A Socialist Drumont? Alphonse Toussenel and the Jews
This article examines French socialist Alphonse Toussenel’s Les Juifs, rois de l’époque and places his hostility toward Jews on the spectrum of varieties of antisemitism. In this book, Toussenel denounced the supposed Jewish capitalist stranglehold over the workers of France and called for war against the Jews. As the article shows, Toussenel, who worked for the ultraconservative newspaper La Paix before founding the Fourierist La Démocratie pacifique, absorbed a toxic blend of Catholic and socialist antisemitism. In a sense, then, the origins of Toussenel’s antisemitism and that of other anti-Jewish Christian socialists lay not in their adherence to traditional categories of Right or Left but in their reaction to bourgeois capitalism and the way it developed in France during the July Monarchy. While Toussenel did not express his hostility toward Jews in racial terms, his ideology appealed to a wide range of antisemites, including Édouard Drumont, the leader of French anti-Jewish forces in the late nineteenth century. Drumont co-opted many of Toussenel’s ideas and blended them with racial antisemitism. Although Toussenel died in 1885, his work helped to legitimize the forces that led to the Dreyfus Affair.
KeywordsAlphonse Toussenel France Antisemitism Socialism Rothschild July Monarchy
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.