Feature 09.02.2020 25 minutes

The War on America


BLM and Antifa are determined to bring the country to its knees. We should act accordingly.

In what has since become known as his first “major” speech, Abraham Lincoln famously warned the Young Men’s Lyceum of Springfield, Illinois in 1838 about the dangers of “mob rule.” As reprehensible as are the immediate consequences of mob rule, however, Lincoln’s larger strategy in the speech is to use our revulsion at the actions of the mob to draw our attention to the long-term dangers of what he calls “the mobocratic spirit.”

These dangers move in two directions. In the first place, “the lawless in spirit, are encouraged to become lawless in practice; and having been used to no restraint, but dread of punishment, they thus become absolutely unrestrained.” Mob rule, in other words, encourages evil men to run wild. Conversely, ordinary law-abiding people, recognizing that the government can or will do nothing to protect them, “become tired of, and disgusted with” that government.

According to Lincoln, this is the ideal situation for the destruction of free self-government. When the mobocratic spirit rules, “the strongest bulwark of any Government, and particularly those constituted like ours, may effectually be broken down and destroyed—I mean the attachment of the people.” Neither the law-abiding nor the lawless have any respect for the government, and therefore neither has any particular stake in preserving it. It is here that revolution is possible; it is here that tyranny can take root.

In our own time, at this very moment, we are experiencing the truth of Lincoln’s old words. Triggered by the death of George Floyd in custody of Minneapolis police, a wave of violence and destruction has broken out in virtually every major American city. As outrageous as the rioting is on its own terms, the broader consequences should be terrifying. As the lawless embark on a wave of destruction, the law-abiding are terrified and appalled, both by the violence and by the pitiful response of local and state authorities. Democratic mayors and governors seem to have little interest in protecting the safety and property of the law-abiding, and in some cases seem to be actively encouraging and abetting the lawless.

In Lincoln’s rhetorical universe, the mob is simply that: a mob. They are agitated by some particular issue, they lash out in violence, destruction, or vigilantism, but then their force is spent and they dissipate. What the mobs in Lincoln’s view do indirectly and unintentionally, contemporary mobs do directly and intentionally: attack the foundations of civil society. The George Floyd riots are part and parcel of that effort, but they are merely the thin end of the wedge, a pretext. The instigators of mob violence are motivated by a revolutionary ideology, which is shared by many more than just the rioters. It is an ideology and a project which despises the American way of life and which, if successful, will bring about the end of free self-government in America. The American Left is trying to revolutionize the United States along the lines of Marxist ideology, and they are presently seeking to force the issue.

Revolution, Interrupted

At the outset of the Manifesto of the Communist Party, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels state that “the history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggle.” At the time, Marx and Engels thought the struggle was between industrial workers (proletarians) and those who own the means of production in a capitalist society, the bourgeoisie. The very existence of the proletarians was at the mercy of the bourgeoisie, and to survive, “these labourers, who must sell themselves piece-meal, are a commodity, like every other article of commerce.”

The final stage in this struggle was to begin with a proletarian revolution. Eventually the proletarians—impoverished, abused, and disenfranchised—would rise up against the bourgeoisie and the social and economic system they perpetuate. In Marx and Engels’s words, “the violent overthrow of the bourgeoisie lays the foundation for the sway of the proletariat.”

In the Western democracies, however, a funny thing happened on the way to the revolution. The industrial worker acquired a share of the wealth of industrial capitalism large enough to give him a level of comfort and security, which is wholly alien to the oppressed proletarian. Industrialization took the proletariat and turned it into the “middle class.”

This “middle class” worker is a person who does not exist in Marxist theory. He is not bourgeois in any sense. He is not an industrialist, nor is he part of the lesser bourgeoisie: he is neither a small businessman, nor an intellectual, nor a government official. As Greg Calvert of the Students for a Democratic Society noted in 1967, “What we have come to understand is that the great American middle class is not middle class at all…. The vast majority of those whom we called the middle class must properly be understood as members of the new working class.” The American middle-class worker remains a proletarian, but he cannot see that fact.

The archetype of such a worker is my own grandfather. Born to Polish immigrants, raised in desperate poverty in West Virginia coal country, he took whatever job he could find as a teenager in the Great Depression. After service in World War II he worked in a toy factory, and then moved his family to Akron, Ohio to work in the rubber industry. This allowed him to afford a modest home in the suburbs, a couple of cars, and decent food and clothing for his family of five. My grandfather, like most men in his situation, had no interest in Marxist revolution; why would he? The existing order had given him a standard of living which was unheard of in all human history except among the elite.

Consequently, the Marxist historical process has been interrupted in the Western democracies. This fact was the despair of western Marxist intellectuals like Herbert Marcuse, a revisionist Marxist of the Frankfurt School and an icon of the American Left in the 1960s. Marcuse struggled to understand the new reality in works like One-Dimensional Man and “Remarks on a Redefinition of Culture.” The basic problem, he noted in the latter work, is that “social change presupposes the vital need for it, the experience of vital social conditions and of their alternatives.”

Marcuse realized the Western worker’s comfort and security obscure for him his position as a proletarian worker. In One-Dimensional Man he concluded that “The new technological work-world thus enforces a weakening of the negative position of the working class: the latter no longer appears to be the living contradiction of the established society.”

Marcuse concluded that the prosperity of the Western worker was merely a means of making comfortable his enslavement within the capitalist system: “society takes care of the need for liberation by satisfying the needs which make servitude palatable and perhaps even unnoticeable.” Western capitalism has renamed the proletarian the “middle class,” rendered him oblivious to his servitude, and thus preserved bourgeois rule.

Cultural Hegemony and Revolution

In response to this problem, Marxists embraced in the idea that Western culture was as much of an enemy of revolution as was bourgeois capitalism. The connection between economic power on the one hand, and social and cultural hegemony on the other, was already present in Marx’s own work. In The German Ideology (1846) he observes that “the ideas of the ruling class are in every epoch the ruling ideas…. The ruling ideas are nothing more than the expression of the dominant material relationships grasped as ideas.”

The Manifesto of the Communist Party was even more direct on this point: “Law, morality, religion, are to him [the proletarian worker] so many bourgeois prejudices, behind which lurk in ambush just as many bourgeois interests.” The entire social and cultural system is a bourgeois attempt to preserve and justify its own dominance.

Marxist theorists like the Italian Antonio Gramsci argued that this bourgeois cultural hegemony was a massive impediment to revolution. Comparing the problem to that of trench warfare in the First World War in his prison notebooks, he said that

the superstructures of civil society are like the trench-systems in modern warfare…in the West, there was a proper civil society, and when the state trembled a sturdy structure of civil society was at once revealed. The state was only an outer ditch, behind which there stood a powerful system of fortresses and earthworks.

Gramsci realized that this hegemony extended beyond the capitalist economic order to the social institutions and cultural values of bourgeois society. These institutions and values, which enjoyed widespread support, were part and parcel of bourgeois society, and provided critical reinforcement to the bourgeois state.

Unlike in Russia, where toppling the czarist regime would upend the whole social order, the Western democracies possess very strong social and cultural systems that support bourgeois domination. In Gramsci’s formulation: “state = political society + civil society, in other words hegemony protected by the armor of coercion.” Any attempt at the immediate overthrow of such a regime would fail because “civil society,” the complex of social and cultural institutions that support the regime, would rush to its defense. Marxist revolution of the Russian variety was therefore bound to fail in a society so constituted.

Returning to the military metaphor, Gramsci advocated a shift from a “war of maneuver” to a “war of position.” Rather than direct political action, Marxist revolutionaries should pursue a long game of infiltrating the social and cultural institutions of Western society—legal structures, Christian churches, cultural organizations, marriage and family—with the goal of undermining them. The values of western society would be assaulted, and the people’s faith in them undermined. Once the institutions and values of bourgeois society were broken down, the state would be weakened and thus made vulnerable to revolution. This “war of position, once won, is decisive definitively.” A society so infected would never recover.

The New Revolutionary Elite

Once the Marxists had identified the problem, they had next to ask: “What Is to Be Done?” In Lenin’s treatise of that name, the future father of the Russian Revolution argues that a Marxist revolution requires a trained and disciplined class of professional revolutionaries. Lenin rejects spontaneous revolutionary action by labor unions and independent terrorist cells, arguing that “without a revolutionary theory there can be no revolutionary movement.” The revolutionary proletariat must reach a mature, Marxist understanding of their conditions, the iniquity of those conditions, and the way forward.

In particular, these working radicals must transcend their identity with their trade, their factory, their city, or their province. They must obtain “all-sided political exposure…. These universal political exposures are an essential and fundamental condition for training the masses in revolutionary activity.” This exposure will allow workers to become conscious of the whole proletariat as a class, and the exploitation of that class by the bourgeoisie.

This consciousness, however, cannot be obtained by the workers themselves. Lenin argues that “class political consciousness can be brought to the workers only from without, that is, only outside of the economic struggle, outside of the sphere of relations between workers and employers.” This must be the task of a group of professional revolutionaries, a “vanguard,” who can organize the workers, coordinate them, bring to them information about other oppressed groups, and assist in the development of a class-consciousness.

The American Left adopted this theory of a vanguard in their own ideology. In the 1960s they posited the universities as the epicenter of this new vanguard, which would consist of the students and sympathetic faculty. In the 1962 Port Huron Statement of the Students for a Democratic Society, the authors argue that “from its schools and colleges across the nation, a militant left might awaken its allies, and by beginning the process towards peace, civil rights, and labor struggles, reinsert theory and idealism where too often reign confusion and political barter.”

It was in the universities that revolutionary theories would be transmitted and new revolutionaries trained and sent out into the world. In turn, the revolutionaries would enter the society, disseminate these doctrines, and commence their assault on civil society.

Raising Revolutionary Consciousness

The American Left realized that, in order to restart the revolutionary process, ordinary people had to be led to an awareness of their own oppression. The middle class must come to the realization that the system oppresses them. The difficulty, as noted above, is that large numbers of the middle class have not yet come to this realization; they have what Calvert calls “false consciousness.” They look at their world and see other people, such as indigenous people in Africa or Southeast Asia, blacks in the American South, and the desperately poor everywhere, as oppressed. Ascending to revolutionary consciousness means having the ability to look in the mirror and see that person as oppressed.

An excellent example of the new model of transformation is second-wave feminism. Second-wave feminism in the 1960s and 1970s sought to go beyond the feminism of the 19th and early 20th centuries, with its demand for equal political rights, such as voting. Second-wave feminism attacked the basic structures of American civil society: marriage, pregnancy, childrearing, division of labor within the household, and women’s role in the larger society.

Central to this effort was the attempt to cast ordinary American women everywhere as brutally oppressed by the patriarchal social and cultural structures of American society. In their seminal 1965 essay “Sex and Caste: A Kind of Memo,” Casey Hayden and Mary King assert that “there seem to be many parallels that can be drawn between treatment of Negroes and treatment of women in our society as a whole…. It is a caste system which, at its worst, uses and exploits women.”

Similarly, Gloria Steinem wrote that “the parallel between women and blacks—the two largest second-class groups—is one of the deepest truths of American life.” The radical feminist Redstockings groups claimed that “Women are an oppressed class. Our oppression is total, affecting every facet of our lives.”

This established, the second-wave feminists had to cultivate consciousness among women of their oppression, and of the fact that this oppression was systemic. Both the importance and the difficulty of this consciousness cannot be understated. It is important because, in the words of Robin Morgan, “to become a true revolutionary one must first become one of the oppressed…—or realize that you are one of them already.” It is difficult because, as Shulamith Firestone noted in The Dialectic of Sex (1970), “sex class is so deep as to be invisible.”

Barbara Susan argued that consciousness-raising is accomplished in part through communication among women because “unless we talk to each other about our so called personal problems and see how many of our problems are shared by other people, we won’t be able to see how these problems are rooted in politics.” In this analysis, the sexism of American society is so pervasive that it requires dedicated effort to recognize it.

The true radicalism of the feminist movement, and its connection to those thinkers discussed above (Marx, Lenin, Gramsci, and Marcuse), is evident in second-wave writings. Morgan describes the feminists as “revolutionaries.” Firestone explicitly cites Marx and Engels as important to the feminist project, claiming that “for feminist revolution we shall need an analysis of the dynamics of sex war as comprehensive as the Marx-Engels analysis of class antagonism was for the economic revolution…. In creating such an analysis we can learn a lot from Marx and Engels.”

The ultimate goal is to instigate a social revolution analogous to the economic revolution articulated by Marx and Engels: “Unless revolution uproots the basic social organization,” writes Firestone, “the biological family…the tapeworm of exploitation will never be annihilated.” This connection between Marxist theory and social revolution continues in the thought of the American Left today. Recently The Nation ran an interview with feminist theorist Sophie Lewis on her new book. The title of the interview was “Want to Dismantle Capitalism? Abolish the Family.”

American Kulaks

Second-wave feminism is a microcosm of the leftist project that began in the 1960s. The Left, while acknowledging the formative influence of Marx, sought to move beyond mere economic oppression into the realm of social and cultural oppression. From there, they sought to turn ordinary Americans into revolutionaries by convincing them that they were members of an oppressed class, and that American culture and institutions were to blame.

The middle class must be constantly reminded that they are simply proletarians who’ve been bought off if cultural Marxism is to succeed. Most of the economically affluent must be convinced that they are the victims of a system that is built to “privilege” a few. That all, or nearly all, are oppressed by the cultural institutions of Western civilization.

The importance of this effort cannot be overstated. Greg Calvert asserted in 1967 that “if White America is mostly middle class, and if being middle class means not being oppressed, then there is no possibility for finding the resources upon which a radical movement can be built in white America.” It was imperative that the university-trained revolutionary elite accomplish their goal of revolutionizing middle America if they were going to transform the country. If they failed, then revolution would fail in America.

The American middle class, however, has proven to be particularly intransigent. The middle-class worker of the 1960s, raised in the Great Depression and refined in the fire of the Second World War, generally looked with scorn on the arrogant, privileged would-be revolutionaries in the universities. These are the people who embodied the “silent majority” of Richard Nixon’s 1968 campaign acceptance speech.

Nixon claimed to represent “the great majority of Americans, the forgotten Americans—the non-shouters; the non-demonstrators” who “work in America’s factories” and “run America’s businesses.” In what would be a mortal sin in our society, he declared that these people “are not racists or sick; they are not guilty of the crime that plagues the land.”

While the Left has seen success in some quarters, particularly in urban, coastal, and university enclaves, they have basically failed in their quest to revolutionize the American middle class. Even though their families, churches, businesses and communities have been under constant assault from the Left, they have mostly tried to live their lives normally, in the way Americans have lived them for generations.

As a result the American middle class, in the eyes of the modern Left, are to their revolutionary aspirations what the kulaks were to the revolution in Russia. “Kulak” was a term used to describe Russian peasant farmers, who had acquired enough wealth to purchase their own land and even hire labor for their farms. After the Russian Revolution and particularly during the reign of Stalin, “kulak” became a pejorative term: landowning peasants were class enemies who profited from the misery of their neighbors, who refused grain requisitions and resisted the collectivization of their farms. In short, they refused to be part of the revolution, and for their trouble they were mercilessly liquidated by Stalin.

The contemporary Left has largely abandoned its efforts to revolutionize ordinary Americans, and as a result their contempt for such people is now open and undisguised. The Left disdains them precisely because they are trying to retain elements of traditional American culture like faith and self-reliance. They are deplorable because they have refused to join the revolution. They are America’s kulaks.

Privilege and Oppression

The incorporation of cultural transformation into Leftist ideology in America, and the abandonment of the hope of revolutionizing the middle class, has led to a shift in the strategy and tactics of the American Left. The Left’s attitude toward “white America” has been reversed. Instead of seeing ordinary Americans as sublimated proletarians in need of education, the Left now sees them as part of the oppressor class. In orthodox Marxist theory this would make no sense: Marx defined the oppressor class, the bourgeoisie, in strictly economic terms. But thanks to the theoretical work of men like Gramsci, and the practical example set by activists like the second-wave feminists, the oppression of Western society is now defined in non-economic terms such as race and sex. In our time, this neo-Marxism has become the animating doctrine of the American Left.

Perhaps no one work has done more to advance this argument in the mainstream of American culture than Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States. The Marxist historian’s magnum opus was a best-seller, and its reach has been heightened by the incorporation of the work and its themes into Advanced Placement U.S. History courses in high schools across America.

Zinn depicts many events in American history, such as the American Founding and industrialization, in terms of economic class struggle between the wealthy and the masses. But he also suffuses his work with themes of the crimes of the elite—which was white and male in addition to property-owning—against Native Americans, Africans, and women. For Zinn, “the history of any country” is the story of “fierce conflicts of interest between conquerors and conquered, masters and slaves, capitalists and workers, dominators and dominated in race and sex.” America, in particular, is defined by the struggle between those whom the system privileges, and those whom the system oppresses.

These structures of privilege and oppression are all-pervasive, suffusing every aspect of society. Beyond overt racism and state-sponsored discrimination, there is the American “system” itself, which was built by the dominant group for their own sakes and incorporates endless hidden benefits for members of that group.

In “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack,” which has become gospel in the social justice movement, Peggy McIntosh lists dozens of examples, such as “I can chose blemish cover or bandages in ‘flesh’ color and have them more or less match my skin” and “I can think over many options, social, political, imaginative or professional, without asking whether a person of my race would be accepted or allowed to do what I want to do.” McIntosh sees racism everywhere, and it isn’t enough for individuals to cease thinking racist thoughts and doing racist things. The whole “system”—political, legal, economic, cultural, social—was purpose-built for the benefit of whites.

None of this is hyperbole. The Smithsonian Institution recently posted a graphic, now deleted, entitled “Aspects & Assumptions of Whiteness and White Culture in the United States.” In Katz’s view, “whiteness” includes such values as “self-reliance,” “the nuclear family,” “objective, rational linear thinking,” “hard work is the key to success,” “delayed gratification,” and “be polite.” A recent article in Teen Vogue covered the founders of “Black Power Naps,” an initiative which claims that sleep deprivation is evidence of “systemic racism.”

Put it all together, and we get the New York Times’ 1619 Project. The lead author of the 1619 Project, Nikole Hannah-Jones, writes that “Anti-black racism runs in the very DNA of this country” and “The United States is a nation founded on both an ideal and a lie…the white men who drafted [the Declaration of Independence] did not believe them to be true for the hundreds of thousands of black people in their midst.”

Hannah-Jones’ arguments are so dubious that her own fact-checker advised her not to publish them, and an army of experts from across the political spectrum criticized them, but she received a Pulitzer Prize anyway. The 1619 Project has been adapted as a curriculum, and it is already beginning to see adoption in schools.

The very choice of 1619 for the title, the year in which the first African slaves arrived in the thirteen colonies, indicates Hannah-Jones’s desire to convey the belief that pervasive, systemic racism is the central truth of America, past and present. If this is the case, then we must demand thoroughgoing critical analysis of every aspect of American life, leading to the complete destruction and reconstitution of our institutions and cultures.

McIntosh said as much in “White Privilege,” and an entire cottage industry of “anti-racist” educators has emerged to help people cleanse themselves of their privilege. The most prominent today is Robin DiAngelo, whose White Fragility has suddenly become a runaway bestseller. “Race” has replaced economic class as the fault line between privileged and oppressed in the neo-Marxist revolutionary struggle.

Importing Revolution

To ensure the success of their project, the contemporary Left has abandoned all pretense of concern for American sovereignty and the integrity of America’s international borders, and has embraced a policy of unlimited mass migration, combined with the demand that America accept countless refugee migrants from the undeveloped and developing world. Concerns about drug trafficking, human trafficking, infectious diseases, gang violence, and terrorism are swept aside with arguments that any attempt to limit entry into the United States is racist and un-American.

This being the case, any non-Western migrants will serve the purpose equally well, be they from Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Syria, or Somalia. As Thomas Jefferson predicted in Notes on the State of Virginia, importing foreigners at random and without any effort to assimilate them results in a massive underclass, almost none of whom has any understanding of, or affinity for, our way of life. Instead they try their level best to establish replicas of the countries they left in their local enclaves in America. They funnel money back to their home countries. They show no interest in integrating into American culture. Many of them come pre-loaded with Marxist ideologies such as postcolonialism or liberation theology, which are widespread in the undeveloped and developing worlds.

This realization clarifies several aspects of the modern Left which might otherwise appear nonsensical. First, the Left is adamant about placing these masses, not in friendly sanctuary cities around the nation, but in states like Minnesota, Ohio, Arizona, and Texas. Depositing them in Los Angeles, San Francisco, or Portland has little prospective political benefit for the Left. Nothing triggered leftists so much as Trump’s tweeted plan to fly migrants to liberal sanctuary cities in Democrat-controlled states. Once these states have been flooded with migrants and refugees, they can register to vote and turn red states blue.

It explains why the Left and their media allies work so hard to whitewash the bad behavior of their new revolutionary class. When someone like Ilhan Omar makes one of her many indefensible comments, her party rushes to her defense. The leftist media earnestly works to bury unflattering news about migrants and refugees: the Philadelphia police shooter, the American Airlines mechanic who sabotaged an airliner, or the fact that Somali refugees have made large parts of Minneapolis unsafe for ordinary people and MS-13 has undertaken a violent crime spree in Montgomery County, Maryland.

It explains why the Left is unconcerned about the threat of radical Islam to the country at large, but also to the other elements of their own constituency, such as feminists and the LGBT community. Whatever their differences, these groups share a common goal: the deconstruction of American culture and institutions.

As for what comes next: apparently they will cross that bridge later. The American Left is now avowedly revolutionary, and they even have violent thugs in the form of Antifa to do their dirty work. We can only understand them if we recognize their revolutionary nature. Hordes of migrants and refugees are, they believe, allies in their revolutionary project, which is nothing less than the complete destruction and reconstitution of American civilization, in their own words, “by any means necessary.” This has always been the goal, and mass immigration is simply the newest attempt to achieve that goal.

Corrupting the Political Process

Even the “Great Awokening” and the mass importation of new leftist voters may not be enough to ensure victory. Something more is needed, and the Left knows it. Before the 2016 election Michael Anton argued in “The Flight 93 Election” that the Left was rapidly growing tired of pretending to value the democratic political process. Elections, he claimed, were a nuisance, which the Left was ready to abandon. This readiness has become obvious since Trump’s election, and especially so since the beginning of the coronavirus lockdowns. The Left is now openly seeking to cement their own perpetual rule through the corruption of the electoral process.

Think election fraud is a myth? The Heritage Foundation has compiled and maintains a database of documented and proven recent election fraud cases. As of this writing the count of incidents stands at 1,296 cases.

In the early days of the coronavirus shutdown, stock markets crashed and millions of workers were laid off as the economy ground to a relative halt. To mitigate the effects of the shutdown, Congress worked to enact an economic relief bill. Republican and Democratic senators were on the verge of a compromise when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi arrived in Washington with a 1,400-page bill draft of her own. Conservatives mocked the mountain of pork spending in the bill, but the real scandal lay in a series of provisions that would have transformed our election system.

Pelosi wanted to institute a national system of voting by mail. Every voter would receive a paper ballot by mail and would return it by mail. The potential for fraud, corruption, and sheer incompetence here is staggering. A West Virginia postal employee was recently caught manipulating mail ballots. Twenty-eight million mail-in ballots are unaccounted for in the last four election cycles. Mail-in ballots are often mysteriously found after polls close on election night. Recently the New York Times was forced to admit that New York’s vote-by-mail primary had been an unmitigated disaster. Universal voting by mail would be paired with something called “ballot harvesting,” which allows third parties to collect ballots and deliver them to polling places. This is nothing but an invitation to corruption. Pelosi’s bill failed, but it indicates what the Left will do if they get into power.

Having failed in Congress, the Left is using other means to corrupt the electoral process. In Michigan, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson mailed absentee ballot applications to every registered voter in the state. This is a clear violation of Michigan election rules, according to which absentee ballot applications may only be mailed pursuant to an oral or written request by the voter. Left-wing groups in numerous states, including Alabama, Florida, and Texas, have sued to loosen state laws protecting the integrity of the voting process.

During the course of the coronavirus relief bill discussion, House Majority Whip Representative James Clyburn (D-SC) allegedly said that the coronavirus relief bill was “a tremendous opportunity to restructure things to fit our vision.” Suffice it to say that their vision goes beyond $25 million appropriated to the Kennedy Center. If the Democrats ever gain control of all the elected branches of government at the same time, it could easily be the last free and fair election in American history.

The Impending Crisis

In 1858, Abraham Lincoln accepted the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate seat from Illinois. In his acceptance speech, better known as the House Divided Speech, Lincoln began by asserting “If we could first know where we are, and whither we are tending, we could better judge what to do, and how to do it.” Charles Kesler recently termed our situation a “cold civil war.” Whatever it was then, it is more than that now.

In 2020, the cold civil war has become hot. Rioting, looting, organized campaigns of hate and intimidation, open subversion of law, rule by arbitrary and extemporaneous decree, open warfare against every aspect of the American way of life. Make no mistake—we are in the midst of an open, avowed neo-Marxist revolution.

If anything, the situation is even more dire than it was in 2016. Had Hillary won, we would have continued down the painful but relatively gradual path toward woke progressive oligarchy that we had been traveling since at least the end of Reagan’s presidency. If the Left gets control now, they will move to consolidate their victory immediately. We have seen it already in the Commonwealth of Virginia, where the Left gained control of the state government and immediately set about transforming Virginia on a broad front. It will be the final end of free self-government in America.

The electoral coalition they are trying to build, combined with open subversion of the electoral process, will lock them into power indefinitely. Organized repression of dissent, through both violence and intimidation, will ensure that they cannot be effectively challenged. In the Black Lives Matter riots and the coronavirus shutdowns they have shown us what they intend to do, and how they intend to rule. We should believe them.

In 2016, the Left was asleep at the switch. They thought Trump was a joke. They believed their own reportage and polling. They assumed the “arc of history” was bending in their direction. They were insulated from the growing discontent in middle America. They took counsel of their own hateful prejudices about ordinary Americans. They aren’t going to be caught napping this time. The electoral fraud machine is already gearing up in states across the country. The Biden campaign has already hired 600 attorneys for the election. They’re trying to stretch the lockdowns out until after the election.

They’re also desperate, and afraid. Everything they’ve done since Trump’s election speaks of fear and desperation: Obamagate, the Flynn persecution, the Mueller investigation, Ukraine, impeachment. Unending shutdowns and BLM riots are just the latest manifestation. They are desperate to do anything to remove Trump from office.

They’re getting more desperate, because they’re afraid. In doing so, they’ve tipped their hands. The Left’s paramilitary arm, Antifa, derives its name and symbolism from the German Communist Party of the Weimar period. A Portland Antifa organizer recently declared that their objective is “the abolition of the United States as we know it.” One of the founders of Black Lives Matter, Patrisse Cullors, describes herself and her fellow organizes as “trained Marxists.”

They have adopted the raised fist salute, which has been identified with the radical Left since the Spanish Civil War, when it was the salute of the “Popular Front,” an alliance of socialists, communists, anarchists, and syndicalists. Today’s fist-raisers define everyone who opposes them as “fascist.” Though race may be the issue du jour, they are open Marxists and have made that plain for us all to see.

Just because they are desperate, however, does not mean they have been defeated. Conservatives and Republicans have for too long labored under the delusion that winning an election meant that they had won the war. The Gingrich Republicans thought they had won the war after 1994. Defenders of traditional marriage won election after election in the states; even California voted to limit marriage to one man and one woman. We know how that turned out. Re-electing Trump, of itself, will only kick the can down the road another four years. A Trump victory is a necessary condition of ultimate victory, but far more will be necessary.

We can begin by accepting that what is happening to our country is a violent neo-Marxist revolution, and that victory by the Left will mean what Marxist takeovers have always meant: unending misery and oppression. Once we understand that, then we can begin to understand what to do, and how to do it.

If these are Marxist revolutionaries, then they must be utterly defeated. We cannot temporize, compromise, or negotiate with them. They cannot be conciliated or reasoned with. They will accept nothing short of total victory, and therefore neither can we. They must be smashed. Their control over our institutions and culture must be wrecked beyond repair. Their ability to use threats and intimidation to cancel their opponents must be broken.

Their violence must meet with overwhelming power. Their subversion of American civilization must be ruined and reversed. We need a coalition of the sane, which sees the radical Left for what it is and is willing to act accordingly. Only then can reasonable and decent people from both parties disagree and deliberate, and do all the things that free, self-governing people do.

We’re at war. The neo-Marxist Left knows it, and it’s high time the rest of us accepted it, too. At stake is nothing less than liberty, self-government, reason, faith, and our way of life. “The struggle of today,” Lincoln told Congress in 1861, “is not altogether for today. It is for a vast future also.”

The American Mind presents a range of perspectives. Views are writers’ own and do not necessarily represent those of The Claremont Institute.

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