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Politics and the Precarious Place of Multiculturalism

Politics and the Precarious Place of Multiculturalism

Chapter:
(p.164) 6 Politics and the Precarious Place of Multiculturalism
Source:
All Together Different
Author(s):
Daniel Katz
Publisher:
NYU Press
DOI:10.18574/nyu/9780814748367.003.0006

This chapter looks at how multiculturalism intersected with different sectors of power critical to the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union (ILGWU), especially the roles of gender, race, and citizenship in the contexts of the broader Jewish Left, interpersonal politics, contests between sectors of power in the union, and differing visions of state reformation. While social unionism prevailed for several years in the mid-1930s, neither members nor leaders in the ILGWU universally or unconditionally accepted the social unionism formulated by Fannia Cohn and others. Over time, social and political forces that operated below the surface of the multicultural experiment weakened the union's commitment to the mutual embrace of ethnic cultures, especially when leaders no longer deemed it critical to the health of the union.

Keywords:   International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union, ILGWU, multiculturalism, gender, race, citizenship, Jewish Left, social unionism

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