Why was Suella Braverman wrong to use the term 'cultural Marxism'?

Suella Braverman MP.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

A Conservative MP is facing criticism for quoting a conspiracy theory condemned by Jewish leaders as an anti-Semitic trope.

Suella Braverman told a meeting in London that her party was at war with “cultural Marxism”.

The theory suggests a small group of predominantly-Jewish intellectuals, the Frankfurt School, sought to advance Marxism on a cultural level.

The term was popularised by conservative American commentators in the 90s who believed the Frankfurt School had spread political correctness to undermine "American values".

It became prevalent in white supremacist circles after Norwegian terrorist Anders Breivik used the term to justify killing 77 people at a Workers' Youth League summer camp in 2011.

More recently, it was referenced by the Christchurch shooter Brenton Tarrant in his 74-page manifesto. 

However, law expert Dr Simon Newman told talkRADIO he did not believe the term was intrinsically wrong.

 “I don’t think there is anything wrong with the term per se,” he said. “It was certainly a term used prior to it being taken up by conservative US commentators.

“I don’t agree its use as a conspiracy theory but other alternate terms are perfectly serviceable.”

Dr Newman wrote in 2006 that David Cameron “frequently uses the terminology of cultural Marxism… and sometimes appears to share its beliefs.”

He acknowledges that although many originators of cultural Marxism were Jewish, a discussion of cultural Marxism is not in itself anti-Semitic.

A spokesman from the Jewish Board of Deputies said: “Suella Braverman may not have been aware of it, but the term cultural Marxist has a history as an antisemitic trope.

“We would ask for her to clarify the remarks and undertake not to use the phrase in future.”