Let’s begin with Marxism. For most of a century, it had a craggy, bearded Prophet staring down at you from everywhere. For half a century, world’s best universities produced apostles interpreting Marx’s word as the key to a Utopian future of economic equality.
When Gorbachev and Deng abandoned Marxism, you’d have thought Marx’s flock would have dispersed and merged into the emerging capitalist societies.
But no. It morphed into ‘Cultural’ Marxism.
If classical Marxism was about the haves pitted against have-nots, Cultural Marxism pits the ‘oppressed’ against the ‘oppressors’.
And you know what? The morphed version of Marxism is hugely successful. It in fact penetrated the West in ways the original version could not. Today, it thrives in academia, the social sector and enjoys patronage from wealthy Foundations.
Our purpose here of course is to understand how this Cultural Marxism is not any different from other Prophet-driven industries. We’ll also explore the reason why India might be proving to be a formidable territory for it to conquer.
But, first let’s try and answer two questions: one, why does Cultural Marxism (or whatever the movement now calls itself) attract huge funds from wealthy capitalists and two, why it is not to be underestimated.
Lone-wolf capitalists are deep thinkers. They are not content with their personal wealth having grown past all possible vulnerabilities. George Soros and Pierre Omidyar are shrewd strategists who think long term. They want a future that is just a bit less than stable but not entirely unstable. It is when nations are not entirely settled that big profits are to be made. They payroll media, NGOs and staged events to keep things tense.
Here’s a quick read on how and why the Omidyar Network funds NGOs and India-focused media. [Indian industrialists are no match to these but are beginning to learn. Many run media houses and a titan among them, buys into every media house he can.]
With funds in ample flow, sepoys for Cultural Marxism are not hard to recruit. Tenures and chairs in universities, fellowships, seminar junkets, NGOs, media fronted events, over-paid jobs are among the many inducements. What is required of them is not stupid, bare faced propaganda, -though there is also plenty of that – but sophistry couched in research-ese and mangled statistics.
Western Universities have been steadily training oppression researchers. Curriculum probably includes – and I am guessing here – how to identify oppressors and victims, create new oppressed classes, counsel them, inspire them to rise, publicise and stage summit events to show-case unrest. In order that the industry may endure, the mission is defined as ‘eternal warfare between increasingly, narrowly defined victim groups and their oppressors’. Women, sexual variants, minorities, nomads, tribals… heck anyone with a marketable grievance is an opportunity for a scholar or his NGO to champion.
Pardon my seemingly trivialising tone. I am not saying suffering does not exist or does not require redressal, especially in a diverse society like India, but I do charge that there is wanton mischief that’s on parade here sporting altruistic airs.
Be all that as they may, how is this a ‘Prophet’ industry? See, a Prophet’s job is to ‘save’ people. To stay in business he needs people to save. He can point to born-with sins in them and ‘save’ them. He can call them idolatrous kafirs and ‘save’ them.
Since every Prophet craves the whole world for himself and wants exclusive rights to ‘saving’, competition in the industry gets severe. There’s only a finite supply of people who can be persuaded they are born with sin or worshipping in any and every way is a sin.
A new Prophet must therefore create a narrative all his own that has an eternal appeal. Enter ‘Cultural’ Marxism. By it’s credo anyone can be persuaded he is a victim. And then saved.
Western universities’ humanities departments are the neo-madrasas from which issue a stream of victim-finders.They serve their Prophet’s mission. The pitch of the Prophet of Cultural Marxism is different and novel. It is this: “You have not sinned; but you have been sinned against. You need to be saved.” Voila, you have victims in endless supply.
Another claim I made was, India exasperates Prophets. Why? Because there is no concept of everyone’s a sinner. Nor, that worshipping Murtis can be evil – far from that. Here, everyone errs in his own way, and for each, there’s an amelioration in the form of an explanation, a rite or a god to invoke.
There are a thousand Murtis to choose from and worship. A Hindu is pretty much left to himself. He has choice. He must take personal responsibility for his own errors. He’s guided but not trussed. He exercises his free-will. He may if convinced, go to a dargah, have peacock feathers blessing him and directly from there saunter into a church and genuflect.
These deviant ways were a hurdle for the Prophets of Peace or Love. But the new Prophet has a better chance of success with his liberal definition of people he’s looking to save – as long as funds flow to feed his projects.
That’s where he hits a new wall. The wall is Laws – or rather, their enforcement. Things have changed lately: a bearded threat has been ruling in Delhi since 2014. Fund flows are now required to be – eeks! – legal. Prophets don’t like laws except the ones they lay down. Like see, democracy is a man made system but sharia is the Prophets’s. There’s a clearly perceived threat to the whole industry.
A deal is struck to carve territories, much as mafia dons used to. Cultural Marxists will grow its own victims. Human Rights, nuclear power, food fascism, Dalit suppression, linguistic pride, sub-nationalism, lynching, suspect EVMs… anything and everything is a nursery bed.
There are rentable troopers aplenty in academe, media, politics, and there’s a ready choir of familiar Indians that can be switched on to auto-fulminate. Political parties turfed out of office are ever eager to join. Pastors have been having slow days, and can be rewarded to mobilise their parishes for victimhood. Muslims will offer victims too, in return for not being named oppressors under any circumstances. So there: Prophets have synergies. New victims can now have dual membership. Thus it is, the project to declare India to have become an evil land in the last three years is underway.
George Friedman in ‘The Next 100 years’ is candid: when America wages a war, the idea is not to win but to shake the enemy up so that he’s slowed down. Likewise, the current idea for India is not a broken nation but a frequently shaken one.
I doubt if the bearded man in Delhi will be amused. Besides, you see, he has the nasty skill of finessing any opponent by playing the biggest victim of them all.