Sunday, December 22, 2013

65th anniversary for Rootless Cosmopolitans!

Today was one of my two candidates for the establishment of a Rootless Cosmopolitans Day. "Rootless Cosmopolitans" was a Stalinist code word for Jews, marking a deadly turn in the nasty anti-Semitic history of almost the entire life span of the Soviet Union. The USSR, already gripped by Stalinist paranoia in the purges of the 1930s, took an even more paranoiac ultra-nationalist, xenophobic turn following its victory over the Nazis, mimicking their bigotry, scapegoating, and destructive cultural policies (the era of Zhdanov).  This ultranationalist, anti-western campaign against "unpatriotic" "cosmopolitan" elements began in 1946 (August 14, in Pravda), and on December 22, 1948, it was specifically tied to Jews, in this speech:

A. Fadeev: "O nekotorykh prichinakh otstavanie sovetskoi dramaturgii" [On Several Reasons for the Lag in Soviet Dramaturgy], Literaturnaya gazeta (Moscow), 22 December 1948, p. 1.

And from there, it only got worse, leading to a murderous campaign against Soviet Jews terminated only by Stalin's death.

Aside from the fact that the anti-Semitic campaign is today eligible for Social Security, it remains relevant. Eastern Europe is a worse anti-Semitic sewer today than it was under Soviet rule, reverting to its prior glorious heritage. But it is also not a dead issue in the USA, for countless Americans are locked in rigid racial/religious categories and simply cannot understand, even when they are not overtly hostile, those sneaky, slippery, chameleon Jews, especially the secular ones, that elude fixed categorization. They don't understand the firmly religious/ethnic ones very well, either.

So rootless cosmopolitans, stand proud, say it loud, and fuck 'em if they can't take a joke!

My other choice for Rootless Cosmopolitans Day is July 27, on which day in 1656 Baruch Spinoza, blessed be he, was expelled from the Jewish community, thus becoming history's first rootless cosmopolitan in theory and in practice.


"From Anti-Westernism to Anti-Semitism" by Konstantin Azadovskii and Boris Egorov in Journal of Cold War Studies, 4:1, Winter 2002, pp. 66–80.

"About one anti-patriotic group of theatre critics," Pravda, 28 January, 1949, p. 3.

Rootless cosmopolitan - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia