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Class and nation in Jewish radical’s thinking, politics and identity

Tue, December 18, 8:30 to 10:00am, Seaport Hotel & World Trade Center, Skyline Room

Session Submission Type: Panel Session

Abstract

This Panel deals with the relationship between nationality and class in the Jewish history of the first half of the 20th century, as reflected in three different cases: The Jewish Labor Bund in the beginning of the century; Socialist-Zionism after the October 1917 revolution; and the Jewish Marxist historiography, which was written during the first half of the century. The leitmotif of the papers challenges the scholarly convention, which address nationality and class as contradicting elements in the Jewish history. As we reveal, national elements were structured in the socio-economic perspective of Jewish radical’s, as well as socio-economic elements were in their national perspective. In the case of the Bund, these two foundations were inherently combined from its founding; in Socialist-Zionism frameworks, many cases that have been considered as ‘crossing the lines’ from Zionism to Communism should be seen as an attempt to broaden rather than abandon the Zionist idea; and in the case of Jewish Marxist historiography, its central figures identified a significant connection between nationality and class in the Jewish case and explained it through the fact that Jewish nationalism emerged in Eastern Europe on the background of the Jewish social-economic exceptionalism and the way it was changed by the process of modernization.

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