PragerU: What Is Identity Socialism?

By  PragerU
Dinesh D'Souza

In a new video from Prager University, Dinesh D’Souza announces that “there’s a new socialism in town,” one that he calls “identity socialism.”

“The old socialism, the kind Karl Marx dreamed up, was all about the working class, the sort of blue-collar worker who, ironically, voted for President Trump,” explains D’Souza. “But today’s socialist couldn’t care less about the guy in the hardhat. He had his chance at revolution and blew it. Today’s socialist is all about race, gender and transgender rights.  Class is an afterthought.”

“To understand this is to understand the Left’s takeover of the college campus and all the ills that takeover has spawned: from MeToo to Black Lives Matter to girls competing against biological boys,” D’Souza continues.

“We all live on campus now,” says D’Souza, quoting liberal writer Andrew Sullivan. “Campus culture has now metastasized into the culture of the whole society,” he states.

Identity socialism is “first and foremost about division,” dividing along more than just class, such as along racial, gender, and gender identity lines,” says D’Souza. “Blacks and Latinos are in, whites are out. Women are in, men are out. Gays, bisexuals, transsexuals, transgenders are in; heterosexuals are out. Illegals are in, native-born citizens are out.”

So where did identity socialism come from? “Meet Herbert Marcuse,” D’Souza states. “Born in Berlin in 1898, Marcuse fled Germany at the dawn of the Nazi era. After stints at Columbia, Harvard and Brandeis, Marcuse moved to California, where he joined the University of California at San Diego in 1965.”

Rather than the “paradise” of Southern California softening Marcuse’s disdain for capitalism, D’Souza explains that “the more Marcuse prospered, the more he wanted to bring the system down.”

“He had a problem, however,” D’Souza continues. “A big one. Socialism didn’t work in America. Life was too good. The working class in the US didn’t aspire to overturn the existing order, they aspired to own a home. How could you foment revolution without revolutionaries? Classic Marxism had no answer for this.”

However, Marcuse had the answer, almost a hundred years after Marx: college studentsThey would be the recruits for what he termed the Great Refusal — the repudiation and overthrow of free market capitalism.” D’Souza says, adding that the “conditions were perfect.” After all, the college students at the time “were already living in what was in-effect a socialist commune,” who found themselves “restless and bored,” rather than grateful for the opportunity to study and learn. They were also searching for “meaning.”

“Of course, as with all successful social movements, timing was critical,” D’Souza explains. “Here Marcuse was very fortunate.” D’Souza reminds viewers that “the 60s was the decade of the Vietnam War,” and that “students faced the prospect of being drafted,” inspiring “selfish reasons to oppose the conflict.”

“Marcuse and his acolytes turned this selfishness into righteousness by teaching the students that they weren’t draft-dodgers; they were noble resisters who were part of a global struggle for social justice,” says D’Souza. “Marcuse portrayed Ho Chi Minh and the Vietcong as a kind of Third World proletariat, fighting to free themselves from American Imperialism. This represented a transposition of Marxist categories. The new working class were the Vietnamese ‘freedom fighters.’ The evil capitalists were American soldiers serving on behalf of the American government.”

In addition to the students, Marcuse also found other groups to target. “The first was the Black Power movement, which was a militant adjunct to the civil rights movement,” D’Souza states. “The beauty of this group, from Marcuse’s point of view, was that, unlike white students, its members wouldn’t have to be instructed in the art of grievance; blacks had grievances that dated back centuries.” Race replaced class, with “blacks” becoming the working class and “whites” the capitalist class. 

“Another emerging source of disgruntlement was the feminists,” D’Souza continues. “Marcuse recognized they too could be taught to see themselves as an oppressed class. This of course would require a further Marxist transposition: ‘women’ would now be viewed as the working class and “men” the capitalist class; the class category would now be shifted to gender.”

Knowing that this would take time, Marcuse trusted that “soon enough, the radical students would be the radical professors teaching identity socialism to a fresh crop of impressionable recruits.”

“Over time, Marcuse believed, the university could produce a new type of culture, and that culture would then spill into the larger society to infect primary education, the news media and entertainment. Even big business, the hated capitalist class, itself, would succumb,” D’Souza concludes. “He was right. Identity socialism has arrived.”

PragerU is the world’s leading educational nonprofit focused on changing minds through the creative use of digital media. You can make a tax-deductible donation here to help PragerU continue to reach millions of young people with their videos.

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