On Wednesday, July 1st, I sat at a city council meeting and listened to the opinions, thoughts, and concerns of many people in our community. One attendee, Matt Crowe, proposed that the council offer tax incentives for minority owned businesses to encourage diversity in the Grand Valley. Others like Daniel Haas mentioned the challenges faced by individuals experiencing homelessness in Grand Junction. Some citizens attacked councilmember Anna Stout, and others attacked councilmembers Philip P’ea and Duke Wortmann. One incident that caught my attention was when an individual accused the Black Lives Matter movement and RAW of being “Cultural Marxists” during the public comment period.
Prior to this council meeting I had knowledge of Karl Marx and his beliefs, but had never heard of “Cultural Marxism”. So, after I left the council meeting I did my own research and gathered that Cultural Marxism is nothing but a conspiracy theory used against left-wing activists who are trying to create change.
This conspiracy grew out of the term “Cultural Bolshevism”, which was used against liberals in Nazi Germany. “Cultural Marxism” is associated with the group of academics who, during Hitler’s rise to power, fled Germany and immigrated to the US for safety. This group was a part of the Frankfurt School (Institute of Social Research) in Germany, but when they had to leave in 1933, they became associated with Columbia University. Conspiracy theorists created the theory that this school had a secret plot to spread Marxist ideas throughout America in an attempt to destroy the country. They had concluded that these German academics and their allies were secretly undermining American values from within, especially in universities.
Now that you have a brief history of the term, it’s time to answer the question, “Is RAW a group of Cultural Marxists?”. No, they are not. It is a conspiracy theory; and even if Cultural Marxism was a genuine political philosophy, does that mean that a considerable amount of individuals believe that fighting for the equality of BIPOC people is a ploy to destroy America from within? Corruption is already alive and well in American society, without any assistance from the BLM movement. Their goals are to overcome the injustices that are deeply cemented into many aspects of our everyday lives, and to work towards a better, more equal future for America– not to dismantle the country we call home.
It’s obvious that so many parts of our country need reform, but it’s important not to confuse reform with total destruction. The police system is one of many imperfect structures that is in great need of reformation, and if people researched the true reasons why this is so necessary instead of quickly scrolling past headlines, or only gathering information from biased news sources, we could have come much farther as a society by now.
It is extremely important to highlight the harmful nature of spreading these conspiracy theories (and accepting them as facts), and of accusing the people who are trying desperately to fight for positive change within our community of untrue allegations. It is evident that RAW and groups similar to it are trying to help by identifying the racial disadvantages deeply rooted into our communities, whether that be in education, housing, policing, etc. It is also crucial that everyone understands that these social and economic reforms are nothing to fear, and that they are causes we should all be fighting tirelessly for.
So if “Cultural Marxism” was one of the reasons you’re fighting against the Black Lives Matter Movement, you can cross that one off the list.