From Rags to <i>Risches</i>: On Marx's Other Jewish Question

Jay Geller

in The Other Jewish Question

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print September 2011 | ISBN: 9780823233618
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780823241781 | DOI:
From Rags to Risches: On Marx's Other Jewish Question

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This chapter demonstrates how the role of Judentum in Karl Marx's work cannot be limited to its few explicit discussions such as in “On the Jewish Question.” Though Marx did not self-identify as a Jew, he was regularly confronted by others who, often venomously, identified him as a Jew. By charting Marx's rhetoric, his use of such Jewish-associated morphemes as “Lump-” (rag, rogue) and “Verkehr-” (intercourse, inverted [verkehrt-]), this chapter analyzes how they may have provided the means by which he not only rendered the theories of his rivals (esp. Max Stirner) ludicrous, but, more significantly, also worked out his understanding of capitalism. In addition to analyses of The German Ideology, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte (on the Lumpenproletariat), Capital, and other writings, the chapter situates Marx within a society of endemic anti-Jewish polemic in which Jews were perceived as extensively involved in crime, finance, and various rag trades.

Keywords: Capital; The German Ideology; Jews and capitalism; Lumpenproletariat; Karl Marx; Jewish Question; rag trade; rhetoric; Max Stirner

Chapter.  17795 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Judaism and Jewish Studies

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