How The Cultural Marxists Of The Frankfurt School Subverted American Education

Tyler Durden's picture

Via Beau Albrecht of,

Perhaps you’ve wondered why so many college professors are so left-wing.  In your freshman year, you might have noted with dread—as I did—some of your fellow students “going with the flow” and molding their beliefs to fit in.  Perhaps one of them was you, before you grew up and snapped out of it!  The Frankfurt School is the answer to why so many universities are Social Justice Warrior factories.

The origins of the Frankfurt School

Institute for Social Research

The Institute for Social Research, associated with the Frankfurt School

They began as a Communist think tank at the Goethe University Frankfurt.  They noted that the masses didn’t rise up during the First World War to overthrow capitalism; instead, the citizens fought for their countries.  Only Russia became Communist, a place they didn’t expect Communism to take hold.  Since they took the writings of Marx as gospel, all this was quite shocking.  They decided they needed to prepare the way by breaking down traditional social ties—country, family, and religion—and afterwards the masses would embrace rule by a global Communist state.  That’s not working out too well lately, but all that’s another story.

They found themselves unwelcome in Germany during the 1930s, and one of the two reasons was that all of them were Communists.  They moved to the USA, settling down in Columbia University.  How did they repay the country that gave them refuge?  By subverting it, of course.  If all this sounds like McCarthyist alarmism, note that the Communists themselves claim them.

Because the proletariat just wasn’t interested in revolution, they rebranded Communism, taking out the elements of class struggle, and adding contributions from Freudian theory.  This was a mistake; Communism emphasized hard work and heroism; that much is respectable even if the rest of the ideology is badly flawed.  If you compare the Motherland Calls statue to Trigglypuff, you’ll understand.

How cultural Marxism took root


“You see, what Antonio Gramsci called ‘hegemony’ is, like, the value system of the Establishment, man! So don’t trust anyone over thirty, dig?”

They had two strategies:  ensconcing themselves into academia, and the criticism of society (hence “critical theory”).  Ultimately, this meant ideological subversion and basically badgering society to death.  (It seems incredible that they did so much without picking up a single rifle.)  They stressed moral relativism and the “question everything” atmosphere that became the 1960s counterculture zeitgeist.  A few of their books, such as Eros and Civilization by Herbert Marcuse and The Authoritarian Personality by Theodor Adorno, have become classics in academia.

Many of their students graduated and became professors elsewhere, just in time for the 1960s.  Young people are at the most impressionable time of their lives, so indoctrinating college students was a very effective strategy.  It’s little wonder that campuses became hotbeds of student activism!  College draft deferments surely helped them reach more students sympathetic to their message.

Further, the ideological seeds of the Frankfurt School—along with the Communist Party USA—fell onto fertile ground.  There were several groups that they—cultural Marxists and garden variety Communists—infiltrated and subverted, for instance:

  • There was already a feminist movement, mostly moderate and mostly simply about equal rights (a goal which was nearly complete by then).  Under leftist influence, second wave feminism began, which was anything but moderate and effectively about deconstructing society.
  • There was already a beatnik counterculture.  With a little encouragement, this became a much larger youth counterculture, the hippies.  Having a significant toehold in academia put the Critical Theory folks in a very good position to influence the young Baby Boomers.
  • There was already a civil rights movement, which the Communists had put a lot of effort into influencing.  This included figures such as W.E.B. DuBois, Paul Robeson, Stanley Levison (MLK’s top advisor), and Frank Marshall Davis (called “Pops” in Obama’s autobiography).
  • The gay movement was heavily influenced in the beginning by the Mattachine Society, founded by Harry Hay, of which most members were Communists.

Connecting the dots


KGB: the Committee for State Security

Earlier I had assumed that the Frankfurt School was an independent movement, with no particular encouragement or guidance from the USSR.  Actually, it’s a little more complicated than that.  Franz Leopold Neumann, identified by the Venona decrypts as a Soviet spy, was in contact with leading figures Max Horkheimer, Theodor Adorno, and also the spy Hede Massing, the wife of Paul Massing (another Frankfurt school figure).  Later, he became a professor at Columbia University, where all his buddies were.  Does the picture look a little clearer now?

Here’s another gem I found.  KGB defector Yuri Bezmenov noted that only 15% of the KGB’s efforts were spying; the other 85% went into ideological subversion; this is what he was assigned to do in India, until he got disgusted with it and escaped.  He explained,

It’s a great brainwashing process, which goes very slow[ly] and is divided [into] four basic stages. The first one [is] demoralization; it takes from 15-20 years to demoralize a nation. Why that many years? Because this is the minimum number of years which [is required] to educate one generation of students in the country of your enemy, exposed to the ideology of the enemy. In other words, Marxist-Leninist ideology is being pumped into the soft heads of at least three generations of American students, without being challenged, or counter-balanced by the basic values of Americanism (American patriotism).


The result? The result you can see. Most of the people who graduated in the sixties (drop-outs or half-baked intellectuals) are now occupying the positions of power in the government, civil service, business, mass media, [and the] educational system. You are stuck with them. You cannot get rid of them. They are contaminated; they are programmed to think and react to certain stimuli in a certain pattern. You cannot change their mind[s], even if you expose them to authentic information, even if you prove that white is white and black is black, you still cannot change the basic perception and the logic of behavior. In other words, these people… the process of demoralization is complete and irreversible. To [rid] society of these people, you need another twenty or fifteen years to educate a new generation of patriotically-minded and common sense people, who would be acting in favor and in the interests of United States society.

Memetic warfare

Yersinia Pestis

Yersinia Pestis multiplying

Even though the Soviet Union fell apart twenty five years ago, the memes they launched are still out there.  Many of the students the Frankfurt School taught became teachers and professors, who taught another batch of teachers and professors, and they’re now indoctrinating our youth.  Some others became ensconced in the media or in government positions.  This is what Italian Communist theoretician Antonio Gramsci called “the long march through the institutions.” Only a fraction identifies with Communism, but they still practice the party line even if few are aware of where their views originated.

If you’ve ever wondered where all of today’s Social Justice Warriors came from, now you know the story.

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just the tip's picture

students the Frankfurt School taught became teachers and professors and commenters at ZH, who taught

fixed it for the author.

Fireman's picture

German (supremacist) Khasarian Mafia Syndrome

Teja's picture

Interesting that the KGB is mentioned here, but the fact ignored that the KGB is still existing under another name, a former KGB officer in power in a certain country. They might or might not follow the long term goal of Communism today, but they are obviously quite powerful.

Btw, cultural subversion is no communist monopoly. Christian and Muslim "missionaries" play this game well, too. And also the CIA tried their hand on it. The devastation against 20th century classical music brought by Serialism and 12-tone music was leftist only on first glance. It is well documented that it was pushed on by US agencies in the ideological fight against the USSR. Frances Stonor Saunders, "Who Paid The Piper".

So, maybe a bit simplified to see "cultural marxism" as the super-conspiracy behind everything you don't like.

LA_Goldbug's picture

" Social Justice Warrior factories"

This is how Social Justice will look,

crzyhun's picture

Intersting article, though the read of the day is  Michael Walsh, The Devil's Pleasure Palace   written about a year ago and far deep than this presentation. Walsh makes the same and deeper points. 

Joe A's picture

The Frankfurter school is critical of both capitalism and full communism but in reality is nothing but bourgeois idealism. Full of talk about liberation of the masses, about equality, etc. etc. but without its proponent actually coming from disenfrenchised sectors of society. Early days socialist leaders came forth out of the unions and the work force. Nowadays they come out of colleges and they never made their hands dirty with physical labour. Not that the school does not have its good sides and I understand why especially young people feel attracted to it, but it has the potential danger that is serves as a trojan horse to bring about Marxism, by using intellectual discourse. But you got to mould them when they are young. Both the nazis and the communist knew you had to mould them when they are young. Communism says that that world global Marxism will be brought about after capitalism has run its course including corruption, etc. That we see happening now. Having whole generations moulded by Marxist ideas will help to bring about that revolution. But a revolution eats its children and these enlightened masses might find out that new boss is actually worse than the old boss. Cause Marxism only really "works" if everybody gets with the programme.

andrej's picture

KGB behind Cultural Marxism? Bah. This doesn't sound like McCarthyist alarmism. It IS McCarthyist alarmism.

Cultural Marxism festers in US&EU universities not because of KGB, but because the US&EU regimes are interested in this. Professors, who promote it, know very well where their bread is buttered, and it's definitely not on the KGB's side.

The reasons for regime interest in Cultural Marxist indoctrination are the following:

  • Its utter stupidity. Population, indoctrinated with Cultural Marxism is incapable of bringing about any meaningful societal change. Can you imagine Trigglypuff & ilk fighting a revolution? Ha! They can be successful in only one thing: Doing what they are told.
  • The ol' divide et impera. Identity politics serves as a useful distraction.
  • Stiffling of free speech. Every regime, communist or not, is interested in silencing the dissenters.
  • Cultural Marxist ideological hatred towards the working class, and masses in general. They still blame the proletariat for the WWI.
reader2010's picture

"The reason why people can actually do so little with their free time is that the truncation of their imagination deprives them of the faculty which made the state of freedom pleasurable in the first place. People have been refused freedom, and its value belittled, for such a long time that now people no longer like it. They need the shallow entertainment, by means of which cultural conservatism patronizes and humiliates them, in order to summon up the strength for work, which is required of them under the arrangement of society which cultural conservatism defends. This is one good reason why people have remained chained to their work, and to a system which trains them for work, long after that system has ceased to require their labour. "

- Adorno, The Culture Industry

metanoic's picture

Completely half assed article, leaves out 99% of the story.

Kat Daddy's picture

Globalism, and therefore the NWO, is communist, International Bolshevism...

William Dorritt's picture

"The Jewish identity project worked so well that we Frankfurt School Freudians asked to do the same thing for black people. In the 1960s, many black people were successfully re-trained to believe that what really defined their identity was how their African ancestors had been enslaved by white people. We did the same thing for women: The feminist movement used Frankfurt School theory and Freud to help millions of women realize that what really defined their identity was male chauvinism."

Schiller Institute/ICLC Conference
"The Palmerston Zoo"

Freud and the
Frankfurt School
by Michael Minnicino
Presidents Day, 1994




Wiki Series on the Frankfut School


Liberation Tehology aka marxism


Minnicino on Political Correctness as part of Cultural Marxims aka Franksfort school\

The One...'s picture

The only maxim that anyone needs to remember is, "the only good commie, is a dead one" and that's a fact jack!

I hope some commies become "good" today...  ;-)

NessEliot1932's picture







2. GOP PROPAGANDA Training institutes and MEDIA booking agencies


3. Wednesday morning meetings on both national and state levels = Role of ALEC


Source: Lewis Powell memo 40 years ago = Seamless system to change Americans’ brains


Historian Kim Phillips-Fein describes how Powell’s Memo INSPIRED THE TOOLS FOR CORPORATE TAKEOVER OF AMERICAN GOVERNMENT by creating these devices:

The Business Roundtable (1972)

American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC – 1973)

Heritage Foundation (1973)

Cato Institute (1977)

Manhattan Institute (1978)

Citizens for a Sound Economy (1984) = Now Americans for Prosperity

Accuracy in Academe (1985)


Powell memo created a major shift in American business culture, political power and law, marking the beginning of the business community’s multi-decade collective takeover of the most important institutions of public opinion and democratic decision-making. 


The Powell Manifesto of Corporate Dominance, Censorship, and Destruction of American K to Advanced Educational System written to Director of US Chamber of Commerce 


By Lewis Powell, then corporate lawyer and member of the boards of 11 corporations August 23, 1971 


Chamber and corporate activists took Manifesto to heart and began building a powerful array of institutions designed for Corporate Domination of America over next 40+ years.  Causing shifting of values to Corporate CONTROL!

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