Barker tries to tell us that Marx was “the complete opposite” of the philosophical idealists because he claimed that “It was the material world that determined all thinking.” But his doesn’t mean what you might think it means. It doesn’t mean that facts, observation, and evidence are the proper basis for ideas. Instead, it means that all ideas are just excuses or rationalizations for the existing relations of economic power.
This makes Marxist philosophy even more impervious to evidence, because any arguments against Marxism can be dismissed out of hand as attempts to impose the repressive thinking that perpetuates the power of the ruling class. In fact, to speak or argue against leftist ideas is itself a form of oppression. This is how Marxist theory became the most rigid and hidebound dogma of all, completely insulated from the impact of experience, analysis, criticism, and a century of historical evidence. That is how we get articles like Barker’s.
But at least he does us a service by boasting that this Marxist approach is the basis for the entire contemporary left. Now that Marxism has been expanded to cover “racial and sexual oppression,” the only solution to those problems is Marxist revolution: “enlightened or rational thinking is not enough, since the norms of thinking are already skewed by the structures of male privilege and social hierarchy, even down to the language we use.” This is why speakers with opposing views have to be disinvited or physically blocked from college campuses, purged from newspapers and magazines, flagged and filtered out by social media.