What Is Anti-Semitism, What Does It Mean?June 27, 2021
Bakunin is known to repeat many anti-Semitic stereotypes. For example, he defines the Jews as: “a colonial sect, a parasitic people, a single grumbling parasite that is tightly and cordially bound together not only across national borders but beyond all differences of political opinion… [Jews] have commercial ambitions that form the core feature of their national character.”
It is unclear, however, whether he was referring to the Semites or to practical Judaism. But it must be taken into account that Bakunin criticized all religions throughout his life, and that Christianity and Judaism were very dominant in Europe in his time. Bakunin’s anti-Semitism, as it often is, is based on the view that the Jews are the drivers of European capitalism and politics. The following quote, which forms part of a polemic with Karl Marx, shows how Bakunin perceived the Jews in Europe:
“This Jewish world today is mostly under the command of Marx and Rothschild. I am sure that on the one hand, the Rothschilds appreciate Marx’s virtues, on the other hand, Marx has an instinctive affinity and great respect for the Rothschilds. This may seem strange. What common point can there be between communism and high finance? Ho ho! Marx’s communism demands strong state centralism, and where that happens, the parasitic Jewish nation – speculating on people’s labor – will always find the meaning of its existence…” Polemique contre les Juifs, 1872.