shawnpwilbur wrote:You can add Marx to the list of those who made antisemitic comments.
You mean 'On the Jewish Question'? It was a criticism of Bruno Bauer who had said that if the Jews wanted emancipation they should give up their religion. 'Judentum' in german also means commerce and most of the second half of the book is a pun at Bauer's expense attacking capitalism.
Right. This is the standard explanation from the Marxist sites. And I think it's a weird argument. It acknowledges that the "economic stereotype" was widespread, and then absolves Marx of prejudice because prejudice was widespread. (Note that somebody like Draper will cherry-pick comments from political rivals and call them "nazi-like," although we have to assume that if "the Jews" doesn't refer to the Jews in Marx's case, because of the widespread stereotype, there's a similar disconnect in other cases.)
Take a case that almost nobody but me really cares about: Pierre Leroux. In his "Malthus and the Economists" he sets up this extended, brilliant, and really funny illustration of what's wrong with capitalism. He wanted to show that the answer to the Malthusian argument that we will always have poor people is that proper management of resources, and particularly of waste products, could create a "circulus" as a result of which everyone could have access to a subsistence, even if they didn't labor. This is proto-ecological stuff, in an era when Europe is just discovering animal fertilizer, so it's no surprise when the punchline of this long and somewhat naughty story is that capitalism eats and eats and eats, but just won't shit, and let the circulus take it's course. So there will always be poor people until capitalism, a kind of willful constipation, is taken out of the picture. All of this is good fun, and rings true in various ways: Good Stuff. But Leroux doesn't really have access to a discourse on "capitalism," since that term is barely coming into use in the late 1840s, when he is writing. So the corpulent figure at the center of the story is "The Jews, Kings of the Epoch," a phrase we know better from Toussenel: Not So Good Stuff -- and certainly a stereotype that we would like to see gone. Right-wing smears of socialism and anarchism aside, there are some
continuities between libertarian socialist uses of the "economic stereotype" and the later forms of antisemitism.