Part III of VI: How Beck Turned Marx Into A Common Racist
Glenn Beck and Jonah Goldberg cite examples of Marx’s supposed “anti-Semitism” in connection with Hitler. What Goldberg is referring to are Marx’s words on the economic status of the Jews of Germany. Marx’s calls to “purge the Jewish spirit” meant to remove the peculiar economic situation of the Jews; that of isolated merchants, and Marx’s calls for the assimilation by the German State of its “ancient eastern neighbors” meant that the Jews were on a fast course towards losing their economic particularism and were instead becoming “normal” members of society. Indeed, events such as World War I displayed Jewish integration in society through the armed forces, civil service, etc. Marx’s calls were for the Jews to cease being a “niche” within society and to instead become full-fledged members of it, as it were. Hitler’s calls, by contrast, were for mass murder. (See Hal Draper’s 1977 article “Marx and the Economic-Jew Stereotype”) This is coupled with the fact that Marx was not at all saying anything against the Jews as a people.
Beck cites Marx discussing pre-capitalist societies and Marx’s apparent calls for a “revolutionary holocaust.” There is, however, no real source for this claim. The source cited by the clip is false in that the words do not appear or are simply garbled in translation beyond recognition. (See A.R. Djukov. “The Soviet Story.” pp. 41-47.)
The Mexicans and Spanish
Glenn Beck managed to get at least one quote from Marx and Engels right. Here is the complete context:
“In America we have witnessed the conquest of Mexico and have rejoiced at it. It is also an advance when a country which has hitherto been exclusively wrapped up in its own affairs, perpetually rent with civil wars, and completely hindered in its development, a country whose best prospect had been to become industrially subject to Britain—when such a country is forcibly drawn into the historical process. It is to the interest of its own development that Mexico will in future be placed under the tutelage of the United States. The evolution of the whole of America will profit by the fact that the United States, by the possession of California, obtains command of the Pacific. But again we ask: ‘Who is going to profit immediately by the war?’ The bourgeoisie alone.”
“The Spanish are already degenerate. But a degenerate Spaniard, a Mexican, is an ideal.”
This passage was written in 1848. Marx and Engels at this time adopted a policy that stated social and economic progress stood higher than national independence when the two conflict. By the 1860s however, their position had changed. They realized the Mexican-American War was not progressive but rather helped spread slavery. Marx wrote that slavery was the key issue in the Civil War, which he tied to the war with Mexico:
“Not in the sense of whether the slaves within the existing slave states should be emancipated outright or not…but whether the 20 million freemen of the North should submit any longer to an oligarchy of 300,000 slaveholders; whether the vast Territories of the republic should be nurseries for free states or for slavery; finally, whether the national policy of the Union should take armed spreading of slavery in Mexico, Central and South America as its device.”
After 1848, Marx and Engels would develop a very different attitude towards colonialism. They would later champion India’s Sepoy Rebellion, the freedom of the Irish and liberation of African, Asian and Latin Americans from imperialism in direct contradiction to their stances in 1848 on the Mexican and Slavic nations. It is odd that Glenn Beck is attacking the quote, since it is supporting the American invasion of the southwest. Of course, Beck wouldn’t dare to give his viewers the context, or else it would look like he is “sympathizing with La Raza.”
The Pretend Racism of Marx & Engels
It is ironic that the same people on the right who constantly complain about political correctness and hypersensitivity toward racial issues want to try to condemn Marx and Engels over these issues. It is one thing to use racially-charged words in the 1840s-50s, and it is entirely another matter to wage a racist crusade in the modern era. Although Marx used the word “nigger,” it was not unusual in those days. As well, the APL has not seen any real condemnations by Marx and Engels of Africans. In any case, Marx supported the cause of abolition and, as many know, sent a letter to Lincoln praising him and his Presidency. Marx said to Lincoln:
“We congratulate the American people upon your re-election by a large majority. If resistance to the Slave Power was the reserved watchword of your first election, the triumphant war cry of your re-election is Death to Slavery.”
This passage is supporting the emancipation of the slaves—clearly, not very racist. While Karl Marx and Engels may have suffered from racism or euro-centrism to some extent, so did everyone else in that time period. It is amazing that Beck wants to focus and exagerate these two historical figures’ racism, but completely forgives that of the Founding Fathers—Karl Marx and Engels owned not one slave.
Why Glenn Beck Shouldn’t Be Calling Anybody Racist
Considering the history of his Mormon religious affiliation, Glenn Beck’s tirade against Marx, Engels and Guevara could not be called “the pot calling the kettle black,” but more like “the pot calling fresh snow black.”
For example, it would be quite more entertaining than this façade if he were to educate viewers on the true history of the Mormon Church’s belief on Black people, namely that they are black because of the “Mark of Cain” and are thus all cursed descendants from the world’s alleged first murderer. This was their position all the way until 1978. Blacks were forbidden from going to a Mormon church, despite the fact that their “original color” was apparently white before they became “sinners.”
Brigham Young, the famous Mormon leader, had this to say:
“Shall I tell you the law of God in regard to the African race? If the white man who belongs to the chosen seed mixes his blood with the seed of Cain, the penalty, under the law of God, is death on the spot. This will always be so.” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 10, p. 110).
“You see some classes of the human family that are black, uncouth, uncomely, disagreeable and low in their habits, wild, and seemingly deprived of nearly all the blessings of the intelligence that is generally bestowed upon mankind….Cain slew his brother. Cain might have been killed, and that would have put a termination to that line of human beings. This was not to be, and the Lord put a mark upon him, which is the flat nose and black skin.” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 7, p. 290).
“In our first settlement in Missouri, it was said by our enemies that we intended to tamper with the slaves, not that we had any idea of the kind, for such a thing never entered our minds. We knew that the children of Ham were to be the ‘servant of servants,’ and no power under heaven could hinder it, so long as the Lord would permit them to welter under the curse and those were known to be our religious views concerning them.” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 2, p. 172).
And yes, just so we are clear once and for all, Mr. Beck:
“Now if any of you will deny the plurality of wives, and continue to do so, I promise that you will be damned,” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 3, p. 266).
“The only men who become Gods, even the Sons of God, are those who enter into polygamy,” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 11, p. 269).
But of course, as Glenn Beck apologists will doubtlessly point out, these are quotes from the man who founded Beck’s religion and not from Beck himself. Very well then—let us visit some of Beck’s own quotes. First, let us just reprint Beck’s gem about Obama once more, to let it sink in: “[Barack Obama] has exposed himself as a guy who has a deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture.” He then added, “This guy is … a racist.”
Yes, I am afraid Mr. Beck is quite the class act when it comes to race. Let’s go a recap of some of the delightful treats to be found on Mr. Beck’s website and track record:
He once suggested to a 7-year-old African-American girl, the author of a controversial poem that she should “go to Africa” and promised to “personally purchase [her] airfare.”
An animated presentation on his website narrates that Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad “had relations with a goat.”
An announcer on another clip says Mexico’s “main contribution to American society is the deflowering of our teenage daughters on spring break.”
Several segments of his show feature Middle Eastern superheroes named Kandahar and Jalalabad who blow themselves up at the end of all episodes.
On his website, there is a clip entitled, “I Like Chinese.” The lyrics include references to Chinese as “small” and “cuddly,” further saying that “they only come up to your knees” and “they all have names like Wang and Chung and Sun-Ji.”
To a caller who claimed to have tortured prisoners for the US military he once said, “I’ve got to tell you, I appreciate your service. Good for you. Good for—I mean, good for you. Is it because you did it for the country? … I have to tell you, when all is said and done, I’m glad people like you are on our side.”
“Prove to me that you are not working with our enemies,” Beck asked Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), the first Muslim member of the House of Representatives. (Glenn Beck, 11/14/06) Yes, he did say that right to the guy’s face.
As a last small note, it is awfully funny that Beck cares so much about the infamous butchers and torturers under Batista that were executed by Castro, seeing as how Beck himself admitted he would like to execute a person or two: “Hang on, let me just tell you what I’m thinking. I’m thinking about killing Michael Moore, and I’m wondering if I could kill him myself, or if I would need to hire somebody to do it. No, I think I could. I think he could be looking me in the eye, you know, and I could just be choking the life out — is this wrong?”