Wednesday, December 21, 2016

The Frankfurt School: And Why It Matters To Black People

What are we doing in America? What is our goal? What is our purpose? What was the main thing our ancestors had on their minds upon first setting foot on these shores in chains?

The last question can be answered right away...They wanted to get back to their own people and their own way of life.   Let's keep them and their deepest hopes and desires in mind as we look into the information below.

What is the Frankfurt School?

In the days following the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia, it was believed that the workers’ revolution would sweep into Europe and, eventually, into the United States. But it did not do so. Towards the end of 1922, on Lenin’s initiative, a meeting was organized at the Marx-Engels Institute in Moscow to consider what were the reasons.

Amongst those present were Georg Lukacs and Willi Munzenberg (whose proposed solution was to ‘organise the intellectuals and use them to make Western civilisation stink. Only then, after they have corrupted all its values and made life impossible, can we impose the dictatorship of the proletariat’)
The foundation for the Frankfurt School also known as the Institute of Social Research (Institut für Sozialforschung) was the result of this meeting. It is the original source of what is known as Critical Theory.

The Institute attracted many genuine and interesting scholars. Among these were Max Horkheimer, Theodor Adorno, Erich Fromm and philosopher and political theorist Herbert Marcuse (1898-1979). When Hitler came to power, in 1933, the Institut was closed and its members, by various routes, fled to the United States and migrated to major U.S. universities—Columbia, Princeton, Brandeis, and California at Berkeley.
Basically, the Frankfurt School believed that as long as an individual had the belief - or even the hope of belief - that his divine gift of reason could solve the problems facing society, then that society would never reach the state of hopelessness and alienation that they considered necessary to provoke socialist revolution. Their task, therefore, was as swiftly as possible to undermine the traditional Judaeo-Christian legacy. To do this they called for the most negative destructive criticism possible of every sphere of life which would be designed to de-stabilize society and bring down what they chose to view as the ‘oppressive’ order. 

Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno

The chief weapon in their ideological arsenal was criticism. The Frankfurt School made it academically fashionable to subject every old truth claim to “new criticism” or “critical theory.” Quite in harmony with Marx, every established authority and every established belief must be questioned, challenged, critiqued, doubted, ridiculed, marginalized, weakened, subverted, destroyed, and replaced. 

One of the basic tenets of the ‘Critical Theory’ : the necessity of breaking down the contemporary family. The Institute scholars preached that ‘Even a partial breakdown of parental authority in the family might tend to increase the readiness of a coming generation to accept social change.’Following Karl Marx, the School stressed how the ‘authoritarian personality’ is a product of the patriarchal family—it was Marx who wrote so disparagingly about the idea of the family being the basic unit of society.

 In 1955, Herbert Marcuse published Eros and Civilization.
In the book, Marcuse argued that Western culture was inherently repressive because it gave up happiness for social progress. The book called for “polymorphous perversity,” a concept crafted by Sigmund Freud. It posed the idea of sexual pleasure outside the traditional norms. Eros and Civilization would become very influential in shaping the sexual revolution of the 1960s. Marcuse would be the one to answer Horkheimer’s question from the 1930s: Who would replace the working class as the new vanguards of the Marxist revolution? Marcuse believed that it would be a 'victim coalition' of minorities—blacks, women, and homosexuals.
Georg Lukacs
The social movements of the 1960s—black power, feminism, gay rights, sexual liberation—gave Marcuse a unique vehicle to release cultural Marxist ideas into the mainstream. Railing against all things “establishment,” the Frankfurt School’s ideals caught on and spread across American universities. Marcuse then published Repressive Tolerance in 1965 as the various social movements in America were in full swing. In it, he argued that tolerance of all values and ideas meant the repression of “correct” ideas. It was here that Marcuse coined the term “liberating tolerance.” It called for tolerance of any ideas coming from the left but intolerance of any ideas considered conservative.

"Ideas are more powerful than guns. We would not let our enemies have guns, why should we let them have ideas?" 
  ~ Joseph Stalin

“[While] Marcuse… saw the third world’s ‘anti-colonial’ movements as evidence that Marx was right – he recognized that in the United States there would be no such uprising by the working class. He therefore needed a different set of interest groups to tear down capitalism using his critical theory. And he found those groups in the racial, ethnic, and sexual groups that hated the old order. These victimized interest groups rightly opposed all the beauties of Western civilization ‘with all the defiance, and the hatred, and the joy of rebellious victims, defining their own humanity against the definitions of the masters.’
Marcuse’s mission was to dismantle American society by using diversity and ‘multiculturalism’ as crowbars with which to pry the structure apart, piece by piece. He wanted to set blacks in opposition to whites, set all ‘victim groups’ in opposition to the society at large.

For example, Marcuse theorized,  we must look to “the substratum of the outcasts and outsiders, etc,” for any social change (MacIntyre 1970: 87).
One of the social movements that Marcuse turned to was the feminist movement. On March 7, 1974 Marcuse gave a paper at Stanford University entitled, “Marxism and Feminism”. In it he states:
I believe the women's liberation movement today is, perhaps the most important and potentially the most radical political movement that we have. (Marcuse 2005: 165)

 The importance of the individual as a person gifted with the divine spark of creativity, and capable of acting upon all human civilization, was replaced by the idea that the person is important because he or she is black, or a woman, or feels homosexual impulses. This explains the shift of the civil rights movement into an ill-defined "black power" movement, and the transformation of the legitimate issue of civil rights for women into radical feminism. Discussion of women's civil rights was forced into being just another platform  from which to attack societal institutions in the name of 'liberation'.
Herbert Marcuse with Angela Davis
Marcuse heavily influenced and in fact trained Angela Davis. She stated that, "he had a profound affect on my life and my work." Davis attended Brandeis as a French Literature student. Marcuse influenced her to go to Germany and study with former colleagues of his, Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer. Davis later took up philosophy and joined the Communist party.

This is where it becomes important to understand how these theories and the Frankfurt School affect Black America. 
In the late 1960's, Marcuse would publish one of his most influential essays, called “On Liberation” that inspired radical groups from the Students for a Democratic Society, to the Weathermen, to the Black Panthers.
In “On Liberation”, Marcuse lays out the Communist idea of using the inner city black Americans as the front line troops of a guerrilla revolutionary overthrow of the United StatesHe called them the “most elemental, the most immediate force of rebellion” and he wrote:
The ghetto population of the United States constitutes such a force. Confined to small areas of living and dying, it can be more easily organized and directed. Moreover, located in the core cities of the country, the ghettos form natural geographical centers from which the struggle can be mounted against targets of vital economic and political importance.

The bottom line here is that Marxists were never really concerned with Africa or Africans except to the extent that they could be used as vanguards or fodder in a revolution that these Europeans would ultimately benefit from and control.

As far back as the 1930's regarding Marxism, Marcus Garvey astutely noticed, "a higher wage standard of the American or English white worker as rallied for by communists in the West must result in a lower standard for the exploited natives (original peoples) in their country.” Garvey was aware that ‘The Communist Manifesto’, written by Karl Marx and Friederich Engels in 1847, incredibly, does not even mention the massive enslavement of African people, which was still going on at that time and was a serious issue.  "It was the slave trade that provided the impetus for the transformation of these former European serfs into workers.” ~ Garvey

Critical Race Theory
 The Critical Theory of the Frankfurt School spread into other academic fields as Critical Psychology, Cultural Studies and Critical Legal Studies. Influenced by Critical Legal Theory narratives, the late Prof. Derrick Albert Bell, Jr. , came up with Critical Race Theory, an academic discipline which maintains that “society is divided along racial lines into (white) oppressors and (black) victims, similar to the way Marxism frames the oppressor/victim dichotomy along class lines.”

Critical Race Theory (CRT) is essentially Gramscisan theory limited to race.
Prof. Derrick Bell
[Antonio Gramsci was a Marxist philosopher writing in the early 20th century, who developed the idea that the ruling class had successfully imposed a cultural hegemony, wherein the proletariat was essentially tricked into accepting the status quo via constructs designed to limit and control it though it appeared to be simply the result of cultural norms.]
The basic idea is that the racism is institutionalized via power structures and the cultural norms of society which are wholly a product of the dominant race. To that end, Critical race theorists eschew analytical approaches to racial issues, favoring instead more narrative-oriented approaches that serve to create counter-hegemonies for the marginalized race, exactly in line with Gramsci's thinking.

There are generally 5 tenets to Critical Race Theory:

Tenet One: counter-storytelling; gives ‘students of color’ a voice to tell their narratives with regards to marginalized experiences.
Tenet Two: the permanence of racism. This tenet asserts that racism controls the political, social, and economic realms of American society. This includes the concept of microaggression, which refers to "the sudden, stunning, or dispiriting transactions that mar the days of oppressed individuals.”

Tenet Three: Whiteness as property, which includes the right of possession, the right to use and enjoyment, the right to disposition, and the right of exclusion. Also included is the idea of White privilege which refers to “the myriad of social advantages, benefits, and courtesies that come with being a member of the dominant race.”

Tenet Four: interest conversion. This tenet acknowledges White people as being the primary beneficiaries of civil rights legislation which is exemplified in affirmative action and diversity initiatives.

Tenet Five: critique of liberalism. According to this tenet, ‘colorblindness’ is a mechanism allowing people to ignore racist policies that perpetuate social inequity.

What is the point of these approaches? The purpose, of course, is to combat racism. 
Derrick Bell said that "the great challenge today is to get white folks to acknowledge the benefits of racism and to see that it comes at too high a price."

And herein lies the problem and the issue with allowing others to define our reality and the nature of our circumstances for us.

Communist Poster 1936
Because we haven't been paying close attention, Europeans (whose fundamental ideas are essentially foreign to us) have completely defined and shaped how we see our reality, our conditions, our solutions and our approaches to American life.
For example let's look at four words and how their meaning has been changed in the hands of Marxism and the Radical Left.

Racism - Racism originally referred to "the belief that some races are superior by nature to others”. It was tied up with the pseudo-science of race which was very popular in Europe in the 19th Century. A perfect example would be the assertions made in Arthur de Gobineau's, "The Inequality of the Races", that articulated the stereotype of the superior Aryan or Nordic Race- blond, strong, intelligent, moral, and brave.* (This idea has no scientific basis in reality).

The term 'racism' was popularized by Marxists based on an entirely different meaning. Leon Trotsky, in his work "The History of the Russian Revolution", used the word to describe the Slavic people who resisted the international workers revolution in favor of their own native culture and way of life, and wanted to protect it. Trotsky on the other hand saw them and others like them as an impediment to the class based, international Communist revolution. To him they were simply "backward", and others like them were simply "racists". Over time, the word came to be used by the left as anyone who highly or primarily valued their own people, ethnic group or traditions. Even further, 'racism' has been expanded to mean a vague entity that needs no individual, no feeling of superiority and no hatred to bring it about.

As noted by Adolph Reed Jr. 

"All too often, “racism” is the subject of sentences that imply intentional activity or is characterized as an autonomous “force.” In this kind of formulation, “racism,” a conceptual abstraction, is imagined as a material entity. Abstractions can be useful, but they shouldn’t be given independent life.
I can appreciate such formulations as transient political rhetoric; hyperbolic claims made in order to draw attention and galvanize opinion against some particular injustice. But as the basis for social interpretation, and particularly interpretation directed toward strategic political action, they are useless. 

Oppression - this word used to mean the exercise of authority or power in a burdensome, cruel, or unjust manner. But this definition has shifted.
In classical Marxism, the workers of the world were oppressed by the ruling classes. Under the Frankfurt school, the new theory was that everyone in society was psychologically oppressed by the institutions of Western culture. The influence of this theory is seen in second and third wave feminism, where women are by definition oppressed by the male patriarchy.  For example, Shulamith Firestone, in her 1970 book “The Dialectic of Sex” argued that“the heart of women’s oppression is in her childbearing and child-rearing roles.” Or as discussed by Sheila Jeffrys, "when a woman reaches climax with a man she is only collaborating with the patriarchal system, eroticizing her own oppression."

Liberation -This new definition of oppression also changed the meaning of 'liberation'. The Frankfurt theorist Max Horkheimer said that the purpose of critical theory was "to liberate human beings from the circumstances that enslave them." And basically Western capitalism enslaved human beings. So when black people talk about liberation, it no longer means liberation from the undue control or influence of Europeans, because the meaning has been co-opted.  Suddenly it is Marxist ideology that defines the path toward freedom. They will define for us what we must be liberated from.

Finally, White Supremacy - This was once clear in its meaning. It meant "the belief or assertion that white people are superior in certain characteristics, traits, and attributes to people of other racial/ethnic backgrounds and that therefore white people should politically, economically and socially rule non-white people."  The term white supremacy is now used in academic studies to denote a system of structural or 'societal racism' which privileges white people over others, regardless of the presence or absence of racial hatred.  According to Critical Race Theory it is a permanent, real entity, not a (false) belief.

These four words are extremely prominent in the lives and discourse of and about black people. They have been put forward as our defining reality and we are told that our goal, for example, is to combat racism and dismantle so-called white supremacy.  We are told we will not be able to function, prosper or do anything worthwhile for ourselves until we first combat racism and dismantle so-called white supremacy. 
And this is why it is so crucial for black people to understand what is going on an who is pulling the strings in the back ground.
If black people begin to assert love of self first, and a higher concern for their own first, suddenly they are considered racist. If the biological, anthropological, historical and archeological truths are asserted in the sense that black people are the original people on the planet and the fathers and mothers of civilization, this is deemed racism by some because somewhere along the line they have allowed the mindset of these socialists and marxists to dictate the landscape of their thought and reality.  
The purpose here isn't to attack Communists, Socialists or Marxists, the point is to question and be more aware of the mindset influencing our leaders so we understand the direction in which they are trying to take us. 

Mao Tse Tung and W.E.B. Dubois
This is important to understand, because the list of spokes people presenting these ideas to us has been and continues to be considerable and influential.
 They include:
 Paul Robeson, CLR James, A. Philip Randolph, W.E.B. Dubois, the Black Panther Party, the Revolutionary Action Movement (RAM), The Black Liberation Army, George Jackson, Angela Davis, Derrick Bell, Bayard Rustin, Stokely Carmichael,  Dr. John Henrik Clarke, Bell Hooks, Cornel West (who publicly states that his theories are derived from Georg Lukacs) and Manning Marable among others.  It's also interesting to note that Martin Luther King's behind the scenes financier, top advisor and speech writer (he co-wrote the I Have A Dream Speech) was former Communist Party member, Stanley Levison. Malcolm X was also significantly influenced by socialist thought after his break with the NOI. 
We can all sympathize with the fact that all these black people have sincerely sought a society free from injustice, racial hatred, exploitation and police brutality, but what have their advisors and handlers been seeking? 
They want something at odds with, simply, a just society, free of racial hatred, they want destroy this society and replace it with one run by European Marxists and they are willing to use us and manipulate our very real circumstances to do it. 
The bottom line is that it is important to know who is shaping our future and what their agendas are, 
because this is continuing to happen. 
Consider the fact that with all the emotional outpourings and discussions spurred by the "Black Lives Matter" Movement, it was never understood that the co-founder Patrisse Cullors was recruited and trained back in 2000 by a white man named Eric Mann.  

Mann is a Communist Marxist revolutionary and former member of the radical Weather Underground. Eric Mann pictured an American socialist revolution that began in the inner-cities. Like Herbert Marcuse, Eric Mann fantasized about a world where angry, down-trodden black citizens would rise up, rebel, and begin an armed struggle. Upon recruiting  Cullors Mann taught her politics and “revolutionary organizing” for ten years. 

"If I die in police custody, burn everything down!
No building is worth more than my life!

And that’s the only way motherf*ckers like you listen!"
~Patrisse Cullors

Patrisse Cullors

Cullors is co-founder of the Black Lives Matter group along with Alicia Garza. The groups with which Garza has been affiliated including—NDWA (National Domestic Workers Alliance), RTTC (Right To The City Alliance)—are front groups for the Marxist-Leninist  FRSO (Freedom Road Socialist Organization).  The FRSO is a hereditary descendant of the New Communist Movement, which was inspired by Mao Tse Tung. In addition, the NDWA at which Garza worked, was founded by George Soros' son Alexander Soros. George Soros' Open Society Foundation also heavily funds and shapes the BLM movement. 
So what? Why does this matter? First it explains why, to many black people's dismay, the BLM movement seemed to have no real concern or roots in the historical aspect of black culture, and no real plan for the improvement of black lives. This isn't the concern of the founders and sponsors of the movement. They are interested in subversion. Their agenda is indirect. (Subversion — "A destructive, aggressive activity aimed to destroy the country, nation, or geographical area of one's enemy... [by demoralizing the cultural values and changing the population's perception of reality].)
And no one knows what George Soros' ultimate schemes are, he has interests that range from globalization, devaluing US currency to federalizing police, to investing in police equipment and ammunition. One thing is clear, he is the major force manipulating the BLM movement. 

Why does all this matter to black people? Who cares if our leadership is heavily influenced by communist marxist thought?

We can close with two crucial reasons. 1) What this does is box Black America into the position of perpetually offended, 'permanent victims', which fundamentally cripples our sense of self determination and ability to imagine creative ways toward developing fruitful, prosperous meaningful lives and modes of advancement. If we are convinced that we have to get rid of racism first before seeking the blessings and bounty of the earth (as other peoples and nations are doing) we get locked into a belief that external forces are in complete control of our future. The path to collective success and advancement is to reject any limiting beliefs. It's one thing to understand that you are a victim of a particular circumstance in the past, but to accept it as an identity is not only a limiting belief it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy.
It negates our true power which resides in who we really are. What genuine friends or allies of ours would want to keep us in such a state?

"The first step in beating the enemy is by not being the enemy."

2) This 'Communist/Marxist approach completely ignores the fact that we had been brainwashed and mentally enslaved for 400 years. This needs to be addressed. It doesn't take much thought and common sense to realize that even if our agitation and protests magically made 'racism' and 'white supremacy' go away, the urban drug culture, illiteracy, entrenched ignorance, the low levels of self esteem, the complete lack of knowledge of ourselves and our history, the erosion of our family structure, the increase of unemployability and the low levels of experience and savvy in business and finance would persist. There are no protests that can cure these problems. This is something we have to do ourselves as black people who remember the thousands of years of culture, codes and ways of life lost - as our ancestors did upon coming to these shores. The Frankfurt school was made up of chronically miserable Europeans who actively sought to perpetuate struggle and despair and to destroy beauty. 
But as black people, we are beauty. 
We are the very manifestation of beauty. It has always run in our music, our families, dress, and our culture. In understanding who we are and what our culture is, going all the way back to ancient Kemet and Nubia, we discover the symbol of the ankh and it's true meaning. Not only did the ankh represent eternal energy or life, it represented... 'the Joy of Living.'
That's what we have to re-form in ourselves and establish in our world. 

'We repel evil, in our sphere by doing good, by upholding justice, creativity, and independence and by living out the principles of respect, kindness and love."


Alan Dixon said...

fabbeyond said...

I'm interesting on what you will say would be the positive effects and use of this communist Marxistism .
Very interesting read btw if had me thinking why hasn't this information been brought up or discuss indepth by Afrocentric / black conscious community ..

fabbeyond said...

How do you view pan africanism , Afrocentrism , black consciousness ? These were used by most of our revolutionary leaders . These ideology help focus and provide solution to " 2) This 'communist/marxist approach completely ignores the fact that we had been brainwashed and mentally enslaved for 400 years. This needs to be addressed. It doesn't take much thought and common sense to realize that even if our agitation and protests magically made 'racism' and 'white supremacy' go away, the urban drug culture, illiteracy, entrenched ignorance, the low levels of self esteem, the complete lack of knowledge of ourselves and our history, the erosion of our family structure, the increase of unemployability and the low levels of experience and savvy in business and finance would persist. There are no protests that can cure these problems. This is something we have to do ourselves as black people who remember the thousands of years of culture, codes and ways of life lost - as our ancestors did upon coming to these shores. The Frankfurt school was made up of chronically miserable Europeans who actively sought to perpetuate struggle and despair and to destroy beauty. "

also Marcus Garvey was a pan Africanist
Seems like evening if the people you listed were influence by Marxistism they still focus on the issue you brought up above .

Alan Dixon said...

Brother Fabbeyond Jefe
To answer your first question regarding the positive effects of Marxism/Communism, I think they gave alternative and often useful critiques to the behavior and propaganda of the mainstream narrative. It showed black people there were other ways to look at America or the West. Also, at least on the surface Marxists had a positive view of Africa and its potential.

Pan Africanism is great and is even better when put into action. It almost doesn't need a label once it's applied and absorbed into our psyche. If we really appreciated Africa in the future beyond the general label we'll start to do what other nations and ethnicities do, exchange in trade, culture and ideas to a greater extent.
Afrocentrism likewise is a good start. At it's base it means putting Africans at the center in terms of agency. But we have to be careful in not making an 'ideal' of Africa our only focus. Pursuing our goals, our self interest and asserting our genius should our objective. However, I've observed many in the Afrocentric movement using history exclusively as a source of pride and less as lessons in what to do and not to do in building a better future.
Finally, I don't think it's wrong to protest and criticize the power establishment but it doesn't have to be mutually exclusive to the issues we both acknowledged that also need to be addressed.
All I'm interested in is that we are aware of what we are doing and the that we are aware of the games being played or else we're going to find ourselves at a loss every time. It doesn't matter how good an athlete you are, if you show up at a raquet ball game thinking it's a tennis match, you're going to have problems. And no matter how smart you are if you think you're playing checkers when everyone else is playing chess, you're simply not going to win anything.

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