By Mark Tapson
Students at Edina High School in Minnesota received an invitation earlier this year to join the school’s newest, student-led group: the Young Marxists Club.
Similar Communist clubs have popped up in secondary education systems around the country in recent years, in places from Norman, Oklahoma to Santa Clara, California.
Harvey Klehr, a professor of politics and history at Emory University who has written several books on Communism, told us Marxist youth movements in the U.S. are not new, though they have historically been few and far between, even during the height of Communism in America, and Communist clubs in schools were rare.
Parents anonymously expressed their frustration that schools would assist in the formation of student clubs centered on the world’s deadliest ideology. One possible reason for this flowering of Marxist youth clubs is that young Americans are largely ignorant of Communism’s bloody history.
A recent YouGov study found that only 33 percent of millennials are familiar with Lenin—and one-quarter of them view him favorably. The same poll found that one-third of millennials believe the George W. Bush regime killed more people than that of Joseph Stalin.
“This generation essentially has no personal experience with communist or socialist societies,” Klehr said. “It’s no surprise they have little understanding of what these socialist societies are like considering our failure to teach its history.”
Additionally, recent polls suggest that about one-third of America’s 18- to 29-year-olds have a favorable view of socialism. “I think most people have a sense of how horrible fascism and Nazism were,” Klehr said. “I don’t think they have a sense for how horrible Communism was, and that’s a real tragedy.”
Social media posts from the clubs’ accounts emphasize gender and race issues, rather than economic ones, suggesting that traditional Marxism may have given way to cultural Marxism because, Klehr said, ‘Economic Marxism was a failure; even most Marxists admit that… So today it’s awfully hard to have a Marxism based on economics.’