Karl Marx: the racist godfather of the hard left

Max Young

September 4, 2019

Western society has now for certain entered the age of “wokeness”.

In this new world, the reputation of any figure in the public eye is open to destruction by a mob of indifferent virtue-signalling Twitter users, for no reason beyond caprice and the thrill of participation in our new “cancel culture”.

Those who participate enthusiastically in the ritual humiliation we’ve come to expect on social media tend to consider themselves “woke” and pursue others with a self-righteous zeal. 

These are generally people on the left of the political spectrum, who have the extraordinary ability to brand any individual, past or present, as some form of wrongthinker or another. You are almost certainly guilty of homophobia, transphobia, racism, Islamophobia, capitalist bootlicking, ableism, or having a white saviour complex. You just might not have realised yet.

Any public figure of any kind must be “pure” in every conceivable way. Or, at least, they must be socialists. The spate of leftist attacks on the Tory-voting drag queen Baga Chipz in recent days reveals as much. 

The left of this new age can in their eyes do no wrong. They believe in equality and justice, after all. 

Yet their blinkered view of prejudice and persecution is plain for all to see. The Labour party’s current crisis of antisemitism, brought to the fore by the radical socialism of Jeremy Corbyn, serves as a perfect reminder that the arbiters of public opinion, and those they defend to the teeth, are themselves far from perfect.

Some reject the basic concept of antisemitism in the Labour party, despite the overwhelming evidence that the organisation is thoroughly rotten from the leader’s office down to the Momentum activists. Jeremy is good, he believes in good things. How can someone who calls themselves an anti-racist be guilty of enabling racial hatred?

In fact, antisemitism and racism can be traced without much difficulty to the “godfather of socialism”, the darling of the new left, and a man whose ideas are echoed by socialists across the world: Karl Marx.

Although of Jewish origin himself, Marx was uncompromising in his hatred for Jews, as he made clear on a regular basis. This antisemitic rant in his essay On the Jewish Question is typical of his views:

“What is the worldly cult of the Jew: Haggling. What is his worldly god? Money! … Money is the jealous god of Israel before whom no other god may exist.”

The extent to which Hitler’s national socialists were inspired by Marx is unclear, but they certainly copied his style. 

This extract from Marx’s Tribune article of January 4, 1856, exhibits a perspective which Der Sturmerand other Nazi publications subsequently imitated in both tone and content:

“Take Amsterdam, for instance, a city harbouring many of the worst descendants of the Jews … Here and there and everywhere that a little capital courts investment, there is ever one of these little Jews ready to make a little suggestion or place a bit of a loan. The smartest highwayman in the Abruzzi is not better posted about the locale of the hard cash in a traveller’s valise or pocket than these little Jews about any loose capital in the hands of a trader … Thus we find every tyrant backed by a Jew, as is every Pope by a Jesuit.”

Marx also had a penchant for the crudest of antisemitic insults. In an article attacking Moses Levy, the then editor of the Daily Telegraph, he described Levy’s nose as “an elephant’s trunk, an antenna, a lighthouse, a telegraph”.

In 1861, he wrote to Engels that the Egyptologist, Lepsius, had “proved” that the Jewish exodus was “the expulsion of a Leper people from Egypt, at the heads of whom was an Egyptian priest named Moses. Lazarus, the leper, is also the basic type of the Jew.”

Marx’s racism was not limited to Jews. His contempt for other races is made clear in his enthusiasm for the work of the racist French ethnologist Pierre Tremaux. 

Marx wrote to Engels that Tremaux had “proved that the common Negro type is the degenerate form of a much higher one” and that this was “a significant advance over Darwin”.

A further example can be found in Marx’s correspondence with Engels in 1862, saying that his rival “the Jewish Nigger Lasalle” was leaving Britain to return to Germany:

“It is now absolutely clear to me that, as both the shape of his head and his hair texture shows – he descends from the Negroes who joined Moses’ flight from Egypt (unless his mother or grandmother on the paternal side hybridized with a nigger.) Now this combination of Germanness and Jewishness with a primarily negro substance necessarily creates a strange product. The pushiness of the fellow is also nigger-like.”

Bear in mind that today we are expected by many of Marx’s keenest advocates to judge historical figures by today’s moral standards. If socialists truly believed in the principles of social justice that they constantly spout, they would have condemned this disgusting racist long ago. 

Instead, they worship him. This serves to reveal that their attacks are based purely on political motivations and furthering the cause of socialism, rather than any real notion of justice. For them, socialism as a value trumps all others. 

As long as the racist is a socialist, he is safe from the condemnation of the leftist mob.

The sad reality is that it’s socialism as an ideology that has been most thoroughly stained by the regressive attitudes of its founders as well as its leaders today.

Instead of meekly playing along with these hypocritical attitudes in an effort to keep with the times, we must be bold in calling out the absurdity of those socialists who seek to purge all but themselves from public life.


Written by Max Young

Max Young is Deputy Editor at 1828.


Capitalism and freedom are under attack. If you support 1828’s work, help us champion freedom by donating here.

Keep Reading



Sign up today to receive exclusive insights