Ever since a horde of Democrat Socialists became the darlings of the news media in recent years, the specter of anti-Semitism has again reared its ugly head. This is no accident. Many of these Democratic Party politicians, especially Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, have embraced the ideals of socialism alongside those of anti-Semitism. And the reason for their virulent racism is that socialism and anti-Semitism are closely related worldviews. In fact, anti-Semitism and racial bigotry are in the very DNA of socialism, constructed around the hatred for Judaism and its merchant culture that promotes prosperity, diversity, and opportunity.
Historically, the ideologues who were most vehemently opposed to Jews and their merchant-bourgeoisie culture were the socialists. From the beginning of the socialist movement in the 1820s, socialists of almost every stripe found the Jews offensive and grasping. From the 1820s to the 1920s, if someone professed to be a socialist, he or she was almost unquestionably anti-Semitic. Sidney Hook attested to this fact. A former Marxist friendly to Leon Trotsky, Hook wrote that, “anti-Semitism was rife in almost all varieties of socialism.” Anti-Semitism was so profuse in the French socialist community that historian Zosa Szajkowski concluded in an exhaustive study that he “could not find a single word on behalf of Jews in the whole of French socialist literature from 1820 to 1920.”
This legacy of anti-Semitism among socialists explains why Hitler in his 1920 speech “Why We Are Anti-Semites” declared that as “socialists, we must necessarily also be antisemites because we want to fight against the very opposite: materialism and mammonism… How can you not be an antisemite, being a socialist!” He further proclaimed, “socialism can only be carried out accompanied by nationalism and antisemitism.” The main reason Hitler and his National Socialist party opposed the Jews was because they saw them as greedy capitalists who made “unearned income” at the expense and misery of others.
One of the earliest and most prominent socialist theorists was mutualist, anarchist and anti-Semite Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, who exemplified the “socialist utopian” school of thought. Like the German National Socialists, Proudhon had a profoundly anti-Semitic streak, calling “for the expulsion of the Jews from France… The Jew is the enemy of the human race. This race must be sent back to Asia, or exterminated…. By steel or by fire or by expulsion the Jew must disappear.” Like most anti-capitalist socialists of the day, Proudhon viewed Jews as exploiters of labor who charged high usury rates on loans, to the detriment of workers. To socialists and collectivists, interest-bearing loans exemplified the depredation of finance capital and capitalism. But Proudhon went further on his racist rant. Convinced of the inferiority of certain races, he claimed that such races as the Jews are “badly born and bastard races.”
The socialist who popularized the term “anti-Semitism,” Wilhelm Marr, was once expelled from Zurich for alleged communist activities. He wrote that “Anti-Semitism is a Socialist movement, only nobler and purer in form than Social Democracy.” A proponent of German unification under Prussian leadership, Marr became involved in the Burschenschaften, a nationalistic movement that sought a unified state of territories inhabited by the German-speaking people.
Although Karl Marx confided that he derived many of the philosophical ideas from the French utopian socialist movement, he knew that he was adopting an ideological movement rife with xenophobia. In fact, Dennis Prager and Joseph Telushkin in Why The Jews? asserted that “Marx and the early French socialists, developed anti-Semitism ideals that have characterized much of the Left to this day.”
Although he was half-Jewish by blood and reared by a Christian family, Marx soon embraced atheism. When it came to Jews, Marx saw himself as an expert in citing their character flaws. Marx wrote in 1844: “What is the worldly religion of the Jew? Huckstering. What is his worldly God? Money… Money is the jealous god of Israel, in face of which no other god may exist.” In another rant, Marx accused the Jews of belonging to a worldwide Jewish conspiracy, a charge that Hitler repeated many decades later. Marx wrote: “Thus we find every tyrant backed by a Jew, as is every pope by a Jesuit,…” and that these “handful of Jews” would “ransack pockets.”
Socialism took on anti-Semitic luster because, like all collectivist ideologies, it emphasized group supremacy over individual rights. Collectivists put little faith in people or individual identity since they oppose the liberal concept of individualism and self-determination. Collectivists hate diversity; they desire sameness of ideology and behavior, and seek to assimilate everyone into their own single-minded worldview. They will kill to preserve their one-way collective culture. They may speak of liberty, but it is reserved just for them and their activities.
This is the true historical legacy of socialism and its hatred for minority groups such as Jewish culture, language and traditions. Everyone should be aware that as the Democratic Party rushes towards hardcore socialism, extreme anti-Semitism will not be far behind.
Much of the material is excerpted from L.K. Samuels’ new book, Killing History: The False Left-Right Political Spectrum.