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.
Anti-Westernism to Anti-Semitism" by Konstantin Azadovskii and
Boris Egorov in Journal of Cold War Studies, 4:1, Winter
2002, pp. 66–80.
anti-patriotic group of theatre critics," Pravda, 28 January,
1949, p. 3.
cosmopolitan - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia