Thursday, July 9, 2015

Israel Cohen's 'A Racial Program for the Twentieth Century' Redux

Back in September 2008 I published an article on Eustace Mullins' famous quotation from a work called 'A Racial Program for the Twentieth Century', (1) as it has been four years since then I think it is time to revisit that quotation in the light of four years worth of sporadic thought and tits-bits of research into this issue.

The claim made by Mullins is very simple: it came from a 'Zionist work' that he found in the Library of Congress. However the work is reputedly from a communist jewish author resident in Britain in 1912. Nobody has ever found the work to verify the quotation or discovered whether it was ever extent. The assumption has been that as these proofs cannot be produced then the quotation should be regarded as a hoax simply having been made up by Mullins.

Now while I am certainly no friend of Mullins or his work in general: I do take exception to the arbitrary and high-handed way that the quotation is simply dismissed by Boller and George in their entry on the subject, which is pseudo-plagiarised (in spite of citation as it is almost directly word-for-word) by Wikipedia. For the sake of balance I reproduce the entry; which also contains the alleged Cohen quote, in their work that gives their 'reasons' for judging it a hoax:

'Racial-Tension Quote

“We must realize our party's most powerful weapon is racial tension. By pounding into the consciousness of the dark races that for centuries they have been oppressed by the whites, we can mold them to the program of the Communist Party. In America we will aim for subtle victory. While inflaming the Negro minority against the whites, we will endeavour to instill in the whites a guilt complex for their exploitation of the Negroes. We will aid the Negroes to rise to prominence in every walk of life, in the professions and in the world of sports and entertainment. With this prestige, the Negroes will be able to intermarry with the whites and begin a process which will deliver America to our cause.”

During the debate on a civil-rights bill in Congress in June 1957, Mississippi Congressman Thomas G. Abernathy read the above statement, taken from a book entitled A Racial Program of the Twentieth Century, allegedly written by Israel Cohen, a leading British Communist, and published in 1912. In August 1958, however, New York's Congressman Abraham J Multer challenged the authenticity of the quotation. Among other things, he pointed out that there was no Communist Party in Britain in 1912 and that the expression “Communist Party” didn't come into existence until after World War I; that no book with such a title written by Israel Cohen or by anyone else could be located in the Library of Congress or in the British Museum Catalogue of Printed Books; and that there has was no record of a Communist named Israel Cohen ever having lived in England.

Congressman Multer also read into the Congressional Record an article entitled, “Story of a Phony Quotation – A Futile Effort To Pin It Down – 'A Racial Program for the 20th Century' Seems to Exist Only in Somebody's Imagination,” appearing in the Washington Star for February 18, 1958. After a through investigation, according to the article, the Star succeeded in tracing the phony quote to Eustace Mullins, Jr., who claimed to have copied it from a Zionist publication while doing research work in the Library of Congress in 1952. But as Multer told Congress: “He was discharged years ago from his probationary job as a photographic aid at the Library of Congress because of his authorship and circulation of violently anti-Semitic articles. Mullins has, apparently, a marked propensity for phony claims and counterfeit creations. Some of his counterfeits include a speech by a non-existent Hungarian rabbi, and a Lizze Stover College Fund – the fictitious Lizzie Stover being described as the Negro mother of President Eisenhower. Mr. Mullins' literary talents, however, have not been confined to confined to forgeries. In 1952, in his own name, he wrote 'Adolf Hitler: An Appreciation,' for the organ of the fascist National Renaissance Party cited by the House Un-American Activities Committee.” Despite the Washington Star expose: the phony quote continued to circulation among bigots in the 1980s.' (2)

It is apposite to begin with the quote itself and what it does; and does not, tell us.

The first thing that immediately presents itself is the tone of the quote itself in that it does not say; for example, that there has been historic oppression of the proletariat by the white bourgeoisie who have created racial tension as a means to separate the proletarians from each other, which would be the Marxist/Communist way of expressing the point the quote is initially trying to make. Instead it suggests that this oppression is not historical by saying 'pounding into the consciousness' and therefore implying that such oppression is invented of whole or part cloth.

This is not helped by the suggestion that there is a need to establish a 'white guilt complex', which again implies that such oppression is not historic or actual in Cohen's view, which would make it the case that Cohen would have to be a Communist who did not believe in the fundamentals of Communist thought then and now. To be sure we do know of Communists who endorsed race and eugenics, (3) but they were very much the minority at this time. More common was the concept; as enunciated by Karl Kautsky, (4) that national differences; like the formal trappings of religion, were a nonsense and something created by the ruling classes to keep the international proletariat divided and subservient to them.

Thus the tone of the quote suggests that it is probably not written by a Communist not least because it implies that its author does not actually believe in what would be core Communist beliefs. I am assuming here; of course, that when Cohen is identified as a Communist that what is meant is a Marxist rather than some other intellectual system of general communard philosophy like those enunciated by Proudhon and Babeuf. As such it would be rather like Lenin suggesting that the dictatorship of the proletariat; as he understood it,was merely a ploy to place unnamed other masters in charge.

The second issue with the quotation is in the focus on America as Cohen would have to have been far-sighted indeed to foresee the decrease in power of the European empires after two World Wars, which facilitated both the rise of Communism outside of Europe and the rise of America to the status of a global superpower. Cohen essentially could not have somehow known of the importance of America or of the future intellectual battles between egalitarians and racialists from the 1950s onward, which; certainly in the latter case, would not have been predictable at a time when not only was racialism normal, but rather that there was a strong academic and popular undercurrent towards Nordicism.

Thus the focus of the article suggests that it was written after the beginning of the Cold War in America and the battle between egalitarians and racialists in the legal and intellectual arena, which had started to begin to rumble in the 1930s but only got going in earnest during the Second World War when racialism could be simply; and incorrectly, transliterated to be simple Nazism. Something that Franz Boas; the jewish doyen of intellectual egalitarians to this day, began championing in the late 1920s. (5) In essence Cohen shows startling foresight in both the geopolitical and intellectual arenas for someone writing in 1912, which taken with what I have pointed out regarding tone strongly suggests that the article wasn't written in 1912 but after 1945.

The third issue with the quotation is some of the terminology used: most particularly the idea of the 'white guilt complex', which is derived from the thought of Sigmund Freud and the general 'psychoanalytical' method championed by both Freud and Jung. This terminology did not significantly catch on till Freud was successfully popularised as a thinker by his protégée Brill in the 1940s and 1950s. In 1912 Freud was just beginning his work on sex and its alleged relation to the mind, which again suggests remarkable intellectual foresight on the part of Cohen in not only anticipating major historical events, but also two very different intellectual trends and types of jargon.

Another problem of a similar nature is Cohen's use of the term 'entertainment' in the context of 'sports and entertainment', which would not have been used in 1912 as the mass consumption of systematically presented sport and the provision of entertainment only began during the 'roaring 20s' in the United States and by the 1950s had become an institution that people would have just assumed had been in place since perpetuity.

All these points taken together suggest that Cohen was not writing in 1912 at all and whoever wrote the quotation or the work in question was writing much later: presumably in the early 1950s when Mullins claims he discovered the quotation in the Library of Congress.

All three of these issues should have been clear to Multer and the Washington Star, but neither of these sources focus on these more pointed reasons for doubting the authenticity of Mullins' quote. However it is important to stress that in spite of their reasonable conclusions: neither of these sources actually mention particularly cogent reasons for doubting the quotes authenticity as such.

The first charge is that there was no Communist Party of Great Britain (the CPGB) in 1912, which is true there wasn't: but that is simply irrelevant as the 'Communist Party' could mean anything from the Labour Party (which had Communists in it and was imbued with individuals and groups who were Marxists as such) to the various obscure break-away Marxist sects like Hyndman's'Social Democratic Federation'. (6) The reference to such is hardly damning as it could refer to any party that was perceived by the author to hold to Marx and Engels' 'Communist Manifesto', which could thus be easily be transliterated into 'the Communist Party'as such.

The second charge is that the phrase 'Communist Party' only came to be used later, which is true it was more widely used after the ascension of Lenin and the Bolsheviks to power in the former Russian Empire: however once again it is not damning as a reference by an obscure author to 'the Communist Party' before 1919 is not implausible or even unlikely. To be sure it; taken with the three issues I have highlighted above, can be used to point to the origin in the early 1950s, but it does not necessarily do so and to suggest that it necessarily does is to distort the historical context.

The third charge is that Multer and the Washington Star could not find a copy of 'A Racial Program for the Twentieth Century' in either the Library of Congress or the British Museum's catalogue of works. This is again problematic when we note the date issue we are dealing with here in that Mullins asserts he found the work in 1952, while the Washington Star only presumably began checking in late 1957 or early 1958 and as such we have at least five years to account for whence the work may have disappeared from the archives.

It is not also implausible; as Mullins doesn't mention a publisher, that the work may well have been a manuscript (especially given that Mullins was employed by the Library of Congress to help photograph manuscripts) left in the archives and as such would not appear in either catalogue. The intervening period of five years may well have allowed it to have been thrown out or filed as lost property and promptly forgotten until the next clear out of unclaimed items occurred. Where with such a title it would have probably been binned given the expressed sentiments of the management of the Library of Congress regarding nationalist work of any description and the title that Cohen's manuscript allegedly had.

After all if you sack someone for writing nationalist work in his spare time: you are not likely to save obscure manuscripts with so vehement and nationalistic seeming a title as 'A Racial Program for the Twentieth Century' are you?

Thus the five year difference between alleged discovery and the investigation of that discovery creates doubt as to whether the publication was still in the Library of Congress when the Washington Star allegedly went looking. There is always the possibility of deliberate removal and/or tampering with records to be considered: however with so obscure a manuscript that seems to me rather unlikely as we have no evidence to suggest such a situation was the case.

I would also point out that in Mullins' defence: the Washington Star's 'investigation' does not seem to have been very through and to; in typical journalistic fashion,have simply involved a reporter tracing back the quote to Mullins (through the periodical 'Common Sense' where it was first published), going to the Library of Congress to ask about Mullins and see if they could find a copy and then asking an 'expert' to give his/her opinion on the subject, which then formed the arguments that the Washington Star then uses to create an expose to gain readership in the form of accusing a somewhat known author (of a best-selling biography of Ezra Pound among other things) of being a liar and a malignant fraudster.

The Washington Star article also claims that there was no Communist called Israel Cohen living in England at the time, which is not only a misrepresentation of Cohen's being a British (not an English) Communist, but also is manifestly incorrect as there was at least one author who 'fits the bill' as Henry Makow correctly notes. (7) Israel Cohen (1879 to 1961) was a British Zionist author who wrote numerous works between the late nineteenth century and his death in the 1960s: some of which like 'Jewish Life in Modern Times' are racially based but have a significant socialistic bent to them as well as being published around the time that 'A Racial Program for the Twentieth Century' was allegedly written. (8)

Cohen is a possible candidate because he was a leading Zionist; a head of the World Zionist Organisation no less, and as such makes sense of Mullins' response that he found the quote 'in a Zionist book'. That said he didn't give the book he had found it in and it is possible; albeit unlikely in my opinion, that he had found it in one Cohen's. That said I doubt the quote is cogent because it lacks internal consistency with its supposed time of authorship and its lack of left-wing thought rather than because I think that it impossible for it to have been written by a jewish author named Israel Cohen in 1912 in Britain as Multer and the Washington Star seem to think.

Makow; citing a Myron Fagan article from 1966, (9) claims that Fagan's testimony answers the question. Having read both Fagan's booklet and Israel Cohen's work: this seems rather doubtful. As Fagan claimed Cohen saw 'A Racial Program for the Twentieth Century' as being a follow on from Israel Zangwill's 'Melting Pot'. However Fagan is the only person to express this idea as no author on Zangwill or Cohen I have read knows about this or has seen any documentation for it. To be sure Cohen did write novels; for example his 1931 work 'A Ghetto Gallery', (10) but I know of no evidence; other than Fagan's hyperbolic booklet, (11) to suggest that he ever wrote 'A Racial Program for the Twentieth Century'.

Nor do we have any proof for any 'conspiracy' to cover up or remove copies of 'A Program for the Twentieth Century' from any bookshelves, private collections and/or research archives; had it in fact been published, as such it is untenable to suggest that just because there was a five year gap between publication and investigation (easily explained by the fringe circulation of the quote originally) that there was some kind of concerted effort on the ADL's or any other jewish organisation's part to do so.

In fact far worse has been written by jewish authors before and since then: that we would also have suggest that the jews should have covered up. That they have not done so suggests it is hardly likely that they were going to go to great lengths in trouble, time and expense to suppress one obscure book mentioned by one fringe author as Makow alleges.

If Makow wishes to argue that position; and as he holds a doctorate in spite of being a jew he should know better (at least in theory), then he needs proof of an ADL or general jewish conspiracy not just a tiny bit of questionable testimony from one individual on the nominal far-right to begin with.

The last argument used against Mullins is simply character assassination as it does not impact on the existence or non-existence of a quotation if Mullins has written an article praising Adolf Hitler or has written for a 'fascist' publication. It is rather like claiming that Multer was a liar because he was a left-leaning jewish Democrat and had published in publications where prominent socialists and Marxists had also published.

It simply doesn't matter as it has no relevance to the issue under consideration, but yet Multer includes it and so do Boller and George: who also add another bit of leftist intellectual snobbery into the equation when they take an indirect pop at anti-jewish circles for still using the quotation. In many respects it is such typical nonsensical and hypocritical behaviour from intellectual leftists that we don't even have to explain why it is vapid and irrelevant to the issue they were supposed to be addressing as scholars.

So by way of conclusion we can say that although we cannot prove that the Mullins quotation is not genuine; or rather that Mullins didn't get it from somewhere else, there is strong circumstantial evidence that the quotation does come from the early 1950s when Mullins first published it. However we can clarify that the arguments advanced by the Washington Star and Multer are problematic and lacking in substance. That said we cannot go as far as Makow in endorsing it via an unproven conspiracy to remove the work: however we can and should maintain our quiet skepticism about the providence and intellectual integrity of 'A Racial Program for the Twentieth Century'.


(2) Paul Boller, John George, 1990, 'They Never Said It: A Book of Fake Quotes, Misquotes and Misleading Quotes', 1st Edition, Oxford University Press: New York, pp. 14-16
(3) Roger Pearson, 1997, 'Race, Intelligence and Bias in Academe', 2nd Edition, Scott-Townsend: Washington D.C., pp. 104-109
(4) Karl Kautsky, Ultra-Imperialism', Die Neue Zeit, 14th September 1914
(5) Gary Bullert, 2009, 'Franz Boas as Citizen-Scientist: Gramscian-Marxist Influence on American Anthropology',  Journal of Social, Political and Economic Studies, Vol. 34, No. 2, pp. 209-210
(6) For example see Joseph Clayton, 1926, 'The Rise and Decline of Socialism in Great Britain 1884-1924', 1st Edition, Faber and Gwyer: London, pp. 113-115
(8) Israel Cohen, 1914, 'Jewish Life in Modern Times', 1st Edition, Methuen: London, pp. 177-179
(10) Israel Cohen, 1931, 'A Ghetto Gallery',1st Edition, Edward Goldston: London
(11) However you can take something that is entitled 'UN is Spawn of the Illuminati' as solid evidence; without external confirmation, is beyond me: I will admit.
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