction of America through movies, journalism, rock ‘n’ roll, race-mixing, and probably whatever this year’s best-selling fad toy is, too. Is it still “fidget spinners”?
Not surprisingly, this has some Democrats in the state Lege worried, because the Cultural Marxists have made them afraid of being patriotic Americans.
“If you look up the term cultural Marxism, what comes up is the term cultural Marxism refers to a far-right antisemitic conspiracy theory, so that’s also concerning to me,” Palm Beach Democratic Rep. Katherine Waldron said.
And indeed, Marilyn Mayo, senior research fellow with ADL’s Center on Extremism, said in a statement to the Florida Phoenix that yes of course it’s an old old slur that attempts to link communism with Jews, yeesh you people need to read some books:
“‘Cultural Marxism’ is a term, typically used by right-wing ideologues, to attack an array of ideas and concepts they oppose, including multiculturalism, globalism, feminism, and LGBTQ+ rights, among others. The term often functions as an antisemitic dog whistle or codeword,” Mayo wrote in the statement.
“Promoters of the term often invoke a conspiracy theory that falsely claims such progressive ideas originated with the so-called Frankfurt School, a leftist intellectual collective active in Germany between the two World Wars. Exploiting the fact that a number of the Frankfurt School intellectuals were Jewish, antisemitic versions of this conspiracy theory link the Frankfurt School, and thus ‘cultural Marxism’ itself, to Jews, claiming that Jews seek to subvert and weaken Western (and Christian) society by imposing their left-wing and politically correct (or ‘woke’) views.”
Big surprise: You’ll also see rightwingers blame the Frankfurt School (and those Jews) for Critical Race Theory, postmodernism, and even that obscure lit-crit demon deconstruction, including my favorite joke, which I first saw in Nicole Hollander’s comic “Sylvia” when I was an impressionable grad student:
“What do you get when you cross a mafioso with a deconstructionist?”
“An offer you don’t understand.”
In the last couple decades, the far Right has often tried to talk about the supposed threat of “cultural Marxism” by pretending they’re only talking about the commie part, for reals, although the antisemitic part keeps sneaking in somehow, like that time back in 2018 when Ron Paul blamed a staffer for “inadvertently” tweeting out a viciously racist, antisemitic cartoon on the then-congressman’s account (like much racist rightwing crap, it’s not really a Ben Garrison cartoon. Including his signature on screamingly evil shit was “funny,” you see).
After deleting the offensive image, the account reposted the same fears about “Cultural Marxism” with a more conventional denunciation of “political correctness,” magically removing the antisemitism! But the linked Facebook post is still up all these years later, explaining that after Marxists failed in geopolitics, they “shifted to targeting culture instead of the economy,” in another plot to destroy our freedom.
If Cultural Marxists could *destroy the culture* of Capitalist nations, *then* they would try to use the opportunity to change the governments and economies to their Socialist utopia.
And that’s why Taylor Swift has corrupted football to make you vote for Joe Biden.
The Right’s attempt to make fear of “cultural Marxism” slightly more respectable by not saying the antisemitic part out loud is on full display in a feverish 2022 screed by the Heritage Foundation, “How Cultural Marxism Threatens the United States—and How Americans Can Fight It.” Co-written by Sebastian Gorka’s wife Katherine Gorka and one Mike Gonzalez (author of BLM: The Making of a New Marxist Revolution), the document claimed Marxists of the “‘60s New Left” — yes, inspired by and in league with the Frankfurt School — had already taken over the universities and the public schools, and also spread its tentacles throughout American culture like a big
Jewish Communist octopus, although there’s no mention of the Cultural Marxism of Japanese tentacle porn.
The report very soberly warns that “cultural Marxism today presents a far more serious and existential threat to the United States than did Soviet communism,” before launching into the same boilerplate culture wars crap we’ve seen a million times already. Just look at the insights!
Because of cultural Marxism’s inroads into the education system, many of America’s youth have already been raised on a diet of ideas that directly undermine the American Founding. They are not taught that all people are created equal; they are taught that some people are racially privileged due to structural racism. They are not taught individual rights so much as group rights. They are not taught that the United States, with its free markets and property rights, has brought more prosperity to more people than any other nation on earth.
Stop us if you’ve heard that before. But look! Not a bit of antisemitism in there! They dressed up “cultural Marxism” discourse in a nice suit that hides the term’s swastika tattoos real good.
Like Tucker Carlson’s version of the Great Replacement Theory, the Heritage Foundation paper got all the paranoia about creeping enemies in our midst, sneakily bringing down America from within, without any overt mention of “international bankers” or “globalists” or Jewish puppetmasters … apart from a few mentions of George Soros and “Soros money,” because how could they not?
Why yes, the document does thank RonDeSantis for all the good he’s done in fighting “cultural Marxism,” which he has said is where all that wokeness comes from.
Anyhow, the supporters of the bill aren’t too worried that it’s pushing an antisemitic trope, because as Rep. Alex Rizo (R) explained, “I equate antisemitism a lot with communism,” so there can’t be anything antisemitic about warning kids against “cultural Marxism.”
Besides, Rizo thinks that communism needs to get equal attention with the history of slavery and the Holocaust, which are currently mandated in public schools. He also isn’t happy that students only learn about communism as an economic theory, but that the curriculum “does not yet really address the over 100 million people who were victimized, murdered, displaced in about 100 years worth of communism in our society,” which makes us wonder whether he thinks Stalin’s purges and the Cultural Revolution happened here in the USA, in our society.
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[Florida Phoenix / Florida HB 1349 (2024) / Heritage Foundation, eew]
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