The Ethno-Religious/Class Solidarity Dialectic: A Case Study on Labor Zionism
A culture in a globalizing world can in many ways be characterized by its boundaries. That which is defined as outside or other gives meaning and solidity to the ideas and affiliations that give members a sense of belonging and solidarity. However, these boundaries are ever changing due to internal innovation, external influence and the creative tension that exists between these. Thus, when a new solidarity group emerges that confronts and challenges previously existing axes of orientation it does not merely replace one ethos with its own. Rather, it penetrates the porous walls of surrounding groups and exports new commentaries and world-views while at the same time importing outright members. In this process, multiple synthesis communities apart from both the original new and old circles are possible. The history of intellectual and programmatic Labor Zionism is an appropriate example of this process. Neither fully Socialist nor Jewish, according to the official representative bodies of these solidarity networks and only later to the Labor Zionist themselves, they forged a coherent, separate cultural world-view and physical network. These were surely based upon members’ roots in the Eastern European Jewish shetls and formative experiences in the socialist movements of late 19th century Europe, but existed in their final form as quite separate, both ideologically and organizationally. The implications of this synthesis had far ranging effects, both for the meaning of Marxism and for the cleavages of Israeli politics and society. This paper addresses the movement of people and ideas at the periphery, beyond the borders separating cultures and communities and into the new space created by the tension of overlapping identities and histories.
Keywords: Solidarity, Cultural Tension, Religion, Ideology, Socialism, Zionism
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