Cultural Marxism, in Brazil and Elsewhere

The far-right conspiracy theory of Cultural Marxism is still in the ascendency, not just in the US or in Europe. Today, Der Tagesspiegel (Berlin) published a rather chilling exposé on the impact this discourse now has in Brazil under the neofascist strongman Bolsonaro. Due to a certain Olavo de Carvalho, the common tropes of Cultural Marxism (a term I use to refer to the discourse, not to the thing it supposedly denotes) are parroted by government ministers.

The first draft of my essay “Cultural Marxists Like Us,” which analyses the discourse and its performative agency, contained a reference to an episode that now seems like a portent of things to come: in 2017, some 40,000 Brazilians signed a petition against a visit by Judith Butler to the country, and the petition text teemed with Cultural Marxism tropes. Oh, and Butler was burned in effigy. Now Cultural Marxism has the power to shape policy.

Since the text had to be condensed for publication in Afterall, the reference to Brazilian Butler witch-hunt fell by the wayside. I have now uploaded “Cultural Marxists Like Us” under articles.