Socialist antisemitism and its discontents in England, 1884–98

Virdee, S. (2017) Socialist antisemitism and its discontents in England, 1884–98. Patterns of Prejudice, 51(3-4), pp. 356-373. (doi: 10.1080/0031322X.2017.1335029)

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Virdee's essay explores the relationship between English socialists and migrant Jews amid the new unionism of the late nineteenth century: a cycle of protest characterized by sustained collective action by the unskilled and labouring poor demanding economic and social justice. Reading this labour history against the grain, with a greater attentiveness to questions of race and class, helps to make more transparent both the prevalence and structuring force of socialist antisemitism, as well as English and Jewish socialist opposition to it. In particular, the essay suggests that the dominant socialist discourse was intimately bound up with questions of national belonging and this directly contributed to a racialized politics of class that could not imagine migrant Jews as an integral component of the working class. At the same time, such socialist antisemitism was also challenged by a minority current of English Marxists whose conceptions of socialism refused to be limited by the narrow boundaries of the racialized nation-state. And they were joined in this collective action by autonomous Jewish socialist organizations who understood that the liberation of the Jewish worker was indivisible from that of the emancipation of the working class in general. With the help of Eleanor Marx and others, these latter strands entangled socialist politics with questions of combatting antisemitism, and thereby stretched existing conceptions of class to encompass the Jewish worker.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Virdee, Professor Satnam
Authors: Virdee, S.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Sociology Anthropology and Applied Social Sciences
Journal Name:Patterns of Prejudice
Publisher:Taylor and Francis
ISSN (Online):1461-7331
Published Online:20 June 2017
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2017 The Author
First Published:First published in Patterns of Prejudice 51(3-4): 356-373
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
592091Understanding the changes in ethnic relations: understanding the dynamics of ethnicity, identity and inequality in the uk.Satnam VirdeeEconomic and Social Research Council (ESRC)ES/K002198/1SPS - SOCIOLOGY