'East End Jewish Radicals 1875-1914'

37 posts / 0 new
Last post
syndicalist
Offline
Joined: 15-04-06
Oct 23 2006 02:56
'East End Jewish Radicals 1875-1914'

Can anyone tell me if the book 'East End Jewish Radicals 1875-1914' issued by Five Loaves (distrib. by AK) is markedly different than thw 1975 tilte 'Jewish Raicals" (same author)? I have the original version and it's quite informative.

For those of you interested in the East End anarchists, I thought the new release of Rocker's 'London Years' and Fermin Rocker's (R.R.'s son) are also intereesting reading. The late Sam Dolgoff told me how Rocker hated the English translation. Rocker thought at the translator took certain "liberties" with what R. Rocker had to say. Sam never was specific, but I think it comes out in how "liberal" was (free speech, etc.).

As a total aside, I'm bemussed how London had its East End jewish anarchis, and we our Lower East side jewish anarchists. -:)

Anyway, I'd be interested to hear about the new edition of the Fishman book.

Jason Cortez
Offline
Joined: 14-11-04
Oct 23 2006 08:58

I have never heard of Fishman,W J. Jewish Radicals: From Czarist Stetl to London Ghetto. Pantheon Books, (1974). until now but from the title i would guess some but limited overlap.

Jacques Roux's picture
Jacques Roux
Offline
Joined: 17-07-06
Oct 23 2006 12:17

I have always looked at East End Jewish Radicals and have had it recomended to me, but havent read it yet. Would be great to get a history article or two along these lines if someone was up for it.

Sorry this doesnt answer your q!

syndicalist
Offline
Joined: 15-04-06
Oct 23 2006 13:21

Thanks folks. I guess there's only one way to find out -:) I'll add it to my holiday wish list and see what happens.

BTW, rkn, what sort of articles were you thinking about? I'm not volenteering, perhaps someone can scan parts of the book and post it. I know, sounds alot more simple than it probably is. I useless on the technical front.

Anyway, if there's someone out there who's read both books, I'd be curious to hear if there are differences. My guess might be in the introduction, but ...

Jacques Roux's picture
Jacques Roux
Offline
Joined: 17-07-06
Oct 23 2006 14:21

S - re: what im talking about - well for our history articles we prefer to have re-written 2000 word articles which summarise events which we can then refer people to for further reading.

Why try to avoid scan in stuff as much as possible as our aims is to make things accessible and easy to read smile

martinh
Offline
Joined: 8-03-06
Oct 25 2006 15:37

Briefly, the 2 are the same, I think. I met Bill Fishman a couple of times and I think he's very def. on the liberal end of anarchism. Interesting subject though

regards,

Martin

syndicalist
Offline
Joined: 15-04-06
Oct 26 2006 12:25

I think Martin's probably right about Bill Fishman's politics. But as a history, I thought the book was pretty good. It at least gives the reader some sense of the times and the activities of the East End comrades. As does Rocker's London Years.

Of course the book has its short comings in the sense that it wasn't written by an anarchist. How East End anarchism drew down is probably still to be written in any detail. I suspect that East End anarchism's demise was very similiar to the demise of anarchism as a major working class movement in many countries by the 1920s.

I thought Melter's (in his autobiography) take was a bit much, but who knows, maybe some relevancy.

The one thing that I didn't get a sense of from either The London Years or East End Radicals (well, the Jewish Radicals version which I have) is how the unions organized along libertarian lines. I got no real sense of the day-to-day, nitty gritty organizing that created anarchist unionism. Or, as with the New York situation, did they organize trade unions, radical, but not necessarily anarchist in structure and form.

Perhaps this is an area for further research.

smashing
Offline
Joined: 7-10-06
Oct 26 2006 13:00

Jewish Radicals: From Czarist Stetl to London Ghetto only costs a dollar! (plus shipping)

Jacques Roux's picture
Jacques Roux
Offline
Joined: 17-07-06
Oct 26 2006 13:16
smashing wrote:
Jewish Radicals: From Czarist Stetl to London Ghetto only costs a dollar! (plus shipping)

From where?! :?

Anarchia's picture
Anarchia
Offline
Joined: 18-03-06
Oct 29 2006 01:47

I have "East End Jewish Radicals 1875-1914" and from memory the "update" consists of a new forward/introduction. Not positive though, and the book is packed away in a box at the moment so can't check, sorry.

It's a well written and very interesting book though, thats for sure smile

syndicalist
Offline
Joined: 15-04-06
Dec 3 2006 04:13

I was hoping to do my own reviews of The London Years, East End Jewish Radicals & The East End Years: A Stepney Childhood, unfortunately I haven't found the time.

Let me recommend all three of these books. I found them to be overlapping and complementary. They are very informative and useful sources for those curious about the London "Jewish movement". While it can surely be said the Fishman book focuses in on the "Jewish movement", Rudolf Rocker's book, while ceneterd on his years in the Jewish libertarian workers' movement, is much more than that. I found Rocker's recollections of Malatesta, Louise Michael and others to be wonderful. Fermin Rocker's book is also insightful as he recalls anarchist personalities of the era. Fermain remembers the "Jimmy Higgins" (the people who do all the work and get little public recognition---you know, the "shitworkers")of the movement. And his love for his father is as clear a cloudless day.

In solidarity,
mitch

------------------------------------------------------------
Review From: Organise #64, Published by the Anarchist Federation
(Britain) http://www.af-north.org/organise/organise.htm

The London Years by
Rudolf Rocker
AK Press/Five Leaves (http://www.akpress.org/)
228 pages

This book, long out of print, has made a
welcome return, and is published at the
same time as another reprint, Bill Fishman's
East London Jewish Radicals. It was written
by Rudolf Rocker, a gentile German who
became involved in the Yiddish-speaking
anarchist movement of Britain. Not only did
Rocker animate the highly popular
newspaper Der Arbeter Fraint, he was also
involved in setting up the monthly Germinal
which dealt with anarchist theory and
culture "to acquaint its readers with all
libertarian tendencies in modern literature
and contemporary thought". Interned during
the First World War he spent the rest of his
life in Holland, Germany and the USA. The
thriving movement that he had helped build
(in London, but also in Leeds, Manchester
and other northern towns) was devastated
by the war, by the number of anarchists
returning to Russia to assist in the
Revolution, many perishing there, and by the
upsurge of the Communist Party. But for
several decades there was a vibrant
anarchist movement among the Jewish
working class in Britain.
Here is described the strike that broke out
among the tailoring workers of the West End
in 1912, with over 8,000 attending a
meeting addressed by Rocker and others.
Following this successful strike, many
Jewish families took in the children of
London dockers who were also on strike.
This was one of the great triumphs of
Rocker and the Jewish anarchist movement.
This active solidarity broke down the
barriers between the dockers,
predominantly of Irish Catholic background,
and the Yiddish speaking working class of
the East End. It was a hammer-blow against
anti-semitism. As Colin Ward says in the
introduction: "Rudolf Rocker's own story,
that of an immigrant, deprived of citizenship
in his country of origin, and deported from
Britain after years of internment, has its own
message for another generation struggling
with the dilemmas of a multi-cultural
Britain".

East End Jewish Radicals 1875-1914 by William J Fishman http://www.akpress.org/2004/items/eastendjewishradicals

The East End Years: A Stepney Childhood, Fermin Rocker, Freedom Press
http://www.akpress.org/1998/items/eastendyears
Purchase from: http://www.akpress.org/

Battlescarred
Offline
Joined: 27-02-06
Dec 4 2006 10:41

It's basically the same book
By the way , why do people have to venture an opinion when they have read neither edition??????????
puzzled

Jacques Roux's picture
Jacques Roux
Offline
Joined: 17-07-06
Feb 16 2007 20:19

Hmm i thought there was another thread on Jewish/Yiddish anarchism - but i cant find it? Anyone seen it?

anyway just seen this cool yiddish anarchist song vid on YouTube:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wbhrtoi9tr8

syndicalist
Offline
Joined: 15-04-06
Feb 17 2007 04:49
rkn wrote:
anyway just seen this cool yiddish anarchist song vid on YouTube:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wbhrtoi9tr8

Pretty cool. looks to me like that was possibly May Day event. For sure, Union Square in NYC. Speaker Alex Berkman.

Anarchia's picture
Anarchia
Offline
Joined: 18-03-06
Feb 17 2007 05:42

Speaking of Jewish anarchists and Youtube:

Wisdom of an old revolutionary

syndicalist
Offline
Joined: 15-04-06
Feb 17 2007 15:56
Asher wrote:
Speaking of Jewish anarchists and Youtube:

Wisdom of an old revolutionary

That was the late Irving Abrams of Chicago. He was speaking at the base of the statute for the Haymarket Martyrs, Waldheim Cemetery, Chicago. Looks like this was filmed in the late 1970s from the look of the cars.

Divisive Cottonwood
Offline
Joined: 15-08-04
Feb 17 2007 18:02

In reference to R.R. there used to be a big potrait of him in Whitechapel library - until, that is, they closed the library(ies) in Newham to create Dome-tastic 'Information Centres'.

Fuck knows where that potrait is now.

Divisive Cottonwood
Offline
Joined: 15-08-04
Feb 17 2007 18:06
Asher wrote:
Speaking of Jewish anarchists and Youtube:

Wisdom of an old revolutionary

Good stuff! When was that recorded?

Anarchia's picture
Anarchia
Offline
Joined: 18-03-06
Feb 17 2007 22:55

syndicalist's effort at guessing that seems pretty likely, I didn't have a clue.

syndicalist
Offline
Joined: 15-04-06
Feb 17 2007 23:48

The song, I have no idea when it was recorded.

In the opening scene,I can't tell if the marching is part of the original or spliced into it. I think it's all one and the same. I'm pretty sure it's a May Day parade into Union Sq., NY. For sure, it's Berkman.

Anyone intersted in reading about Irving Abraham should see his autobigraphy, Haymarket Heritage: The Memoirs Of Irving S Abrams. I was trying to find a free on-line transcript, but no luck. So here's the AK link and intro comments:
http://www.akpress.org/2004/items/haymarketheritage
"Irving S. Abrams (1891–1980) was a Wobbly, Jewish anarchist, and savior of the Haymarket monument at Waldheim Cemetery from 1960–1971.
"In these pages Abrams provides penetrating insights into the perceptions of later generations of the Haymarket confrontation. Those insights developed out of Abrams' experiences in the bitter labor struggles in which he participated in his earlier years. As one who challenged the vicious anti-labor forces which he encountered on so many picket lines, Abrams writes authoritatively about the 'cry for justice' which has ever been the battle cry of organized labor. As we read these memoirs of his participation in the Industrial Workers Of the World strikes in the State of New York and elsewhere, in the giant garment-workers' strike in Chicago, and later in the activities of the Jewish Labor Committee, we recognize that Abrams has earned his credentials as an authentic labor pioneer." —Joseph M. Jacobs, from the introduction
Edited by Dave Roediger and Phyllis Boanes.

For some excellent photos of the Haymarket Maytars statute, go to: http://www.graveyards.com/IL/Cook/foresthome/ne-haymarket.html

EDIT: click here http://www.graveyards.com/IL/Cook/foresthome/ne-goldman.html for Emma Goldman's memorial

Moshehess
Offline
Joined: 13-09-06
Mar 12 2007 13:15
syndicalist wrote:

As a total aside, I'm bemused how London had its East End jewish anarchis, and we our Lower East side jewish anarchists. -:)

Because the Lower-East Side Jewish "Anarchists" were not really anarchists. They were merely Pseudo-Proto-Authoritarian-Splitters who did not understand the true meaning of struggle and hence were fake anarchists. I don't like to associate myself with the Lower-Eastender espcially those from Leytonstone. Scum.

syndicalist
Offline
Joined: 15-04-06
Mar 13 2007 04:48

"Because the Lower-East Side Jewish "Anarchists" were not really anarchists. They were merely Pseudo-Proto-Authoritarian-Splitters who did not understand the true meaning of struggle and hence were fake anarchists. I don't like to associate myself with the Lower-Eastender espcially those from Leytonstone. Scum."

what are you talking about, man? utter blabber.

davidseastendwalks
Offline
Joined: 4-04-08
Apr 4 2008 19:37

As far as I know it's a straight reprint.
I went on a walks of the radical Jewish east end with Bill Fishman in the 1980s which was fascinating.
I'm now doing my own - checkout: www.eastendwalks.com

syndicalist
Offline
Joined: 15-04-06
Apr 6 2008 21:31

Cool stuff David.... wish I could go on one...I'm on the other side of the Atlantic

martinh
Offline
Joined: 8-03-06
Apr 6 2008 22:41

As far as I know the portrait of Rocker that used to be in Whitechapel Library passed to the Art Gallery at the same time as the building, though I don't know if it is on display.

The council for the East End isn't Newham, it was Tower Hamlets council who closed the Library in favour of an "Ideas store". Newham is the other side of the River Lea where Essex used to begin. They are different places and have a very different feel, partly because of the much longer history of immigration in Tower Hamlets.

Regards,

Martin

Inigo Montoya's picture
Inigo Montoya
Offline
Joined: 11-04-07
Apr 13 2008 15:01

I'm looking for any articles/info on strikes organised by anarchists in the London's East End in the 1910s. Anyone help?

syndicalist
Offline
Joined: 15-04-06
Apr 14 2008 03:45

"East End Jewish Radicals 1875-1914", William Fishman and Rocker's "London Years" are pretty good starters. But I found the accounts to be limited in the sense of being more trade unionist than anything else. Fascinating never-the-less.

See also http://libcom.org/history/wess-woolf

One thing that often gets lost (on this side of the Atlantic) are the efforts by the Jewish garment workers and the non-Jewish dockers at building unity during their respective 1912 strikes. Rocker's account is quite moving.

syndicalist
Offline
Joined: 15-04-06
Apr 18 2008 05:50

I was looking at the Kate Sharpley Library "Yiddish Anarchist Bibliography"
and read, for the first time, the subtitle to the East London publication, "The Workers Friend" (Der Arbayter Fraynd). The subtitle proclaimed that it was "Anarchist-Communist Organ" (anarkhistish-komunistisher organ), rather than an anarcho-syndicalist or simply an anarchist organ.Nothing earth shattering, just interesting.

The excellent KSL bilibliography can be found at: http://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/yiddishbiblio.htm

Caiman del Barrio
Offline
Joined: 28-09-04
Apr 23 2008 03:15
syndicalist wrote:
"Because the Lower-East Side Jewish "Anarchists" were not really anarchists. They were merely Pseudo-Proto-Authoritarian-Splitters who did not understand the true meaning of struggle and hence were fake anarchists. I don't like to associate myself with the Lower-Eastender espcially those from Leytonstone. Scum."

what are you talking about, man? utter blabber.

Either there's also a Leytonstone in Lower East Side (which irrevelantly, is probably my favourite part of any city in the world...where are the radical spaces there? I just went to ABC No Rio and smoked weed on the street with Puerto Ricans) or he's making some poor attempt at a London injoke, not sure.

syndicalist
Offline
Joined: 15-04-06
Apr 23 2008 13:27

Alan, actually Moshehess posted the quoted comment, not be. I asked what in the world is he talikng about? Leytonstone must be in the UK, caue it aint here in NYC.

syndicalist
Offline
Joined: 15-04-06
Sep 6 2008 22:59

Excerpted from http://web.hamline.edu/personal/jgeorge/rocker.html

The following excerpts relate his stint as a Librarian after moving to London in 1895, and are taken from his book The London Years, Robert Anscombe & Co. Ltd., London, 1956.

"On my second London visit I found the German movement flourishing. The persecution on the Continent made many comrades fly to London from Switzerland, France, Belgium and other countries, with the result that they strengthened the London movement. The Grafton Hall club had over 500 paying members, and it was also visited by comrades from abroad. [Grafton Hall was the new meeting place of the First (Anarchist) Section of the Communist Workers' Educational Union. - Jon]
...The new Grafton Hall club was the finest meeting place the foreign revolutionaries in London ever had. There was a large room on the ground floor, where the comrades who lived in the neighbourhood came every evening, for company, and for their evening meal. On Saturdays and Sundays it was packed with comrades from other parts of the huge city, who could come only on those days. The big, bright, comfortable library was at the back.
...I was...elected Librarian of the Workers' Educational Union. I found its old and valuable collection of books terribly neglected. My predecessor, a man named Milo, had been going through the books, making an index of them. The first thing he did was to put aside about 300 French books, which he said were useless, and should be got rid of. Luckily they were still there, because in the midst of his work, he got another job in Paris, and went off, leaving everything in the Library as it was. The first book I picked out of this heap that he had flung aside as useless was the "Histoire de la conspiration pour l'egalite, dite de Babeuf," by Buonarroti, which had appeared in Brussels in 1828, and had soon after the July 1830 Revolution been out of print and unobtainable. The book had a tremendous influence on the movement and had a scarcity value. I could hardly believe my eyes. There wasn't a single book in the whole heap that could be described as valueless. On the contrary, there were a number of rare and valuable books among them, including works by Bazard, d'Argenson, Leroux and other early Socialists, and a collection of propaganda works by French Communists of the '30's and '40's that were practically unobtainable.

I found my work in the Library absorbing and a great joy. I discovered an almost complete collection of the old German Socialist literature, all the first editions of Wilhelm Weitling, August Becker, Sebastian Seiler, Andreas Dietsch, Ernst Dronke, Moses Hess and others. Early French and English Socialist literature was equally well represented. There were all the first editions of Marx and Engels, except "The Holy Family". The minutes of the Union, which were kept till the first half of the 40's, and had not been continued beyond that date, were valuable material.
The Library showed signs of the very definite swing there had been in the Union since the split following Johann Most's appearance. From this time on the Libertarian movement was appropriately represented among the books in the Library, though much was missing, especially French and English books and periodicals, so that one found little of the rich literature of French anarchism. The reason seemed to be that the Communist Workers' Educational Union had often had to move its premises, and the books were packed in cases and left for some time in a cellar belonging to one of the comrades, or in a furniture depository, and some of the books were lost. During my period of office as Librarian I succeeded in filling some of the gaps, though the task was not easy, as there was not much money for buying books."

[My biographical information on Rocker was helped by consulting The Essential Works of Anarchism, ed. Marshall S. Shatz, Quadrangle Books, New York, 1972. This anthology is itself an essential work of anarchism, and I owe Shatz a debt of gratitude for introducing me to Rocker's thoroughly enjoyable writings.]

For further information:

A number of Rocker's writings, along with biographical, bibliographical, and other material, can be found online at: http://flag.blackened.net/rocker/