Philosophy Today

Volume 68, Issue 2, Spring 2024

Roman Karlović, Peter Bojanić
Pages 415-424

Goldschmidt and Yiddish Anarchism

While Hermann Levin Goldschmidt didn’t read Yiddish anarchists, there seems to have been a convergent evolution in their thinking. Goldschmidt’s looking up to Jewish lore as a source of liberating creativity is commonly encountered in Yiddish anarchist texts. His view of action as a constant response to internal and external challenges in the struggle for an open future is developed by Isaac Nachman Steinberg on the basis of nineteenth-century vitalism. Goldschmidt’s theory of anarchist individualism as willed self-limiting solidarity has a compelling parallel in Hillel Solotaroff’s view of history. His use of impressionism and photography to eternalize the immediacy of human actuality is akin to Rudolf Rocker’s championing of decadent literature. In both cases, the goal of anarchism is not a dictatorship of the former downtrodden, but a continuous and contradictory evolution of freedom in ever-changing contexts.