by Peter Franklin
Friday, 20
January 2023
Analysis
15:30

What Bolshevism tells us about the future of wokeism

After the revolution, the real terror may be yet to come
by Peter Franklin
The original woke warrior? Image colourised by Viacheslav Peregudov.

On the face of it, any comparison between the woke Left of the 21st century and the Bolsheviks of the early Soviet Union is absurd. Whatever one might think about the ‘libs’, they’re not mass murderers. 

And yet the tech entrepreneur Balaji Srinivasan does draw a parallel. In a fascinating Twitter thread, he compares the state of Western politics in 2023 with Lenin’s New Economic Policy (NEP). Before investigating the usefulness of this analogy, here’s a quick overview as to what Srinivasan is alluding to: in 1917, the Bolsheviks seized power only to find themselves fighting a bitter civil war against the Whites. Though this resulted in a Red victory, the years of upheaval left the economy in ruins. Lenin’s response was the NEP, which relaxed many of the controls imposed in the wake of the Revolution. 


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Suddenly, market incentives were back and, in the 1920s, a new class of entrepreneurs began to flourish — supplying food and other goods to the urban proletariat. Further, by easing up on the totalitarian megalomania, the Bolsheviks dampened political opposition to their regime. 

Of course, history tells us that the NEP was a false dawn. By 1928, with Stalin in charge, the NEP was cancelled and replaced by the forced collectivisation of the Great Break. What followed were the murderous purges and man-made famines of the 1930s. 

But what is the relevance of any of this to us? If I’m reading Srinivasan correctly, it is that we’re living through a false dawn of our own. He argues that though “the establishment” (by which he means the American Left) has “recaptured the state and captured Big Tech”, its leaders have (like Lenin) decided to ease up a bit. They have “tacked back ~30% to the center”, he reckons. 

And he’s right: compared to the ferment of 2020, some of the “heat” has gone out of the culture wars — quite literally in the case of those fiery but mostly peaceful protests. Other examples include the dismantling of Covid controls, the scrapping of the Disinformation Governance Board and the rejection of calls to defund the police.

However, Srinivasan reminds us that the woke Left — and its useful idiots — remain in charge of key institutions. Unless that changes, there’s nothing to stop a new wave of extremism in a few years’ time. We’ve seen the woke Left in its ‘Leninist’ form, but what would a ‘Stalinist’ version look like?

Srinivasan argues that “wokeism, like pre-revolution Bolshevism, is an ideology of critique”, therefore “it’s not that useful for governing”. If it is to remain in power, the 21st century Left will have to adapt. Indeed, his claim is that we’re in the “middle of a transition from wokeism to statism”. 

But I wonder if his theory of an emerging “total state” misunderstands the true nature of wokeism. Though it does indeed present itself as a critique of the status quo, its core purpose is to reproduce itself. Deep down, what wokeness really wants is not change, but more wokeness. Upon taking control of an institution, its first demand is for more resources for itself — more training sessions, more safe spaces, more trigger warnings. 

Thus the new wokeness will be like the old wokeness — only bigger. Instead of expanding the state to absorb the rest of society in true totalitarian fashion, what we’ll see is a lot more leaching off the state. Public funds will be diverted into more job creation schemes for the expensively educated, but essentially useless, products of the university system. 

This scrabble for resources will be wasteful and, at times, quite nasty — but not Stalin nasty. History will repeat itself as farce, not tragedy. 

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Josh Allan
Josh Allan
18 days ago

It’s an interesting parallel. What concerns me about wokeness is that my generation (I’m 25) have fully embraced it, largely, I suspect, in lieu of religion. By the logic of generational shift alone it’s only going to get worse, even as its absurdities become more pronounced. The USSR lasted a long time before its unsustainability caught up with it – and look at the Russia that came out the other end.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
18 days ago
Reply to  Josh Allan

I’m 46 and I find that I can no longer talk to most people under 30, not because I consider them inferior in any way, but because I find there are very few common cultural reference points left. I was recently in a pub in England where I was one of the few customers so ended up talking to the barman who was also a university student. The topic of free speech came up in which I stated I’m all for it and under the assumption that this is a common opinion held by most right-thinking people. All of a sudden he turned cold, stared right through me and told me that ‘free speech’ was an euphemism for ‘hate speech’. He pointedly ignore me after that and so I, of course, felt compelled to leave after my drink was finished.
It wasn’t so much the difference of opinion that knocked me, but the rapid shift from two people having a friendly conversation to someone completely shutting the other out for saying something I consider wholly non-controversial. I’m also experiencing this with the younger, female members of my family. Any successes I have had in my life they quickly attribute to me being a white male, despite having grown up in one of the poorest council estates in England. Not only do I find this line of thinking obnoxiously tedious, but more concernedly, I’m not sure where it will all end. I almost feel like it’s getting to the point where a simple difference of opinion is considered fasc*sm by people acting in very fasc*istic ways.

Josh Allan
Josh Allan
18 days ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

It’s tragic. And without common reference points there’s no sense of community. We don’t realise that a lot of our generational misery (which is real) derives from social atomisation.

Alphonse Pfarti
Alphonse Pfarti
18 days ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

May I ask, is your problem with talking to the under 30s something that you have noticed since lockdown? Prior to lockdown, I generally felt that while I was clearly of a different generation, I could get on ok with the young people. Discussing this over an age-appropriate game of bowls with a friend who has teenage children, he reported much of what you describe, but felt the same way as me about the timing.
To go back to the article, maybe the retreat is not a temporary thing (at least I hope not). Once young people enter the workplace, my observation has been that they drop a lot of their studenty opinions once older, more experienced people either take no notice or put forward opposing viewpoints. They simply don’t get any kudos by spouting carp at people who have lived out a good part of their lives. I’m fairly sure I was a complete pain aged 20 (although would never have dreamed of behaving like the petulant young barman you describe). On the other hand, the current practice of fawning validation of every sanctimonious outburst, which is increasingly prevalent in the public sector, is doing nobody any good (although Lionel Shriver said that much more eloquently than I ever will).

Last edited 18 days ago by Al M
Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
18 days ago

Quite possibly, but I know for a fact that lockdown restrictions had an effect me. I witnessed a ghastly change in many people I once used to admire and respect and who allowed their fear to give way to the worst kind of totalitarian thinking I’ve ever encountered. Indeed, they exhibited the very ‘sanctimonious outbursts’ you describe. To be clear, it wasn’t necessarily that they were for stringent lockdowns and masking, it was that while they made allowances for the gay parades and racial riots that took place during official lockdowns, they were avowedly opposed to those who protested against vaccine mandates and lockdowns. When I confronted a friend about why they were tolerant toward one form of protest and intolerant toward the other, they told me that while one was sanctioned by government, the other most certainly wasn’t.
I think it is as Josh Allan above describes. In lieu of religion, many people are perfectly content for governments to prescribe morality. Although I worry that I’m coming across a little hyperbolic, I do feel like I am living in a time similar to the that of the Weimar Republic. Before lockdowns I struggled to understand how mass movements like n*z*sm and communism managed to get so many people on board. Now I suspect it has something to with the psychological phenomenon Robert Litton described way back in the 1960s:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thought_Reform_and_the_Psychology_of_Totalism

Alphonse Pfarti
Alphonse Pfarti
18 days ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

Had a big impact on me also.Thankfully, none of my friends entertained ideas of favouring one set of protesters over another and were more concerned with the inconsistency of government and police reaction. I was on the receiving end of an excoriating rebuke for choosing to disregard restrictions on one occasion in early 2020 (with very good reason), but only from one individual.
You’re not being hyperbolic in the slightest. My personal view is that a number of unrelated factors have coalesced over the past 25 years to produce what you describe. The increase in UK school leavers attending ‘university’, and choosing to study away from home rather than at a college close to home was the start. This meant that far more teenagers left home and were unlikely to return, especially if they grew up in areas which have seen industrial and economic decline. They became atomised and distant from their families.
Throw in tuition fees and Cameron’s disastrous cap, which resulted in every ‘world’s best 800-1000′ dump of a former college charging £9k PA for a degree with less value than a toilet roll. The unintended consequence here was that students now view themselves as customers with a right to get what they had paid (or borrowed) for. We have labour shortages in many key areas, yet a surplus of unemployable people with useless qualifications who will never pay back their loans. There has also been a marked decline in vocational/technical training and education, both college based and within industry.
Next, we have a generation who have grown up with social media, the re-emergence of Neo-Marxist/Utopian thinking and the rise of identity politics (this is now extremely prevalent in our education system). Finally, throw in locking the entire population up, taking away the years where children and teenagers learn to interact and develop skills of social interaction and you have a perfect storm. Particularly appalling was filling kids’ heads full of rubbish about ‘hug Granny and you might kill her’ and demonising them as the reservoir of the death virus. Unforgiveable. Anyway, this is getting a bit ranty, so I’ll stop.

Last edited 18 days ago by Al M
Graeme McNeil
Graeme McNeil
17 days ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

“little hyperbolic”
Don’t worry. You just sound utterly ridiculous.

polidori redux
polidori redux
17 days ago
Reply to  Graeme McNeil

Says the petulant man-child.

joe hardy
joe hardy
14 days ago
Reply to  polidori redux

Petulant is the perfect word for Graeme.

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
17 days ago
Reply to  Graeme McNeil

Useless woke moron.

Erik Hildinger
Erik Hildinger
16 days ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

Good comment. And may I suggest Eric Hoffer’s short classic, The True Believer.

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
17 days ago

“the current practice of fawning validation of every sanctimonious outburst”
Exactly. Always, always tell the woke to stop talking their stupid schidt.

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
16 days ago

“May I ask, is your problem with talking to the under 30s something that you have noticed since lockdown?”
YES!

Martin Terrell
Martin Terrell
17 days ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

I have noticed the same. Lockdown may not have helped but the problem has been marinating over many years. Indoctrination, social media, peer pressure, absent and indulgent parents, and a grievance that the rewards of life are less achievable. are a toxic brew. There is no longer a shared cultural or moral framework within which we can agree to disagree but respect the worth of the other’s opinions.

j watson
j watson
17 days ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

‘You know this bloke down the pub said it so it must true’.
You couldn’t make it up.
Sorry but such anecdotes are laughable.

Last edited 17 days ago by j watson
polidori redux
polidori redux
17 days ago
Reply to  j watson

But useful as illustration.

j watson
j watson
17 days ago
Reply to  polidori redux

Funnily enough I went into a Pub last night and this young bloke behind the bar said ‘what would you like to drink sir’? I responded by initiating a discourse on free speech. We sat talking for hours and I couldn’t believe how intelligent and thoughtful the youth of today are. Far more than in my halycon days. A useful illustration I’m sure.

polidori redux
polidori redux
17 days ago
Reply to  j watson

Perhaps you are younger than you think.
That is what us oldies call a backhander.

Betsy Arehart
Betsy Arehart
15 days ago
Reply to  j watson

Just because it’s an anecdote doesn’t mean it’s not true.
(Lesson for those who are confused between its and it’s: read the previous sentence and substitute “it is” for “it’s.” Then try “the dog lifted its leg on the hydrant” and substitute “it is” [it’s] for “its”.

Michael Coleman
Michael Coleman
17 days ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

Having two children in their 20s, my experience has not been so dire when talking with their similarly aged friends and associates. The vast majority secretly laugh and sometimes bristle at the absurdities of Wokeism. The few wokesters in the group are the non-confrontational type who avoid sensitive topics, which is fine by me. No amount of reason or data can change their minds.

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
17 days ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

You have seriously GOT to start being unpleasant to these kids, for their own sakes. Racism has to be nipped in the bud, otherwise it just grows.

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
16 days ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

I hope and trust that you told Student Grant that shutting down free speech is what fascists do.

Betsy Arehart
Betsy Arehart
15 days ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

You couldn’t be more right on. These people will be demanding euthanasia for oldsters (or anyone considered a “drag” on the system) in another generation or less.

Matt M
Matt M
18 days ago
Reply to  Josh Allan

How genuine is the embrace, Josh? Do they pay lip-service to look cool or are they actually bought in?
This is a genuine question. I’m 50 and your generation is a mystery to me.

Last edited 18 days ago by Matt M
Josh Allan
Josh Allan
18 days ago
Reply to  Matt M

It’s a slavish subservience to dogma in my experience. A lot of my coevals do have reservations, certainly, but they’re afraid to speak them (and it rarely stops them from questioning the doctrine itself).

That said, most people aren’t extremists – they go along with it, but they spend their free time watching Netflix rather than penning Frantz Fanon fan-fic.

Matt M
Matt M
18 days ago
Reply to  Josh Allan

I wonder whether their reservations will deepen as they get older and have more responsibilities.
(By the way, I had to look up: coevals, Frantz Fanon and fan-fic).

Last edited 18 days ago by Matt M
Josh Allan
Josh Allan
18 days ago
Reply to  Matt M

Haha, sorry.

They will mature politically, I’m sure. The question is how much?

Matthew Powell
Matthew Powell
18 days ago
Reply to  Josh Allan

I think a lot of it is old fashioned self interest. It’s no surprise that a generation which is more ethically diverse and has the highest number of female graduates ever has adopted an ideology which mandates political, cultural and economic preferential treatment to themselves, under what are pretty spurious rationalisations.

Every generation has a tendency to attack the status quo to progress their influence as quickly as possible, just as once it’s obtained the, older are understandably more conservative, looking to hold on to their gains.

What is perhaps different this time is that extended life expectancy, the unusually large size of the baby boomer generation and the stagnation of global growth rates have pushed the younger generations into more extreme positions, as they see their paths to political and economic power blocked under the current system.

This doesn’t mean that I agree with woke ideology or that there is any fundamental inherent injustice in the current system but I think it goes some way to explaining what we are seeing.

Last edited 18 days ago by Matthew Powell
Betsy Arehart
Betsy Arehart
15 days ago
Reply to  Josh Allan

That’s the sad thing: they go along with it.

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
18 days ago
Reply to  Josh Allan

I question how much they have “fully embraced it” and how much of it is simply a product of conformist tendencies in human beings having a magnified effect due to several coincidental effects from technological advances, political conditions, economic realities, lack of cultural anchors, etc. More bluntly, I think a lot of them are doing it to fit in, not because they have profound beliefs around the subject. There just aren’t that many true believer idealist personality types in any given group of people, but if you stick a group of young inexperienced people together, the true believer idealists among them, or older ones who have no qualms about taking advantage of youth to advance their own careers, will quickly come to dominate the conversation and because young people are at an age where their basic human instincts are telling them to find their place in the herd and don’t have a lot of life experience yet to weigh against their own instincts, they’ll probably go along with whatever everybody else is doing, unless they’re weirdos like myself and maybe you as well. More bluntly, I think you’d find if you collected a bunch of woke twenty somethings off college campuses and put them in solitary confinement with a selection of books on philosophy, religion, and culture from throughout history, but no internet, for a month or so, you’d end up with a lot fewer wokeists than you had at the start. Failing that, they have to leave college at some point and get real jobs or at least move back in with their unwoke parents at some point. The few that stay in academia can start their own goofy pseudo-religion and repeat the process thirty or forty years down the road. I guess what I’m trying to say is this. Don’t lose heart, kid. The world’s bigger than you think, and what your friends are all doing now may not mean jack sh*t ten years down the road. It may even be regarded as jack sh*t by the same people. Just take it day by day. All any of us can do really.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
18 days ago

Thought provoking analysis. Many people think the west is experiencing some kind of absurd political transformation and we’re all searching for explanations.

The political elite are pre-occupied by fashionable causes that don’t help the vast majority of their constituents – gender ideology, net zero, diversity, equity and inclusion, colonialism, bail reform, open borders etc.

My biggest fear is that progressives have captured all the institutions – academia, culture, regime media, big tech, big business, finance, the bureaucracy. There is no diversity of thought amongst society’s leaders and influence makers.

Without it we can’t have antithesis vs. stasis to create synthesis. We’re missing the antithesis.

Jeff Cunningham
Jeff Cunningham
17 days ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

And you left out attempting to stop global warming.

John Riordan
John Riordan
17 days ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

I share that fear, and believe you are correct. There is a predetermined consensus on almost all important issues that is not permitted debate in the corridors of power. The damage that this has done cannot be denied.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
17 days ago
Reply to  John Riordan

I also think it’s shutting down debate on more pressing issues, like deindustrialization, energy prices, the housing crisis, govt debt etc.

Matt M
Matt M
18 days ago

Most people ignore, ridicule or challenge wokery. And yet the Woke have taken control of many institutions with real power over people’s lives.
I wonder what happens when they get tired of being ignored, ridiculed or challenged.
Nothing good, I suspect.

Last edited 18 days ago by Matt M
Jim R
Jim R
18 days ago

I followed the link to the Wikipedia page for the “Great Break”. The description of the Holodomor is somewhat concerning – it just refers to a “famine and drought” killing 4 million Ukrainians – the soviet state requisitioning more grain than they had is only among several contributing factors, including Ukrainians hiding grain and tractor shipments being too slow. You see, it wasn’t a genocide after all, just bad luck, a supply chain problem and bad weather. All of this is part of the groundwork for rehabilitating communism so we can try it again.

Last edited 18 days ago by Jim R
Jeff Cunningham
Jeff Cunningham
17 days ago
Reply to  Jim R

If you want to read the very ugly details there is the “Black Book of Communism” that came out in the nineties, after they’d started going through massive accumulation of records stored in the basements of the Kremlin. There was about a ten or twelve year period there where western researchers were allowed in to go through it. Putin, of course, put an end to all that. According to those materials, the starvation in the Ukraine was deliberate. There are letters back and forth between high government officials all the way up to Stalin that detail it. It’s really difficult to read this. It is gruesome. Edited by a French researcher as I recall.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Black_Book_of_Communism

Last edited 17 days ago by Jeff Cunningham
Emre S
Emre S
17 days ago

The lack of interest in the Holodomor is one of the biggest failure of journalism or academia – long before Wokeism was a thing. I guess it’s not such a big surprise given the NY Times gave a Pulitzer prize to the journalist who buried the story and denied that it was happening.

Brian Villanueva
Brian Villanueva
17 days ago

Live Not By Lies by Rod Dreher covers the comparison between wokeness and communism extensively, using interviews with former Soviet immigrants who now live in the West. They are scared — very scared. To me, that counts for a lot. They see the parallels between early 20th century Russian politics and early 21st century Western politics more acutely than we do.
The reign of terror is already beginning. Today a social media mob costs you your career and renders you unemployable. Next year, a real mob burns down your house and kills your family. Once you’ve defined your political opposition as not just wrong, but evil, either becomes permissible. The difference is only a matter of degree as both actions are based on defining a group as “less than human” and therefore unworthy of the protections like the rule of law.
Patriarchal, cisgendered, whiteness has now been defined as evil. This definition is enforced by every major institution in America today, and is being exported with gusto by both tech companies and our own State Dept. Based on this alone, the reign of terror is going to get worse. How much worse, I’m not sure, but I just got a passport. If anyone knows how to open a foreign bank account, I’d love to know.

Last edited 17 days ago by Brian Villanueva
Graeme McNeil
Graeme McNeil
17 days ago

“Reign of terror”?!?!?
Have you any idea how stupid you sound?

Betsy Arehart
Betsy Arehart
14 days ago
Reply to  Graeme McNeil

Very likely it will not sound stupid for very long.

Emre S
Emre S
17 days ago

Very interesting book ref – thank you.

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
18 days ago

I’m not persuaded that wokeism is analagous to Bolshevism in the first place. Bolshevism, and Marxism generally, had reasonable foundations in economics, history, and political philosophy, at least to the extent those disciplines existed at the time. By the time Lenin came to power, Socialism was over six decades old as a philosophy and was one of many philosophies of government debated among revolutionaries of the era. There were many serious people across all walks of life who thought it might succeed. It was not largely confined to a particular age cohort. That it failed in practice came as a surprise to many, and there are still arguments as to why it failed and to what extent its principles could still be applied. There are still socialists today. Bernie Sanders still calls himself a socialist, and while his actual policies bear little resemblance to anything found in Soviet Russia, he still traces his line of political thought as being inspired by that school of thought. Wokeism is something that sprung up over the span of the last decade out of a handful of theories from fringe intellectuals in fields of study that aren’t much older than myself. It strikes me as being more in the spirit of the periodic religious ‘awakenings’ that are well documented in American history. These tended to appear out of nowhere, take hold of America for a decade or so, then disappear into the wind with little lasting impact. The last one was, arguably, the 1960s, what with its flower children, eastern gurus, free love, etc. It came and went. It influenced popular culture, music, and a number of other cultural things, but never established anything like a lasting political movement, being, as with wokeism, largely confined to a particular age cohort, the ‘boomers’ as we now call them. It turned many people on to older outside political philosophies, like socialism, but it didn’t really build anything substantial because then, as now, young people in a single age cohort can’t build permanent things over the span of a few years. They can exert a lot of influence on the surface, particularly on things that are popular among young people, such as music, art, literature, entertainment, television, etc., but they lack experience in the real world and they lack influence to institutionalize changes, being vastly outnumbered by other age cohorts. I’ve said this before but it bears repeating. Very few companies are run by people aged 18-35. The reason these companies all sound like they are is because those companies are trying to appeal to young people as both customers, who form permanent buying patterns during those years, and as employees, because they are trying to get the best talent in the door so they can mold that talent, however silly they may be at the time, into productive employees who will be assets to the company and potentially future leaders. Today’s wokeists compound the problem by being the least likely to actually reproduce and pass their culture forward to a new generation. I think the woke moment is already passing. It’s just a matter of waiting for another shoe to drop.

Last edited 18 days ago by Steve Jolly
John Riordan
John Riordan
17 days ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

Excellent comment, but I might add something in here at this point:

“They can exert a lot of influence on the surface, particularly on things that are popular among young people, such as music, art, literature, entertainment, television, etc., but they lack experience in the real world and they lack influence to institutionalize changes, being vastly outnumbered by other age cohorts.”

I would say that in addition to this younger people, in lacking experience, simply lack the technical knowledge of how to make ideas – any ideas – actually work. This might seem to be somewhat taulogous, but these days, listening to the generational warfare that’s going on, one might think that all that’s required to communicate ideas within a particular generation is to simply use the language adopted by that generation, which is somehow not automatically available to other generations.

This idea, so attractive to certain elites, is of course nonsense. Experience is not merely artefactual knowledge of how things used to be done, but an intuitive grasp of how things CAN be done including, all importantly, things nobody has tried before. Why is this relevant to your point? Well simply that even if there’s a generational will to change something for the better (or worse, as Communism teaches us), it’s not enough to persuade older generations of the need for change, there has to be a workable plan for how it is to be carried out.

The Russian experience of Bolshevik communism is a case in point: having overturned the market economy in the name of Marxist cosmic justice, they had to reintroduce most of it to avoid catastrophic economic collapse, and many of them doubtless realised in the process that most of the rules of the previous socioeconomic order were there due to the constraints of reality as opposed to being merely tools of class hegemony. Too late, of course, to undo the damage at that point, which is another one of those lessons from history that keep having to be learned the hard way.

Last edited 17 days ago by John Riordan
Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
17 days ago
Reply to  John Riordan

Yes, exactly. That’s what I was getting at but you said it much more clearly and with more depth. Communism is an example of something that has endured as an idea but has never been successfully implemented. It has some theoretical appeal but we have a century of failure to show it will never actually work in practice. Wokeism isn’t old enough to be called a theory. Social justice is a nebulous and inherently subjective concept that is nigh impossible to even define, let alone turn into a working political system. If it manages to hang around another ten years or so, I might take it seriously enough to complain about it. As things stand, I just consider it another silly fad that appeals to gullible young people and their inherent need to ‘fit in’, ‘be a part of something’, and ‘make a difference’. One hopes they’ll grow out of it. One hopes for a lot of things.

Betsy Arehart
Betsy Arehart
14 days ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

I hope you’re right.

Bernard Hill
Bernard Hill
17 days ago

…what’s to stop it turning Stalin nasty I wonder? Most of the Stalin state projects were also absurd on their face and a waste of resources. For example, how long before before we see widespread state encouragement of ‘voluntary’ euthanasia of the sort already emerging in Canada? It doesn’t take a powerful individual figurehead for this to happen, the Swarm will get us there with or without.

Rob Nock
Rob Nock
17 days ago

I find it impossible to believe that many people believe the, ridiculous, trans dogma. However my 15yr old daughter tells me that she thinks most of her coevals, believe that a man can just become a woman. Crazy.

Martin Terrell
Martin Terrell
17 days ago

Not sure about this one. The wokeists will play a long game knowing that their followers grown and their opponents diminish in number and nature takes its cause. A better analogy is with National Socialism where the economic and cultural elites clung on to their prestige and wealth by adopting the new religion.

Graeme McNeil
Graeme McNeil
17 days ago
Reply to  Martin Terrell

Ah, I was wondering how long it would take for someone to say that the “woke” are actually nazis – not long apparently!

John Riordan
John Riordan
17 days ago
Reply to  Graeme McNeil

The parallels are reasonably obvious, actually. If you read Liberal Fascism by Jonah Goldberg, for instance, he defines the ideology of Fascism (as opposed to the various forms it took in practice) as being a religion of the State.

Given that Wokeism is a moral system and that it seeks to enacts its moral laws through the power of the State, you would have to be very stupid indeed not to at least examine the possibiities here.

Even if you reject any association with Fascism, you still cannot get away from the fact that the Woke agenda is moralising, censorious, illiberal and seeks to impose its will by circumventing or ignoring liberal institutions while leveraging the State’s institutions of authority, so while you might escape the label, you don’t escape the facts.

Last edited 17 days ago by John Riordan
Pete Marsh
Pete Marsh
16 days ago
Reply to  John Riordan

There were important differences between fascists and German National Socialism. For example, you could be Jewish and a member of the Italian Fascist Party in the 1920s and 30s. It was only when the doctrinally racist National Socialists took control at the very end of Mussolini’s regime that they were forced to round up and deport Rome’s Jews.

polidori redux
polidori redux
17 days ago
Reply to  Graeme McNeil

11

Last edited 17 days ago by polidori redux
polidori redux
polidori redux
17 days ago
Reply to  Graeme McNeil

But Graeme, we all have our own truth: You are a n*z* if I say that you are.
I like this woke game!

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
17 days ago
Reply to  Graeme McNeil

Does it make you feel defensive, wokey?

Emre S
Emre S
17 days ago

I’m a little surprised 1984 doesn’t get a mention here. If and when Wokeism does turn totalitarian how it may look like has been described with great insights by Orwell. Considering how long ago it was written its story is eerily prescient.
I believe some commentators here are making light of the loss of religion in UK. This is a fundamental change despite happening slowly. The source of morality has a foundational impact to a how a society operates. As God made dogma is receding, human-made dogma is replacing it. I’m not convinced the former liberals of the English speaking world are truly Marxist, say, like Lenin and Stalin were. However, Godless morality seems to look similar to various shades of Marxism throughout history, and that’s where I see the link myself.

Pete Marsh
Pete Marsh
16 days ago

“Upon taking control of an institution, its first demand is for more resources for itself — more training sessions, more safe spaces, more trigger warnings. ”
This looks like a good working definition of a cancer.

j watson
j watson
17 days ago

Sorry but don’t buy this analogy at all. Trying too hard to get the crowd to nod.
Marxist Bolshevism had a defined ideology and party structure. It established a murderous totalitarian state. Whereas ‘Woke’ is a meaningless term created by ranters to mean whatever they want it mean about things they don’t agree with. It’s a displacement strategy.
Now doesn’t mean there isn’t some utter cobblers coming out of usual student nonsense. Those lucky enough to have had a student experience will have had their equivalent nonsense. But we just deal with firmly and sensibly issue by issue.
Don’t be creating some false image in order to manufacture the classic scapegoat. Proper Protocol of the Elders of Zion type twaddle.

Last edited 17 days ago by j watson
Rob Nock
Rob Nock
16 days ago
Reply to  j watson

‘Woke’ is not meaningless, at least only as much as ‘communism’ or’marxism’. Sure, you can argue about what exactly it is but at the same time know that it is evil, damaging and completely insane.

Last edited 16 days ago by Rob Nock
Graeme McNeil
Graeme McNeil
17 days ago

This “analysis” is embarrassingly stupid. “Woke” is an utterly meaning less word that the far right have grasped upon to describe anything that they don’t like – and boy, is there a lot that you don’t like! So of course you compare it to Stalinism without considering how utterly ludicrous that is.
You stick with your Donald Trumps, your Andrew Tates and your hideous Jeremy Clarksons. We’ll just get on with making the world a better place. You can thank us later!

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
17 days ago
Reply to  Graeme McNeil

UnHerd is far-right? I always thought of it as a little left of center.

polidori redux
polidori redux
17 days ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

Graeme doesn’t know what words mean. He has his own truth.

polidori redux
polidori redux
17 days ago
Reply to  Graeme McNeil

“We’ll just get on with making the world a better place. You can thank us later!”
Surely you wouldn’t want our thanks, Graeme. You sound a tad insecure.

Andrew Raiment
Andrew Raiment
17 days ago
Reply to  Graeme McNeil

…once all you boomers are dead we’ll have our Utopia, of course you will Graeme (eyeroll).

Last edited 17 days ago by Andrew Raiment
John Riordan
John Riordan
17 days ago
Reply to  Graeme McNeil

“Public funds will be diverted into more job creation schemes for the expensively educated, but essentially useless, products of the university system. ”

Is this the part that pissed you off? A bit too close to home, was it?

Last edited 17 days ago by John Riordan
Doug Pingel
Doug Pingel
17 days ago
Reply to  Graeme McNeil

You will cancel and destroy each other and your strange ideology in a ‘shark-like feedig frenzy’. Then more sane and properly enlightened people will rightfully take your place. They will have a lot to put right but they’ll make the effort which many of you are incapable of doing.

j watson
j watson
16 days ago
Reply to  Graeme McNeil

Yep GM, it is embarrassing. The anti-woke brigade (whatever the heck woke actually is as it seems to mean whatever they are grumpy about today) don’t grasp it’s a perfect bit of displacement. I bet the CCP and FSB can’t believe their luck at times how distracted onto this sort of twaddle we are!
That said I do like fact UnHerd have many articles which are certainly not an ‘echo chamber’ of my own perspective and thus force some thought. This one obviously like you I considered the premise daft and silly at best.

Rob Nock
Rob Nock
16 days ago
Reply to  Graeme McNeil

Far right? Those who believe in the immutability of sex, the importance of free speech, the refusal to destroy history and academia in some insane search for a utopia.
Those beliefs are normal and sane but it is always easy to throw the ‘far right’ slur around, isn’t it.