Poles, Jews and the politics of nationality : relations between the Polish Socialist Party and the Jewish Labor Bund, 1892-1905 / by Joshua D. Zimmerman.
Based on comprehensive archival research in Poland and the US, this dissertation examines the competing claims of two emergent movements in the 1890s aspiring to represent the Jewish working class in late Imperial Russia: the Polish Socialist Party (PPS), which demanded social emancipation and a democratic republic, and the Jewish Labor Bund, which advocated national-cultural autonomy for the Jews of the Russian Empire. The first half of the dissertation examines the emergence of the PPS in 1892-1893, its position on the national question in general, and the Jewish question in particular, down to 1897. This, in turn, will be viewed against the background of the divergent social and economic development of the Polish Kingdom and Western provinces of the Russian Empire. The dissertation will situate PPS-Bund relations within the context of the broader transformations undergone by Polish and Jewish society under Russian rule in the nineteenth century. It will suggest that the disputes between the PPS and Bund were linked to a wider Russo-Polish struggle for control of the eastern borderlands, a power struggle with roots going back to the early modern period and one that spilled over into the national struggles erupting in the 1890s. The second half of the dissertation examines the evolution of the PPS national program from the late 1890s to 1905. The period 1897-1905 was marked by the emergence of rival nationally-conscious socialist parties among Lithuanians, Jews, and Ukrainians. These parties rose to challenge the PPS' dominance in the borderlands and consequently forced the PPS to adapt its program and rhetoric to account for the increasingly independent movements in the eastern territories formerly under Polish rule. Despite all substantial historiography on the PPS and Bund, this complex of problems has been virtually ignored by previous scholars. The first investigations into PPS-Bund relations are confined to parts of official party histories. Subsequent postwar works by professional historians on Polish and Jewish socialism have barely departed from the partisan nature of these first accounts. The broader significance of this dissertation is that it aims to give insight into the evolution of Polish-Jewish relations in interwar Poland, since the roots of that period go back to the emergence of modern Polish and Jewish politics in the period 1892-1905.
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