Update: in January 2017, three men associated with a Swedish neo-Nazi group under sway of the “cultural Marxism” conspiracy theory carried out an anti-immigrant bombing of a refugee center in Sweden’s second largest city, Gothenberg.
Donald Trump ; the July 22, 2016 murder of nine people at a McDonalds fast food restaurant in Munich, Germany, by a teenage admirer of Hitler ; the June 2016 assassination of a British member of parliament ; June 2016 neo-Nazi violence in Sacramento, CA ; a Summer 2015 white supremacist mass-execution of nine at a Charleston, SC church ; the July 22, 2011 Norway terrorist attack that killed and wounded almost 400 ; the 2001 al-Qaeda terrorist attacks on America.
What do these share in common ?
In Spring 2016, Donald Trump met William S. Lind and gave Trump the 2009 William Lind / Paul Weyrich co-authored book The Next Conservatism, which includes discussion of “cultural Marxism” and Fourth Generation Warfare (4GW).
All of the instances of terrorism and violence covered in the case studies below (click on numbers 1-6 for subsections in story) have links, either directly or indirectly, to varying degrees, to the ideas of William S. Lind — either by a conspiracy theory promoted by Lind referred to as “cultural Marxism”, by Lind’s theory of “Fourth Generation Warfare” (4GW), or both.
– (1) The July 27, 2016 murder of nine by a teenager who considered sharing Adolf Hitler’s birthday to be a “special honor”.
– (6) The 2001 al-Qaeda terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon that killed thousands of Americans and leveled the WTC’s twin towers.
William S. Lind has suggested his 4GW ideas may have inspired al-Qaeda’s 2001 terrorist attacks, and his “cultural Marxism” conspiracy theory clearly inspired one of Europe’s worst terrorist attacks in decades, the 2011 Norway terrorist attacks that killed 77 and wounded 319.
And, William Lind’s “cultural Marxism” ideas have also become pervasive on the U.S. far-right and are even making surprising inroads among mainstream conservatives.
But Lind is no fringe figure — for decades he worked closely with top architect of the religious right and new right, the late Paul Weyrich.
In the Spring of 2016 Donald Trump met William S. Lind, and he accepted Lind’s and Weyrich’s 2009 book The Next Conservatism, which includes Lind’s “cultural Marxism” conspiracy theory and also discussion of Lind’s ideas concerning 4GW.
The book also contains policy prescriptions that closely resemble the platform Donald Trump has run on in the 2016 presidential election primaries.
I have relegated my explanation of what the “cultural Marxism” conspiracy theory actually is to the end of this piece.
First, let’s examine the seven incidences listed above, in sequence, for the tie-in of each to “cultural Marxism”, 4GW, or both.
Since the July 27, 2016 mass slaying of nine people at a McDonald’s fast food restaurant in Munich a number of facts have emerged. The shooter, a German-Iranian teenager, had boasted of being an “aryan” and considered it an honor to share Adolf Hitler’s birthday. He especially targeted, in his attack, foreign-born victims from Turkey and Kosovo.
The killer, Ali David Sonboly, appears to have envisioned an even bloodier rampage. Although he only killed nine, Sonboly brought three hundred rounds of ammunition to his ambush. Sonboly is also believed to have been in online contact with a 15-year old boy who on July 27th was apprehended by police and possessed a cache of “Bullets, knives, escape plans for his school, chemicals and bomb-making instructions”.
Comparatively little is known about the possible motives of Sonboly, but a few facts stand out. First is his apparent hatred of immigrants. Second, his apparent admiration of Adolf Hitler likely places him on the far-right of the ideological spectrum, as does his affinity for the perpetrator of one of Europe’s worst terrorist attacks in decades, Anders Behring Breivik.
Authorities investigating Sonboly immediately declared there was a “obvious link” to Anders Breivik. One data point : prior to the attack Sonboly had removed his picture, for an online messaging service, and substituted a photo of Breivik.
But one fact has remained surprisingly obscure given the obvious significance – Sonboly carried out his rampage on the fifth anniversary of Anders Behring Breivik’s 2011 terrorist attacks: July 22. This makes Sonboly’s apparent intent to target immigrants, especially Muslim, even more significant ; Breivik’s political manifesto portrays Muslim immigration as an existential threat to Europe, Christianity, and Western Civilization itself.
After his 2011 terrorist attacks, Breivik told authorities that his attacks were a “marketing method” for publicizing his political manifesto – a marketing ploy that, it seems, may still be bearing bloody fruit.
Eight days before the “Brexit” voter referendum concerning whether Britain should stay in or leave the European Union, one of the most outspoken of British politicians who had campaigned for Britain to remain in the E.U. was brutally murdered, both stabbed and shot multiple times : liberal parliament member Jo Cox, the mother of two young children.
Cox’ accused killer had close ties to American neo-Nazi groups and also links to British far-right parties in the vanguard of the pro-Brexit campaign, parties that push the “cultural Marxism” conspiracy theory : Britain First and the British National Party.
Both Britain First (see 1,2) and the British National Party (see 1,2) unabashedly promote the “cultural Marxism” conspiracy theory, which depicts immigration, especially by non-Christians and non anglo-Europeans, as an existential threat to Western Christian nations and white European civilization.
MP Jo Cox had been one of parliament’s most outspoken members who had argued that Britain should take a more active role in the Syrian refugee crisis and advocated that more refugees be allowed into the U.K.
In October 2015, even as her accused assassin Thomas Mair appears to have participated in an anti-Muslim demonstration held by the anti-immigrant group Britain First (which promotes “cultural Marxism”), Jo Cox co-authored an impassioned op-ed in The Guardian that called on the U.K. and the West to take a far more active role towards resolving the Syrian crisis. As Cox and her co-author, conservative MP Andrew Mitchell, argued,
“Every decade, the world is tested with a conflict that breaks the mould, one that is so horrific and so inhumane that new thinking and bold leadership are required to address it. The response of politicians to the crisis becomes emblematic of their generation, their moral leadership or cowardice, their resolution or incompetence”
Following Jo Cox’ brutal slaying, a Southern Poverty Law Center report exposed close ties between Cox’ accused murderer, Thomas Mair, and far-right racist American groups. According to the SPLC, Mair,
“was for decades a dedicated supporter of the National Alliance (NA), the once premier neo-Nazi organization in the United States. Mair purchased a manual from the NA in 1999 that included instructions on how to build a pistol.”
While the peak of the National Alliance came several years before William S. Lind and Paul Weyrich began in the late 1990s to promote their “cultural Marxism” conspiracy theory, the National Alliance was the birthplace of a closely related race-war narrative.
The SPLC report notes that National Alliance founder William Pierce was the author of the infamous novel The Turner Diaries, a fictional account of how a white racist insurgency topples the U.S. government and carries out a genocidal race war that exterminates a wide range of targeted ethnic groups.
The Turner Diaries was found in the possession of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh upon his arrest following his bombing of the Murrah Federal Building that killed 168 and injured 500.
In his 2014 novel Victoria — A Novel of Fourth Generation Warfare, William S. Lind describes how a white Christian militia insurgency — initially launched to combat “political correctness” (as deployed by the agents of “cultural Marxism”) — overthrows the federal government. The white militias then carry out ethnic cleansing (see footnote*)
Over the past two decades, the William S. Lind-promoted “cultural Marxism” conspiracy theory has become entrenched not only on the American nativist, populist right but also among its counterparts in Europe and the United Kingdom.
One indication of this is the political manifesto of the 2011 Norway terrorist attacks perpetrator Anders Behring Breivik. Lind’s “cultural Marxism” conspiracy theory is the core thesis of Breivik’s manifesto, in which the terms “cultural Marxism” and “cultural Marxist” appear over 600 times, and the manifesto reproduces almost in its entirety the 2004 William Lind-edited Free Congress Foundation book “Political Correctness: A Short History of an Ideology”(with various minor alterations and additions by Breivik.)
According to several eyewitnesses, during his alleged assassination of Jo Cox, Thomas Mair reportedly shouted out “Britain First !”. Britain First is a far-right British anti-immigrant, anti-Islam nativist-nationalist political party formed in 2011 by members of the right-wing nationalist British National Party.
A photo, from an October 2015 Britain First demonstration that surfaced after the murder of MP Jo Cox, appears to show Thomas Mair standing alongside, and holding a banner with, Britain First demonstrators protesting an informational booth run by British Muslims.
According to a report from the Southern Poverty Law Center, Mair was at a small 2000 meeting, convened by William Pierce, then-head of the American neo-Nazi National Alliance, that was aimed at building Pierce’s white power music business.
Underscoring the close ideological ties between Americans and such groups as the British National Party, also in attendance according to the SPLC was an individual then raising funds for the Scottish wing of the BNP.
On June 26, 2016, California members of the Traditionalist Workers Party (variously described as a neo-Nazi, a white nationalist, or an ethno-nationalist group) staged a rally in Sacramento, CA and were met by a much larger force of counter demonstrators. A violent clash which followed sent ten to the hospital, including two people critically injured with multiple stab wounds. According to TWP leadership, TWP members seem to have committed most of the serious violence.
Wrote TWP co-founder Matthew Heimbach*, before the rally, “After carefully weighing the pros and cons, we have decided that this would be our Thermopylae”. Heimbach was alluding to the 480 B.C. battle of Thermopylae in which a vastly outnumbered Greek force held off a numerically superior Persian army.
It seems clear, from a subsequent post by co-founder Matt Parrott, that the Traditionalist Workers Party members came to the rally both expecting violence and fully prepared for it ; and Parrott raises the same theme of existential and civilizational conflict raised by Heimbach.
Civilizational conflict is an underlying premise of the “cultural Marxism” conspiracy theory.
Judging by the dozens of times “cultural Marxism” has been discussed on the website of the Traditionalist Youth Network, one of the key websites of Heimbach and Parrott’s movement, William S. Lind’s theory is now well integrated into the Traditionalist Workers Party worldview.
Writings on the site by both Heimbach and Parrott accept the reality of the “cultural Marxism” plot and rail against its accompanying evils, multiculturalism and political correctness.
*Matthew Heimbach previously came to public notice due to footage from a March Louisville, Kentucky Donald Trump rally that showed Heimbach apparently assaulting a female Black Lives Matter movement protester.
Dylann Storm Roof is the American accused of the June 17, 2015 execution of nine African-American members of a prayer group at the Charleston, South Carolina African Methodist Episcopal Church.
An investigation revealed that prior to the massacre Roof had told a friend he hoped that killing people at the historic black church would provoke a race war.
Following the massacre, a manifesto by Roof emerged that provided evidence of how he had become radicalized. By his own account, following the 2012 shooting of Trayvon Martin, Dylann Roof began researching race relations online. Described Roof in his manifesto,
“The first website I came to was the Council of Conservative Citizens. There were pages upon pages of these brutal black on White murders. I was in disbelief. At this moment I realized that something was very wrong. How could the news be blowing up the Trayvon Martin case while hundreds of these black on White murders got ignored?”
The Council of Conservative Citizens (CoC), according to a Southern Poverty Law Center description, is,
“the modern reincarnation of the old White Citizens Councils, which were formed in the 1950s and 1960s to battle school desegregation in the South… the CCC has evolved into a crudely white supremacist group.”
The CoC has played a major role in spreading the Lind/Weyrich “cultural Marxism” conspiracy theory by repackaging the Free Congress Foundation’s pseudo documentary — narrated by William S. Lind, that purports to explain the origins of “political correctness” in cultural Marxism — with an introduction by a CoC narrator, then marketing the longer CoC version of the Free Congress Foundation video idea to the racist and white nationalist right.
The CoC now distributes that video to new dues-paying Council of Conservative Citizens members as part of an introductory membership package.
William Lind is considered by some to be the leading theorist of an unorthodox form of warfare, Fourth Generation Warfare (4GW). Dr. James Scaminaci squarely identifies Lind as the originator of 4GW:
“John Boyd was arguably the greatest strategist produced by the United States, but his long-time friend and colleague, William S. Lind, took Boyd’s seminal ideas on epistemological warfare and combined them with elements of third generation warfare, terrorism, and a few other concepts related to geographical space and a heavy emphasis upon maneuver warfare to produce his own seminal argument for Fourth Generation Warfare.” (from Scaminaci’s academic paper The Christian Reconstructionist Plan For The Patriot Militias, page 2)
4GW is a style of warfare that blurs distinctions between civilians and combatants, in which non-state actors, for example insurgent militias or terrorist groups, can use a spectrum of unorthodox methods – from direct military force applied in unexpected ways to sophisticated public relations techniques – to defeat government forces that are nominally far more powerful and challenge, or even overthrow, centralized government authority and entire nations.
In the 2004 book The Sling and The Stone, 4GW thinker Thomas X. Hammes presents additional insight:
“Fourth-generation Warfare (4GW) uses all available networks–political, economic, social, and military–to convince the enemy’s political decision makers that their strategic goals are either unachievable or too costly for the perceived benefit. It is an evolved form of insurgency… Unlike previous generations of warfare, it does not attempt to win by defeating the enemy’s military forces. Instead, via the networks, it directly attacks the minds of enemy decision makers to destroy the enemy’s political will. Fourth-generation wars are lengthy–measured in decades rather than months or years.” (p. 2)
While Hammes’ description might indicate 4GW warfare tends to be less violent than traditional warfare, al-Qaeda’s apparent application of it, through its devastating September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, suggests otherwise; William Lind appears to concur.
His fictional 2014 novel Victoria, which describes 4GW in practice, suggests that various forms of extreme violence – as manifested in wholesale ethnic cleansing, summary executions, and even the nuclear destruction of a major American city – are acceptable methods in the 4GW strategist’s toolkit.
In one of his military strategy articles, William S. Lind observes (see second paragraph) that during the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001 – in retaliation for al-Qaeda’s terrorist attacks, American troops reportedly found copies of his seminal 1989 Marine Corps Gazette article on Fourth Generation warfare “in the caves at Tora Bora, the al-Qaeda hideout in Afghanistan”.
A reported close aid to Osama bin-Laden even authored an article, for an al-Qaeda publication, that specifically referenced Lind’s article.
In his book The Sling and The Stone – On War In The 21st Century another authority on Fourth Generation Warfare, U.S. Marine Corps Colonel Thomas X. Hammes concurs with Lind’s apparent suggestion – “al-Qaeda understands 4GW and is using it”, writes Hammes on page 204.
In the first of his “On War” series of writings (“On War #1 – Can A Government Wage War Without Popular Support”, January 28, 2003), William Lind explicitly took credit for having inspired al-Qaeda’s 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, writing,
“Who am I? At present, I am a center director at the Free Congress Foundation. But in 1976 I began the debate over maneuver warfare that became a central part of the military reform movement of the 1970s and 1980s. The U.S. Marine Corps finally adopted maneuver warfare as doctrine in the late `80s (I wrote most of their new tactics manual).
In 1989, I began the debate over Fourth Generation warfare—war waged by non-state entities—which is what paid us a visit on September 11, 2001. The article I co-authored then for the Marine Corps Gazette was formally cited last year by al Quaeda, who said, “This is our doctrine.” My Maneuver Warfare Handbook, published in 1985, is now used by military academies all over the world, and I lecture internationally on military strategy, doctrine and tactics.”
( note: Lind’s entire 241-part “On War” series is available in its entirety archived at the website of futurist and consultant to the Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff John Robb. For “On War # 1”, see this PDF file )
In his “On War #1”, written immediately before the U.S. invasion of Iraq, Lind made a issued a prescient warning about the likely impact – the inspiration of more Islamic extremism :
“Most importantly, the real threat we face is the Fourth Generation, non-state players such as al Quaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah, etc. They can only benefit from an American war against Iraq—regardless of how it turns out. If we win, the state is further discredited in the Islamic world, and more young men give their allegiance to non-state forces.”
On the same day in 2011 during which he single-handedly blew up and shot to death 77 Norwegian citizens (mostly teenagers) and injured an additional 319 people — with a truck bomb and automatic weapons firing hollow point bullets designed to inflict maximum tissue damage — neo-Nazi terrorist Anders Behring Breivik electronically distributed a 1518 page manifesto titled 2083: A European Declaration of Independence that called for the deportation of Muslims from Europe and identified – as the arch-enemies of Western and Christian civilization – two forces: “cultural Marxism” and Islam.
Anders Breivik, who during a recent court appearance gave a classic, stiff-armed Nazi salute, has explained to press that his terrorist massacre, which Breivik has called a “marketing method”, was meant to publicize his manifesto.
The core thesis of Breivik’s manifesto is William Lind’s “cultural Marxism” conspiracy theory, and the terms “cultural Marxism” or “cultural Marxist” appear over 600 times in the manifesto. Analyst and researcher Chip Berlet explains Breivik’s thesis, from Lind, with the following formula:
“Cultural Marxism=Political Correctness=Multiculturalism=Muslim Immigration=Destruction of Judeo-Christian nations”
Anders Breivik was so gripped by William S. Lind’s “cultural Marxism” conspiracy theory concerning the origin of “political correctness” that Breivik’s manifesto plagiarized, with minor modifications and additions by Breivik, the entire body of William Lind’s 2004 Free Congress Foundation book “Political Correctness:” A Short History of an Ideology.
From pages 11 to 37, Breivik’s manifesto reproduces the core of the Free Congress Foundation book (pages 4-51) edited by William S. Lind – whose introductory chapter by Lind, “What is Political Correctness”, Breivik lifted almost unchanged.
Breivik’s manifesto also borrowed, on page 13, the exact words of William S. Lind from Lind’s introduction to a 1990s twenty-two minute Free Congress Foundation video, on the origins of “political correctness”:
“Just what is “Political Correctness?” Political Correctness is in fact cultural Marxism (Cultural Communism) – Marxism translated from economic into cultural terms.”
That Free Congress Foundation video also featured Laszlo Pasztor, a close working colleague of FCF founder Paul Weyrich. During World War Two, Pasztor was “a liaison between the Hungarian Nazi party and Berlin” and after the war served a five year prison sentence for crimes against humanity.
In 1988 Pasztor was at the center of a national scandal over the involvement of Eastern European emigres who had collaborated with the Nazis, but had been allowed into the U.S. because of their fierce anti-communist beliefs, in the presidential campaign of George H.W. Bush.
The 2009 William S. Lind and Paul Weyrich book The Next Conservatism explicitly and repeatedly references the cultural Marxism theory that influenced Anders Breivik and, very early in the book, explains it in the most dire and cosmic terms:
‘Americans’ most fundamental freedoms, including freedom of speech and freedom of association, are under threat from the ideology most commonly known as “multiculturalism” or “political correctness”. But what really is “PC”? A tour through a bit of esoteric intellectual history reveals its secret: it is cultural Marxism, Marxism translated from economic into cultural terms by a think tank established in 1923 in Frankfurt, Germany, the infamous Institute for Social Research. Cultural Marxism’s goal from the outset has been nothing less than the destruction of Western culture and the Christian religion, goals toward which it has made frightening progress. The next conservatism must arm Americans against this menace with the weapon it fears most: the revelation of its real nature.’ (p. 5, The Next Conservatism)
On page 39 following a several page explanation, in detail, of the “cultural Marxism” conspiracy theory, The Next Conservatism refers readers to the URL of a free book on the website of the Free Congress Foundation, “Political Correctness: A Short History of an Ideology” – the very 2004 book plagiarized in Anders Behring Breivik’s political manifesto.
Following Anders Behring Breivik’s 2011 terrorist attack, that 2004 Free Congress Foundation book disappeared from the Free Congress Foundation’s website.
“cultural Marxism” unpacked
William S. Lind’s “Cultural Marxism” conspiracy theory posits a grand plot, allegedly launched almost a century ago by Jewish Marxists, to destroy America and Western Christian nations by targeting culture.
According to William S. Lind, who has been by far the most dedicated and successful promoter of the conspiracy theory, “Cultural Marxism” is Marxism translated from economic into cultural terms.
“Cultural Marxism” now provides an extremely useful linguistic tool for racists, as a dog-whistle term that invokes a wide range of enemies said to be at war with white America and Christian civilization :
The “cultural Marxists” — and also those unaware what “cultural Marxism” is but who are nonetheless under its evil sway — might be Democrats, liberals, or progressives, LGBTQ citizens, feminists, secular humanists or environmentalists.
They could be multiculturalists, or citizens of non European-American ethnicity, black nationalists or members of Hispanic organizations. They could be recent legal immigrants or illegal ones.
Even Republicans can be cynical accomplices, for personal economic gain.
The list can go on almost endlessly – because of the expansive, totalistic nature of the alleged cultural Marxist conspiracy, no single enemies list can possibly encompass all the various societal groups playing a part, witting or not, in the plot.
The core of the idea is that the architects of the conspiracy and their agents (witting or not) work to weaken the ethnic and cultural glue that binds together Western Christian nations. Eventually, those nations can shatter into smaller ethnic and cultural sub-units.
Immigration — especially an influx of non-Western and non Anglo-European immigrants, plays a key role; and its corrosive effect on (white) cultural and ethnic unity is reinforced by the ethic of multiculturalism (the notion that all cultures are equally valid) and the cult of “political correctness”, which stigmatizes those bold enough to challenge multiculturalism, as a process and an ethos.
Awareness of the alleged threat has become deeply embedded in the American public mind, especially on the right, both through the “cultural Marxism” conspiracy theory but also through slightly sanitized narratives in books from prominent paleoconservatives such as Pat Buchanan’s New York Times bestseller State of Emergency – The Third World Invasion and Conquest of America (Thomas Dunne Books, 2006).
Buchanan’s book never mentions the “cultural Marixsm” conspiracy theory by name but nonetheless presents the conspiracy theory’s core trope – the intended destruction of America, the shattering of the Republic into Kosovo-like subunits, by flooding the nation with non-Western and non-European ethnic stock.
That Buchanan’s State of Emergency was meant to pave the way for acceptance of the “cultural Marxism” conspiracy theory seems likely given that Buchanan was acquainted with the idea long before writing the book. Notes researcher Bill Berkowitz, writing for the Southern Poverty Law Center,
‘At an October 2000 campaign stop in Denver, Reform Party presidential candidate Pat Buchanan accused Native Americans attempting to block a Columbus Day parade of “cultural Marxism.” ‘
What’s especially striking about this is the fact that William S. Lind and Paul Weyrich had only begun promoting their “cultural Marxism” conspiracy theory
William S. Lind’s most detailed explanation of the “cultural Marxism” plot the origin of “political correctness”, as a multiculturalist weapon in the “cultural Marxism” plot
Another line of attack of the cultural Marxists has been Critical Theory, an academic tendency that challenges existing cultural institutions and has helped inspire various social movements which arose in the 1950s through the 1970s — the civil rights movement, the feminist movement, and lastly the LGBTQ rights movement.
The “cultural Marxism” conspiracy theory is heavily anti-Semitic. In 2002, promoting his theory at a Holocaust denial conference, William S. Lind — who first made clear that he in no way supported Holocaust denial, nonetheless informed the participants, concerning the perpetrators of the alleged grand conspiracy, that “These guys were all Jewish”.
At the root, Cultural Marxism provides a compelling narrative, for white middle and lower class America – and especially for straight white ethnic European-American men, that identifies the source of their growing troubles:
Per the conspiracy theory narrative, immigration intensifies competition for jobs and internationalist cultural Marxist economic elites have further reduced well-paying jobs by moving industrial production out of the country.
In his 2009 book The Next Conservatism (co-authored with Paul Weyrich) Lind is clear – Democrats support immigration because most of them are cultural Marxists; Republicans support it because they want cheap labor, to achieve greater profits.
Multiculturalism and “political correctness” both support immigration and validate the refusal of immigrants to assimilate into the dominant culture. In addition, PC attacks cultural identity by circumscribing speech itself — to publicly challenge multiculturalism is to risk social censure.
In the end, per this narrative, poor and lower-middle class whites are both public silenced and economically marginalized.
*footnote – William S. Lind’s novel is, in essence, a marginally sanitized and updated version of the Turner Diaries (see this synopsis) and shares shockingly similar plot lines.
Throughout Victoria, William Lind describes Fourth Generation Warfare tactics by which non-state actors can defeat state or federal government. Lind’s 4GW theory builds off previous models of right-wing insurgency such as the “leaderless resistance” model developed in the early 1990s by “revolutionary racist” theorist Louis Beam.
In the Leaderless Resistance model, individuals or cell groups that have no official ties to any legal movement entities are inspired by movement propaganda to carry out acts of terrorism and assassination.
In Victoria, a retired U.S. Marine Corps officer carries out the assassination of the United States president, and most of his cabinet, with a kamikaze attack using a light plane that destroys the president’s transport helicopter in a massive fireball.