Ordo Templi Orientis - Theodor Reuss as Spy - Francis King to John Symonds

Ordo Templi Orientis Phenomenon
Theodor Reuss as Spy

Francis King to John Symonds

Books by Francis King.
        Francis King John Symonds Aleister Crowley The Great Beast King of the Shadow Realm

July 21st: 1970

Dear John Symonds,

As you know he always had this reputation, but I was quite unaware of any, even semi-hard, evidence for it. I am now satisfied that the roots of the matter go back to the 'eighties and give you the following brief notes which you are most welcome to use in any way you wish -- incidentally some of the things I say may be so well known to you that you may think I am treating you as a half-wit; if so I apologise — but the fact is that most of the people who know all about the Qabalistic Tree of Life have never heard of Bernstein or Kantksky (and vice versa) so I sometimes tend to over-explain myself — I hope that you don't find it too irritating.

  1. Before the 'eighties there was no Marxist, or even semi-Marxist British organisation in this country — although there were, of course, London clubs of German-speaking Marxist exiles and Marx had individual ties with, and influence upon, political figures such as Ernest Jones the old Chartist leader.
  2. In 1880 was founded the Democrativ Federation (later changing its name to the Social Democratic Federation) at first purely a radical anti-Landlord group, in no way socialist in the modern sense of the word.
  3. Its principal figure was H.M. Hyndman, who read Marx in a French translation and was instantly converted to Marxist economics (he was never very interested in dialectical materialism).
  4. He wrote a book called "England for All", the last chapters of which are a presentation of Marxist economics — but, alas, no actual reference to Marx included, only a token acknowledgment to the writings of 'a great foreign thinker'.
  5. From then on both Marx and Engels hated both Hyndman and the organisation led by him and worked actively for a split.
  6. In this they were successful and the Socialist League was set up -- the most important figures in which were Tussy Marx (usually known as Eleanor Marx-Aveling), her lover Aveling (the original of the unpleasant artist in Shaw's "Doctors Dilemma"), Bax (a mad Marxist philosopher and, I think, uncle of the Bax who played around with Crowley in the 'twenties) and, most important of all (if only for his financial support) William Morris.
  7. On the executive of this organisation was a man known, at the time, as Charles Theodor and as Theodor Reuss; he was probably either half-English and half-German, more probably, a child of one of the many German expatriate families then living in London. Reuss appears to have made his living, or some part of his living, as a music-hall singer.
  8. Reuss' vulgarity appears to have been a continual source of annoyance to his more serious colleagues; after a concert in aid of the League's funds (at which he had sung) 'Tussy' wrote a vitriolic letter about his filth and vulgarity.
  9. In 1884 Reuss was expelled from the League as being a spy for the German Secret Service — full details are in the "Commonweal" for, I think, May 1884 (this is at Colindale if you want to look up the details).
  10. ...

All this is probably worth, at any rate, a footnote in the "Great Beast" rewrite and you are welcome to use it as you wish.

Yours sincerely,
Francis King.

More about all this in: Andreas Huettl and Peter-R. Koenig: Satan - Jünger, Jäger und Justiz

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