Polemics & Exchanges

On the Death of Marxism

In his review of my book, The Strange Death of Marxism (“The Two Faces of Marxism,” April), Paul Belien writes that I have overstated the hypothetical distance between Marxism and post-Marxism.  The “cultural Marxists” in the Frankfurt School were supposedly right to claim for themselves a Marxist pedigree because of their hatred for Christian and bourgeois traditions and because, as Belien explains, the early Soviet communists had no use for either the institution of marriage or established sex distinctions.

These observations are partly correct, but let us also remember that Soviet Russia and other communist societies, after an initial fling with yuppie ideas, settled down to relatively conventional social standards, when measured against current Western European ones.  Communist countries, for example, have been extremely inhospitable to homosexuals, lesbians, and druggies.  This attitude was, of course, not characteristic of the intellectuals who joined Western communist parties and, like Michele Foucault, helped create the current leftist culture.  Nor does my criterion apply to those tiresome Germans who supported the DDR out of collective self-loathing—that is, because they supported Germany’s division and the oppression of the East Germans as a condign punishment for their people. ...

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