by Jason Lever
Posted on Sun, 01 Dec 2013 17:25:36 GMT
Solomon enters union leadership
Labour’s entry into the coalition government in 1915 made the party more mainstream. The extended franchise in 1918 brought it more working-class (including Jewish) voters and growing post-war economic and social pressures helped create demands for social reform, all in the Labour Party’s favour (ref: Alderman 1983; Weightman and Humphries).
During the First World War, socialists had already gained appeal by opposing the government’s “conscription or deportation” policy, which had led to anti-Jewish riots in London and Leeds.
By the mid-1930s, Labour was the normal political home of the mass of working-class Jews as well as many middle-class Jews. Increasing prosperity in the clothing and the boot and shoe trades created the population shift of Jews from the East End to Hackney, Stamford Hill, Walthamstow, Bow and Leyton, yet many remained Labour supporters (ref: Alderman 1983 and 1981).
By the end of the 1920s, Solomon Lever was grappling with the finances of the London Jewish Bakers Union. Michael Pruth (or Prooth), general secretary, had been deported to Russia after riding a white horse in a demonstration during the general strike in 1926. His successor, L. Brenner, was convicted of misappropriating funds. H. Wilson was jailed for forgery.
From 1929, under Solomon Lever’s stewardship, ‘the administration of the union as a whole was put in order’ and he remained at its helm for three decades (ref: Wayne).
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