The Jewish-Socialist Nexus
This introductory chapter traces the history of Jewish socialism, by first pinpointing its genesis in the 1880s with the birth of the Jewish labor movement. The movement arose from the masses of Yiddish-speaking Jews who immigrated to the United States from the Russian Empire, Austria-Hungary, and Romania between the 1880s and 1920s. Numbering more than two million, they crowded into America's major urban centers, where they encountered harsh working and living conditions. In response, many immigrants took to protest and self-organization within the backdrop of an emerging American socialist movement. The Jewish labor movement encompassed an array of trade unions, political parties, and voluntary associations centered in New York City. Within its ranks, proponents of various brands of socialism vied for popular support, though Jewish socialists of all persuasions occupied common ground in their desire to create a cooperative, egalitarian society, freed from poverty and bigotry.
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