The Left fights the culture wars in various ways. They fight hot wars by censoring, cancelling and firing opponents. They fight cold wars by monopolising the information-space, such as newspapers and the ABC excluding questioning of climate alarmism. But the ‘progressives’ most insidious and successful campaigns put the emphasis on “culture” so that kids and citizens absorb the desired world-view without even noticing.
I have an unlikely case in point: my wife and I enjoy watching Welsh orange-haired Professor Alice Roberts on SBS prancing about compering her TV series “Britain’s Most Historic Towns”. We gets bits of history and a lot of entertainment – she’s still looking yummy at age 48.
Professor Roberts doesn’t appear to have a political bone in her body but, actually, she’s active on several fronts. She’s the atheist president of the charity Humanists UK, which campaigns for state secularism and for “a tolerant world where rational thinking and kindness prevail”. She campaigns against state-funded religious schools, although she did enrol her two daughters in a classy Church of England school.
Her Historic Towns pieces are made for UK’s Channel 4, a hybrid State/commercial TV outfit. Its remit is to be innovative, educational and catering for Britain’s diverse community, including the religious. However its initial Easter show called Jesus: the Evidence suggested the Gospels were unreliable and Jesus was into witchcraft, if he had existed at all which the program doubted.
As an Alternative Christmas address in 2008, Channel 4 handed its pulpit to Iranian President and Jew-hater Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who spoke on how Christ would have censured the evil United States. Channel 4 followed up with a “Masturbate-a-thon”, called Wank Week, involving a mass masturbation event (cancelled after protests) to raise funds for Marie Stopes International’s sexual health work.
So if you’re getting my drift, Professor Alice and Channel 4 aren’t in the Maggie Thatcher mould. All the same, Alice’s Historic Towns seem an unlikely vehicle for Left brainwashing — until you dial up Series Three, Episode 7: Manchester and the Industrial Revolution. It was in the Reading Room of the 15th century Chetham Library in Manchester that Karl Marx in 1848 cooked up much of his Communist Manifesto. Alice is told by a local Marx-adoring historian, Jonathan Scofield, that the Marx-Engels liaison “seems the closest, most important friendship in world history.” Alice gives Jonathan a feminine gasp: “Ohhh!”
She visits the library like a pilgrim: “I am heading for the desk where Marx and Engels actually sat and collaborated … He (Marx) sits at this desk and chats and gets books out.”
The librarian lets her touch the first edition. Alice rhapsodises, “Look at this, this is a copy of the original Manifesto! I’ll skip to the end, it doesn’t take long, 50 pages in total,
‘Let the ruling classes tremble at a Communistic revolution. The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win. Working men of all countries unite!’ ”
She pauses to let this inspirational message sink in, and says, “Isn’t it amazing, such a small book, such HUGE impact on the 20th Century. This call to arms would become arguably the single most influential publication of all time. Its theories underpin the Russian Revolution of 1917 and creation of the Soviet Union.” (A good thing in Professor Roberts’ opinion, apparently). That’s it: she has no inkling that Manchester-originating Communism was not a boon to the 20th Century.
She’s so impressed with Marx and Engels that her show runs grabs from the Communist Manifesto at the front as a highlight and teaser. Her overall thesis is about Manchester being a “workshop of radical ideas that changed the world”.
TV-wise, she lumps Marx and Engels in the middle of heroes from the Peterloo martyrs of 1819 to the Corn Law and Parliamentary reformers, the activists against working-class squalor, the Manchester anti-slavery movement praised by Abraham Lincoln and freed slave Frederick Douglass, Dickens, Disraeli, Benjamin Franklin, reformist author Elizabeth Gaskell and finally the women’s liberator Emmeline Pankhurst.
Alice’s woke credentials are cemented by interviewing “Caroline”, who is no relation to the original Pankhurst but changed her name to Caroline Pankhurst. This re-named virago, who is every man’s nightmare of a feminist, says “Pankhurst would be horrified to see how social media has added another way of silencing and oppressing women.” Huh? If you say so, dear.
Alice poses against a mural of two black men and one black women, all wearing Adidas gear, with a label, Hated, Adored, Never Ignored. “It is great to see that tradition of protest thriving in this century,” she says, although I think it’s actually an Adidas ad. Alice ends her show by laying a wreath at a statue of Ms Pankhurst, saying, “I can’t think of a more fit way to end my time in Manchester than to pay tribute to Emmeline Pankhurst and all the Manchester radicals — those brave men and women who call out inequality and injustice wherever they saw it, who fought for the greater good, for what was right. And their work goes on.”
In the case of Marx, his work does go on in China, North Korea, Venezuela, Cuba…
If you find Professor Alice a bit odd, keep in mind that the mainstream leader of the British Labor Party from 2015-20 was Marxist/socialist Jeremy Corbyn. You can currently find Marxists galore teaching kids in our universities, such as here.
Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush created a memorial to the “Victims of Communism” in Washington DC. Its pedestal reads, “To the more than one hundred million victims of communism and to those who love liberty.” You can argue all day about whether Marx’s disciples slaughtered 60 million , 80 million or as the memorial claims, 100-plus million. The means include murder, war, politically-engineered famines such as the Ukrainian Holomodor (about four million died of hunger), and being worked to death in gulags.
Brooding about the program, I decided to read (for the first time) Marx’s Communist Manifesto and its drafts and 1848 sequels. Professor Alice clearly hasn’t. She has a husband and two girls: Marx proposed abolition of the family and kids being handed over to State educators for indoctrination from when they first lisp and toddle:
But, you say, we destroy the most hallowed of relations, when we replace home education by social. The bourgeois clap-trap about the family and education, about the hallowed co-relation of parents and child, becomes all the more disgusting, the more, by the action of Modern Industry, all the family ties among the proletarians are torn asunder, and their children transformed into simple articles of commerce and instruments of labour… Our bourgeois, not content with having wives and daughters of their proletarians at their disposal, not to speak of common prostitutes, take the greatest pleasure in seducing each other’s wives.
Under Communist State aegis, Professor Alice would be lumped into Marx’s “community of women” pool.
“Bourgeois marriage is, in reality, a system of wives in common and thus, at the most, what the Communists might possibly be reproached with is that they desire to introduce, in substitution for a hypocritically concealed, an openly legalised community of women.”
It’s worth the mentioning, I suppose, that Marx’s Manifesto urges the abolition of private property. Professor Alice, as one of Britain’s most adored scientists (so far showered with five honorary doctorates), would have a lot of stuff to lose.
“(T)he theory of the Communists may be summed up in the single sentence: Abolition of private property … In one word, you reproach us with intending to do away with your property. Precisely so; that is just what we intend.
Much of Marx’s Manifesto involves snarling against other more moderate reform groups. Professor Alice can thank her idol for terms such as “the idiocy of rural life” and “Lumpenproletariat” viz:
The social scum, that passively rotting mass thrown off by the lowest layers of the old society, may, here and there, be swept into the movement by a proletarian revolution; its conditions of life, however, prepare it far more for the part of a bribed tool of reactionary intrigue.
I hadn’t realised that Mao’s Great Leap Forward was foreshadowed by Karl Marx. In his paradise to come, “existing improvements and scientific procedures will be put into practice, with a resulting leap forward which will assure to society all the products it needs.” Mao’s Great Leap Forward (1958 to 1962) killed 45 million, or twice the current population of Australia.
Marx like two other monsters, Stalin and Pol Pot, wanted his nirvana to be fuelled by “an entirely different kind of human material.” Meanwhile this crazed scribbler imagined that
the difference between city and country is destined to disappear. The management of agriculture and industry by the same people rather than by two different classes of people is, if only for purely material reasons, a necessary condition of communist association.
Marx dreamed that under his Communism, someone would organise
construction, on public lands, of great palaces as communal dwellings for associated groups of citizens engaged in both industry and agriculture and combining in their way of life the advantages of urban and rural conditions while avoiding the one-sidedness and drawbacks of each.
The palaces would house his “industrial armies, especially for agriculture.” Sure,Karl, that makes sense!
As an atheist, Professor Alice would be untroubled by Marx’s replacement of all religions with Communist catechisms.
Question 22. Do Communists reject existing religions?
Answer: All religions so far have been the expression of historical stages of development of individual peoples or groups of peoples. But communism is the stage of historical development which makes all existing religions superfluous and brings about their disappearance.
While Marx was penning the Manifesto he was also formulating “Demands of the Communist Party in Germany”. Law firms, like Labor friendly Maurice Blackburn, will be disturbed to learn Marx’s demands included, “Legal services shall be free of charge.” Victoria’s Marx-friendly bureaucrats will be equally dismayed, as Marx decreed
all civil servants shall receive the same salary, the only exception being that civil servants who have a family to support and who therefore have greater requirements, shall receive a higher salary.
An unintended consequence could have been a spate of babies among Victoria’s half-million public servants.
I’ll close with a couple of paragraphs from Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag Archipelago, to suggest where Marx’s ideology led. Solzhenitsyn mentions a peasant during one of Stalin’s famines:
Because he had six mouths to feed he devoted himself whole-heartedly to collective farm work, and kept hoping he would get some return for his labor. And he did—they awarded him a decoration. They awarded it at a special assembly, made speeches. In his reply, the peasant got carried away. He said, “Now if I could just have a sack of flour instead of this decoration! Couldn’t I somehow?” A wolflike laugh rocketed through the hall, and the newly decorated hero went off to exile, together with all six of those dependent mouths.
There are plenty of documented horrors of Communism in the three volumes’ 1000 pages, but here Solzhenitsyn writes of a speculative one:
There was a rumor going the rounds between 1918 and 1920 that the Petrograd Cheka, headed by Uritsky, and the Odessa Cheka, headed by Deich, did not shoot all those condemned to death but fed some of them alive to the animals in the city zoos. I do not know whether this is truth or calumny, or, if there were any such cases, how many were there. But I wouldn’t set out to look for proof, either. Following the practice of the bluecaps [secret police], I would propose that they prove to us that this was impossible. How else could they get food for the zoos in those famine years? Take it away from the working class? Those enemies were going to die anyway, so why couldn’t their deaths support the zoo economy of the Republic and thereby assist our march into the future? Wasn’t it expedient?
That is the precise line the Shakespearean evildoer could not cross. But the evildoer with ideology does cross it, and his eyes remain dry and clear.”
I suppose one can cut Professor Alice some slack. She was only 16 when the Berlin Wall came down and like almost everyone else in the West under the age of 50, has no idea what Communism was about. But I’d prefer she sticks to anatomy.
Disclosure: Tony Thomas was a member of the Communist Party of Australia (Willagee, WA branch) between 1960 and 1962 from the ages 20 to 22.
Tony Thomas’s Foot Soldier in the Culture Wars ($29.95) is available from publisher Connor Court
 No channel is all bad, and Channel 4 screened The Greenhouse Conspiracy, The Great Global Warming Swindle and a third program mocking environmental hypocrites.
 Precisely, “from the time when they can do without the first maternal care.”
 Her qualifications are in medicine, biology and anatomy, I suppose she’s doing history travelogues because she’s photogenic.
 As satirised in Monty Python’s Life of Brian:
BRIAN: Are you the Judean People’s Front?
REG: F**k off!
REG: Judean People’s Front. We’re the People’s Front of Judea! Judean People’s Front. Cawk.
BRIAN: Can I… join your group?
REG: No. Piss off.