Department of Politics
Posted on 23 June 2020
Confronting Anti-Semitism in the 21st Century
Critical Theory and the Critique of Antisemitism: On Society as Economic Object
By Werner Bonefeld
The paper argues that the critique of modern antisemitism is fundamentally a critique of capitalist political economy. It expounds the critical tradition associated with the work of Marx, Horkheimer, Adorno and Postone, to argue that antisemitism is innate to the existent society. It explores antisemitism as a perverted form of anti-capitalism, one which associates labour economy with freedom, Arbeit macht frei, and rejects the manifestation of labour economy in the form of money as more money. It specifies antisemitism as a personalised critique of a crisis-ridden dynamic of real economic abstractions, of price and profit, and their regulation by the invisible hand. Modern antisemitism identifies the ghostlike character of the economic object, what Marx called the capital fetish, with the character and the power of the Jew.