Save Us From Fake Marxists

On the front page of Sunday’s New York Post, a co-founder of Black Lives Matter, Patrisse Khan-Cullors, was described (appropriately in quotations) as a “Marxist.” It seems that Khan-Cullors, who is only 37, has purchased four sumptuous homes with donations to her organization (totaling more than $90 million). These gifts have allowed the BLM leader to lavish $3.2 million on real estate “in this country alone.” She is also considering the acquisition of beach property in the Bahamas, the sales value for which starts at $5 million. 

This leads me to wonder how this affluent beneficiary of woke capitalism represents Marxism. Contrary to standard descriptions of this now-celebrated radical, I find no convincing evidence that she is a “trained Marxist.” Khan-Cullors may be a pernicious parasite on a decaying Judeo-Christian society and a once firm constitutional order, but this hardly qualifies her as a disciple of Marx and Lenin. She is exactly what she seems, an ostentatious nouveau riche who dabbles in fashionable radical poses and makes a fortune in the process. 

Calling such a person an authentic Marxist assumes an intellectual seriousness that is lacking in our intersectional politics. Khan-Cullors’ boast that she’s a Marxist because she adores the now-moribund American Communist Party and was a disciple of the onetime campus agitator Eric Mann doesn’t persuade me. These qualifications suggest that our real-estate addict knows how to market herself to the generic Left, which is kept going by antiwhite, culturally radical millionaires who I doubt have ever studied Marx’s Das Kapital.  

The conservative establishment should stop ascribing to Khan-Cullors and the thugs she helps finance an identity that flatters them unnecessarily. Like their well-attired leader, they are neither Marxists nor Communists. As an historian of political movements who has researched these subjects, I can’t see how the activists inspired by Khan-Cullors represent either Marxist theory or Marxist programs. People can be vicious and obnoxious and in love with terrorism without being Marxists; and BLM is all those things—but it is not identifiably Marxist.   

In Europe, Marxist parties—whether the French or Italian Communist Party after World War II or the German Social Democratic Party (which remained formally Marxist until 1959)—comprised members of the working class. Neither here nor in Europe is the current Left attracting workers in large numbers. Instead, it accumulates LGBTQ activists, woke capitalists, racial minorities, and soccer moms. 

Indigenous workforces have moved to the Right, and Donald Trump’s rebranding of the GOP as a “working-class party” reflects a trend that is sweeping other countries as well. Workers are moving toward the nationalist Right; while corporate capitalists are financing a post-Marxist Left, which appeals to cultural revolutionaries and antiwhite radicals. Let’s not worry about the unlikely possibility that the Biden Administration will inflict heavy tax burdens on its corporate capitalist sponsors. The Democrats are not likely to bite the hand that feeds them. 

These post-Marxist leftists bear an eerie resemblance to what we used to call in the 1960s and 1970s “limousine liberals.” Over the decades these types have grown fonder of inciting violence, and more openly hostile to normal people. Kahn-Cullors, Kamala Harris, and other BLM well-wishers do not recall Rosa Luxemburg or the Spanish Communist leader of the 1930s Dolores Ibárrui (a.k.a. La Pasionaria). Instead, they are fashionistas and, like Harris, members of pseudo-Marxist cells like the Hillcrest Country Club (which, by the way, seems to have a meticulous member validation process). 

Although Harris encouraged BLM and Antifa rioting last summer, she surely didn’t expect the disorder to reach her Brentwood estate. Our vice president resides in one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in Los Angeles, where she and her husband Doug Emhoff stay while in California. Nor would Michelle Obama, who has given vocal encouragement to BLM, expect BLM ruffians to invade her $11.4 million mansion on Martha’s Vineyard.  Such woke leaders have higher concerns. Harris should not have to worry about the plight of abandoned, desperate children on our Southern border, a crisis that she and Joe devised to increase the Democratic vote, particularly in Texas. This engaged public servant has been busy buying her favorite cakes at the Brown Sugar Bakery in Chicago.  

Many established conservatives such as Carol Swain, Mark Levin, and Dennis Prager have cited a key passage in the BLM program as evidence of Marxism: “We disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement by supporting each other as extended families and ‘villages’ that collectively care for one another, especially our children, to the degree that mothers, parents, and children are comfortable.”  This sounds like gibberish to me. I have no idea what makes this statement specifically Marxist. 

Marxists in power have collectivized industries and agriculture, but not usually nuclear families. BLM may be demanding the creation of their imaginary African alternative to the Western family. In any case, I wouldn’t read too much into this bombast. Kahn-Cullors may have written the offending lines while on her way to buying real estate near the vice president.


About Paul Gottfried

Paul Edward Gottfried is the editor of Chronicles. An American paleoconservative philosopher, historian, and columnist, Gottfried is a former Horace Raffensperger Professor of Humanities at Elizabethtown College in Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania, as well as a Guggenheim recipient.

Photo: Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images for Glamou

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