Well, certainly there are parallels and ideas taken from that movement. But in many ways they have turned Marxism on its head. Let me give one critical example. Marxists held that material conditions were primary and would determine the course of history. The NNL rejects this and argues that it can use ideas and modern methods of advertising, educational indoctrination, a takeover of most media, and so on to bring about the fundamental transformation of America. They draw mainly from a deviant form developed by such people as Antonio Gramsci and the Frankfurt School. But they have learned the most by taking mainstream American techniques and putting them towards the service of radical ideology.
Moreover, in contrast to the NNL, Marxists saw the “bourgeois” government as an inevitable enemy. Impossible to change, it could only be overthrown. The NNL sought to take over that government and use it to force “revolution” from above. The Marxists focused on the proletariat; while working with some (mostly government workers’) trade unions, the NNL bases itself on certain elements of the upper middle class while trying to buy off crony capitalists and the poor, who Marx called the lumpenproletariat. Well, of course, the result is a disaster when an anti-capitalist regime takes over a capitalist system. How can the system do anything but crash? The pilots are motivated by something that blends deliberate suicide with incompetence, and an ideology that ensures a crash. And they will never ever get better because they are just uninterested in learning what to do that works.
So what are we dealing with here? A radical leftist movement pretending to be liberal, growing out of the New Left of the 1960s, painfully aware of how the far left miserably failed in American history, and trying to create a twenty-first century stealth leftism. The first step was to gain hegemony in the key institutions that created ideas, rather than the factories that created material goods. They succeeded brilliantly.
The next step was to shape millions of Americans, especially young Americans, to accept their ideas that the United States was a force for evil in the world, a failed society, a place of terrible racism and hatred for women, and a country where the vast majority didn’t have a fair chance because the system was unfair. In fact, if you take away the varnish rhetoric, they argue that America is a virtual dictatorship of a small minority of wealthy people who just set everything up for their own convenience. Obviously this parallels both Marxist and non-Marxist historical leftism.
The fact that their description of America has so little to do with the actual country makes it all the more impressive that they’ve been able to sell this set of ideas. Having one of their indoctrinated products become president was a special bonus. That doesn’t mean Obama was backed by some conspiracy or singled out for highest office. There are thousands of such people who are in positions of power, including one-third of the Democrats in the House of Representatives. Obama just perfectly fit the needs of the moment.
Is Obama a Muslim? Of course not, and there is no evidence that he is no matter how much you jump up and down and holler about it. On one side, Obama is– like his NNL colleagues–rather obviously a cynical atheist who has no serious religious belief.
On the other side, he certainly had close contact with Islam and functioned as a Muslim in Indonesia. It is worth mentioning that generally speaking, Indonesia has about the most moderate form of Islam in the world. Note how in his autobiography, Obama describes his Muslim step-father’s tolerance for “pagan” Indonesian practices. This would be virtually unimaginable in any other country.
Coming from that experience, Obama fancies himself an expert on Islam with a special rapport and sympathy for Muslims. His policy is a disaster because he refuses to recognize that non-al-Qaeda Islamists are extremely anti-American, totalitarian, and anti-democratic. Does Obama want to help Islamists take power? In many cases, yes, but that isn’t because he’s a Muslim but because he falsely believes–encouraged by various “experts”–that this would tame them and cause them to like America and become democratic.
Has this kind of thinking happened before? Absolutely yes. In the 1950s, the U.S. government decided that Arab nationalists would be anti-communist modernizers, but they turned out to be bloodthirsty anti-American tyrants. In the early 1990s, both the U.S. and Israeli governments decided that helping Yasir Arafat would transform him into a statesman who just wanted to have his own country and settle down to fixing potholes.
Note that even if Obama were to be defeated in the election, the far left’s relative monopoly over mass media, academia, many schools, and much of publishing and entertainment would not be affected. The left wing’s control over the Democratic Party might also not be affected, because that would require a revolt by courageous people, further motivated by disastrous defeat, of which so far there is no sign whatsoever.
Obviously, only so much can be said about these things in 1000 words and these are central themes in a book I hope to complete before year’s end called Silent Revolution. But unless we can persuasively explain what is going on and avoid being labeled–at least by anyone who has been duped but wants to be honest–as a bunch of crazy name-callers, there’s just going to be more years of the same.