"Sexual Fascism" and the Children's Shops
an excerpt from my manuscript-in-progress
The following is another excerpt of my manuscript-in-progress on Woke Ideology, its excesses, its religious nature, and its full divergence from older leftist analyses of class.
It is part of a chapter in which I discuss the roots of “cultural change” (sometimes described by right-wing critics as “Cultural Marxism”), an idea which is now firmly at the core of Woke Ideology. The basic thrust of the philosophy is that children must be liberated from the older patriarchal and authoritarian beliefs of their parents so as to create future societies in which cultural change can occur. The idea originates in Utopian Socialism, though it is has appeared variously in Marxism and especially in anarchism. It now manifests in the belief that parents should allow their children to explore their sexuality and gender at as early an age as possible and that the “nuclear” or “traditional” family—along with all its cultural norms—is an enemy of progress.
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...Weirder in my experiences were the radical political ideas some of the anarchist parents had about veganism and child-rearing, especially certain beliefs about sexual liberation and children. I saw nothing that approximated child abuse or anything that probably should have been reported to a child protection officer or the police, but the ideas themselves were often enough for me to worry for the children. Some expressed beliefs that children should be able to explore their sexuality with adults in a playful manner as a way of avoiding future psychoses, an idea I’d heard expressed in many other radical spaces as well. Years later, I encountered those beliefs again and saw incidents that did really concern me, including some encouraging early adolescent children to sexually flirt with adult friends of the parents. One parent of such a child explained that encouraging such things was an act of radical political liberation.
What I witnessed might have been rare or exceptional, though the beliefs these adults were expressing are rooted in a particular form of radical theory and a peculiar historical experiment decades before these parents were even born: Kinderläden.1
Kinderläden were anti-authoritarian day care programs started by anarchists and other leftists in West Germany during the 1960’s. Founded upon a mix between the anti-authoritarian and sexual repression theories of Adorno, Habermas, and Reich, Kinderläden were an attempt to implement many of the radical ideas that have become core features of left-utopian beliefs: communal child-raising, autonomous and local control, and a focus on raising children to be independent thinkers, unashamed of their bodies and free of patriarchal and capitalist indoctrination. On the other hand, they also represent a tangible example for many of the fears and conspiracies in “Cultural Marxism,” a belief that leftists are secretly attempting to erode traditional society through introducing decadent and perverted sexual norms to children.
Though Kinderläden predate the birth of Woke Ideology by many decades, they are relevant to understanding its framework now because they were implementations of a kind of reflexive liberation and cultural change ideology iterated as a bulwark against fascist and authoritarian movements. As with the current push to introduce declarative gender and critical race theory into early education within the United States, Kinderläden were born of a belief that children were where cultural change must start. Such change needed to begin with dismantling all the authoritarian ways of seeing the world that their parents had inherited from the system. Similar to the logic of introducing self-declarative pronouns in kindergartens or teaching children about racism in elementary school, Kinderläden attempted to introduce and implement anti-authoritarian theory to children of very early ages in order to build a better future.
It...didn’t quite go so well. The result was lots of children practically sexually assaulting their adult teachers, smearing feces on the walls, and eventually growing up to embrace the very way of life their parents were trying to liberate them from.
The theories behind the Kinderläden—or “children’s shops”--would likely sound very familiar and perhaps even self-evident to many American anarchists and others steeped in Woke Ideology now. Put plainly, the founders of the day cares believed that the nuclear family and traditional moral stances on sexuality were negative forces in society. Those forces reproduced authoritarian behavior by repressing sexual desire and expression, limiting the development of liberated personalities, and inculcating psychological problems in children which later manifested in oppressive and aggressive enforcement of hierarchies (the patriarchy, for example).
Kinderläden were designed as a way to break these cycles. Within the day cares, children were encouraged to explore their bodies and the bodies of others in an environment absent of shame, judgment, and “authoritarian” sexual limits. To ensure the children in the Kinderläden were protected from these negative influences, the adult teachers and the parents of the children were also encouraged to examine how authoritarianism and sexual repression existed in their own lives, and to do everything possible to counteract this. This included avoiding at all costs any interventions into disputes between the children and actively avoiding setting any rules or limits: