If one wanted to find a text to confirm Louis Althusser's thesis that the writings of the young Marx were not yet Marx, and thus best left to the dustbin, one could perhaps find not better contender than "On the Jewish Question." Much of the essay is a response to Bauer, and part of a long forgotten debate. When Marx breaks free of this debate in the final paragraphs it is to engage in horrible stereotypes of Jewish materialism and greed that many have considered to be not only anti-semitic, but symptoms of self loathing. I am not entering into these debates here, but will say that I have regretted every time I taught the text. If there is one argument for considering to read the essay, as well as to teach it, however, it has to do with the reading and analysis that Marx puts forward of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen.
One could even argue, using Althusser's own concepts and terminology, that Marx offers a symptomatic reading of the Declaration. He reads the various rights bestowed by the articles of Declaration to demonstrate that property is not only the central right, the one that all of the rights such as security are marshaled to defend, but as central right it effectively undoes all of the rest, placing the private man of civil society above the citizen, and subordinating political society to civil society. As Marx writes,