Why is it that some people (and rightwingers are particularly notorious for this) think that they can just throw out provocative words and imagine that they are saying something?
Such was the case the other day when the perpetually failed candidate of Alberta politics Larry Heather tweeted out that "NDP sex Marxists are dissolving the basis for the cohesion of Alberta, leading to the breakup of the Province."
Now, I don't know what a "sex Marxist" is but I personally think it sounds pretty interesting. Larry not so much. Mr. Heather's syntax and grammar, much like his politics, are perpetually confused (and certainly confusing). When questioned by another tweeter, "what the hell is a sex Marxist?" Larry replied, in his inimitable style, "Marxists seek to dissolve the class system and family control - the attack against Gender [sic] is certainly a part of this."
Well, that's about as clear as mud. Now, while criticism of the economic and social class systems is certainly part of much of Marxist discourse, the issue of "family control" is a bit out of left (or should I say right) field. What exactly "family control" means is a bit of a head scratcher to begin with. However, if you have spent any time with Central American, Marxist-inspired groups you know that traditional family ties continue to an important part of their social philosophy. While, no doubt, most leftwing activists encourage the principle of questioning authority, this is a far cry from dissolving "family control" unless Mr. Heather is talking about jettisoning arbitrary authority, in which case let's have at it.
More importantly, what exactly do rightwingers like Larry Heather think "the attack against Gender" is? And why is the word "gender" capitalized? The very idea of an attack against gender is nonsense. Instead, there is a rebellion against the imposition of strict gender identity, and that is very different. The difference lies in the fact that when you impose a gender role on someone, you are de facto attacking them because you are attempting to create their identity for them from outside.
But more importantly, the issue of gender, as it is currently being seen and discussed in contemporary society, has nothing to do with Marxism as a philosophy. I guarantee that 90% of people who question traditional notions of gender are not Marxists, nor could they identify Marxism any better than Mr. Heather. And this is the only reason that it is worth discussing an obscure and insignificant conservative activist like Larry Heather, because in their political efforts such rightwingers will simply throw out provocative words, in an uninformed, intentionally inflammatory manner in order to scare people who, like them, don't even vaguely understand the concepts and philosophies that they are addressing.
Marxism is, of course, partly about greater social and economic equality. But then, most people who strive for greater equality are not Marxist; they don't identify as such, and probably wouldn't even if they understood the complexities of Marxist philosophy. Putting aside the syntactical absurdity of Mr. Heather's statement (an abusrdity that would be akin to me accusing someone of being an "exercise Freudian" or a "hamburger Hegelian"), this kind of thing is typical of the rightwing, throw out some provocative words and hope you can whip up the fear and anger of the rabidly conservative and perpetually ignorant base.
There is, unquestionably, something going on in society. People are questioning all sorts of traditional roles and beginning to call for greater equality in a society that has become marked by a significant increase in inequality over the past generation. This is very good news for us as a society. But when such a change begins to creep into our social discourse some people are inevitably threatened. And in our society, those who are most threatened are white, heterosexual males who see their power slipping away. Such people often turn to religion, and unfortunately to violence, to bolster their traditional claim on power. Through the struggle continues, we are fortunate that not all white men are as backward and slow-witted as Larry Heather.