By William Walter Kay
Table of Contents
Versions of the Frankfurt School's history as chronicled in Alt-Right videos are very similar. The videos often use identical quotations. William Lind's, The Origins of Political Correctness (2000) is the template.
Here is the Alt-Right's plot-line:
World War I threw Marxism into crisis because the working classes of Europe's warring states, rather than join in an international revolution as Marx predicted, dutifully donned uniforms and bravely fought for their homelands. Nationalism triumphed over communism.
The few uprisings occurring outside Russia quickly collapsed. One of these aborted revolutionary regimes, the Hungarian Soviet Republic, had for a Minister of Education Georg Lukacs. He later played a role in the Frankfurt School. As Education Minister, Lukacs foisted sex education onto the public school system, and this outrage facilitated the revolutionary regime's downfall.
After WWI, perplexed Marxists searched for alternative strategies.
In 1922 a wealthy German-Jewish Marxist, Felix Weil, summoned a symposium of Marxists: the First Marxist Work Week. Lukacs attended.
This symposium launched the Institute for Social Research (ISR, a.k.a. the Frankfurt School). While the ISR was founded by the "Marxist-Communist Party of Germany," it was named ISR to conceal its Marxist nature.
At this juncture, Alt-Right narrators introduce Italian communist Antonio Gramsci, usually referencing his Prison Notebooks, and citing a passage wherein Gramsci encourages fellow communists to embark on a long march through the cultural institutions of capitalist society in order to ready the proletariat for revolution. Other Marxists, often Lukacs, are then quoted to the effect that the previous revolution attempt failed because the proles were blinded by culture. Overthrowing the political order required first overturning the cultural order.
Thus the Frankfurt School dropped direct class struggle and switched to cultural struggle. They divorced Marxism from economics and replaced the proletariat with various, allegedly oppressed, races and genders. This reorientation of Marxism accelerated rapidly after Max Horkheimer became ISR director in 1930. Horkheimer prioritised the study of art and psychology. In 1932 Horkheimer welcomed Herbert Marcuse onto his team.
After the German Nazi Party assumed office (an event no Alt-Right commentator condemns) the Frankfurt School relocated to New York City as an adjunct to Columbia University. During its New York years (1934-1951) the Frankfurt School accomplished its most important work. The School's main figures were: Horkheimer, Marcuse, Theodor Adorno, and Erich Fromm.
Fromm and Marcuse focused on psychology and sex. They promoted sexual liberation and androgyny. Marcuse advocated "polymorphous perversity." Fromm contended that gender was merely a social construct.
In the 1940s Marcuse became a key member of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS, forerunner of the CIA) while Adorno and Horkheimer moved to Hollywood.
In 1950 Adorno published The Authoritarian Personality – an influential and damning critique of American culture.
Marcuse's Eros and Civilization (1955) elevated him to guru status among sexual revolutionaries in the "New Left" movement which appeared during the late-1960s student protest groundswell. During this period Cultural Marxism was rebranded as "Critical Theory."
The by now ubiquitous university departments of: women's studies, black studies, native studies, whiteness studies, gender studies, and gay studies are branches of Critical Theory. The doctrine disseminated by Critical Theory is often referred to as "Political Correctness."
Political Correctness is similar to Marxism in that: (a) both are ideologies; (b) both deploy unifactoral explanations (economics or power); (c) both divide society between good and bad people; (d) both seek to expropriate either property or rights; (e) both rely on self-serving analysis (economics or deconstruction).
While Political Correctness has invaded the mainstream media, it is far more deeply entrenched on college campuses. Political Correctness is also deeply embedded in government-run multi-cultural and affirmative action programs.
There is an Orwellian aspect to Political Correctness. Diversity is praised, but certainly not the diversity of viewpoints. The attack on discrimination and racism translates into racist discrimination against white people. Inclusion is preached; exclusion is practiced.
Frankfurt School influence is vividly displayed by the use of psychological terms to censor opponents. Persons questioning the gay agenda or Muslim migration are dismissed as homophobes, xenophobes, or Islamophobes – as though they were mentally ill.
A mantra of the Politically Correct is "diversity is strength" yet their multicultural and reverse discrimination campaigns divide and weaken society. Their promotion of political lesbianism and victim feminism fuels gender wars, which further weaken and divide society.
The Frankfurt School/Cultural Marxism/Critical Theory/Political Correctness crusade is aimed at fomenting catastrophic discord within Western (i.e. European) civilization.
There is much wrong with the Alt-Right's Frankfurt School narrative. Some inaccuracies will be rectified in accompanying articles; however, six much-repeated errors can be quickly dispatched. (There are more ludicrous mistakes found in this or that video, but they are not worth debunking.)
Firstly, the crisis in Marxism, circa WWI, resulted not from the fact that workers were stuffed into uniforms and blasted off as cannon fodder in yet another inter-imperialist war – that much was anticipated by the Marxist paradigm. No, the crisis arose because Europe's Marxist leaders themselves wholeheartedly took up the battle cry and, in defiance of what they had been preaching, spewed war-mongering chauvinistic rhetoric.
Secondly, the Hungarian Soviet Republic lasted for 133 chaotic days. (Baron) Lukacs was an education commissar for a few weeks. During this time, battles raged on Budapest's streets. The dubious idea that his sex-education policies were either perverse or consequential is a meme exclusive to loopy anti-Semitic publications where it is never footnoted. More importantly, while Lukacs attended Weil's Marxist Work Week, he was never part of the Frankfurt School.
Thirdly, there never was a Marxist-Communist Party of Germany. There was a Communist Party of Germany (KDP, est. 1919) which the Frankfurt School opposed. A bait-and-switch in the Alt-Right videos involves starting the story with the same grainy black-and-white photo of the 19 attendees to the Marxist Work Week among whom there were a few Communists. The "Frankfurt School," however, consists of a famous clique of scholars (Max Horkheimer, Theodor Adorno, Herbert Marcuse, Erich Fromm, and Jurgen Habermas), none of whom attended the Marxist Work Week. The few associates of the Frankfurt School who were briefly in the KPD are better known for their later anti-communist writings.
Fourthly, Gramsci had no involvement in the Frankfurt School. Gramsci was arrested by Mussolini in 1926 and died in jail in 1937, age 48. He never visited Germany and never met the Frankfurt scholars. His connection to "Cultural Marxism" began in the 1980s when a few publish-or-perish professors established a fertile niche mining his prison notebooks. This project had the obvious ingredients of a successful academic enterprise: (a) a revolutionary martyr unsullied by power; and (b) 3,000-pages of turgid prose based more on classical scholars than Marx. The notebooks (which were vetted by Fascist prison censors) were not available in English until the late-1970s and thus could not possibly have had the timely influence on academia that the Alt-Right alleges.
Fifthly, every Alt-Right video contains a quote, misattributed to Gramsci, about a crypto-communist strategy called the "long march through the institutions of power." The quote is actually from the West German academic Rudi Dutschke (1940-1979) who was primarily involved in anti-nuclear activism, Christian proselytising, and supporting dissident groups in Eastern Europe. The phrase "the long march" elicits Mao Zedong, not Gramsci. The idea that Gramsci reviewed real-time Italian translations of pamphlets from obscure Chinese peasant leaders while on his death-bed is absurd.
Finally, Marcuse was hardly a "key" member of the OSS or CIA. Rather he (and several other Frankfurt Schoolers) were but foot-soldiers in a vast cultural army deployed by the American government at the outset of the Cold War.
Historical inaccuracy is the least of the Alt-Right's problems. These are men freighted with baleful baggage. Many Alt-Right websites are openly, extremely anti-Semitic. Many glorify known fascist monsters. Their videos rely heavily on argument by repetition. Snarl words like "Marxist" echo obsessively. As well, their videos wander off into topics such as the Federal Reserve, the gold standard, constitutional jurisprudence, and other affairs where elite policy, reprehensible though it may be, cannot conceivably be the puppeteering of the invisible disciples of the Frankfurt School.
The Alt-Right's great analytical failing is their lack of effort to properly insert Political Correctness into the command and control structure of the universities and mass media conglomerates. Had the Alt-Right done this, they would have learned that the directors of such institutions are people without any real or even likely connection to Marxism. Alt-Rightists believe radicalized students control both university carriculum and mainstream media policy; i.e. the lunatics run the asylum.
Whether stated or not, the Alt-Right's Cultural Marxist critique presumes the existence of a sprawling network of Jewish conspirators.
Despite the above, Alt-Right theories about Political Correctness should not be casually dismissed. The Alt-Right is a growing concern, not because of their worn-out Jew-baiting/red-baiting malarkey, but because they are pointing out something that is real and troubling about the world. A massive anti-white, anti-male, anti-heterosexist, anti-Christian campaign is being waged by academic and media elites. This is not a hallucination unique to persons baptised into Judeo-Bolshevik diabolism. The Alt-Right is growing because they are discussing something we are all witnessing. What the Alt-Right projects onto this observation; is quite another matter…
Lies are politically useful. Lies conceal material interests and cover up contradictions in one's position. Tissues of lies form encompassing deceptive ideologies. In the 19th century, as capitalism spawned new class antagonisms, sections of the bourgeoisie, the class which created the Enlightenment, abandoned Enlightenment values in favour of subjective-irrationalist philosophies.
In the early 1800s Georg Hegel dominated German philosophy. After his death in 1831, Prussian authorities grew troubled by the revolutionary conclusions students were drawing from Hegel's works. These authorities turned to Friedrich Schelling, a professor whose career had been eclipsed by Hegel, to stop the spread of Left-Hegelianism.
Philosophy since 1831 has been a rivalry between revolutionary materialism and reactionary idealism. Socialist books first appeared in the 1840s. After Marx and Engels penned The Communist Manifesto in 1848, the socialist movement embraced materialism.
Hegel was no materialist. In his convoluted, obscure writings, the human thought process itself (the "Idea") becomes an animated, willful protagonist – a Demiurge to the sensory world. To Right-Hegelians, reality was but a figment of this Idea's imagination.
In the idealist camp thought has primacy over matter and consciousness has primacy over existence. Conversely, materialists assert the primacy of matter over consciousness, adding that consciousness evolved from matter.
Idealists reject the notion of an objective truth existing outside the observing mind. To materialists, objective reality exists outside of, and independently of, the observer. However, for Marxists, total objectivism ignores the conscious proactive agency (dialectics), which is a crucial element of the objective world.
This debate spills over into historical analysis. Idealists contend that historical change springs from changes in consciousness (ideology). Some even contend that ideological change arises from the efforts of advanced pedagogues, i.e. from the idealist professors themselves.
Historical materialists see history as a law-governed process driven by economic forces that exist independently of human consciousness. It is never a question of what this or that economic actor, or even what the whole populace, thinks. Material forces do not depend on public opinion for their existence. The impulse for historical change is the dialectical interplay between productive forces and property relations. The growth of the productive forces strains property relations.
Refuting Marxism requires refuting the central elements of historical materialism. Cynical idealist academics hide their ignorance of material (economic) history behind a contempt for historical facts. Historical abstentionism, or any dismissive attitude toward history, is the hallmark of a reactionary.
Marxism's touchstone is the revolutionary criticism of production/property relations. Materialists disclose class contradictions and they highlight whichever class is directing the economic system. Their primary focus is always on working-class struggles.
In the 1860s a "Back to Kant" initiative swept German academia. This initiative played a major role in Marxist revisionism. A defining tenet of this trend was that socialism did not require scientific substantiation.
In the reactionary political climate of the 1870s (following the Paris Commune's suppression and the Second Reich's consolidation) additional antiquated doctrines were revived. In the German-speaking world, such doctrines became associated with the "critical critics." These scholars were philosophical idealists who believed "opinion governs the world." A contemporary Marxist described them thusly:
The essence of the historical process reduced itself in their view to the refashioning of the "critical spirit" of the existing store of opinions… Once having imagined himself to be the main architect, the Demiurge of history, the "critically thinking" man thereby separates off himself and those like him into a special, higher variety of the human race. (1)
In the 1890s, alongside renewed frontal attacks on Marxism, sophisticated efforts went into devising a pseudo-Marxism devoid of revolutionary content. This involved high stakes because by the 1890s Marxism had become, via the German Social Democratic Party (SPD), a mass movement. The SPD was both a working-class party and a vast network of educational and cultural associations.
The SPD proclaimed Marxist revolutionary objectives; however, by the early 20th century, a privileged and conservative strata had surfaced atop the movement. Pseudo-Marxism became the theoretical justification for the conservatism of union and party bureaucrats obsessed with finding comfy berths for themselves in palatial offices built with membership dues. Of these men one Marxist opined:
"They no longer believed, they enjoyed. And they wanted troops in their own image, troops without ideals, attracted only by material advantages." (2)
The prevailing opinion among university professors at this time was that materialism was outmoded and naïve. Such opinions further disorientated and demoralized socialist workers.
(Among those launching frontal attacks on historical materialism was Heinrich Rickert. His understudy, the future pro-Nazi sycophant Martin Heidegger, would become the premier exponent of philosophical irrationalism.)
Circa 1915-1920 in Germany and Russia the immediate political foe of socialism was monarchism. Here socialists found common cause with sections of the democratic, liberal bourgeoisie. Many socialist leaders argued that a too-Marxist line might frighten the liberal bourgeoisie back into the arms of absolutist reaction.
The Institute for Social Research (a.k.a. the Frankfurt School) appeared in 1923. Its leading representatives lived their lives in a state of permanent political prostration. These hired guns converted Marxism from a weapon of proletarian struggle into a tool for amorphous cultural criticism with which middle-class pessimism, social alienation, and psychological frustration might find expression. Their abstruse writings recycled irrationalist, idealist, and individualistic philosophies clearly antithetical to Marxism. They exploited pseudo-Hegelian phraseology and largely confined their analysis of Marxism to Marx's early musings about abstract topics like "alienation" – written before Marx's break with Hegelianism.
The Frankfurt School's principal statement, Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno's Dialectic of Enlightenment (1947), proclaims the end of hope for progress. This manifesto of despair blames the Enlightenment for the catastrophes of the 20th century. Reason, science, and technology allegedly caused fascism's triumph. This book later found an eager audience among petty bourgeois radicals of the New Left.
Also adorning New Leftists' bookshelves were two tomes from fellow Frankfurters: Wilhelm Reich's The Mass Psychology of Fascism (1933) and Herbert Marcuse's Eros and Civilization (1955). In the 1950s and 1960s Freudian psychology, as interpreted by Marcuse, Reich, and Erich Fromm, was hailed as an alternative to Marxism. Marcuse, whose writings betray the imprint of his training under Heidegger, achieved great popularity by blending pseudo-Marxism with existentialist psychology.
Freudo-Marxists fixated on sex. Reich contended that if Marxism could not channel the repressed libidinal drives of the masses, then fascism would. Reich's rooting of fascism in innate psychological drives has no basis in historical materialism. Reich also sharply criticized traditional family structures, claiming the masses suffered "family-it is." After immigrating to the USA, he became a right-wing anti-communist.
Frankfurt School influence peaked during the 1960s student protests. The middle-class "anti-capitalist" student movement, because it sought minimal democratic reforms, favoured highly diluted forms of Marxism. The Frankfurt School distilled and distributed a suitably low-proof product. The student movement suffered disorientation after imbibing this elixir.
In the 1970s, as middle-class radicalism receded, Frankfurt School ideology consolidated in universities after former protest leaders were awarded teaching positions. Once inside the academy, Frankfurt School partisans conducted unrelenting war – not against capitalism, but against Marxism. With rare exceptions, little real Marxism has been taught at universities for decades. As regards those Marxist parties struggling outside the campus setting, these professors' directives translated into liquidation.
In 1968 French student protests ignited a workers' rebellion that saw red flags flapping over factories across France. Union bureaucrats ultimately doused these revolutionary flames, but not before the French intelligentsia peered over the abyss. Horrified, they veered sharply rightward. Post-1968 a "new left" emerged in France which, like its English-speaking counterpart, rejected Marxism's core tenets. Thus sprang "postmodernism" – the Frankfurt School's younger sibling; equally indebted to the reactionary, irrationalist Schelling-Nietzsche-Heidegger line.
Postmodernism attempted to destroy Marxism by striking at its essential propositions, such as the belief in objective truth. To postmodernists there was no Truth; only subjective narratives deployed to achieve subjectively selected ends. There was no History; only exchangeable meta-narratives about the past. Postmodernists built a meta-narrative deconstruction industry. Postmodernism's anti-socialist trajectory was conceded by one academic insider who noted:
"Marxism is arguably the most frequent, if not always the explicit, target of postmodernist critics..." (3)
The fall of the USSR (1991) unleashed yet another wave of publications proclaiming the death of Marxism. Simultaneously, academia revived pre-1848 German idealism. Post-Marxism discovered pre-Marxism. Today, post-Marxists, neo-Hegelians, postmodernists, and Frankfurters share a broad bandwidth best dubbed: "pseudo-left."
The term "pseudo-left" denotes parties, organizations, and ideological tendencies, which utilize democratic slogans to promote the socioeconomic interests of a privileged stratum of the middle class. The pseudo-left attacks the Enlightenment and Reason. They complain about science and technology.
Pseudo-leftists are anti-socialists, specifically anti-Marxists, who reject historical materialism and embrace forms of subjectivism, idealism, and irrationalism hitherto associated with the Frankfurt School. They blur the distinction between materialism and idealism.
Pseudo-leftists eschew class consciousness, preferring instead lifestyle and identity politics. They seek alternatives to class struggle to use as palliative Causes Celebres of faux personal liberation. They dwell on race, nationality, ethnicity, gender, and sexuality – anything but class.
Pseudo-leftists obsess over gender and sex. Their animosity is directed not against capitalism but against conventional family structures. They aim to "end the tyranny of the genitals" by censuring conventional forms of heterosexual intercourse.
Pseudo-leftists covet influence in corporations, universities, unions, and governments. They aim at acquiring social privilege, not destroying it. In turn, corporate and party bosses seek analysis and advice from pseudo-left academics.
Pseudo-leftists are pro-imperialists who use human rights rhetoric to legitimize neo-colonialist adventures.
Opportunism is not merely a personal survival strategy. Opportunism is an objective, material socio-economic location. Generally speaking, an affluent section of the middle-class provides the mass base for pseudo-leftism. Specifically, the pseudo-left arises from the privileged legions employed within trade union and social democratic party bureaucracies or within the ever-expanding university complex. Ideologues in this milieu argue for a redefinition of "left" that excludes the working class from any independent, let alone revolutionary, role.
Stylishly left academics convey the interests of affluent careerists who daren't rock the boat. They preserve their lofty lifestyles: by conforming to the academy, by defending their professorial fraternities, and by propagandising on behalf of ruling elites.
Union bureaucracies are saturated with refugees from the radical groups of the 1960s and 1970s. They are now fanatical converts to opportunism in its most reactionary form. Opportunistic union bureaucrats are subservient to the US Democratic Party, UK Labour Party, etc. Such parties are now vicious right-wing affairs. There is a connection between this confluence of social democratic parties, trade union bosses, and pseudo-left academics on the one hand, and the unending rollbacks suffered by workers on the other.
Hermann Weil (1868-1927) was the son and grandson of grain traders from Steinsfurt, Germany. Hermann took up the family trade, eventually moving to Argentina where within a few decades he was purchasing nearly the entire Argentine harvest. During WWI Weil, then the world's largest grain trader, coordinated his purchases with the German High Command, whom he met with regularly. He also met with Kaiser Wilhelm whom he counselled to press on to victory. Weil further expressed his politics through philanthropy and through his activism in, and patronage of, the Institute for World Trade. Hermann had one son, Felix (1898-1975). (1)
The November Revolution sent the Kaiser into exile and Germany into tailspin. The main contest during this political crisis's 1919-1926 phase was between the ruling German Social Democratic Party (SPD) and several of its breakaway factions, especially the German Communist Party (KPD).
The SPD emerged as the old order's bulwark despite its espousal of Marxist rhetoric. SPD ideologues skillfully used this rhetoric to cloak their minimalist, reformist agenda. The legal battle for possession of Marx and Engels' unpublished writings exemplified the almost medieval-scholastic nature of this struggle. Furious Marxist polemics raged. All Germany read Marx.
In January 1919, and again in March 1921, SPD-led military clashes with the communist movement, complete with air power and artillery fire, resulted in thousands of fatalities. Nevertheless, the KDP grew, largely through gathering splinters from the disintegrating SPD. By 1920 the KPD led a mass movement.
In early 1923 Germans faced: (a) hyperinflation; b) occupation of their industrial heartland (the Ruhr) by French and Belgian troops; and (c) the growth of an openly fascist movement.
The German government responded to the Ruhr occupation by ordering its citizens to engage in passive resistance. This spiralled out of control. By mid-1923 over 300,000 Ruhr workers were on strike. Major work-sites formed autonomous councils and militias. Armed bands called "Proletarian Hundreds" liquidated fascist squads. The KPD, recruiting tens of thousands per month, now outnumbered the SDP. The main trade union federation and their SPD allies fought the radicalization of the worker's movement at every turn.
The Moscow-led Communist International did not yet control its German contingent. Nevertheless, Trotsky urged his German comrades to set November 7 as the date for armed insurrection. However during autumn, partly due to the KPD entering into a coalition government with the SPD in Saxony and Thuringia, and partly due to preemptive attacks by government forces, talk of insurrection petered out. On November 7 only Hamburg workers, never a KPD stronghold, took up arms. Isolated, these insurrectionists were defeated, albeit after fierce street-fighting. Thereafter armed clashes subsided while KPD electoral activity intensified. In the ensuing years they garnered up to 15% of the vote.
What motivated Hermann Weil to launch the Institute for Social Research (ISR)? There is no ignoring the class war raging all around him; although most historians try. Some contend Hermann wanted to advance Felix's academic career. Some contend he wanted to be remembered as a great benefactor. Intriguingly, in their efforts to pry loose Hermann's money, Felix and his cohorts promised Hermann the ISR would study mainly anti-Semitism. (2) (The Weils were Jewish.)
Felix Weil has been called a "salon Bolshevik" and an "aristocratic communist." He received money from his mother, as well as his father, and used her funds to obtain a PhD in political science, specializing in Marx's monetary theories.
In 1922 Felix funded a "Marxist Work Week" symposium at a hotel in Thuringia. Among his 18 invites were (Baron) Georg Lukacs, Karl Korsch, Richard Sorge, Friedrich Pollock, Karl Wittfogel, Bela Fogarasi, Karl Schmuckle, Konstantin Zetkin, and their wives.
The symposium was not a KPD-sanctioned event. However, some attendees were KPD members – most notably, Karl Korsch, who was a rare case of a career academic in the KPD. On the other hand, Korsch's masterwork, Marxism and Philosophy (the symposium's focus), had been bitterly rejected by KPD leaders as revisionist. Korsch would be soon expelled from the KPD.
The Hungarian Lukacs also had communist credentials, but he repudiated his opus, History and Class Consciousness, around the time of his involvement with Weil. (3) Moreover, Lukaks never became part of the ISR.
Grigory Zinoviev, head of the Communist International, said of Lukacs and Korsch:
"If we get a few more of these Professors spinning out their theories we shall be lost. (4)
Those closest to Felix opposed the KPD's orthodox Marxism and advocated a sweeping critique of Marx's assumptions, probing the dimly lit regions of Marx's philosophical roots. (5)
None of Felix's KPD-involved associates stayed in the KPD for long. Moreover, none became part of the ISR's inner circle. Even Korsch never became a full ISR member. By the late 1920s membership in the ISR correlated with express denunciations of the Soviet Union, usually supported by allegations that the Soviet Union was a capitalist country.
The ISR's founding clique consisted of the Weils, Friedrich Pollock, Kurt Gerlach, a few government officials, and several tenured professors from Frankfurt University. Felix's de facto butler, Pollock, spent 1911 to 1923 acquiring a PhD in economics. (Pollock was the son of a factory owner.) Gerlach met Hermann Weil during their mutual involvement in the Institute for World Trade. Gerlach, an SDP stalwart, was the son of factory manager.
Gerlach drafted the formal request to Frankfurt University proposing a new social research institute. The letter referred to Marxism only once, and then only in passing, as one of a dozen potential topics for the institute to research. There was no hint of academic activism. The proposed institute would engage in pure research. (6)
Gerlach's letter served as the basis for negotiations with government bureaucrats and Frankfurt University's Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences. The bureaucrats were either with the SPD or with centrist Wilhelmine-era parties. Some of Frankfurt U's economics professors considered the mere study of sociology to be subversive. Felix insisted the institute have no party affiliation.
The overarching and decisive factor in creating the ISR was Hermann Weil's money. He agreed to construct a building for Frankfurt U and to stock it with office equipment and furniture. An entire floor of this building would be donated to the Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences. Hermann agreed to cover the salaries for the ISR's director and staff. (7) The Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences retained a veto over who was to be chosen director.
Gerlach was hired by Frankfurt U as a full professor simultaneously with the ISR's founding. This occurred on February 3, 1923 following a government decree pursuant to an agreement with the Society for Social Research (SSR) – the ISR's financial overlord, administered by Felix.
Hermann Weil donated the equivalent of $30,000 to the SSR. These funds were sufficient to construct a five-storey building containing 16 offices, a library, and lecture halls. The Weils insisted their name not be associated with the facility. The ISR opened its doors in 1924.
After input from the old guard at Frankfurt U, Austrian professor Carl Grunberg was selected ISR's first director. (Grunberg has falsely been dubbed "the father of Austro-Communism." He was not involved with that tradition.) (8) Grunberg focused on labour history at the expense of philosophical theorizing. Even so, in the mid-1920s one impatient American Marxist student complained that ISR's denizens squandered time in hair-splitting Hegelian debates. (9)
Director Grunberg suffered a stroke in 1927 and officially stepped down in 1929. Pollock served as acting director from 1928 to 1930 while Max Horkheimer jumped through the hoops toward full professorship (a Frankfurt U imposed prerequisite for the director's post). Philosophy wunderkind Horkheimer (whose father owned several factories) was favoured by those Frankfurt U professors who self-defined as Christian socialists (i.e. corporatist). (10)
In 1927 Hermann Weil's death left Felix in charge of the family business. Felix spent two years dabbling in publishing ventures in Berlin before sailing to Argentina.
Horkheimer was named ISR director in July 1930. He took office in January 1931 and gave his famous inaugural speech on June 24, 1931. The speech blended the young Karl Marx's Hegelian-idealism with the writings of Sigmund Freud. Little reference was made to social justice. Theory should be grounded in psychology. Historical analysis should yield to theory, and this theorizing would draw more from classical German idealism than from Marx. (11)
Pollock became clerk to the great Horkheimer, who openly referred to himself as the ISR's "dictator." Purse strings remained firmly in Felix's grip.
In Horkheimer's train came a new genre of academics. Literary critic Leo Lowenthal (the son of a doctor) was immediately brought on board. The arrival of psychoanalyst Erich Fromm emphatically signalled the end of the Grunberg era. While Theodor Adorno (the son of wealthy wine merchant) was never a full ISR man, he began, in 1931, giving lectures at the ISR and publishing in their journal. Adorno's main interests were music and artistic criticism. His philosophical training had been decidedly non-Marxist, influenced mainly by Kant and Husserl.
Another scion of a prosperous family, Herbert Marcuse joined ISR in early 1933. Marcuse had been briefly involved in politics after WWI, mainly with the SDP, but abandoned politics to get a PhD in philosophy in 1923. He dabbled in book publishing for a few years before mentoring under fascist guru Martin Heidegger until Heidegger's anti-Semitism made their relationship untenable.
The backdrop to Horkheimer's rise was the eclipse of the SPD by the NSDAP (Nazi Party). Horkheimer and company were in denial of this trend until 1931. In that year they took the precaution of transferring their endowment to banks in Holland. In 1932 they strengthened their contacts with the government-funded International Labour Organization (ILO) in Geneva. This consisted of establishing a branch office in Geneva and entering into a joint venture with the ILO regarding labour stats and questionnaires for workers. Ultimately the ISR moved their funds and headquarters to Geneva, weeks before the Nazi-led government closed their Frankfurt building for "tendencies hostile to the state." (12)
In Geneva they renamed themselves the International Society for Social Research and cast about for a new home further from Germany. What limited sympathy they got from Parisian academics came from non-Marxists, even anti-Marxists.
Julian Gumperz, an early member (who inherited a fortune at age 13), was dispatched to New York City in 1933 to explore a trans-Atlantic escape. Gumperz arranged a meeting between Horkheimer and Columbia University President Nicholas Butler in New York City held in May 1934.
Butler immediately agreed to provide the Frankfurt School a new home in a Columbia University building. Horkheimer and his entourage arrived soon after. Felix sailed up to greet them and dropped off another $100,000 – his final donation. (13)
Nicholas Murray Butler (1862-1947) served as President of Columbia University from 1902 to 1945. He also ran the Carnegie Endowment, which afforded him annual European tours where he was feted by the continent's cream.
Butler was one of Kaiser Wilhelm's greatest admirers. The two breakfasted together and regularly exchanged congrats. A large photo of the two chums permanently adorned Butler's office. Kaiser Wilhelm inducted Butler into the Order of the Red Eagle. Of course, when the USA entered WWI, this was quickly forgotten. Columbia's trustees included more than a few war-profiteers.
After WWI Butler switched his affections to Benito Mussolini whom he publically praised and whose court Butler graced whenever he was in Rome. Columbia University harboured Fascist Party of Italy activists in its Italian Department.
Butler was also close to Teddy Roosevelt and other pillars of New York's Republican/Progressive establishment. Of Columbia's President, Upton Sinclair wrote:
"Mr. Butler considers himself the intellectual leader of the American plutocracy."
A militant anti-socialist, Butler once wrote:
"An educated proletariat is a continual source of disturbance and danger to any nation."
Butler ruled Columbia University with an iron pen. He fired professors and expelled students for expressing pacifist or leftist views, or for merely complaining about the ill-treatment of their colleagues. (14)
After Felix's last donation ran out in 1941, the ISR men jumped aboard the American war machine. Franz Neumann, ISR stalwart and lifelong SPD man, began working for the OSS in 1942. Neumann ran OSS's Research and Analysis Division. After WWII, Neumann became a full-time Cold Warrior, most memorably involved with the anti-Soviet Free University of Berlin.
Leo Lowenthal joined the US Office of War Information (OWI) in 1941 as a psychological warfare expert. He spent seven years (1948-1955) as the research director for the hysterically anti-communist Voice of America. Leo was rewarded with a tenured position in Berkeley's Sociology Department, where he remained until retirement in 1968.
Horkheimer returned to Frankfurt in 1949 to work under Cold War mastermind US High Commissioner for Germany John McCloy, who financed the reconstruction and reconstitution of the Institute for Social Research, with Horkheimer back at the helm. McCloy and his successor saw to it that Horkheimer became a radio celebrity in West Germany in the 1950s. (15)
The wealthy inheritor Julian Gumperz, one of the few from Felix Weil's early crew who actually joined the KPD, ended his decade-long detour through Marxism after he arrived in New York. He became a stockbroker and anti-communist author.
Franz Borkenau, another of the few original ISR men to hold a KPD membership, broke with the ISR in the late 1930s after writing a book criticizing the Republican side of the Spanish Civil War. After WWII Borkenau became a leading figure in the Congress of Cultural Freedom (CCF) – an immense undertaking founded in 1950 by the CIA with a mission of promoting anti-communist culture. Many former "leftists" became CCF men. Borkenau was often accused of being a fascist.
Adorno returned to Frankfurt in 1951. He explicitly forsook working-class politics, preferring to focus on experimental and unlistenable music. His support for US military actions in the Vietnam War so alienated student protesters they took to disrupting his lectures. Adorno called the police on these protesters, an action he refused to apologize for, adding that his writings were never intended to promote activism. (16)
In 1942 Marcuse went to work for OWI but soon transferred to the OSS. From 1945 to 1951 he was an anti-Soviet propagandist with the State Department, a craft he later plied at Columbia U, Harvard, and for the Rockefeller Foundation. He eventually got tenure at Brandeis U whereat he wrote the bestseller, One Dimensional Man. The book claims advanced capitalist society creates artificial needs. This attack on "consumerism" regurgitated what his mentor, the unreconstructed Nazi Martin Heidegger, was also saying at the time.
Marcuse experienced a sudden and enigmatic spike in popularity in late-1960s resulting in invites to various student activist events. This outreach helped give Marcuse the moniker "architect of Critical Theory." His later writings and speeches evince a complete turning away from working-class politics. He effectively retired in the early 1970s.
Modern discussions of the Frankfurt School and/or Critical Theory focus overwhelmingly on the writings of Jurgen Habermas (b. 1929).
Jürgen's father, the pro-Nazi President of the Cologne Chamber of Industry and Commerce, insisted Jurgen have a strict Lutheran upbringing. Jurgen is a veteran of both the Hitler Youth and the Wehrmacht, albeit during the latter stint he was still a teen.
In 1956, after completing his PhD (specializing in Schelling's philosophy), Jurgen went to work as Adorno's understudy at the ISR. A falling out with Horkheimer caused him to abruptly leave in 1959. He later complained:
"…the Frankfurt School had become paralyzed with political scepticism and disdain for modern culture." (17)
Habermas returned to the ISR in 1964 to replace Horkheimer as director. From this high perch he repeatedly swooped down upon the 1960s student protesters to attack the movement's radical core, which he chastised as "left-fascist."
Habermas supported the US Gulf War in 1991 and NATO's bombing of Serbia in 1999. He is pro-EU centralization and highly Eurocentric in his worldview. He rejects socialism. He lists Marx as one of a dozen famous thinkers who have influenced him, but the rest of his influences are from the reactionary/conservative camp.
Jurgen Habermas has collected 23 prizes, some with substantial monetary awards, from elite European institutions. He has published 32 books, including his famous 922-page The Theory of Communicative Action.
Frankfurt Schoolers hailed from wealthy families – not a constituency to whom the communists ever appealed, nor one that had anything to gain from socialist revolution. Horkheimer and Adorno were notoriously elitist snobs in love with European High Culture. They found America repulsive. They considered "cultural industry" to be an oxymoron.
Frankfurt Schoolers insisted on writing their voluminous treatises in German. Translators complained their works were untranslatable. Reviewers complained their writings were impenetrable. Scholars who write in such a manner do so because what they have to say is either mind-numbingly obvious or disingenuously deceitful. The Frankfurt School mongered the Gordian knots of classical idealism between trendy materialist covers.
From its inception, and throughout its 94-year history, the Frankfurt School has been non-materialist, anti-communist, and pseudo-Marxist.
Both the Alt-Right and the orthodox Marxists acknowledge a connection between the Frankfurt School tradition and environmentalism. Both the Alt-Right and the orthodox Marxists acknowledge, and oppose, the sexual re-engineering agenda advanced by the contemporary bearers of the Frankfurt School tradition. Neither the Alt-Right nor the orthodox Marxists properly connect environmentalism to this politicization of sexuality.
A core tenet of environmentalism is the notion that Nature has limitations that industrial society must heed. Environmentalists contend that Nature cannot be overly manipulated or dominated. This quasi-religious concept expresses the landed estate's desire to control land use policy – especially its desire to restrict the development of wilderness areas. Similarly, but more generally, the concept of Nature's limits justifies controlling market forces across all economic sectors. The axiom of "limits to growth" predicates a corporatist system wherein the august leaders of the polity shall steward the planet's delicate ecosystems.
William S. Lind's essay that launched a thousand Alt-Right videos, The Origins of Political Correctness, notes that Frankfurt School supremo, Max Horkheimer, had since 1933 been complaining about how philosophical materialism inherently led to a manipulative and dominating attitude toward Nature. Lind adds:
"The theme of man's domination of nature was to become a central theme of the Frankfurt School in subsequent years." (1)
Indeed, advancing this theme became one of the Frankfurt School's main concerns after WWII.
Similar facts can be gleaned from David North's The Frankfurt School, Postmodernism and the Politics of the Pseudo-Left: A Marxist Critique. North notes that the book Dialectic of the Enlightenment (1944, revised 1947) – perhaps Horkheimer's and Theodor Adorno's most influential tract – locates the roots of the modern social crisis in the science-based view of Nature as being a mere object to be analysed and manipulated.
North's book is a collection of arguments directed against former socialists who had migrated into the neo-Frankfurt School (pseudo-leftist) camp. Although not the primary focus of his book, North makes it clear in several passages that his opponents are environmentalists. North's main foil is a professor at an experimental college where the faculty contains numerous professors active in the US Green Party.
A seminal document to this strain of pseudo-leftism is Dwight Macdonald's late-1940s essay The Root is Man. The essay vents deep-seated fears of technology. The fatal errors of socialists, according to Macdonald, arise from their faith in the progressive function of science and from their emphasis on things material and their neglect of things spiritual. Macdonald opined:
"…we think it is an open question whether the increase of man's mastery over nature is good or bad in its actual effects on human life to date, and favour adjusting technology to man, even if it means – as may be the case – a technological regression, rather than adjusting man to technology." (2)
This refrain reappears in a late-1980s pseudo-Marxist manifesto which devotes an entire chapter to praising Rudolf Bahro – the East German dissident who became a leader of the West German Greens. The book endorses Bahro's denunciation of "the technological/industrial idea of progress" as a selfish, destructive concept undergirding all manner of repression. (3)
This irrationalist, anti-science, anti-technological disposition is now a trademark of the ex-radical. Pseudo-Marxists, in true environmentalist fashion, doubt the value of economic growth. In their utopia, "the emphasis will not be so much on technological change as on consolidation, on sorting out what best meets human needs and what works best ecologically." (4)
Such thinking is anathema to doctrinaire Marxists who believe the socialist revolution is necessary precisely because capitalist property relations are allegedly holding back economic/technological growth. North quips that this pseudo-Marxist utopia would be the first time in history a society overthrew its economic system in order to restrain the development of technology and the productivity of labour. Here, North's deploys his most poignant sentence:
It boggles the mind to work through the social implications of a freeze spanning several generations on economic growth and the forced inhibition of technological change (for restraints on the development of technology require nothing less than police-state measures). (Emphasis added.) (5)
North again hits close to the mark when he discusses what his pseudo-Marxist adversaries advocate for on the gender/sexuality front:
If, as you state, the vanquishing of social backwardness requires nothing less than a massive program of psychological rehabilitation, personality reconstruction, and the transformation of the family, how can the consciousness of the masses ever be raised to the point where revolution itself – upon which this unprecedented project of social re-engineering depends – is even possible? (Emphasis added.) (6)
North's main foe believes it is "urgently necessary to develop an alternative theory of gender" and "to restructure the family." This rejigging of gender and family apparently needs to be done for ecological reasons. Neo-Frankfurters explicitly promote anal and oral sex because these forms of sex are non-procreative. They want to "end the tyranny of the genitals." (7)
While both the Alt-Right and the orthodox Marxists are fully aware of the profound role the mainstream media plays in modern culture, both camps agree that the principal venue for the gender/sexual re-engineering campaign is the university campus.
There are now 7,253 colleges and universities in the USA. Over 20 million students attend such institutions. (8) Canada's 98 universities and 126 colleges preoccupy over two million students. (9)
In the late-1960s and early-1970s, elite post-secondary educational institutions began offering courses in Black Studies, Native Studies, and Women's Studies. In the 1980s these disciplines were joined by Feminist Studies, Gender Studies, Gay Studies, Queer Studies, LGBTQ Studies, etc. Most post-educational facilities now offer at least individual courses in these subjects. Many offer an array of such courses, and hundreds have entire faculties devoted to one or more of the above topics. Select universities now offer PhD programs in Gender Studies and the like.
An apparently separate but nonetheless connected and parallel process saw universities and colleges also developed a wide range of Enviro-Science, Ecology, and Conservation Biology faculties. These supplemented pre-existing (and very green) Forestry and (increasingly green) Climate Science faculties. (The 2015 report from the National Association of Scholars, Sustainability: Higher Education's New Fundamentalism, exposes how thoroughly co-opted by environmentalism most universities have become.)
Black and Hispanic Studies programs are separately motivated from the other aforementioned "Studies" programs and are not so easily linked to the environmentalist agenda. Native Studies, on the other hand, exhibits a clear environmentalist agenda. Native bands in the USA, Canada, and elsewhere lay claim to vast areas of wilderness that environmentalists want protected. Mobilizing natives and romanticising native culture furthers this core environmentalist goal.
Regarding the Feminist, Gender, and Homosexual academies, a few preliminary words must be spared regarding natalist policies.
Governments can have laissez-faire attitudes towards the overall birth rate, or they can be proactive. Governments that are proactive can deploy either pro or anti-natalist policies.
The environmental movement is inextricably entwined with the population control movement. Environmentalists believe the world is overpopulated and that the harm done by humanity to Nature increases as the number of humans increases. Thus, environmentalists advocate anti-natalist strategies.
Much of what is taught in the Gender, Queer, and Feminist Studies faculties is directed toward modifying behaviour in ways that reduce the birth rate; and as such, these programs march in lock step with the environmentalist agenda.
Much of the fight for "women's rights" over the last half century boils down to the right to abortions – a most effective means of population control.
Thomas Malthus championed non-procreative forms of sex as a means to reduce the birth rate in 1798. The same motive underlies elite sponsorship of the gay agenda.
Let us return to what North had to say about the pseudo-Marxist utopia. This would involve police state measures to freeze economic growth and inhibit technological change. This is not some futuristic dystopia. This is what the environmental movement is currently doing.
The same can be said on the sexual/gender front. There is in fact an ongoing and massive program of psychological rehabilitation, personality reconstruction, and family transformation. This unprecedented project of social re-engineering is one of the main irritants to the Alt-Right (and many other people.) There may be multiple motivations driving this campaign but its main thrust is old-school Malthusian population control.
Finally, it must be stressed that within the overall green project the "Cultural Marxists" are but a tiny voice in an immense choir. The odd choir members claiming any connection to Marxist tradition are drowned out in an oceanic cacophony of professors, preachers, and pundits who have no involvement with Marxism whatsoever. Frankfurt Schoolers did not improvise. They sang as conducted.
Imagine encountering a self-proclaimed Christian who denied the existence of God, doubted the historicity of Jesus, and rejected the Bible as a moral guide. You might think this person was not much of a Christian. Upon further discussion, you might conclude this person was up to some mischief aimed at confusing people and undermining the Christian project.
The same goes for Marxism. Tenets such as historical materialism, proletarian centrality, and revolutionary socialism are not severable parts of the doctrine. Anyone claiming to be a Marxist yet discarding these tenets is a mischievous fraudster. Cultural Marxists are fake Marxists seeking to subvert Marxism.
William Lind, patron saint of the Alt-Right, effectively concedes this point. He refers to the Frankfurt School as "renegade Marxists" driven from of the fold. While reviewing their most important writings Lind admits Horkheimer "obviously departed from Marxist orthodoxy" and that Marcuse "downplays the Marxism very strongly." A small step from there lies the truth; i.e. the Frankfurt School were not Marxists at all.
Two concepts come into play here: red-baiting and social fascism.
"Red-baiting" connotes more than mere opposition to socialism. Red-baiting is the persecution of real and, more importantly, imagined socialists. While at street level red-baiters appear as visceral, deranged haters, red-baiting itself is not irrational. Red-baiting was cynically, but successfully, deployed to discredit, divide, and silence peace movements, union organizers, internal union democracy advocates, anti-poverty activists, civil liberties campaigners (including those fighting segregation), and free speech defenders.
While famously associated with McCarthyism (1950-1956), red-baiting actually dates back 150 years and has surged many times. The US Democratic Party recently smeared leadership hopeful Bernie Sanders as a "commie" and followed this with incessant "Hand of Moscow" insinuations against Donald Trump.
Unfortunately, many good critics of environmentalism, climatism, and population control arrive with weighty red-baiting luggage. Here again, the red-baiters never identify exactly who they are opposing and, by great magnitudes, they exaggerate the size and capacities of actual "red" organizations.
Pundits from Fox News, Rebel Media, Brietbart, etc. wedge the phrase "the Left" into practically every news story, sometimes into every sentence, yet little effort goes toward explaining precisely who is being referred to. To red-baiters, "the Left" is a formless conspiratorial omnipresence about which little direct evidence, only suspicious traces, can be revealed. The salient fact, of the real Left being as dead as a doorknob, is overlooked.
Let us revisit social fascism.
The contention that social democratic parties were "left-wings" of the fascist movement gained currency in the Left press circa 1922. This contention vanished from print in 1926 but reappeared forcefully as "social fascism" theory in May 1929. The phrase "social fascism" again disappeared from print in December 1933, and altogether from leftist discourse in 1935. Such sudden shifts reflected abrupt zigs and zags of the Moscow-centred Comintern line. Over the next several decades "social fascism" was mentioned only as another example of Stalinist malfeasance.
Social democratic parties emerged in the UK, Spain, USA, France, Italy, Japan, etc., but Germany's SPD provided the main focus of social fascist discussion. The SDP dominated German politics from the November 1918 Revolution until June 1932 when German fascism acquired state power under Chancellor von Papen.
Most fascist parties, and all social democratic parties, purported to be worker's parties. While social democrats had more grounds for making this claim than did the fascists, their working-class credentials are controversial. Social democratic parties were potpourris of farmers, clergy, déclassé businessmen, and, yes, trade union bureaucrats elected by workers. However, these unions were often undemocratic. Moreover, these unions represented only a privileged stratum of the working class. Social democrats further shifted their class location by forming coalitions with aristocratic/oligarchic parties.
Both fascist and social democratic parties had as their principal aim the destruction of the socialist revolutionary movement. Social democrats proved lethally anti-communist.
In many instances, certainly in Germany, social democrats shunned cooperation with the revolutionary left while facilitating the rise of fascism. In Germany, Italy, Poland, and elsewhere, fascism's rise was to an important degree merely the reorientation (the fascistization) of social democracy's leadership. Facing full-on fascism, the social democrats either joined the fascists, self-liquidated, or offered token resistance.
Both fascist and social democratic parties advanced corporatist economic policies. Both political tendencies were hostile reactions to market forces. Both tendencies spewed anti-capitalist phraseology, but neither implemented socialism. Both offered extraordinary recipes for rescuing crisis-ridden private property-based systems, but neither entertained sweeping class expropriations. Both resorted to peculiar, but similar, forms of pseudo-socialist demagoguery aimed at hoodwinking the electorate. Both contended the state stood above any economic class.
Social democratic governments imposed: (a) martial law, (b) massive wage cuts, (c) armament budget increases, and (d) aggressive foreign policy measures – policies associated with fascism.
Those who accused social democrats of being social fascists never seriously suggested fascism and social democracy were identical. Social democracy does not contain all the features of fascism. Social democrats, at least rhetorically, supported parliamentary democracy, and they never proclaimed naked dictatorship to be a higher form of statehood (as the fascists did). Fascists were more violent than social democrats and more willing to do away with liberties and elections.
While old-school fascist parties are now irrelevant, the parties against whom accusations of social fascism were levelled (German Social Democratic Party, British Labour Party, US Democratic Party, France's Socialist Party et al.) remain powerful. These are also the parties most responsible for imposing environmentalist, climatist, and population control (ecofascist) policies.
Now, re-enter the red-baiters, pitchforks and torches in hand.
Red-baiters pounce upon any speck of evidence of leftism. The very idea of a "pseudo-left" presents a useless complication. Social fascism must be crammed into the same suitcase as Bolshevism.
Red-baiters make delightful foils for the social fascists. They appear ignorant because they are ignorant. Red-baiters assist social fascists by validating the latter's counterfeit radical credentials.
In the real corridors of power, nobody truly believes Arab Monarchs, American coastal elites, and European aristocrats are "reds"; yet these are the people who truly do reside at the nucleus of the social (eco) fascist milieu.
Sources for: The Alt-Right on Cultural Marxism
What follows is not a complete list of the videos viewed in researching the Alt-Right's take on Cultural Marxism, but it is an adequate representation. The last two entries are a website exclusively devoted to this issue, and of course, William Lind's seminal essay.
Cultural Marxism: Corruption of America https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gIdBuK7_g3M
What is Cultural Marxism? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G8pPbrbJJQs
The History of Cultural Marxism and Political Correctness – Bill Whittle PJTV https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4fo5jLdJlgI
The History of Political Correctness and Cultural Marxism – Bill Lind https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EjaBpVzOohs
Frankfurt School: Western Subversion https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z2qHQudLwJQ
Brietbart: Cultural Marxism https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g7ryAedUILg
Diversity Destroys Social Cohesion in the West https://smashculturaldiversity.wordpress.com
The Origins of Political Correctness – Bill Lind www.academia.org February 5, 2000
Footnotes for Condensation of David North's The Frankfurt School…
Footnotes for A Brief History of the Frankfurt School
Footnotes for Cultural Marxism, Environmentalism, and Sex
Milner, Graham. The German Communist Party and the Crisis of 1923. International Journal of Socialist Renewal.
Abromeit, John. Max Horkheimer and the Foundations of the Frankfurt School. Cambridge University Press, 2011.
The science that wasn't: The Orthodox Marxism of the early Frankfurt School and the turn to Critical Theory. November 6, 2016. https://thecharnellhouse.org
Scheuerman, William E. The Frankfurt School at War: The Marxists Who Explained the Nazis to Washington. Foreign Affairs, July/August 2013.
International Communist League: A Trotskyist Critique of Germany 1923 and the Comintern.
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