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A. Leon
October 22, 1918-September, 1944
(June 1947)

Ernest Mandel - Internet Archive
Ernest Mandel / Ernest Germain Print
From Fourth International, Vol.8 No.6, June 1947, pp.172-176.
Translated from the French by Ed Wilde.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.

The period of relative peace and prosperity experienced by Western Europe between 1870 and 1914 was hardly propitious for the making of genuine revolutionists. In order for the mind to free itself completely from the influence of ruling class ideology and in order for the will to be concentrated on a single goal – the conquest of power by the proletariat – it is not enough just to assimilate correctly the Marxist method and heritage. Life itself must propel men outside the routine of “respectable” existence and drive them into direct contact with all the violence, the cruelty, the degradation and barbarism inherent in the capitalist system. It was in the crucible of illegality, imprisonment, emigration and merciless struggle against the autocracy that the great revolutionary generation of Bolsheviks was forged in Russia. In order for a new revolutionary generation to be created in the countries of the West, mankind had to enter into the very fire of the crises of wars and revolutions.

It was war and revolution which cradled A. Leon, and which later closed his eyes. On the day of his birth the footsteps of the revolution rang through the streets of his native city, Warsaw. Two rival Soviets were contending for power. On the horizon, the Soviet Republic was already taking shape. Defeated armies brought their tatters, their bitterness and their thirst for justice into the popular assemblies. Human beings from the obscurest depths of mankind flowed in wave upon wave across the political arena: men and women, young and old, all the poor and oppressed, all the disinherited who had lived with their mouths shut and their backs bent and who now suddenly discovered their voices.

But while their hands bore the red flag deeper and deeper into the tortured city, there already fluttered over the fortress the red and white flag with the Polish eagle, hoisted by legionnaires under the command of a “socialist,” Pilsudski. These two symbols, these two currents of ideas, international socialism and petty-bourgeois social patriotism, were struggling passionately for supremacy over the masses. The short but fruitful life of Leon was to pass entirely under the sign of this struggle.

Partitioned at every historical turning-point, Poland could not avoid saddling its labor movement with the heavy heritage of a miserable past: militant nationalism. The Jews of Poland, victims of every political and social crisis, who had witnessed pogroms under the Czars, under the revolution, under the Whites, under the Russians, under the Poles, under the Ukrainians and under the Lithuanians, sought a desperate solution through the formulation of a nationalist myth of their own: Zionism. An expression of the complete blind-alley in which Jewish petty-bourgeois thought had arrived, this reactionary Utopia was, nevertheless, among the youth and above all the proletarian youth, an expression also of the will to realize the socialist ideal, to participate actively in the world proletarian struggle.

The contradiction between the petty-bourgeois character of Zionism and the rigorously internationalist conclusions of Marxism drove the Zionist working-class leaders to formulate a new theory which, by combining their socialism – which they wanted to be scientific – with their Zionist aspirations, would invest the latter with some semblance of Marxist justification. This is how the strange theory called “Borochovism” – from the name of its author, Ber Borochov – was born, a theory which was destined to become the official theory of Jewish revolutionists throughout the world for several decades. The family in Leon’s household adhered to “official” petty bourgeois Zionism. On his first contact with reality, the child felt the attraction of the Zionist myth like a religious intoxication. The myth was to be realized in life: the family left for Palestine when the boy was old enough to enter grammar school. The wonderful procession of scenes on this trip became engraved in his memory like a fairy tale. He remembered how the sun blazed on the roofs of Constantinople, the sound of the sea among the enchanted islands of the archipelago, and how the rugged coast of the Promised Land looked to him the first time. But the fairy tale did not last long; a year later they started back for their native country.

Amid these changing conditions of his life, the boy observes, strives to understand, and assimilates the idea of the constant movement of men and things. His mind goes traveling and doesn’t as yet come to rest. We must wait until 1926, when the family decided to emigrate to Belgium, before Leon begins to get intensely interested in companions of his own age and makes contact with the Zionist socialist youth movement “Hashomer Hatzair,” “The Youth Guard.” Other forces begin to act upon him. At school he feels the barriers set up before the Jew, before the foreigner, separating him from his classmates. How can he fail to understand that he is “different” from the others or that he has special problems, when he constantly notes that he is being treated differently, that he is not allowed to participate in games like any other little boy, but remains the butt of some comment or ironical jest? Upon his way homeward along the swarming streets of populous old sections of Brussels, he is sharply reminded of all the contradictions in modern society. He is greatly moved by the picture of the world’s division into the rich and the poor. How could he help naturally taking sides with the downtrodden, feeling himself, as he does, the victim of a double injustice?

This is how young Leon becomes an ardent militant in the Jewish Zionist youth. His mind begins to explain the indignation and revolt that his heart feels. Gradually, through a systematic Marxist education, Leon grows to understand society and the solution toward which the struggle of the workers is directed. Within the framework of this youth movement – which is, despite its confused political ideas, a model organization, and one of the best schools of morals and proletarian thought – everything begins to dissolve away – family ties, traditions, heritage of age-long petty-bourgeois calculation, heritage of submissive fear of authorities. He grows as free in his character as in his mind; he learns to govern himself, he lets himself be governed by reason, he learns to subordinate himself to the pursuit of the goal. His will becomes tempered in the ideal. His personality is formed in concentrating upon the struggle for socialism; he finds the highest satisfaction in thought and action that is placed in the service of the world proletariat.

It is not long before the young Leon outstrips his comrades in the movement. As the most intelligent, the most firm and the most comprehensive, he at the same time possesses a calmness and a reasoned confidence that completely and naturally draws the respect of all those around him. Born to lead, he has no need to raise his voice, or to charm with beautiful phrases or to attract by extraordinary deeds in order to have everybody accept his authority. He moves up rapidly along the various rungs of the elected apparatus of the “Hashomer” and soon finds himself in the leadership of the Brussels section and on the national leadership.

The living conditions of his family compel him to give up his studies for a time. Because he has to be constantly on the move all over Belgium in order to make a livelihood, he is able to renew his contact with the working masses who are once again going into the streets to demonstrate their strength and to demand their rights. During the sunlit days in the summer of 1936 the fever spreads from the coal pits of Charleroi to the somber villages of the Borinage miners. While the police patrol the crossroads, the workers gather to hear a new leader. It has been years since they heard a genuine revolutionary voice.

The workers come by the thousands to Fleau, to Jemappes, to Quaregnon, to Frameries and to the great stadium in Bouverie in order to listen to the fiery speeches of Walter Dauge, the young founder of the Revolutionary Socialist Party. Leon attends the meetings of Dauge. He learns to distinguish Trotskyism from Stalinism. He studies and it does not take him long to side with those ideas which appear to him to be the product of genuine Marxism, and which are inspired by the genuine interests of the world proletariat and not by the miserable falsifications concocted by the master of the Kremlin. Concurrently the series of the monstrous Moscow Trials lead him to take a definite position. From this year on, as against the entire world organization of “Hashomer” which leans somewhat toward Stalinism, he becomes a resolute “Trotskyist” and defends his ideas vigorously and not unsuccessfully at national and international congresses and gatherings.

But even while rapidly advancing in his knowledge of Marxism and while pursuing deeply his study of political economy, he remains profoundly attached to Zionism. While serving for one year as Chairman of the Belgian Zionist Federation, he devotes all his energy, all his revolutionary zeal in the service of this cause. When a group of young militants depart for Palestine, an enthusiastic call is launched for the establishment of a “communist” colony there. But Leon begins to doubt. Side by side with him are the representatives of petty bourgeois and bourgeois Zionist organizations. Isn’t he united with them for the present, even though he expects to fight against them mercilessly after “nationality” and the “possibility of waging an effective struggle” [1] have been conquered in Palestine? Isn’t this “social-patriotism,” even if in a rather unusual form? Leon has his Lenin at his finger tips. The lengthy and lucid arguments in Against the Stream ring in his ears. How can he reconcile his consistent Leninism with Zionism? Where can one find a common ground for the Jewish national struggle and the struggle of internationalist socialism?

In this way, 20 years after Borochov, Leon, in his turn, took up the trail of the Hashomer “theoretician” in order to discover a Marxist justification of Zionism. He questioned everything; he methodically re-explored the connections between the ideas, accepting none of the axioms of the Zionist ideology, cutting his way through the tangled prejudices of Jews and non-Jews on the subject of the history of the jews, a history which seems so astonishing and extraordinary and which his rigorously scientific mind seeks to explain by the Marxist method. In the course of his researches, he forwarded several articles to the Belgian Trotskyist weekly La Lutte Ouvrière (The Workers’ Struggle). The editors of this periodical established contact with him. He was astonished to find treasures of historical, economic and political knowledge among these simple workers. He sensed that this is the vanguard. He turned for the last time to his past, resolving to break with it harmoniously, with complete consciousness, after clarifying to himself and to his comrades the profound reasons for his break, after demonstrating to his friends the truth which he had himself just discovered. His “Theories on the Jewish Question” took form; his book “The Materialist Conception of the Jewish Question” would constitute the amplified elaboration of these theses.

The Break with Zionism

Meanwhile, a wave of uneasiness had seized the Jewish masses all over the Old Continent. They sensed the approach of war; and the presentiments of the terrible catastrophe that would befall them threw them into a crisis of nervousness and fear. The world congress of “Hashomer” convened. The menacing shadow of Hitler was already hovering over Brussels. In heated debate the delegates came out either for a “conditional” support of British imperialism, or for “neutrality,” or for an “independent defense” of Palestine should it be threatened by a fascist army. Despite angry shouts of the assembly against this “renegade from Israel,” Leon, even before breaking definitely with Zionism, defended courageously the position of complete “revolutionary defeatism.” “Woe to those who with their own social-patriotism feed chauvinism among the workers in enemy countries.” This weapon will boomerang against those who wield it. Woe to those who sow false hopes that the miserable lot of Jews in Central Europe will improve as a result of the war of British imperialism against its German rival! They will themselves prove to be its most sorely stricken victims. It was in this sense that Leon must have spoken. And what stupefaction must his words have aroused among those wavering centrists who seeks at every turn for cheap solutions and for compromises, who are incapable of reacting to the rigors of history with an equally rigorous mind.

As the wav,es of imperialist war broke closer and closer to Belgium before engulfing it in May 1940, Leon completed his Theses on the Jewish Question and submitted them for discussion to his organization. In his attempt to grasp the meaning of Jewish history Leon found himself in collision with Borochov’s “metaphysical materialist” theory and his first attempt was to eliminate this obstacle. Borochov maintained that the Jewish question was rooted in the fact that the Jews, and above all the Jewish workers, played no important role in the vital sectors of economy (heavy industry, metallurgy, coal and so on) but instead occupied important positions solely in the peripheral spheres of economic life. The social composition of other peoples resembled a pyramid having as its base hundreds of thousands of miners, metal workers, railroad workers, etc., and then passing through large layers of handicraftsmen, topped off by ever thinner strata of businessmen, industrialists and bankers. But the social composition of Jewish people resembled an “inverted pyramid” in which large handicraft strata rested on narrow layers of workers – who were moreover engaged in non-vital sectors of industry – and had to bear the full weight of an enormous mass of business men.

Borochov cut his analysis short at this point; he accepted this as a historical fact, without making any attempt at an explanation, and used it as the starting point for his “solution” of the question: It was first of all necessary to “reverse the inverted pyramid,” i.e., to create a “normal” Jewish society like those of other peoples; until this was done the Jewish proletariat could not seriously undertake revolutionary struggle; and such a society could be created only in Palestine.

Leon quickly grasped everything that was “non-dialectical” in this theory: The existing social condition of the Jews could not be approached as a “fact,” but as the product of historical development. How did this different historical evolution of the Jews come about? Linking up Borochov’s thread of reasoning with several casual statements of Marx, who with his habitual genius had laid bare the entire “mystery” of Jewish history, Leon commenced to reconstruct the entire past of the Jews.

The Marxist Approach

The explanation for the religion of the Jews and for their preservation must be sought in the social role they played. Gathering together the mass of existing documentation he elaborated the theory of the “people-class,” astonishing in its simplicity, and providing the indispensable key for understanding the past and present role of the Jews and for finding a solution to their misery.

Borochovism erred, however, not alone in its point of departure but even more so in its conclusions. It approached the “solution” of the Jewish problem not only outside the past historical process but also outside the existing social reality. In the epoch of imperialism and of capitalism in its death agony, the “will” of a few million Jewish workers to “create a society like the rest” appeared as a pathetically weak force amid the imperialist giants fighting over every unoccupied nock and cranny on the globe, amid the violent collisions of classes on the world arena. Borochov had no comprehension whatever of the law of uneven and combined development in the imperialist era, whose operation prevents every nation without exception from solving any of its problems under the capitalist regime in its death throes. The tragic peculiarities of Jewish society could not be eliminated by seeking to isolate it from decaying society as whole. The “inverted pyramid” of the Jews could not possibly be “reversed” while the “normal” pyramid of other peoples was itself in the process of crumbling apart. The world proletarian revolution is alone capable of normalizing Jewish history. Within the framework of decaying capitalism no solution is possible.

This was the manner in which Leon completely settled all the accounts with his own past. He not only exposed the petty-bourgeois Utopian character of the Zionist ideal, but also showed how this ideal, like the rest of the petty bourgeoisie’s “own” ideology is bound to become in the imperialist epoch an instrument in the hands of world capitalism. He denounced Zionism as a brake upon the revolutionary activity of the Jewish workers throughout the world, as a brake upon the liberation of Palestine from the yoke of English imperialism, as an obstacle to the complete unity of Jewish and Arab workers in Palestine. Candidly, without any reservations or evasions, he condemned his own entire past activity. He understood what had completely conditioned it and how it had served as a necessary stage in his own development. His mind, steeped in the dialectic, delighted in presenting each clear piece of knowledge, each phase of consciousness as the product of the struggle to surmount the counter-truth and error. “In order to understand one must begin by failing to understand,” he would frequently say. “No conviction is so deeply held as the one gained in the course of a prolonged and sincere internal ideological struggle.” The few years left him to live, demonstrated to him how exact these observations were in his own case. Having surmounted the nationalist stage of his own development, Leon rooted out from his thought every vestige of Zionism and his internationalism was of a purity that is rarely met.

Under Trotsky’s Banner

No longer constrained to pursue two contradictory paths and to consume itself in internal controversy, his energy was henceforward able to strike out with all its power on a single road, that of the Fourth International. Leaving the “Hashomer” with about a score of comrades, Leon organized a study circle with the aim of leading his followers to Trotskyism. Most significant of all was the date of this “conversion.” When Leon came to international communism, the workers movement seemed dead in Belgium. Henri De Man – who began his evolution as an ardent anti-militarist only to become in rapid succession a social patriot, a theoretician of insipid “revision” of Marxism, His Majesty’s Minister and a charlatan patcher-up of capitalism – had just completed the circle of his “socialist” life by dissolving his party, whose President he was, and by calling upon his comrades to collaborate with Hitler in building a new order in Europe. Isolated from the masses who had been stunned by the May-June 1940 events, the Communist Party, following instructions from Moscow, prudently retired and even went so far as to publish a Flemish weekly which meekly reprinted Goebbels’ interminable anti-British tirades side by side with ritualistic paeans to the “land where life was so joyous and so happy.” The former Trotskyist leader Walter Dauge, whose intellectual baggage proved too light for this long ordeal, became profoundly demoralized and abandoned his party to its fate. The few Trotskyist cadres, dispersed all over the country, had hardly reestablished contact. The situation seemed to justify only resignation and watchful waiting. Any other attitude appeared like a manifestation of desperate and impotent revolt.

What was lacking was not so much courage to act as courage to think, and to think correctly. Marxist analysis enabled one to penetrate through the totalitarian lid pressing on Europe and to discover there gestating forces which would in the end throw it off. Correctly establishing the reasons which we had for hope, Leon noted that the workers’ movement in Europe had already reached the lowest point of its ebb. It was now necessary to count upon a new rise. It was necessary not to await it passively but to prepare for it, preparing for it the cadres and insofar as possible the masses. Even in darkest moments of history, a party that is later capable of leading the masses in struggle can be forged only in constant contact with the day-to-day life, difficulties and aspirations of the people. Behind every reason for despair, one must discover a reason for hope.

This motivating thought of Leon is not only a symbol but the beginning of action. When, on August 20, 1940 we were overwhelmed by the tragic news of the assassination of L.D. Trotsky, Leon immediately wrote the first illegal pamphlet of the Belgian Trotskyist movement. He established contact with several former regional leaders of the party in Brussels. The first leadership began to take form. The illegal Trotskyist organization was born on the day following the death of its spiritual father. The vitality of the ideas of the Fourth International, which are nothing else but the conscious expression of historical reality, seeks only the occasion and the men in order to become reaffirmed at every turn. It had just discovered both.

Under Fascist Illegality

There ensued a period of incessant, stubborn and unyielding work in the face of difficulties which kept constantly arising and which seemed each time insurmountable. From this moment on, the story of Leon was linked with the history of the Trotskyist movement in Belgium. The principal inspirer of the party, he served as political secretary from the time the first executive committee was set up. As a journalist, with an incisive, lively and clear style, he made his readers feel that he understood thoroughly every problem with which he dealt. The editorial board of the illegal La Voie de Lénine (Lenin’s Road) worked under his direction and its first issues contained a masterly study from his pen of the structure and future of the various imperialist powers. In this study he traced the main line of future events in the war exactly in the way in which they later unfolded. An exemplary organizer and educator, he guided the branches, tried to build the party under conditions of illegality, and concentrated with infinite patience on winning the confidence of workers’ districts and on forming a recognized and responsible national leadership on the basis of this confidence.

I met him personally for the first time on the first central committee of the party which was reconstituted by his efforts in July 1941.

Although he was absorbed to the exclusion of everything else in the enormous daily tasks, organizational as well as political, Leon did not for a moment suspend his ideological work which constitutes the most precious heritage he left us. On the one hand he systematically completed his book on the Jewish question, constantly working over the details, reflecting for weeks on a particular aspect of this or that question, devouring all the existing documentation, but prepared, once his mind was made up, to defend his views to the end. That is how this book came to be written. It is not only a model of the application of the Marxist method to a specific historical problem; it not only “liquidates” the Jewish question as a problem from the historical materialist point of view, but it contains in addition a wealth of observations and formulations on many problems in political economy, history and contemporary politics.

On the other hand, he devoted himself to elaborating an exact Leninist conception of the problem which was at the time agitating all revolutionists in the occupied countries, namely: the national question and its relation to the strategy of the Fourth International. Let those who so readily incline to criticize the Trotskyist policy in Europe in relation to the national question read and study the documents which Leon elaborated during this period. Let them find out how preoccupied he was, as was the entire leadership of our party, with safeguarding, on the one hand, the Leninist program from the virus of chauvinism while defending Leninist tactics, on the other hand, against the myopia of sectarians, and they will see how silly are their accusations to the effect that we “underestimated” the national question.

Whatever he had clarified in theory he sought to execute in practice. The smallness of our cadres did not permit us to start consistent work among the resisters. But each time a genuine movement became apparent, whether on the occasion when the university of Brussels was closed, or during the first great strikes at Liege, or during the deportations or actions against the Jews, our party invariably applied its political line of “supporting and promoting mass movements aimed against the occupying imperialism with a view to directing them towards the revolutionary proletarian movement.” It was with justifiable pride that Leon pointed out at the illegal party congress in July 1943 that there was not a single event in Belgium since 1941 in which our party had remained on the sidelines.

As soon as the party was reconstituted, Leon began to worry about international relations. An internationalist to his marrow, he found it intolerable that the Belgian section should live in isolation from its brother movements in Europe and throughout the world. The need for contact with the other sections of the Fourth International did not arise solely from his desire to compare the political line of the Belgian party with that of its brother parties; it also corresponded to a very clear realization that the great military and revolutionary shocks would in the future inevitably assume a continental character and that no political leadership could any longer function effectively on a national scale. An attempt to establish contact with Holland failed. We had more success in France. Thanks to this connection the last documents of L.D. Trotsky reached us via Marseilles from where we received the Manifesto of the Emergency Conference which was issued as a pamphlet by our party. Later, in August 1942, in a small village in Ardennes, the first meeting of representatives of Belgian and French leaderships took place. Leon and Marcel Hic were the principal inspirers of this meeting. They laid the groundwork for the future Provisional European Secretariat which was in its turn to reconstitute an international leadership under conditions of complete illegality.

This period of illegal activity under the most dangerous conditions, when one’s heart involuntarily jumped each time the doorbell rang or an automobile pulled up close to the house, was a time of nervous tension and of continuous waiting for an explosion that would finally make a breach in the walls and bring closer the day on which would explode the gates of the enormous prison into which Europe had been transformed. We awaited this explosion from the very depths of this prison. Our thoughts were centered on the reserves of revolutionary energy stored up during the long years of suffering by the proletariat on the Old Continent. When Leon personally assumed the direction of party work among the proletarian soldiers of the Wehrmacht or when he attended meetings of the underground factory committees set up in the Liege metallurgical plants, he invariably invested these various tasks with a meaning which transcended the present; he wished to sow so that the party would be able to reap when the decisive moment came. Many times he would pose the question of whether we would be capable of gathering the harvest in view of the numerical weakness of our cadres. He could not foresee that he himself would be lost to the party during the decisive days of the “liberation” and that the absence of an effective leadership would prevent the party from profiting as it might have from the extraordinary conditions of that hour.

Then came the downfall of Mussolini. We finally felt the rising wind of the revolution; our activities multiplied. Each of us expended himself unsparingly; the culmination was approaching. There took place a number of secret trips to France where Leon participated actively in the work of the European Conference of the Fourth International, February 1944. We halted our work of self-preparation; it was now a question of intervening actively in the workers’ struggles which were erupting everywhere. In the Charleroi region, the Trotskyist organization took the initiative in organizing an illegal movement of miners’ delegates. This movement spread rapidly to about 15 pits; in complete illegality the party’s ideas began to take root among the masses. Understanding the full importance of this movement, Leon wished to follow it step by step. He decided to locate himself in Charleroi in order to collaborate daily with the revolutionary workers of the region. News of Allied landing in Europe and fears lest connections between the various regions be broken, hastened the preparation for the shift. After living for two years in complete illegality, he went to settle at Charleroi with his wife. On the first evening of his arrival the house into which he had moved was searched by the police. He was arrested and sent to prison.

Then followed long days of moral and physical torture. The Gestapo used every means to make him talk. He was torn with worry about the party which had lost five of its first rank leaders within the period of two years. He succeeded in gaining the confidence of one of the soldiers of the guard. A contact was established with the party. The letters which he sent are the most convincing testimonial that in the most difficult hours of his life all his thoughts were centered on the organization, its immediate projects, its future. He wanted so much to continue his work shoulder to shoulder with his comrades. Destiny willed it otherwise. The rapidity with which he was deported frustrated the preparations to effect his escape undertaken by the party and he was flung into the hellish place where five million human beings were to perish – Auschwitz.

Leon was the type least able to withstand the regime of Nazi concentration camps. He possessed a sense of human dignity which found intolerable contact with the degradation and cruelty which became the common denominator of human conduct inside the concentration camps. The nobility of his character was shattered against the implacable bestiality of egos in despair, just as his body became broken by physical exertions to which it was not accustomed and by malignant disease. After several weeks of labor in a road building gang, he was sent to a quarantine camp. There one had to devise tricks, grovel before the masters, engage in petty trading and steal in order to survive. He could not rise above his companions in misery along these lines. Chained to his miserable cot, he passed his last days in reading and meditation. He was certain that the end was near. There came the final “medical inspection.” The sick destined for the gas chambers were selected. He was among them.

It is difficult if not impossible to give an estimation of a revolutionary leader who reached only his 26th year. Despite all his incessant labors he has left us few works. He did not write a great deal; before confiding his ideas to paper he preferred to think them out to the end. Nevertheless that which he did leave us, his book and a thin volume of articles, suffices to discern in him, alongside of Marcel Hic, an individual of very exceptional talent and of the most serious promise possessed by the Fourth International on the Continent. By his strength of character as much as by the maturity of his political judgment, by his natural authority as much as by his qualities as leader, Leon was destined to lead our movement and to guide it through incessant struggles to victory. The void he leaves behind will not be quickly filled by a figure of similar stature.

Those who knew him will retain the memory of A. Leon as an example to emulate and a constant source of inspiration. Those who read his book will admire the clarity and rigor of his reasoning and will be astounded by the maturity of a mind at the age of 24 years. Among those who learn the story of his life there may be some who will perhaps ask why a man of such remarkable qualities tied his destiny to a small revolutionary organization; they will praise his sincerity, his complete ideological honesty that caused him to live in complete harmony with his ideas. They will ask themselves: Why did the Marcel Hics, the Martin Widelins, the A. Leons, who were among the most gifted European intellectuals, choose a movement which could promise them neither success nor glory nor honors nor even a minimum of material comfort, but which on the contrary demanded of them every sacrifice, including their lives and which required long ungrateful work, frequently in isolation from the proletariat to whom they wanted to give everything? And if they are able to recognize in these young revolutionists, along with their intellectual gifts, exceptional moral qualities, they will then say to themselves that a movement capable of attracting such men solely by the power of its ideas and the purity of its ideal and capable of leading these rationalist dialecticians to such heights of self-denial and devotion – is a movement that cannot die because in it lives everything that is noble in man.


1. “Hashomer Hatzair” defends the position that Jewish workers and revolutionary socialists are able to struggle “effectively” for the proletarian revolution only in Palestine.


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