Memories Of Madison—My Life In The New Left

The first time I became aware of leftist Jews was when, as a reporter for

Daily Cardinal
, the student newspaper, at
the University of Wisconsin, I was assigned to cover a
meeting of the

Committee Against the War in Vietnam
. This was
around 1965, just after the war started heating up. In
my short career as a reporter I had also covered a
meeting of the Young Republicans, and the contrast
couldn`t have been more striking. The Young Republicans
were all dressed up—men in suits and ties, women in
dresses—and looked like they were attending a business
meeting at the country club.

Even though the Young Republicans were all white and
most of them came from Wisconsin, I can`t say that I
related to them much. But I felt even more alien at the
meeting of the antiwar committee. The attendees were
dressed in a much more Bohemian style and there was a
lot of intense talk about politics. And they were

I wasn`t the only one to notice the

Jewish flavor of radical politics
at Wisconsin. In
their academic study of the New Left Roots of Radicalism: Jews, Christians and the Left, Stanley Rothman and

S. Robert Lichter
quote an observer of the New Left
scene at the University of Wisconsin:
"I am struck by
the lack of Wisconsin-born people and the massive
preponderance of New York Jews. The situation at the
University of Minnesota is similar."
correspondent replied:
"As you
perceived, the Madison left is built on New York Jews."

Things changed for me when I moved in with two Jewish
roommates and suddenly became immersed in the radical
Jewish subculture of Madison. Living in an environment
where radical politics was an unquestioned assumption, I
soon became a radical myself. A social psychologist
would probably explain it as conforming to a new set of
social norms—when in Rome, do as the Romans do. In some
ways I was probably prepared for the plunge into
radicalism. I had been politically liberal, a Democrat,
and a strong supporter of the
Rights Movements
. But there was a very large gap
between being a liberal and being a radical, especially
in those days.

Shortly thereafter, I remember telling someone from my
hometown that I had become
from the culture. And now that I recall that incident,
it calls to mind a passage from Chapter 6 of my study of
Jewish involvement in 20th Century
intellectual and political movements,

The Culture of

[The New York Intellectuals]
conceived themselves as alienated, marginalized
figures—a modern version of traditional Jewish
separateness and alienation from
[non-Jewish] culture. [As Norman Podhoretz

them,] "They
did not feel that they belonged to America or that

America belonged to them
" … Indeed,

… was asked by a
New Yorker
editor in the 1950s "whether there was a special
typewriter key at

Partisan Review

with the
word `alienation` on a single key."

Without really realizing the ramifications, I had been
acculturated into a Jewish intellectual and political
milieu of alienation—and antipathy to the small-town

milieu (Irish and German, Catholic, lower
middle class) in which I grew up. My attitudes toward
pretty much everything changed dramatically. I viewed
the people and culture that I grew up in with disdain if
not hatred.

The University of Wisconsin was a hotbed of the
counterculture during the 1960s. Two buildings were

, several were occupied, and the Wisconsin
National Guard was called in to restore order. There was
also a substantial hippie subculture—relatively less
political and less Jewish, and more preoccupied with
drugs, sex, and rock-n`-roll.

At the center of intellectual life for radicals at
Wisconsin were Harvey Goldberg and the History
Department. One of the themes of
The Culture of
is the tendency for Jewish intellectual
movements to become centered around highly charismatic
Jewish figures. At Wisconsin the student movement
idolized historically important Jewish leftists such as
Leon Trotsky,

Rosa Luxemburg
, and Herbert Marcuse. But there was a
special place in their hearts for the charismatic social
historian Harvey Goldberg. Goldberg`s lectures
presenting his Marxist view of European social history
enthralled a very large following on campus. He
commanded overflow crowds at the largest lecture hall on
campus, Agriculture Hall, which holds 600 students.
Going there was a commitment because it was not located
near the social science buildings.

Goldberg`s lectures were an unforgettable experience of
performance art. Beginning in a low key but intense
style, he built up the volume and intensity level
gradually to a frenzied climax. The lectures usually
ended 5–10 minutes after the class was scheduled to end,
but everyone remained glued to their seats. The
conclusion typically elicited a rousing standing ovation
from the students.

By the end of the lecture, Goldberg, who was rather
gaunt and frail looking, was sweating profusely,
seemingly drained and exhausted. Throughout the lecture,
students would react by laughing at his jokes and
applauding his condemnations of the capitalists and
other oppressors in European history. Great fun, and
doubtless quite influential. As a newspaper article

put it
, "His
lectures, delivered in a voice that seemed to resonate
from the depths of his soul, were a transforming
experience for generations of students, stirring their
minds and consciences."

Goldberg died in 1989, but his legacy lives on. Quite a
few of his lectures were recorded and are available from

Harvey Goldberg Center for Contemporary History at Wisconsin
. Besides the Goldberg Center at the University of Wisconsin, he has also
been immortalized by a

Program for
Excellence in Teaching

at Ohio State (his first teaching position), and with

a classroom
at the

Brecht Forum
, a
Marxist cultural center in New York.

Probably because of Goldberg, the History Department
achieved pride of place in terms of academic majors for
radicals. (Sociology was also fashionable; I was in
philosophy, which was also at least moderately
acceptable for a radical.) Being accepted as a graduate
student by Goldberg was very prestigious even though
Goldberg was not particularly productive as a


Goldberg`s rival for intellectual guruship at Wisconsin

George L. Mosse
whose course on European intellectual history was also a magnet for
campus radicals. Mosse was the grandson of the founder
of the liberal Berlin newspaper
Das Berliner
prototype of Jewish-owned liberal media that drew the
special ire of Hitler and his movement.
Das Berliner

was seized by the government when Hitler came to power,
and Mosse and
his family were forced to leave Germany.

The radicals I knew viewed Mosse as insufficiently
radical. His main sin was that he was an intellectual
historian. Serious Marxists view intellectual history as
mere superstructure overlaying the economic basis of the
class struggle.

I took
Mosse`s course and later came to read several of Mosse`s
books as background to my

chapter on National Socialism
[PDF] in

Separation and Its Discontents

In his book The Crisis of German Ideology, Mosse stressed

that an important ingredient in
the rise of Nazism was völkisch

ideology—the ideology that

had a unique folk spirit as a result of
their evolutionary past. Incidentally, although
unmentioned by Mosse, such racially charged views found
mirror images in the writings of 19th-century
Jewish proto-Zionists like

Moses Hess

[PDF] and became a cornerstone of the

racial Zionist
that dominates the politics of Israel today.

Unlike Goldberg, Mosse`s Jewish interests and
identification were quite overt. His lectures, like his
books, showed a strong interest in Jewish issues,
particularly the Holocaust and the ideologoical basis of
Nazism. Like Goldberg, Mosse has left behind

a legacy
at the
UW History Department, endowing it with a bequest made
possible by the restoration of his family`s property
after World War II. Mosse also taught at the Hebrew
University in Jerusalem; his Jewish interests can also
be seen by perusing the

of the book series published by the institute
established in his name.

Although Goldberg never discussed Jewish issues in his
lectures to my knowledge, the Jewishness of both of
these campus gurus was apparent to everyone. Attending
the lectures and discussing them with others was an
important component of the Jewish-dominated radical
subculture of Madison.

I was not alone as a non-Jew adopting the attitudes of
the radical Jewish subculture. The anti-war movement
spread beyond its predominantly East Coast Jewish
origins to a very large swathe of the university and the
city of Madison.

A lot of this was brought to mind while viewing the 1979

The War at Home

which chronicles the period from around 1964–1970 in Madison. The only
people I recognize in the film are

Paul Soglin

Evan Stark
—two highly visible Jewish antiwar activists during that period. (Soglin
parlayed his career as
an activist
into 6 terms as mayor of Madison, while Stark became a

tenured radical
at Rutgers University.) But, besides
leaders like Soglin and Stark, the protests and
demonstrations—some of which I participated in—showed a
preponderance of non-Jews. The protest against the
war—and to a great extent the values of the radical
counterculture as a whole—had become mainstream.

Memories about Madison radicals in the 1960s came up
again while reading

Mark Rudd`s
memoir (Why
were there so many Jews in SDS (Or the ordeal of
Rudd, who is Jewish, became well known as a student
activist at Columbia University during the 1960s. After
being expelled from Columbia, he became an SDS organizer
and (along with

Bill Ayers
) was one of the founders of the

Weather Underground
whose mission was, as quoted by
Rudd, "
the violent overthrow of the government of the US in
solidarity with the struggles of the people of the

Rudd describes the SDS at Columbia during the late 1960s as a
The Jewish radicals described by Rudd
seem more like Harvey Goldberg than George Mosse. Their
Jewish identification was never discussed among
themselves: "
I don`t remember one
single conversation in which we discussed the fact that
so many of us were Jewish."

Rudd suggests that
"by being
radicals we thought we could escape our

The late

Paul Lyons
[PDF], an academic historian of the
American left (Philadelphia Communists 1936-56), makes the interesting comment about the
Jewish Old Left that

Jewish Communists wear their Jewishness very casually
but experience it deeply. It is not a religious or even
an institutional Jewishness for most; nevertheless, it
is rooted in a subculture of identity, style, language,
and social network. . . . In fact, this
second-generation Jewishness was antiethnic and yet the
height of ethnicity. The emperor believed that he was
clothed in transethnic, American garb, but

[non-Jews] saw the nuances and
details of his naked ethnicity."

It was the same with their chidren who became the Jewish New Left. The
topic of why there were so many radical Jews was never
discussed, at least around me. But the Jewishness of
these radicals was obvious to non-Jews like me who were
suddently exposed to a very different subculture. The
ethnic networking among Jews was obvious, as were the
East Coast accents with sprinklings of Yiddish. Their
taste in clothing was different, and they liked to talk
about movies a lot, especially European movies by
directors like

Ingmar Bergman

—sort of a 1960s intellectual version of
Seinfeld. They had a whole set of (Jewish) idols
(Trotsky, Marcuse, Luxemburg) that were initially quite
foreign to me. Rudd recalls that the frame of reference
for Jewish radicals at Columbia was the Holocaust and
the need not to be a
"good German".
I don`t recall mention of the Holocaust, but it is
certainly true that World War II and the evils of Nazism
were much on the mind of Jewish radicals at Wisconsin.

Several authors have pointed out that radical Jews saw themselves as
participating in a universalist movement to establish a
classless society for all people; and because of this
universalist veneer, they thought that their Jewishness
would be invisible to others, or at least irrelevant.
Obviously, it wasn`t invisible, nor was it irrelevant.

The radical Jews I knew seemed to realize that non-Jews
saw them as Jews. In fact, one thing that struck me was
that they were proud of being Jews and had very negative
attitudes toward Christianity. At least around me, they
did not condemn Christianity because of anti-Semitism.
(The only allusion to historical anti-Semitism that I
remember was when my roommate said something to the
effect that "Do you realize that at one time or another Jews have been expelled from
every country of Europe?"
At that time, I did not
know that.)

Rather, they were proud of the fact that Judaism
represented enlightened views on sexuality, while
Chistianity was prudish and sexually repressive. Their
theoretical framework for this (there always has to be a
theoretical framework!) was, of course, psychoanalysis
which by then had become another bedrock ideology among
Jewish intellectuals. In line with Freudian thinking,
they attributed various forms of psychopathology and
even white racial consciousness and capitalism to
Christian sexual attitudes—an analysis that stemmed from
their reading of

of Marx and Freud.

Other things about radical Jews at Wisconsin only struck
me after becoming more familiar with Judaism 25 years
later. The intellectual atmosphere of the movement
closely resembled the atmosphere of other Jewish
subcultures—intensely verbal discussions in which one`s
reputation as a leftist was related to one`s ability in
Marxist intellectual analysis and familiarity with
Marxist scholarship. All of this required a great deal
of study, but it was worth it because being a Marxist
scholar, like being a rabbi in traditional Jewish
society, carried a great deal of prestige. It was also
attractive to the ladies.

There was also a great deal of hostility to Western
cultural institutions as politically and sexually
oppressive combined with an ever-present sense of danger
and imminent destruction by the forces of repression.
The overwhelming forces of the fascist capitialist state
led by

J. Edgar Hoover
`s FBI were about to round up all the
radicals and do away with them. This ingroup bunker
mentality—which I document

A People That Shall Dwell Alone
—I came to
realize as a fundamental characteristic of Jewish

Incidentally, this is a very useful thing to know about
Jews. It explains how the ADL and the SPLC—the

calls it—makes their money: Create the
feeling of

by the forces of white racism and bigotry as a way of prodding Jews to

Not surprisingly, there was an attitude of moral and
intellectual superiority as well as contempt toward
traditional American culture, particularly rural America
and most particularly the South. These attitudes are
hallmarks of the other intellectual movements reviewed

The Culture of
In Rudd`s case, his ire is directed at the genteel culture of Columbia:

"What outraged me and my comrades so much about Columbia, along with its
hypocrisy, was the air of genteel civility. Or should I
say gentile? Despite the presence of so many Jews in the
faculty and

among the students
… the place was dripping with

Ah, the stuffy white goyim at Columbia hadn`t abdicated quickly enough
and still had the temerity to hang around past their
time. We can all breathe a sigh of relief that those
days are over. I suppose he would have had the same
reaction to the Young Republicans at Wisconsin in 1965.

In my experience at Madison during the 1960s, there was
also a strong desire for bloody, apocalyptic revenge
against the entire social structure—perceived by them to
be the goyish, fascist, capitalist, racist, anti-Semitic
social structure. (Harvey Goldberg, whose lectures often
celebrated bloody uprisings against the forces of
oppression, probably fed into this.) This fits well with
the set of

with New Left Jewish radicals in Percy Cohen`s

Jewish Radicals and Radical Jews
: many had
destructive fantasies in which the revolution would
result in

"humiliation, dispossession, imprisonment or execution
of the oppressors
These fantasies of
destruction of the social order were combined with a
belief in their own omnipotence and their ability to
create a non-oppressive social order.

Finally, it was very striking to me that these
anti–Vietnam War Jewish radicals were euphoric
incongruously about Israel`s victory Six-Day War of
1967. This also struck`s

Paul Gottfried

as worthy of comment:

"All my Jewish colleagues in graduate school [at
Yale], noisy anti-anti-Communists, opposed American
capitalist imperialism, but then became enthusiastic
warmongers during the Arab-Israeli War in 1967. One
Jewish Marxist acquaintance went into a rage that the
Israelis did not demand the entire Mideast at the end of
that war. Another, though a feminist, lamented that the
Israeli soldiers did not rape more Arab women. It would
be no exaggeration to say that my graduate school days
resounded with Jewish hysterics at an institution where
Wasps seemed to count only for decoration."

(Paul Gottfried,
On "Being Jewish",

Rothbard-Rockwell Report
[April]:9–10, 1996.

I guess the old white genteel elite at Columbia weren`t the only ones
capable of hypocrisy.

To his credit, Rudd does better than most Jews in
trying to explain Jewish involvement in radicalism,
citing John Murray Cuddihy`s classic The Ordeal of Civility: Freud, Marx, Levi-Strauss and the Jewish Struggle With Modernity. Here is the central quote from Cuddihy:

"With the advent of Jewish Emancipation, when ghetto
walls crumble and the

begin to dissolve, Jewry—like some wide-eyed
anthropologist—enters upon a strange world, to explore a
strange people observing a strange

They examine this world in dismay, with wonder,
anger, and punitive objectivity. This wonder, this
anger, and the vindictive objectivity of the marginal
nonmember are recidivist; they continue unabated into
our own time because Jewish Emancipation continues into
our own time."

Rudd comments:

"We Jews at Columbia—and I would guess at colleges
throughout the country—brought the same outsider view to
the campuses we had been allowed into. We were peasant
children right out of the shtetls of New Jersey and
Queens screaming, `You want to know the truth about
Columbia University, they`re a bunch of liberal

Rudd also cites Israel Shahak`s important book Jewish History, Jewish Religion
—but Rudd twists Shahak`s thesis to state

"…as a reaction to being the victims of racism
throughout the centuries, we developed a religion which
itself enshrined racism toward the other. This is
especially true of the rabbinical commentaries developed
in Eastern Europe over the almost one thousand years in
which we occupied a middle position between the
landlords, whom we served, and the peasants who despised
us and

whom we in turn despised
. How could it have been
otherwise? In my family, if you wanted to say somebody
was stupid you said they had a `goyishe kup,` a
goyish head."

My view is that it`s the other way around: The

Jewish concern

racial purity
can be seen in the Old Testament and
throughout Jewish history.

From time to time, Western societies have attacked
or erected defenses against Jewish elites and their
non-Jewish allies. Since the 19th century,
important anti-Jewish movements have been racialist
(National Socialism in Germany), but this racialism was
not the basis of Christian anti-Jewish movements
(Christianity in the 4th and 5th
centuries and during the Inquisition in Spain and
Portugal). As Shahak points out (p. 64), the general
pattern throughout European history was for popular
uprisings against Jews as components of oppressive
elites—and for the non-Jewish elements of the elites to
come to the aid of Jews.

Rudd sees Israel for what it is: A racialist,
militarist, expansionist state:

"Israel is America`s future: militarized, racist,
religio-nationalist, corporate, riven with so many
internal splits and hatreds that only the existence of a
perpetual enemy keeps the nation from exploding. If we
don`t organize to stop the current direction in this
country, thirty years from now we will be Israel."

Rudd is probably right that America of the future will be hopelessly
"riven with …
internal splits and hatreds"
. Such are the

predictable results
of the rise of multiculturalism and massive
non-white immigration unleashed by the activism of the
organized Jewish community


What Rudd doesn`t discuss is that Jewish activism on behalf of non-white
immigration can be directly traced back to Jewish
activists on the left—people like Rudd. Massive
non-white immigration into Western societies has been

a project
of the Jewish left for pretty much the
entire last century. The Jewish left has been the most
influential component of the organized Jewish community.
And even when a significant number of Jews defected from
the left, giving rise to

the neoconservative movement
, they retained the
traditional Jewish attitudes on immigration.

That`s why I think the real explanation of Jewish
involvement in the Left includes an additional
component. It`s certainly true that, as Cuddihy wrote,
Jews emerged from the ghetto with hostility toward the
culture around them. This fits with modern psychological
data on how people with a strong ingroup identity, like
Jews, perceive outgroups. Jewish hostility toward the
culture of non-Jews has been

a constant throughout Jewish history
. The difference was
that, as Cuddihy notes, they and their preferences
suddenly became part of mainstream Western culture, with
a great deal of political influence and access to the
media and the academic world.

But it was more than that. It`s about displacement and domination. The
displacement of the genteel white Protestant culture at
Columbia that Rudd hated is part of the general
displacement of non-Jewish whites. Rudd doesn`t consider
the fate of that other very influential group of leftist
Jews—the Jewish radicals who fled the

of Eastern Europe and, instead of going to
Ellis Island, became dominant elite in the USSR after
the success of the Bolshevik Revolution. These Jewish
radicals were able to

actually carry out
in the USSR the fantasies the New
Left Jewish radicals in the US—i.e., the

"humiliation, dispossession, imprisonment or execution
of the oppressors"
mentioned above. Harvey Goldberg`s wet dream.

This group of Jewish radicals
became an

integral part
of the machinery of mass murder and
oppression in the USSR. In doing so, they displaced the
older non-Jewish elites of Russians and Germans.
(Doubtless, they were too genteel and had other faults
that warranted their displacement.) At least through the
1950s, political radicalism was popular among American
Jews in large part because the Bolshevik Revolution was
good for Jews. Jews had risen to the heights in the
USSR, and the USSR had crushed fascist Germany.

Even though the New Left rejected Stalinism, there
is no doubt it was bent on a similar displacement of
white elites. All of its policies led inexorably in that
direction. To a considerable extent, the

current malaise
of whites in the US can be directly
traced to the triumph of the attitudes of the New
Left—especially non-white immigration, the rise of
multiculturalism, and the steady erosion of whites as a
percentage of the electorate. (The
Democratic president to get a majority of white votes

was Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964.

I have a suggestion for Rudd:
If you are really interested in stopping racism, become active in
opposing Zionism and its influence in the US.

Otherwise, we get the impression that you tacitly
approve Jewish ethnic chauvinism in Israel while
favoring the displacment of whites in the US.

And if you want to quell the" "internal splits
and hatreds"
within the US, become active in the
cause of reversing the effects of four decades of
non-white immigration.

Kevin MacDonald [email
is professor of psychology
at California State University–Long Beach and a frequent
contributor to

Occidental Observer
. For
his website, click