Trotsky was a Zionist - Politics Forum.org | PoFo

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By Ixa
#730646
Via Email; by a friend. Convincing argument.



You need only to pick through all Trotsky's leftwing
verbiage to get what he's really saying. So here's an
analysis of his murkey language:

1. He says he used to believe in assimilation of the
Jews. But, "The historic development of the last
quarter of a century [that is, 1912-1937] has not
confirmed this perspective. Decaying capitalism has
everywhere swung over to an exacerbated nationalism,
one part of which is anti-semitism. . . . [meanwhile]
the Jews of different countries have created their
press and developed the Yiddish language as an
instrument adapted to modern culture. One must
therefore reckon with the fact that the Jewish nation
will maintain itself for an entire epoch to come. Now
the nation cannot normally exist without a common
territory. Zionism springs from this very idea."

2. But because of the conflict in Palestine, Trotsky
says, Zionism under capitalism has proven unable to
solve the Jewish question, i.e., it cannot fulfill
this need for a territorial solution to the Jewish
question.

3. BUT worldwide socialist revolution CAN fulfil the
Zionist dream, says Trotsky: "Socialism will open the
possibility of great migrations on the basis of the
most developed technique and culture. It goes without
saying that what is here involved is not compulsory
displacements, that is, the creation of new ghettos
for certain nationalities, but displacements freely
consented to, or rather demanded by certain
nationalities or parts of nationalities. The
dispersed Jews who would want to be reassembled in the
same community will find a sufficiently extensive and
rich spot under the sun. The same possibility will be
opened for the Arabs, as for all other scattered
nations. National topography will become a part of the
planned economy. This is the grand historical
perspective that I envisage. To work for international
socialism means also to work for the solution of the
Jewish question."

Trotsky made this clearer in his article "Thermidore
and Anti-semitism of 1937":

"Are we not correct in saying that a world socialist
federation will have to make possible the creation of
a Biro-bidjan for those Jews who wish to have their
own autonomous republic as the arena for their own
culture?

"It may be presumed that a socialist democracy will
not resort to compulsory assimilation. It may very
well be that within two or three generations the
boundaries of an independent Jewish republic, as of
many other national regions, will be erased. I have
neither time nor desire to meditate on this. Our
descendants will know better than we what to do. I
have in minda transitional historical period when the
Jewish ?question? as such, is still acute and demands
adequate measures from a world federation of workers?
states.

"The very same methods of solving the Jewish question
which under decaying capitalism have a utopian and
reactionary character (Zionism) will, under the regime
of a socialist federation, take on a real and salutary
meaning. This is what I want to point out."

Thus, while formally denouncing Zionism as "utopian
and reactionary", Trotsky says that under socialism
the "very same methods of solving the Jewish question"
as used by the Zionists will become "real and
salutary."

Thus Trotsky set himself in opposition to real
existing Zionism, but incorporated an ideal Zionism
into his version of socialism!

For Jews, in fact, what Trotsky is saying boils dow
to: if you want Zionism, then fight for socialism to
get it!

To me it would be hopeless pedantry to say that Jewish
national territorial "self-determination" can only be
called Zionism under capitalism, but under socialism
it should be called something else and would be
entirely okay.

Therefore, I can't describe Trotsky's views as
anything other than Zionist, even if he avoided using
that term himself. Furthermore, he specifically
referred to the Jews as a nation in a context where
the implications of that are quite clear. Therefore,
it seems evident that he considered himself a "Jew" in
keeping with that (pseudo-)national definition.

Thus, describing Trotsky as a "Zionist Jew" at least
in the last years of his life, is a based entirely on
Trotsky's own writing.



The Fourth International, December 1945, pp. 377-379
?On the Jewish Problem? by Leon Trotsky.

We publish herewith four statements by Trotsky during
the last years of his life expressing his views on the
Jewish question. The first is in the form of an
interview given to correspondents of the Jewish press
upon his arrival in Mexico. The second is an excerpt
from an article on ?Thermidor and Anti-Semitism?
written in 1937. The third is a letter which Trotsky
addressed to the Jews menaced by the mounting wave of
anti-semitism and fascism in the United States,
calling upon them to support the revolutionary
struggle of the Fourth International as the only road
to their salvation. The fourth statement is from the
archives of Leon Trotsky.

· * *

- I -

Before trying to answer your questions I ought to warn
you that unfortunately I have not had the opportunity
to learn the Jewish language, which moreover has been
developed only since I became an adult. I have not
had, and I do not have the possibility of following
the Jewish press, which prevents me from giving a
precise opinion on the different aspects of so
important and tragic a problem. I cannot therefore
claim any special authority in replying to your
questions. Nevertheless I am going to try and say
what I think about it.

During my youth I rather leaned toward the prognosis
that the Jews of different countries would be
assimilated and that the Jewish question would thus
disappear in a quasi-automatic fashion. The historic
development of the last quarter of a century has not
confirmed this perspective. Decaying capitalism has
everywhere swung over to an exacerbated nationalism,
one part of which is anti-semitism. The Jewish
question has loomed largest in the most highly
developed capitalist country of Europe, in Germany.

On the other hand the Jews of different countries have
created their press and developed the Yiddish language
as an instrument adapted to modern culture. One must
therefore reckon with the fact that the Jewish nation
will maintain itself for an entire epoch to come. Now
the nation cannot normally exist without a common
territory. Zionism springs from this very idea. But
the facts of every passing day demonstrate to us that
Zionism is incapable of resolving the Jewish question.
The conflict between the Jews and Arabs in Palestine
acquires a more and more tragic and more and more
menacing character. I do not at all believe that the
Jewish question can be resolved within the framework
of rotting capitalism and under the control of British
imperialism.

And how, you ask me, can socialism solve this
question? On this point I can but offer hypotheses.
Once socialism has become master of our planet or at
least of its most important sections, it will have
unimaginable resources in all domains. Human history
has witnessed the epoch of great migrations on the
basis of barbarism. Socialism will open the
possibility of great migrations on the basis of the
most developed technique and culture. It goes without
saying that what is here involved is not compulsory
displacements, that is, the creation of new ghettos
for certain nationalities, but displacements freely
consented to, or rather demanded by certain
nationalities or parts of nationalities. The
dispersed Jews who would want to be reassembled in the
same community will find sufficiently extensive and
rich spot under the sun. The same possibility will be
opened for the Arabs, as for all other scattered
nations. National topography will become a part of the
planned economy. This is the grand historical
perspective that I envisage. To work for international
socialism means also to work for the solution of the
Jewish question.

You ask me if the Jewish question still exists in the
USSR. Yes, it exists, just as the Ukrainian, the
Georgian, even the Russian questions exist there. The
omnipotent bureaucracy stifles the development of
national culture just as it does the whole of culture.
Worse still, the country of the great proletarian
revolution is now passing through a period of profound
reaction. If the revolutionary wave revived the
finest sentiments of human solidarity, the
Thermidorian reaction has stirred up all that is low,
dark and backward in this agglomeration of 170 million
people. To reinforce its domination the bureaucracy
does not even hesitate to resort in a scarcely
camouflaged manner to chauvinistic tendencies, above
all to anti-semitic ones. The latest Moscow trial,
for example, was staged with the hardly concealed
design of presenting internationalists as faithless
and lawless Jews who are capable of selling themselves
to the German Gestapo.

Since 1925 and above all since 1926, anti-semitic
demagogy, well camouflaged, unattackable, goes hand in
hand with symbolic trials against avowed pogromists.
You ask me if the old Jewish petty bourgeoisie in the
USSR has been socially assimilated by the new soviet
environment. I am indeed at a loss as to give you a
clear reply. The social and national statistics in
the USSR are extremely tendencious. They do not serve
to set forth the truth, but above all glorify the
leaders, the chiefs, the creators of happiness. An
important part of the Jewish petty bourgeoisie has
been absorbed by the formidable apparatuses of the
state, industry, commerce, the cooperatives, etc.,
above all in their lower and middle layers. This fact
engenders an anti-semitic state of feeling and the
leaders manipulate it with a cunning skill in order to
canalize and direct especially against the Jews the
existing discontent against the bureaucracy.

On Biro-bidjan I can give you no more than my personal
evaluations. I am not acquainted with this region and
still less with the condition s in which the Jews have
settle there. In any case it can be no more than a
very limited experience. The USSR alone would still
be too poor to resolve its own Jewish question, even
under a regime much more socialist than the present
one. The Jewish question, I repeat, is indissolubly
bound up with the complete emancipation of humanity.
Everything else that is done in this domain can only
be a palliative and often even a two-edged blade, as
the example of Palestine shows.
January 18, 1937.

- II -

Some would-be ?pundits? have accused me of ?suddenly?
raising the ?Jewish question? and of intending to
create some kind of ghetto for the Jews. I can only
shrug my shoulders in pity. I have lived my whole life
outside of Jewish circles. I have always worked in
the Russian workers movement. My native tongue is
Russian. Unfortunately, I have not even learned to
read Jewish. The Jewish question, therefore, has never
occupied the center of my attention.

But that does not mean that I have the right to be
blind to the Jewish problem which exists and demands a
solution. ?The friends of the USSR? are satisfied
with the creation of Brio-bidjan. I will not stop at
this point to consider whether it was built on a sound
foundation and what type of regime existed there
(Biro-bidjan cannot help reflecting all the vices of
bureaucratic despotism). But not a single progressive
thinking individual will object to the USSR
designating a special territory for those of its
citizens who feel themselves to be Jews, who use the
Jewish language in preference to all others, and who
wish to live as a compact mass.

Is this or is this not a ghetto? During the period of
Soviet democracy, of completely voluntary migration,
there could be no talk of ghettoes. But the Jewish
question and the very manner in which settlements of
Jews occurred, assumes an international aspect. Are
we not correct in saying that a world socialist
federation will have to make possible the creation of
a Biro-bidjan for those Jews who wish to have their
own autonomous republic as the arena for their own
culture?

It may be presumed that a socialist democracy will not
resort to compulsory assimilation. It may very well
be that within two or three generations the boundaries
of an independent Jewish republic, as of many other
national regions, will be erased. I have neither time
nor desire to meditate on this. Our descendants will
know better than we what to do. I have in minda
transitional historical period when the Jewish
?question? as such, is still acute and demands
adequate measures from a world federation of workers?
states.

The very same methods of solving the Jewish question
which under decaying capitalism have a utopian and
reactionary character (Zionism) will, under the regime
of a socialist federation, take on a real and salutary
meaning. This is what I want to point out. How could
any Marxist or even any consistent democrat object to
this?
1937

· * *

- III -

Dear Friend:

Father Coughlin, who apparently tries to demonstrate
that the absolute idealistic moral does not prevent
man from being the greatest rascal, has declared over
the radio that in the past I received enormous sums of
money for the revolution from the Jewish bourgeoisie
in the United States. I have already answered in the
press that this is false. I did not receive such
money, not, of course, because I would have refused
financial support for the revolution, but because the
Jewish bourgeoisie did not offer this support. The
Jewish bourgeoisie remains true to the principle: not
to give, even now when its head is concerned.
Suffocating in its own contradictions, capitalism
directs enraged blows against the Jews, moreover a
part of these blows fall upon the Jewish bourgeoisie
in spite of all its past ?service? for capitalism.
Measures of a philanthropical nature for refugees
become less and less efficacious in comparison with
the gigantic dimension of the evil burdening the
Jewish people.

Now it is the turn of France. The victory of fascism
in this country would signify a vast strengthening of
reaction, and a monstrous growth of violent
anti-semitism in all the world, above all in the
United States. The number of countries able to accept
them decreases. At the same time the exacerbation of
the struggle intensifies. It is possible to imagine
without difficulty what awaits the Jews at the mere
outbreak of the future world war. But even without
war the next development of world reaction signifies
with certainty the physical extermination of the Jews.

Palestine appears a tragic mirage, Biro-bidjan a
bureaucratic farce. The Kremlin refuses to accept
refugees. The ?anti-fascist? congresses of old ladies
and young careerists do not have the slightest
importance. Now more than ever, the fate of the
Jewish people ? not only their political but also
their physical fate ? is indissolubly linked with the
emancipating struggle of the international
proletariat. Only audacious mobilization of the
workers against reaction, creation of workers?
militia, direct physical resistance to the fascist
gangs, increasing self-confidence, activity and
audacity on the part of all the oppressed can provoke
a change in the relation of forces, stop the world
wave of fascism, and open a new chapter in the history
of mankind.

The Fourth International was the first to proclaim the
danger of fascism and to indicate the way of
salvation. The Fourth International calls upon the
Jewish popular masses not to delude themselves but to
face openly the menacing reality. Salvation lies only
in revolutionary struggle. The ?sinews? of
revolutionary struggle, as of war, are funds. With
the progressive and perspicacious elements of the
Jewish people rests the obligation to come to the help
of the revolutionary vanguard. Time presses. A day
is now equivalent to a month or even to a year. That
thou doest, do quickly!
December 22, 1938.

- IV ?

The attempt to solve the Jewish question through the
migration of Jews to Palestine can now be seen for
what it is, a tragic mockery of the Jewish people.
Interested in winning the sympathies of the Arabs who
are more numerous than the Jews, the British
government has sharply altered its policy toward the
Jews, and has actually renounced its promise to help
them found their ?own home? in a foreign land. The
future development of military events may well
transform Palestine into a bloody trap for several
hundred thousand Jews. Never was it so clear as it is
today that the salvation of the Jewish people is bound
up inseparably with the overthrow of the capitalist
system.
July, 1940.
User avatar
By The Immortal Goon
#731317
You know, I did write an appropriate response to this, but I'm quite sure the same thing will happen that always happens. You'll back out and say something like, "Well, I didn't say I agreed with this, just that it was a convincing argument."

But the jist of what I was going to say was that aside from the commentary, I don't really see anything too incriminating here.

Under world socialism people could move where they want, including Jews but:

It may be presumed that a socialist democracy will
not resort to compulsory assimilation. It may very
well be that within two or three generations the
boundaries of an independent Jewish republic, as of
many other national regions, will be erased


I see nothing wrong with this at all, and furthermore, I would forgive him for not being objective on the issue as he was raised in an anti-semetic state and died watching the Nazis come to power.

Anyway, as I said, aside from the comentary, I don't see what's wrong about beleiving that world socialism and solidarity will solve the Jewish question.

-TIG :rockon:
By graymouser
#731654
The analysis of Trotsky's arguments here is puerile and essentially aimed at nothing more than an attack on his character. His view of Zionism is quite straightforward here: it would be acceptable in a socialist world. That shouldn't be controversial; any Leninist will tell you that oppressed peoples - which the Jews were in the late 1930s - have the right to national self-determination. The left critique of Zionism as it is embodied in the state of Israel today is not of the idea of a Jewish national self-determination but against the brutal settler state that is a beachhead of imperialism in the Middle East. In a socialist context, Jewish self-determination could have been created democratically and without foisting a settler state upon an unwilling populace. Saying that is materially different from endorsing Israel as it exists in its current form.

-Wayne
User avatar
By Potemkin
#731657
Trotsky made this clearer in his article "Thermidore
and Anti-semitism of 1937":

"Are we not correct in saying that a world socialist
federation will have to make possible the creation of
a Biro-bidjan for those Jews who wish to have their
own autonomous republic as the arena for their own
culture?

"It may be presumed that a socialist democracy will
not resort to compulsory assimilation. It may very
well be that within two or three generations the
boundaries of an independent Jewish republic, as of
many other national regions, will be erased. I have
neither time nor desire to meditate on this. Our
descendants will know better than we what to do. I
have in minda transitional historical period when the
Jewish ?question? as such, is still acute and demands
adequate measures from a world federation of workers?
states.

"The very same methods of solving the Jewish question
which under decaying capitalism have a utopian and
reactionary character (Zionism) will, under the regime
of a socialist federation, take on a real and salutary
meaning. This is what I want to point out."

Trotsky's position here is exactly the same as that of Stalin. THe autonomous Jewish homeland called Birobidjan which Trotsky refers to was actually created by Stalin as a homeland for the Jews within the Soviet Union. Stalin actively encouraged the Soviet Jews to settle there. This is precisely the solution to the Jewish problem within the "world socialist democracy" proposed by Trotsky. And let's not forget that Stalin was the first world leader to recognise Israel as a nation when it was founded in 1948. Does this make Stalin a 'Zionist'? :roll:
By Ixa
#731671
Trotsky's position here is exactly the same as that of Stalin.
Stalin had a disagreeable position on this as well.

His view of Zionism is quite straightforward here: it would be acceptable in a socialist world.
I rest my case. Trotsky was a Zionist--and the Trotskyists here have no problem with the fact.
Last edited by Ixa on 12 Oct 2005 10:22, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
By Potemkin
#731676
Stalin had an inexcusable position on this as well.

So you denounce both Trotsky and Stalin as Zionists? Objectively speaking, your anti-Semitism has led you to adopt a political position which is non-Communist. It is closer to National Socialism than to Communism.
By Ixa
#731692
Potemkin wrote:So you denounce both Trotsky and Stalin as Zionists?
I denounce Trotsky as a Zionist, and disagree with Stalin's position on the Jewish question.

Objectively speaking, your anti-Semitism
What anti-Semitism? Anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism?

...has led you to adopt a political position which is non-Communist.
Zionism is non-Communist.

It is closer to National Socialism than to Communism.
Zionism is the closest thing to National Socialism. They are both co-dependent inversions of the other.
User avatar
By Eddier1
#731767
Trotsky wrote:
With the progressive and perspicacious elements of the
Jewish people rests the obligation to come to the help
of the revolutionary vanguard. Time presses. A day
is now equivalent to a month or even to a year. That
thou doest, do quickly!
December 22, 1938.


Strange way that T. had to refer to the Zionists and the
the revolutionary vanguard. He used Jesus's words to
Judas. Does this mean that he considered the Zionists
who supported Stalin's position on the Jewish Question
to be traitors to the Jewish people?

E.1:TWO STEPS FORWARD, ONE STEP BACK - V.I. LENIN
User avatar
By Glorious Leader
#731789
Jewish question


Your choice of wording is more then ominous....

Zionism is the closest thing to National Socialism. They are both co-dependent inversions of the other.


:?:
User avatar
By Maxim Litvinov
#731794
Meh. Anything on Trotsky here is liable to turn into a stoush based more on pre-drawn ideological lines than facts, but we've been fairly lucky so far considering.

Your choice of wording is more then ominous....

I can only presume that you're somehow linking the idea of a 'Jewish question' with some sort of 'Jewish answer' or 'final solution to the Jewish question'. The wording really isn't that obvious though. Sticking 'question' at the end of something - like the 'woman question' - is fairly common in progressive/Marxist circles.
By Ixa
#731797
Your choice of wording is more then ominous....
...

You think the phrase "the Jewish question" is ... "ominous".

How ominous was the phrase when it occurred in the works of ...

Karl Marx?
http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/wo ... -question/

or how about Trotsky?
"I have in mind a transitional historical period when the Jewish question, as such, is still acute and demands adequate measures from a world federation of workers' states."

Glorious Leader, you should stop voicing your thoughts outside of Gorky Park. You do a great disservice to yourself, in terms of intellectual credibility.
User avatar
By Potemkin
#731835
I denounce Trotsky as a Zionist, and disagree with Stalin's position on the Jewish question.

And my point is that, judging from the excerpts of his writings you have quoted, Trotsky was no more 'Zionist' than Stalin.

Objectively speaking, your anti-Semitism

What anti-Semitism? Anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism?

No, it is not. But you seem to me to be more than merely anti-Zionist, but actually anti-Semitic. Remember, even the Nazis were in favour of a Jewish homeland. They initially suggested Madagascar as the Jewish homeland, and even entered into negotiations towards this end with Jewish community leaders. By your definitions, even the Nazis were 'Zionists'. :roll:

...has led you to adopt a political position which is non-Communist.

Zionism is non-Communist.

Not necessarily. Many of the earliest Jewsish settlers in Palestine were Communists or Socialists from the Jewish Bund. The kibbutzim so beloved nowadays of the Jewish Right-wing were originally intended to be Communist agricultural collectives. It was only when a large influx of American Jews began, followed by the ex-Soviet refusniks, that the radical Right-wing gained the ascendancy in Israel. We now asociate Zionism entirely with extreme Right-wing politics, and regard it as an outpost of imperialism in the Middle East, which of course it is. But it did not begin that way, nor need it be that way.

It is closer to National Socialism than to Communism.

Zionism is the closest thing to National Socialism. They are both co-dependent inversions of the other.

That's an... interesting take on things. But the anti-Semitism of National Socialism pre-dated the Zionist movement. They are not co-dependent; as I pointed out, the Nazis originally favoured the idea of a Jewish homeland. They simply wanted the Jews out of Germany and out of Europe. Because WWII prevented them from deporting the Jews to a foreign Jewish homeland, they decided to exterminate them.
By Ixa
#731863
Potemkin wrote:And my point is that, judging from the excerpts of his writings you have quoted, Trotsky was no more 'Zionist' than Stalin.


1. This discussion has nothing to do with Stalin.
2. I disagree with Stalin.
3. The USSR only become pro-Zionist (rather suddenly) in 1938, because the USSR was (a) the enemy of Germany, and (b) needed therefore the backing of jews from abroad to pressure countries like the US and Britain to go to war with Germany.
4. Stalin's position was that the jews were not a nationality - a position on which I agree; and this is contrary to the principles of Zionism.

No, it is not. But you seem to me to be more than merely anti-Zionist, but actually anti-Semitic.
Evidence?

By your definitions, even the Nazis were 'Zionists'.
Pro-Zionists, definitely. And Zionist collaboration with the Nazis is well documented.

Many of the earliest jewsish settlers in Palestine were Communists or Socialists from the Jewish Bund.
You denounce me for my alleged "national socialism", yet these jewish settlers you speak of embraced National Socialism in its purest form. I would suggest reading Zionism as Jewish National Socialism.

That just goes to show you that self-styled communists are sometimes capable of embracing racialist imperialism and colonialism.

That's an... interesting take on things. But the anti-Semitism of National Socialism pre-dated the Zionist movement. They are not co-dependent;
That is a nice verbal slight of hand. I said that National Socialism and Zionism are co-dependent, not anti-Semitism and Zionism. Hitler simply refashioned the ideas of the father of Zionism, Herzl -- who was a self-described national socialist -- into something more befitting of 'his own' kind, the Germans. It is in this sense that I say National Socialism is a ridiculous inversion of Zionism. But the two ideologies can also be mutually reinforcing, Israel owing much of its prestige to the cult of Holocaust victimology; which, in fact, is the very cornerstone of modern 'Israeli' / jewish identity. Discredit the Holocaust, discredit the myth of perpetual jewish victimhood,--thereby discredit the legitimacy of Zionism and Israel to many people. Not only, however, do Zionism and Nazism have striking ideological similarities; they also, of course, have important historical connexions, Israel having collaborated intimately with the Nazis and supporting them while they were in power.

. . . as I pointed out, the Nazis originally favoured the idea of a Jewish homeland. They simply wanted the Jews out of Germany and out of Europe. Because WWII prevented them from deporting the Jews to a foreign Jewish homeland, they decided to exterminate them.
I think the best solution to the Jewish Question is complete and total assimilation of the jews within gentile societies, not the creation of a needless and necessarily oppressive "Jewish homeland". Just as the multiculturalists want to breed all racial distinctions out of existence through mass miscegenation to eliminate perceived "racism", the jews should interbreed and assimilate with the Gentiles and thereby destroy jewish racism and chauvinism by dismantling their identity as jews.
User avatar
By The Immortal Goon
#733015
This thread has more or less flushed Ix out as being an anti-semetic more than Trotsky as a "Zionist."

Trotsky being a "Zionist" is grounds for dismissing him, while Stalin only made a mistake.

This thread is in dangerous threat of floating in to the Wacky Revisionist World of Western Juch-er-tainment.

-TIG :rockon:
By Ixa
#733018
This thread has more or less flushed Ix out as being an anti-semetic
Evidence?

Trotsky being a "Zionist" is grounds for dismissing him,...
Not the only grounds.

This thread is in dangerous threat of floating in to the Wacky Revisionist World
Trotskyist, you must mean?
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