Looking up some old articles in the Forum, I happened on this article called "Russian Jews as Desirable Immigrants" from 1893 (and very much of its time) which is interesting for any number of reasons, not least the emphasis on the radicalism and social orientation of the immigrants. According to the author description Van Etten spoke "the German-Jewish dialect) and was an organizer of the Woman Cloak-maker's Union.

"The Russian Jews are naturally radicals on all social questions. They have come from a country which represents to them only tyranny and oppression, and social questions have a deep, absorbing, and personal interest to them. Another fact that increases the radicalism of the educated Jews is that, not being an abiding people, they have no strong prejudices in favor of any established party. Thus from the force of circumstances as well as by natural inclination they find their natural and congenial place among the ultra-radical workingmen. Thousands of the disciples of Karl Marx may be found among the organized Jewish workingmen. Their intense desire to study and to discuss social questions I have never seen equalled. Scores of great agitation meetings are held weekly on the East Side. A few weeks ago a meeting called to discuss immigration was attended by over six thousand persons, while thousands were unable to obtain admission. A similar call for a meeting issued to native American or to Irish workingmen would probably have brought but a few hundreds."

"...The Jews are a temperate people, and the saloon is not likely to become an element in their social or political life. Instead of beer or strong alcoholic liquors, they drink enormous quantities of tea and coffee. Coffee-houses are numerous on the East Side and serve as the gathering-places of the Jewish working men and women....Every night from ten to twelve these coffee-houses are crowded with students and workingmen, manj of whom drop in from the numerous trade and agitation meetings which are nightly held in the Jewish quarter. The recreations of a people are commonly the truest indication of their real character. The frequenters of these dingy little coffee-houses are men rough and uncouth in appearance, poorly dressed and often dirty and unkempt, but a lady or a scholar would find nothing offensive in their conversation. They discuss trade matters, political economy, philosophy, the works of Karl Marx, Krapotkine, Tolstoi, Tchernyehewsky, and Zola. Almost any Jewish workingman you might chance to meet in these circles would be able to discuss intelligently these authors and their works."


Popular posts from this blog

Buddhas, Buddhas, y Mas Buddhas

Can octopus heads be hazardous to your health?