Vladimir Lenin on antisemitism as a tool to divide the working class

In the past several months, there has been a steady rise in anti-Jewish hatred throughout the United States and an increase in the sharing of anti-semitic tropes and far-right conspiracy theories. This has been exacerbated by some of the world’s most famous celebrities deciding to use their platforms to spread neo-Nazi talking points and ‘Great Replacement‘ (aka ‘white genocide’) myths. Memes are being widely shared on Twitter which make it appear as if “the Jewish cabal controls the banks”, that Jews are responsible for all wars, that ‘the Jews’ run organized pedophile rings, and that Jews are controlling everyone working within the U.S. government. Perhaps the strangest of all the false claims that have been propagated recently is one that claims avowed Aryan supremacist Adolf Hitler, whose goal was to eventually wipe out or enslave all those defined an non-Aryan, actually had flattering things to say about Black people.

The stereotyping of an entire group of millions of people in this way is a result of a common tactic employed by the capitalist class that seeks to pin all of society’s ills on a particular group of people and distract from the true cause of the hardships of the working class: capitalism. In March of 1919, in a speech distributed by the central agency of the All-Russia Central Executive Committee, revolutionary Russian leader Vladimir Ilyich Lenin described how among the Jewish people were exploiters and capitalists just as there are among all people, but that the majority of Jews are of the working class.

Below, the speech has been reproduced along with audio footage. It is particularly relevant today as the QAnon and neo-Nazi movements do the bidding of the capitalist class by seeking to distract us from placing the blame for society’s ills where it rightfully belongs: on the capitalist system that is exploiting us all and destroying the planet.

THE POGROMS AGAINST THE JEWS

Speech given by Vladimir Lenin in March, 1919

Anti-semitism is defined as the spreading of enmity against the Jews. When the damnable tsarist monarchy was living out its last hours, it attempted to divert the illiterate workers and peasants into pogroms against the Jews. The Tsar’s police in union with the landlords and capitalists organised Jewish pogroms.

They attempted to divert the natural hatred of the workers and peasants for the exploiters towards the Jews. Even in other countries one often experiences that the capitalists stir up enmity against the Jews, in order to divert the attention of the workers from the real enemy of the working masses, capital.

Enmity against the Jews can only exist where the landowners and capitalists have kept the workers and peasants in complete illiteracy. Only entirely uneducated and completely oppressed people can believe the lies and slanders which are being spread about the Jews. These are survivals from the times of serfdom, when the priests burnt heretics at the stake, when peasants were trampled upon and were voiceless. But these dark survivals of serfdom are disappearing, the people are beginning to see.

It is not the Jews who are the enemies of the toilers. The enemies of the workers are the capitalists of all lands. Among the Jews there are workers, toilers; they are in the majority.

They are our brothers, comrades in the struggle for Socialism, because they are oppressed by capitalism. Among the Jews there are kulaks, exploiters, capitalists, just as there are among the Russians and every other nation.

The capitalists are tireless in their endeavours to stir up enmity between the workers of different faiths, different nations and different races. The rich Jews, just like the rich Russians and the rich of all countries, are united in trampling upon, oppressing and dividing the workers.

Disgrace and infamy to the damnable tsarism which tortured and persecuted the Jews! Disgrace and infamy to whoever sows enmity against Jews and hatred against other nations! Long live brotherly faith and unity in the struggle of all nations for the overthrow of capitalism!

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