Labor Unions and Revolutionary Movements

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"Central-Organization for the 'Poale Zion' in Austria"

The Jewish population of Europe during the 1800s was subjected to a wide range of injustices, inequalities and oppression.
How they responded in a positive way to such treatment can be seen in the depth of their intellectual thought, organization and actions. The pejorative treatment received by the Jews depended on the time and country. Anti-Semitism could be rife with violence.

The development of ideological movements often dependent on the conditions within the country itself, and was not uniform in each of the Eastern European countries. Jews had no real political power, but as governments "modernized" after the end of the First World War, the young Jews began to believe that they could make real changes. This, in effect, also pulled the Jewish youth away from the traditional authority of their parents and the world in which they lived.

Many groups were formed based on what can only be called revolutionary ideas. They were organized around particular ideologies, e.g. socialism--were they Marxist or anti-Marxist? Were they Zionist, i.e. did they believe that Eretz Israel was the 'promised land' and the ultimate goal for the Jew was to immigrate to Palestine and create a Jewish nation?  Or did they believe that Jews should make a home for themselves in another land or spread out into the Diaspora? Or should they be waiting for the coming of the Messiah?

Also the question was asked about how Jews protect themselves against abuse within the work force? Labor unions were formed in order to protect the rights of the worker. Certainly the effects of the Russian Revolution and the First World War helped their cause. During the time of the Czars, Jewish political parties were either illegal or semi-legal. During the war Jewish nationalist parties rose in influence, as the impetus for nationalism swept through Europe. The push toward Zionism was aided by the publication in 1917 of the Balfour ►►


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The Labor Unions Zionism in Europe



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