Karaomerlioglu, Asım_Alexander Helphand-Parvus and His Impact on Turkish Intellectual Life

September 23, 2017 | Author: bosLooK | Category: Imperialism, Ottoman Empire, Vladimir Lenin, Russian Revolution, Social Democracy
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Helphand-Parvus and his Impact on Turkish Intellectual Life ˘ LU ¨ MERLI˙OG M. ASIM KARAO

The role of the individual has been one of the most hotly-debated topics in historiography. Until the twentieth century, a certain kind of history writing focusing on the achievements of ‘great men’ with an overemphasis on the history of the states, elites and mainstream politics had dominated historiography. The rise of the Annales in the 1920s and later of the ‘history from below’ approach, especially as was carried out by British Marxist historians, in some ways reversed this historiographical tendency and led to a new form of history writing that questioned the state-centred and elite perceptions of history. Theirs was an attempt to direct attention to structures, economic transformations, social classes and mass politics. Then, beginning in 1968 with a series of great upheavals and mass movements, the impact of voluntarism and human agency in the making of history came to be emphasized more often, although this emphasis was different from the nineteenth century historical style based on the history of ‘great men’. This was, so to speak, a revival of the role of the individual and therefore of an interest in biographical studies. This revival, however, was not simply a return to the old style biographies of ‘great men,’ but, instead, was a call for the inclusion of cultural impacts, socio-economic conditions, systems of thought, psychological factors and the like. This article aims to be a modest contribution to such a historiographical trend by focusing on the life of Alexander Israel Helphand, generally known by his nickname, Parvus, or Parvus Efendi, as his Turkish friends called him. Helphand-Parvus, no doubt, is one of the most extraordinary political figures of the twentieth century. He played an influential role in the political and intellectual life of three countries: Russia, Germany and Turkey. He was one of the leading Marxist theoreticians and revolutionaries in the Russian Revolution of 1905, a prominent German Social Democrat in Germany, one of the eminent figures of the Second International,1 and for a while an adviser on economic issues to the Young Turks2 between 1910 and 1914 in Istanbul where he also became a merchant millionaire. Furthermore, during the last Middle Eastern Studies, Vol.40, No.6, November 2004, pp.145 – 165 ISSN 0026-3206 print/1743-7881 online DOI: 10.1080/0026320042000282928 # 2004 Taylor & Francis Ltd.



decade of his life, he was influential not only in contributing to the making of the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 in Russia, but also in the formation of postwar Germany as an adviser to the Weimar Republic.3 Parvus’s life story in Russia and Germany is well known, thanks especially to Zeman and Scharlau’s brilliant biography entitled The Merchant of Revolution, The Life of Israel Alexander Helphand Parvus.4 The four years of his life that he spent in Turkey, however, to a great extent, remain a mystery. Although some information written in Turkish is available, this information falls short of being a systematic and comprehensive analysis of his life and intellectual ventures in Istanbul.5 The situation is even worse as far as western sources are concerned, and with the exception of Paul Dumont’s article on Parvus’s life in Turkey,6 almost no study exists. Parvus’s four years of residence in Istanbul, however, had a formative impact both on his personality and his political orientation. Faced with the lack of scholarly studies about these formative years of Parvus, whom I regard as one of the twentieth century’s leading intellectual and political figures, I would like to conduct a systematic, historiographic and personal study of his life in Istanbul and his impact on Turkish intellectual life. Before focusing on his Turkish experience, it is important to mention briefly his life in Russia and Germany. This is essential because scholars of Middle Eastern history, by and large, have not heard of his influential and colourful life in those countries. Parvus was born into a middle-class Jewish family in Russia in 1867. Early in his life in the mid-1880s, he was influenced by Russian Marxists such as Plekhanov, Akselrod and Zasulic.7 He was never directly involved in the internal struggles of the Russian Social Democracy; although he was closer to the Mensheviks for he never believed in the historical role of the vanguard party envisioned by Lenin.8 In the 1890s, as a political exile in Switzerland, he received a Ph.D. degree from the University of Basle.9 Frustrated with academia, however, he joined the German Social Democratic circles where he developed close friendships with people such as Karl Kautsky, Clara Zetkin, Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Radek and he soon became one of the most distinguished theoreticians of this party. Interestingly, during the late 1890s, he was the first person in the party to make a systematic critique of Eduard Bernstein’s revisionist theses which, in a nutshell, emphasized spontaneity and political reform as opposed to radical revolution.10 Rosa Luxembourg11 and Parvus were ‘regarded as hotheads and firebrands by the party hierarchy’.12 In the 1890s and early 1900s, he was not only engaged in political matters of German and Russian Marxism, but also extensively wrote on matters such as imperialism, the agrarian question, finance capital and capitalism, in general.13 For instance, in the 1890s he was the first to observe and speculate about the long waves of capitalism, a phenomenon that was later attributed to Kondratieff in the 1920s.14



In the early 1900s, Parvus’s house in Munich became one of the focal points of many Russian exiles such as Lenin and Trotsky.15 When the Revolution of 1905 broke out in Russia, Parvus withdrew into the country, actively participated in the revolution, and, together with Trotsky, became one of the most important political figures of the St. Petersburg Soviet.16 His political and intellectual impact on Trotsky, especially between 1904 and 1909,17 was remarkable and was later acknowledged with appreciation by Trotsky. According to Trotsky: Parvus was unquestionably one of the most important of the Marxists at the turn of the century. He used the Marxian methods in a competent way, was possessed of wide vision, and kept a keen eye on everything of importance in world events. This, coupled with his fearless thinking and his virile, muscular style, made him a remarkable writer. His early studies brought me closer to the problems of the Social Revolution, and, for me, definitely transformed the conquest of power by the proletariat from an astronomical ‘final’ goal to a practical task for our own day.18 Years later, Trotsky wrote that ‘there is no doubt that he [Parvus] exerted considerable influence on my personal development, especially with respect to the social–revolutionary understanding of our epoch.’19 Indeed, the famous theory of permanent revolution that is generally attributed to Trotsky was originally formulated by Parvus.20 As early as 1905, he developed his theory on the peculiarities of the semi-Asiatic character of pre-capitalist Russia. He argued that cities constituted only administrative centres and were ‘purely official and bureaucratic in character.’ He claimed that ‘the Russian middle class was weak, and the workers could and should take the lead in the revolution, ultimately establishing, ‘‘a workers’’’ democracy.’21 The theory of permanent revolution, which rejected the overwhelmingly dominant revolutionary paradigm that was popular among the Marxists at the time, was based on the necessity of a ‘bourgeois democratic’ stage on the way to socialism in Russia. Indeed, this outstanding contribution of Parvus was vindicated by the actual historical path that the Russian Revolution took. According to him, the Russian Social Democrats alone supported by the Russian working class could assume the political power in Russia and this was the perspective Lenin adopted only as late as April 1917. Parvus was an acute observer and a brilliant theoretician. Many of the theories attributed to Trotsky, such as the worldwide development of capitalism,22 the decline of the economic and political roles of the nationstates, capitalism as an ever growing universal system, the significance of the mass strike as the initiator of political revolution, the Soviet as the role model



for revolutionary political organization, and the ‘actuality of revolution’ were in fact, initially and brilliantly, put forward by Parvus.23 He was one of the first and early revolutionary theoreticians who characterized Russia as the ‘weakest link’ of the imperialist system.24 As early as 1904, he talked about the inevitability of a world war between industrial nations that would result in world revolution.25 Long before Lenin, Parvus developed a theory of imperialism which, unlike Marx’s, pointed out that imperialism in the colonies did not necessarily lead to economic development or capitalism.26 Distancing himself from the eurocentric theories of imperialism, Parvus pointed out hindrances to as well as the advance of capitalism in the colonies, a theory similar to the one widely popular in the 1960s and 1970s, especially in Latin America. When the revolutionary waves faded away in 1906, Parvus, Trotsky and many other revolutionaries were imprisoned, and later sent to exile in Siberia, from where they were able to escape. Parvus returned to Germany, and continued contributing to political and theoretical discussions in the party. However, his political and personal life in Germany created several problems. The hostility felt towards him by the leaders of the German Social Democrat Party escalated as the Russian Marxists accused him of embezzling the money coming from the European copyright revenues of the Bolshevik writer Maxim Gorky.27 Tired of the suffocating atmosphere in the party circles,28 and convinced that a socialist revolution, far from being possible through working class activities, could come about only as a result of an inter-imperialist world war likely to start in the Balkans.29 Parvus, in 1910, came to Istanbul to work as a quite poor press correspondent of a German Social Democratic newspaper.30 This marked the beginning of Parvus’s almost five years of residence in Istanbul, the story of which I will return to later in this article. During the First World War, Parvus openly carried out pro-German propaganda activities, and, for this reason, was severely criticized by many of his former socialist comrades.31 He even encouraged the Ottoman authorities to enter the War on the side of the Germans, and published two pamphlets to propagate this goal.32 He believed that such a nationalist attitude did not contradict his Marxist principles, because what was crucial was the withering away of Tsarist Russia, the heart of European reactionism and backwardness. According to him, ‘Only a Russian defeat by the Germans could make the revolution possible since Germans were the carriers of high culture.’33 Therefore, supporting Germany did not create a problem for him, because the eventual result would be a socialist revolution.34 What is more, he believed, if Tsarist Russia actually won the war, this would harm the democratic nature of the political regimes both in the Entente and the Allied countries.35 Whether Germany could benefit from this situation was not the



crux of the matter. After all, he was the ‘merchant of revolution’ and perhaps, this was the first time that the Germans found in Parvus an adviser who knew Russia so well.36 In the last year of his residence in Istanbul, Parvus contacted the German Ambassador, Wangenheim, and proposed a grand and impressive plan to undermine Russia’s standing in the war. The German Ambassador’s telegram to the German Foreign Ministry about Parvus stated: The well-known Russian Socialist and publicist, Dr Helphand, one of the main leaders of the last Russian Revolution, who was exiled from Russia and has, on several occasions, been expelled from Germany, has for some time been active here as a writer, concerning himself chiefly with questions of Turkish economics. Since the beginning of the war, Parvus’s attitude has been definitely pro-German. He is helping Dr Zimmer in his support of the Ukrainian movement and he also rendered useful services in the founding of Batsarias’s newspaper in Bucharest. In a conversation with me, which he had requested through Zimmer, Parvus said that the Russian Democrats could only achieve their aim by the total destruction of Czarism and the division of Russia into smaller states. On the other hand, Germany would not be completely successful if it were not possible to kindle a major revolution in Russia. However, there would still be a danger to Germany from Russia, even after the war, if the Russian Empire were not divided into a number of separate parts. The interests of the German government were therefore identical with those of the Russian revolutionaries, who were already at work. However, there was as yet a lack of cohesion between the various factions. The Mensheviks had not yet joined forces with the Bolsheviks, who had already gone into action. He saw it as his task to create a unity and to organize the rising on a broad basis. To achieve this, a congress of the leaders would first of all be needed – possibly in Geneva. He was prepared to take the necessary first step to this end, but would need considerable sums of money for the purpose. He therefore requested an opportunity of presenting his plans in Berlin. He confidently expected an Imperial Circular holding out to the [German] Social Democrats the prospect of an immediate improvement in primary schools and in average working hours, as a reward for their patriotic attitude, to have a considerable effect not only on German Socialists serving in the Army, but also on Russians sharing his own political opinions. Parvus has today travelled via Sofia and Bucharest to Vienna, where he will have discussions with Russian revolutionaries. Dr. Zimmer will arrive in Berlin at the same time as Parvus, and will be available to arrange meetings with him. In Parvus’s opinion, action



must be taken quickly, so that the new Russian recruits will arrive at the front already contaminated. Wangenheim.37 In a memorandum entitled ‘The Plan for the Russian Revolution’ written for this purpose, Parvus states that local economic strikes should gradually evolve into a general strike with political demands (based on the slogan ‘peace and freedom’) that would then result in the fall of the Tsarist regime. This could only be led by Russian socialists, and Parvus suggested that Germany help organize a conference of Russian socialist leaders in a neutral country such as Switzerland.38 His plan was based on Germany’s active financial and political support of the revolutionary and nationalist movements in Russia, especially of the radical wing, the Bolsheviks. These efforts were aimed at making Russia focus on internal dissident movements, thus weakening its war efforts.39 Interestingly, Parvus was soon invited to Berlin to present his plan to the higher echelons of the foreign ministry which he finally managed to convince. It was due to his plan that huge amounts of money were pumped into the dissident movements40 inside and outside of Russia, through a firm founded by Parvus in Copenhagen. The famed adventurous Bolshevik revolutionary Hanecki (Kuba), who was known as Lenin’s ‘bodyguard’ and known for providing the Bolsheviks with financial resources, was involved in speculative and lucrative businesses with Parvus41 despite Lenin’s later denial of any relations whatsoever between the Bolsheviks and Parvus.42 In fact, it was Parvus who convinced the German authorities to arrange the famous sealed train by which the e´migre´ Russian Bolshevik leaders, including Lenin, entered Russia in April of 1917 just after the February Revolution broke out.43 Seen as such, Parvus’s extraordinary impact on the Russian Revolution is undeniable. Kerensky, the prime minister of Russia during the days of the Revolution of 1917, accused the Bolsheviks, particularly their leader Lenin, of spying for Germany. Indeed, during the famous ‘July Days’ of the Russian Revolution when the Bolsheviks were declared illegal and went underground, it was their relationship with Parvus that put them into this difficult situation.44 Moreover, decades after the revolution, the conservative historiographical interpretation of the events of 1917 simply as a Bolshevik coup rather than a genuine political revolution in which German spying activity sponsored by Parvus has occupied the centre stage has been widely accepted in academic circles.45 Although such interpretations are certainly exaggerated, reducing the seminal role of the social and economic discontent Russia faced in 1917 to a simple conspiracy,46 conservative and influential Russian historians, such as Richard Pipes, have generally interpreted the Revolution in this light.47



Despite his contributions, the Bolsheviks did not let Parvus enter Russia after the Revolution. ‘The cause of the revolution should not be touched by dirty hands’, Lenin replied to Parvus’s desire to return to his homeland.48 He thus stayed in Germany and became an adviser to the Weimar Republic. He was, without a doubt, an important figure in the formation and shaping of the Weimar Republic. When he died of a heart attack in 1924 in Germany, this famous Marxist revolutionary theorist and adventurer was one of Germany’s richest men. To understand how this happened, we need to return to 1910, the year he first came to Istanbul. Parvus’s activities in the late Ottoman Empire between 1910 and 1914 should be investigated under three headings: his intellectual impact on Young Turk thinking, his political activities and, last but not least, his speculative business transactions. Just as he was involved in German politics as if Germany were his own country,49 Parvus involved himself deeply in Turkish politics, developing relationships with the Young Turk leaders and devising policies especially concerning economic issues in the Ottoman Empire. According to Georgeon, Parvus had a deep intellectual impact on the Young Turks.50 Although we do not know exactly when and how Parvus developed close relations with the Young Turks,51 he became a popular figure in the Young Turk press and focused extensively on economic issues.52 He was made an honorary member of Turkish nationalist associations such as Tu¨rk Bilgi Derneg˘i53 and wrote continuously in Turkish journals and newspapers such as Bilgi Mecmuası, Jeune Turc, Tu¨rk Yurdu, Azadamard, ˙Ic¸tihad and Tasvir-i Efkar. He even wrote a book on the foreign debts of Turkey entitled Tu¨rkiye’nin Can Damarı: Devlet-i Osmaniye’nin Borc¸ları ve Islahı (Turkey’s Vital Interest: The Debts of the Ottoman State and its Reform).54 Parvus’s impact on Young Turk thinking in economic matters can be best seen in his writings published between 1912 and 1914 in the influential journal Tu¨rk Yurdu, which was a pan-Turkist journal, first published in 1911, whose contributors consisted primarily of emigre´ Tatar intellectuals, especially the prominent Yusuf Akc¸ura, who played a leading role in this endeavour, as well as the leading Turkish intelligentsia of the time.55 In his introduction of Parvus to the Tu¨rk Yurdu readers, Akc¸ura pointed out that Parvus was a well-known Social Democrat (Marxist) in Europe, who was going to contribute to the pages of the journal on economic issues. Despite the difference in ideological orientation between Parvus and the Tu¨rk Yurdu circle, a difference between Social Democracy and nationalism, Akc¸ura wrote that in terms of being a populist (halkseven) they shared the same concerns.56 Parvus urged the Young Turk intelligentsia to pay more attention to the economic necessities of the country. As a matter of fact, he saw the decline of the Ottomans as a result of the deterioration of the Ottoman economy rather



than of cultural, religious, and political factors, a perspective quite widespread among many European Orientalists of the time.57 According to him, the Ottomans were concerned only with state finances, but not with the economy at large. They had either ignored the economy completely or wasted all the available sources that could be used for economic development.58 Unlike European states, which also had foreign debts, Parvus argued, the Ottoman bureaucracy irrationally and wastefully consumed its foreign loans which then became a big financial burden for the country.59 He also carefully distinguished the state from the people and the nation arguing that, thanks to economic dynamism, nations can survive even if they lose their political independence as was the case in Poland.60 In many of his writings on the Ottoman Empire in general and on the Ottoman economy in particular, Parvus emphasized the peculiarities of the development of capitalism in the non-western world such as the Ottoman Empire that was completely different from that of West European experience. This view stemmed from Parvus’s understanding of imperialism, a theme that ran through the heart of his writings. In this sense, he differed from the classical Marxist interpretation of imperialism that expected capitalist development also in the economically backward countries and the colonies. In other words, like Karl Kautsky, Parvus emphasized that rather than development, in places such as the Ottoman Empire, the impact of European imperialism could only lead to the hindrance of development and to the destruction of domestic economic life.61 He therefore continuously criticized the imperialist dominance of Europe over the Ottoman Empire. In this vein, he claimed, for instance, that German imperialism, by using its railroad construction undertakings in the region, was colonizing Anatolia for its own interests and expanding its sphere of influence.62 It was European financial power that in reality controlled the destiny of the country, not the Ottoman state, not the nation, not the Muslims nor the Christians.63 The financial domination of the Europeans was made possible not only by the ever-increasing debt of the Ottomans, but also by lucrative businesses such as railroad construction in the Empire.64 According to Parvus, the Ottoman state, far from serving the interests of the Ottoman people, had simply become a puppet of European finance capital.65 To make his point, Parvus harshly attacked the Public Debt Organization (Duyun-i Umumiye) which was founded in 1881 as a multi-national European institution with the aim of directly collecting taxes and revenues of many major Ottoman goods.66 This organization, in fact, was so powerful that it was able to control and manipulate the Ottoman economy.67 Parvus pointed out that the Organization prospered while the Ottoman state finances deteriorated and emphasized that it functioned like a parasite and for the sole interests of



the Europeans. A case in point was the Organization’s huge investment in Italian state bonds while the Ottomans were at war with the Italians!68 Similarly, Parvus relentlessly criticized the capitulations and argued that overall the financial and economic dependence of the Ottomans made them politically vulnerable vis-a`-vis the Europeans.69 As Berkes points out, ‘it was with Parvus that anti-liberal and anti-imperialistic economic ideas along Marxian lines began to appear in the Turkish press’.70 The solution Parvus offered was an economic policy of creating a ‘National Economy’ based on an anti-liberal idea.71 The policy of ‘National Economy’, first and foremost, implied getting rid of the non-Muslim and foreign merchants and industrialists and founding an industrial base to foster independent economic development.72 In this sense, two of his points deserve special attention. Parvus argued that the liberal theories of which the Ottomans had been mistakenly quite fond of for decades, led to the destruction of the domestic economy, a resulting lack of industry and increased Ottoman dependence on the Europeans.73 Secondly, although as a Marxist he was aware of the possible class differentiation that industrialization could bring about, Parvus argued that a national economy and industry were the sine qua non of liberating the Ottoman Empire from European yoke.74 Despite his harsh critique of European imperialism, Parvus cautioned Ottoman intellectuals not to develop hatred towards Europe. In this sense, he touched upon a very delicate discussion which is still unabated in Turkey today. According to him, there were two Europes, one of them being the imperialistic, military and official Europe, and the other being the ‘democratic’ one. Historically, Turkey only knew and imitated the former. However, the other Europe, the ‘democratic’ one, was the Europe struggling against its own speculators, exploiters and dictators, and not the Europe of the diplomats, bankers and capitalists. In their struggle against the imperialistic Europe, the Turks should learn and cooperate with the democratic one.75 For instance, the other Europe, he stressed, could exemplify a democratic tradition for the Turks. Another recurring theme in Parvus’s writings is the lack of democracy in Turkey. He severely criticized the Unionists for their unwillingness to have a democratic government and argued that public opinion and consciousness are required for the development of democracy.76 Because there was no effective public pressure on the Ottoman government, arbitrariness and the abuse of state power could often be the rule in the Empire.77 Furthermore, public pressure was necessary not only for the control of domestic affairs, but for putting pressure on European governments as well. For Parvus, a government which did not respect the public opinion of the nation should not expect to be taken seriously by the Europeans.78



One of the most important and interesting topics that Parvus dealt with in the Ottoman press was related to the question of the peasantry. He can certainly be considered one of the first social critics in Turkey who raised the issue of the importance of improving the social and economic conditions of the Ottoman peasants for the well-being of the Empire as a whole and of the state in particular.79 According to him, the intelligentsia ignored the Turkish peasants, to a large extent, despite the fact that they not only made up of the majority of the population, but also constituted the financial and military strength of the Ottoman state. In this sense, his critiques anticipated those of ¨ mer Lu¨tfi Barkan of the 1930s who complained about the ignorance of the O Turkish intelligentsia with regard to the question of peasantry and landlessness.80 Economic and financial expert that he was, Parvus elaborated on the systematic discrimination of the Ottoman Turkish peasantry. According to him, the peasants in Anatolia and Syria paid almost twice as much tax to the state than, for example, the peasants in the European provinces of the Empire.81 He quoted Anatolian peasants who complained that even the Turkish/Muslim peasants in Bulgaria were living under relatively much better conditions. Parvus further pointed out that city dwellers, especially the non-Muslims and the rich, together with the well-to-do farmers of the countryside, could avoid being drafted into the army by paying a certain amount of cash.82 Ironically, though, it was in fact the poor peasants who provided the necessary manpower and were needed for agricultural production given the primitive level of technology of the time. Parvus often described the terrible conditions prevailing among the Anatolian peasants. Many of his writings are full of observations about disease, famine and poverty in the Anatolian countryside.83 After the Crimean War, he wrote, the economic misery of the Anatolian peasantry worsened because of the impact of European economic penetration and the rising level of state spending.84 The peasant question, in Parvus’s mind, was directly related to the question of the state. He raised the question of the real duty of the state and argued that the state, first and foremost, should take into account the necessities of the peasants since they made up the majority of the population.85 Although the military and economic basis of the Ottoman state had been the peasants for centuries, the state had never helped them.86 The only time the state thought of them was when it needed to recruit soldiers and collect taxes. What he suggested was offering credit facilities to the peasants and delivering titles to land which the peasants desperately lacked. Even the government’s railroad project had to be pursued based on the necessities of the peasants.87 This was, of course, a very harsh critique of the Unionists who were then in power. He also related the declining power of the Unionists to their increasing distance



from the peasants. In his opinion, the Unionists did not fulfil any of the promises of the Young Turk Revolution of 1908, such as alleviating taxes paid by the peasants.88 According to him One of the reasons behind the decline of the CUP influence is that nothing was done for the prosperity of the peasants for the last four years under the Constitutional administration. The peasants until now have been in an extraordinarily miserable situation. But, it is the peasants who make up the Ottoman army. . .. The question of alleviating the tax burden of the peasants arose just after the revolution. This issue, however, was always postponed and finally nothing was done. This, however, was a fatal mistake. The intelligentsia’s ignorance of the peasants, Parvus wrote, led to the failure of Turkish nationalism. Based on historical examples, he argued that the Armenian, Serbian, Bulgarian and Greek intellectuals and politicians had taken care of their peasants, but the Turkish intelligentsia did not.89 They even avoided their peasants. In so doing, Parvus continued, the Turkish intelligentsia not only left the Turks out of politics, but also made themselves into aimless and disoriented intellectuals.90 Parvus stressed that the peasants were necessary for the intelligentsia in its nationalist project, yet the intelligentsia was not really doing what was necessary. For this reason, he harshly criticized the Unionist government and the Turkish intelligentsia: You accepted the Constitutional way; however, you did not uncover the desires of the people. You, the intelligentsia, distance yourselves from the nation and you do not get to know your own people. You either idolize them like heroes in your dreams or disapprove of their ignorance and conservatism. There is no common point between your feelings and the life of the people. . .When you think that you are dealing with the issues of people’s prosperity, in fact, you deal with your own dreams, not with their realities.91 Parvus’s standpoint on the question of the peasantry is very interesting in the sense that he perceived the peasant question in the Ottoman Empire directly as a question of ethnicity and, therefore, nationalism. This, he wrote, was inevitable given the disintegrating multi-ethnic structure of the Ottoman Empire.92 In other words, the Turkish intelligentsia had to ‘go to the people’ to win their hearts and minds and only then would be able to implement their nationalistic project with the mass support won from the Turkish peasants. Likewise, in a letter to the Turkish youth, Parvus



contended that the power the youth was seeking should be found in the people only.93 Parvus’s remarks point to the paradox between the discourse and the practice of the Young Turks. Although the Turkish intelligentsia started talking about the people and the peasants, they had indeed achieved little, if anything, for the prosperity of the peasants. The great hopes and expectations of the peasants aroused by the Young Turk Revolution of 1908 were not fulfilled at all.94 According to a journalist, Ahmed S¸erif, who toured Anatolia a year after the revolution, the peasants were frustrated by the revolution, as nothing significant had changed for them. As many observers of the time noted, the taxes were unjust and not collected peacefully; murders and theft in villages continued, and life in the countryside became even worse and more chaotic than before.95 One of Parvus’s most important attempts to influence the Young Turks can be seen in his conviction that the Ottoman Empire should side with Germany in the First World War. Though we do not know to what extent his proGerman attitudes and writings had an impact on the Young Turks,96 we know that his pamphlets and articles on this question were widely read by the leading statesmen and intellectuals of the time.97 His pamphlets were broadly discussed in the Ottoman media and newspapers such as ˙Ikdam, Tasvir-i Efkar and Tercu¨man-ı Hakikat and articles were published concerning Parvus’s pamphlets. In the two pamphlets he wrote a month after the outbreak of the war, he seems to speculate on the probable outcome of the war on the world; however, a close look at the pamphlets makes it clear that his real intention was to convince the Unionists that they should side with the Germans. One of the reasons why he felt the government should side with Germany was Britain’s hostile attitude toward the Ottomans. Parvus noted that in recent decades the British were hardly concerned with the Ottoman Empire, but rather focused on Egypt and India.98 With the decline of British imperialism vis-a`-vis Germany, the British attitude towards the underdeveloped world relied on the retardation of any possible development in these countries.99 Furthermore, the British were increasingly occupied with controlling the oilfields in the Ottoman Empire,100 and such an attitude left no options for the Ottomans, other than collaboration with Germany. One of the most important standpoints that can be found in Parvus’s pamphlets is his hostility towards Russia.101 According to him, Germany and the Ottoman Empire shared common interests against Russia and Britain.102 The Russians, he argued, had their eye on the straits, but, he continued, Russia’s main interest in the region was not the straits, but the vast area of the Middle East that the Ottomans controlled.103 This standpoint, of course, coincides with Parvus’s discussion of the general context of Europe. His main



concern was the defeat of Russia at any cost and this explains why he sounded like a German patriot. According to him, a Russian defeat in the War would fuel the revolutionary and nationalistic movements in Russia, and then political power could change hands. Even in his first pamphlets, Parvus talks about a possible socialist revolution due to the war, and goes further and prophetically states that a peace treaty could even be signed by a ‘revolutionary’ government.104 Just after the War broke out in Europe, Parvus wrote an article in the influential newspaper Tasvir-i Efkar in which he outlined the measures the Ottoman government should take. Parvus pointed out that the war could last longer than expected, that a socialist revolution could take place because of war, and therefore Turkey should prepare herself for long-lasting troubled times. The first and the most crucial measure was to abolish the capitulations as soon as possible and indeed the government did so soon after.105 In addition to this, he proposed measures for the government such as the nationalization of the railroads, the prohibition of the export of gold, the taxation of foreign residents, and the raising of customs duties.106 In Istanbul, Parvus did not simply limit his activities to the intellectual sphere. He was deeply concerned with and involved in socialist and dissident movements in the Ottoman Empire,107 the Balkans, and Russia. He carefully observed such movements, advised those intellectuals and activists on several crucial topics and developed relations with them. As soon as he came to Istanbul, he contacted the famous Romanian Marxist, Rakovsky,108 a former friend of his who was also then in Istanbul and who provided the necessary connections in socialist circles. In 1910, with Rakovsky and others, he celebrated May Day in Istanbul.109 He had close relations with the Socialist Worker Federation that was founded in the Ottoman Empire. His special attention, though, was directed towards the socialist and nationalist movements in the Balkans.110 He often went to the Balkan countries and attempted to organize a federalist, democratic organization throughout the area (he also had business relations there).111 According to the German Ambassador mentioning Parvus’s political activities in the Balkans, in January 1915, ‘there exists in Sofia and Bucharest an organization of Russian revolutionaries, and these elements seem now to have gone to work.’112 Parvus, together with Vlahof and Rakovsky, wrote a political manifesto in an effort to prevent the coming Balkan War.113 His main concern, there, was to form an antiRussian political bloc, and for this reason, he saw the nationalist dissident movements as very important to weaken Russia.114 For example, he tacitly supported the Union for the Liberation of Ukraine in its cause for the independence of the Ukraine.115 Likewise, he had good relations with the Armenian and Georgian revolutionaries.116 At one time, he made considerable efforts in reconciling the competing Armenian revolutionary organizations,



the Dasnaks and the Hincaks.117 It has often been argued that Parvus offered ‘useful strategical information’ to the Young Turk governments about the state of things in the Balkans and, in turn, was rewarded, perhaps monetarily, for his secretive activities.118 In addition to Parvus’s intellectual and political activities in the Ottoman Empire, his business ventures turn out to be a very interesting topic of study as well. In fact, it was his business transactions, that made it possible for him to contact the German authorities at the outbreak of war, thus ensuring his immense role during the Russian Revolution in 1917. As pointed out above, Parvus came to Istanbul as a poor journalist. The income he got from news correspondence to the German and Austrian newspapers was not significant.119 Initially, he led a quite modest life. For instance, he often ate in cheap restaurants. But, he immediately realized with his seismographic talents that Istanbul was the best place for him to convert his intellectual abilities into money and wealth. After all, he had worked on theories of imperialism, financial flows, commercial activities and stock markets for a long time. Ironically, then, his Marxist background would offer him the personal wealth with which he could make his own revolution and publish his own journal. His Turkish experience taught him something that he could hardly learn anywhere else: if you have close relations with the government, you can make an incredible fortune very easily in a short period! He was therefore able to make huge financial gains by the synthesis of his brilliant financial abilities with his closeness to the Young Turks.120 However, one cannot trace Parvus’s business transactions in exact detail, since he himself burnt many of his documents before he died.121 Still, there is enough information and widespread rumours that may be revealing in this respect. According to one such rumour, Parvus, while in an Istanbul coffeehouse, passed some insider information that he had secretly got from government officials to a businessman and within moments had made an incredible fortune.122 During the Balkan Wars and after, he imported railway equipment for the Ottoman army and spare parts for the milling industry; founded a publishing house in Istanbul,123 and became a business agent for several European businesses, including the Krupp and perhaps Sir Basil Zaharoff, ‘the mystery man of Europe’.124 He also established businesses in neighbouring countries such as Bulgaria and was actively involved in trade.125 With the outbreak of the First World War, he made his first million by delivering bread to Istanbul.126 Later in his notebooks, he commented on this speculative business as something that had saved the Young Turk regime from disaster.127 Not surprisingly, after he moved out of Istanbul, he continued to run his businesses during the war and was mostly involved in provisioning ammunition to different European armies.128 It has been suggested that he had ‘dabbled in smuggling obsolete German arms, for



which there was a great demand in the Balkans, and made a considerable fortune out of these deals.’129 The once poor and revolutionary Marxist turned out to be a millionaire merchant and speculator, and for this reason, his old friends such as Trotsky condemned him harshly and their destinies parted irreversibly.130 In Trotsky’s eyes, Parvus changed so much that he considered him to have died and even wrote an ‘obituary’ for Parvus.131 Despite the many different evaluations written about Parvus, I think he still should be seen as an extraordinary cosmopolitan intellectual of the turn of the twentieth century whose influence on the political and intellectual life of at least three countries was considerable. He did not learn socialism from books, nor did notions such as freedom or equality inspire him in this regard. He rather found a meaning in socialism because of his adventurous nature. As an eminent Russian historian said, he was ‘a character from a Balzac novel’. He was a gambler and an ‘adventurer in politics, in socialist thought, in high finance, in high diplomacy, and in love (perhaps the word should be sex) – a free-thinker, a free-actor, and a freebooter in all of them.’132 Not all of his predictions came true; not all the risks he took turned out to be successful; not all of his undertakings were worthy of esteem, but, as Trotsky noted, he ‘did everything on a large scale.’133 In a world of mediocrity and a time of decadence, he was colourful, ambitious, theoretical, prophetic, extraordinary, – a man of incredible intuition and intelligence. NOTES I would like to thank Bog˘azic¸i University Research Fund (project no 01HZ103) for funding this research. 1. K. Haenisch, Parvus; ein Blatt der Erinnerung (Berlin: Verlag fu¨r Sozialwissenschaft, 1925), p.5. 2. See S. Aks¸in, Jo¨n Tu¨rkler ve ˙Ittihat ve Terakki (I˙stanbul: Gerc¸ek Yayınları,1980), p.278. Parvus later on openly denied that he was any adviser whatsoever to the Young Turks in the face of harsh criticisms from European socialists. See Parvus’s ‘Ein Verleumdungswerk’, Die Glocke, No.3, (Oct. 1915), pp.129–130. 3. B.D. Wolfe, Three Who Made a Revolution (New York: Dial Press, 1964), p.300; Heinz Schurer, ‘Alexander Helphand-Parvus – Russian Revolutionary and German Patriot’, Russian Review, Vol.18, No.4 (1959), p.330. 4. As Professor Mete Tunc¸ay reminded me, in the original German edition, instead of ‘merchant of revolution’, ‘freebooter’ is used. I think in the case of Parvus, ‘merchant’ is more appropriate. (Freibeuter der Revolution Parvus/ Helphand. Eine politische Biographie (Ko¨ln: Verlag Wissenschaft und Politik, 1964). Wolfe, however, argues that ‘freebooter’ is a better term than ‘merchant’ to characterize Parvus. See Wolfe’s review on Zeman and Scharlau’s English edition in Slavic Review, Vol.25, No.4 (1966), p.697. 5. Many Turkish sources give incredibly false information about Parvus’s life. One example is A. Sayılgan’s Tu¨rkiye’de Sol Hareketler (1871–1972) (I˙stanbul: Hareket,1972), pp.55–9. See also F. Tevetog˘lu, Tu¨rkiye’de Sosyalist ve Komu¨nist Faaˆliyetler (Ankara: Ayyıldız, 1967), pp.477–8.



6. P.Dumont, ‘Un economiste social-democrate au service de la Jeune Turquie’, in Memorial ¨ mer Lu¨tfi Barkan, (Paris:Librairie d’Ame´rique et d’Orient Adrien Maisonneuve,1980), O pp.75–86. 7. C. Zetkin, ‘Helphand Parvus’, Die Kommunisticshe Internationale; Organ Des Executivkomitees der Kommunistischen Internationale, Imprint, (Milano: Feltrinelli, 1967), originally published in 1925, p.78. 8. G. Katkov, Russia 1917, The February Revolution (New York: Harper & Row Publishers, 1967), p.78. 9. Whether Parvus got the degree is a point of controversy, however. According to Heresch, Parvus ‘had not earned his academic title, but awarded it to himself to help create a respectable image’. See Elisabeth Heresch, The Empire of the Tsars, the Splendour and the Fall (Stroitel, 1993), p.184. 10. M. Donald, Marxism and Revolution, Karl Kautsky and the Russian Marxists 1900–1924 (London: Yale University Press, 1993), p.10; Schurer, ‘Alexander Helphand-Parvus – Russian Revolutionary and German Patriot’, p.314. 11. Parvus and Rosa Luxembourg were lovers for some time. See Z.A.B. Zeman and Winfried B. Scharlau, The Merchant of Revolution; the Life of Alexander Israel Helpland (Parvus) 1867–1924, (London: Oxford University Press, 1965), p.106. 12. Schurer, ‘Alexander Helphand-Parvus – Russian Revolutionary and German Patriot’, p.315. 13. Some of Parvus’s works include Mezhdunarodnyi zhandarm (Geneva, 1904); K. soldatam (Geneva, 1904); V chem my raskhodimsia? (Geneva, 1905); Nastoiashchee politicheskoe polozhenie i vidy budushchago (St. Petersburg, 1906); Die Kolonialpolitik und der Zusammenbruch (Leipzig, 1907); Rossiia i revoliutsiia (St. Petersburg, 1907); Die Reichstagwahlen und die Arbetierschaft (Leipzig, 1907); Der gewerkschaftliche Kampf (Berlin, 1908); Die Sozialdemokratie und der Parlamentarismus (Berlin, 1908); Die kapitalistische Produktion und das Proletariat (Berlin, 1908); Der Ideenkampf gegen den Sozialismus (Berlin, 1910); Das soziale problem unserer Zeit (Dresden, 1910); Die Banken, der Staat und die Industrie (Dresden, 1910); Der Sozialismus und die soziale Revolution (Berlin, 1910); Der Klassenkampf des Proletariats (Berlin, 1911); Die Soziale Bilanz des Krieges (Berlin, 1917); Der Arbeitersozialismus und die Weltrevolution (Berlin, 1919); Der Staat, die Industrie und der Sozialismus (Berlin, 1919); Germany’s Economic Remedy (Berlin, 1921). 14. H.A. Goldstein and Michael I. Luger, ‘Theory and Practise in High-Tech Economic Development’, in R.D. Bingham and Robert Mier (ed.) Theories of Local Economic Development, Perspectives From Across the Disciplines (Newbury Park: Sage, 1993), p.152; Jacob van Duijn, ‘Kondratieff’, The Economist, June 9, 1979, p.6. 15. ‘. . .. Helphand’s flat in Schwabing was a focal point for the Russian exile. Rosa Luxemburg met Lenin there for the first time; Lev Trotsky stayed there with his wife.’ Zeman and Scharlau, The Merchant of Revolution, p.57; Schurer, ‘Alexander Helphand-Parvus – Russian Revolutionary and German Patriot’, pp.314–15. 16. Trotsky, My Life (New York: Pathfinder Press, 1970), p.177. 17. Schurer, ‘Alexander Helphand-Parvus – Russian Revolutionary and German Patriot’, p.317. 18. Trotsky, My Life, p.167. 19. Leon Trotsky, Stalin: An Appraisal of the Man and His Influence (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1941), pp.429–30. 20. N. Geras, The Legacy of Rosa Luxemburg (London : New Left Books, 1976), p.47. 21. K.A. Wittfogel, ‘The Marxist View of Russian Society and Revolution’, World Politics, Vol.2, No.4 (1960), p.502. 22. In 1898 Lenin praised Parvus’s book on the development of world market. See Lenin’s review ‘Parvus. The World Market and the Agricultural Crisis. Economic Essays, Collected Works, Vol.4 (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1960), pp.65–6. Lenin with his own initiative was involved in 1908 for the translation of Die Kolonialpolitik und der Zusammenbruch (1907) into Russian. See O.F. Solov’ev, ‘Parvus: Politicheskii Portret’, Novaia i Noveishaia Istoriia, No.1 (1991), p.170. 23. Zeman and Scharlau, The Merchant of Revolution , p.76.



24. I. Berlin, ‘The Origins of Bolshevism: The Intellectual Evolution of Young Lenin’ in R. Pipes (ed.), Revolutionary Russia (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1968), p.58. 25. Donald, Marxism and Revolution, Karl Kautsky and the Russian Marxists 1900–1924, p.69; A. Solzhenitsyn, Lenin in Zurich (New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1976), p.120. 26. M. Michielsen, ‘The Missing Link: The Views of the Second International School of Thought on Development, Underdevelopment and Dependency’, Itinerario [Netherlands], Vol.14, No.2 (1990), pp.62–3. 27. Solov’ev, ‘Parvus: Politicheskii Portret’, p.170; Zeman and Scharlau, The Merchant of Revolution, p.70; Solzhenitsyn, Lenin in Zurich, p.119. 28. Zetkin, ‘Helphand Parvus’, p.89. 29. Haenisch, Parvus; ein Blatt der Erinnerung, p.29; Parvus, ‘Die deutsche Sozialdemokratie’, ¨ .N. Akbayar, ‘Bir Sosyalist Tip’, Tu¨rkiye Defteri, No.19 Die Glocke, No.1 (1915), p.36; O (1975), pp.6–7. 30. Zeman and Scharlau, The Merchant of Revolution, pp.124–8. 31. Parvus, ‘Meine Stellungnahme zum Krieg’, Die Glocke, No.3 (1915), p.160. Rose Luxembourg harshly criticizes Parvus for his attitudes during the war: ‘Since Parvus presses himself on everyone’s notice with his (revolutionary personality) we will say this to him: whoever regards war against Russia as the sacred duty of the proletariat would be taken seriously if he were in the trenches. But first to make a fortune during a war in which many thousand German and Russian proletarians are being killed, and then to sit in the safety of Klampenborg in Denmark and run from there a limited company for the exploitation of the connection between these two national proletariats – for this superior revolutionary role we have little understanding.’ See J.P. Nettl, Rosa Luxemburg, Vol.2, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1966), p.634. 32. Parvus, Umumi Harb Neticelerinden: Almanya Galip Gelirse (Istanbul, Tu¨rk Yurdu Ku¨tu¨phanesi, 1330) and Parvus, Umumi Harb Neticelerinden: ˙Ingiltere Galip Gelirse (Istanbul; Tu¨rk Yurdu Ku¨tu¨phanesi, 1330). It has been claimed that Parvus even went to the Sublime Porte to convince the Ottoman authorities for this purpose. See Haenisch, Parvus; ein Blatt der Erinnerung, p.35. 33. Parvus quoted in Solov’ev, ‘Parvus: Politicheskii Portret’, p.172. 34. ‘No one, or hardly anyone, in Europe could lift himself far enough out of his rut to see that the destruction of Russia now held the key to the future history of the world! All else was secondary.’ Solzhenitsyn, Lenin in Zurich, p.142. 35. As early as October 1914, he wrote a comprehensive article about this subject while he was still in Istanbul. See Parvus’s ‘Fu¨r die Demokratie – gegen den Zarismus’, Die Glocke, No.2 (1915), pp.77–85. 36. Solzhenitsyn, Lenin in Zurich, p.139. 37. Z.A.B. Zeman, Germany and the Revolution in Russia, 1915–1918 (Documents from the Archives of the German Foreign Ministry), (London: Oxford University Press, 1958), pp.1– 2. 38. See ‘The Plan for the Russian Revolution, – Alexander Parvus’s Memorandum’, in Heresch, The Empire of the Tsars, the Splendour and the Fall, p.257. 39. Ibid., p.259. 40. See Ibid., p.187. About Parvus’s service to Germany, The Minister in Copenhagen to the German Under State Secretary, Brockdorff-Rantzau sent a telegram to the Foreign Ministery saying ‘. . . I think that there can be no question that he is an extraordinarily important man whose unusual powers I feel we must employ for the duration of the war and should, if at all possible, continue to use later on.’ See Z.A.B. Zeman, Germany and the Revolution in Russia, p.4. 41. Schurer, ‘Alexander Helphand-Parvus – Russian Revolutionary and German Patriot’, p.324. 42. V. Lenin, Collected Works, 4th English Edition (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1964), pp.219–220. See also H. Stone, ‘Another Look at the Sisson Forgeries and Their Background’, Soviet Studies, Vol.37, No.1 (1985), p.92; A.E. Senn, ‘The Myth of German Money During the First World War’, Soviet Studies, Vol.28, No.1 (1976), p.83. 43. For a detailed presentation of the role Parvus played in arranging the sealed train see M. Pearson, The Sealed Train. Journey to Revolution Lenin – 1917 (London: Macmillan,



45. 46. 47. 48. 49. 50. 51. 52. 53. 54. 55.

56. 57. 58. 59. 60. 61. 62. 63. 64. 65. 66. 67. 68. 69. 70. 71. 72.

MIDDLE EASTERN STUDIES 1975). See also D.S. Anin, ‘Lenin, Trotsky and Parvus’, Survey, Vol.24, No.1 (1979), p.208. A recent study on the role of the German money indeed shows that the funnelling of German money through Parvus’s networks is not easy to prove. See S. Lyandres, The Bolsheviks’ ‘German Gold’ Revisited: An Inquiry into the 1917 Accusations, The Carl Beck Papers of Russian and East European Studies, No.1106. (Pittsburg: Center for Russian and East European Studies, 1995). See, for instance, G. Katkov, ‘German Political Intervention in Russia During the FirstWorld War’, in Pipes (ed.), Revolutionary Russia, pp.63–88. A. Dallin ‘Comment on Katkov’s – German Political Intervention in Russia During the First World War’, in R. Pipes (ed.), Revolutionary Russia, pp.91–3. See, for example, R. Pipes, The Russian Revolution (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1990). Zeman and Scharlau, The Merchant of Revolution, p.246. Wolfe, Three Who Made a Revolution, p.298. F. Georgeon, Tu¨rk Milliyetc¸ilig˘inin Ko¨kenleri, Yusuf Akc¸ura, 1876–1935 (Ankara: Yurt Yayınları, 1986), p.60. Dumont, ‘Un e´conomiste social-democrate au service de la Jeune Turquie’, p.78. The annual, Nevsal-i Milli mentions Parvus’s name. See Akbayar, ‘Bir Sosyalist Tip’, pp.8– 9. Ibid., p.8. This book aroused great interest among the Turkish intelligentsia. Interestingly in 1923, the second edition was published, and furthermore, the book was translated into French. See Dumont, ‘Un e´conomiste social-de´mocrate au service de la Jeune Turquie’, p.79. Especially after the Young Turk Revolution, the number of Tatars migrating to I˙stanbul increased significantly. See N. Devlet, ˙Ismail Bey Gaspıralı, 1851–1914 (Ankara: Ku¨ltu¨r ve Turizm Bakanlıg˘ı, 1988), p.125. In his article in Tu¨rk Yurdu, I˙smail Bey Gasprinsky complained about the massive flow of Tatar intellectuals into the Ottoman Empire who ended up living mentally in-between the two empires. I˙smail Gaspıralı, ‘Muhaceret-i Muntazama’, Tu¨rk Yurdu, Vol.2, No.11 (1912), p.707. Tu¨rk Yurdu was even financed by the Tatar bourgeoisie. See Georgeon, Tu¨rk Milliyetc¸ilig˘inin Ko¨kenleri, Yusuf Akc¸ura, 1876– 1935, pp.59–60. Yusuf Akc¸ura, ‘I˙ktisad,’ Tu¨rk Yurdu, Vol.1, No.9, 1327/1912, p.262. Parvus, ‘Tu¨rkiye’de Ziraatin I˙stikbali’, Tu¨rk Yurdu, Vol.5, No.1 (1329/1913), pp.859–60. Parvus, ‘1327 Senesinin Ahval-i Maliyesine Bir Nazar’, Tu¨rk Yurdu, Vol.2, No.1 (1328/ 1912), pp.398. Ibid., p.396. Parvus, ‘I˙s¸ I˙s¸ten Gec¸meden Go¨zu¨nu¨zu¨ Ac¸ınız’, Tu¨rk Yurdu, Vol.3, No.12 (1329/1913), pp.361–2. Michielsen, ‘The Missing Link’, pp.62–3, 67. ¨ du¨nc¸ Almaya En Haklı Oldukları Bir Akc¸e’, Tu¨rk Yurdu, Vol.3, No.1 Parvus, ‘Tu¨rklerin O (1329/1912), pp.1617. Parvus, ‘Mali Tehlikeler’, Tu¨rk Yurdu, Vol.3, No.5 (1329/1913), p.148. Parvus, ‘Tu¨rkiye Avrupa’nın Maliye Boyundurug˘u Altındadır II’, Tu¨rk Yurdu, Vol.2, No.5 (1328/1912), pp.528–9; Parvus, ‘1327 Senesinin Ahval-i Maliyesine Bir Nazar’, pp.398. Parvus, ‘Tu¨rk I˙li, Maliyeni Go¨zet!’ Tu¨rk Yurdu, Vol.4, No.3 (1329/1913), pp.486. ¨ du¨nc¸ Almaya En Haklı Oldukları bir Akc¸e’, pp.23–4; Parvus, Parvus, ‘Tu¨rklerin O Tu¨rkiye’nin Can Damarı: Devlet-i Osmaniye’nin Borc¸ları ve Islahı (I˙stanbul: Tu¨rk Yurdu Kitaphanesi), 1330 (1914), translated by Emin Ras¸id, p.17. Ibid., p.17, 42. Parvus, ‘Tu¨rkiye Avrupa’nın Maliye Boyundurug˘u Altındadır II’, pp.526–7. Parvus, ‘Ko¨ylu¨ler ve Devlet’, Tu¨rk Yurdu, Vol.1, No.9 (1327/1912), p.263. N. Berkes, The Development of Secularism in Turkey (Montreal: McGill University Press, 1964), p.335. See Zafer Toprak, Tu¨rkiye’de ‘Milli ˙Iktisat’ (19081918) (Ankara: Yurt Yayınları, 1982), p.170. For a comprehensive analysis of the policy of ‘National Economics’ see Ibid.



73. Parvus, ‘Tu¨rk Genc¸lerine Mektup II’, Tu¨rk Yurdu, Vol.4, No.9 (1329/1913), p.727. 74. Parvus, ‘I˙s¸ I˙s¸ten Gec¸meden Go¨zu¨nu¨zu¨ Ac¸ınız’, pp.364–6. 75. Parvus, ‘Tu¨rkiye Avrupa’nın Maliye Boyundurug˘u Altındadır II’, p.530; Parvus, ‘Tu¨rklerin ¨ du¨nc¸ Almaya En Haklı Oldukları Bir Akc¸e’, pp.17–19; Parvus, ‘Devlet ve Millet’, Tu¨rk O Yurdu, Vol.3, No.3 (1329/1912), pp.83–86. 76. When many European socialists later accused him of collaborating with the ‘reactionary’ and ‘anti-democratic’ Unionist regime, he defended himself in his journal Die Glocke on the grounds that he already criticized in his writings the Unionists for not being democratic enough. See Parvus, ‘Meine Stellungnahme zum Krieg’, p.160. 77. ‘Parvus Efendi Namına Gelen Mektuba Cevap’, Tu¨rk Yurdu, Vol.2, No.6, pp.564–5; Parvus, ‘I˙s¸ I˙s¸ten Gec¸meden Go¨zu¨nu¨zu¨ Ac¸ınız’, pp.366–7. 78. Parvus, ‘Tu¨rk I˙li, Maliyeni Go¨zet!’ Tu¨rk Yurdu, V.4, No.3 (1329/1913), pp.490. 79. He himself later on in his journal points out this fact. See Parvus, ‘Meine Stellungnahme zum Krieg’, p.160. 80. M. A. Karao¨merliog˘lu, ‘Elite Perceptions of Land Reform in Turkey’, The Journal of Peasant Studies, Vol.27, No.3 (April 2000), p.119. 81. Parvus, ‘Devlet ve Millet’, pp.83–6. 82. Parvus, ‘Ko¨ylu¨ler ve Devlet’, p.266. 83. Parvus, ‘Devlet ve Millet’, pp.83–4. 84. Ibid. 85. Parvus, ‘Ko¨ylu¨ler ve Devlet’, pp.262–8. See also his ‘Ko¨ylu¨ ve Devlet I,’ Tu¨rk Yurdu, Vol.4, No.9, 1329, pp.1125–6 for similar comments on peasantry. 86. ‘Although the peasants were the ones who fed the whole state, the state never thought of helping them and it did not help them. In the end, the financial and spiritual conditions of the peasantry deteriorated.’ Parvus, ‘Devlet ve Millet’, p.85. 87. ‘Parvus, ‘Ko¨ylu¨ ve Devlet II,’ Tu¨rk Yurdu, V. 5, No.10 (1329/1913), p.1161. 88. Parvus, ‘Esaret-i Maliyeden Kurtulmanın Yolu’, Tu¨rk Yurdu, Vol.2, No.7 (1328/1912), p.587. 89. Parvus, ‘Ko¨ylu¨ler ve Devlet’, p.265. 90. Ibid., p.265. 91. Parvus, ‘I˙s¸ I˙s¸ten Gec¸meden Go¨zu¨nu¨zu¨ Ac¸ınız’, pp.363–4. 92. Parvus, ‘Ko¨ylu¨ler ve Devlet’, p.264. 93. Parvus, ‘Tu¨rk Genc¸lerine Mektup I’ , Tu¨rk Yurdu, Vol..4, No.5 1329, p.571. 94. A.D. Novichev, Krestianstvo Turtsii v noveishee vremia (Moscow: Izd-vo vostochnoi litry, 1959), p.10. 95. ‘But so far nothing has happened. In the past, some things used to function even better; today everything is in a mess. . ..We go to the state office and the court but we cannot explain our problem. They only think of collecting taxes. . .We work all year round and we pay our taxes annually; if we don’t they take them by force, even selling our pots and bedding. Thus we are always in debt. During the past few years there have been many peasants in the village who have not had seed to sow. Since there is no help from anywhere else we have had to buy seed from the aga (landholders) at either 100–25 kurus¸ a kile [a bushel] or return him three kile for one. Those agas are a menace; they can have the peasant beaten by their toughs, have him jailed, or sometimes have him bullied by state officials. In this way they collect their debt from those who cannot pay. As a matter of fact the Agricultural Bank is giving loans but that does not help us. The money runs out before it reaches our village.’ A. S¸erif quoted in F. Ahmad, The Making of Modern Turkey (London: Routledge, 1993), pp.41–2. Things more or less remained the same even 20 years after the revolution. A peasant talking to Mehmed Emin, the so-called ‘national poet’, in 1928: ‘During the reign of Abdu¨lhamit, the pashas said ‘give’, so we gave. They said ‘die’, so we died. They vanished and instead other pashas came and they also said ‘give’, so we gave. They said ‘die’, so we died. They also vanished, and then you came. You also said ‘give’, so we gave. You said ‘die’, so we died. We are now curiously waiting. When will you guys ¨ zerine Bir ˙Inceleme (Ankara: Ku¨ltu¨r ever say ‘take’?’ Quoted in H. Tuncer, Tu¨rk Yurdu U Bakanlıg˘ı Yayınları, 1990), p.483. 96. Akbayar, ‘Bir Sosyalist Tip’, p.9.



97. 98. 99. 100. 101.

P. Dumont, Mustafa Kemal (Ankara: Ku¨ltu¨r Bakanlıg˘ı Yayınları, 1993), p.3. Parvus, Umumi Harp Neticelerinden: ˙Ingiltere Galip Gelirse, pp.9–10. Ibid., p.11. Ibid., pp.22–3. Parvus’s position towards the war in general and his hostility towards Russia can be read in his article ‘Meine Stellungnahme zum Krieg’, pp.148–62. Parvus, Umumi Harb Neticelerinden: Almanya Galip Gelirse, p.19. Ibid., p.21. Ibid., pp.5–6. Parvus himself wrote in the journal, Die Glocke, which was his own journal published in 1915, that he was the first person who publicly advised the Turkish administration to lift the capitulations. (‘Als der europa¨ische Krieg ausbrach, war ich der erste, der tu¨rkischen Regierung o¨ffentlich den Rat gab, sofort die Kapitulationen aufzuheben.’ See Parvus, ‘Die deutsche Sozialdemokratie’, p.36. published in Munich and subsequently in Berlin between 1915–25. This was an interview with Parvus. The original document can be found in Toprak, Tu¨rkiye’de ‘Milli ˙Iktisat’ (1908–1918), pp.390–2. G. Harris, The Origins of Communism in Turkey (Stanford: Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace, 1967), p.26. Rakovsky was killed during Stalin’s 1938 trials because he was accused of transferring money given by Parvus to the Romanian socialists. See Schurer, ‘Alexander HelphandParvus – Russian Revolutionary and German Patriot’, p.322. K.T. Eidus, Ocherki Rabochego Dvizheniia v Stranakh Vostoka (Moscow: Gosudarstvennoe Izdatel’ctva, 1922), p.75. For Parvus’s letter about his observations about the May Day ¨ zerine Mektubu’, Tarih activities see M. Schreiner, ‘Parvus’un 1910 Bir Mayıs Bayramı U ve Toplum, Vol.17, No.101 (1992), p.21. Schurer, ‘Alexander Helphand-Parvus- Russian Revolutionary and German Patriot’, p.321. Dumont, ‘Un e´conomiste social-de´mocrate au service de la Jeune Turquie’, pp.77–8. Katkov, ‘German Political Intervention in Russia During World War I’, p.77. M. Tunc¸ay, Tu¨rkiye’ de Sol Akımlar, 1908–1925 (Ankara: Bilgi Yayınevi, 1978), p.53. Katkov, ‘German Political Intervention in Russia During the First World War’, p.77. Union for the Liberation of Ukraine, founded in 1914, was a nationalist organization aiming at the independence of Ukraine. Its representative to the Ottoman Empire, Mariyan BasokMelenevs’kyi, first met with Parvus when he came to Istanbul. The two knew each other and Parvus helped him ‘organize his propaganda activities’. See H. Kırımlı, ‘The Activities of the Union for the Liberation of Ukraine in the Ottoman Empire during the First World War’, Middle Eastern Studies, Vol.34, No.4 (Oct. 1998), p.182. See Parvus, ‘Ein Verleumdungswerk’, pp.125–30. P. Dumont and George Haupt, Osmanlı ˙Imparatorlug˘u’nda Sosyalist Hareketler (Istanbul: Go¨zlem Yayınları, 1977), translated by Tug˘rul Artunkal, p.148; Dumont, ‘Un e´conomiste social-de´mocrate au service de la Jeune Turquie’, p.84. Solov’ev, ‘Parvus: Politicheskii Portret’, p.171. Dumont, ‘Un e´conomiste social-de´mocrate au service de la Jeune Turquie’, p.75. Zetkin, ‘Helphand Parvus’, p.89. Stone, ‘Another Look at the Sisson Forgeries and Their Background’, p.100. Akbayar, ‘Bir Sosyalist Tip’, p.10; Wolfe, Three Who Made a Revolution, p.299. Akbayar, ‘Bir Sosyalist Tip’, p.10; Dumont, ‘Un e´conomiste social-de´mocrate au service de la Jeune Turquie’, p.78; R. Fisher, Stalin and German Communism (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1948), p.9. Dumont, ‘Un e´conomiste social-de´mocrate au service de la Jeune Turquie’, p.78. Solzhenitsyn, Lenin in Zurich, p.176; R. Olson, Imperial Meanderings and Republican ByWays. Essays on Eighteenth Century Ottoman and Twentieth Century History of Turkey (Istanbul: The Isis Press, 1996), p.109. ‘At the start of war, he made his first million by the delivery of bread to Constantinople.’ K. Radek, ‘Parvus’, Pravda, (14 Dec.1924). Radek wrote this news item in Pravda as an obituary.

102. 103. 104. 105.

106. 107. 108. 109.

110. 111. 112. 113. 114. 115.

116. 117. 118. 119. 120. 121. 122. 123. 124. 125. 126.



127. Katkov, Russia 1917, The February Revolution, p.78. 128. ‘From Germany he moved to Vienna, and from there to Constantinople, where eventually the World War found him. During the war he achieved wealth immediately through military commercial enterprises.’ Trotsky, My Life, p.167. See also Solzhenitsyn, Lenin in Zurich, p.134. 129. Katkov, Russia 1917, The February Revolution, p.78. 130. ‘At the same time, he came out publicly as a defender of the progressive mission of German militarism, broke definitely with the revolutionaries, and became one of the intellectual leaders of the right wing of the German Social Democracy. It goes without saying that since the war I have not had any political or personal contact with him.’ Trotsky, My Life, p.167. 131. Donald, Marxism and Revolution, Karl Kautsky and the Russian Marxists 1900–1924, p.195; Zeman and Scharlau, The Merchant of Revolution, p.155; Solov’ev, ‘Parvus: Politicheskii Portret’, p.173. 132. See Wolfe’s review of The Merchant of Revolution, p.697. 133. Trotsky, My Life, p.179.

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