for our attention-deficit readers
To explain critical race theory, it helps to begin with a brief history of Marxism. Originally, the Marxist left built its political program on the theory of class conflict. Karl Marx believed that the primary characteristic of industrial societies was the imbalance of power between capitalists and workers. The solution to that imbalance, according to Marx, was revolution: The workers would eventually gain consciousness of their plight, seize the means of production, overthrow the capitalist class and usher in a new socialist society.
During the 20th century, a number of regimes underwent Marxist-style revolutions, and each ended in disaster. Socialist governments in the Soviet Union, China, Cambodia, Cuba and elsewhere racked up a body count of nearly 100 million people. They are remembered for gulags, show trials, executions and mass starvations. Marx’s ideas unleashed man’s darkest brutalities.
Abandoning Marx’s economic dialectic of capitalists and workers, they substituted race for class and sought to create a revolutionary coalition of the dispossessed based on racial and ethnic categories.
Read more: “What critical race theory is really about“