Wokeness is Marxism applied in a Western context. It is the fulfilment of Karl Marx’s dream to create a new religion for mankind.
Wokeness has quickly become the cultural soup in which we all swim. Whether you’re flicking channels on the TV, shopping at the mall or going about your daily life at school, university or work, chances are you will have woke dogma preached at you.
At first glance, the tenets of wokeism seem completely unrelated. One cause is about climate change, another about men wearing dresses, the next about the evils of colonisation or cutting body parts off of children.
But there is a single thread tying all of these ideas together: Marxism. In short, wokeness is Marxism adapted to a Western context — nothing more, and nothing less.
Many have identified the Marxist foundation of wokeness, but none so well as James Lindsay. Lindsay is one of the most consequential academics of our time. At his website New Discourses, he has created a library of resources that trace the contours of wokeness and lay bear its origins.
Last month, Lindsay spoke alongside another academic giant, Frank Furedi, at the European Parliament. Organised by Identité et Démocratie Fondation (The Identity and Democracy Foundation) the event was entitled, ‘Woke, a Cultural War Against Europe’.
James Lindsay’s speech deserves to be watched in full:
Marx’s Vision for Mankind
Lindsay begins by debunking the myth that Marxism is just an economic theory. Karl Marx himself was concerned with far more than just material goods.
Don’t be distracted by the image of the hammer and sickle, says Lindsay. When Marx called on workers to “seize the means of production”, he had more than just farms and factories in view.
According to Marx, man is a social being who has been alienated by the economic conditions in which he finds himself — namely, capitalism. As such, he has forgotten his true nature: man is a socialist at heart who doesn’t realise it.
Marx’s vision to “seize the means of production”, therefore, is not just about the economy: it’s about taking control of how human beings produce themselves. Marx longed for man to complete himself and to complete history.
Communism, he dreamed, would be a perfectly equitable society not just because of how wealth would be apportioned but because it would usher man into his true destiny as a social creature.
What is Marxism?
As Lindsay points out, Marx was not an economist — he was a theologian. He wanted to produce a religion for mankind that would supersede all other religions and bring man back to his true social nature.
Marx was upset that society is organised around the idea of private property. He believed the elite class (bourgeois) had given themselves special access to certain private property by exploiting, oppressing and excluding the underclass (proletariat). As Karl Marx wrote in the Communist Manifesto (1848), communism can be summarised in a single sentence: the abolition of private property.
In short, Marxism sees society divided between the haves and the have-nots. These two groups are locked in a class conflict until and unless something can break the deadlock.
Marx’s vision was to awaken the underclass to their real conditions and to remind them that they were historical agents of change. If enough proletariats woke up, he believed, the revolution would be on — and society could be transformed.
What we have just described is the classical, economic “species” of Marxism.
But we know in the animal kingdom that every genus has more than one species. In the cat genus, for instance, are domestic cats, along with tigers, lions and leopards — all of which are still cats.
According to Lindsay, so it is with Marxism: there are other species in the Marxist genus that have adapted to new conditions.
The first example Lindsay highlights is Race Marxism. If we swap economic class for race, the result is Critical Race Theory (CRT) — an ideology that has taken America by storm in recent years.
According to CRT, white people are the bourgeois, the haves; while Black people are the proletariat, the have-nots.
Lindsay explains that under CRT, whiteness or white privilege is private property. People who have access to this property are white or “white adjacent” or they “act white”. People without whiteness are people of colour and they are oppressed by systemic racism.
The goal of CRT is to awaken a racial consciousness in people of colour and channel their resentment so they will band together to abolish whiteness and usher in racial justice.
James Lindsay in fact wrote a book entitled Race Marxism, where he defined Critical Race Theory thus: calling everything you want to control racist until you control it. (By contrast, he says that Classical Marxism can be defined as calling everything you want to control bourgeois until you control it).
The only difference between Classical Marxism and Race Marxism is the system that is to be dismantled — in the former, it is capitalism; in the latter, white supremacy.
Queer Theory is another species of Marxism, following precisely the same outline. Its rising popularity is seen in the West’s obsessive focus on sexuality and gender.
Under Queer Marxism, the private property that must be abolished is the idea of “normal”. The haves are those who get to decide what is normal. Heterosexuals enjoy this privilege and set the rules for society, deciding that men must act and dress like men, that women should be pretty and feminine, and that other sexualities are abnormal or “queer”.
Queer people are the have-nots, and they have embraced the “queer” label, even using it as an academic term. Lindsay clarifies that “queer” means an identity without an essence, an identity that is strictly oppositional to the concept of the normal.
Queer Marxists see it as their mission to abolish the private property of “normal” sexuality. Gender pronouns, Drag Queen Story Hour and sex-change surgery for children are among the variety of tools they are currently using to drive their revolution. The “+” in the “LGBTQIA+” acronym is a reminder that nothing is ultimately off-limits — not even pedophilia.
Once you recognise the pattern, it is hard to miss.
Another species in the Marxism genus is Post-Colonial Theory. Australians will be especially familiar with this as it is the ideology behind the Voice to Parliament.
Lindsay explains that according to Post-Colonial Marxism, Westerners are the haves. They have decided their culture is the default and have colonised the world and become the oppressor.
The have-nots are the world’s indigenous people, who must band together and strive for decolonisation — which means abolishing every aspect of Western culture. All of the West’s cultural artefacts are fair game. School curricula must be decolonised, along with Shakespeare, classical music, and of course, Christianity.
(This is why Christians especially must not be deceived into supporting the Marxist agenda, lest they end up deconstructing their own faith).
Lindsay’s premise is as simple as it is undeniable: Race Marxism, Queer Marxism and Post-Colonial Marxism are all different species of Marxism adapted to a Western context. At heart, they are the same way of thinking about the world and share the same underlying logic articulated by Karl Marx.
Image via Unsplash.