POLS 2900 Lecture Notes - On The Jewish Question, The Emotions, For Marx
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Tuesday, March 19, 2013
MARX: ON THE JEWISH QUESTION
*Guest lecture by Jordan Cummings
On the Jewish Question
•Jews could not be emancipated
•Marx’s response: freeing the whole before freeing the particulars is putting the cart
before the horse. He purports that you need to have Jewish emancipation before you have
•There is difference between formal and substantive free will
oFormal freedom is better than unfreedom
oWhat Marx is trying to get at is the limitations and progress that came with the
French Revolution and its overall influence throughout Europe
•Man is egoistic and self-centered in civil society. The emotions released by the
unfettering of markets were politically constituted.
•Double freedom - free from bondage and free from common access to land and sell your
•Marx views humans as social animals- and emancipation is to develop and work with our
sociality. We do not need for something to be above us. But, for this to take place, its
conditions of possibility have to work.
•For Marx, religion is a form of alienation. It is projecting our powers into the sky.
•The Jews were limited by their social context. There was little for them to do other than
•Marx is writing about the Jew as a concept, not necessarily as a reality. He is not talking
about Jesus and the Pastor. He is talking about social relations. And so, in pre-capitalist
society, the Jews had few rights to being traders. The system was dependent on their
existence and dependent on their oppression. This was incredibly important to the entire
•If Marx wrote right now, he would probably pick a different oppressed group and use
similar language to explain why we developed our oppressed stereotypes of that group
Protection of Private Property
•Marx resonates with Locke’s idea that the state exists mostly to protect private property
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