The swear words “Marxist” and “revolutionary” are now thrown around by conservatives, such as those at Heritage, the New York Post, and Fox News, with the same abandon with which the left speaks about “human rights” or “marriage,” particularly in relation to the concept of Critical Race Theory (CRT). But as someone who has studied Marxism extensively, I believe it’s necessary to state that CRT is most definitely not Marxist, nor is it in any sense revolutionary. Instead, it is an instrument of repression brandished by those in power against those whom it is feared might resist them, and those labeling this instrument as Marxist misdiagnose the problem to their detriment.
An ideology does not become Marxist because it launches an attack on white Americans for being white, or on white men as intrinsically evil human beings. Nor is feminism a form of Marxism because it attacks gender differences or the assignment of distinctive social roles to men and women. One does not change established meanings by assigning one’s own invented descriptions to whatever the media and academics decide to extend them to. Marriage is between men and women, even if the state decides to extend marriage licenses to homosexual pairs and throws pastors in jail for disagreeing with this policy. Likewise, something does not become Marxist simply because it is socially dangerous and features the term “struggle.”
True Marxism focuses on socioeconomic distinctions and the struggle by which the working-class overthrows and replaces the bourgeoisie and establishes a socialist economy, presumably by force. It has nothing to do with downgrading whites, heterosexuals, or males, and even less with supporting transgender activists in combat with cisgender bigots. It must fit other criteria than these cultural issues in order to be genuinely Marxist; and the advocates of CRT do not escape this labeling problem by claiming to have come up with a more advanced form of Marxist ideology while rejecting “vulgar Marxism.”