Histories of socialism usually begin with the Old Testament prophets, mighty preachers against usury and “those that buy the poor for silver,” visionaries of a golden age and messengers of perpetual peace. Their god was a god of Justice above all. Later, in the Diaspora, the Jews responded to persecution with a fervent messianic faith (which need not, of course, be socialist); but immediately upon emancipation, the buried message of social justice burst forth again in a crop of small and great prophets. Many Jews were followers of Saint-Simon, others helped to lay the foundations of Social Democracy: Moses Hess, Stefan Born, Ferdinand Lassalle, and, towering above them all, Karl Marx.
In the generation of the Second In...
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