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Revolutionism & the Jews:1 - New York and Jerusalem

- Abstract

CONCERNING THE participation of Jews, or lapsed Jews, in left-wing politics during the last century, two basic facts stand out: the prominent role they have played at one time or another, and their subsequent disappearance from positions of influence and command. In 19th-century Germany, Jews provided the ideological leadership of the socialist movement (Marx, Lassalle, Moses Hess). Later on, Jews were among the leaders of revolutionary, “centrist,” and “revisionist” parties alike. The leadership of Austrian socialism (“Austro-Marxism”) and Hungarian Communism was almost entirely Jewish, and before World War I there was not a single non-Jew in some East European delegations to the Congress of the Second International. If Jews gradually faded from the top echelons of these movements, it was not just Stalinism or Nazism that was responsible. To cite but one example: most of the founding members of the German Communist party in 1918, including the most prominent among them, were of Jewish origin. Only thirteen years later there was not a single Jew among the hundreds of Communists chosen by the party to run for election to the Reichstag. The prominence of Jews in today’s New Left, after they deserted or were squeezed out of the Old Left, is therefore a phenomenon open to more than one interpretation.

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