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The Plot to Change America

Increasingly, calls for wealth and power redistribution are dressed as compensatory justice for members of different identity groups. We see this playing out on our campuses, in our corporations, and, recently, in our streets. But when did the world shift away from a Marxism based on economic classes (the worker v. the bourgeois) into one based on immutable characteristics such as race, ethnicity, sex, sexual orientation, and even disability status?

A story has to start somewhere, and I suggest the best place for this one is a fascist prison in Italy in the late 1920s and 1930s. There languished the Italian Com­munist leader Antonio Gramsci. Now he had the time to write down thoughts he’d been entertaining for over a decade.

It had long since dawned on Gramsci that, though Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels had promised almost a century earlier that the working class would rise up, overthrow the capital­ists, and establish the dictatorship of the proletariat, until that time revolutions had been few.