Ordo Templi Orientis Phenomenon
Theodor Reuss as Spy
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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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).
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'.
- From then on both Marx and Engels hated both Hyndman and the
organisation led by him and worked actively for a split.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
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.
More about all this in: Andreas Huettl and Peter-R. Koenig: Satan - Jünger, Jäger und Justiz
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