A Jewish State (1917 translation)/The Jewish Question
|←Introduction||A Jewish State by , translated by Sylvie d'Avigdor and Jacob De Haas
The Jewish Question
THE JEWISH QUESTION
No one can deny the gravity of the Jews' situation. Wherever they live in perceptible numbers, they are more or less persecuted. Their equality before the law, granted by statute, has become practically a dead letter. They are debarred from filling even moderately high positions, either in the army, or in any public or private capacity. And attempts are made to crowd them out of business also. "No dealing with Jews!"
Attacks in Parliaments, in assemblies, in the press, in the pulpit, in the streets, on journeys—for example, their exclusion from certain hotels—even in places of recreation, become daily more numerous, the forms of persecution varying according to the countries in which they occur. In Russia, impositions are levied on Jewish villages; in Roumania, a few human beings are put to death; in Germany, they get a good beating when the occasion serves; in Austria, Anti-Semites exercise terrorism over all public life; in Paris, they are shut out of the so-called best social circles and excluded from clubs. Shades of Anti-Jewish feeling are innumerable. But this is not to be an attempt to make out a doleful category of Jewish hardships; it is futile to linger over details, however painful they may be.
I do not intend to awaken sympathetic emotions on our behalf. That would be a foolish, futile, and undignified proceeding. I shall content myself with putting the following questions to the Jews: Is it true that, in countries where we live in perceptible numbers, the position of Jewish lawyers, doctors, men of science, teachers, and officials of all descriptions, becomes daily more intolerable? True, that the Jewish middle classes are seriously threatened? True, that the passions of the mob are incited against our wealthy representatives? True, that our poor endure greater sufferings than any other proletariat?
I think that this external pressure makes itself felt everywhere. In our upper classes it causes unpleasantness, in our middle classes continual and grave anxieties, in our lower classes absolute despair.
Everything tends, in fact, to one and the same conclusion, which is clearly enunciated in that classic Berlin phrase: "Juden raus!" (Out with the Jews!)
I shall now put the Jewish Question in the curtest possible form: Are we to" "get out" now? And if so, to what place?
Or, may we yet remain? And if so, how long?
Let us first settle the point of staying where we are. Can we hope for better days, can we possess our souls in patience, can we wait in pious resignation till the princes and peoples of this earth are more mercifully disposed towards us? I say that we cannot hope for a change in the current of feeling. And why not? Were we as near to the hearts of princes as are their other subjects, even so they could not protect us. They would only feed popular hatred of Jews by showing us too much favor. By "too much," I really mean less than is claimed as a right by every ordinary citizen, and by every tribe.
Every nation in whose midst Jews live is, either covertly or openly, Anti-Semitic. The common people have not, and indeed cannot have, any historic comprehension. They do not know that the sins of the Middle Ages are now being visited on the nations of Europe. We are what the Ghetto made us. We have doubtless attained preeminence in finance, because mediæval conditions drove us to it. The same process is now being repeated. Modern conditions force us again into finance, now the stock-exchange, by keeping us out of all other branches of industry. Being on the stock-exchange, we are therefore again considered contemptible. At the same time we continue to produce an abundance of mediocre intellects which finds no outlet, and this endangers our social position as much as does our increasing wealth. Educated Jews without means are now fast becoming Socialists. Hence we are certain to suffer very severely in the struggle between classes, because we stand in the most exposed position in the camps of both Socialists and capitalists.
PREVIOUS ATTEMPTS AT A SOLUTION
The artificial means heretofore employed to overcome the troubles of Jews have been either too petty—such as attempts at colonization, or mistaken in principle—such as attempts to convert the Jews into peasants in their present homes.
What is the result of transporting a few thousand Jews to another country? Either they come to grief at once, or prosper, and then their prosperity creates Anti-Semitism. We have already discussed these attempts to divert poor Jews to fresh districts. This diversion is clearly inadequate and futile, if it does not actually defeat its own ends; for it merely protracts and postpones a solution, and perhaps even aggravates difficulties.
Whoever were to attempt a conversion of the Jews into a husbandman would be making an extraordinary mistake. For a peasant is a historical category, as is proved by his costume, which in some countries he has worn for centuries; and by his tools, which are identical with those used by his earliest forefathers. His plough is unchanged; he carries the seed in his apron; mows with the historical scythe, and threshes with the time-honored flail. But we know that all this can be done by machinery. The agrarian question is only a question of machinery. America must conquer Europe, in the same way as large landed possessions absorb small ones.
The peasant is consequently a type which is in course of extinction. Whenever he is artificially preserved, it is done on account of the political interests which he is intended to serve. It is absurd, and indeed impossible, to make modern peasants on the old pattern. No one is wealthy or powerful enough to make civilization take a single retrograde step. The mere preservation of obsolete institutions is a task severe enough to require the enforcement of all the despotic measures of an autocratically governed State.
Are we therefore to credit Jews, who are intelligent, with a desire to become peasants of the old type? One might just as well say to them: "Here is a cross-bow; now go to war?" What? with a cross-bow, while the others have rifles and Maxim guns? Under these circumstances the Jews are perfectly justified in refusing to stir when people try to agrarianize them. A cross-bow is a beautiful weapon, it inspires me with mournful feelings when I have time to give way. But it belongs rightly in a museum.
Now, there certainly are districts where desperate Jews go out, or at any rate are willing to go out, and till the soil. And a little observation shows that these districts—such as portions of Hessen in Germany, and some provinces in Russia—these very districts are the principal seats of Anti-Semitism.
For the world's reformers, who send the Jews to the plough, forget a very important person, who has a decided objection to seeing them there. This person is the agriculturist. And the agriculturist is also perfectly justified in his objections. For the tax on land, the risks attached to crops, the pressure of large proprietors who cheapen labor, and American competition in particular, combine to make his life hard enough. The duties on corn cannot go on increasing indefinitely. Nor can the manufacturer be allowed to starve; his political influence is, in fact, in the ascendant, and he must therefore be treated with additional consideration.
All these difficulties are well known, therefore I only referred to them cursorily. I merely wanted to indicate clearly how futile had been past attempts—most of them well intentioned—to solve the Jewish Question. Neither a diversion of the stream, nor an artificial depression of the intellectual level of our proletariat, will overcome the difficulty. The supposed infallible expedient of assimilation has already been dealt with.
We cannot get the better of Anti-Semitism by any of these methods. It cannot die out so long as its causes are not removed. Are they removable?
CAUSES OF ANTI-SEMITISM.
We shall not again touch on those causes which are a result of temperament, prejudice and limited views, but shall here restrict ourselves to political and economic causes alone. Modern Anti-Semitism is not to be confounded with the religious persecution of the Jews of former times. It does occasionally take a somewhat religious bias, but the main current of the aggressive movement has now changed. In the principal countries where Anti-Semitism prevails, it does so as a result of the emancipation of the Jews. When civilized nations awoke to the inhumanity of exclusive legislation and enfranchised us, our enfranchisement came too late. It was no longer possible legally to remove our disabilities in our old homes. For we had, curiously enough, developed while in the Ghetto into a bourgeois people, and we stepped out of it only to enter into fierce competition with the middle classes. Hence, our emancipation set us suddenly within this middle-class circle, where we have a double pressure to sustain, from within and from without. The Christian bourgeoisie would not be unwilling to cast us as a sacrifice to Socialism, though that would not greatly improve matters. At the same time, the equal rights of Jews before the law cannot be withdrawn where they have once been conceded. Not only because their withdrawal would be opposed to the spirit of our age, but also because it would immediately drive all Jews, rich and poor alike, into the ranks of the revolutionary army.
Nothing effectual can really be done to our injury. In old days our jewels were seized. How is our movable property to be got hold of now? It is comprised in printed papers which are scattered over the world, locked up maybe in the coffers of Christians. It is of course possible to get at shares and debentures in railways, banks and industrial concerns of all descriptions, by taxation, and where the progressive income-tax is in force, all our realized property can eventually be laid hold of. But all these efforts cannot be directed against Jews alone, and where they have nevertheless been made, severe economic crises with far-reaching effects have been their immediate consequence. The very, impossibility of getting at the Jews nourishes and embitters hatred of them. Anti-Semitism increases day by day and hour by hour among the nations; indeed, it is bound to increase, because the causes of its growth continue to exist, and cannot be removed. Its remote cause is our loss of the power of assimilation during the Middle Ages; its immediate cause is our excessive production of mediocre intellects, who cannot find an outlet downwards or upwards—that is to say, no wholesome outlet in either direction. When we sink, we become a revolutionary proletariat, the subordinate officers of the revolutionary party; when we rise, there rises also our terrible power of the purse.
EFFECTS OF ANTI-SEMITISM.
The oppression we endure does not improve us, for we are not a whit better than ordinary people. It is true that we do not love our enemies; but he alone who can conquer himself dare reproach us with that fault. Oppression naturally creates hostility against oppressors, and our hostility aggravates the pressure. It is impossible to escape from this eternal round.
"No!" some soft-hearted visionaries will say; "no, it is possible! Possible by means of the ultimate perfection of humanity."
Is it worth while pointing out the sentimental folly of this view? He who would found his hope for improved conditions on the ultimate perfection of humanity, would indeed be painting a Utopia!
I referred previously to our "assimilation"; I do not for a moment wish to imply that I desire such an end. Our national character is too historically famous, and, spite of every degradation, too fine, to make its annihilation desirable. We might perhaps be able to merge ourselves entirely into surrounding races, if these were to leave us in peace for a space of two generations. But they will not leave us in peace. For a little period they manage to tolerate us, and then their hostility breaks out again and again. The world is provoked by our prosperity, because it has for many centuries been accustomed to consider us as the most contemptible among the poverty-stricken. It forgets, in its ignorance and narrowness of heart, that prosperity weakens our Judaism and extinguishes our peculiarities. It is only pressure that forces us back to the parent stem; it is only hatred encompassing us that makes us strangers once more.
Thus, whether we like it or not, we are now, and shall henceforth remain, a historic group with unmistakable characteristics common to us all.
We are one people—our enemies have made us one in our despite, as repeatedly happens in history. Distress binds us together, and, thus united, we suddenly discover our strength. Yes, we are strong enough to form a State, and a model State. We possess all human and material resources necessary for the purpose.
This is the strictly appropriate place for an account of what has been somewhat rudely termed our human material. But it would not be appreciated till the broad lines of the plan, on which everything depends, had first been marked out.
The whole plan is in its essence perfectly simple, as it must necessarily be if it is to come within the comprehension of all.
Let the sovereignty be granted us over a portion of the globe large enough to satisfy the reasonable requirements of a nation; the rest we shall manage for ourselves.
The creation of a new State is neither ridiculous nor impossible. We have in our day witnessed the process in connection with nations which were not in the bulk of the middle class, but poorer, less educated, and consequently weaker than ourselves. The Governments of all countries scourged by Anti-Semitism will serve their own interests in assisting us to obtain the sovereignty we want.
The plan, simple in design, but complicated in execution, will be carried out by two mediums: the Society of Jews and the Jewish Company.
The Society of Jews will do the preparatory work in the domains of science and politics, which the Jewish Company will afterwards practically apply.
The Jewish Company will see to the realization of the business interests of departing Jews, and will organize commerce and trade in the new country.
We must not imagine the departure of the Jews to be a sudden one. It will be gradual, continuous, and will cover many decades. The poorest will go first to cultivate the soil. In accordance with a preconcerted plan, they will construct roads, bridges, railways, and telegraphs; regulate rivers, and build their own habitations; their labor will create trade, trade will create markets, and markets will attract new settlers; for every man will go voluntarily, at his own expense and his own risk. The labor expended on the land will enhance its value, and the Jews will soon perceive that a new and permanent sphere of operation is opening here for that spirit of enterprise which has heretofore met only with hatred and obloquy.
If we wish to found a State today, we shall not do it in the way which would have been the only possible one a thousand years ago. It is foolish to revert to old stages of civilization, as many Zionists would like to do. Supposing, for example, we were obliged to clear a country of wild beasts, we should not set about the business in the fashion of Europeans of the fifth century. We should not take spear and lance and go out singly in pursuit of bears; we should organize a large and active hunting party, drive the animals together, and throw a melinite bomb into their midst.
If we wish to conduct building operations, we shall not plant a mass of stakes and piles on the shore of a lake, but we shall build as men build now. Indeed, we shall build in a bolder and more stately style than was ever adopted before, for we now possess means which men never yet possessed.
The emigrants standing lowest in the economic scale will be slowly followed by those of a higher grade. Those who at this moment are living in despair will go first. They will be led by the mediocre intellects which we produce so superabundantly, and which are persecuted everywhere.
This pamphlet will open a general discussion on the Jewish Question, avoiding, if possible, the creation of an opposition party. Such a result would ruin the cause from the outset, and dissentients must remember that allegiance or opposition are entirely voluntary. Who will not come with us, may remain.
Let all who are willing to join us, fall in behind our banner and fight for our cause with voice and pen and deed.
Those Jews who fall in with our idea of a State will attach themselves to the Society, which will thereby be authorized to confer and treat with Governments in the name of our people. The Society will thus be acknowledged in its relations with Governments as a State-creating power. This acknowledgment will practically create the State.
Should the Powers declare themselves willing to admit our sovereignty over a neutral piece of land, then the Society will enter into negotiations for the possession of this land. Here two territories come under consideration, Palestine and Argentina. In both countries important experiments in colonization have been made, though on the mistaken principle of a gradual infiltration of Jews. An infiltration is bound to end in disaster. It continues till the inevitable moment when the native population feels itself threatened, and forces the Government to stop the further influx of Jews. Immigration is consequently futile unless based on an assured supremacy.
The Society of Jews will treat with the present masters of the land, putting itself under the protectorate of the European Powers, if they prove friendly to the plan. We could offer the present possessors of the land enormous advantages; take upon ourselves part of the public debt, build new roads for traffic, which our presence in the country would render necessary, etc. The creation of our State would be beneficial to adjacent countries, because the cultivation of a strip of land increases the value of its surrounding districts in innumerable ways.
PALESTINE OR ARGENTINA?
Shall we choose Palestine or Argentina? We shall take what is given us, and what is selected by Jewish public opinion. The Society will settle both these points.
Argentina is one of the most fertile countries in the world, extends over a vast area, has a sparse population and a mild climate. The Argentine Republic would derive considerable profit from the cession of a portion of its territory to us. The present infiltration of Jews has certainly produced some friction, and it would be necessary to enlighten the Republic on the intrinsic difference of our new movement.
Palestine is our ever-memorable historic home. The very name of Palestine would attract our people with a force of marvellous potency. Supposing His Majesty the Sultan were to give us Palestine, we could in return pledge ourselves to regulate the whole finances of Turkey. We should there form a portion of the rampart of Europe against Asia, an outpost of civilization as opposed to barbarism. The sanctuaries of Christendom would be safeguarded by assigning to them an extra-territorial status, such as is well known to the law of nations. We should form a guard of honor about these sanctuaries, answering for the fulfilment of this duty with our existence. This guard of honor would be the great symbol of the solution of the Jewish Question after eighteen centuries of Jewish suffering.
DEMAND, MEDIUM, TRADE.
I said in the last chapter but one, "the Jewish Company will organize trade and commerce in the new country." I shall here insert a few remarks on that point.
A scheme such as mine is gravely imperilled by the antagonistic attitude of "experts." Now experts are often nothing more than men sunk into the groove of daily routine, whence they have an extraordinarily limited view. At the same time, their adverse opinion carries great weight, and can do considerable harm to a new project, at any rate till this new thing is sufficiently strong to throw "experts" and their stupid notions to the winds.
In the earliest period of European railway construction some "experts" were of opinion that it was foolish to build certain lines, "because there were not even sufficient passengers to fill the mail-coaches." They did not realize the truth which now seems obvious to us—that travelers do not produce railways, but, conversely, railways produce travelers, the latent demand being, of course, taken for granted.
The impossibility of comprehending how trade and commerce are to be created in a new country which has yet to be acquired and cultivated may be classed with those doubts of "experts" concerning the need for railways. An "expert" would express himself somewhat in this fashion:
"Granted that the present situation of the Jews is in many places unendurable, and aggravated day by day; granted that there exists a desire to emigrate; granted even that the Jews do emigrate to the new country; how will they earn their living there, and what will they earn? What are they to live on when there? Commerce cannot be artificially organized in a day."
To this I should reply: We have not the slightest intention of organizing trade artificially, and we should certainly not attempt to do it in a day. But, though the organization of it may be impossible, the promotion of it is not. And how is commerce to be encouraged? Through the medium of a demand. The demand recognized, the medium created, commerce will establish itself.
If there is a real and earnest demand among Jews for an improvement of their status; if the medium to be created—the Jewish Company—is sufficiently powerful, then commerce will extend itself copiously in the new country. This is, of course, an assumption, in the same way as the development of railway traffic was an assumption in the thirties. Railroads were built all the same, for men's ideas fortunately carried them beyond the doubts of "experts" and their mail-coaches.
The Jewish Company is partly modelled on the lines of a great trading association. It might be called a Jewish Chartered Company, though it cannot exercise sovereign power, and has duties other than the establishment of colonial commerce.
The Jewish Company will be founded as a joint-stock company subject to English jurisdiction, framed according to English laws, and under the protection of England. Its principal centre will be London. I cannot tell yet how large the Company's capital should be; I shall leave that calculation to our numerous financiers. But to avoid ambiguity, I shall put it at a thousand million marks (about £50,000,000); it may be either more or less than that sum. The form of subscription, which will be further elucidated, will determine what fraction of the whole amount must be paid in at once.
The Jewish Company is an organization with a transitional character. It is strictly a business undertaking, and must be carefully distinguished from the Society of Jews.
The Jewish Company will first of all see to the realization of all vested interests left by departing Jews. The method adopted will prevent the occurrence of crises, secure every man's property, and facilitate that inner migration of Christian citizens which has already been indicated.
The non-transferable goods which come under consideration are house property, land, and local business connections. The Jewish Company will at first take upon itself no more than the necessary negotiations for effecting the sale of these goods. These Jewish sales will not immediately produce any serious fall in prices. The Company's branch establishments in various towns will become the central offices for the sale of Jewish estates, and will charge only so much commission on transactions as will insure their financial stability.
Now, the development of this movement may cause a considerable fall in the prices of landed property, and may eventually make it impossible to find a market for it. At this juncture the Company will enter upon another branch of its functions. It will take over the management of abandoned estates till such time as it can dispose of them to greatest advantage. It will rent houses, let out land on lease, and instal business managers—these, on account of the required supervision, being, if possible, tenants also. The Company will endeavor everywhere to facilitate the acquisition of land by its tenants, who are Christians. It will, indeed, gradually replace its own officials in the European branches by Christian substitutes; lawyers, etc.; and these are not by any means to become servants of the Jews; they are intended to be free controlling bodies to the Christian population, so that everything may be carried through in equity, fairness and justice, and without imperilling the internal welfare of the people.
At the same time the Company will buy estates, or, rather, exchange them. For a house it will offer a house in the new country, and for land, land in the new country; everything being, if possible, transferred to new soil in the same state as it was in the old. And this transfer will be a great and recognized source of profit to the Company. "Over there" the houses offered in exchange will be newer, more beautiful, and more comfortably fitted, and the landed estates of greater value than those abandoned; but they will cost the company comparatively little, because it will have bought the ground at a very cheap rate.
PURCHASE OF LAND.
The land which the Society of Jews will have secured by international law must, of course, be privately acquired.
Provisions made by individuals for their own settlement do not come within the province of this general account. But the Company requires large strips of territory for its own needs and ours, and these it must secure by private purchase. It will negotiate principally for the acquisition of fiscal domains, with the great object of taking possession of this land "over there" without paying a price too high, in the same way as it sells here without accepting one too low. A forcing of prices will be impossible, because the value of the land will be created by the Company through its organization of settlements, in conjunction with the supervising Society of Jews. The latter will see to it that the enterprise does not become a Panama, but a Suez.
The Company will sell building sites at cheap rates to its officials, and will allow them to mortgage these for the building of their habitations, deducting the amount due from their salaries, or putting it down to their account as increased emolument. This will, in addition to the honors they expect, form a kind of recompense for their services.
All the immense profits of this speculation in land will go to the Company, which is bound to receive this indefinite premium in return for having borne the risk of the undertaking. When the undertaking involves any risk, the profits must be freely accorded to those who have borne it. But under no other circumstances will profits be permitted. In the co-relation of risk and profit is comprehended financial justice.
The Company will thus barter houses and estates. It must be plain to any one who has observed the rise in the value of land through its cultivation, that the Company will gain enormously on its landed property. This can best be seen in enclosed pieces of land in town and country. Areas not built over increase in value through surrounding cultivation. The men who carried out the extension of Paris made a successful speculation in land which was ingenious in its simplicity; instead of erecting new buildings in the immediate vicinity of the last houses of the town, they bought up adjacent strips of land and began to build on the outskirts of these. This inverse order of construction raised the value of building sites with extraordinary rapidity. After having completed the outer ring, they built in the middle of the town on these highly valuable sites, instead of continually erecting houses at the extremity.
Will the Company do its own building, or commission independent architects? It can, and will, do both. It has, as will be shown shortly, an immense reserve of working power, which will not be sweated by the Company, but, transported into brighter and happier conditions of life, will work at a cheap rate. Our geologists will have looked to the provision of building materials when they selected the sites of the towns.
What is to be the principle of construction?
The workmen's dwellings (which include the dwellings of all operatives) will be erected at the Company's own risk and expense. They will resemble neither those melancholy workmen's barracks of European towns, nor those miserable rows of cabins which surround factories; they will certainly present a uniform appearance, because the Company must build cheaply where it provides the building materials to a great extent; but the detached houses in little gardens will be united into attractive groups in each locality. The natural conformation of the land will rouse the ingenuity of our young architects, whose ideas have not yet been cramped by routine; and even if the people do not grasp the whole import of the plan, they will at any rate feel at ease in their loose clusters. The Temple will be visible from long distances, for our faith it was that united us in the old days. There will be light, attractive, healthy schools for children, conducted on the most approved modern systems. There will be continuation-schools for workmen, which will educate them up to greater technical knowledge and enable them to become intimate with the working of machinery. There will be places of amusement, for the proper conduct of which the Society of Jews will be responsible.
We are, however, speaking merely of the buildings at present, not of what may take place inside them.
I said that the Company would build workmen's dwellings cheaply. And cheaply, not only because of the proximity of abundant building materials, not only because of the Company's proprietorship of the sites, but also because of the non-payment of workmen.
American farmers work on the system of mutual assistance in the construction of houses. This childishly amicable system, which is as clumsy as the block houses erected, allows of considerable amplifications.
Our unskilled laborers, who will come at first from the great reservoirs of Russia and Roumania, must, of course, render each other assistance in the construction of houses. They will be obliged to build with wood in the beginning, because iron will not be immediately available. Later on, the original, inadequate, makeshift buildings will be replaced by superior dwellings.
Our unskilled laborers will first mutually erect these shelters; and then they will earn their houses as permanent possessions by means of their work — not immediately, but after three years of good conduct. In this way we shall secure energetic and able men, and these men will be practically trained for life by three years of labor under good discipline.
I said before that the Company would not have to pay these unskilled laborers. What will they live on?
On the whole, I am opposed to the Truck system, but it will have to be applied in the case of these first settlers. The Company provides for them in so many ways that it may take entire charge of their maintenance. In any case the Truck system will be enforced only during the first few years, and it will benefit the workmen by preventing their exploitation by small traders, landlords, etc. The Company will thus make it impossible from the outset for those of our people who are perforce hawkers and pedlars here to re-establish themselves in the same trades over there. And the Company will also keep back drunkards and dissolute men. Then there will be no payment of wages at all during the first period of settlement?
Wages will be paid for overtime.
THE SEVEN-HOURS DAY.
The seven-hours day is the regular working day.
This does not imply that wood-cutting, digging, stone-breaking, and a hundred other daily tasks should only be performed during seven hours. Indeed not. There will be fourteen hours of labor, work being done in shifts of three and a half hours. The organization of all this will be military in character; there will be commands, promotions and pensions, the means by which these pensions are raised being explained further on.
A sound man can do an excellent piece of work in three hours and a half. After an interval of the same length of time — which he will devote to rest, to his family, and to his education under guidance—he will be quite fresh for work again. Such labor can do wonders.
The seven-hours day thus implies fourteen hours of joint labor—more than that cannot be put into a day. I am convinced that it is quite possible to introduce this seven-hours day with success. The attempts to do so in Belgium and England are well known. Some advanced political economists who have studied the subject declare that a five-hours day would actually suffice. The Society of Jews and the Jewish Company will, in any case, make new and extensive experiments which will benefit the other nations of the world; and if the seven-hours day proves itself practicable, it will be introduced in our future State as the legal and regular working day.
Meantime the Company will always allow its employés the seven-hours day; and it will always be in a position to do so.
The seven-hours day will be the call of assembly to our people in every part of the world. All must come voluntarily, for ours must indeed be the Promised Land. . . .
Whoever works longer than seven hours receives his additional pay for overtime in cash. Seeing that all his needs are supplied, and that those members of his family who are unable to work are provided for by transplanted and centralized philanthropic institutions, he can put a little money by. Thrift, which is already a characteristic of our people, should be greatly encouraged, because it will, in the first place, facilitate the rise of individuals to higher grades; and secondly, the money saved will provide an immense reserve fund for future loans. Overtime will only be permitted on a doctor's certificate, and must not exceed three hours. For our men will crowd to work in the new country, and the world will see then what stuff for work is in us.
I shall not describe the mode of carrying out the Truck system, nor, in fact, the innumerable details of any process, for fear of confusing my readers. Women will not be allowed to perform any arduous labor, nor to work overtime.
Pregnant women will be relieved of all work, and will be supplied with nourishing food by the Truck. We want our future generations to be strong men and women.
We shall educate children as we wish from the commencement; but this I shall not elaborate either.
My remarks on workmen's dwellings, and on unskilled laborers and their mode of life, are no more Utopian than the rest of my scheme. Everything I have spoken of has already been put into practice on a small and insignificant scale. The "Assistance par le Travail," or "labor-test," which I studied in Paris, was of great service to me in the solution of the Jewish Question.
The labor-test which is now applied in Paris, in many other French towns, in England, in Switzerland, and in America, is a very small thing, but capable of the greatest expansion.
What is the principle of the labor-test.
The principle is: the furnishing of every necessitous man with easy, unskilled work, such as chopping wood, or cutting faggots used for lighting stoves in Paris households. This is a kind of prison-work before the crime, done without loss of character. It is meant to prevent men from taking to crime out of want, by providing them with work and testing their willingness to do it. Starvation must never be allowed to drive men to suicide; for such suicides are the deepest disgrace to a civilization which allows rich men to throw tit-bits to their dogs.
The labor-test thus provides every one with work. But the system has a great defect: there is not a sufficiently large demand for the productions of the unskilled workers employed, hence there is a loss to those who employ them; though it is true that the organization is philanthropic, and therefore prepared for loss. But here the benefaction lies only in the difference between the price paid for the work and its actual value. Instead of giving the beggar two sous, the institution supplies him with work on which it loses two sous. But at the same time it converts the good-for-nothing beggar into an honest bread-winner, who has earned perhaps 1 franc 50 centimes. 150 centimes for 10! That is to say, the receiver of a benefaction in which there is nothing humiliating has increased it fifteenfold! That is to say, fifteen thousand millions for one thousand millions!
The institution certainly loses 10 centimes. But the Jewish Company will not lose one thousand millions; it will draw enormous profits from this expenditure.
There is a moral side also. The small labor-tests which exist now preserve rectitude through industry till such time as the man who is out of work finds a post suitable to his capacities, either in his old calling or in a new one. He is allowed an hour or two daily for the purpose of looking for a place, in which task the institutions assist him.
The defect of these small organizations, so far, has been that they have been prohibited from entering into competition with timber merchants, etc. Timber merchants are electors; they would protest, and would be justified in protesting. Competition with State prison-labor has also been forbidden, for the State must have the monopoly of tending and exploiting its criminals.
In fact, there is very little room in an old-established society for the successful application of labor-tests.
But there is room in a new society!
For, above all, we require enormous numbers of unskilled laborers to do the first rough work of settlement, to lay down roads, plant trees, level the ground, lay down railroads and telegraph lines, etc. All this being, of course, carried out in accordance with a great and previously settled plan.
The labor carried to the new country will naturally create trade. The first markets will supply only the absolute necessaries of life: cattle, grain, working clothes, tools, arms, etc. These we shall be obliged at first to procure from neighboring States, or from Europe; but we shall make ourselves independent as soon as possible. The Jewish promoters will soon realize what prospects of business the new country offers.
The army of the Company's officials will gradually introduce more refined requirements of life. (Officials include officers of our defensive forces, who will always form about the tenth part of our male colonists. They will be sufficiently numerous to quell mutinies, for the majority of our colonists will be peaceably inclined.)
The refined requirements of life introduced by our more prosperous officials will create a correspondingly improved market, which will continue to better itself. The married man will send for wife and children, and the bachelor for parents and relatives, as soon as a new home is established "over there." The Jews who emigrate to the United States always proceed in this fashion. As soon as one of them has daily bread and a roof over his head, he sends for his people; for family ties are strong among us. The Society of Jews and the Jewish Company will unite in caring for and strengthening the family, not only morally, but materially also. The officials will receive an increase of salary on marriage, and on the birth of children, for we need all who are there, and all who will follow.
OTHER CLASSES OF DWELLINGS.
I described before only workmen's dwellings built by themselves, and omitted all mention of other classes of dwellings; these I shall now touch upon. The Company's architects will build for the poorer class of citizens also, being paid in kind or cash; about a hundred different types of houses will be executed, and, of course, repeated. These beautiful types will form part of our propaganda. The soundness of their construction will be guaranteed by the Company, which will, indeed, gain nothing by selling them to settlers at a fixed sum. And where will these houses be situated? That will shortly be demonstrated in the description of local groups.
Seeing that the Company receives, as it were, ground-rent and not house-rent, it will desire as many architects as possible to build by private contract. This system will introduce luxury, which serves many purposes. Luxury encourages arts and industries, paving the way to a future subdivision of large properties.
Rich Jews who are now obliged carefully to secrete their valuables, and to hold their dreary banquets behind lowered curtains, will be able to enjoy their possessions in peace "over there." If they cooperate in carrying out this emigration scheme, their capital will be rehabilitated there, and will have served to promote an unexampled undertaking. If rich Jews begin to rebuild their mansions in the new settlement, where they are no longer surveyed with envious eyes, it will soon become fashionable to live over there in beautiful modern houses.
SOME FORMS OF REALIZING NON-TRANSFERABLE PROPERTY
The Jewish Company is the receiver and administrator of the non-transferable goods of the Jews.
Its methods of procedure can be easily imagined in the case of houses and estates, but what methods will it adopt in the transfer of businesses?
Here numberless processes may be found practicable, which cannot all be enlarged on in this outline. But none of them will present any great difficulties, for in each case the emigrating business proprietor will settle with the Company's officers in his district on the most advantageous form of liquidation.
This will most easily be arranged in the case of small employers, in whose trades the personal activity of the proprietor is of chief importance, while goods and organization are a secondary consideration. The Company will provide a certain field of operation for the emigrant's personal activity, and will substitute a piece of ground, with loan of machinery, for his goods. Jews are known to adapt themselves with remarkable ease to any form of earning a livelihood, and they will quickly learn to carry on a new industry. In this way a number of small traders will become small landholders. The Company will, in fact, be prepared to sustain what appears to be a loss in taking over the non-transferable property of the poorest emigrants; for it will thereby induce the free cultivation of tracts of land, which raises the value of adjacent tracts.
In a larger business, where goods and organization equal, or even exceed, in importance, the personal activity of the manager, whose larger connection is also non-transferable, various forms of liquidation are possible. Here comes an opportunity for that inner migration of Christian citizens into positions evacuated by Jews. The departing Jew will not lose his personal business credit, but will carry it with him. The. Jewish Company will open a current bank account for him. And he can sell the goodwill of his original business, or hand it over to the control of managers under supervision of the Company's officials. The managers may rent the business or buy it, paying for it by instalments. But the Company acts temporarily as trustee for the emigrants, in superintending, through its officers and lawyers, the administration of their affairs, and seeing to the correct entry of all accounts.
If a Jew cannot sell his business, will not entrust it to a proxy, and does not wish to give up its personal management, he may stay where he is. The Jews who stay will be none the worse off, for they will be relieved of the competition of those who leave, and will no longer hear the Anti-Semitic cry "No dealing with Jews!"
If the emigrating business proprietor wishes to carry on his old business in the new country, he can make his arrangements for it from the very commencement. An example will best illustrate my meaning. The firm X. carries on a large business in fancy goods. The head of the firm wishes to emigrate. He begins by setting up a branch establishment in his future place of residence, and sending out his surplus stock. The first poor settlers will be his first customers; these will be followed by emigrants of a higher class, who require superior goods. X. then sends out newer goods, and eventually despatches his newest. The branch establishment begins to pay while the principal one is still in existence, so that X. ends by having two paying business houses. He sells his original business to a Christian, and goes off to manage the new one.
Another and greater example: Y. & Son are large coal traders, with mines and factories of their own. How is so huge and complex a property to be realized? The mines and everything connected with them might, in the first place, be bought up by the State in which they are situated. In the second place, the Jewish Company might take them over, paying for them partly in land, partly in cash. A third method might be the conversion of Y. & Son into a limited company. A fourth, the continued working of the business under the original proprietors, who would return at intervals to inspect their property, as foreigners, and as such, under the protection of law in every civilized State. All these suggestions are carried out daily. A fifth method, and one which might be particularly profitable, I shall merely indicate, because there are at present few and feeble extant examples of its working, however ready the modern consciousness may be to adopt them. Y. & Son might sell their undertaking to the collective body of their employés, who would form a cooperative society, and might perhaps pay the requisite sum by means of a Government loan, on which there would not be heavy interest to pay.
The employés would then gradually pay off the loan which either the Government or the Jewish Company, or even Y. & Son, would have advanced to them.
The Jewish Company will be prepared to conduct the transfer of the smallest affairs equally with the largest. While Jewish emigration slowly proceeds, the Company remains its great controlling body, which organizes the departure, takes charge of deserted possessions, guarantees the proper conduct of the movement with its own visible and palpable property, and provides permanent security for those who have already settled.
SECURITIES OF THE COMPANY.
What securities will the Company offer that the abandonment of countries will not cause their impoverishment and produce economic crises?
I have already mentioned that honest Anti-Semites will combine with our officials in controlling the transfer of our estates.
But the State revenues might suffer by the loss of a body of taxpayers, who, though little appreciated as citizens, are highly valued in finance. The State should therefore receive compensation for this loss. This we offer indirectly by leaving in the country business which we have built up by means of Jewish shrewdness and Jewish industry, by letting our Christian fellow-citizens move into our evacuated positions, and by thus facilitating the rise of numbers of people to greater prosperity in a manner so peaceable as has never been known before. The French Revolution had a similar result, on a small scale, brought about by bloodshed on the guillotine, in every province of France, and on the battlefields of Europe. Moreover, inherited and acquired rights were destroyed, and cunning buyers only enriched themselves by the purchase of State properties.
The Jewish Company will offer to the States that fall under its sphere of work, direct as well as indirect advantages. It will give Governments the first offer of abandoned Jewish property, and allow buyers most favorable conditions. Governments, again, will be able to make use of this extensive appropriation of land for the purpose of social experiments and improvements.
The Jewish Company will give every assistance to Governments and Parliaments in their efforts to control and guide the inner migration of Christian citizens.
The Jewish Company will also pay heavy duties. Its central office will be in London, so as to be under the protection of a Power which is not at present Anti-Semitic. But the Company requires to be officially and publicly supported, and must therefore be in a position to pay taxes. To this end, it will establish taxable branch offices everywhere. Further, it will pay double duties on the two-fold transfer of goods which it effects. Even in transactions where the Company is really nothing more than a business agency, it will temporarily appear as a purchaser, and will be set down as the momentary possessor in the register of landed property.
These are, of course, purely calculable matters.
Every place will raise and discuss the question, how far the Company can go without running any risks of failure. And the Company itself will confer freely with Finance Ministers on the various points at issue. Ministers will recognize the conciliatory spirit of our enterprise, and will consequently offer every facility in their power for the successful achievement of the great undertaking.
Further and direct profit will accrue to Governments from the transport of passengers and goods, and where railways are State property the returns will be immediately recognizable. Where they are held by companies, the Jewish Company will make favorable terms for transport, in the same way as does every transmitter of goods on a large scale. Freight and carriage must be made as cheap as possible for our people, because every traveler will pay his own expenses. The middle classes will travel with Cooks tickets, the poorer classes in emigrant trains. The Company might make a good deal by reductions on passengers and goods; but here, as elsewhere, it must adhere to its principle of not trying to raise its receipts to a greater sum than will cover its working expenses.
In many places Jews have control of the transport; and the transport industries will be the first needed by the Company, and the first to be bought up by it. The original owners of these industries will either enter the Company's service, or establish themselves independently "over there." The new arrivals will certainly require their assistance, and theirs being a paying profession, which they may and indeed must exercise there to earn a living, numbers of these enterprising spirits will depart. It is unnecessary to describe all the business details of this monster expedition. They must be judiciously evolved out of the original plan by many able and intelligent men.
SOME OF THE COMPANY'S FUNCTIONS.
One department of work will create another. For example: the Company will introduce manufactures of goods into the settlements which will, of course, be extremely primitive at their inception. Outer garments, under-linen, and shoes will first of all be manufactured for our own poor emigrants, who will be provided with new suits of clothing at the various European emigration centres. They will not receive these clothes as alms, which might hurt their pride, but in exchange for old garments; any loss the Company sustains by this transaction being booked as a business loss. Those who are absolutely without means will pay off their debt to the Company by working overtime at a fair rate of wages.
Existing emigration societies will be able to give valuable assistance here, for they will do for the Company's colonists what they did before for departing Jews; a good system of cooperation being easily organized by the authorities.
The new clothing even of the poor settlers will have a symbolic meaning. "You are now entering on a new life." The Society of Jews will impress on them the solemnity and gravity of their undertaking by instituting the recital of prayers, popular lectures, instruction on the object of the expedition, directions on the hygienic construction of their new places of residence, and encouragement to work, before the departure and during the journey. On their arrival the emigrants will be welcomed by our chief officials with due solemnity, but without foolish exultation, for the Promised Land will not yet have been conquered; they will only feel that, poor as they are, they are on land of their own at last.
The clothing industries of the Company will, of course, not produce their goods without distinct organization. The Society of Jews will obtain from the local groups an exact estimate of the number, requirements, and date of arrival of the settlers, and will communicate all information in good time to the Jewish Company. In this way it will be possible to provide for them with every precaution.
PROMOTION OF INDUSTRIES.
The duties of the Jewish Company and the Society of Jews cannot be kept strictly apart in this outline. These two great bodies will indeed work in unison, the Company depending on the moral direction and support of the Society, the Society again acting only with the material assistance of the Company. For example, in the management of the clothing industry, the quantity produced will at first be kept down so as to preserve an equilibrium between supply and demand; and wherever the Company undertakes the organization of new industries the same precautions will be exercised.
But individual enterprise must never be checked by our superior force. We shall only work collectively when the immense difficulties of the task demand common action; we shall, wherever possible, scrupulously respect the rights of the individual. Private property, which is the economic basis of independence, will also be encouraged to develop freely. Our unskilled laborers even will work their way up to private proprietorship.
The spirit of enterprise must, indeed, be encouraged in every possible way. Organization of industries will be promoted by a judicious system of duties, by the employment of cheap raw material, and by the institution of a Board to collect and publish industrial statistics.
But this spirit of enterprise must be wisely encouraged, risky speculation being as far as possible avoided. Every newly established industry must be long previously advertised, so as to prevent promoters, who six months later might wish to start a similar business, from preparing for themselves a financial failure. If the Company carefully publishes the designs of every new scheme, a knowledge of existing industrial conditions will be obtained by every one.
Promoters will further be able to make use of centralized labor agencies, which will only receive a commission large enough to ensure their continuance. The promoter might, for example, telegraph for 500 unskilled laborers for three days, three weeks, or three months. The labor agency would then collect these 500 unskilled laborers from every possible source, and despatch them at once to carry out the agricultural or industrial undertaking. Gangs of workmen will thus be systematically drafted from place to place like a body of troops. These men will, of course, not be sweated, but will work only a seven-hours day; and, in spite of their change of locality, they will preserve their military organization, work out their term of service, and receive commands, promotions, and pensions. Independent promoters will, of course, be able to obtain their workmen from other sources, but they will not find it easy to do so. The Society will be able to prevent the introduction of the sweating system through non-Jewish workmen who would work overtime, by boycotting the employers of these, by controlling traffic, and by various other methods. The seven-hours day must therefore be adhered to, and we shall thus bring our people gradually, and without coercion, to adopt the normal seven-hours day.
SETTLEMENT OF SKILLED LABORERS.
What can be done for unskilled workers can obviously be more easily done for skilled laborers. These will work under similar regulations in the factories, and the central labor agency will provide them when required. Independent operatives and small employers, who must be carefully taught, on account of the rapid progress of scientific improvements, who must acquire technical knowledge even if no longer very young men, who must study the power of water, and appreciate the force of electricity—independent workers must also be discovered and supplied by the Society's agency. The local group might apply, for example, to the central office: "We want so many carpenters, locksmiths, glaziers, etc." The central office would publish this demand, and the proper men would apply there for the work. These would then travel with their families to the place where they were wanted, and would remain there without feeling the pressure of undue competition. A permanent and comfortable home would thus be provided for them.
METHOD OF RAISING CAPITAL.
The capital required for establishing the Company was previously put at what seemed an absurdly high figure. The amount actually necessary will be fixed by financiers, and will in any case be a very considerable sum. There are three ways of raising this sum, all of which the Society will take under consideration. This Society, the great "Gestor" of the Jews, will be formed by our best and most upright men, who must not derive any material advantage from their membership. Although the Society cannot at the outset possess any but moral authority, this authority will yet suffice to establish the credit of the Jewish Company in the nation's eyes. The Jewish Company will thus be unable to undertake any business enterprise which has not received the Society's sanction; it will also not be formed of any mere indiscriminate group of financiers. For the Society will weigh, select and decide, and will not give its approbation till it is sure of the existence of good securities for the conscientious carrying out of the scheme. It will not permit experiments with insufficient means, for this undertaking must succeed at the first attempt. Any initial failure would compromise the whole idea during many decades to come, or might even make its realization permanently impossible.
The three methods of raising capital are: (1) Through "la haute finance"; (2) Through small and private banks; (3) Through public subscription.
The easiest, most rapid, and safest would be by "la haute finance." The required sum would then be raised in the shortest possible time by our great body of financiers, after they had discussed the advisability of the cause. The great advantage of this method would be that it would avoid the necessity of paying in the thousand millions (to keep to the original cipher) immediately in its entirety. A further advantage would be that the unlimited credit of these powerful financiers would be of considerable value to the Company in its transactions. Many latent political forces lie in our financial power, that power which our enemies assert to be actually and now as effective as we know it might be if we exercised it. Poor Jews feel only the hatred which this financial power provokes; its use in alleviating their lot as a body, they have not yet felt. The credit of our great Jewish financiers would have to be placed at the service of the National Idea. But should these gentlemen, who are naturally satisfied with their lot, decline to do anything for their co-religionists who are unjustly held responsible for the large possessions of certain individuals—should these great financiers refuse to cooperate—then the realization of this plan will afford an opportunity for drawing a clear line of distinction between them and the rest of Judaism.
The great financiers, moreover, will certainly not be asked to raise an amount so enormous out of pure philanthropy; that would be expecting too much. The promoters and stockholders of the Jewish Company are, on the contrary, intended to do a good piece of business, and they will be able to calculate beforehand what their chances of success are likely to be. For the Society of Jews will be in possession of all documents and references which may serve to define the prospects of the Jewish Company. The Society will also undertake the special duty of investigating with exactitude the extent of the new Jewish movement, so as to provide the Company promoters with thoroughly reliable information on the amount of support they may expect. The Society will also supply the Jewish Company with comprehensive modern Jewish statistics, thus doing the work of what is called in France a "société d'études," which undertakes all preliminary research previous to the financing of a great undertaking. Even so, the enterprise may not receive the valuable assistance of our money magnates. These might, perhaps, even try to oppose the Jewish movement by means of their secret servitors and agents. Such opposition we shall meet fairly and bravely.
Supposing that these magnates are content simply to refuse their support of the scheme:
Is it, therefore, done with?
For then the money will be raised in another way—by an appeal to moderately rich Jews. The smaller Jewish properties would have to be united in the name of the National Idea till they were gathered into a second and formidable financial force. But, unfortunately, this would require a great deal of financing at first—for the £50,000,000 would have to be subscribed in full before starting work; and, as this sum could only be raised very slowly, all sorts of banking business would have to be done and loans made during the first few years. It might even occur that, in the course of all these transactions, the ultimate object of them would be forgotten; Jews would create a new and large business, and forget all about emigration.
The notion of raising money in this way is not by any means impracticable. The experiment of collecting Christian money to form an opposing force to great financiers has already been tried; the experiment of opposing it with Jewish money has merely been thought of; it is quite feasible.
But these financial quarrels would bring about endless crises; the countries in which they occurred would suffer severely, and Anti-Semitism would become rampant everywhere.
This method is therefore not to be recommended. I have merely suggested it, because it comes up in the course of the logical development of the idea.
It is also doubtful whether smaller private banks would be willing to adopt it.
In any case, the refusal of moderately rich Jews would not even put an end to the scheme. A third method of carrying it out remains to be tried.
The Society of Jews, whose members are not business men, might try to found the Company on a national subscription.
The Company's capital might be raised without the assistance of a syndicate, by the direct imposition of a subscription on the public. Not only poor Jews, but also Christians who wanted to get rid of them, would subscribe their small quota to this fund. A new and peculiar form of the plebiscite would thus be established, whereby each man who voted for this solution of the Jewish Question would express his favorable opinion by subscribing a stipulated amount. This stipulation would produce security. The funds subscribed would only be paid in if their sum total reached the required amount; if the tenders were not sufficiently numerous, they would be returned.
But should the sum total raised all over the world by a public tax reach the required amount, then each little subscription would be secured by the great numbers of other small subscriptions.
All this could, of course, not be done without the express and definite assistance of interested Governments.
- These became subsequently the Zionist movement and the Jewish Colonial Trust, Ltd., respectively.
- See editor's preface for the determining of this issue.
- The third was adopted. The Jewish Colonial Trust was capitalized at £2,000,000, in £1 shares.