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Otto Glagau, The Stock Market and Founding-Era Swindle in Berlin (1876)

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The Kulturkampf was just what the Jews were waiting for, and they cannot get enough of it. The Kulturkampf is supposed to make people forget the stock market and founding-era swindle and gloss over the serious crisis and general state of emergency. If the Catholics were clever enough to make their peace with the national government – and it appears now as if there were inclination to do so on both sides – one would soon be able to recognize the common enemy; the true enemies of the Reich who have damaged the reputation of the German people so badly, who have so quickly cast a cloud over the glory of the new Reich. This is the reason why the National-Zeitung is full of worry and restlessness, calling out: No conciliation! We demand unconditional submission of the clerics! Even the word “peace” is offensive to it, causing it to scold the Provinzial-Correspondenz, which had used the term. When some in the Reichstag made moves to inquire about certain questionable railway priority bonds that had swindled money from the Reich Disability Fund, the National-Zeitung threatened the Center Party as though it were a small child, evoking the specter of the Reich Chancellor’s “big and horrible-looking black briefcase,” which would empty new anti-church laws all over Catholics; and to calm such unpleasant inquiries as much as possible, to exorcize the “scandal,” it even began to flatter its feared adversary, Herr Windthorst, and it flattered Herr Bebel as well. At the start of the Reichstag session, it was terribly worried that the government might break with the Manchester policy, until an article in the Provinzial-Correspondenz allowed it to breathe a sigh of relief again. “Nothing has changed!” it rejoiced, suddenly praising the “serious and stately style” of the semi-official publication. But an amendment to the criminal law once again put it in a very embarrassing situation, and it did not know how it should twist and turn. On the one hand, it pulled Prince Bismarck along; on the other hand, it was embarrassed before the nation, fearing the upcoming elections. It lamented: “All of the criminal code paragraphs in the entire world cannot compensate for the damage that is caused when the unity between the government and the Reichstag majority is called into question!”; and in fact, eventually it was prepared for a compromise again. At the end of the year, it is beating its breast and declaiming: “Prince Bismarck is a self-contained personality, and the National Liberals are even more unwavering.” (!!) Well, we will see about that! We would like to wait and see what kind of leaps and bounds the National Liberals and the Manchester people will perform to cling to the helm, and what will be left of them after the next elections!

[ . . . ]

My articles have brought about a great reversal in public opinion: Morally, the founders and founders’ cronies have already been sentenced. The nemesis, too, is advancing – though very slowly as yet. Already some of the wretched have taken their own lives; recently, every now and then, the state prosecutor grabs one of them.

As I do not have to emphasize in particular, these essays are going far beyond the jobbers and founders, beyond the stock market and the Jews. They are directed against corruption in a society that is infiltrated by shady elements from top to bottom. They are aimed against corruption in the press – a press that has, generally speaking, declined immensely, and has become a prostitute up for sale. They are aimed against corruption in the parliaments, which require a rigorous purge. May the German nation look to the next elections, may it remember well the founders and the founders’ cronies! If, with respect to his political friends who were involved in the founding, Herr Lasker wishes to distinguish between reputable and disreputable foundations, between reputable and disreputable participation, then this amounts to mere sophistry. There are no reputable foundations and no reputable founders or co-founders from the swindling era. Anyone who participated in the founding has also been paid for it, and namely always at the expense of the shareholders who were fleeced. Those who wish to act as the people’s representatives and as legislators must above all have clean hands: Yet none of the founders and accessories to the founders has clean hands!

Source: Otto Glagau, Der Börsen- und Gründungsschwindel in Berlin [The Stock Market and Founding-Era Swindle in Berlin]. Leipzig: Paul Froberg, 1876, pp. 5-9, 30-35.

Translation: Erwin Fink

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