Zionist Socialist Workers Party

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Zionist Socialist Workers Party (Russian: Сионистско-социалистическая рабочая партия), often referred to simply as 'Zionist-Socialists' or 'S.S.' by their Russian initials, was a Jewish socialist territorialist political party in the Russian Empire and Poland, that emerged from the Vozrozhdenie (Renaissance) group in 1904. The party held its founding conference in Odessa in 1905.[1][2][3]

In the same year the party sent delegates, among them Nachman Syrkin, to the Basle Seventh Zionist Congress.[4] However, while the mainstream Zionist movement rejected the idea of a Jewish state anywhere but in Eretz Yisrael, the Russian party favoured the idea of a Jewish territorial autonomy, outside of Palestine.[5] Moreover, whilst territorial autonomy was the goal of the party, it dedicated most of its energy into revolutionary activities in Russia.[6] Like other Russian revolutionary groups such as the Narodniks, the party was positive towards using terrorism as a means of struggle against the establishment.[7]

Nachman Syrkin, Jacob Lestschinsky, Volf Latsky-Bartoldi and Shmuel Niger were amongst the leading figures of the party.[6]

The party played an active role in the 1905 revolution.[6]

At the 7th congress of the World Zionist Organization in 1905, the WZO formally rejected the 'Uganda Plan' (a proposal to resettle Jews in East Africa) after sharp debates. In response, the party and other territorialists withdrew from the WZO.[1]

The party grew rapidly, and became the second largest Jewish labour party after the Bund.[1] The party organized 'neutral' trade unions, in opposition to the Bundist unions. In the end of 1906, the party claimed a membership of 27 000. However, after 1906 the influence of the party began to decline sharply. Many leaders went into exile in Western Europe.[6] The central organ of the party was the weekly Yiddish newspaper Der nayer veg, published from Vilna 1906–1907. The newspaper was closed down by the authorities in 1907.[8]

During the 1907 Stuttgart congress of the Second International, the International Socialist Bureau decided to give a consultative vote to the party at the congress. The decision was, however, overturned a year later.[9][10]

In 1911 party, the Jewish Socialist Workers Party and Poalei Zion signed a joint appeal to the International Socialist Bureau, asking the International to recognize the national character of the Jewish people.[10]

In 1917 the party merged with the Jewish Socialist Workers Party, forming the United Jewish Socialist Workers Party.[11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Alroey, Gur. Demographers in the service of the nation: Liebmann Hersch, Jacob Lestschinsky, and the early study of Jewish migration, Jewish History (2006) 20:265–282
  2. ^ http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1912/jun/17d.htm
  3. ^ http://www.zchor.org/plock/sefer2.htm
  4. ^ Frankel, Jonathan (1984). Prophecy and politics: socialism, nationalism, and the Russian Jews, 1862-1917. Cambridge University Press. p. 686. ISBN 978-0-521-26919-3. 
  5. ^ Ėstraĭkh, G. In Harness: Yiddish Writers' Romance with Communism. Judaic traditions in literature, music, and art. Syracuse, New York: Syracuse University Press, 2005. p. 30
  6. ^ a b c d Frankel, Jonathan (ed.). The Jews and the European crisis, 1914–1921. New York: Oxford University Press, 1988. p. 339
  7. ^ Geifman, Anna. Thou Shalt Kill: Revolutionary Terrorism in Russia, 1894–1917. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1993. p. 35
  8. ^ http://www.yivoinstitute.org/pdf/newspapers_periodicals.pdf
  9. ^ Frankel, Jonathan. Prophecy and Politics: Socialism, Nationalism, and the Russian Jews, 1862-1917. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981. p. 283
  10. ^ a b Jacobs, Jack Lester. Jewish Politics in Eastern Europe: The Bund at 100. Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2001. p. 185
  11. ^ Jaff Schatz. Jews and the communist movement in interwar Poland. In: Jonathan Frankel. Dark Times, Dire Decisions: Jews and Communism. Studies in Contemporary Jewry. Oxford University Press US, 2005, p. 79.