Wokeism – the leftwing of neoliberalism

Daphna Whitmore

In this talk philosophy lecturer Hans-Georg Moeller argues that wokeism is a neoliberal movement rather than a left movement. He characterises it as post left, parading identity profiles rather than challenging the state or economic structures. He thinks that Jordan Peterson is wrong to categorise wokeism as cultural marxism.

Hans-Georg Moeller

As he points out, almost every capitalist brand is now woke, even the military industrial complex of capitalism has embraced the ideology.

He looks at the strong religious connotations seen with wokeism that resemble a civil religious movement including having features of a secular awakening. Wokeism draws on Christian and secular ideas and has a missionary zeal rather than a contemplative religious form.

He tends to deny the role of postmodernism as a feature of the woke outlook which I think is debatable. There are many aspects of postmodernism that do explain and align with the woke ideology.

His discussion about German Guilt Pride is really interesting. He maintains that by admitting the most serious guilt for the holocaust Germany can be paradoxically morally superior. The admission of everlasting guilt gives it a proud form of redemption.

Wokeism has incorporated a type of German Guilt Pride into identity politics. The woke outlook is a civil religion combining American individualist liberalism with guilt pride. It is based on identity politics and focuses on the curation of identity politics. It is now penetrating all sectors of society in the West.

4 comments

  1. Hi, it’s O’Shay. Hong Long (red dragon) is my pen name.
    I’ve been enjoying your articles. When I lived in China many Chinese people after hearing that I was a Marxist wanted to talk to me about the parody that is western leftism. They call it Bai Zuo (white left). They can’t make sense of it and its connection to Marx and Engles.

    What is very interesting is that many of the founders of the PRC were educated and became Marxists while living in France like Deng Xiaoping who was a victim of a human trafficking scam and was freed by the French communist party. The founders who were educated in France kept up to date with developments in French leftist thought such as Deng. Let’s just say that they were correct in banning postmodernism from Chinese universities.

  2. Post Modernism is a philosophy where anything can mean anything! It is not a materialist philosophy. It has definitely assisted the ascendency of neo liberal individualist psychology and identity politics.

    “Woke” to me is more another version of “PC” when used as a pejorative. There is a long history of people first becoming politically engaged on the basis of identity issues–but ultimately a class left approach is the way to unite all who can be united on the commonalities of exploitation and oppression that the working class have.

  3. Whatever wokeism is, it is no more left-wing than the movement in the British Labour party that labelled Jeramy Corbyn a Jew-hater. On the one hand wokeism seems incredibly naive, echoing the religious awakening of poor souls who need counselling, yet it is a disturbingly influential voice in the politics of the western world.

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