Cause of World Unrest - Nesta Webster

Appendix B: Marx and Bakunin

To the Editor of the "Morning Post"


In the fifth article of the series "Behind the Red Curtain" the author states that Marx founded the International Working Men's Association. May I be allowed to point out that this is paying too much honour to Marx? The idea of an International coalition of labour originated with real workingmen animated by no desire for bloody revolution, and it was not until after the famous meeting at St. Martin's Hall that Marx obtained control of the movement. On this point we have the evidence of James Guillaume, the chronicler of the Association, who was intimately acquainted with its workings.

"It is not true," he writes, "that the Internationale was the creation of Karl Marx. He remained completely outside the preparatory work that took place from 1862 to 1864. He joined the Internationale at the moment when the initiative of the English and French workmen had just created it. Like the cuckoo, he came and laid his egg in a nest which was not his. His plan from the first day was to make the great workingmen's organization the instrument of his personal views." {Karl Marx, Pan-Germaniste, p. 2.)

What were these views? According to M. Guillaume they were Pan-Germanist, and your correspondent has clearly indicated the support given by Marx to German Imperialism. But he also goes on to inquire whether Jewish interests may not have played a part in Marx's policy, and in this connection refers to the feud between Marx and Bakunin.

"Can it be," he asks, "that the fight between Socialist and Anarchist veiled and covered another fight more fierce and instinctive—between Slav and Jew?"

Now we know that Bakunin was strongly anti-German, and that it was the Germanism of Imperial Russia which inspired many of his diatribes against its government. It might therefore have been on this account that he incurred the hostility of Marx. His attitude towards the Jews, however, is clearly defined in a significant passage. The letter in which this may be found is not included in Bakunin's correspondence, and was only published for the first time in 1911, so that I think it may have escaped the attention of your correspondent. It appears that Bakunin had been attacked in the Paris paper, Le Reveil, by a German Jew named Maurice Hess, and it was in reply to this that he wrote his polemique contre les juifs in October, 1869, But Bakunin had evidently not overestimated the power of the "formidable sect" to which he referred, for his letter never saw the light until unearthed by the publishers of his works forty-two years later. This is the passage to which I refer:

"I begin by begging you to believe that I am in no way the enemy nor the detractor of the Jews. Although I may be considered a cannibal, I do not carry savagery to that point, and I assure you that in my eyes all nations have their worth. Each is, moreover, an ethnographically historic product, and is consequently responsible neither for its faults nor its merits. It is thus that we may observe in connection with the modern Jews that their nature lends itself little to frank Socialism. Their history, long before the Christian era, implanted in them an essentially mercantile and bourgeois tendency, with the result that, considered as a nation, they are par excellence the exploiters of other men's work, and they have a natural horror and fear of the popular masses, whom they despise moreover, whether openly or in secret. The habit of exploitation, whilst developing the intelligence of the exploiters, gives it an exclusive and disastrous bent and quite contrary to the interests as well as to the instincts of the proletariat.

"I know that in expressing with this frankness my intimate opinion on the Jews I expose myself to enormous dangers. Many people share it, but very few dare publicly to express it, for the Jewish sect, very much more formidable than that of the Jesuits, Catholic or Protestant, constitutes today a veritable power in Europe. It reigns despotically in commerce, the banks, and it has invaded three-quarters of German journalism and a very considerable portion of the journalism of other countries. Woe, then, to him who has the clumsiness to displease it!"

In these words Bakunin expresses a profound truth. Few, if any, educated Jews believe in Socialism. To say this is merely to pay a tribute to their intelligence. The Jew is essentially aristocratic in his outlook—that is to say, he believes in government by the best men; he knows the impossibility of mob rule, and he has learnt the lesson of past revolutions as we, alas! have never learnt them. It is therefore probable that Marx never believed a word he wrote on the "dictatorship of the proletariat" and the other shibboleths he had filched from earlier revolutionary writers and which he used to stir up the workers of whom he made his tools. It is true that in the above quoted letter Bakunin specifies only "the crowd of Jewish pygmies" as the exploiters of the people and exempts from his strictures "the two Jewish giants, Marx and Lassalle."

But Bakunin did not yet know Marx. It was not until three years later, when the clique he refers to as "the German Jew company" had turned him out of the Internationale that he dimly realized the depths of Marx's perfidy. In the words he then wrote we see how completely he had been the dupe of this subtler brain. After paying tribute to Marx's intellect, Bakunin goes on to say:

"There was never any frank intimacy between us. Our temperaments did not permit of it. He called me a sentimental idealist, and he was right; I called him vain, perfidious, and crafty, and I was right too."

Although Bakunin still endeavours to believe in Marx's entire devotion to the cause of the proletariat which "he never betrayed knowingly," he is obliged nevertheless to add,

"yet he compromises it immensely today by his formidable vanity, by his malignant character, and by his tendency to dictatorship even in the midst of the revolutionary Socialist Party."

Whether, therefore, Marx was an agent of the German Government or of the "formidable sect" referred to by Bakunin, he was certainly never the representative of the workers who had started the Internationale, It was Marx and not the workers who triumphed. The Internationale perished, but Marx's programme survived, and has since then been carried out "according to plan." The Russian Revolution was not the outcome of the Russian revolutionary movement, of which the principal leaders were throughout the Anarchists, disciples of Bakunin, on whom the Bolsheviks turned their machine guns at the outset of their reign. The Irish Revolution now in progress is not the result of the Irish national movement; Sinn Fein is merely the tool of the International organization for carrying out the plan laid down by Marx. As long ago as 1870 this secret message was sent by Marx from London to the Internationale in Geneva:

  1. England is the only country in which a real Socialistic revolution can be made.
  2. The English people cannot make this revolution.
  3. Foreigners must make it for them.
  4. The foreign members, therefore, must retain their seats at the London board.
  5. The point to strike at first is Ireland, and in Ireland they are ready to begin their work.

This is what is happening today. The chaos now reigning in Ireland is simply the prelude to the same condition of affairs in this country. To cause revolution in England is the first and most essential point in the programme of the International revolutionaries. "Every revolution on the Continent" said Marx, "that does not spread to England is a storm in a teacup."

In other words, England is the pivot of the world's civilization. If England goes the whole world goes with her. Marx was right in his surmise; he was right, too, in believing that English workingmen will never make this revolution. "Foreigners must make it for them." They are making it now. Shall we allow them to accomplish their work?

It seems to me, then, that the situation resolves itself into this. An immense revolutionary machine exists, and has long existed, but now all the parts have been perfected, every cog is complete. Your correspondent has admirably described the process of its construction. Yet I do not think it can be ascribed to one race only; many hands have worked—French, Italian, Russian, very few English, but many German and Jewish—and all these in turn have taken part in its manipulation.

But from 1872 onwards, this formidable engine of destruction has been mainly in the hands of a section of Germans and Jews, and it is they who now control its workings. The essential thing therefore is not merely to indicate the mechanicians, but to smash the machine in the interests of the whole human race. For this machine will destroy not only those against whom it is directed, but those by whom it is handled; no provision has been made for the recoil, and "the iron battalions of the proletariat" finding themselves duped, will turn in fury on the men who drove them forward to destruction.

In warning the world of the conspiracy at work, the Morning Post is rendering an immense service to civilization, and those who turn a deaf ear may live to repent their folly when they find themselves engulfed in the general chaos of world revolution.—Yours, etc.,

Nesta H. Webster.
July 17th.