Tag Archives: history

The Soviet government’s uniformly pro-marriage position

Young Soviet marriages have a rather poor survival rate. Marriage at 19, divorce at 23–often with a young child left in the breach–is the all-too-common scenario. …

A small quantity of condoms are produced by Soviet factories, but their unpleasant character and doubtful reliability make them little more than a popular topic for off-color jokes. Some Russians claim that birth-control pills can be obtained through the black market, but at outrageous prices and–of course–without a doctor’s supervision.

Low-price abortions are available, but the concomitant red-tape and the reputedly shoddy manner with which the operations are performed lend yet another topic for the well-developed sense of Soviet chorny (black) humor.

Parental pressure is another factor. Soviet males, in particular, claim that after having “walked” (khodili) with their girl friends for a year or so, they are pushed into marriage by the combined forces of the girls and their over-anxious parents.

The Soviet government itself also has a hand in the pro-marriage propaganda campaign. It has replaced the religious service of pre-revolutionary days with an equally elaborate state ceremony which takes place in a “palace of marital union” (dvorets brakosochetanija), complete with flowers, music, speeches by Soviet officials, etc.

Unlike most countries in the world, the Soviet Union would like to increase its birth rate. …

Soviet women work hard at their jobs all day, but even those who spend their work-day resurfacing Nevsky Prospect are expected to cook, clean and play the little wife when they come home. If they are unable to maintain a sweet temperament, and if marital joys have otherwise lost their attraction, the husband will begin to spend more and more evenings out with the “boys,” drinking vodka and exchanging anti-wife anecdotes. …

During my 4-month stay in the U.S.S.R., I encountered a startling number of divorced 25-year-olds, mis-matched couples, nagging young wives and cynical, irresponsible young husbands. The Soviet government, many Russians feel, should recognize the problem and modify its uniformly pro-marriage stance. It should not continue to jeopardize the domestic happiness of its young people in the hope of bolstering a declining birth rate.

(The author is a 1972 Radcliffe graduate who has traveled and studied in the Soviet Union and will file her observations regularly with the Crimson this summer).


America’s cultural offensive throughout the world (1955)

I went looking for something in the Congressional Record and found an interesting statement relating to the Cold War. I’ve typed up the first part of it. It’s on pages 8389 and 8390 (1346 and 1347) here.


America’s Cultural Offensive Throughout The World
Extension of Remarks of Hon. Alexander Wiley of Wisconsin in the Senate of the United States
Wednesday, June 15, 1955

Mr. WILEY. Mr. President, I send to the desk a brief statement regarding America’s welcome cultural counter-offensive throughout the world.

I ask unanimous consent that it be printed in the RECORD.

There being no objection, the statement was ordered to be printed in the Record, as follows:

Statement by Senator Wiley

I have been pleased to comment previously on the Senate floor with regard to the need for a vigorous American cultural counter-offensive throughout the world—for getting across to foreign peoples the true story of American music, art, theater, literature, the ballet, and all the other aspects of American culture.

Our purpose is, of course, to demonstrate the absolute falsity of vicious Soviet propaganda to the effect that ours is a so-called barbarian materialist culture, allegedly interested only in the dollar sign.

Fortunately, we are making excellent progress in disproving Soviet lies and in making up for lost time by accentuating the positive as well.

All over the world, there are radiating American musicians, theatrical troupes and others, showing foreign peoples at first hand the real significance of American cultural pursuits.

Certainly, we can see clearly that there is a magnificent opportunity available to us when word comes in, as it has, from Tokyo, for example, that thousands of enthusiastic schoolchildren stood in line all night to buy student tickets to hear the American symphony of the air. Everywhere this orchestra is scheduled in the Far East, tickets are sold out far in advance.

I am particularly pleased that right now the House of Representatives and, in particular, its Appropriations Committee, has the opportunity to provide on a regular basis funds for this and similar cultural purposes.

I say that it should not be necessary to draw from the President’s emergency funds either to send troupes overseas or to assure United States participation in trade fairs. These should be part and parcel of the regular program of the United Stats Government.


From all sides, I note that evidences are pouring in of the increasing momentum of interest in this issue.

Not long ago, I arranged for a luncheon at which representatives of the American National Theater and Academy told many interested Senators and Representatives the story of ANTA’s work in this country and abroad. In particular a 40-theater circuit plan was discussed to vitalize the living theater at the grassroots of our own country.

Recently, Brig. Gen. David Sarnoff made a historic speech for a broad United States political, psychological, and cultural offensive throughout the world.

On the congressional front, Congressman Frank Thompson, of New Jersey, has been tireless in his efforts toward this same objective and has introduced several highly significant bills along this line—particularly with reference to developing the city of Washington, D. C., as a great cultural center.


I should like to cite now several additional evidences which prove, by the very diversity of their sources, that, at long last, we of the United States are awaking to our responsibilities, to our needs, and to our challenges.

The first is a very splendid page which was carried throughout our country in the Hearst newspapers’ March of Events Section last Sunday, describing the work of the American National Theater and Academy abroad. I want to congratulate the Hearst newspapers for their splendid contribution, as evidenced by these and many other articles and editorials.

The second consists of writeups in last Sunday’s June 12 Milwaukee Journal, by Mr. Robert W. Wells, of the Journal’s New York Bureau, and Mr. Laurence C. Eklund, of the Washington Bureau, on this same cultural theme.


Thirdly, I point out that, of course, this cultural counteroffensive could never have gotten under way if it had not been for certain outstanding Americans who have with vision, and with industry, given of their able energies to this cause .One such individual who, I am pleased to say, is an ANTA director and attended the ANTA luncheon which I held, was honored yesterday here in our own city of Washington. Father Gilbert V. Hartke had only recently come back from abroad where his troupe had entertained American servicemen. Before his departure, no less a person than the President of the United States personally bade his troupe and him farewell, indicating the deep interest of our President both in the cultural entertainment of Americans and of foreign peoples.

I am delighted that Father Hartke, a great man of the theater, an honored servant of the cloth, a fine human being, was so honored, and so I include the brief text of tribute to him as carried in the testimonial program, and a list of the devoted committee members who prepared the luncheon. Mr. Ralph E. Becker was general chairman of the event, and Mr. Patrick Hayes was master of ceremonies.


[From the Hearst newspapers’ March of Events section]

Arts Sell the United States Way—Export of American Culture Wins Friends Around Globe

We’re giving the world a good look at American cultural achievement, to show we’re not the mere materialists our enemies paint us.

And our export of United States culture is returning big dividends in good will and appreciation of the American way of life throughout the free world.

Some samples, like Porgy and Bess and Oklahoma!, are uniquely American—as native as corn-on-the-cob. And on a ore international level, our drama, ballet, music and visual art match or surpass anything yet produced by Russian competition.

It’s part of the United States counteroffensive against Soviet cultural propaganda. And the rave reviews and enthusiastic audience response is awakening Washington to the fact that exporting culture pays off.

Before summer’s end, more Americans will have sung, danced, acted, and otherwise performed abroad than ever before in times of peace.

They’re being financed in part by funds appropriated by Congress last August. Credit is due to the American National Theater and Academy (ANTA) which is spearheading the State Department’s United States drive.

Big Artistic Smash

Currently the big United States artistic smash in Europe is Salute to France, a privately financed ANTA project which is offering Parisians the New York City Ballet plus top stage productions of Oklahoma!, Medea, and the Skin of Our Teeth.

In addition, the program for France includes the touring Philadelphia orchestra, which has already scored a signal triumph, and a visual arts exhibition organized by the Museum of Modern Art.

ANTA’s international exchange program calls for sending the New York Philharmonic Orchestra to Europe, the Ballet Theatre to Latin America and Martha Graham’s dancers to the Orient.

Now touring the Far East for ANTA is the American Symphony of the Air, the orchestra created by the now retired Arturo Toscanini. It was a sensation in Japan.

United States performers have made a good impression abroad, have outshone closely-guarded Russians by mixing socially.

Success of United States artists as good-will ambassadors has pointed up the recommendation of William Randolph Hearst, Jr., editor-in-chief of the Hearst newspapers, who last February 29, on his return from Russia, urged establishment of a National Planning Board to win the battle of competitive coexistence.

What We Must Do

Noting the stress the Russians were giving to cultural propaganda outside the Iron Curtain, Hearst told the National Press Club in Washington:

“The lively arts are another field wherein the commissars are operating with the professed intention of proving * * * that Russian achievements surpass the West.

“Ballet, theater, literature—all are shaped toward aiding communism’s long-range scheme of world domination * * *. It is not enough for us to advocate large sums for foreign military and economic aid and think we have met the challenge.”

More recently Brig. Gen. David Sarnoff, of the Radio Corporation of America, called for a competitive coexistence strategy board along similar lines.

United States funds now available for sending performing artists abroad are a mere $3,500,000. Startling contrast with Soviet expenditures is shown in figures of the Institute of International Education. In 1950 the Russians spent $150 million for cultural propaganda in France alone, with 2,000 artists touring there. Current Soviet spending is at the rate of $1 1/2 billion a year for all propaganda activities.

United States performers may prove our best envoys in winning friends and influencing people. But this will require much more money than we’ve put up so far.

As one Cairo newspaper commented on Porgy and Bess:

“If this is propaganda, let’s have more of it.”


How ANTA Got the Ball Rolling

Uncle Sam’s homegrown artists are carrying Broadway lights around the world on a scale wider than ever before.

Until Congress stepped in with funds to help finance American groups, export of United States art was carried out on a meager scale, financed by the American National Theater and Academy out of its own pocket.

The current “Salute to France” now going over big in Paris is being backed by funds raised by an ANTA committee under Robert W. Dowling and Mrs. H. Alwyn Innes-Brown, president of the Greater New York chapter.

No Government funds were available at the time the project was launched at the suggestion of the French Ministry of Fine Arts last fall.

Chartered in 1935

Salute, although independently financed, is now an integral part of ANTA’s International Exchange under impresario Robert C. Schnitzer, aided by United States Ambassador C. Douglas Dillon. Most of the groups appearing in Paris will now be sent on to other European capitals, financed, if need be, by Washington.

A private nonprofit organization, ANTA has been operating under congressional charter since 1935 for the purpose of widening interest in the theater. After a number of lean years, it now has a membership of 2,000 individuals and theaters in the United States, Hawaii, and the Canal Zone.

For the past 5 years, ANTA has expedited the exchange of performing arts between America and foreign countries. During that time it has sponsored United States participation in the Berlin Festivals of 1951-53, the Paris Festival of 1952, the Denmark-Hamlet Festival of 1949, and the Ballet Theater’s 1950 European tour.

The Sporting Thing To Do

Some of the best salesmen for the United States way of life have been American athletes sent abroad by the Amateur Athletic Union in cooperation with the State Department.

Among them are two great Negro track stars, Mal Whitfield and Harrison Dillard, who got tumultuous receptions in tours of Africa and South America.

Olympic diving champion Maj. Sammy Lee, an Army doctor of Korean parentage, was similarly hailed when he performed in the land of his ancestors.

Still another goodwill athlete is the Reverend Robert Richards, the preacher who won the Olympic pole vault title in 1952.

The athletes won friendship for the United States by being free and easy mixers, lecturing, and coaching native youngsters wherever they went.

Where Music Broke the Ice

A sample of how exporting our culture can assist in cementing relations with our allies was vividly demonstrated in Iceland early this year.

Since the establishment of United States bases on this key outpost of Atlantic defense, Russia and the local Communists have conducted a continuous propaganda offensive, stirring hatred of American troops stationed there.

The Soviets strengthened their campaign with a parade of artists and intellectuals who toured the island to acquaint the population with Russian culture.

United States-Iceland relations were at their lowest when ANTA sent famed violinist Isaac Stern and pianist Ervin Laszlo on concert tours, highlighting the works of American composers.

Iceland’s hearts were thawed, relations have been less frigid since.

United States Minister to Iceland John J. Muccio announced the impact of the recitals upon the Icelandic people was “the greatest of any to date.”


[From the Milwaukee Journal of June 12, 1955]

United States Cultural Commandos Abroad

An American cultural counteroffensive—quietly and somewhat timidly launched by the United States State Department in cooperation with private groups—is gathering worldwide momentum.

For too long, many observers feel, the Russians have paraded their ballet troupes, theatrical companies, musicians, and athletes over the face of the world, virtually unchallenged in their claims of superiority to the culture of the “decadent capitalist world”.

Recently the Red Chinese have elbowed into the act, with the successful Paris run of a Peiping theatrical troupe which had never before performed outside China.

The Communists are working hard to perpetuate the myth—widespread among many otherwise sophisticated Europeans and Asians—that the United States is a nation of gadgetmakers, clever in turning out bathtubs in overdecorated automobiles, but barbarians in their indifference to the finer products of the mind and spirit.

Now at last the United States is striking back with what amounts to exploratory raids by a few cultural commandos. The money so far assigned to these operations is petty cash by comparison with outlays for military and economic programs abroad, but it has produced results little short of amazing.

In order to conduct the program through private channels insofar as possible the State Department has been working with the American National Theater and Academy, a nonprofit organization, headquartered in New York. The ANTA acts as agent, selecting the best talent to send abroad, and arranging the overseas bookings through its international exchange program.

To get the facts about the new American cultural export program, Milwaukee Journal bureau men in Washington and New York talked to State Department officials and personnel of the American National Theater and Academy. Their stories appear below.

(You can read the rest at the link.)

National(ist) security

One of the primary goals of the Islamic State and other radical Islamist groups is to drive a wedge between Sunni Muslims and the wider world, to fuel alienation as a recruiting tool.


There are a lot of people saying this, and none of them bother to back it up.

But that doesn’t mean it can’t be. Radicalizing minorities is one of the most common ways of disrupting a foreign country. The US with the Catholics in Poland, the US with everyone in Yugoslavia, the US with Chechens in Russia, Russia with Abkhazians and Ossetes in Georgia, the US with Uyghurs and Tibetans in China, the US with gays in Russia and its allies, the British Empire and the US with Beng–um, Rohingya in Burma, lord only knows who’s backing all the other ethnic separatists in Burma and how did Casa Pound end up involved with the KNLA?, the USSR with the blacks, Jews, and Finns (yes, really) in the US, the US with the Hmong in Indochina (hence Hmong refugees), the Nazis with ethnic minorities in the USSR, Libya under Gaddafi tried with the Maori in New Zealand but it didn’t work, the US will try with the Koreans in Japan if it ever loses control but it won’t work, Russia with the ~Red Tribe~ in the US…

(as I’ve said before, I bet the reason there are so many Muslims in France is that someone somewhere went ‘gee, France has a pretty big sphere of influence and could conceivably become a significant power [i.e. threat]’ and installed a kill switch while they still could)

(which could explain both the migrant crisis as a whole and the US alliance with Saudi Arabia — Iran, unlike KSA, has a population that could easily reach first-world levels of prosperity, but most Muslims are Sunni and KSA’s entire shtick is using Sunni radicalism as a kill switch, so if you want to tile a country with kill switches…)

(…of course, USG thought it could work with both Khomeini and the Taliban, and look how they turned out)

(and notice that the US isn’t taking in many Muslim refugees, and the ones it does take are either backup politicians and their families [Fethullah Gülen, Ruslan Tsarni, Seddique Mateen] or US proxy forces [Somalis])

(…because mass immigration in the US isn’t about installing a kill switch. kill switches are contingency plans; they aren’t designed to be used immediately)

(…which is one of the reasons why certain elements within these European countries are willing to cooperate with the plans to install kill switches)

…and that’s why nationalism is not and will not within the foreseeable future be “outdated”. It’s not about ‘prejudice’; it’s about national security. If there were no Muslims in the West, the West wouldn’t have to worry about radicalized Muslims.

The American experiment

Noah Smith says: “The Trump thesis is, basically, that the American experiment is over.”

What is this American experiment? Well, there are two. The first is the post-secession experiment in governance. This experiment ended in failure almost immediately, was replaced with a new one, and whatever else you might think about that government, it’s now one of the oldest on Earth.

The second, and the one Noah Smith is talking about, is the bizarre ideological innovation that the United States of America is a “nation of immigrants, where ideals and institutions matter more than race or religion.” Google Ngrams can tell you that this mutation is recent: the phrase “nation of immigrants” is essentially unused until the 20th century and only takes off in the ’60s.

In 1958, John F. Kennedy, then a senator, wrote a booklet called A Nation of Immigrants “for the One Na­tion Library series of the Anti­Defamation League of B’nai B’rith”. He “at­tacked the national origins quota system as discriminatory and called for a generous, fair and flexible policy”. Kennedy lobbied for mass immigration until Lee Harvey Oswald, a Communist active in pro-Castro groups, shot him dead, possibly over the issue of Cuba. Two years later, the 1965 Immigration Act was proposed by Emanuel Celler, a pro-mass immigration ideologue from New York, and Philip Hart, the son of a banker, and helped along by Ted Kennedy.

Before 1965, the American population was 85.4% non-Hispanic white and 10.5% black. Most of America’s white population came from Western and Central Europe, especially the Germanic countries. There were some Irishmen and Italians in addition to the Englishmen, Germans, and Scandinavians, but this was no rainbow nation, nor had it ever been one.

In the early 1960s, the successful efforts of people like Theodore Roosevelt to end hyphenated-Americanism had largely succeeded. (Was Theodore Roosevelt anti-American? Apparently. Who knew.) Hyphenation was especially dead among the Germans, the largest ethnic minority at the time, partially as a result of America’s two wars against Germany; and especially not dead among the Irish, many of whom passed the hat in the pubs for the IRA. Maybe a few wars against Ireland would’ve helped, but if they hadn’t assimilated enough not to fund foreign terrorist groups…

These days, a lot of people—especially the intelligentsia, who are used to thinking of themselves as a separate class, detached from and foreign to the population as a whole, living in bubbles believed to be impregnable to the disgusting outside world—seem to think America has always been a ‘nation of immigrants’, and that the memorial that the friends of a mediocre Zionist poet had erected in her memory somewhere in New York after she died may as well be part of the Constitution. Since these people are a phyle of their own, since they already see themselves as minorities in an essentially foreign country, they have no problem with the prospect of those who are phyletically American having their homeland taken from them and used as grist for the mill of their ideological fantasies, nor with the idea that our homeland was intended as such.

(By the way, Noah, you do know what’s up with the néo-réactionnaires, right? It turns out that multiculturalism isn’t so great for the Jews. At least not the French Jews, many of whom have fled to Israel. Oops.)

Marcuse on the student movement

Malinovich: In a debate with Raymond Aron in the New Statesman, somewhere around 1971, you said that a radical transformation of values is taking place before your eyes. And you were speaking about an overcoming of aggressive, repressive values. Would you still take that strong a position?
Marcuse: Yes, more than ever before. I insist that a better society, or socialist society, would be qualitatively different from all preceding and present social systems.
Malinovich: But would you agree with the idea that in the late sixties and early seventies the students had really attained a kind of new consciousness?
Marcuse: Yes, and not only the students. Also women and racial and national minorities, also part of the intelligentsia as a whole.
Malinovich: My feeling was that you were not just speaking of a political consciousness but that you were speaking of a change in the psychological—
Marcuse: A change in the entire mental structure. If you want, you can go back and quote it in Freudian terms—an ascent of Eros in the struggle with aggressiveness and destructiveness.
Malinovich: Do you still feel now that that change was a deep one, that it was more than a superficial change?
Marcuse: Yes, I do. It was on a very deep level, but did not come to adequate realization as a political movement.
Malinovich: If that’s still your feeling, then how do you explain that the student movement has kind of fizzled out? Recent Gallup polls indicate that students are much more conservative.
Marcuse: I would consider this a temporary relapse. The situation may very well change with a worsening of economic conditions.
Malinovich: How would you explain the fact that it came to an end?
Marcuse: There are many reasons. First, the end of the war in Vietnam, and the end of the draft. Secondly, the stabilization of the capitalist system.
Malinovich: What do you mean by that?
Marcuse: Economically as well as politically a turn to the right, and with that an intensification of repression.
Malinovich: Do you have some specific thing in mind when you speak of intensification of repression? Something like Kent State?
Marcuse: In this country still in a constitutional and democratic way we have no such thing as a Berufsverbot. However, I think it is an understatement to say that a Marxist scholar will find it very difficult to get a job or even a promotion.
Malinovich: Could you say something about what your hopes were for the student movement back in the sixties? At that time what seemed to you to be the possibilities for the movement? For example, in a lecture in Germany you said: “I see the possibilitiy of an effective revolutionary force only in the combination of what is going on in the Third World with the explosive forces in the centers of the highly developed world.” Did you in the sixties have hope that somehow the student movement in conjunction with the Third World or the ghetto population could conceivably have led to a real revolution?
Marcuse: Not in this country. The situation was different in France. It was not in itself in this country a revolutionary movement, but one of the catalyst groups which for the first time articulated this transformation of needs and values, with such slogans as “the new sensibility”, for example.
Malinovich: When you talk about the new sensibility are you saying that, while the students today are more politically conservative or less politically involved, they are still in some psychological sense on a more advanced level than students before the sixties?
Marcuse? Again, it is not so much a psychological question as the changing needs and aspirations, and a skepticism concerning all the competitive needs and values of the capitalist system, and the insistence on the right of sensibility, a sensuousness—that the emancipation of these from the established alienation is a decisive element in the struggle for a better society. This kind of change is still there. Its political expression is largely repressed, but it is certainly there, and not only among the students.
Malinovich: You talked about the workers.
Marcuse: And strata of the dependent bourgeoisie.
Malinovich: So what you said about France is at least as true about the United States?
Marcuse: Not everything I say there about France would apply to the United States. You cannot say that it was a revolutionary movement here; in France it may well have been, and in Italy too.
Malinovich: So even in the sixties you never believed that the U.S. student movement was a revolutionary movement, but would it be correct to say that you felt it would be a step in the right direction, a consciousness-raising experience?
Marcuse: Even more, I would say the expression of a qualitatively different struggle and qualitatively different aims.


The emergence of pillarization in the Netherlands

A par­ty defining itself merely as the representative of a certain, clearly distinguishable part of the population, automatically rafrains from addressing itself to potential voters not belonging to this part of the population. It sets drastic limits to its potential voter-reservoir. This self-chosen restraint only seems sensible if there is a likelihood of compensating for this loss of possible voters by an eventually total absorption of the chosen group. To this end the parties not only claimed to be the only representatives of this part of the population. They moreover tried to integrate their followers as totally as possible into their sphere of influence, mainly by creating a system of organizations and associations that corresponded to the various party lines. The result was a fairly complete exclusiveness and absorption of all members of the group in question. The pillars thus created were defined by their belief or ideology and deliberately closed to non-members.

At this stage it becomes clear, that the Socialist pillar is oriented along the same lines as the denominational pillars. The Socialists too had a clearly defined reservoir of followers—the workers. They had a common ideology; they closed their front against dissenting ideologies; they created a broad network of organizations and associations into which they tried to integrate all social activities of their followers. They used the same ideologically based exclusiveness and the same totality of absorbing their followers as the denominational parties did. The only difference was that they could not take over an existing network of church associations—they had to create everything from scratch. So the Dutch parties, deciding to recruit their followers exclusively from an ideologically clearly defined group, had to anticipate two consequences—a desirable and an undesirable one: By pillarization they could ensure a longlasting, nearly blind loyalty but on the other hand they had to accept a strict limitation of their sphere of influence, because all members of different religious or ideological groups were by definitionem beyond reach. …

It appears very much as if the parties decided to choose pillarization after checking the costs and benefits of mobilizing ideologically defined groups. They compared the disadvantages of limiting their sphere of influence with the big advantages: if a realistic chance could be expected to gain a majority, pillarization would be the best strategy possible for gaining both: majority and loyal voters. Indeed, all three parties—the Catholics, orthodox Protestants and Socialists—seem to have reckoned with this possibility. The Catholics expected to gain a majority among the population in a surprisingly short time because of their high fertility rate. They dreamed of the ’Catholic Netherlands’ and of an unchallenged political supe­riority. The orthodox Protestants clearly wanted to gain as many voters as possible from liberal Protestantism. They at least explicitly strived for the Protestant’s dominance and for a structuring of social life according to their religious beliefs. The Socialists assumed that the workers would help them to gain a majority at the polls, as they likewise hoped in other countries too. All three of the parties could reasonably count on winning the majority because of the considerable overlapping of the categorial groups (for example among the Catholic and Protestant workers). The condition was that they succeeded in mobilizing totally their specific reservoirs. The course of events however showed that the parties considerably overestimated their possibilities of such total mobilization. Only the Catholic were able to win over nearly the whole Catholic part of the population. They profited mostly from the support of the organizationally united Catholic church. The Socialists and especially the Protestants were less successful. So it is no surprise that the ’doorbraak’ — a refrainment from pillarization — was explicitly justified by the disappointment of hopes for a majority.

Pillarization in the Netherlands is linked so closely to the origin and the behaviour of the political parties, that each attempt to explain it without reference to these parties must necessarily lead to contradictions. Pillarization is not the consequence of struggles for emancipation or for protecting the identity of the churches only, it is mainly an effect of the mobilization activities of the Dutch political parties, focussing on religious and ideologically defined groups and arguments, during a time of specific conflicts.



Pillarization: the secret of Dutch success

Discussing a number of hypotheses, Lijphart concludes that there are two factors, plus one indirect explanation and one comprehensive explanation. (Politics 1968, ch. 5) The two factors are firstly, the basic sense of nationalism among the members of all four blocs, which is reinforced by a few national symbols, and secondly, the crosscutting of the religious and class cleavages. The first factor promotes unity and the second diminishes sharp divisions. The so-called indirect explanation is the deferential character of the Dutch political culture: Dutch politics is “highly elitist” and the masses accept this elitist leadership. (Politics 1968, 102) The reason for this is to be found in the comprehensive “explanans,” in itself the crux of Dutch political stability, namely, the spirit of accommodation among the political elites. “That is the secret of its success.” (Politics 1968, 103)



Here’s a term that I don’t see often enough.

From a summary of the work of the Dutch sociologist Arend Lijphart:

In the fifties and the sixties many political scientists in the Western world were concerned with the crucial question of how political systems could be made both stable and democratic. Their concern to find an answer to this question had clearly been stimulated by their desire “to clean the world up” after the chaotic Second World War, to prevent a further spread over Western Europe of the Communist type of totalitarian stability, and to support the democratic experiments of the newly independent but unstable countries of the Third World. In their search for the conditions of stable and democratic political rule most of these political scientists came to believe that political fragmentation of a society poses enormous obstacles to the realization of stability and democracy. In their view the cleavages or fragmentation, created by differing social, ethnic, religious, and cultural groups, had somehow to be overcome before there could be any prospect of a stable, democratic regime.

In other words, in the fifties and sixties, the mainstream opinion of political scientists was that diversity and democracy can’t coexist.

About fifteen years ago this dominant belief among political scientists was challenged by the young Dutch Arend Lijphart. In 1968 he published his The Politics of Accommodation: Pluralism and Democracy in The Netherlands. Both within the country and elsewhere (thanks to the English edition) the work was highly acclaimed. Its success was due, in large part, to his description of Dutch politics as a paradoxical case of strong social segmentation or pillarization which was also marked by stability and democracy. That is, contrary to expectations, Holland is both stable and democratic despite its extensive social cleavages.

A notable (and likely unique) feature of Dutch pillarization was the tradition of cooperation among the elites of the different pillars. Needless to say, this will not be replicated in any redevelopment of pillarization today…

But how did pillarization work? A firsthand account of pillarization is given here:

I am Protestant by birth and when I talk to my Catholic peers it seems to us that we are from different countries. … When I was born my mother was helped by a Protestant midwife and my birth was announced in the Protestant newspaper. The announcements (and paper) were printed by a Protestant printer. … I went to a Protestant school … we didn’t go to the greengrocer next door, who was Catholic, because we imagined that the quality was no good and the prices exorbitant, but rather, we went several blocks away to the Protestant greengrocer where they had exactly the same things but we believed that the quality and the prices were far better … we went to Protestant summer camps … and followed the Protestant t.v., radio, and newspapers.

In other words, pillarization was a system of mass voluntary segregation. Members of one phyle chose to take part in only the social institutions associated with that phyle. Some people tried to reject pillarization, but in practice, they ended up in the Liberal pillar.

Secularization led to depillarization in the Netherlands. In Belgium, on the other hand, pillarization had both a religious (Catholics vs. Protestants vs. Liberals and Socialists) and an ethnic (Walloons vs. Flemings vs. Germans) aspect. Belgium is still pillarized—and between its political deadlock, the now-infamous failure of its police, and the dysfunction of Molenbeek, it’s no model of good governance.


Some comments on New Left history

Here are some comments that deserve to be promoted to the main blog.

Mr Zero Man:

For what its worth, here is an anecdotal account:
I was a dedicated Marxist as a student in the US (early 2000s). Studying dialectics, believing in a workers’ revolution, calling each other comrade, all of that. I come from a South European country where a lot of people are still communists, there are communists in parliament, it is common. My impression in the US at the time was that marxism was dead there. There was pretty much no marxist elements in any of the social science or humanities courses I took (I was a philosophy major). The postmodern liberal agenda which was evident in social sciences & humanities at the time was to me completely alien to marxism. I didn’t feel any crossover. I graduated leaving the US academic world feeling it was an explicitly anti-marxist and anti-communist place.

Some details: Me and my small group of 4-5 friends were libertarian Marxists at the time – we were familiar with Lenin but we were of the opinion that the Bolsheviks had betrayed the workers; we identified with the Kronstant rebellion, with the Paris Commune, and with the anarchist movements in Catalunia and Ukraine. We generally considered anarchists to be more principled but never having achieved the higher theoretical standard of Marx. Socially we admired the anti-colonial movements in Cuba, Algeria, Vietnam etc even though we felt those revolutions had all been betrayed by their leaders, which is how we felt about the USSR and China as well. We admired small guerilla groups like Red Brigades, RAF, 17N and Weatherman for their authenticity and I guess their youthful outlaw sex appeal. The French May 68 and the Situationist interpretation of it was very important to us. In the US we got on much better with anarchists than we did with the Leninists or Maoists who still hung on to little ineffectual communist parties. There was an anarchist bookshop that we used to go to, and used to hang out with anarchists. Anarchists were at heart just a tribal youthful in-group based around punk music and veganism but there was quite a few of them. We had the original Black Panthers in high regard, but we couldn’t get anywhere with the blacks we tried community outreach to because of how different our mentalities were (in contrast to the 60s-70s when there still were communist blacks).

Theoretically I adhered to the line of the young Marx, agreed with a lot of the Frankfurt School interdisciplinary approach, but even more so with the French Situationists Debord and Vaneigem. I read early Lukacs and some Hegel. I thought Reich’s contribution was central. And to a lesser extent Fromm. I liked Chomsky as a describer of US foreign policy but he wasn’t a theorist.

This little microcosm of ours had no influence from the university, from the faculty, from the curriculum. Like I said, I experienced those years as if Marxism was completely dead in the US and especially within academia. All the 3rd wave feminist, pro-gay, politically correct liberal stuff was to me at the time completely irrelevent and unconnected to Marxism, it was bourgeois identity politics that didn’t grasp capitalism and the state as the main enemy. There were very few contemporary thinkers who had proper marxist dialectical thought behind them. Negri and Hardt were a bit trendy but I thought they were full of shit. Zerzan has a lot of Marx in his theorizing and I still like how he thinks but he went up a dead-end street. Apart from Fredrik Jameson the only other real American marxist thinker in the tradition of the Frankfurt-School I can think of is Christopher Lasch and he ended up a social conservative, which I think is very interesting because I took a similar path completely independently.

The way “Marx” and the evil “Frankfurt school” are tossed around on NRx and the manosphere as strawmen and proofs of conspiracy still annoys me, it’s not rigorous in the least.

The claim “they literally believe the white working class should be gassed” doesn’t match my experience at the time. As marxists we usually did the opposite, we idealized the working class, white or black, and (as you can probably guess) most of us were middle class and higher. We believed in direct democracy and so we considered the working classes as intrinsically noble people who would make the best choices if only they achieved the revolutionary consciousness that education and the media were holding them back from.

Note again this is just anecdotal personal experience, but I would be really surprised to find evidence that there is significant marxist influence in US academia or the greater Cathedral. Marxism and SJW-liberalism have common ancestors but very little overlap between them.

Actual Marxists by definition can’t believe that  the white working class should be gassed, unless they take the Weather Underground’s line. Note that the name ‘Weather Underground’ is a reference to a Bob Dylan song.

Mr Zero Man:

Re Marcuse’s influence on the New Left. The main factors behind the New Left were the civil rights movement and the anti-war movement, which were mostly grass-roots American liberal movements that never included significant critique of capitalism. I don’t buy that he was a big influence over it. Sure he wrote some books that were popular in student-left circles but it’s difficult to gauge their actual influence. My impression is that they had very little, and the label “guru of the Left” is an overstatement. His works were too high-brow and required an in-depth appreciation of Hegelian Marxism and Freud. They make for very difficult reading. Examples of contemporaries with much bigger influence were singers like Dylan and Lennon, and to a lesser extent Alan Ginsburg and Timothy Leary.

For the more radical anti-capitalist side, the figures that had an actual following at the time were the sexier, flamboyant, more “hip” revolutionaries like Abbie Hoffman, Eldridge Cleaver and the student leaders that later formed Weatherman. Weatherman, like many american marxists at the time, accepted the Black Panther Party as the revolutionary vanguard. The BPP belonged to the Maoist/Third Worldist tradition and was not influenced by the Western Marxism of Marcuse. The SDS was a large movement, more liberal than radical, but it lost most of its grass-roots support when the leadership was taken over by the Weathermen. Weathermen were explicitly against Marcuse, they regarded him a sell-out and armchair radical, (Bernadine Dorn insulted him to his face publicly as I recall), and after disagreements with the Panthers they tried to assume the mantle of revolutionary vanguard themselves, before fading out of relevance completely. Like the Panthers their theoretical line was Third Worldist and uninfluenced by Marcuse’s school of thought – they combined their traditional “vulgar Marxism” with all the hip counterculture psychedelic free-love ideas that were floating around, in order to attract young people. This broader youth movement, by the way, is what actually stuck around in various forms and had a tangible influence on american society towards a non-traditional direction. “Sex drugs and rocknroll”, not Marxism.

When civil rights was absorbed into the political mainstream and the draft ended, the New Left effectively ceased to exist as a historical force.

As for Marcuse’s influence on the academic world – I’m not convinced that he had any serious influential followers. I don’t see it. I would like to find evidence to the contrary.

I think the case is more like this:
A 70s feminist academic writes a dumb paper about feminism. To prop up her weak paper, she uses some footnotes and quotes from Marcuse so it seems more serious and weighty. Academics do that shit all the time.
That doesn’t mean she follows Marcuse’s political framework. It just means he is an approved authority to use some quotes from when it is useful, he’s just a status indicator. Marcuse’s position was unabashed Marxist, i.e. the point is the abolition of capitalism, wage labour and the commodity form. If that is absent, then his influence is just peripheral. It’s no longer Marxism. The real influence in this example would therefore be from feminism. It’s a different strand of thought.

To give a similar example. What is Evola’s influence on NRx? I would say it’s peripheral. Some NRx writers will have read a couple of his more well-known books, some of them will quote him from time to time, maybe some play a little bit with one of his ideas. But Evola as a thinker has a very specific metaphysical framework regarding Transcendence, Being/Becoming et al. He has a very specific political framework of the priestly and military castes and how their temporal authority is tied to his metaphysical framework. If your system doesn’t accept the whole framework, you can’t really say that Evola is a central influence on it. But “Evola is a major influence on NRx” is the kind of half-assed claim a journalist who doesn’t know what he’s talking about might say. I would argue Marcuse’s role in leftist thought is roughly equivalent. Hit me with counter-evidence if you have it though.

I know @cuttlefish_btc (CW: commie) thinks Leary had deep state ties, but I don’t know anything about that.

There was a guy called Maoist Jeff in the Something Awful commie diaspora a few years ago, who took the M3W line so far that he once said it would be good if everyone in the First World were killed. Someone pointed out that he lived in Texas and he went lmao, my life is worth nothing compared to the revolution. For anthropological interest: the group blog he posted on is still online.

The Dissenting Sociologist:


Forget Marcuse. The book that, more than any other, formalized the shift on the Left away from the White working class cause- indeed, altogether away from Marx- and towards today’s SJW identity politics was “Hegemony and Socialist Strategy” by Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe.

From the Wik blurb:

“The position outlined in this book is usually described as post-Marxist because it rejects (a) Marxist economic determinism and (b) the view that class struggle is the most important antagonism in society…A key innovation in Hegemony and Socialist Strategy was Laclau and Mouffe’s argument that left-wing movements need to build alliances with a wide variety of different groups if they are to be successful and establish a left-wing ‘hegemony’.”

And get a load of this:

“Laclau subsequently used [his] account of discourse to re-consider the nature of identity, arguing that all political identities are discursive – even if they are experienced by individuals as ‘natural’ […] For example, though an individual may think that they are just ‘born male’ this is, for Laclau, not the case: ‘maleness’ is a socially constructed category that has no innate meaning.”

And I asked…

My understanding is that the defining (and perhaps oversimplified, but still generally true) difference between the Old Left and the New Left is that the Old Left believed the proletariat is the revolutionary class and the New Left believes that academics-lumpens-and-minorities-together is the revolutionary class. Is this inaccurate? If it’s not, where did it originate from? It’s attributed to Marcuse there…

…and got these responses:

Mr Zero Man:

I would say for the American New Left in general, it was blacks and radical students who were perceived as the vanguard of the revolution. Not sure about the significance of academics and lumpen (other than the fact that a lot of the rioting blacks were lumpen). And just as significant was identification with the third world anti-imperialist struggle. The Vietcong were just as important as US blacks in the collective imagination of the American New Left. There is a documentary about the Weather Underground which is worth watching, it captures the spirit of the time fairly well.

Thinking again of the ideal of the lumpen as vanguard. I guess the white american counterpart was the counterculture outsider, hippy outlaw on the fringes of society. A very american combination of rugged individualism and tribal/communal living. Not exactly the underclass Marx or Bakunin referred to with the same term.

There’s the counterculture outsider figure, and then there’s the counterculture outsider figure. The land-hippies I’ve met don’t strike me as SJ. Some land-hippies probably are—there are still radical communes, at least in Europe, but when I think ‘counterculture outsider figure’, I think Kurt Cobain or John Darnielle—or Amedeo Modigliani, who ties into Taal‘s theory that it’s all about wanting to destroy bourgeois society or something.


“My understanding is that the defining (and perhaps oversimplified, but still generally true) difference between the Old Left and the New Left is that the Old Left believed the proletariat is the revolutionary class and the New Left believes that academics-lumpens-and-minorities-together is the revolutionary class. Is this inaccurate?”

Rather inaccurate as it misidentifies contemporary SJWs (of which it is true) with the historical New Left, of which it has been already pointed out that it was, if anything, dominated by the maoist belief that third-world peasants, a global majority, were the revolutionary class.

When it comes to Marcuse, it is at the very least a massive overstatement. He and his peers had observed the failure of the proletariat to fulfill its expected role first in 1914, when it allowed itself to be divided against itself along national lines, and later in 1933, when it voted for Hitler. So yeah, the Frankfurt School had little hope of the workers coming to their senses, but none of them offered any serious alternative, making their philosophy a rather pessimistic business.
Marcuse did differ from the rest of the Fankfurt School in that he believed that social outcasts would naturally adopt a critical attitude towards society, which didn’t make them the revolutionary agent, but more of a useful roadblock in capitalism’s path towards the complete elimination of human autonomy.
By contrast, Adorno’s view on such hopes is summed up by his statement that “In the end, glorification of splendid underdogs is nothing other than glorification of the splendid system that made them so”.

“I tried to read one of Marcuse’s books once, I think Eros and Civilization, and just couldn’t get through it. The man seemed literally insane. I don’t think I’m alone here — I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen anyone on the internet reference Marcuse favorably.”
Here’s the thing, the same is true of contemporary leftist academics -Marcuse is definitely the most marginalized figure of the Frankfurt School, which is weird considering that he used to be the most popular. And extra weird considering that certain alt-right figures try to turn him into some SJW-overlord.
Also, there’s a first time for everything, and while I do tend more towards Adorno’s side of their disagreements, Eros and Civilization is a great book.

Finally, if you want to know where today’s loony leftists come from, why not look at which people they actually do read? People like Edward Said, Franz Fanon, Michel Foucault and Judith Butler, they all seem way more influential than any of those dead straight (well in Adorno’s case it’s debatable) white men who cross-read Marx with Freud.



>the historical New Left, of which it has been already pointed out that it was, if anything, dominated by the maoist belief that third-world peasants, a global majority, were the revolutionary class.

The New Left defined “Third World” to include minorities living in the First World, and “First World” to mean all white people. Rather ironic that visions of a global race war did not die with Nazism, but were reignited by Left. From the Weather Underground manifesto,

>[…] we confront the fact that the white workers do not constitute the main or the most oppressed sections of the work force within the worldwide political economy of US imperialism. On the contrary, they form a tiny and the most privileged sector of that proletariat. More, racially and politically, they are members of the oppressor nation in relation to the Third World, including, as always, the blacks and the browns here and as such they experience concrete benefits, both material and spiritual. They are the best paid, most comfortable, and the least oppressed among the proletariat of the US imperialist political economy.

“the Third World, including, as always, the blacks and the browns here.”


The Weather Underground can hardly be taken as a representative sample of the american New Left, if anything, they were their lunatic fringe. It’s a bit like taking the Baader-Meinhof gang to represent the german students movement. Also, I’m pretty sure no one considered the white people living in the Warsaw Pact countries or in Yugoslavia to be part of the first world.



I’m not claiming that the Weather Underground is representative of the New Left. But their definition of Third World was entirely standard, hence the “as always”. “Third World” was used in exactly the same way as “People of Color” is today, which is why “Azalea: A Magazine by Third World Lesbians” had the title that it did and why the Third World Center at Brown University is now the Brown Center for Students of Color.

The activists of the Third World Liberation Front or the various Third World Centers at universities, who were not fringe lunatics but the progenitors of all the “studies” programs now taught today, thought of themselves as being part of the global Third World proletariat simply because they were not white.

I’m not sure what they thought of whites in communist countries. The integrity of their narrative probably depended on not thinking too hard about it.

Mr Zero Man asked NRK about Fanon’s influence, and NRK replied:

Fanon seems important because of his identitarian bend, the defense of indigenous/colonial/nonwhite/marginal cultures and experiences against western overreach, including the overreach inherent in “eurocentric” marxian critique. There’s an appraisal of authenticity in there that would have been anathema to the Frankfurt School, but is quite important in contemporary identity politics. And for him being too hardcore, it’s not all pronouns and safe-spaces with campus leftists, would that it were. You also have supporters of Hezbollah, Hamas and the iranian regime, their respective treatment of ethnic and sexual minorities notwithstanding. Edward Said does seem to be more important to those types than Fanon, though.

Eros and Civilization offers very little in terms of prescription, and it certainly doesn’t advocate some hippy “kick out the jams” attitude. Instead, it predicts that capitalism is on the way of de-legitimizing itself due to the increasing discrepancy between the happiness it promises and the misery it produces. This will eventually lead (and is already leading) to people losing the will to fulfil their role in society. Marcuse is cautiously optimistic that this will not lead to the collapse of civilization, but to the emrgence of new societal relations that are motivated by Eros.
Which is sort of a Rorschach Test, as this is either a beautiful way to speak of solidarity (which is what he means, he’s not talking of turning people into bonobos), or super creepy and degenerate.

The text you linked does a good job of identifying the weakest spot in Marcuses argument, one that also raised my eyebrows upon reading. That being said, the author seems to over-emphasize the importance of that rather vage speculation, and also frame it in a much more specific way than it was stated. Marcuse never specifies how much repression is actually needed to maintain a civilization, and how much would be surplus. It is easy to see that the completely unrestrained primal instincts would not be able to restrict themselves for the sake of enhanced and lasting gratification, but it is not at all obvious that this is impossible once a certain threshold of individuation is passed.

Are there supporters of the Iranian regime anymore? I don’t think I’ve seen any. Edward Said is certainly influential today, so in the unlikely event that I ever have enough spare time to read an entire book, that’s an obvious place to start.

It could be worthwhile to imagine trying to reconstruct the history of the ‘alt-right’. This would be difficult: as the term is used now, it’s a set of social groups, not a coherent thing. The term is used in the media to refer not only to the alt-right proper, but also to GamerGate, Mencius Moldbug, Vladimir Putin, and Dugin’s Eurasianism. There are some overlaps—Richard Spencer’s NPI seems to have been recruited into Russia’s propaganda network, opponents of the mainstream media tend to support GamerGate, some people have moved from ‘neoreaction’ to the alt-right, etc.—but these are all different things, and they’d have to be disentangled. The history-of-ideas of ‘neoreaction’ (good lord, the term was a transparent joke, how did it catch on?) is easy enough to reconstruct, but the alt-right proper is an organic and somewhat decentralized response to social (shock-jock irony becoming sincere) and political (of course) conditions, which makes it much harder to reconstruct its history. To the extent that it has an intellectual wing, it (like all intellectual wings of political movements) starts with the organic and decentralized responses and builds systems around it; these systems can shape it once they catch on, but the motivating force is the set of organic responses.

This suggests that the default assumption should be that the Frankfurt School, the Yippies, the Weathermen, the student radical movement in general, etc. were completely different things, and that the overlap between them was purely social.

The origins of “cultural Marxism”

The phrase, that is, not the thing it refers to. I was previously under the impression that the term was coined recently by the conservative press; as it turns out, neither of the two parts of that statement are true.

The earliest use indexed by Google Books appears in 1948, in the fourth volume of The Modern Quarterly, a British Communist paper:

The League itself unites the progressive writers of Germany and is the main organ of cultural Marxism—its editor is Bodo Uhse, and on its editorial committee are such men as Johannes Becher, Alfred Meusel and Klaus Gysi.

Klaus Gysi is the father of Gregor Gysi. “The League” is probably a reference to the Kulturbund zur demokratischen Erneuerung Deutschlands, whose name is sometimes translated as “Cultural League for the Democratic Renewal of Germany”. But this isn’t the usage we’re familiar with today.

The next example appears in 1961, in volume 57 of a journal that was founded in 1962, and Googling the relevant sentences turns up a JSTOR article from 1982, which does not appear to contain the phrase. But here are the sentences anyway.

Weiner goes to the philosophical root of the problem, bringing together cultural Marxism and political sociology. Collective action provides the conceptual and empirical connection between the two approaches.

A fellow with the improbable name of Richard R. Weiner wrote a book called “Cultural Marxism and political sociology” in 1981, so this is probably an error on Google’s part.

There is another mention in 1963, in “Theme and method in the allegorical novels of Rex Warner”:

Of course it is true that, as the clouds of World War II darkened, as Spain fell to totalitarianism, and as Moscow proved itself more and more ideologically alien to these Britons, hope for socialism, or “cultural Marxism,” died out among these …

But Google doesn’t give any more of a preview, and the context isn’t clear as to whether

It appears next (and, in its unambiguously familiar form, first) in 1964, in volume 246 of Punch:

Even Raymond Williams, who is often loosely bracketed with Hoggart as a “literary sociologist,” has a much firmer ideological foundation for his work, based as it is in the modified “cultural Marxism” of the New Left.

The modified “cultural Marxism” of the New Left! Raymond Williams was a New Left member—and, oddly, an active Welsh nationalist.

There’s a passing mention of “the humanistic, ‘cultural’ Marxism of the contemporary New Left” in London Magazine in 1966.

Then in 1967, in Literature and Society by Walter Laqueur and George Lachmann Mosse, its first appearance without scare quotes:

Cultural Marxism was most pervasive during the 1930s in New York literary circles, particularly among the generation of critics which came of age during the early years of the depression. …

One lasting effect of cultural Marxism in the 1930s was the greater sociological content in the discussion of the problems of American intellectuals.

Use of the phrase continues after that, and increases sharply in the early ’90s. Here’s an example from 1981, taken from a book by Lydia Sargent:

In her essay, “Cultural Marxism: Nonsynchrony and Feminist Practice,” Emily Hicks argues that the marriage of Marxism and feminism leads to a narrow formulation of their respective oppressions and a narrow understanding of the dynamics of society. Hicks states that a cultural Marxism is needed to reach and incorporate broader groups of people into a socialist movement: people who do not all have the same politics or the same political needs. Nor the same socialist vision. A Marxism that cannot reach more people with its theory and practice will become irrelevant. With an analysis of current political and economic trends viewed through the concept of nonsynchrony, Hicks shows why it is that despite a huge dissatisfaction with capitalism among certain sectors of the population (gays, working women, blacks) there is not necessarily a huge outpouring of support for a radical alternative. Hicks discusses why some women will make radical demands for childcare, birth control, [and] equal pay but will also feel a tremendous antagonism towards the women’s movement claiming forcefully that they are not “women’s libbers”. Hicks argues strategically for the need to build broad non-exclusive organizations struggling for progressive change.

The essay was published a year earlier. Emily Hicks studied under Herbert Marcuse from 1978 to 1979.

And here’s an example from 1984:

I found “cultural Marxism” as pursued by Raymond Williams, Gramsci, Habermas, Lukacs, and others immensely suggestive, yet ultimately unsatisfactory.

So there you go.