The Ontology of the Great Illiberal Subversion
A place for everything, and everything in its place
By James Pew
Last Update Dec. 14, 2022
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This post is unlike any other I’ve put together so far on The Turn. It will be updated with each subsequent article Mr. M and I publish as part of our series The Great Illiberal Subversion. The reader can think of this as somewhat of an index with summaries of the Great Illiberal Subversion series of essays. Before we begin, it is important to note that the series does not need to be read in order, however for those who wish to read it in the order it was published, the summaries below appear chronologically.
First off, what is the Great Illiberal Subversion? It is a term our research group (Lighthouse Think Tank) came up with for the phenomenon this series aims to describe in great detail. In a nutshell, it is a historical process that has its roots in radical politics. That is, Marxian inspired and repurposed social revolutions best characterized through the exposition of Antonio Gramsci, on what is famously referred to as “the long march through the institutions.”
Illiberal subversion, as it regards this series, refers to the “work” of radical activists and social agitators who force their will on society through a long on-going web of processes involving incremental efforts that chip away at the pillars of western democracies. Attacking and undermining public institutions as Gramsci had it - “a revolution from within” - through a drawn-out complex of affairs perhaps best viewed as death by a thousand cuts, the radical activists entrench in individual departments until they colonize an entire organization and effectively wield enough power to shape its directives. Once this happens to enough of the institutions (or pillars) of society (and it already has), the radical subverters effectively wield power over everyone, the power to shape social right and social wrong.
The full title of the series is - The Great Illiberal Subversion: How Radical Activists Ru(i)n Western Democracies. We intend to convert these essays into a book length volume once we feel we have exhausted the subject thoroughly enough and made all the points necessary to convince the reader that Canada, and other illustrious western democracies, are under threat of a highly undemocratic and illiberal activist agenda to not reform, but destroy, the society from whence it came. This has been occurring for many decades. With every successive generation the problem seems only to expand and accelerate. But before we offer any solutions, we feel it necessary to explore the subject deeply and thereby develop an understanding of the unique nature of the problem and of the precarious situation of the (post)modern Western world.
We invite the reader to join us in this exploration. Below is a list of every article published to date, along with a description and in some cases, extras not found in the original articles. Please keep coming back to this post (check the ‘last updated’ date underneath the byline at the top of the post), to stay on top of updates, new articles, and the extra materials and commentary that will be offered here as we proceed through the grand investigative project we call The Great Illiberal Subversion.
Prologue to The Great Illiberal Subversion
There are two essays that Mr. M wrote that both contain material The Great Illiberal Subversion (GIS) will go into quite deeply. The reader can consider these two essays as essential preparatory material for the GIS series which Mr. M and I are collaborating on. The first is called A Moral Chimera -Diversity, Illiberal No-White-Male Policies and the Power of the Black Radical Tradition. Mr. M establishes the black radical tradition as the most influential of all the radical movements (at least from the 1960s period and after). The Great Illiberal Subversion cannot be understood without a thorough grounding in the ideological development of the black radical tradition.
“The illiberal black activist movements, collectively the black radical tradition, are personified for many Westerners by the figure of Malcolm X. In contradistinction to King, Malcolm X believed that racial integration could never occur in America-as-it-is, that racism and capitalism are inextricably linked, and consequently, ‘black liberation and socialism are directly linked’.” - Mr. M, A Moral Chimera
An important work informing this essay is black studies professor Cedric Robinson's textbook Black Marxism: The Making of the Black Radical Tradition.
Next is Race Radicalism in America: Integrationist Past, Non-Integrationist Future, here Mr. M discusses the historical importance of Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Franz Boas in the shaping of radical thought. Also, a relevant distinction comes in a section called McCarthy was wrong – HUAC wasn’t. Mr. M describes the cold war era House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) as “absolutely legitimate in its investigations and documentation of communist activity, infiltration and subversion of American institutions.” This tradition of communist subversion has largely been obfuscated by the stain of McCarthyism (an illegitimate movement predicated on the very real infiltration of Russian Communists into American society).
An important body of scholarship informing this piece is American Communism and Anticommunism: A Historian’s Bibliography and Guide to the Literature, compiled and edited by John Earl Haynes. Here is what Mr. M had to say about this invaluable resource:
“In 1993, Haynes became the first American scholar to examine the records of the Communist Party USA, housed in the former archive of the Communist International in Moscow, and he is the man responsible for making an agreement with the Russians that led to the production of copies of the Comintern archives. These copies were then sold to US academic institutions. Haynes’ personal website offers the reading public a topical reference bibliography containing more than 9,000 items. There is probably no better research tool on earth with which to investigate the topic of American communism.”
The Great Illiberal Subversion Essay Series
In order to orient the reader to the general approach we are taking to tackle this enormous and complex subject, it is worth mentioning that although we are discussing a phenomenon present in all Western democracies, for many reasons which will become clear as the reader progresses through the series, we explore the Canadian situation most deeply. That is not to say we ignore other Western countries, not at all. The development of radical leftist ideology and the evolution of leftist agitation is not something that can be understood by focusing on a single country burdened by illiberal subversion. For this reason, our coverage goes to the time and places most relevant to the historical development of the subversion, meaning many countries and cities of the Western world will be discussed.
The first essay - The Radical Subversion of Canadian Education was published here on The Turn, on Aug, 23, 2022. This piece briefly discusses Lighthouse Think Tank (LTT) but serves mostly as an introduction to the series. However, it goes into some detail regarding Ontario’s 1992 Amendment of the Education Act and a related 1993 document on antiracism and ethnocultural equity which marked the entry point for ministry mandated Critical Theory in Ontario education. Also mentioned in the piece is the Ontario Institute for Scholarship Education (OISE) where the Critical Pedagogy and Cultural Studies Forum (CPSC) was formed in the late 1980s.
From the article:
“Education is a key sight of this “revolution,” and it is where both Critical Pedagogy and Antiracism education are practiced. Although these two strains are related and mutually supportive of much of the same ideological axioms, we will trace their historical origins and illustrate how they evolved as separate entities.”
The second essay in the GIS series, Importing the Perception of Systemic Racism into Canada: From Rodney King to George Floyd, discusses what is known as the Yonge Street Uprising. This was an early 1990s era riot in Canada (organized by a radical group of black activists known as the Black Action Defense Committee), inspired by the Rodney King riots south of the border, along with a handful of police killings of young black men in Toronto.
We discussed the exaggerations of both the Black Action Defense Committee (BADC) and the media who amplified their histrionics. The infamous Yonge Street Uprising was eagerly portrayed by the media as a legitimate response from black community members in Toronto, to the unjust police killings of young black men. They did not accurately contextualize the statistical insignificance of the small number of black men killed by police - in most cases while resisting arrest and/or brandishing weapons - during the decade prior to the Yonge Street riots.
From the article:
“When we consider how the sequence of events leading to antiracism and equity legislation intersects with the BADC, something like the following takes shape: In the wake of the Rodney King verdict, the BADC organized the protest that led to the Young Street Riots. The riots in turn led the NDP government to conclude through the Lewis report that one thousand plus angry rioters somehow equates to systemic racism. This led to the passing of bill 21, the NDP government’s antiracism and ethnocultural equity bill, which included the radical language of BADC, such as their own term ‘anti-black racism’.”
In the third essay of the series, Charting the Great Illiberal Subversion in Canadian Education: From 1960s era Public Policy changes in Immigration, to Race Relations, Activism, and the Media, we provide some background discussion on Canada’s policy direction shifts toward broadened immigration, multiculturalism, and ultimately race relations, as well as a brief mention of the entrance of cultural studies into media studies (education for journalists).
In researching the interrelated topics mentioned above, a sequence of illiberal subversion became clear. From the article:
The stages by which liberal values were devalorized and superseded in Canadian policy making can be theorized according to the following blueprint which emphasizes the power of media in molding public opinion and social perception:
i) Demographic change beginning around 1970 ; ii) The press in the late 70s shifting focus to incidents of racial conflict; iii) "Calls" for action as a result of the racist picture of Canada presented by the media - the government moves to blame white (youth), while the minorities move to blame the institutions and by extension the government (with Stokley Carmichael's Marxist and black nationalist theory of institutional racism); iv) The government chooses appeasement and greenlights race relations committees which will go on to be the main pushers of illiberal social policies at the institutional level.(5)
The footnote (5) to the sequence above is as follows:
This blueprint, currently under development at the lighthouse think tank, represents an attempt to conceptualize and to theorize how the process of illiberal subversion played out in Canada (that is, how radical identity-politics, through the intervention of opinion shaping mass media and through an imposition on institutional policy everywhere, became the dominant culture in a land once socially regulated by the principles of liberal individualism and individual rights). For the major demographic shift in Canadian immigration occurring in the early 1970s, see Breton (1986, 58). The shift in media reporting from a standard of integrity and objectivity to one of fomenting social transformation is discussed by historian Keith Windschuttle (1997 and 1998) — as Windschuttle argues, this reversal on journalistic principles comes with the 1970s rise of “culture studies” as the major component of media theory across Western universities (search “culture studies” on wiki for an introduction, yes, this approach to journalism really was produced by three Marxist intellectuals). The characterization that the media focused on stories of (white) youth violence against minorities in the 1970s comes from the dissertation of Malgorzata (2013, 3) which studies race and resistance in 1970s Toronto. The same source states that, while the media is quick to blame the youth in question for such incidents, minority activists use the media fanfare generated on such occasions as an opportunity to influence public opinion and institutional policy: “visible minority groups, however, argued that overt racism was symptomatic of a larger problem: institutional racism.” This process by which black panther leader and Marxist Stokely Carmichael’s theory of institutional / systemic racism came to be a major aspect of the social sciences everywhere is described by sociologist Tim Berard as follows: “although Carmichael and Hamilton do not define institutional racism solely in terms of its effects, the social–psychological dimension in their account may have been so politically divisive or so empirically inadequate that subsequent authors would define institutional racism more and more in terms of its effects, largely neglecting or fudging questions of causal mechanisms and institutional processes” (Berard 2008, 737).
In the fourth essay, From Police Brutality to Race Relations: The Illiberal Subversion of Race Agitators, we review the sequence of subversion:
i) Demographic change beginning around 1970; ii) The press in the late 1970s shifting focus to incidents of racial conflict; iii) "Calls" for action as a result of the racist picture of Canada presented by the media; iv) The government chooses appeasement and greenlights race relations committees.
Some discussion is focused on point two - The press in the late 1970s shifting focus to incidents of racial conflict - we state our position clearly that “in most cases specific events of racial conflict are not statistically significant. They are made to appear as something that has happened more often than it has, and to appear more likely to happen again if something isn’t done about it. Overwhelmingly, the work of radical social agitators who foment both social discontent and hysteria through melodramatic and manipulative exaggeration is what lurks behind the deception.”
From there we shift gears and introduce the topic of the second half of the essay by stating, “From the race riots of the 1960s to the Rodney King and Yonge Street riots of the 1990s to the Black Lives Matter and Defund the Police riots of the 2020s, one factor remains constant: radical anti-police rhetoric and activism.”
Before we delve into the history of the highly influential Marixist-Leninist approach to radical activism (which involves agitating against the police), we first note “Three Interrelated Developments in Western Public Policy and Education.”
From the essay (Three interrelated developments in Western Public Policy and Education):
i) Marxist-Leninist social theory (particularly, as it came to be used by race activists and their confrontations with police); ii) race activism in the US, UK and Canada in the 1960s and 1970s which featured impactful race riots and anti-police tactics and propaganda iii) the formation in government and school boards of race relations committees which justified their existence, often, on the phenomenon of racial unrest (specifically: on the race riots and police clashes which, it often goes unstated, were provoked by activists pursuing the Marxist-Leninist activist model).
From here the discussion broadens to include the early twentieth century origins of radical agitation against the police in order to undermine the social order. The overt anti-police rhetoric of Lenin’s 1902 work “What is to be done?,” along with other examples found in radical leftist literature (ie. the 1935 organizing manual for Communist Party of the USA), illustrates the long tradition of radical opposition to the police. Also, the origin of leftist race agitation, and its intersections with the black radical tradition, is briefly discussed.
This essay leaves off with a discussion of The Institute of Race Relations in Britain and the British anti-racists most responsible for the common approach to race relations practiced in Western democracies today.
From the essay:
In order to appreciate the importance of the UK context for race relations and education, we have to recognize that anti-racism ideology originated in the UK before spreading elsewhere. This is according to George Dei, the anti-racist most responsible for spreading the ideology in Canadian education.
In the Fifth essay, The Genesis of Race Relations: How Radical Academics and Black Activists in the UK Transformed Race Relations to Black against White Agitation, we go deeper into the origins of race relations. The discussion centers on the historical developments (read radical leftist subversion) of the Institute of Race Relations in London, England, which was founded in 1952.
From the essay:
According to Mullard, the black “resistance” activists who subverted the Institute of Race Relations were of one mind with the pan-Africanists on the following bit of policy:
Resistance entails i) “the total rejection of the dominant social, political and economic order; ii) total rejection of the beliefs, values and institutions which underpinned the dominant order; iii) the possession of an alternative conception of a social, political and economic order; iv) the possession of an alternative institutional, value and belief system.” - (Mullard 1980, 63)
In the sixth essay, From Race Relations came Race Agitation: The Subversion of the British Institute of Race Relations, we cover Ambalavaner Sivanandan and the leading role he played in the subversion of the British Institute of Race Relations.
From the essay,
“…it was under the directorship of radical interloper Sivanandan that the British Institute of Race Relations would take on a new charter in 1972, a new direction and purpose…For Sivanandan, Marxism had, of course, evolved from its classical mode and had transitioned into Neo-Marxism which, he says, is focused on “new social forces such as women, blacks, gays (and soon, greens) who were themselves informed and impelled by the politics of the person”; further, he states, in terms of political strategy, that while “Old Marxists infiltrate” the new identity Marxists instead “hegemonise.” This word is borrowed from the Gramscian model of Marxist subversion which, rather than a violent revolution, calls for a “long march through the institutions,” that is, precisely the sort of subversion Sivanandan enacted upon the Institute for Race Relations.”
In the seventh essay, Subversion of Meaning: Rediscovering Canadian Principles, we begin a new mini-arc within the series that explores the roots of terms like liberalism, conservatism, socialism, and nationalism. In the first of this mini-arc we explain that one political party called conservative, and the other liberal, implies that the latter is philosophically liberal and the former is not. However, both parties are supposed to be liberal. From the essay - “the politics of the Anglosphere (the English-speaking world)…(is) dominant oppositional parties united by their philosophical liberal principles yet divided in their interpretation and application of the same.”
To confuse matters further, Marxist intellectuals have been allowed to redefine conservatism. How? Why? You will have to read the essay to find out.
Thank you for reading. Check back here for more summaries as we publish each Great Illiberal Subversion article.
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