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Poale zion

The meaning of «poale zion»

Poale Zion (also spelled Poalei Tziyon or Poaley Syjon, meaning "Workers of Zion") was a movement of Marxist–Zionist Jewish workers founded in various cities of Poland, Europe and the Russian Empire in about the turn of the 20th century after the Bund rejected Zionism in 1901.[1][2][3]

The key features of the ideology of early Poale Zion were acceptance of the Marxist view of history with the addition of the role of nationalism, which Borochov believed could not be ignored as a factor in historical development. A Jewish proletariat would come into being in the Land of Israel, according to Poale Zion, and would then take part in the class struggle. These views were set out in Borochov's Our Platform, published in 1906.

Poale Zion parties and organisations were started across the Jewish diaspora in the early 20th century. A branch of Poale Zion came into existence in New York City in 1903.[4] Branches were formed in London and Leeds in 1903/04 and 1905 respectively[5][6] and on a national basis in 1906.[7] An Austrian group was formed in 1904, and published a newspaper, Yidisher Arbeyter.[8] In November 1905 the Poale Zion (Workers of Zion) Party was founded in Palestine and a month later the Socialist Jewish Labour Party (Poale Zion) was formed in the United States and Canada.[9] In March 1906 the Jewish Social Democratic Labour Party (Poale Zion) was created in Russia.[9] In 1906 a formal Poale Zion party was formed in Poltava, Ukraine,[10] under the leadership of Ber Borochov and Itzhak Ben-Zvi, and other groups were soon formed elsewhere in Europe. A French group was formed, under the leadership of Marc Jarblum, which was influential on the SFIO and its leader Leon Blum.[11] By 1907, the party had 25,000 members in Russia.[12]

With the threat of pogroms and meeting clandestinely the Warsaw Poale Zion formed a commando unit (bojowka) with around sixty guns. They were used to "expropriate" funds from well to do citizens. In March 1906 the entire Warsaw leadership were amongst the 120 delegates arrested attending the Poale Zion conference in Poltava. Three months later eighteen gunmen raided Warsaw railway station, stealing cash and leaving "a receipt in the name of Warsaw's Poale Zion".[13]

A World Union of Poale Zion was formed. The first World Congress took place in August 1907 in The Hague. Its second congress in 1909 in Kraków emphasised practical socialist projects in Palestine, further congresses followed in Vienna (1911 and 1920) and Stockholm (1919).

A conference in the name of the Jewish Social-Democratic Workers' Party in the Land of Israel was held in Jaffa between 4–6 October 1906.[14][15] It was organised by Israel Shochat who over the previous two years had organised an underground group of around 25 Poale Zion followers. About 60 people attended the conference and it was chaired by newly arrived David Ben Gurion.[16] As a result the following January they produced The Ramleh Program, a Hebrew version of the Communist Manifesto with the added declaration: 'the party aspires to political independence of the Jewish People in this country."[17][18] After much debate they agreed that there should be segregation of Jewish and Arab economies.[19] It was also agreed that all Poale Zion business should be conducted in Hebrew, though this was not the larger group's policy which held that proceedings should be in Yiddish or Ladino depending on the community. Hebrew was seen as the language of the bourgeoisie[20] At the time there were 550 active pioneers, Jews working on the land, in the country.[21]

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