by Jason Lever
Posted on Sun, 01 Dec 2013 17:20:25 GMT
The cause of municipal socialism
While many Jewish East End socialists became Communists in the 1920s and 1930s, many also found their way into the Labour party and to the cause of municipal socialism.
One was Solomon Lever, staunch in his Labour party allegiance as a union leader from the late 1920s and Hackney councillor from 1945, a period when Labour was struggling to establish a firm East End support base in areas with significant Jewish populations.
Labour’s difficulty in attracting Jewish East-Enders has been attributed to the persistence of casual labour and workshop production, which meant the “factory effect” that propelled people toward voting Labour was missing. This was also a time when ‘many socialists flirted with, or joined, the Communist Party of Great Britain’ in the 1920s and 1930s (Beech & Hickson).
A convincing case is also made, notably by Marc Brodie in ‘The Politics of the Poor: The East End of London 1885-1914’, that the ‘“personal” element…[was the] major overriding influence on the politics of the working class in the East End’, including on Jewish political allegiances (Brodie).
This “personal” element can be demonstrated by looking at Jewish voting patterns in East End constituencies from the mid-19th century.
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