J. L. Talmon, The Unique and the Universal, asks whether any universalism is possible, given national particularisms.

Peter Myers, December 28, 2002; my comments are shown {thus}. Write to me at contact.html.

You are at http://mailstar.net/talmon2.html.

J. L. Talmon, The Unique and the Universal, Secker & Warburg, London 1965.

{p. 9} PREFACE

These essays are concerned with the quest for identity in a world where on the one hand rationalist modes of thought, technological developments and universal ideologies seem to be wiping out all racial and national differences, but on the other hand nationalist self-assertion is growing more and more intense. The tendency towards oneness, prompted by rational resolve; and the recalcitrance of facts of nature and history asserting their uniqueness: which is more authentic and more potent. ...

The Jew is unable (and unwilling) to shake off his uniqueness, but he can live only in a world based on universal values.

{p. 11} Nationalism and Socialism

THE TRIBE may be considered as a simple datum, one of the phenomena of nature. The nation is a product of both nature and history. Nationalism is a frame of mind, a type of awareness. At the root of every nation will be found some tribal-racial nucleus, and almost every nation came into being through a fusion of tribes. ...

{p. 12} It is when, at a given moment in time, members of a nation wake up to the fact of their forming an all-embracing, and at the same time exclusive entity, a partnership in all things, more real than, for example, a religious faith or social class - that we may speak of the emergence of nationalism.

Such an awareness developed in Western Europe after the various tribes and provinces had been successfully fused into entities by centralised states. Here being, to use the Marxist vocabulary, created consciousness. But the rise and growth of consciousness became in turn a determining factor in shaping the mode of being. ...

In Eastern Europe, however, Russia, Austria and Turkey failed to bring about the same fusion ...

{p. 13} Nations based on territorial statehood are likely to evolve a conservative variation, whereas nationalities fighting foreign dynasties or colonial powers to achieve independence would naturally tend to be revolutionary.

{The following put-down of the empires of the Ancient World - the Ancient Civilizations - echoes the Biblical denunciation of "the nations". Marxism, too, saw the past as merely a stepping-stone to the future. Ben-Gurion admitted the one-sidedness of the Bible's account of Egypt: bengur-bible.html}

{p. 14} The Greeks, like the Jews, considered themselves a chosen people, and looked upon all other peoples as barbarians. The enslaved subjects of the kings of Egypt, Assyria, Babylon and other oriental empires lacked indeed the essential ingredient of nationhood: not being free and equal partners in a common endeavour they had no notion of a common destiny and no pride in their past. The bitter wars the Greeks fought with each other paved the way for the unity imposed upon them from above by the foreign conqueror, Philip of Macedon. While this compulsory unification was being carried out, the rhetor Isocrates had already come to the conclusion that the term "Greek" no longer denoted a scion of the Hellenic race but any man, whatever his origin and race, who had acquired Greek culture. Alexander of Macedon allowed himself to be guided by Isocrates rather than by the counsel of his teacher, Aristotle, who urged him to consider the conquered peoples of Asia as born to be slaves and barred for ever from sharing the freedom which was the unique inheritance and destiny of the Greeks.

The history of Rome too is an example of the advance from tribal-national exclusiveness (in a sense more restricted than that of fragmented Greece) towards a supra-national

{p. 15} empire in which all men, without distinction of race, enjoy equal rights as citizens, receive equal protection from a system of law considered to be the embodiment of universal justice, and not the fruit of any one people's national spirit, and are partners in one civilisation held to be the civilisation of mankind.

If the Roman Empire wished to serve as the fatherland of all civilized men, Christianity offered a spiritual motherland to all who shared its faith everywhere. For many generations tribal and national allegiances were completely overshadowed by a pattern of ideas, feelings and behaviour which was woven by a variety of strands: Jewish religious experience, Hellenistic philosophy (which thought that racial or national ancestry was irrelevant to the individual's striving for the salvation of his soul), and Roman legal and administrative forms. The autochthonic spiritual heritage of the medieval nations was also too poor, and their class divisions too accentuated for the emergence of a modern sense of national unity; and the elite, like the clergy or nobility, regarded themselves very much as part of the inter-national confraternity. ...

The German Reformation displayed clear characteristics of a nationalist rebellion against the sway of the universal Church represented chiefly by Italians, just as the earlier Hussite revolt in Bohemia was a consciously national uprising against the German and for the Czech language. All movements of lay piety fell back upon their respective vernaculars in place of Latin. England led the way in the establishment of a national church; Lutheranism and Calvinism everywhere assumed the character of national establishments. The English Puritans found inspiration in the Maccabees, those fighters of the Lord's

{p. 16} battle against idolatry: Milton and Cromwell saw the English as a holy people, a nation of priests to whom God turns first when He wishes to reveal a new truth. The Spaniards, for their part, gloried in their mission as the disseminators of Christianity across the seas and as the spearhead of the Catholic Church in its struggle against the Reformation in Europe. ...

The missionary zeal of Catholic Spain, the nationalist ardour of the Puritans in England, and the belief of the age of Louis XIV that France was destined to guide the nations, all seem to suggest that it is often the sense of mission that generates national consciousness, rather than nationalism that gives rise to the idea of a mission. It is important to stress that the mission in every case involves service to a universal ideal rather than the assertion of an exclusive national ethos. ... An autarkic economic system, protective tariffs and colonial monopoly became powerful instruments of national unity, since they were also accompanied by strong centralisation within the State, which was again favoured by the growth of a national market in place of local small economic units. But this type of e'tatisme lacked the yeast of a collective emotion without which there can be no nationalism in the modern sense.

{p. 17} Undoubtedly, social mobility

{p. 18} which came in the wake of the Industrial Revolution and drove millions of peasants from the country, herding them into vast urban conglomerations, did much to destroy local, social and traditional nuclei and thereby inspired a longing for some new and wider unit of cohesion.

{p. 19} The dialectic of uniqueness and universality runs through both prototypes of nationalist philosophy, which received their early outline at the end of the seventeenth century; the French or rational-political trend associated with Rousseau, and the German or irrational, historical, existential variety, propounded by Herder. The motive power of nationalism of the Rousseau kind was the constant, vibrating experience of partnership among equals deliberating jointly on that which was common to all of them, the res publica. It sprang from a direct condemnation of a past when the

{p. 20} guardians of peoples, kings and princes, treated the lands they ruled as private property, to be transmitted by inheritance and passed from hand to hand like merchandise without any attempt to secure the consent of the inhabitants. This type of nationalism had no feeling for the peculiarity of a given national history, since it was primarily conscious of the fact that the concrete past of every European nation was tainted with monarchy and feudalism. (In his brochures on Corsica and Poland, however, Rousseau struck quite a different note, enjoining the Corsicans and Poles to cultivate most jealously their national customs and traditions and abhor all cosmopolitan debilitating fashions.) Rousseau harked back to a historic myth of a universal appeal, to that of the polis, the city State of Greece and Rome, where the citizen was free and equal and at the same time so integrated in his community and so devoted to it as to be always joyously ready to offer his life in its defence. ...

{p. 21} Nationality in the West (west of Germany) means your passport. In Central and Eastern Europe, with their mixed populations, it means ultimately your race.

The prophet of Eastern-European nationalism, Herder, drew his chief impressions from a border region, Latvia, where various races, tribes and cultures were intermingled and some had not yet emerged from the stage of folklore culture. Wandering blind beggars were still composing epics and chanting them to their audiences; the forests and lakes were still teeming with nymphs and demons. Herder was overwhelmed by the great diversity of language, character and customs which he observed around him. He was also profoundly impressed by the fact that in that primitive society the individual was a part of the whole and had hardly any separate identity of his own. It was this observation which led him to the discovery of collective individuality, the special and separate mode of being of each people and tribe. The rationalistic axiom of the oneness of reason and natural law appeared to be contradicted by the discovery that every people was unique, a compound of such elements as geographical setting, racial characteristics, early traumatic experiences, the marks of time and responses to unforeseeable occurrences, which reactions were by no means fortuitous, since they were conditioned by a certain general disposition, the unique national character. The personality of each people was to be found in its language. Each language was a marvel that occurred only once, and no two languages were the same. Language went to prove that it was not individuals with a conscious will who made a people, but that it was the people that fashioned the individuals. For language was to a most eminent degree a collective achievement.

{p. 23} Solovyev has wonderfully described the dialectic of nationalism: "the worshipping of one's own people as the chosen vessel of universal truth; then the worshipping of one's own people as an elemental force, independent of its relationship to the universal truth; finally the worshipping of the historical anomalies and the national particularism which separates one's people from civilised mankind, i.e. the worshipping of one's own people on the basis of a denial of universal truth; these are the three stages of our nationalism, successively represented by the Slavophiles, by Danilevsky, and by Katkov and the modern obscurantists".

There is something deeply ironic about the vast influence which Herder, the German, exerted upon the movements of national revival among the Slavonic peoples. Herder saw in the latter examples of authentic unadulterated nationhood still unspoiled by foreign influences and not yet debilitated by blind imitation of alien models. His doctrine gave impetus to much intellectual activity in the Slav world, such as the collection of folk-songs, the compilation of dictionaries and grammars, the study of antiquities, literary creativeness in general. Initially, there were no political tendencies in this cultural activity. It was a matter of salvaging the remnants of expiring cultures, for the upper and cultivated classes of those peoples already spoke foreign languages and were part of foreign cultures.

{p. 24} The French felt clearly that with the seizure of sovereignty from the King by the representatives of the people, a new French nation had been born - hence the name "National Assembly" which the representatives of the Third Estate adopted in 1789 emphatically rejecting other designations which were proposed in the course of the debate.

{p. 25} The gospel of equality proclaimed by the Revolution elevated men to a new dignity. Implicit in it, however, was the demand for his absolute self-identification with the national creed. Hence the Revolution proceeded to denounce and even to destroy its various opponents as schismatics and renegades, worse still - accomplices of the foreign enemy, i.e. a fifth column, rightly to be condemned to be cut offfrom the body of the nation. Quite soon nationalism and liberalism were shown not to be natural allies.

The French Revolution brought tidings of a new dawn to all humanity. It set out to redeem the individual and to free the nations. The revolutionaries had learnt from Rousseau, as indeed also from Herder and the other thinkers of the Age of Enlightenment, that the natural relationship between peoples was one of peace and fraternity. National hatreds and wars of conquest were due solely to the ambitions of tyrannical and bloodthirsty kings who incited people against people. It was solemnly proclaimed by the revolutionaries that henceforth war would cease to be an instrument of foreign policy. They asserted at the same time that it was their duty to help enslaved peoples achieve the freedoms which the French had won for themselves and which were the natural right and destiny of every nation. Inasmuch as the nations were too backward or too sluggish to respond to the call of the Revolution, the French endeavour to spread liberty assumed the character of forceful imposition of freedom upon slaves who loved their masters and pusillanimously willed bondage. The line of demarcation between the enthronement of a universal ideal and imperialistic expansion was thus blurred. A wave of militant nationalism and a faith in a manifest destiny surged up in France; partly as the result of the pride of victors and their scorn for those who prefer to dwell in darkness, partly as the concomitant of

{p. 26} inescapable politico-strategic necessities imposed by a war to the finish. It was on the crest of this wave that Napoleon was swept to supreme power.

The peoples of Europe rose up against France in the name of her own doctrine - the right of self-determination, and in the name of Herder's doctrine - the historic uniqueness of every nation. Revolutionary France and Napoleon sought to establish rational regimes in Europe, to abolish feudalism, to make the Code Napoleon sovereign. The peoples' reply was that kings and aristocrats and antiquated laws were part of their historic personality. Germany found inspiration in the memory of the victory of Arminius over Rome, which had sought to submerge peoples in the name of a universal message. It was no accident that Napoleon's downfall began in the most backward of European countries, Spain and Russia. The elemental patriotism of an illiterate peasantry, clinging to their faith and their superstitions, proved stronger than the rationalistic French Empire and the vision of a new European order.

{p. 27} The nationalist-Messianic doctrines of the nineteenth century may be classified as again deriving from two archetypes, the French (or Latin) and the German. The former school, whose outstanding representatives were Michelet and Mazzini, looked forward to the day when all men would form one federation of mankind, albeit under the leadership of one nation destined for the task by History. The spokesmen of the German trend, like Fichte, Hegel, Treitschke and Bernhardi exalted in one way or another the concept of naturalistic determinism, which makes of each nation a law unto itself and perpetuates inequality and war between peoples and races.

Michelet taught that history was nothing but the story of the struggle between history (spirit) and geography (matter). Geography and matter - that is climate, vegetation, terrain and race - lead to dispersal, diversity, particularism. The spirit begets cohesion and unity. It enthrones a single uniting idea - that of a single law, a single culture. It effects concentration in place of diffusion. Tribes and provinces unite into a single State. Irrational, local customs give way to the

{p. 28} rule of a law that is the fruit of a single abstract idea. A chaotic mass of local autonomous authorities is replaced by a single administrative centre. A class structure based on accidents of birth - that is an irrational natural phenomenon -is replaced by the equality of free men actuated by reason. A universal culture absorbs lower local cultures. After the fall of Rome France had become the standard-bearer of this universal spirit.

For centuries French civilisation and social advance served as the model of progress to all peoples, and France, profoundly aware of its mission, exhibited missionary zeal in spreading enlightenment and assimilating other peoples. This process reached its climax in the French Revolution when French soldiers went forth to impart to other peoples the blessings of progress and social justice.

{p. 30} The ideological basis of Fichte's German nationalism may seem to foreshadow the teachings of the Zionist philosopher, Ahad-Haam, a century later. National sentiment meant the concentration of spirit and will, the coming together of all good qualities in place of distraction, listlessness, nihilistic egoism. The German people which in the eighteenth century had been divided into 350 principalities under the rule of petty tyrants, had lost its national consciousness and developed a passion for isolationist apolitical individualism. In the hour of test it found itself without the strength to resist the single-minded powerful egoism of the greatest and most powerful egoist of all - Napoleon. The will of the innumerable atoms - individuals - had to yield to the will of one man. Anarchistic selfishness thereby defeated itself. The German people had to be reborn through a mighty educational effort in institutions which can be likened to Jewish Yeshivot, and through unending spiritual concentration and sustained ascetic resolve.

{p. 31} Hegel was not content with pure abstract spirituality. To him spirit had meaning only as it was embodied in institutions and concrete achievements. The spirit of a nation must be incarnate in a State, in a tissue of institutions, in a pattern of power. History was an arena where nations and peoples met and struggled. ... This might seem sheer worship of force. But there was a deep and awful mystery here: in its cunning the guiding spirit of History breathed selfish passion into a people and its heroes, but it did it in such a way that while propelled to seek satisfaction of their powerful selfish passions the elect were unwittingly made to further vast impersonal, objective causes. ...

Imperialist arrogance is implicit in the Latin doctrine of mission in the claim to the right to force the will of one people upon others, in the belief that its will is the voice of

{p. 32} pure reason, and its rule will realise the vision of international fraternity. ... The Latins seek to assimilate, the Germans are driven to destroy or enslave.

{p. 35} The Revolution of 1848 was the turning-point in the history of nationalism. It struck a fatal blow to the naive belief in the natural identity of interests between nations; it destroyed the illusion that there was an insoluble connection between nationalism and democracy. First and foremost, it exposed the profound differences between "historic" and "unhistoric" peoples in areas of mixed population. The Germans were shocked when the Czech historian, Palacky, refused to send a Czech delegation to the all-German Parliament at Frankfurt, and when he insisted that he was a Czech, not a German. Had not Bohemia and Moravia been integral parts of the German Empire for centuries? Had not the King of Bohemia been the first among the Electors of the Roman Emperor of the German nation? And the Hungarians who fought the Hapsburgs for their freedom were furiously angered by the desire of the Croats, Rumanians and Slovaks to be recognised as nations with a historic identity of their own. The Poles would not hear of the Ukrainians being a national unit. Were not the Provencals and the Scots organic parts of the French and British nation-states? Who had ever heard of a Rumanian State? And what was the place of Slovaks in the history of civilisation?

But the unhistorical peoples like Rumanians and the various Slavonic nationalities refused to be convinced. Faced with the uncompromising attitude of the "historic" nations, the Czechs and Croats began to reach the realistic conclusion that it was better for them to remain subjects of an inefficient, supra-national Hapsburg Empire than to be flooded by a German sea or subordinated to the aggressive and jealous nationalism of the Magyars {Hungarians}. This was the sentiment behind Palacky's famous remark that had Austria not existed, it would have had to be invented. On the other hand, the

{p. 36} Hungarians were a "nation that dwelt alone", different in race, language and history from all the surrounding peoples. Living in constant fear of being submerged by the ocean of Slavs, Hungary had to be great or perish altogether.

The Slavic peasant peoples came to the aid of the Hapsburg Monarchy, making a decisive contribution to the suppression of the Hungarian revolt and to the stifling of the entire revolutionary, democratic movement of 1848 in Austria, and indirectly also Germany, since a victorious Austrian Monarchy was strong enough to prevent the unification of Germany - that is, a Germany from which Austria was excluded. A union of the multi-racial Hapsburg Empire with Germany was, of course, calculated to frustrate the very idea of a national German State. The tragic failure of German liberalism in 1848 derived in no small measure from its attitude to nationalism. On national-democratic grounds of self-determination, the Assembly in Frankfurt sought to unite all German-speaking populations wherever they were - in Alsace-Lorraine, Holland, Denmark, and elsewhere.

{p. 37} The debacle of social-democracy in France during the June massacre; the failure of the French Republic to lift a finger on behalf of Poland; the suppression of Mazzini's Roman Republic by the Prince-President Louis Napoleon; the collapse of liberalism in Germany and Austria; the break-up of the nations' common front - all these combined to free the European Right from its long-standing nightmare of universal revolution. There was no longer need for an international, anti-revolutionary alliance of kings. Moreover, the rulers reached the conclusion that since nationalism was not, after all, an authentically democratic, revolutionary movement, they would do well to foster it and, indeed, take it under their protection. The slogans of national unity and greatness in face of foreign peril would act as safety valves against popular wrath and absorb the social resentment of the masses. This was very clearly understood by the old-fashioned Prussian Junker, Bismarck ...

{p. 38} Once 1848 had demonstrated that national, political union could not be achieved with the help of free institutions, unity imposed from above was clearly to be preferred to liberty. Great historic enterprises were not brought to fruition over a tea-table or through argument but rather by confronting one's opponent, whether he be determined or only wavering and uncertain of himself, with a fait accompli or a situation which leaves him with no choice but to submit. In the second half of the nineteenth century peoples achieved independence and unity as a result of propitious international constellations, and with the aid of the power politics of the Great Powers. Serbia, Rumania, Bulgaria were aided by Russian imperialism and the Pan-Slavism that went with it; while Cavour united Italy with the assistance of Napoleon III, and Germany's unity was forged in three wars of aggression and conquest.

{p. 39} The Darwinian theory was strenuously applied towards the end of the century by the prophets of imperialism to the relationship between the white conquering and dynamic, empire-building nations and the colonial peoples. In the Anglo-Saxon countries voices were also heard which glorified Teutonic virility and constructive genius, while scorning the decadence and senile feebleness of such Latin peoples as the French, the Spaniards and the Italians. ... The Jew, Gumplowicz, the British sociologist, Karl Pearson, not to speak of publicists like Sidney Low or the poet of the "White Man's Burden", Kipling, and such decisive promoters of the "manifest destiny" ideologies as Theodore Roosevelt, Joseph Chamberlain, Lord Milner and Lord Rosebery, preached that out of the fiery crucible of race war there emerges the finer metal in the shape of the fitter - and after the struggle, more steeled - races. They prophesied that the fulfilment of the vision of swords turned into ploughshares would mark the end of progress.

{p. 40} Imperialist doctrine developed a social slant which was intended to neutralise and which ran counter to any ideas of international proletarian solidarity. Imperial success was made to appear essential to the well-being of the masses. Monopolistic access to raw materials, and the expansion of the national market were calculated to raise the workers' standard of living, whereas loss or diminution of the imperial assets spelled unemployment and poverty. Hence imperialist rivalry became a matter of deepest concern to all classes. Furthermore, the dramatic character of the race of explorers, travellers and colonial conquerors to plant the national flag on as yet unappropriated territories, as exemplified in the Fashoda incident for instance, stirred public opinion in the respective countries to its depths. Imperialistic nationalism, stimulated by newspapers with large circulations, whipped nationalist feeling to a frenzy of passion. ...

Towards the late nineteenth and early twentieth century it was nationalism in one form or another that - like Bonappartism a generation earlier - enabled the Right to transform itself from the quietist, feudal-clerical interest of small groups living in terror of the masses and trembling at the idea of any change, into mass movements of a defiantly dynamic and often demoniacal character.

{p. 41} Instead of being proud of the traditionally universalist role of France, writers of the Right came out in condemnation of cosmopolitan individualistic rationalism for having weakened France's fibre and enfeebled the unerring instinct of nationalist egoism. ...

A headlong collision between the nationalist Right, and internationalist, cosmopolitan, national-unity-breaking socialism was inevitable, since internationalism and class war were still more insupportable to the nationalist Right than the individualism or laissez-faire of liberalism and the checks and balances of parliamentary democracy.

{p. 42} Furthermore, nationalism of this type developed a social slant. It blamed Jewish international finance and the emergent Jewish chain stores for the evils of capitalist exploitation and made the Jewish spirit responsible for the effects of capitalist liberalism and Marxist socialism as forces disruptive of national unity and spiritual cohesion. ...

Saint-Simon, and his disciples, denied the existence of an all-determining national uniqueness. The prophet of technocracy refused to recognise a French national spirit.

{p. 43} For him the basic fact was the division into producers (initially including bankers and industrialists) and exploiting parasites, who exacted tolls from the producers for the right of using the instruments of production which they themselves did not know how to use or did not wish to use; and he held the view that the producers of the various countries had more in common than industrialists and feudal idlers of the same ethnic group or State. Among the innumerable schemes which bred like rabbits in the fertile brain of Saint-Simon there are plans for a European Parliament, a union betvveen England and France, and similar visions of a reconstructed and reunited European society.

Saint-Simon and his school dreamed of producers' communities directed by technicians who were at the same time priests and prophets, in a regime not of State coercion but of "administration des choses". Vast industrial schemes on a European and indeed global scale for covering whole continents with railway networks and digging canals such as the Suez Canal, were to unite all Europeans in a common breathless effort which would make them forget their national antagonisms and peculiarities, and even their political ambitions. Fourier sought to organise small collectives, each of no more than 2,000 people, in which direct democracy would resolve the contradictions between communal organisation and the freedom and self-expression of the individual without dependence upon a higher, centralised government. Fourier's chief disciple Considerant was an all-out pacifist, who dreamt of a world federation of these collectives.

But the French socialists, like their British contemporaries, understood little of what nationalism really meant. As citizens of a powerful nation-state they could afford to deprecate nationalist passions, and at the same time, as enemies of every kind of oppression, protest against the subjugation of peoples by foreign invaders or alien dynasties, while taking it for granted that all nations would adopt French ideas. They hardly thought of the national urge as a primary and dominant impulse.

{p. 44} For some time Mazzini called himself a Socialist and was even a member of the First International. Its programme was purposely formulated by Marx in such a way as to make Mazzini's membership possible, although Marx had a hearty contempt for Mazzini's mystic, rhetorical idealism, and called him "Theopompous".

{p. 45} At the same time the spokesman of economic nationalism in Germany, List, preached the priority of politics over economics. Free trade - he claimed - suited an industrialised State which, like England, had already completed the process of industrialisation, but was fatal to the more backward countries. In free competition these would be flooded by goods from the industrialised Powers, and would never succeed in developing an industry of their own. There was no escape from protective tariffs, and other forms of mercantilism.

... Everyone is familiar with the slogan of the Communist Manifesto about the proletariat that has no fatherland and the call to the workers of all nations to unite. Industrial production was expected to wipe out national distinctions, reducing nationalism into a superstition or a diversionary weapon of the bourgeoisie. Without a share in

{p. 46} the national heritage, the workers had no fatherland. Everywhere without property and with no rights, subjugated to the machine, prey to bourgeois exploitation, the proletariat of all countries represented the same universal phenomenon, that of a universal class. That which was common to all its parts far outweighed that which distinguished any one part from the others. The class conflict was being carried on within the confines of existing states, and thus Socialist strategy must take account of the concrete setting; but the workers' struggle in any one State was essentially part of an international front. References to national genius and appeals to distinct national traditions were irrelevant to this universal phenomenon. Marx, it is true, summoned the working class to the Communist party to become strong enough to determine the fate of the respective nations in as decisive a manner as was given in the past to the aristocracy and bourgeoisie, the revolutionary national role of the French Third Estate being given special emphasis. Since the proletariat would put an end to all classes, it would indeed automatically become identical with the nation: from class to nation. The goal, however, was international proletarian unity. Nevertheless, Marx and Engels supported movements for national unity. They considered a large efficiently industrialised and centralised country more progressive than a small backward country, inasmuch as industrial development and a centralised State were prerequisites of the social revolution. As far as Germany was concerned, national unity and radical-social republicanism were in the minds of many Socialists quite inseparable. Only a "Republique une et indivisible" on the French Revolution model, based upon universal egalitarian citizenship and industrialisation on an all-German scale could do away with all the principalities, the social groups, and irrational traditions, which served as props to the princes and princelings.

The teachers of socialism had scant sympathy with the sentimental aspirations of small tribes to preserve their way of life, revive their language and literature, retain their

{p. 47} customs - in a word, to remain in existence. They did believe, however, that there was an organic connection between national and social oppression. They hoped that in the wake of an uprising against a foreign exploiter and conqueror, the most radical elements in the population - that is, the working class led by its party - would succeed in seizing national leadership. For most of the time Marx and Engels staunchly agitated on behalf of a resurrected independent Poland, and in 1848 and for a while afterwards gave vehement support to the Hungarians, without paying too much heed to the feudal social structure of either Poland or Hungary.

The global strategy of the Revolution determined their attitude to any particular nationalist movement. If in 1848 Marx and Engels ardently advocated the establishment of a Greater Poland with the borders of 1772 and with Stettin as a Polish seaport, it was because the chief enemy of the Revolution and the standing threat to any revolutionary attempt anywhere was black interventionist Russia. For the same reason Marx had no words strong enough to condemn the Czech and other Slavic nationalist movements which in their perverse stupidity sabotaged the international revolution in 1848 and helped Austria and its saviour, Nicholas I, to strangle the Hungarian Revolution and restore the old regime in the whole of Austria. For refusing to yield Schleswig-Holstein to Germany, Denmark too was reviled as a nation that had always been a parasite on German culture and had never created anything worthy of note.

{p. 48} Once the absolute right of every ethnic group to national existence was denied, and recognition became conditioned on achievement, the civilising mission or role of a people was bound to emerge as a paramount criterion. However harsh his criticism of British rule in India, Marx could not but acknowledge the progressive nature of the British contribution towards lifting - no matter by what means - the Indian masses from primitive squalor and superstititon to rational modes of existence and social-economic organisation. Similarly Lassalle viewed German domination over underdeveloped Slav territories, and indeed the absorption of German Alsace and Lorraine by France, as an irreversible fact: there was nothing wrong in populations which had not yet evolved a distinct national personality, being assimilated by and into a full fledged nation. As to the aspiration for German national unity, Marx sometimes and Lassalle all the time struck Messianic accents which are strongly reminiscent of the visions spun by the Messianic nationalists. Both saw in the chasm between the soaring advance of German philosophy which had pierced all delusions and illusions and prepared man for the reign of pure reason and justice on the one hand, and the utter backwardness of parochial, preindustrial, feudal-clerical Germany on the other, a guarantee that the imminent German Revolution would shoot ahead of all other revolutions and effect a clean and total sweep. ...

{p. 49} Yet, there were fundamental differences between Marx and Lassalle. To the latter the Volksgeist was something eternal and of absolute significance, while it had no place in the philosophy of Marx, who ultimately recognised only the universal capitalist class and the universal proletariat. Moreover, Lassalle's attitude to the State was old-Hegelian, while that of Marx far transcended the ideas of the common master. Lassalle's scheme reserved for the State a vital and eternal role as bearer of values, educator and instrument of social progress. Marxist philosophy treated the State as a passing phase, as a tool evolved by class difference and destined to be superseded by administrative councils, once exploitation of man by man was put an end to by a classless society. It was therefore possible for Marx to discriminate between nations and yet to remain a genuine universalist, because whatever the differences in status between nations on the way to Revolution, all these distinctions would become irrelevant in the world of tomorrow, where there would be neither Jew nor Greek nor Gentile {see neither.html}. Not so Lassalle. If the Volksgeist was a primary datum and imperishable, and if it found its embodiment in the State, and consequently states were to remain distinct and separate entities forever, then clearly the criterion of superior merit asserted through struggle implied perpetuation of national rivalries and wars.

{p. 53} The establishment of the dual monarchy in 1867 after the debacle of 1866 gave the Hungarians more than they had asked for in 1848. It granted them not only an autonomous status equal to that of Austria, but a preponderant influence on the foreign policies of the empire, which produced disastrous results, for, whereas Austria was quick to grant wide cultural autonomy to the various racial groups, Hungary championed repressive policies towards its own national minorities and aggressive actions against the Slavs outside Austria-Hungary. The victory of the Hungarians was bound to stimulate the national aspirations of the Czechs, Croats and others.

{p. 54} A comparison between the nationalist doctrines of the Austro-Marxists, the attitude of Rosa Luxemburg, and the Bolshevik nationalities theory is most instructive. Otto Bauer and Karl Renner tried to solve the national problem in Austria-Hungary on two levels: territorial autonomy for territorial minorities, and "personal autonomy" for members of minorities dispersed in the midst of a population of a different culture and language. They were to be granted the right to have their own schools and their own institutions. The extra-territorial communities suggested by these thinkers as the means to satisfy the cultural needs of extraterritorial minorities (for example, Czech labourers in German Austria) are very reminiscent of Jewish self-government and of the doctrine of Jewish autonomy held by the "Folksists" and, to a certain extent, by the "Bund". The Austrian Socialists rejected the idea of the dissolution of the Hapsburg Monarchy into independent political units. ...

Austro-Marxist policy and its Jewish version were bitterly opposed by the Bolsheviks, particularly the theoreticians of the national question, Lenin and Stalin. The latter insisted

{p. 54} on the right of subjugated peoples to break away from the great empires. There would seem to be a contradiction in this, but the inconsistency is only apparent. In the first place - Lenin argued - it was politically unwise for Socialists of dominant nations to deny, or even to question, the right of national self-determination to national minorities. It played into the hands of Czarism and its henchmen.

... In so far as it was certain that the struggle of subject nations for their freedom weakened the power of Czarism, it was certainly to be encouraged. The Bolsheviks

{p. 56} were to argue after the October Revolution that once the Revolution had won in Russia, any attempt on the part of one of the peoples to break away from the Socialist union of nations must be considered as nothing but counterrevolutionary bourgeois chauvinism.

{p. 57} The famous Manifesto issued by the First Congress of the Third International hardly mentions national Communist parties. It speaks only of the world Communist movement under the most highly centralised direction of the Moscow centre, and proclaims the national state an economic and strategic impossibility. The Comintern was the Socialist World Republic on the way. The not less famous nineteen points of 1920 go so far as to order national parties whom to accept into and whom to expel from their ranks, naming renegades who are to be damned forever.

{p. 59} At the end of his life Engels proclaimed that the relationship between capitalism and the proletariat, as he had described it in his youth, had become transformed into the relationship between imperialism and the colonial peoples. At home Western capitalism had become more gentlemanly, since a more humane attitude to the working classes had become possible owing to the huge profits reaped by the rapacious exploitation of the peoples of Africa and Asia. ... The colonial peoples had become the most exploited part of the world proletariat. The revolutionary movement was therefore called upon to feed the wrath and aspirations of the colonial peoples for national freedom, which in the circumstances would be tantamount to social emancipation. The conflagration that would start in China or Africa would spread and revive the dying embers of the European Revolution. The route to Paris

{p. 60} led via Peking. The downfall of capitalism and the triumph of socialism would begin in Asia and Africa.

{p. 83} Werner Sombart's attempt - in imitation of Max Weber's connecting of the Puritans with the rise of capitalism - to make the Jews of the seventeenth century bearers of early capitalism has long been discredited {Talmon does not say by whom}. Yet it is true that in the building of the sinews of the modern international capitalist economy, the part of the Jews, especially on the Continent, was that of pioneers and catalysts par excellence. International credit, banking and exchange, joint-stock companies, telegraphic news agencies, railway networks, chain stores, methods of mass production and mass marketing, the media of mass entertainment, experimentation in new techniques - in brief, the lifelines of a universal economy - were in very many cases laid down and set working by Jews, who thus played, in the words of Joseph Addison, the part of "pegs and nails" in the world economy.

The abstract, rational nexus holding together concrete, disparate detail was grasped more quickly by people with a long training in intellectual speculation. Not place-bound, the emancipated and de-tribalised Jew was unhampered by routine and conservative attachments, and his international connections helped him to forge the hinges of new artificial frameworks. It is in the nature of a marginal community, especially one living in metropolitan centres, to acquire the refined sensitivity of an exposed nerve and to be the first to detect the trend and shape of things to come. Hence the disposition and the courage to experiment. Emancipated formally, but not really or fully admitted as equals, lacking the prestige of lineage and long establishment, while eager for a place in the sun, and restless and ill at ease as people in ambiguous situations are, the Jews threw all their pent-up energies into the two avenues of power open to them: economic activity and intellectual prowess. Centuries of disciplined living and sober calculation prevented ambition from dissipating itself in a haphazard, chaotic manner.

{p. 84} Vitality turned into a strictly rational instrument of power designed to obtain maximum results at the lowest cost.

As for the Jewish ingredient in revolutionary Messianism, the other pole of industrial civilisation, I have come to the conclusion on somewhat closer study that it was to a large extent the Jewish Messianic vision of history that made the industrial revolution appear not merely as another crisis and another bad spell, but as an apocalyptic hour leading to some preordained final denouement. It was the Jewish Messianic tradition that was responsible for the fact that the social protest of the victims of the industrial revolution did not take the form of another desperate, elemental jacquerie, but became part of the preparation for a Day of Judgement, after which justice and peace would reign supreme and history really begin as it were with all conflicts and contradictions resolved.

The earliest prophet of socialist transformation in nineteenth-century Europe, Saint-Simon, was quite explicitly linked with the Jewish Messianic expectation. Jews were the leading spirits in his fascinating and influential school, and they emphatically voiced the conviction that they were carrying on the perennial Messianic mission of Judaism. Their future city of universal harmony was to be guided by technicians and bankers who were at the same time artists and priests, and was to rest on a universal religion of humanity, Nouveau Christianisme, with the old division into State and Church, matter and spirit, theory and practice done away with for ever. It is most significant that Jewish Saint-Simonists, the Rodrigueses, Pereiras, d'Eichthals, should have in the course of time become the architects of France's industrial and financial revolution and of much of Europe's banking and industry.

The deeply ingrained experience of history as the unfolding of a pattern of judgement and deliverance makes it almost impossible for the Jew to take history for granted as an eternal meaningless cycle. Time must have a stop. History must have a denouement.

{p. 123} The tragic paradox of the Jews in modern times has been the fact that their existence and success have been dependent upon the triumph of the idea of oneness as represented by liberal democracy and socialism, while the very phenomenon of Jewry is an unparalleled demonstration of the enormous power of the element of uniqueness. The Jews did not want and could not escape the fact of their uniqueness, the Gentiles would not and could not be made oblivious of it.

The liberal State which accorded full rights to its Jewish citizens on the same basis as to all others, including freedom of economic pursuit, a share in the running of the nation's affairs, took its stand on the theory of a social contract concluded between men of reason.

{And yet, Israel is an apartheid state: return.html}

{p. 126} Many Jews became of course totally assimilated and disappeared from the fold without a trace. Many others assumed the colour of their surroundings so that they lost almost all distinctness in the eyes of their Gentile neighbours. The process of assimilation was continuously disturbed by waves of Jewish migrants from the Eastern-European pale. Special circumstances prevailing for centuries in that part of the world had kept the latter apart as a separate entity, with its own religion and culture, special social functions and self-governing institutions. A rising national-social ferment was sending them now in mounting waves westwards. Their arrival in the West infused new blood and new vigour into the enfeebled veins of the local Jewish communities, while the image of the alien Eastern Jew was transferred in the minds of many Gentiles to all Jews, including the assimilated or half-assimilated ones. ...

The attack came from men who started as devotees of the

{p. 127} democratic ideals, but incensed by the Jewish phenomenon were swept from a refusal to respect human dignity in the Jew to a denial of the very idea of human rights based on the conception of human equality. Nothing betokened this shift more strikingly than the brochure The Jews and Music which Richard Wagner published in 1850 only two years after the composer's fight on the barricades of Dresden at the side of the arch-revolutionary and anarchist Michael Bakunin.

"There will never be true liberty for humanity so long as there are still oppressed men left anywhere in the world, however few and far between they happen to be," the young Wagner wrote. In his discourse on The Jews and Music so soon after, Wagner (made to feel uncomfortable by the Jewish composer Meyerbeer) dwells on the contradiction between reason that teaches men to view the Jews as human beings like all other humans - in this case like all other Germans - and the stubborn fact that the actual Jews whom he saw around him were in his eyes still German-speaking Orientals, despite the 2,000 years they had been living in Germany. This led the composer to cogitate on what was more real: the abstract idea, pure reason, postulating the unity of mankind, or the concrete fact of group peculiarity? the unity of the human species, or racial uniqueness? What should be, or what is? Humanism was teaching men to treat the Jews in a spirit of tolerance and respect for the human personality, for all men were created in the image of God, but a primeval and spontaneous instinct made them hated and shunned. When was a man truest to himself, when engaging in ratiocination or when obeying the voice of blood? Which had a higher claim to be the truth - the logical syllogism or the intuitive response?

The implication of these questions, once posed, reached out far beyond the subject of the Jews. The very nerve centre of rationalism and indeed Christianity itself was attacked here. The very concept of a universal natural law came under fire. The individual as a creature of a reason common to all men was no longer the primary element and most important fact, as he had been for millennia. The collective group of the

{p. 128} race became the primary and fundamental fact, and the causa causarum of everything. Language and art were invoked by Wagner and his followers as the conclusive proof, because they always bore the unmistakable and indelible imprint of race upon them. These were not contrived by reason deliberating, they sprang from dark forces welling up from hidden sources.

The two pamphlets by Karl Marx on the Jewish question and its connection with capitalist liberalism, published just a few years before Wagner's pamphlet, reveal an attitude not entirely dissimilar to that represented by Wagner himself. Liberal-capitalist society appeared to Marx founded upon fraud. It had declared itself in favour of equal legal and political rights for all, irrespective of social origins and economic status. In other words, inequalities of wealth were proclaimed irrelevant, and hence beyond the limits of governmental intervention. The fraud, according to Marx, consisted in the fact that with the abolition of all other privileges - racial origin, family status, religious association - the privilege of wealth had become the most decisive social datum. In law, differences in wealth and property no longer existed, but in actual fact it was they that shaped society. In theory, the parties in a State struggled over abstract principles. But in fact, hidden and "unacknowledged" interests, one may say illegitimate interests, were turning the wheels of history. In the old society based on status, everyone knew his place and seldom dared to reach out beyond it. The new society, in which differences of class had been legally abolished, was seized by a fever of insatiable greed which distorted all values and profaned all ideals. Nothing now had any value, but everything had a price. That unacknowledged and illegitimate force which had become omnipotent was embodied in and symbolised by Judaism. The liberal constitution accorded full rights to the Jews on the ground that their religious affiliation was irrelevant, and in so doing did away as it were with Judaism. But instead of doing away with Judaism, it enthroned it, giving it free rein, liberating it from all restraint, in just the same way as it had declared

{p. 129} status and wealth irrelevant, while in fact giving supreme power to money to dominate society. For "money" read "Jews". The liberation of mankind therefore meant the liberation of mankind from Judaism. "Following the liberation of society from Judaism will come the social liberation of the Jews themselves" Marx wrote in the concluding section of his second pamphlet. The annihilation of Judaism would bring with it the liberation of the Jews. "There is only one possible way of redeeming the Jews from the terrible curse that hangs over them - annihilation" - Wagner wrote in the concluding passage of his essay on The Jews and Music.

{EXCURSUS on Wagner, Marx and Nietzsche. This book about Wagner raises some interesting issues: http://members.aol.com/wagnerbuch/chapter1.htm

{quote}... in 1849 Wagner wrote: ".. we need the mightiest force of Revolution ... But whence shall we derive this force ... ? ... Nature." ... You were alarmed by those same people you now appear to seek in vain! ... they ... blustered their way through the streets of the town - which they might have set fire to ... had it only been granted them to act in accord with the fury they felt in their hearts. I have seen these people again in Paris and Lyons, and now know the future course of the world. ... how shall it seem to us if the monster that is Paris is burned to the ground, if the conflagration spreads from town to town, and if we ourselves, in our wild enthusiasm, finally set fire to these uncleansable Augean stables for the sake of a breath of fresh air? - With complete level-headedness and with no sense of dizziness, I assure you that I no longer believe in any revolution save that which begins with the burning down of Paris ... {endquote}

Wagner is referring to the attempted Communist Revolution of 1848. The author notes:

{quote} Wagner follows the "cultured Jew ... to the taproot of his native stem". This Wagner locates in the Synagogue. ... Wagner had dedicated The Artwork of the Future to Feuerbach - and in his Essence of Christianity, Feuerbach had said: "Utility is the supreme principle of Judaism... The Jew's principle - their God - is the most practical principle, namely egoism, which takes the form of religion... The Jew makes Nature merely the servant of his will... God is the ego of Israel which regards itself as the end and the aim, the Lord of Nature."/Quoted in Rose p20 ... Another of Wagner's messages (a related one) in Judaism in Music was that the Jews controlled Art. For "the public Art-taste of our time [has been brought] between the busy fingers of the Jew" (Ibid p81). ... "Our whole European art and civilisation... have remained to the Jew a foreign tongue; at most the homeless wight has been a cold, nay more, a hostile looker on."/Ibid p84-5 ... In an addition to a previously published article, he described the Jews as "the centre of our civilisation" (3). This statement has two meanings. First Wagner implies that "Jewish" cultural values have overwhelmed Volkish ones. There is no doubt that Wagner did believe this, for he said so periodically throughout his career. But he also meant something else. In one of the most pickled statements in Judaism in Music, he says: "According to the present constitution of the world, the Jew in truth ... rules and will rule, so long as Money remains the power before which all our doings and dealings lose their force. That [historical circumstance] .. has brought this power within the hands of Israel's sons - this needs no argument of ours to prove ..."/Judaism in Music 1850 PW3 p81 .. So the Jews are in control of the power at the centre of civilisation, Money. That is the Jews are at the centre of civilisation. There is a corollary to this. As the Jews are at the centre of civilisation, it is logical that civilisation should itself be "Judaized". As the Jews themselves are egoistic, deny Nature and are rotten at the core - it is logical that Society, which they control, is too. ... {endquote}

Marx was saying the same sort of thing at the same time. To what extent Wagner was part of this broadly Marxist movement around 1848? Note Wagner's opposition to Aristocracy, contrary to Nietzsche:

{quote} Notes: ... 5. In 1848, he talks about the "demoniac idea of Money" Fatherland Speech p139. Wagner's discussion is a rewrite of Heine's "Money is the God of our time, and Rothschild is his prophet." Wagner replaces Rothschild with his local Jew, Kaskel. ... On June 14 1848, Wagner delivered a speech (The Fatherland Speech PW4 p136-45). In it he called for, amongst other things, "the extinction of the last glimmer of aristocratism" and the abolition of Money. ... The jottings for his autobiography continue in this vein. They have for Autumn 1848: "Break now decided - solitude: communist ideals on the fashioning of mankind in a way conducive to art ..."/Ibid. p162 Indeed, on 21/10/1848 Eduard Devrient has a reference to Wagner's Utopia: "Now a united Germany is no longer enough for him... He wants a united Europe in which a united mankind will be free."/Tagebucher I Devrient p451 {endquote}

{end of EXCURSUS; back to J. L. Talmon}

Despite the things that we have quoted from Marx's writings, it would be a distortion of the truth to label him or the Socialist movement of Europe as anti-semitic. ... The primacy of the class war on a world scale runs counter to the belief in race as a factor of decisive importance. And the vision of a universal classless society is inspired by the idea of the unity of the human species.

{p. 130} ... the modern mass movements of the nationalist Right began to steal the Socialist clientele by directing social wrath into channels of Jew hatred, and diverting it from the idea of class war. That process began about the year 1880 with the emergcnce of anti-parliamentary mass movements.

{p. 133} It would be foolish to deny that the Jews played an active and extremely important part in the development of capitalism. Europe could not help noticing the fact that a Jewish banker - Bleichroder - represented Germany in the negotiations over war reparations, while France was represented by a Rothschild. Emancipation set free volcanic forces that had been lying dormant for hundreds of years. The emancipated Jew was not to feel that he had attained respite and reached a haven. He had cut himself off from Jewish tradition, but he had not been accepted by the society in which he lived, and many doors remained closed to him. He wanted to escape from his misery by intense activity in a field to which he had free access, and to win self-assurance and a recognised status by amassing capital and power, and often to show off, or indeed, by espousing the cause of the messianic Revolution, and in many cases by total dedication to learning.

The social mobility of the Jews exceeded that of any other group. The father could have been a beadle in the synagogue of some distant village, while his son could rule a whole empire of capitalist enterprises. There was nothing to keep the rootless Jew in his village or small town, but everything attracted him to the city. Every anti-semitic writer stressed the alarming flow of Jews into the big cities and capitals. Jews thronged to these centres which were the most sensitive arteries of any country, illuminated by the glaring lights of publicity and public attention.

Since there were only poor prospects open to Jews if they wanted to take up a university career, many of those gifted youngJews of keen curiosity and quick pen went into journalism. Jewish influence in the Press became a commonplace,

{p. 134} not only among anti-semites. For hundreds of years Jews had to fight for their rights, the right to live, to breathe and move freely, with no weapons but persuasion and occasionally a bribe. It is not surprising that their descendants appeared to display a special aptitude in the field that has become known as public relations - an umbrella term used to denote various kinds of activities and endeavours.

The Jewish names involved in the public scandals, which shook a country from the days of the Panama affaire to Goldfine (Sherman Adams) and Gruenwald, attracted all the attention, for their sound was more arresting than the sound of such names as Dupont, Smith or Schmidt, and the Jew was always seen in the Western world as the heir of Judas Iscariot.

When the names of Baron Reinach (born in Frankfurt), Dr. Cornelius Hertz (an American citizen) and Artom (an Italian Jew) became tainted during the Panama scandal in France, the cry for a strong and pure man to sweep the parliamentary stables and expel the corrupt representatives just as Jesus threw the money-lenders out of the Temple, was mingled with cries of "Death to the Jews".

The principal victims of these crises and scandals that afflicted society were the lower middle classes rather than the proletariat which had little or nothing to lose, let alone invest. The petty bourgeoisie grew impoverished while lacking any real sense of identity or cohesion as a class. For they had no organisational equivalent of the workers' trades unions and Socialist parties. At the same time they dreaded more than anything else the spectre of sinking into the ranks of the proletariat and being absorbed by it. Nationalism, which was capable of giving them a feeling of belonging to the national brotherhood on the same footing as the upper classes, appeared as an anchor of salvation and a compass in a world shaken by upheavals. Lower middle-class chauvinism found in anti-semitism one of its main props. It was so gratifying to a Christian shopkeeper or artisan to feel superior to a Jewish intellectual or magnate, especially when menaced by the two "Jewish conspiracies" - international finance and international communism, both allegedly intent upon

{p. 135} disrupting national unity.

{p. 170} Sixty years before the Communist Manifesto Babeuf developed his idea of revolutionary dictatorship as an essential stage in every revolution. He had been preceded by Robespierre who, originally a passionate advocate of the abolition of the death penalty, soon came to distinguish between normal democratic government, the sole raison d'etre of which was the defence of liberty, and a revolutionary government which was in duty bound to employ all forms of coercion in order to enthrone freedom. This is what he meant by "La tyrannie de la liberte". ...

Once this discovery had been made it was endowed with all the significance of a truth no less universal or eternal than the doctrine of the rights of man itself. The whole of history came to be seen as the struggle between classes till Friedrich Engels could talk of violence as the midwife of every great social change, and Lenin could proclaim that "a dictatorship of the proletariat is a scientific term which defines ... a mandate grounded not on legality nor on election but

{p 171} directly on the armed might of one section of the population".

{p. 256} Propagandists and partisans attribute to those whom they like skill, to those whom they dislike ruse. Their friends are resourceful, their enemies unscrupulous, the former earn praise as dynamic, the latter are branded as imperialist aggressors. When you approve of someone, he is an idealist, when you disapprove he becomes a selfish nationalist. Your own foreign conquests become commitments, the dependencies of others are subjugated countries; your own old established interest is law and morality, the uprising of the have-nots are to the haves immoral flaunting of laws and treaties.

Anti-Zionists, Arabs and their friends, can see nothing in Zionism but a conspiracy to steal a country from another people and to dispossess its inhabitants. If the Zionists wanted to found a home for a homeless, persecuted people, why had they to do it at the expense of the Arabs in Palestine?

{p. 257} Early in World War II Berl Katznelson, a man of immense moral authority, who twenty years after his death still continues to be venerated as the guide and conscience of the Israeli Labour movement, formulated his views on the Arab question in the following sentences:

"There can be no doubt that the Jewish state means full rights for the Arabs [literally 'the fullness of rights']. No Arab will be dispossessed, no Arab will be expelled. No Arab will [have to] leave the country against his will. We shall certainly not prevent him from leaving the country if he so wishes, we shall even help him in that. It is fair to assume that there will be many transfers [of population] in Europe, at the end of this war. We have still to see what Czecho-[slovakia] will say about the Sudeten Germans: will they leave them [where they are] or ask them to bestir themse]ves and move e]sewhere? After all that has happened to us in the world, and all that has happened to us here, in this country [Palestine] since 1936 we are entitled to say: we want to rule in this corner. Indeed not to prejudice anyone's rights, not to injure the rights of any worker, anyone's right to a job [in the civil service] and the like. All rights will be respected. But the task of ruling this country [italics in the original]: problems of immigration and settlement - things upon which our very fate depends - in all these we will not submit to others; these matters belong to us as of right."

{p. 258} ... the majority of Jews would have endorsed Katznelson's statement at the time. ... no doubt many Jews, and officers of the Israeli army, were not disinclined to see in the mass escape of Arabs in 1948 a matter of free choice, and if not actually taking steps to expel them, did nothing to stop the exodus of the Arabs. It could so easily be interpreted as a part of a vast historical transformation, a heaven-sent, unexpected and radically simple solution of a most difficult problem.

{That is why removal of the Palestinians to another country will not solve the problem, but only encourage the fundamentalist Jews to think that the time was right to restore Solomon's kingdom and fulfil Genesis 15:18 - see shahak1.html}

{p. 272} Many believed that ultimately the way to real national liberation was through Socialist forms, while national emancipation was a condition of a Jewish Socialist society. Yet, it is far from certain to what extent the founders of the first Kibbutzim knew what they were doing, and whether they were really convinced that they were laying foundations for a lasting social institution. ...

The intellectual town dwellers who had resolved to become agricultural labourers could not very well compete with native cheap labour. The harsh conditions; the nature of the soil, rock or swamp; the shortage of water; the absence of tools; the lack of any previous experience of agriculture - all these factors were calculated to daunt the most determined pioneer from setting out singly and on his own. To this we have to add reasons of security and the need to belong. In brief, it was imperative to band together in order to share good and bad fortune, to form a society in a new environment, for that was the essence of Zionism; not merely the betterment of one's own individual lot.

Whatever was in the minds of the Fathers of the Kibbutz when making their first steps, the Kibbutz soon assumed enormous significance as a social achievement, and no less as a national myth. The best of Jewry went into the Kibbutz, and hundreds of thousands of young Jews all over the world were brought up in veneration of that institution. The Kibbutz emerged as a model for all forms of Zionist activity in and around Palcstine, since it offered a wonderful synthesis of individual disciplined self-reliance and a remarkable ability (and enthusiastic readiness) for voluntary collective effort. This incidentally was the secret of the Jewish achievement in Palestine as a whole, and of the Israeli victory over the combined Arab armies. As a result of centuries of despotic rule, the Arabs had not ill the past devclopcd any tradition of self-government and voluntary joint endeavour.

{p. 273} The Kibbutz was a school of character, a centre of Hebrew culture, a military outpost on a dangerous frontier, an experimental agricultural station, soon a seat of industry, above all a way of life and an enlarged family. The members of the Kibbutzim were dedicated men and women, but they were also deeply conscious of the admiring gaze of millions ofJews (and non-Jews) and intensely conscious of their duty to serve as an example and inspiration.

By way of ironical paradox it was the emergence of the State of Israel, to the establishment of which the Kibbutz made a signal contribution, that administered the Kibbutz a blow from which it has not yet recovered.

The State has created a new myth, that of the State. It came into being and gave in turn birth to a whole set of overriding compulsions. A violent shift occurred from the small brotherhoods of the elect, pledged to an exalted type of existence, to the rough, sometimes heroic, occasionally squalid, very spectacular, and at the same time immensely exacting realities, in the face of which no squeamishness was possible. A new scale of values and priorities imposed itself. The State, furthermore, took away the cream of Kibbutz's manhood, because it needed the best human material available, and the finest supply was to be found in the Kibbutzim. So many of the leading figures in Israel, including the present Prime Minister, half the Cabinet, a large proportion of members of the Knesset (Parliament), outstanding generals, ambassadors, heads of the Civil Service, directors of public services and national enterprises hail from the Kibbutz. They still go "home" - to the Kibbutz - for week-ends now and again, and on such an occasion proudly serve as waiters in the communal dining-halls, or do the washing-up in the kitchen, since these jobs require no continuity or specialised concentration.

A breeding ground of builders of the State, the Kibbutz as such played only a very minor part in the tremendous effort of ingathering of exiles since 1948. The Kibbutz was never designed for indiscriminate mass membership, but for an elite, who have the vocation and are identified with the Kibbutz Weltanschauung. Before admission one had to pass a

{p. 274} period of noviciate. While the Kibbutz was neither able nor willing to break down all barriers and be swamped by newcomers, the new immigrants on their part evinced little enthusiasm for the Kibbutz. The survivors of concentration and death camps in Nazi Europe longed for privacy in the midst of a self-contained family. Many of them had not had the time to receive the ideological preparation for life in a Kibbutz. The immigrants from the Orient were not responsive to the mystique of the Kibbutz, since in North Africa and in the Middle East the clan is a rudimentary form of social organisation, and there is no tradition of loyalty to abstract causes, apart from religious allegiance. From having thus served as spearhead, the Kibbutz suddenly found itself on the margin of the great events, as if by-passed and almost forgotten in the bustle and noise produced by the milling of enormous crowds. The relative numerical strength of and the distinct part played by the Kibbutz in shaping society at large declined very sharply.

As could have been foreseen, Israel has developed into an industrial and technological society and a very highly urbanised country. Agriculture has reached a saturation point, and even if the Negev is one day made to blossom it is doubtful whether a further extension of agriculture would be economically worth while. The Rousseauist-Tolstoyan glorification of rustic simplicities sounds in the present circumstances hollow sentimentality, almost reactionary. Similarly the idealism of university graduates forsaking their studies in order to join a Kibbutz and work with their hands is not calculated to evoke admiration in an age of rapid automation and in a country with an abundance of unskilled labour over-supplied by Oriental and North African immigrants. The scale of values has changed. A single individual who would work out a device to harness solar energy for industry or to turn sea-water into water fit for drinking and cultivation would perform a pioneering feat which the efforts of thousands and thousands of Kibbutz members in the fields could not equal. The virtues of ascetic renunciation are no longer en vole, and all emphasis is placed all over the world on increase of production and high output. Once

{p. 275} premium is set on the latter, egalitarian distribution ceases to be an ideal. The incentives employed by both Capitalist America and Communist Russia, and inevitably all other countries, including reluctant Israel, run counter to Kibbutz values.

The State of Israel is a highly institutionalised country, while in pre-state Palestine the Jewish state on the way was maintained by a whole nexus of volunteer groups, with the Kibbutz in the forefront. This was for instance true of the underground Jewish army, the Hagana, as of the terrorist organisations. At prcsent in the face of the multitude of State agencies with their coercive powers, the individual has lost his sense of urgency and the previously so vivid feeling of being as it were personally responsible for the national endeavour in its various aspects. The Kibbutz is no longer called upon to serve as a military outpost, since there is an army, and what with State planning, with public works sponsored by the State and central controls, the Kibbutz is no longer seen as single-handed redeemer of the desert; and the private sector of the economy grumbles at what it regards as unfair competition by an artificially pampered Kibbutz industry.

{p. 276} The Kibbutz has also prospered economically. It is hardly now a sacrifice to belong to a well established Kibbutz. As a result much of the old ascetic puritanism has gone, and the conservative instincts, love of privacy and craving for comfort have been asserting themselves at the expense of the more communal forms. Things unheard of some twenty years ago have become commonplaces in the Kibbutz: a private radio set, a tea service and facilities for private entertainment and hospitality in a family's own living quarters. In olden times a tea-pot to oneself would have been decried as heresy. All eating and drinking and entertaining had to be done in common in the communal hall. And one could hardly have called one's shirt one's own. ...

The shortage of new recruits on the one hand and economic expansion on the other have compelled the Kibbutzim to engage hired labour in growing numbers. This is causing grave doctrinal difficulties since nothing

{p. 277} could be more alien to the original spirit of the Kibbutz than employment of hired workers, and the enjoyment of "surplus value" produced by them.

{p. 278} Who is a Jew?

SOME TIME ago a most unusual cause celbre before the Supreme Court of Israel created a considerable stir among both Jews and Christians.

The litigant was a Carmelite monk of Polish-Jewish origin. Brother Daniel was born and bred a Jew, and had a heroic record of rescuing Jews from massacre, while serving in the disguise of a Volksdeutscher as a Gestapo interpreter. Fleeing for his life one day, in danger of being detected, Ruffeisen, as his real name is, found refuge in a Carmelite monastery. There, after some time, he embraced the Catholic faith and took the vows of a Carmelite monk. At the end of the war, he went to Rome and at his insistent request was eventually given leave by his superiors to join the Carmelite monastery on Mount Carmel in Israel.

Brother Daniel sued the Israeli Home Secretary, who incidentally happens to be the leader of one of the religious parties, for refusing to grant him Israeli citizenship in accordance with the fundamental law of the ingathering of exiles - a piece of legislation probably unique in history - which grants to any Jew who chooses Israel as his home citizenship upon his arrival. The Minister was quite prepared to offer Brother Daniel naturalisation as to any non-Jewish resident who meets the necessary requirements, but not automatic citizenship, since by conversion to Christianity Ruffeisen had - in the Minister's view - ceased to be a Jew. The monk refused the concession, insisting that he was a Jew and a convinced Zionist, and therefore entitled to be treated as such.

By a majority of three to two, the Court upheld the

{p. 279} Minister's ruling. ...

The dissenting judge voiced the opinion that a Jew is simply a person who feels and defines himself as such. ...

The fifth judge stated that personally he uould be prepared to recognize Brother Daniel's claim to be a Jew, but in doing that he would find himself at variance with prevailing convictions. The business of the Court was, however, to give voice to the sense of justice obtaining at large, and not to be ahead of public opinion. What the judge seems to have wished to convey in this was that as yet religious identity was the essential prerequisite for all claiming to belong to the Judaic entity, but in due course Israeli realities were bound to evolve a new focus or new foci of Jewish self-identification. It may then bccome possible for a Jew to choose his religion

{p. 280} as freely as he chooses his philosophical system, and still be a Jew.

The case of Brother Daniel brings into relief a tremendous paradox. Here we have a group which for millennia was held to be and was often forced to be the most stubbornly clannish and exclusive of entities, and yet at the end of some 3,500 years it is still impossible to define who does and who does not belong to it.

{p. 283} The Law of Moses is claimed by the Orthodox to be not merely a guide to individual salvation, but to embody the constitution of a polity. Just as religion and nationhood were inseparable in Judaism, in the same way the religious code and State legislation could not but form one totality. ...

There are various shades of opinion among the more

{p. 285} moderate elements of Orthodoxy. The common denominator is the claim that although individual consciences may not be forced, there is the paramount duty and necessity to preserve a Jewish public visage of the State of Israel. ... There is no written Constitution, because the legislators very much feared a controversy on this very subject.

... The non-believers are being urged not only to avoid giving scandal and entreated to spare the deep susceptibilities of believers, they are above all implored not to split the nation. Civil marriage and divorce laws for instance would do precisely that, since the religious would not be able to intermarry with the offspring of civil marriages, or rather with the offspring of persons divorced by civil divorce and remarried who in the eyes of the Law are bastards, with whom no Jew can be joined in wedlock. ...

The Jews are and are not unique in that fusion of religion and nationhood. In a certain sense all societies in thc Middle

{p. 287} Ages were in the first place confraternities of servants of the Lord. ...

National self-assertion is of course bound to result in a quest for and then an apotheosis of distinct historic symbols and myths, including those of the national religion ...

{p. 288} In present-day Israel we have believers and non-believers, but the rabbis enjoy powers of coercion over all given to them by the State. This, of course, is aggravated by the fact that the Jewish religion lays so much emphasis upon external rites and practices, being really a way of life designed to erect, for reasons of self-preservation, a high fence between the faithful and the world around them.

{p. 289} There has been no supreme ecclesiastical authority in Jewry since the Sanhedrin has ceased to exist. Not offficial function, but the authority of superior learning and piety gives the ultimate sanction. It has thus happened very often that the law was laid down by a saintly learned layman in a God-forsaken townlet in Lithuania who held no rabbinical of fice, but whose decisions no chief rabbi of a great country would presume to question. The chief rabbinate is altogether an institution unknown to Jewish law, and in those countries where it exists, it came into being as a matter of administrative convenience. Not a sovereign power once more, but moral authority was obeyed in Judaism. And various people (and communities) would bow to different authorities. In Israel today the rabbinate is rapidly developing into a firmly institutionalised and centralised Church imposing an exacting discipline on its members and facing the general body of laymen as a distinct power. ... One of the more outspoken leaders of the governing Right-wing labour party, Mapai, is quoted to have stated that the Orthodox parties were "cheaper" coalition partners than the other factions. They have no particular views on economic or social problems, or special foreign policies. They will accept any line on these matters so long as their religious demands are met.

{p. 290} The other day the luxury trans-ocean liner Shalom was launched by the Israeli Government in conjunction with private companies. It was originally planned to have two kitchens on the ship, one adapted to the Jewish dietary laws (all official institutions, the army, Knesset and almost all hotels keep only a kosher kitchen), and another kitchen for those, and of course among them non-Jewish passengers, who wish to have cream with their coffee after their meat meal. The chief rabbinate immediately vetoed the plan. This was not just a formal statement of condemnation. The chief rabbi refused to give his authorisation to the kosher kitchen, and without such an imprimatur the faithful would not eat from it. The rabbinate in the first place expressed horror at the very idea of a Jewish ship providing food that was not kosher. On this they would not listen to utilitarian arguments such as needs and wishes of Gentile passengers, or to democratic vindications of freedom of choice as a basic principle. But the rabbis went further, and in this they really conjured up shadows of medieval papacy. They would not grant authorisation to the kosher kitchen, since one could not trust people who were prepared to run a non-kosher kitchen to be scrupulous in observing the dietary laws in the kosher kitchen. And indeed

{p. 291} hotels have been refused the rabbinic imprimatur unless they undertook not only to maintain a strictly kosher kitchen but pledged themselves to prevent smoking, dancing, music and similar such things on the Sabbath day or mixed bathing in the swimming pool on ordinary days. ...

For centuries ritual slaughter of animals was a powerful lever in the hands of the Jewish communal organisation in general, and the rabbinate in particular. It made possible a form of control upon all believers and helped to give reality to, and to finance the institutions of Jewish self-government. ... Control of ritual slaughter, involving the power to suspend it, to regulate prices and employment in the industry as well as to organise the supply of meat, was, as said, one of the most effective means of putting teeth into the regulations of Jewish self-governing institutions. Law and custom combined

{p. 292} to accord to these powers and practices the character of a traditional religious prerogative vested in the rabbis. ...

{p. 293} Secular nationalists accuse the Orthodox of using religion as an opium for nationalism. To this the latter reply that the very distinction between religion and nationhood, implicit in the secular argument, in itself represents a mode of thought wholly alien to Jewish tradition, indeed a form of apostasy.

{p. 294} Jewish religion is so intertwined with Jewish lore, and religious tradition is so deeply and all-pervasively embedded in Jewish history and national myth, that out of fear lest the younger generation brought up in secular homes become totally de-nationalised, a secular Minister of Education some years ago introduced into the school curriculum obligatory teaching in what is called "Jewish Consciousness". It, in fact, amounts to lessons about Jewish religious beliefs, rites, practices, and liturgy, in addition to the teaching of the Bible and Talmud. It also appears inconceivable that a Jewish state would declare its "neutrality" towards Jewish religious holidays, dietary laws, the Sabbath rest day, etc., if only for reasons of expediency - and in order to spare believers very grave hardships and even terrible conflicts of conscience.

... The idea of the sanctification of life in its totality through a

{p. 295} refusal to admit any distinction between theory and practice, social ethics and individual morality, religion and politics, has a different meaning in a voluntary sect without powers of coercion from that in a state with an established religion.

{The praxis of Marxism is an assertion of the unity of theory and practice, as posited in Jewish thinking; but this blurring of the distinction between thought, speech and action is what leads to laws against "hate speech", and to the "thought police" of the totalitarian state.}

It is one of the ironies that the Jews have everywhere in modern times advocated if not separation of Church and State, at least the rights of private conscience, and called for the secularisation of politics and political life, if for no other reason than the difficulty of enjoying full rights in the type of Christian state defended by old-fashioned conservatives.

{end of quotes}

Nesta Webster claimed that Jews were preaching Internationalism but pursuing Nationalism themselves. But Zeev Sternhell goes further, showing that Israel is a National Socialist state: nat-soc-isr.html.

Communal child-rearing in Kibbutzes: engagement.html.

J. L. Talmon's most important book, Israel Among the Nations, examines the role of Jews in revolutionary movements: talmon.html.

J. L. Talmon's book The Origins of Totalitarian Democracy: correctness.html.

Write to me at contact.html.