Should The Culture of Critique (CofC) be revised to focus on Karl Marx, the founder of the world’s first Jewish intellectual and political movement? As the Jewish founder of “scientific” socialism, he began a radical critique of European society that has continued into the twenty-first century. Although CofC is concerned specifically with twentieth-century Jewish intellectual and political movements, it would certainly broaden perspective on the Jewish left if Marx could be placed firmly within its framework as the founder of the intellectual and political movement that would guide so much of the Jewish left in the twentieth century.
The first question that must be asked is whether Marx qualifies as a self-identified Jewish leader of a Jewish intellectual and political movement? MacDonald’s CofC lays down a number of guidelines for making this determination. Let’s go over these in some detail.
MacDonald’s methodology is a straightforward one. The first step is to “find influential movements dominated by Jews, with no implication that all or most Jews are involved in these movements and no restrictions on what the movements are.” The second step is to “determine whether the Jewish participants in those movements identified as Jews AND thought of their involvement in the movement as advancing specific Jewish interests.”[i] Finally, we discuss the influence and impact of these movements on European and Euro-American societies.
Given MacDonald’s criteria, we believe that Marx’s scientific socialism certainly qualifies on both counts:
First, Marx had a direct role in the founding of the main organizations of the Left in the nineteenth century. Most of the earliest socialist organizations were directly influenced by Marx, i.e. the Communist League, co-founded by Marx and Engels in 1847; the Social Democratic Party of Germany, founded in 1863; the Socialist Labor Party of America, founded in 1876; the French Workers’ Party, co-founded by Marx’s son-in-law Paul Lafargue in 1880; and the British Social Democratic Federation, founded in 1881. Most of these organizations would eventually shape the political life of twentieth-century Europe and North America.
Marx’s longtime Shabbos Goy, Engels, acknowledged the preponderance of Jews in nineteenth-century leftist movements:
“In addition, we owe a great deal to Jews. Not to mention Heine and Börne, Marx was of purely Jewish origin; Lassalle was a Jew. Many of our best people are Jews. My friend Victor Adler, who is now paying in a prison in Vienna for his devotion to the cause of the proletariat; Eduard Bernstein, the editor of the London Sozialdemokrat, Paul Singer, one of our best men in the Reichstag—people of whose friendship I am proud, and all of them Jews! I myself was made a Jew by the [conservative weekly] Gartenlaube. To be sure, if I had to choose, then rather a Jew than ‘Herr von’!”[ii]
In 1911, the sociologist Robert Michels drew attention to the “abundance of Jews among the leaders of the socialist and revolutionary parties”:
“In Germany, above all, the influence of Jews has been conspicuous in the labour movement. The two first great leaders, Ferdinand Lassalle and Karl Marx, were Jews, and so was their contemporary Moses Hess. The first distinguished politician of the old school to join the socialists, Johann Jacoby, was a Jew. Such also was Karl Höchberg, the idealist, son of a rich merchant in Frankfort-on-the-Main, founder of the first socialist review published in the German language. Paul Singer, who was almost invariably chairman of the German socialist congresses, was a Jew. Among the eighty-one socialist deputies sent to the Reichstag in the penultimate general election, there were nine Jews, and this figure is an extremely high one when compared with the percentage of Jews among the population of Germany, and also with the total number of Jewish workers and with the number of Jewish members of the socialist party.”[iii]
Second, far from being a self-hating Jewish anti-Semite, Karl Marx had a strong Jewish group identity and was heavily involved in the Jewish community:
“Toward Jews and Jewishness Marx always retained many positive ties. Among his closest friends were the Jews Heinrich Heine and Ludwig Kugelmann; for a time he was close to Moses Hess, and he helped the former Cologne communist Abraham Jacoby emigrate to America (where he became an influential physician).”[iv]
Indicating a strong Jewish identification, when Jacoby was promoting revolution in Europe, his agenda was Jewish “emancipation”—the naturalization and enfranchisement of Jews. Like Marx, his closest associates also had a strong sense of Jewish group identity, with shared goals, beliefs and commitments to Jewish emancipation.
Marx’s sustained intellectual criticism of European societies was due to feelings of marginality. He was an ethnic Jew raised in a liberal Jewish household shaped by Enlightenment values. His father embraced Enlightenment universalism because of Jewish marginality in European society. As a result of this marginality, Marx became hostile to European values and culture. In response, he constructed a positive Jewish social identity by portraying Jewish money-oriented behavior as a source of ethnic pride, rather than something to be demonized. Marx’s belief that the emancipation of bourgeois society from Judaism would make the Jew “impossible” does not mean dissolution of Jewish ethnic identity, but the transformation of European societies into proletarian communist or, more accurately, secular Jew-friendly societies. He came to believe that secular Judaism would play a positive role in European Christian societies. The world triumph of communism would be the world triumph of secular Judaism, leaving Jews safe to pursue their own collective interests in Judaized, but formerly European societies. In this respect, Marx was no different from the Hebrew prophets — who called for Israelite world dominance under messianic kingship, with the exception Marx disguised his Jewish ethnic particularism in the universalist garb of the liberal Enlightenment.
In On the Jewish Question, he not only agitated for Jewish emancipation, but challenged “anti-Semitism.” He would do so again in The Holy Family, which was published in 1844. These essays were written to refute Bruno Bauer, who considered the Jewish race an “eyesore” that had contributed nothing to the “making of modern times.”[v] Marx believed anti-Jewish prejudice in European societies could be eliminated by turning them into proletarian communist utopias that would tolerate the continued existence of Judaism. There appears to have been no self-deception involved in Marx’s advocacy of Jewish emancipation, since he was consciously aware of his Jewish identity and the need to protect Jews from White persecution by promoting universalism at the expense of European-majority societies.
The most important disciples of Marx were either Jews or persons of Jewish ancestry, such as Adler, Bauer, Bernstein, Luxemburg, Lenin, Trotsky and the members of the Frankfurt School. Even though this was the case, Jewish Marxists downplayed the Jewish identity of its membership to present the struggle for Jewish emancipation as part of the struggle against bourgeois society. As noted in CofC, Jewish ethnic activists typically downplayed their Jewish ethnicity, and they often recruited non-Jews to serve as window dressing it what was in reality a Jewish movement. By disguising their Jewishness, the Jewish Marxist leadership was able to promote its pro-Jewish agenda with minimal opposition, and this guise also helped them recruit naive goyim. Although modern socialism owes its origins to a Jew and was dominated by Jews, the movement attracted numerous goyim, some of whom became prominent, like Bebel and Liebknecht. It is interesting that after Marx’s death in 1883, his most prominent spokesman was Engels, a Shabbos Goy.
Marx portrayed himself as a friend of the proletariat, while maintaining close ties with the Jewish community. Like all Jewish ethnic activists, Marx was obsessed with fighting anti-Semitism wherever he found it; to avoid alienating the goyim, the struggle against anti-Semitism was merged with the struggle against bourgeois society. This served a vital strategic purpose because it allowed Marx to hide his animus against European society, while attracting non-Jews to the new secular Jewish faith—non-Jews who would also help him fight anti-Semitism under the guise of proletarian world revolution. As a tiny minority within European societies, Jews have always been forced to recruit non-Jews to their causes, whether it’s Marxists attempting to appeal to the interests of the proletariat or neoconservatives attempting to advance the interests of Israel by appealing to mainstream conservatives.
Marxist analysis and apologetics typically relied on “scientific skepticism” and “scientific obscurantism.”[vi] Reliance on these obfuscatory tactics is a common practice among the twentieth-century Jewish ethnic activists discussed in CofC. Capitalism must meet a high standard of evidence to be considered a viable economic system, despite a long record of success in producing economic growth, whereas communism is always assumed to be workable, despite what has turned out to be its embarrassing record of police state authoritarianism, mass impoverishment, totalitarian excess and environmental catastrophe. A double standard in terms of burden of proof is maintained in order to present Marxism as a viable belief-system. Similarly, Marx’s Jewish supporters still argue, disingenuously, that it “is not that socialism has failed but that Stalinism, i.e. bureaucratic dictatorship, has failed.”[vii]
Marx’s economic analysis was so “Hegelianizing” that it was difficult for critics and followers alike to pin down his exact meaning. His writings, like The German Ideology and Das Kapital, continue to inspire debate over their interpretation. He also dressed his teachings up in the language of science to give his prophecies a veneer of credibility. For example, Marx’s socialism was called “scientific” socialism to distinguish it from “utopian” versions. Presenting his version of socialism as “scientific” was just another example of Marx’s willful obscurantism. In actuality, Marxian socialism was a secular Jewish religious cult whose principles were dogmatic assertions not susceptible to revision, even when presented with irrefutable evidence to the contrary. To date, none of Marx’s laws of capitalist development have ever been empirically falsified nor have any of his prophecies ever come to fruition.
It’s interesting that Franz Boas was not the first Jewish intellectual to subject the social application of Darwinism to withering intellectual criticism; that distinction belongs to Marx and his personal Shabbos Goy, Engels. They were originally enthusiastic about Darwin’s Origin of Species, believing that natural selection confirmed the dialectical materialist analysis of historical development. Nevertheless, Marx and Engels found Darwin’s theory to be “metaphysically unacceptable”:
“Because Darwin viewed the struggle in nature as in large part between individuals, his theory seemed to undermine the very possibility of class solidarity and the final elimination of human conflict. … [T]he gravest shortcoming of Darwin’s theory from Marx’s point of view was its emphasis on the random and indeterminate nature of variations, which made progress beyond the social world of brutes ‘purely accidental’ and not ‘necessary,’ as Marx desired and his theory required (Marx, quoted in Feuer 1978, p. 121). Darwinism threatened the faith of Marx and Engels in the beneficence of the historical process.”[viii]
Because Darwinian biology imposed limitations on the explanatory power of their historical dialectic, Marx and Engels preferred environmental and subjectivist explanations instead:
“Because other theories of evolution, such as those of Trémaux and Lamarck, emphasized the causation of adaptive variances either by the direct action of the environment on the species or race or as an automatic response to the needs of the organism, they proved far more attractive to Marx and Engels (as they were to to Stalin and Lysenko) as a ‘scientific’ sanction for their world view.”[ix]
Like the Jewish ethnic activists of CofC — Boas, Lewontin, Gould etc. — Marx and Engels opposed the social application of Darwinism because it undermined their ability to impose on European societies an environmentalist perspective that could envision a new human race to be constructed by engineering the environment according to Marxist ideas. In the event, Communists had no qualms about murdering millions of people who had dissident tendencies in order to make way for the new man created by the Communist educational system.
Marx was known for his dictatorial tendencies, a trait he shares with the Jewish ethnic activists of CofC. This Jewish striving for power led to accusations of authoritarianism by his opponents. In 1850, Eduard Müller-Tellering published Vorgeschmack in die kuenftige deutsche Diktatur von Marx und Engels, or A foretaste of the future German dictatorship of Marx and Engels, lambasting Marx for being a “control freak.” The two had a falling-out, which Müller-Tellering blamed on the “future German dictator” Marx’s desire to get revenge on Müller-Tellering for publicly attacking Jews in Marx’s own newspaper, the Neue Rheinische Zeitung. He attributed Marx’s behavior to the unforgiving and vengeful nature of Jews, as well as to Jewish wickedness.
Marx’s authoritarian tendencies alienated anarchist Mikhail Bakunin (1814–1876), who wrote:
“This whole Jewish world which constitutes a single exploiting sect, a sort of bloodsucker people, a collective parasite, voracious, organised in itself, not only across the frontiers of states but even across all the differences of political opinion — this world is presently, at least in great part, at the disposal of Marx on the one hand and of the Rothschilds on the other. I know that the Rothschilds, reactionaries as they are and should be, highly appreciate the merits of the communist Marx; and that in his turn the communist Marx feels irresistibly drawn, by instinctive attraction and respectful admiration, to the financial genius of Rothschild. Jewish solidarity, that powerful solidarity that has maintained itself through all history, united them.”[x]
Note that Bakunin is well aware that Marx had a large Jewish following—that the Jewish world was split between Marx and Rothschild. Bakunin rejected Marx’s dictatorship of the proletariat because it demanded centralization of state power, which would lead to control by a small elite. They were constantly at odds with each other; Bakunin was always demanding a “decentralized confederacy of autonomous communes,” while Marx would assail Bakunin by advocating proletarian dictatorship. After Marx’s supporters and Bakunin’s anarchist faction clashed at the Hague Congress in 1872, Marx personally ordered Bakunin’s expulsion from the First International.
Like the Jewish ethnic activists in CofC, Marx was engaged in ethnic warfare against European societies. His scientific socialism threatened to undermine Europe’s moral and intellectual foundations by transforming it into a secular society compatible with the continued existence of Judaism. For example, Das Kapital, Marx’s magnum opus, attempted to uncover the inner workings of the capitalist mode of production in Western Europe, explaining why it would collapse under the weight of its own internal contradictions, preparing the way for proletarian revolution. The dictatorship of the proletariat was envisioned as having strong centralized, authoritarian control. When it was imposed on Russians by the hostile elite that assumed control after 1917, it would mean the murder of many millions and the political oppression of all, and it is quite reasonable to suppose that Marx would have been quite happy to inflict such a regime on Europeans generally. Although Jewish advocacy of universalism in White societies means White cultural and racial self-destruction, it creates an ideal environment for Jews to thrive in, maximizing Jewish control over the European host population, while minimizing Jewish fears of anti-Semitic persecution.
Marx developed the ideological foundations of the main strand of twentieth-century Jewish ethnic activism. Within the framework of CofC, Marx’s significance is thus interpreted as resulting from his being the secular Jewish founder of a Jewish intellectual and political movement that originated in the mid-nineteenth century and whose influence continues into the present. For example, the most influential contemporary Jewish intellectual movement, the Frankfurt School, began as an orthodox Marxist sect but revised Marxism away from class struggle to a theory emphasizing White ethnocentrism as the fundamental problem and inaugurating what is now often termed cultural Marxism.
The conclusion is that Jewish involvement in the left reaches back to the mid-nineteenth century and continues to exert influence in the contemporary world as a force opposed to the interests of Europeans.
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[i] Kevin MacDonald. Culture of Critique, pp. 11-2.
[ii] Frederick Engels. “On Anti-Semitism.” Arbeiter-Zeitung, No. 19, May 9, 1890. https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1890/04/19.htm
[iii] Robert Michels. Political Parties, pg. 246.
[iv] Jerrold Seigel, Marx’s Fate, pg.114.
[v] Karl Marx and Frederick Engels. “The Holy Family.” Marxists.org, 2019, www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1845/holy-family/ch04.htm.
[vi] Kevin MacDonald. Culture of Critique, pg. 122.
[vii] Ernest Mandel. The Roots of the Present Crisis in the Soviet Economy (1991). https://www.marxists.org/archive/mandel/1991/xx/sovecon.html.
[viii] Howard Kaye. Social Meaning of Modern Biology, pg.25.
[x] Hal Draper, Karl Marx’s Theory of Revolution, Vol.4, pg. 596.