Max Shachtman


In This Corner

(15 August 1939)

From Socialist Appeal, Vol. III No. 59, 15 August 1939, p. 4.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.

You wonder sometimes how the fascists and other anti-Semites get up all the nerve required for the perfectly fantastic lies that form the underpinnings of their program. And you can only conclude that it is not so much nerve that is required as is a vast faith in the illiteracy and gullibility of at least a wide section of mankind.

A case in point is the current issue of Social Justice, organ of the illustrious divine and devotee of truth and equity, Father Coughlin. He has been running a series of articles by one Ben Marcin, entitled An Answer to Father Coughlin’s Critics, and in the August 7 issue, he reaches the chapter called Did Apostate Jews Participate in Bolshevism? The aim of this article is of course to prove that as part of the “Jew-Bolshevik world conspiracy,” the Jews started and ran the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia in 1917. And the proof, taken from the not unknown Grant Richards, is splashed over six columns – two full pages – of Coughlin’s magazine, in 6-point type, in the form of a “list of the principal Bolshevik leaders in 1919, “real and assumed names.”

The Longest and the Lyingest

And, writes Marcin, “in making a resume of the Officials of the State, that is to say, of those who, in fact, governed Russia, we arrive at the following figures: “Of 591 persons listed, only 36 are Russians, 487 are Jews, and the rest are divided among Poles, Czechs, Karaims (?), Letts, Finns, Armenians, Georgians, Imeretians, Hungarians and Germans.”

Now of all the similar lists that have come to our attention in the last 20 years, this one is by far the longest and the lyingest. It is, as you might say, a honey. You cannot really say whether the impudence of its compiler is greater than his ignorance – or the ignorance he hopes to find in his readers. In all likelihood, impudence and ignorance are well intermingled in this case. Let us pluck a few sample pearls from the tiara:

The list, you see, is really twenty-two lists in all, that is, it is divided into twenty-two divisions. In one of them (List I) Lenin is grudgingly admitted as a Russian. In the very next one, however, the author’s scruple’s get the better of him and he places a question mark and an asterisk after “Russian.” You read the footnote and it says: “Doubtful. He is Oulianoff by adoption.” It seems to us that it would have been the better part of audacious imaginativeness to list Lenin as a Portuguese Jew whose real name was Liebowitz.

Souhanov (Sukhanov!) has his real name given as Ghimmer and rated, in List I, as a German. In List XX, allegedly of the Central Executive Committee of the 4th Pan-Russian Congress of the Soviets, the late Sukhanov is not only presented as Gimmer, without the “h” but is converted into a Jew. Perhaps more serious a conversion is the change of this old Menshevik and open adversary of the October Revolution into a Bolshevik.

Lunacharsky doesn’t get off much easier. In List I he is just a plain Russian. In List II, allegedly of the Council of People’s Commissars, he is given the “real name” of Mondelstam, which is suspicious already, but the author is not sure of himself yet and so the late Commissar of Education is still described as a Russian. But if he was a Bolshevik, doesn’t it follow that he must have been a Jew too? So the author, losing patience by the time he reaches his last division, “Central Committee of the Social Democratic Party of Workmen,” finally puts Lunacharsky down as a Jew in List XXII.

Anything But the Truth

Christian Rakovsky, who came from an old and distinguished Bulgarian family, is curtly dismissed in one line of List V: “Peace Delegation at Kief, Cain (!) Rakovsky ... Jew.” On what grounds? Well, Cain, like Abel, must have been a Jew. But Rakovsky’s name was not Cain, it may be timidly argued. So much the worse for him: these Bolsheviks are always changing their names anyway. Peter Stutchka, the patriarch of the Lettish socialist movement who died a Lett – if you are interested – just as he was born one, is of course registered as a Jew in List IX. The Commissar of Affairs of the Nationalities, Djougachvili (does the author know he is speaking of Stalin?), is given in List II as an Armenian, which ought to make those of Stalin’s fellow-Georgians who have intense nationalistic prejudices feel pretty relieved.

The Lettish Bolshevik, Roudsitak (as the nonchalant author spells it), is put down as a Jew in List XVIII; but apparently Marcin-Richards grew remorseful further on in the same page and by the simple device of adding another mis-spelling to the name, “Roudzoutas,” they permit him to become a Lett again.

Smilga, the Red Army hero, whom the author, with surprising affection, calls “Smilgcha” and who was as Russian as a bottle of kvass, is read into the outer darkness as a Jew. Karakhan is given in List V as an Armenian, but fearful lest they be accused of accuracy, he is converted into a “Karaim” in List XXI by merely having an “e” added to his name. In fact, the author seems to be overwhelmed by this fear in other cases, too. For example, after having registered Maxim Gorki in List XV as a Russian – and who could deny that? – he hastens to add that Gorki was editor of Pravda, which of course he never was.

Having exhausted the Bolshevik Jews, the author proceeds to “a summary of the parties who allege they are in opposition to the Bolsheviki.” The one summary is worthy of the other. Alexander Kerensky will be astonished to learn that his real name is A. Kirbis (Why not A. Wallingford Thrushtooth?) and that he is a Jew. The Menshevik Abramovich will also be interested to hear that he was a member of the Right Socialist Revolutionary Party, and the Socialist Revolutionaries, Ratner and Gotz, would also have been interested in learning that they were members of the Central Committee of the Menshevik Party.

In a word, for the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth about Bolshevism, read the paper of the Christian scholar and gentleman, Father Coughlin.

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