The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Billionaires, Racism, and Antisemitism Go Hand in Hand

Sep 18, 2023

After billionaire Elon Musk bought Twitter in October 2022, he opened the door to a big increase in the most vile and despicable racism, sexism, antisemitism (anti-Jewish and anti-Arab attacks), and conspiracy theories. This wasn’t just about freedom of speech, as Musk claimed. Musk openly bragged about sexual harassment and how many people he fired. He spouted some of the same conspiracy theories. In other words, Musk turned Twitter, now called X, into a showcase for his own extreme-right-wing viewpoints.

When many disgustedly stopped using Musk’s social media web site and ad revenue plunged, Musk blamed it on the Anti-Defamation League, a Jewish organization that opposes antisemitism. In other words, he attacked the very people who had called attention to some of this poisonous content. These attacks opened the floodgates of antisemitic stereotypes, caricatures, and neo-Nazi conspiracy theories of global Jewish domination.

The fact that one of the richest billionaires in the world pushes racism and antisemitism is not a surprise. It comes with the territory. Just look at Henry Ford, the founder of Ford Motor Company, who Musk is often compared to.

In the 1920s, as Henry Ford’s business took off, he used his own newspaper, The Dearborn Independent, as a big propaganda machine. For 91 straight weeks, Ford’s paper ran a series of articles called, “The International Jew—the World’s Foremost Problem,” that charged that Jews were behind every problem. The Dearborn Independent also dug up and republished an old forgery called “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” that claimed there was a Jewish conspiracy to take over the world.

The Dearborn Independent wasn’t just a small-town independent newspaper. Ford made sure that his network of dealerships distributed Dearborn Independents across the country. The newspapers were in the cars that buyers drove off the lot. The spread of this antisemitism had a worldwide impact. Nazi dictator Adolph Hitler later praised Ford as an inspiration for his own antisemitic writings.

Billionaires have a material interest in spreading these kinds of poisonous lies. For Ford and the auto, steel and tire magnates at the time, the lies were a call to battle in their war against the working class to keep wages low, break strikes and keep out the union. After the stock market crashed in 1929 and the Great Depression hit, they stepped up the rhetoric as a justification for their war against revolutionary militants and communists.

Today, for Musk and other billionaires, including Silicon Valley venture capitalists and real estate, oil and financial tycoons, it is a way to deflect anger away from their unending accumulation of great wealth amidst worsening impoverishment and misery. It serves to divide the working class against itself. They seek to spur the growth of the extreme right that openly calls for greater repression and violence on different parts of the working class, while feeding on peoples’ desperation as conditions worsen.

Today, those economic conditions are worsening quickly, which even the government has been forced to admit. Just last week, the U.S. Census Bureau published its annual report that showed that U.S. family income declined for the third year in a row. The number of people with incomes below the poverty line in 2022 shot up by 15.3 million. The poverty rate for children more than doubled in 2022, the largest spike in child poverty in decades.

The capitalist system, which is based on the enrichment of a tiny minority at the expense of the majority, can only produce ever more poverty and desperation. To be caught up by the propaganda of a bunch of billionaires who seek to divide and rule is a trap. Workers need to find a way to organize and mobilize together as a class.