May 02, 2019

A Day in the Life of Hobson's Imperialism on Wikipedia

In common with many people when I woke up yesterday I noticed yet another manufactured antisemitism scandal was in full swing. I knew it was manufactured because of the prominence of the words "antisemitism" and "Corbyn" in the headlines.

It turns out that Corbyn wrote an introduction to a book called Imperialism by a chap called Hobson.  I'd never heard of the book, described by Corbyn, apparently. as "brilliant".  It was The Times's Daniel Finkelstein who led the charge yesterday, typically for the antisemitism smears, the day before local elections.

It didn't take long for the poison to spread throughout the media. The words "peculiar race" popped up as the unambiguous description of Jews in Hobson's book.  In one of the anti-Corbyn threads someone very helpfully gave a link to a searchable copy of the book (without Corbyn's intro) online.

Good old  They have a searchable copy of the book right here:

There's only one throwaway reference to Jews by way of the words, "peculiar race" and they're so buried as to be barely even "peripheral" to the entire book. That's me moaning that I now have to search every chapter to then search the words I'm looking for.  The fact is, it is a deeply antisemitic throwaway passage but not a deeply antisemitic book.

So, go to Chapter IV and search for "peculiar" and what do we see:
These great businesses – banking, broking, bill discounting, loan floating, company promoting – form the central ganglion of international capitalism. United by the strongest bonds of organisation, always in closest and quickest touch with one another, situated in the very heart of the business capital of every State, controlled, so far as Europe is concerned, chiefly by men of a single and peculiar race, who have behind them many centuries of financial experience, they are in a unique position to control the policy of nations. No great quick direction of capital is possible save by their consent and through their agency. Does any one seriously suppose that a great war could be undertaken by any European State, or a great State loan subscribed, if the house of Rothschild and its connections set their face against it?
Again in common with a great many people I had to google "Hobson's Imperialism" because I'd never heard of it and out came Wikipedia on top. I noticed it had sections on its influence on Liberalism and its influence on Marxism but nothing about its antisemitism.  Very strange given its description in "newspapers of record" like The Times and The Guardian as a "deeply antisemitic book".

Now I remember from the great Zio "controversy", Zionists are quite adept at creating a controversy out of nothing and then zipping over to Wikipedia to have a bit of a tamper.  When I first noticed Zionists complaining that the word "Zio" is a putdown for Jews as Jews I googled "Zio". Lots of Italian restaurants popped up because Zio is Italian for uncle. I checked Wikipedia and found in the disambiguation that Zio was coming in at the botttom. A quick check of the edits and, what do you know? Zio as a "pejorative abbreviation of Zionist, often regarded as antisemitic" only appeared at the bottom of a list on 15 March 2016.  The "controversy" began in February of the same year. I think that might have been the actual start of the smear campaign.

Anyway, so I dashed over to Wikipedia to see what it had to say about Hobson's Imperialism.  Here are the contents of the page I saw early yesterday:


Today I looked again because the Hobson's Imperialism controversy is still rumbling on and, what do you know?  Look at the contents now:

See what the smear merchants did there? They've inserted "Antisemitism".  Now, let's see what the entry on Hobson's Imperialism lacked for the past 14 years:

 [edit]Hobson's antisemitic views have been described as influential,[11][12] and while Imperialism does not contain the "violent anti-Jewish crudities" of his prior works,[13] it asserts that Jews dominated international finance in Europe.[14][15] According to history professor Norman Etherington this section on financiers seems irrelevant to Hobson's economic discourse, and was probably included since Hobson truly believed it.[16]

It's very scrappy, isn't it? Let's check the edits history.


I hope you can see that ok but what happened is, I looked at the page first thing yesterday. There was nothing about Hobson's antisemitism nor the one passage in the book Imperialism that was antisemitic.  Yesterday was 1 May 2019. The last update to the page was 30 April in the evening but it had nothing to do with antisemitism. So sometime yesterday when lots of people were starting to realise that Danny Finkelstein's scoop was yet another rightist fantasy, someone calling themselves Icewhizz decided they had better take notice of what no-one had noticed on a Wikipedia entry in 14 years of edits, re-edits and de-edits.

Well, I suppose we are lucky that Zionism is racism or Zionists might start to notice that the "lower races" of Africa and Asia get more mentions than the "peculiar race" which gets just one mention in the fourth chapter of the book.

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