|Karl Marx, On the Jewish
The Capacity of Present-Day Jews and Christians to Obtain Freedom, 1843
Let us consider the actual, worldly Jew, not the Sabbath Jew, as Bauer does, but the everyday Jew.
Let us not look for the secret of the Jew in his religion, but let us look for the secret of his religion in the real Jew.
What is the secular basis of Judaism? Practical need, self-interest.
What is the worldly religion of the Jew? Huckstering. What is his worldly God? Money.
Very well then! Emancipation from huckstering and money, consequently from practical, real Judaism, would be the
self-emancipation of our time.
An organization of society which would abolish the preconditions for huckstering, and therefore the possibility of
huckstering, would make the Jew impossible. His religious consciousness would be dissipated like a thin haze in the
real, vital air of society.
...In the final analysis, the emancipation of the Jews is the emancipation of mankind from Judaism. [Here as elsewhere,
Marx uses the words Jude and Judentum in the figurative sense, i.e., denoting usury, huckstering, trading, etc.]
The Jew has already emancipated himself in a Jewish way.
The Jew, who in Vienna, for example, is only tolerated, determines the fate of the whole Empire by his financial power.
The Jew, who may have no rights in the smallest German state, decides the fate of Europe. While corporations and
guilds refuse to admit Jews, or have not yet adopted a favourable attitude towards them, the audacity of industry mocks
at the obstinacy of the medieval institutions. (Bruno Bauer, Die Judenfrag.)
This is no isolated fact. The Jew has emancipated himself in a Jewish manner, not only because he has acquired
financial power, but also because, through him and also apart from him, money has become a world power and the
practical Jewish spirit has become the practical spirit of the Christian nations. The Jews have emancipated themselves
insofar as the Christians have become Jews.
Captain Hamilton, for example, reports:
The devout and politically free inhabitant of New England is a kind of Laocoön, who makes not the least effort to
escape from the serpents which are crushing him. Mammon is his idol which he adores not only with his lips but with the
whole force of his body and mind. In his view the world is no more than a Stock Exchange, and he is convinced that he
has no other destiny here below than to become richer than his neighbor. Trade has seized upon all his thoughts, and
he has no other recreation than to exchange objects. When he travels he carries, so to speak, his goods and counter
on his back and talks only of interest and profit. If he loses sight of his own business for an instant it is only in order to
pry into the business of his competitors.
Indeed, in North America the practical domination of Judaism over the Christian world has achieved as its unambiguous
and normal expression that the preaching of the Gospel itself and the Christian ministry have become articles of trade,
and the bankrupt trader deals in the Gospel just as the Gospel preacher who has become rich goes in for business
The man who you see at the head of a respectable congregation began as a trader; his business having failed, he
becomes a minister. The other began as a priest but as soon as he had some money at his disposal he left the pulpit to
become a trader. In the eyes of very many people, the religious ministry is a veritable business career. (Beaumont)
According to Bauer, it is "a fictitious state of affairs when in theory the Jew is deprived of political rights, whereas in
practice he has immense power and exerts his political influence en gros, although it is curtailed en détail." (Die
. . . The Jew is perpetually created by civil society from its own entrails. What, in itself, was the basis of the Jewish
religion? Practical need, egoism. The monotheism of the Jew, therefore, is in reality the polytheism of the many
needs, a polytheism which makes even the lavatory an object of divine law. Practical need, egoism, is the principle of
civil society, and as such appears in a pure form as soon as civil society had fully given birth to the political state. The
god of practical need and self-interest is money.
Money is the jealous god of Israel, in face of which no other god may exist. Money degrades all the gods of man -- and
turns them into commodities. Money is the universal self-established value of all things. It has therefore robbed the
whole world -- both the world of men and nature -- of its specific value. Money is the estranged essence of man's work
and man's existence, and this alien essence dominates him, and he worships it.
The god of the Jews has become secularized and has become the god of the world. The bill of exchange is the real god
of the Jew. His god is only an illusory bill of exchange. The view of nature attained under the dominion of private
property and money is a real contempt for and practical debasement of nature; in the Jewish religion nature exists, it is
true, but it exists only in imagination.
"The God of the Jews" from, The Poisonous
Mushroom, Julius Streicher, Translated from
the Third Reich Original, Der Giftpilz. More