The words socialism and socialist were first used about the year 1830 but the origin of the ideas which led to the establishment of the modern labor movement goes back to the time of the French Revolution. For a variety of reasons Jews were attracted to socialism as it developed in Western Europe. Some regarded it as the building of a "just society" based on the teachings of the Bible and the Prophets, while others were attracted by its revolutionary nature. Thus, while some Jews saw socialism as a reply to antisemitism, there were also Jews who saw in it a way of getting rid of their Jewish heritage and serving the cause of the "Brotherhood of Man." Socialism was particularly attractive for Jews anxious to leave the ghetto behind them and who, disappointed with the slow progress of 19th-century liberalism, were keen to embrace a new universal faith.
The forerunners of modern socialism were two Frenchmen, Count Henry Claude de Rouvroy de Saint-Simon (1760–1825; see *Saint-Simonism) and Charles *Fourier (1772–1837). Saint-Simon was impressed by Jewish messianic ideals and, referring to the persecution of the Jews, wrote that he looked forward to the time when all men would be brothers. Two of his followers, Barthélemy Prosper Enfantin (1796–1864) and Armand Bazard (1791–1832), considered the *emancipation of the Jews as being one of the preconditions for the liberation of humanity. They believed that Jewish monotheism foreshadowed the approaching unity of mankind and their supporters included many French Jews, among them the poet Léon *Halévy, the bankers Émile and Isaac *Péreire, and the financier Olinde Rodrigues (1794–1851). On the other hand, Charles Fourier identified Jews with capitalism and opposed their emancipation on the grounds that they were "parasites, merchants, usurers." Nevertheless, in his last writings he argued that the Jews should be helped to escape from persecution in Europe by returning to Palestine and once more become a recognized nation with their own king, their own flag, their own consuls, and their own currency. A number of Fourier's followers were Jews who rejected their master's antisemitism. Thus Alexander Weil wrote in 1845 that it was unfair to blame one section of the population for what he regarded as the iniquities of Catholicism and capitalism. He also described the serious condition of the Jews in Eastern Europe, in order to draw the attention of the public to their plight. Similarly, Jean Czynsky, a Polish refugee of Jewish origin, wrote that freedom for Poland and the emancipation of Polish Jews were concepts for which all socialists must strive.
The early development of socialism in Britain at the beginning of the 19th century had little to do with the Jews, who numbered only 20,000 in the country. Nevertheless, Robert Owen (1771–1858), "the father of British socialism," actively campaigned for equality for the Jews and in 1830 submitted a petition to the House of Commons urging the abolition of religious disabilities. His example was followed by a number of leaders of the Chartist movement. Jews first became prominent in British socialism in the latter half of the 19th century and in May 1876 the *Aguddat ha-Soẓyalistim ha-Ivrim was formed in London, its founders including A.S. *Liebermann and Lazar *Goldenberg. German radical groups were also active in London and largely influenced the ideology of Jewish socialists in Britain. They kept in contact with the Russian revolutionary Peter Lavrov (1823–1900), who published the socialist organ, Vpered, in London. Toward the end of the 19th century an increasingly large number of Russian Jews became active in British socialism. Theodor Rothstein was a leader of the Marxist Social Democratic Federation, founded by H.M. Hyndman in 1884. Rothstein, who was shocked by an antisemitic outburst by Hyndman, later played an important part at the congress of the Russian Social Democratic Party in London in 1907, and after the Bolshevik seizure of power in 1917 was their unofficial representative in London. Later he helped found the British Communist Party, in which his son Andrew Rothstein was a prominent figure for many years. He was anti-Zionist, as were Joe Finberg, and Boris and Zelda Kahn, all refugees from Russia who played a major part in the British socialist movement. An outstanding figure of the British socialist movement was Eleanor Marx-Aveling (1855–1898), Karl Marx's youngest daughter, who felt a close affinity with the Jewish people and affirmed that "my happiest moments are when I am in the East End of London amid Jewish workpeople."
In Germany, many of the pioneers of socialism were Jewish. Among them was Moses *Hess, whose study Die Philosophic der Tat ("The Philosophy of Action"), linked the ideas of the German philosophical school with the concept of historical materialism on which communism was based. Hess largely influenced the thinking of Karl *Marx and Friedrich Engels but differed from them in that his brand of socialism was based upon ethical concepts. The course of socialism in Germany, however, was dominated not by Hess but by Marx and Ferdinand *Lassalle, the former as the founder of the school of economic materialism and the latter as the father of German Social Democracy. But while Marx was the great theoretician who set out to revolutionize international politics, Lassalle was the political strategist who brought socialism into German political life. Both showed a marked hostility to Judaism. On the other hand, Marx's non-Jewish colleague Friedrich Engels, who at first equated Jews with capitalists, later took a stand against antisemitism which he described as the weapon of the German governing class.
The First International
A number of Jews became prominent during the 19th century in the International Working Men's Association, formed in 1864 by Marx and Engels, which became known as the First International. Among them were several French Jews, including E.E. Fribourg, an opponent of Marx, who was a disciple of the non-Jewish anarchist writer Pierre *Proudhon (1809–1865). Fribourg advocated membership in the association only to people engaged in physical work, a move against Marx, whereas Lazare Lévy, another leading member of the French section of the First International, was a strong supporter of Karl Marx. Jews were also prominent in the workers' uprising in the Paris Commune in March 1871, one of the leaders being Léo *Frankel.
The Second International
The Second International set up at the Paris Congress of 1889 was largely dominated by German socialists, whose delegates represented a strong socialist party in effective control of the trade unions. They included August Bebel, William Liebknecht, Clara Zetkin, and Eduard *Bernstein, the son of a Jewish worker, who had a profound influence on the development of socialism in Germany and elsewhere. Bernstein combined Marxist ideology with British pragmatism in a concept which became known as "Revisionism." He considered assimilation the best solution to the Jewish problem but Jewish suffering in World War I made him a supporter of Jewish settlement in Palestine and of *Po'alei Zion. His non-Jewish colleague August Bebel was also sympathetic to the Jewish cause, describing antisemitism as "socialism of the fools," and, while there were antisemites among the German socialists, the party was committed to fight against discrimination. By 1912 there were 12 Jews among the 100 Social Democrats in the German Parliament. Many other Jews were prominent in the party, the majority of them favoring assimilation, especially after Karl Kautsky's book, Race and Judaism, was published in 1914. Most members of the Social Democratic Party were hostile to Zionism, as was the party organ Die Neue Zeit, but the Revisionists showed understanding of the labor Zionist cause and their newspaper Sozialistische Monatshefte, edited by Joseph *Bloch, was pro-Zionist. In Austria, many prominent figures in the Socialist Party were Jews, among them Victor *Adler, Friedrich Adler, Otto *Bauer, Max *Adler, Hugo *Breitner, and William *Ellenbogen. They all supported assimilation and opposed Jewish national aspirations. In particular, Otto Bauer's work Die Nationalitaetenfrage und die Sozialdemokratie (1907), which denied that the Jews were a separate nationality, had considerable influence in socialist circles. On the whole, Jewish socialists in Austria avoided discussion of the Jewish question and were hostile to Zionism, but a notable exception was Julius *Braunthal, who supported the labor Zionist movement.
During World War I several Jewish socialists were among the most outspoken critics of the war, among them Rosa *Luxemburg and Hugo *Haase in Germany, Friedrich *Adler in Austria, Julius *Martov and Lev (Leon) *Trotsky from Russia, and Angelica Balabanov in Italy. In the chaotic conditions after World War I, Jewish socialists held top cabinet posts in socialist administrations in Germany, Austria, Hungary, and Russia. Thus Haase and O. *Landsberg joined the German provisional government following the collapse of imperial Germany, Hugo *Preuss became minister of the interior in the Weimar Republic, Paul Hirsch (1868–1938) was prime minister of Prussia, Kurt Rosenfeld was Prussian minister of justice, and Kurt *Eisner was prime minister of "Soviet" Bavaria. In Austria, Victor Adler, Otto Bauer – who became foreign minister – and Friedrich Adler all played a major part in the Austrian revolution of 1918, and following the Hungarian revolution of 1919 Bela *Kun became dictator in a "Soviet" Hungarian government containing 14 Jewish commissars. In Russia, many Jews held senior posts in the first Bolshevik administration and the Communist Party (see *Communism; *Russia).
Between 1918 and 1939 individual Jewish socialists held prominent positions in several European countries, but their importance tended to be exaggerated by antisemites. Thus in Germany, the Nazis represented the few Jewish socialists as having far greater influence than they actually had. In Austria, Otto Bauer was foreign minister from 1919 to 1920, Oscar Pollak was editor of the party organ Arbeiter-Zeitung, and Matilda Pollak was leader of the Social Democratic women. Léon *Blum was prime minister of France and Jules *Moch was minister of public works. In Czechoslovakia Ludwig *Czech was minister of social welfare, while in Holland Saloman Rodrigues de *Miranda was minister of housing, and in Britain Emanuel *Shinwell was secretary of mines. The socialist movement in continental Europe gradually weakened as the pace of the Nazi advance increased.
After the outbreak of World War II, socialist parties survived only in Britain, Sweden, and Switzerland. Most of the socialist refugees fled to England, where the British Labor Party took the initiative in convening regular meetings to discuss matters of common concern. Among them were several Jewish socialists, including Oscar Pollak and Karl Czernitz from Austria and Claudio Treves from Italy.
Post-World War II
After World War II, Jews continued to be prominent in the socialist movements of France and Great Britain. In France, Léon Blum, Jules Moch, Pierre *Mendes-France, and Daniel *Mayer emerged as leading French socialists and all held posts in French coalition governments. All four were active in Jewish affairs and supporters of the State of Israel. In Britain, Jewish participation in the Labor movement considerably increased in the postwar years. There were four Jewish cabinet ministers in the Labor government of 1945–51: Emanuel Shinwell, Harry *Nathan, Lewis *Silkin, and George *Strauss, and the Labor government of 1964–70 at various times included Jews in senior or junior offices, among them Austen Albu (1903–1994), John *Diamond, Harold *Lever, Reginald Freeson (1926– ), Baroness Serota, Edmund Dell (1921–1999), and John *Silkin. In addition, Harold *Laski was chairman of the Labor Party from 1945 to 1946, Emanuel Shinwell was chairman of the Parliamentary Labor Party and Ian Mikardo (1908–1993), Frank Allaun (1913–2002), and Sydney *Silverman were members of the Labor Party national executive. One particularly noticeable feature of the growth of Jewish participation in the Labor movement was the sharp increase in the number of Jewish Labor members of Parliament, from four in 1935 to 26 in 1945, around 36 in 1966, and 30 in 1970. Many of the Jews prominent in the Labor Party were associated with the British Po'alei Zion and a Zionist group formed in 1956 called Labor Friends of Israel.
In the British Commonwealth, too, Jews have played an increasingly important part in socialist politics. In Canada a number of Jews were actively associated with the leadership of the socialist New Democratic Party formed in 1961. The most prominent of them was David *Lewis – leader of the parliamentary party. Other Jewish MPs representing the NDP were Max Saltsman (Toronto) and David *Orlikow (Winnipeg). In Manitoba, five Jews were members of the Provincial Legislature: Saul Cherniak, C. Gonick, Sidney Green, Saul Miller, and Sidney Spivak. In British Columbia, too, a number of Jews were prominent in the party, but not in Montreal where the NDP was, generally, a weak body. While the Canadian Labor Zionist movement was not affiliated to the party, there was close cooperation in a number of provinces. Leading personalities of the NDP, which is a member of the Socialist International, visited Israel and showed a friendly attitude to its socialist party. The Canadian Congress, formed in 1956, had a close association both with the Histadrut in Israel and local Jewish labor bodies. In Australia, too, Jews played an increasingly active part in socialist politics. Sidney Einfeld and Senator Sam *Cohen were Labor Party parliamentarians for a number of years. In 1969, three Jewish socialist candidates were elected to the Australian House of Representatives: Joe Berison (Perth), Moses Cass (Melbourne), and Barry Cohen (Robertson Constituency – near Sydney). In 2005, the only Jewish member of the Australian Parliament was the Labor MP Michael *Danby. In recent decades the participation of Jews in left-of-center parties has probably declined sharply, while socialism as a viable ideology would seem to be a thing of the past. The movement of most Jews into the upper middle class, the diminution of right-wing antisemitism, and, above all, the hostility of much of the extreme left to Israel's post-1967 policies, have made it difficult for many Jews to identify as socialists in the old sense. Events such as the end of the Soviet Union in 1991 have also made it difficult for many to see what socialism might be like in the 21st century, especially any such ideology entailing widespread nationalization or sympathy for the radical enemies of Israel.
While many Jews, especially in the United States, remain committed to the value system of liberalism, it would seem clear that the engagement of the Jewish people with socialism is increasingly a thing of the past.
By contrast, the Holocaust and the Communist takeover in part of Europe reduced the Jewish participation in socialist politics to a mere fraction of what it had been before 1939. Nevertheless, a small number of Jews held important posts in European socialist parties after 1945, among them Ludwig *Rosenberg, who was president of the German Confederation of Trade Unions, Siegfried Aufhauser (1884–1962), president of the German Federation of Labor in Berlin, Bruno *Kreisky, who in 1970 became chancellor of Austria, and Karl Czernetz, who was international secretary of the Austrian Social Democratic Party.
Socialism developed in Russia later than in Western Europe, in the second half of the 19th century. The death of Nicholas I and the accession of Alexander II in 1855 led to the emancipation of the serfs in 1861 and a relaxation of the repressive regime. Jews became less isolated from the general stream of Russian public life, and the number of Jewish children in Russian secondary schools rose from 8 to 2,362 between 1840 and 1872. Many Jewish socialists came from traditional homes and were influenced by the writings of Russian philosophers, whose works they studied at secondary schools. They were largely in favor of assimilation, since they regarded Judaism as obsolete and believed that Jewish emancipation would come about through the liberalization of the Russian people with whom the Jews should integrate. Thus, most of the early Jewish socialists regarded the growth of Russian socialism as more important than Jewish emancipation. Many young Jews chose to join the revolutionaries and "go to the people." A number of Jewish socialists converted to Christianity to facilitate their activities among the people, while Jewish women socialists became estranged from Judaism by marriage to non-Jewish
Some of the first Jewish socialists were prominent in revolutionary uprisings outside the borders of Russia. Robert Feinberg fought in the German revolution of 1848 and was later deported to Siberia, where he died, and Nicolai Utin, son of a rich Jewish contractor, was a liaison officer for the Polish revolutionaries in 1863. Utin fled to Germany, where he became a colleague of Karl Marx and established the Russian section of the First International. However, others were prominent in the ideological movements of the 1860s and 1870s which grew up in the wake of the acute poverty of the Jews. Marc Natanson (1849–1920), son of a Jewish merchant from Grodno, was the organizer of the Zemlya i Volya ("Land and Liberty") group from which emerged some of the famous non-Jewish revolutionary figures, such as Prince Peter Kropotkin, Vera Zasulich, and Georg Plekhanov. Joseph Aptekman (1850) and Lev Deitsch (1855–1941) were leaders of the Narodniki (Populists), a movement which developed among the intelligentsia to redress the injustices done to the Russian peasants. The revolutionaries dressed like peasants and lived with the peasants in the countryside. They soon exposed themselves to ridicule and many were arrested and imprisoned. The failure of the Populists led the revolutionaries to attempt fresh measures. In 1878 the terrorist group known as the Narodnaya Volya ("People's Will") was formed to combat oppression by violence. A number of Jews joined the organization. Many were made desperate by their increasing poverty resulting from the emancipation of the serfs, which enabled the latter to enter trades which had previously been mostly occupied by Jews. Several Jewish members of the Narodnaya Volya were captured and executed, among them Aaron Gobet, who had participated in a plot to assassinate Czar Alexander II in 1879, Solomon Wittenberg, Meir Mlodetsky, a yeshivah student from Slutsk, and Grigori Goldenberg (1855–1880), who committed suicide in the fortress of Petropavlovsk after being arrested for assassinating the governor-general of Kharkov. Other Jewish revolutionaries included Aaron Zundelevich (1850–1923) and Saveli Zlatopolsky, who were members of the executive committee of Narodnaya Volya. The assassination of Czar Alexander II in 1881 led to a reign of terror against the revolutionaries, but the latter continued to work against the regime and many joined the underground socialist organizations that sprang up toward the end of the 19th century.
Jews were exceptionally prominent in the Social Democratic movement and some eventually became leaders of the Russian Social Democratic Party, such as Julius Martov and Lev Trotsky. Others were active in Jewish workers' groups which united in 1897 as the *Bund and by 1904 numbered 23,000 Jews from Lithuania, Russia, and Poland. The Bund and the Russian Social Democrats were united in their opposition to Zionism, but while the Social Democrats insisted that the Jews should assimilate with the general Russian population, the Bund campaigned for recognition of a separate Jewish nationality within a federation of nationalities. After the 1903 split in the Social Democratic Party into Bolsheviks and Mensheviks, some Jewish members of the two groups were particularly vociferous in their opposition to Jewish national aspirations. The Bolsheviks argued that the revolution would solve the Jewish question by giving Jews complete equality and thus lead to their assimilation with the rest of the population.
A third organization in which Jews of Russia played a prominent part was the Russian Social Revolutionary Party formed in Switzerland in 1901. A successor party to the terrorist Narodnaya Volya, the party advocated agrarian reform by violence and the establishment of a Russian federation. Among the forerunners of the movement were Chaim *Zhitlowsky, who later settled in the United States, Mendel Rosenbaum, who immigrated to Israel, and Charles *Rappoport, who became an important figure in the French Communist Party. The movement included a terrorist "fighting organization" in which Mikhail Gots (1866–1906), Abraham Gots (1882–1937), Grigori *Gershuni, and Yevno *Azeff were prominent. Unlike the Social Democratic Party, they were not hostile to Zionism and did not actively struggle for assimilationism. The ultimate success of the Bolsheviks under *Lenin eventually brought about the end of Jewish participation in the socialist movement in Russia. Those Jewish socialists who were opposed to the Bolsheviks were forced to go into exile, and while many other Jews held prominent positions in the Communist Party, they were ultimately purged from the party hierarchy either between 1936 and 1939 or between 1948 and 1953.
POLAND AND ROMANIA
In Poland, Jews were among the pioneers of the socialist movement in the latter part of the 19th century. The first socialist group, Proletariat, was an underground organization responsible for numerous workers' strikes. It included a number of Jews, among them Zigmund Dering and Szymon *Dickstein. Proletariat gave way to the Social Democratic Party (SDKP), a Marxist party which rejected Polish independence and advocated partnership with the Russian socialist movement. Among its leading members were Rosa Luxemburg, Leo Yogiches and Adolf *Warski-Warshawski, all of whom opposed the Bund and the nationalist Polish Socialist Party (PPS). Nevertheless, the Bund and the PPS attracted considerable support from prominent Jewish socialists such as Herman *Diamand, Herman *Liebermann, and Boleslaw *Drobner. In Romania, too, Jews were among the founders of the socialist movement. Thus Constantin Gherea-Dobrogeanu (1855–1920) organized a peasants' revolutionary group in Russia and later settled in Romania, where
[Schneier Zalman Levenberg]
Jews played little part in the brand of American socialism which derived from agrarian and populist discontent with the social order. Nor did they appear in the numerous short-lived utopian communities which sprang up early in the 20th century or in the proletarian constituency of the revolutionary syndicalist Industrial Workers of the World which flourished from about 1908 to 1920. The role of Jews in American socialism lay within the urban, industrial environment where the movement had its main strength, and whose ideology was more or less Marxist. They were most prominent in the American Socialist Party from about 1915 until the 1930s, the period when ethnic minorities generally played a key role in the socialist movement. Socialism developed among industrial workers and intellectuals during the 1870s, when the Socialist Labor Party was founded (1877) with one of its strongest bases in the largely Jewish International Cigar Makers Union. Adolph Strasser (1844–1939), a leader of that union, had been secretary of its predecessor, the Social Democratic Party, in 1874. However, he and Samuel *Gompers, also a cigar maker, as founders and leaders of the American Federation of Labor (1886), firmly led it away from socialist involvements and toward "pure and simple" trade unionism. During the 1880s, Jews were among the leaders of short-lived municipal labor or socialist parties in such cities as Detroit, Milwaukee, and New York. After 1890, the Socialist Labor Party was dominated by Daniel *De Leon who maintained the SLP's doctrinal purity by expelling all dissenters and losing practically all influence in the socialist and trade-union movements.
American socialism reached its climactic years between 1900 and 1920. Although Eugene V. Debs was the party's orator, presidential candidate, and moral symbol, its real leaders were Victor *Berger, the first Socialist Party congressman, and Morris *Hillquit. Louis Boudin was a leading Marxist scholar and theoretician. One socialist stronghold was the Jewish labor movement which had begun among East European immigrant proletarians during the 1880s. Their weak, unstable unions were fervently socialist and revolutionary in temper. After 1910, trade unionism, which was overwhelmingly Jewish in membership and leadership, won control of labor conditions in the garment industry by means of a series of dramatic strikes. The International Ladies Garment Workers Union and the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America remained explicitly socialist, but the revolutionary content of their socialism was relegated to rhetorical flourishes about a vague, ultimate end. The unions' socialist activity emphasized the creation of a comradely environment for their members, who included perhaps 200,000 Jews. The tone of Yiddish-speaking fraternal orders, literature, and theater was also socialist. Abe *Cahan's prosperous *Jewish Daily Forward, with a maximum circulation of about 150,000 in 1917, wielded great influence, and the monthly *Zukunft was a notable organ of socialist letters. It was the Jewish East Side which sent the Socialist Party's Mayer *London to Congress in 1914 for the first of three terms, and elected socialists to the state legislature.
Although the Socialist Party had a very high proportion of Jews among its followers and leaders, it took no position on Jewish problems as such. Its general view was that Jewish problems did not exist, being imaginary constructs to divert attention from the true problems of all oppressed. Thus, Jews would achieve a full and final solution with the ultimate social revolution. The existence of the Jews as a people, it was tacitly assumed, might then end. American socialism had nativist elements who pushed it into an anti-immigration policy for several years after 1908, but perceptible antisemitism such as in some European socialist movements did not exist. Nevertheless, it was charged that some of the opposition in 1932 to Hillquit's leadership was antisemitic. In 1908 a Jewish Agitation Bureau was established in order to spread socialism among Yiddish-speaking Jews. Stimulated by immigrants with experience in the East European Bund, the Bureau developed into the Jewish Socialist Federation (JSF) from 1912, over strong opposition from Abe Cahan and other Yiddish-speaking stalwarts opposed to such "separatism." Actually the JSF disavowed any distinct Jewish purpose and attempted only to spread socialism, while it vigorously combated Zionism. Its membership was drawn mainly from immigrants of Bundist background. American socialism was greatly weakened by its opposition to American entry into World War I and by the Communist split in 1919. Among Jews it remained strong, although racked by savage quarrels with Communists. However, as the Democrats from 1928 became the party of urban liberalism, ethnic groups, and social reform, they drew increasing numbers of Jews and other socialists into their ranks. Jewish unions and voters moved en masse to the Democrats during the 1930s as F.D. *Roosevelt's New Deal enacted social legislation and provided national political recognition for Jews and other urban ethnic groups. Such Jews as Gus Tyler, Max and Robert Delson, Sidney *Hook, and J.B.S. Hardman were significant Socialist leaders during the 1930s. The American Socialist Party, led after Debs' death in 1925 by Norman Thomas, turned toward pacifism and isolationism in the face of Nazism and did not change its view on Jewish problems. The magnet of the New Deal and the inadequacies of the Socialist Party left the latter with very little Jewish or other following by the time of World War II.
[Lloyd P. Gartner]
The years after World War II, with their combination of economic prosperity, cold war, and political conformism,
Nevertheless, although socialist politics remained moribund in America for two decades after World War II, a community of influential socialist thinkers, many of them Jews, continued to exist and to sustain a tradition of radical political critique that served as an intellectual seedbed for the radical revival of the late 1960s. The individuals who composed this community held a wide divergence of views, ranging from the revolutionary Marxism of Herbert *Marcuse to the anarchism of Paul *Goodman and the social democratic humanism of Irving *Howe. All joined in rejecting both Soviet communism and American capitalism as viable social models for the future, though most openly expressed their preference for the latter as the less malign of the two evils and the more amenable to structural change. Other prominent figures from these years whose approach to public issues was socialist in tenor, were academicians such as Lewis A. *Coser and Daniel Bell, writers and journalists like Norman *Mailer, Harvey Swados, Paul Jacobs, and I.F. *Stone, and the psychoanalyst Erich *Fromm. Many socialists published in the pages of the journals Dissent, edited by Irving Howe, and Partisan Review, edited by Philip Rahv, and a number were identified with the League for Industrial Democracy directed by Tom Kahn.
As in earlier decades, the majority of American Jewish socialists tended to regard specifically Jewish issues as peripheral to broader social and economic problems, but many supported the establishment of the State of Israel both as a result of the Holocaust and as a legitimate expression of Jewish national aspirations. The revival of radical politics in the U.S. toward the end of the 1960s led to profound differences of opinion among socialist intellectuals. Some, such as Marcuse, supported the *New Left despite reservations about its ideological unclarity and tendencies to violence. Others, such as Howe, strongly attacked it for its contempt of intellectual values and climate of "left fascism." Among the points of contention in this debate was the State of Israel, particularly after the Six-Day War (1967). Many New Left supporters tended to side with the anti-Israel position, while its socialist detractors generally defended the Jewish state, though often with noticeably more ambivalence than in former years.
Jewish work for socialism in Latin America was mainly the result of the efforts of various Jewish labor organizations established by immigrants from Europe. However, in Argentina, where the socialist movement is one of the oldest in the world, Jewish workers played a part in the development of the General Labor movement and were active in both general politics and the trade unions. Enrique Dickmann was one of the outstanding socialist leaders in the early 1940s. The establishment of the military regime in Argentina greatly limited the activities of the Socialist Party, which nonetheless retained its long-standing association with the Socialist International, its representatives including persons of Jewish origin. In Chile, where the socialist movement had deep roots in the country's history, individual Jews played a part within the various left-wing groups. Jews were active, to a lesser degree, in Uruguay, where the socialist groups were weaker than in Chile. In other Latin American countries with a sizable Jewish population, the socialist movement was either very weak or its development was hampered by totalitarian regimes and the contribution of individual Jews was marginal.
Asia and Africa
Of special significance was the impact made by Israeli socialism in Asia and Africa, where it often served as an example for post-colonial development. The achievements of the *Histadrut, the unique character of the *kibbutz and the *moshav, the development of Israel's people's army and the industrial and scientific progress of the Jewish state, were greatly admired in many developing countries. In 1960, the Histadrut established the Afro-Asian Institute. By 1970, about 2,000 students from the "Third World" had attended its various courses conducted alternatively in English or French. The number of visitors to Israel from African and Asian countries increased substantially during the 1960s and the Histadrut sent many technical advisers to developing countries.
In the political field, the Israel Labor Party played an active part in the establishment of the Asian Socialist Conference (1953). Its activities were suspended after the establishment of totalitarian governments and the suppression of socialist groups in a number of Asian countries. A new attempt at setting up a center for the socialist movement in Asia and Oceania was made at a conference held in Wellington, New Zealand, in 1969; the Israel Labor Party was elected as a member of the secretariat established in Singapore. In Africa, the Israel labor movement established close contact with the socialist parties in power in Madagascar and Mauritius.
Within the Socialist International, the Israeli party *Mapai pressed for greater understanding of the specific conditions and needs of Asian and African countries, and was instrumental in the formation of the special committee for underdeveloped countries within the organization. The Israel Labor Party made clear on a number of occasions that it would welcome the affiliation of genuine Arab socialist groups to the International but it opposed cooperation with semi-Fascist or semi-Communist parties using the label "socialist" for political purposes.
The modern anarchist movement emerged during the 19th century. Some of its leaders believed in violent action, others
Famous anarchists had an indirect influence on the development of Jewish radical thought. The ideas of Proudhon, *Bakunin, Elisée Reclus (1830–1905), Kropotkin (1824–1906), Enrico Malatesta (1853–1932), and other libertarian writers were studied in Jewish revolutionary circles, but the impact of socialism on the Jewish labor movement was incomparably stronger than that of anarchism. Political action had a greater appeal to Jewish workers than the belief in the possibility of a violent and sudden transformation of society. Some of the "giants" of anarchism had a friendly attitude to Jews but others, such as Proudhon and Bakunin, showed clear antisemitic tendencies. Bakunin's antipathy to Jews was considerably influenced by his struggle with Karl Marx for the leadership of the First International. The greatest impact of anarchism was in Mediterranean countries – Spain, Italy, and southern France; and in Mexico, Cuba, Argentina, and southern Russia. In all these countries Jewish participation in the movement was of a minor character; of greater significance was the part played by Jews in the development of libertarian ideas in America and Britain.
Anarchism as an organized movement among Jewish immigrants began in the United States in 1886. A new organization, The Pioneers of Liberty, attracted a number of Jewish radical thinkers, among them the poets David Edelstadt and Morris Rosenfeld, the journalist S. *Janovsky, Emma *Goldman, and Alexander *Berkman. At first, Jewish supporters of the new creed were influenced by German immigrants, but they gradually began to make a direct appeal to Jewish workers and to issue literature in Yiddish. Violent clashes with Jewish socialists and religious elements soon followed. During World War I the number of Jewish anarchists fell; some returned to Russia after the Revolution or otherwise departed. Nevertheless, small groups continued their activities.
The Jewish anarchists in the United States kept in close touch with those in Britain, where the movement found a strong foothold among Jewish workers in Whitechapel. One of the leaders of the British group was Rudolf *Rocker, a German non-Jewish anarchist who lived in London from 1895 to 1914. He was a colorful figure among the Jewish supporters of the libertarian ideas and became editor of Yiddish publications. After 1917, anarchism declined as an active force among Whitechapel Jews, although it still retained a small group of adherents in Britain, including a number of Jews.
On the continent of Europe, anarchism attracted support among the Jewish socialist leaders. Thus in Germany, Moses Hess, who knew both Proudhon and Bakunin, was for a short time influenced by their ideas. He adopted the title "anarchy" for his own social philosophy developed in Die Philosophie der Tat (1843). A prominent anarchosocialist intellectual in Germany with an international reputation was Gustav Landauer. In France, Léon Blum in his early years was influenced by anarchist ideas, as was Bernard *Lazare, who combined his social revolutionary ideas with belief in Zionism.
In Russia, the anarchists were a marginal factor in the development of the Jewish labor movement. While their ideas influenced some of the Jewish revolutionaries, anarchism played only a minor part among Jewish radical elements. During the years 1918–21, peasants of the southern Ukraine joined the anarchist guerrilla leader Nestor Makhno, whose Revolutionary Insurrection Army was responsible for some of the most brutal pogroms against the Jewish population. Makhno had a number of Jewish supporters and denied responsibility for the brutalities. Toward the end of 1918, Aaron and Fanya Baron helped form the Confederation of Anarchist Organizations in Ukraine. In September 1921, Fanya Baron and eight of her comrades were shot in a Moscow prison. Alexander Shapiro – another Jewish anarchist – hoped to bring about an amelioration of conditions through working with the Soviet regime. But Jewish anarchism, and the movement as a whole, ceased to exist as a vital force in Russia after the "purge" of its supporters in the early 1920s. A number of former anarchists were attracted by kibbutz life in Israel, but after World War II anarchism virtually ceased to exist as an organized force in Jewish life. Nevertheless, "revolt against authority" and belief in libertarian ideas can be found among Jewish New Left intellectuals and students in various countries.
SOCIALISM AND THE JEWS
The first socialists were greatly divided about their attitude to the Jewish problem. Some ignored the issue because of ignorance, indifference, or the small number of Jews in their respective countries. Others were imbued with the general antisemitic prejudices prevailing in both Western and Eastern Europe during the 19th century. Another group – among the pioneers of socialism – was sympathetic to the Jews and championed their right to freedom and equality. Moses Hess, who was the first Zionist among the socialist theoreticians, was an exceptional case. The First International (1864–76) never adopted resolutions on the Jewish problem; the views expressed by its various leaders were of a personal nature. However, three official representatives from Jewish labor organizations were present at the first congress of the Second International (1889): Philip Kranz from London's Jewish International Workers' Educational Club, and Joseph Barsky and Louis Miller from the New York's United Hebrew Trades. The latter submitted a report on the activities of Jewish trade unions; this was the first time that an international socialist conference received information about the existence of an independent Jewish labor movement. The Jewish issue was raised at the second congress of the International (Brussels, 1889) by Abraham Cahan, who represented 30,000 "Yiddish-speaking workers" from the U.S.; he did it against the private advice of Victor Adler and Paul Singer and a number of other leading figures in the organization, who believed that a public discussion on antisemitism was both unnecessary and harmful. After a debate
The Russian socialists were not represented at the congress, but the resolution on the Jewish problem was sharply attacked for its lack of understanding in an article written by Georg Plekhanov in Sotsial-Demokrat (Geneva, 1892). In 1903, the Second International condemned the *Kishinev pogrom but refused to take a clear stand on the Jewish question. Jewish Social Democratic groups had been represented at congresses of the International from 1893, when Jacob Stechenberg represented both Lemberg and Cracow, but the Bund was allotted 12 out of the 29 mandates of the Russian Social Democratic Party. On the other hand Jews also represented the Russian Social Revolutionary Party at congresses of the International, Chaim Zhitlovsky and Ilya Rubanovich representing the party at the congress of 1904. The World Confederation of Po'alei Zion applied for membership of the International in March 1907. It submitted a special memorandum to the bureau of the organization, in the course of which attention was drawn to the unique nature of the Jewish problem which, it claimed, was primarily a result of the abnormal class-structure of the Jewish people and the special economic conditions of the Jewish working masses. The specific character of Jewish emigration was stressed as was the need for a territorial solution of the Jewish problem through the establishment of a Jewish National Home in Palestine. The Zionist socialist memorandum ended with the following request for admission:
In October 1908, the Po'alei Zion Confederation put forward the idea of the creation of a Jewish section within the Socialist International which would comprise all the existing socialist parties of the Jewish proletariat: the Bund, the Po'alei Zion Confederation, the *Jewish Socialist Workers' Party ("Sejm") of Russia, and the *Zionist Socialists (SS) Party of Russia. The request was renewed in May 1911. Po'alei Zion's efforts to obtain admission to the International did not produce any tangible results – ostensibly on account of objections on organizational grounds. Actually, the request was not granted because of the opposition by the majority of socialist leaders – especially of the large parties – to Jewish national aspirations and labor Zionism. Prior to World War I, the large majority of socialist leaders believed in assimilation as the solution of the Jewish problem. Even those of them who recognized that the Jews were a people, either failed to see any justification for their separate existence or did not believe that they would survive as an independent entity. Many socialist leaders of Jewish origin favored assimilation, and for some the Jewish problem was a personal embarrassment. Others were sincere in their belief that socialism would solve the problem of all minorities and that there was no need for the Jews to be singled out as a special issue. There were also individual socialist spokesmen of Jewish origin who suffered from "self-hatred" and expressed antisemitic sentiments. Nevertheless, even prior to 1914, there were leading socialists who showed understanding of Jewish national aspirations and were sympathetic to the Zionist cause. Toward the end of World War I, Jewish socialists renewed their demands for recognition in the world socialist movement. In 1917, *Po'alei Zion submitted a detailed memorandum on the Jewish situation to the Dutch-Scandinavian Socialist Committee, and presented concrete demands on behalf of the Jewish labor movement. In the same year the committee, whose secretary was the pro-Jewish leader, Camille Huysmans (1871–1968), issued its peace manifesto to the warring powers and urged an international solution to the Jewish problem, involving autonomy for the Jews living in compact masses in parts of Poland, Russia, Austria, and Romania. In December 1917, a special conference of the British Labor Party and Trades Union Congress approved a memorandum on war aims which was later endorsed by a meeting of all the socialist parties in allied countries. The memorandum included, inter alia, the following section on the Jewish question:
During 1919 a number of international socialist conferences were held to discuss problems of a peace settlement. One of them, held in Amsterdam in April, adopted a special resolution dealing with Jewish rights. Beside the demands for equal civil rights, freedom of immigration and settlement in all countries, national autonomy, and representation of the Jewish
These resolutions showed a radical change in the attitude of a number of socialist parties to the Jewish problem. The Po'alei Zion Confederation was permitted to take an active part in the various socialist consultations dealing with a peace settlement and the reconstitution of the International. After the war, the Second International was reconstituted in February 1921 from among the socialist parties which did not join the Communist International. Po'alei Zion accepted an invitation to attend as a separate group and, at the Hamburg conference in May 1923, was represented by seven delegates. In the following year the position of the Po'alei Zion within the International was finally settled by a resolution of the executive in February 1924:
There was still considerable opposition to the Po'alei Zion within the Second International, largely from Jewish assimilationists such as Friedrich *Adler and members of the Bund among the Polish delegation. However, the Po'alei Zion succeeded in forming a representative Socialist Committee for Palestine, whose sponsors included Emil Vandervelde, Léon Blum, and Eduard Bernstein. In addition, 40 leading socialists representing ten European states responded to an invitation to attend a conference in Brussels in August 1928 to extend moral and political support for the labor movement in Palestine.
The persecution of the Jews in Nazi Germany, and the extermination of the Jewish population on the continent of Europe during World War II, finally made the socialist movement alive to the Jewish problem. This, in turn, led to an increasing understanding of Zionist aspirations. The British Labour Party led the campaign for increased Jewish immigration into Palestine and against the anti-Zionist *White Paper introduced by the Conservative government (May 1939), and its program of postwar aims envisaged the establishment of a Jewish state. The reversal of the party's pro-Zionist platform by the Labour government after 1945 came as a shock to many socialists in both Britain and elsewhere. A number of European socialist parties – while deeply sympathetic to the plight of Jewish refugees – were reluctant to criticize the policy of the British Labour government. The situation changed after the UN Partition resolution of 1947 and the establishment of the State of Israel (1948), whose emergence was greeted by many socialist leaders in various parts of the world. From its revival in 1951, the Socialist International gave consistent support to Mapai and later to the Israel Labor Party, which played an active part in the meetings of the bureau, council conferences, and congresses of the organization. The Socialist International, mainly on the initiative of Israeli delegates, took an active interest in the problem of Soviet Jewry and several times officially demanded its positive solution. (See *Russia, Struggle for Soviet Jewry.) The 11th Congress of the Socialist International (June 1969) adopted a resolution which expressed deep concern that two years after the war of the Arab states against Israel, no advance had yet been made toward a settlement based on security and lasting peace in the area. It stated that flagrant violations of the cease-fire agreement and senseless acts of terrorism threatened to lead to an escalation toward a new war. It also pledged full support for the mission of the UN representative Gunnar Jarring and directly negotiated peace treaties between Arab states and Israel. The International appointed a special working group to study the situation of Soviet Jewry and actively identified itself with the struggle for the attainment of its legitimate rights; it also urged Arab governments to allow Jews to emigrate.
Summarizing the Jewish contribution to the Socialist movement the following picture emerges regarding the situation at the end of 1970.
(1) The Nazi-Fascist period and the Holocaust led to a decline both of the Jewish population in Central Europe and in its contribution to the socialist movement; individual Jews, however, continued to play their part in the various labor parties.
(2) The establishment of Communist regimes in Eastern European countries led to the suppression of socialist parties and thus brought to an end the long chapter of Jewish participation in the struggle for democratic socialist ideas in Russia, Poland, Romania, and other countries of the region.
(3) The period of Gaullism in France was followed by both a decrease in the strength of the socialist movement and the part of Jews in its leadership.
(4) A feature of the postwar period was a considerable increase in Jewish participation in the activities of the British Labour Party, and a parallel process, on a smaller scale, was discernible in the Canadian New Democratic Party. A tendency to greater Jewish participation in labor politics was also felt in Australia where the Jewish community was still comparatively small. Similar currents were noticeable in South American countries but the outlook was unclear due, on the one hand, to military dictatorships and, on the other, to the possibility of revolutionary upheavals.
(5) The major center of the Jewish socialist movement with wide links in many parts of the world was Israel. It was the Israel Labor Party and the Histadrut which attracted the interest of both international labor circles and non-aligned countries in the "Third World." The center of gravity of Jewish socialist thought and actions shifted from Diaspora countries to Israel. During the 19th century, the world was mainly familiar with the contribution to socialism made by individuals of Jewish origin, but it is now aware of the collective Jewish contribution created by Jewish labor in the Jewish state.
[Schneier Zalman Levenberg]
SOCIALISM AND WOMEN
Jewish women's involvement with socialism began in 19th-century Europe with the emergence of modern Jewish political movements that sought to address the dislocations caused by industrialization, urbanization, and the breakdown of traditional religious structures. Socialists aspired to create a just society, often conceived in utopian, classless terms. Some Jewish women who worked within socialist movements, parties, trade unions, and causes added gender to their class and national analyses of modernity's problems, insisting on an amalgam of socialism and feminism.
The first Jewish socialists, including female intelligentsia such as Rosa *Luxemburg in Germany, Angelica *Balabanov in Italy, and Matilda Pollak of Austria, put their energies into general socialist movements. However, by the end of the 19th century, the composition and nature of Jewish involvement with socialism was transformed by the growth of a massive Jewish artisanal working-class in Eastern Europe. As Jewish women flocked into light industry, primarily the needle trades, but also tanning, bristle making, and cigar and cigarette production, many began to organize as workers and as Jews to protest their exploitative working conditions. Jewish women joined the socialist-oriented Bund when it formed in Vilna in 1897, comprising one-third of its membership, and occupied many of its middle rank leadership roles. Esther Frumkin (b. 1880), despite being born to a life of privilege, devoted herself to the Bundist cause.
Emigration from Eastern Europe stimulated socialist activism. Jewish immigrant communities in Europe, the Americas, Palestine, and elsewhere, were deeply sympathetic to socialist ideals, many of which were expressed through trade unionism. Women played an important role in realizing many of these aspirations. Although Jews comprised 40 percent of New York's garment workers in the early 20th century, Jewish women often found themselves in less skilled, lower-paying positions, and were viewed skeptically by the labor establishment. Yet, the American and American Jewish trade union movements only became secure when galvanized by labor activities spearheaded by young Jewish women workers in the first decade of the 20th century.
The most important female labor action of the period, the so-called Uprising of the Twenty Thousand (also known as the 1909 Shirtwaist Strike; see *International Ladies Garment Workers Union), involving thousands of Jewish and Italian working girls, began a series of strikes that spread to Philadelphia, Chicago, Cleveland, and Kalamazoo – later called "The Great Revolt" – and emboldened the American labor movement. By 1919, half of all garment workers were members of a union. Fannia M. *Cohn, Rose *Schneiderman, Pauline *Newman, and Clara Lemlich *Shavelson, all East European-born, experienced the shirtwaist strike as the formative event of their activist youth, as did Theresa *Malkiel, who later became an important Socialist Party activist and immortalized her experiences in the novel Diary of a Shirtwaist Striker (1910). Many female Jewish trade unionists continued their socialist-inspired activism through progressive and reform politics in the New Deal. Most notable was Bessie Abramowitz *Hillman, who at 21 led a walkout with 16 other young women against a Chicago clothing firm that began the 1910 strike and later became an organizer for the Women's Trade Union League (WTUL). Similar narratives are told of other young Jewish women raised in immigrant communities, such as Rose Kerrigan, whose socialist activism informed her earliest years as a rent striker and her later years as a pension activist in Glasgow, Scotland. While most female Jewish socialists felt loyalty foremost to the working-class from which they came, they also supported middle-class feminist issues, such as suffrage, in disproportionate numbers.
Socialism's strength on the New York Jewish street before World War I made the Jewish Socialist Federation (JSF), established in 1912, the third largest foreign-language federation within the Socialist Party. When the 1917 October Revolution radicalized and split the international socialist and trade union movement, Jewish women joined the ranks of both the Socialist Party (and the nascent Communist Party). Many others became fellow travelers who worked for socialist ideals through the expansive Jewish immigrant fraternal, educational, and cultural networks that included the Yiddish press, supplementary Yiddish schools, theater, and housing and consumer cooperatives.
Socialist activism also informed the Zionist movement and as early as 1907 the Po'alei Zion applied for membership in the Socialist International, asserting that the needs of the Jewish proletariat merited a special Jewish organization. Opposition to Zionism ran strong in the international socialist community, and labor and social Zionists found their successes in the Israeli kibbutz and labor movements. The Plough Woman (1931; rep. 2002) recorded the testimonies of female pioneers, such as Rachel *Katznelson-Shazar and Yael Gordon among many others, who were imbued with the socialist ideals that underpinned labor Zionism.
Because socialism was so intimately tied to immigrant labor, culture, and community life, post-World War II suburbanization and upward mobility led to the decline of socialist activism among Jews, including women. An exception was the prominence of certain Jewish women activists in "Second Wave" feminism, which as a movement criticized society chiefly through the lens of gender. Individuals such as Clara
[Nancy Sinkoff (2nd ed.)]
E. Silberner, Western European Socialism and the Jewish Problem (1955), incl. bibl.; idem, Ha-Sozyalism ha-Ma'aravi u-She'elat ha-Yehudim… (1955); idem, in: HJ, 15 (1953), 3–48; 16 (1954), 3–38; idem, in: HUCA, 24 (1953), 151–86; idem, in: JSOS, 8 (1946), 245–66; 9 (1947), 339–62; idem, in: Scripta Hierosolymitana, 3 (1955); O. Bauer, Die Nationalitaetenfrage und die Sozialdemokratie (19242); G.D.H. Cole, A History of Socialist Thought, 5 vols. (1953–60), index; J. Braunthal In Search of the Millennium (1945); idem, Geschichte der Internationale, 2 vols. (1961–63); J. Joll, The Second International (1966); D.A. Chalmers, The Social Democratic Party of Germany (1964); E. Mendelsohn, Class Struggle in the Pale (1970); J.L.H. Keep, The Rise of Social Democracy in Russia (1963); K. Landauer, European Socialism: A History of Ideas and Movements from the Industrial Revolution to Hitler's Seizure of Power, 2 vols. (1959). IN THE U.S.: D. Bell, in: D.D. Egbert and S. Persons, Socialism and American Life, 2 vols. (1952), 215–425; A. Goren, New York Jews and the Quest for Community: The Kehillah Experiment 1908–1922 (1970), 186–96; A. Gorenstein (Goren), in: AJHSP, 50 (1960/61), 202–38; R. Rockaway, in: Detroit Historical Society, Bulletin (Nov. 1970), 4–9; D.A. Shannon, The Socialist Party of America (1955); J.S. Hertz, Di Yidishe Sotsialistishe Bavegung in Amerike (1954); R. Schwarz, in: Fraenkel (ed.), The Jews of Austria (1967), 445–66; M. Jarblum, The Socialist International and Zionism (1933). ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: SOCIALISM AND WOMEN: H. Davis-Kram, "The Story of the Sisters of the Bund," in: Contemporary Jewry, 5:2 (1980), 7–43; P.S. Foner, Women and the American Labor Movement: From Colonial Times to the Eve of World War I (1979); S. Glenn, Daughters of the Shtetl: Life and Labor in the Immigrant Generation (1990; P.E. Hyman, Gender and Assimilation in Modern Jewish History (1995); N. Levin, Jewish Socialist Movements, 1877–1917 (1978); E. Mendelsohn, Class Struggle in the Pale: The Formative Years of the Jewish Workers' Movement in Tsarist Russia (1970); T. Michels, "Socialism and the Writing of American Jewish History: World of Our Fathers Revisited," in: American Jewish History, 88:4 (December 2000), 521–46; idem, "Socialism with a Jewish Face: The Origins of the Yiddish-Speaking Communist Movement in the United States, 190–1923," in: G. Estraikh and M. Krutikov (eds.), Yiddish and the Left (2001), 24–55; A. Orleck, Common Sense and a Little Fire: Women and Working-Class Politics in the United States, 1900–1965 (1995); G. Sorin, "Socialism," in: P.E. Hyman and D.D. Moore (eds.), Jewish Women in America (1997), 2:1269–73.
Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.