“Just as did Bernstein, Kautsky prophesied, will and must repeat itself, and will ultimately affect not only the Jews, but all those in the propertied classes. Just as did Bernstein, Kautsky warned Engels of the power of the anti-Semites. In a letter to Engels written in 1884, Kautsky told his teacher that «we [Austrian Social Democrats] have difficulty in hindering our own people from fraternizing with the anti-Semites. The anti-Semites are now our most dangerous opponents, more dangerous than in Germany, because they pose as oppositional and democratic, thus comply with the instincts of the workers (9)». The first article by Kautsky on the Jewish question to appear under Kautsky’s name was published in the ‘Oesterreichischer Arbeiter-Kalender für das Jahr’ 1885. Though not many people openly identify themselves as anti-Semites, Kautsky asserted in this piece, nine-tenths of the population of Hungary belong to the anti-Semitic tendency. What, Kautsky asks, are the roots of the anti-Semitic movement? It is, he replies, first and foremost a ruling class, and declining classes. Anti-Semitism is associated with the last of these three groups. However, anti-Semitism does not emerge in all areas in which there are declining classes, but only in those in which Jews “are still nationally separated from the rest of the population” (11). Where this is not the case, as in Western Europe, it could not possibly occur to anyone to wage a class struggle against a race. To Kautsky, the position the Social Democratic Party ought to take vis-a-vis anti-Semitism is clear. Though the anti-Semitic movement borrowed socialist slogans, though it thundered against capital, the social democrats must condemn it, for it is “reactionary through and through” (12). The anti-Semitic movement is also exploitative. To be sure, the anti-Semites claim to struggle against exploitation. In point of fact, they actually direct their energy primarily against working Jews. “There is, therefore, nothing more inimical to social democracy than anti-Semitism. (…) Anti-Semitism is not misunderstood socialism, but misunderstood feudalism” (13). It is not doing the preparatory work for socialism, but is, on the contrary, socialism’s “most dangerous opponent” (14). The importance of this article by Kautsky cannot be overstated. For it was the first open attack on the anti-Semitic political movements which could be definitely attributed to a major Marxist theoretician. Bernstein, while certainly in agreement with Kautsky’s position, had not yet published anything on the issue in his own name by 1885. Engels, similarly, had, in ‘Anti-Dühring’, paved the way for the position delineated by Kautsky in this article. However, Engels did not publish a public condemnation of the anti-Semitic political movement until 1890. Not necessarily in theory, but rather in terms of presenting a jointly analysis to the public, Kautsky led the way” (pag 403-404) [Jack Jacobs, ‘Marxism and Anti-Semitism: Kautsky’s Perspective’ (estratto da ‘www.cambridge.org/core, 2016)] [(9) To Engels, June 23, 1884, in Friedrich Engels ‘Briefwechsel mit Karl Kautsky’, ed by Benedikt Kautsky (Vienna, 1955), p. 125; (10) To Engels, December 22; ibid., p. 159; cf. to Engels, November 26, 1888, ibid., p. 225; (11) C. Kautsky, “Der Antisemitismus”, in: Oesterreichischer Arbeiter-Kalender für das Jahr 1885 (Brünn), p. 100; (12) Ibid., p. 101; (13) Ibid., pp. 102-03; (14) Ibid., p. 104]

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