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Bidding Information
Lot #    14401
Auction End Date    4/25/2006 1:50:30 PM (mm/dd/yyyy)
Title Information
Title (English)    Di Fraye Gezelshaft. [The Free Society]
Title (Hebrew)    די פרייע געזעלשאפט
Author    [Periodical - Labor - Anarchist]
City    New York
Publisher    Fraye Arbeiter Stimme
Publication Date    1910-11
Collection Information
Independent Item    This listing is an independent item not part of any collection
Description Information
   Only edition. Vol. 1: 1084, [5] pp., Vol. 2: [4], 4-376, [2] pp., 240:150 mm., wide margins, light age staining. A very good copy loose in later boards.
   Monthly socialist periodical in Yiddish edited by S. Yanovsky. 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. American socialism reached its climactic years between 1900 and 1920. 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. 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 anti-Semitism such as in some European socialist movements did not exist. 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 (J.S.F.) from 1912, over strong opposition from Abe Cahan and other Yiddish-speaking stalwarts opposed to such "separatism." Actually the J.S.F. 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.

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Listing Classification
20th Century:    Checked
America-South America:    Checked
Other:    Socialism
First Editions:    Checked
Language:    Yiddish
Manuscript Type
Kind of Judaica