General Jewish Labor Union

General Jewish Labor Union

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The General Jewish Labour Bund of Lithuania, Poland and Russia , generally called The Bund or the Jewish Labour Bund, was a secular
Secularity
Secularity is the state of being separate from religion.For instance, eating and bathing may be regarded as examples of secular activities, because there may not be anything inherently religious about them...

 Jewish socialist
Socialism
Socialism is an economic system characterized by social ownership of the means of production and cooperative management of the economy; or a political philosophy advocating such a system. "Social ownership" may refer to any one of, or a combination of, the following: cooperative enterprises,...

 party in the Russian Empire
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

, active between 1897 and 1920. Remnants of the party remain active in the diaspora
Jewish diaspora
The Jewish diaspora is the English term used to describe the Galut גלות , or 'exile', of the Jews from the region of the Kingdom of Judah and Roman Iudaea and later emigration from wider Eretz Israel....

 as well as in Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

. A member of the Bund is called a Bundist (Bundistn in the plural).

Founding


The General Jewish Labour Bund in Russia and Poland was founded in Vilnius
Vilnius
Vilnius is the capital of Lithuania, and its largest city, with a population of 560,190 as of 2010. It is the seat of the Vilnius city municipality and of the Vilnius district municipality. It is also the capital of Vilnius County...

 on October 7, 1897. The name was inspired by the General German Workers' Association
General German Workers' Association
The General German Workers' Association, in German Allgemeiner Deutscher Arbeiterverein, ADAV) was founded on 23 May 1863 in Leipzig, Kingdom of Saxony by Ferdinand Lassalle and existed under this name until 1875, when it combined with August Bebel and Wilhelm Liebknecht's SDAP to form the...

. The Bund sought to unite all Jewish workers in the Russian Empire
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

 into a united socialist party. The Russian Empire
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

 then included Lithuania
Lithuania
Lithuania , officially the Republic of Lithuania is a country in Northern Europe, the biggest of the three Baltic states. It is situated along the southeastern shore of the Baltic Sea, whereby to the west lie Sweden and Denmark...

, Latvia
Latvia
Latvia , officially the Republic of Latvia , is a country in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by Estonia , to the south by Lithuania , to the east by the Russian Federation , to the southeast by Belarus and shares maritime borders to the west with Sweden...

, Belarus
Belarus
Belarus , officially the Republic of Belarus, is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe, bordered clockwise by Russia to the northeast, Ukraine to the south, Poland to the west, and Lithuania and Latvia to the northwest. Its capital is Minsk; other major cities include Brest, Grodno , Gomel ,...

, Ukraine
Ukraine
Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe. It has an area of 603,628 km², making it the second largest contiguous country on the European continent, after Russia...

 and most of present-day Poland
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

, areas where the majority of the world's Jews then lived. The Bund sought to ally itself with the wider Russian social democratic
Social democracy
Social democracy is a political ideology of the center-left on the political spectrum. Social democracy is officially a form of evolutionary reformist socialism. It supports class collaboration as the course to achieve socialism...

 movement to achieve a democratic
Democracy
Democracy is generally defined as a form of government in which all adult citizens have an equal say in the decisions that affect their lives. Ideally, this includes equal participation in the proposal, development and passage of legislation into law...

 and socialist
Socialism
Socialism is an economic system characterized by social ownership of the means of production and cooperative management of the economy; or a political philosophy advocating such a system. "Social ownership" may refer to any one of, or a combination of, the following: cooperative enterprises,...

 Russia. Within such a Russia, they hoped to see the Jews achieve recognition as a nation with a legal minority status. Of all Jewish political parties of the time, the Bund was the most progressive regarding gender equality, with more than one-third of membership being female.

In 1901, the word 'Lithuania' was added to the name of the party.

During the period of 1903-1904, the Bund was harshly affected by Czarist state repression. Between June 1903 and July 1904, 4,467 Bundistn were arrested and jailed.

As part of the Russian Social Democracy


Given the Bund's secular and socialist perspective, it opposed what it viewed as the reactionary nature of traditional Jewish life in Russia. Created before the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party (RSDLP), the Bund was a founding collective member at the RSDLP's first congress in Minsk
Minsk
- Ecological situation :The ecological situation is monitored by Republican Center of Radioactive and Environmental Control .During 2003–2008 the overall weight of contaminants increased from 186,000 to 247,400 tons. The change of gas as industrial fuel to mazut for financial reasons has worsened...

 in March 1898. For the next 5 years, the Bund was recognized as the sole representative of the Jewish workers in the RSDLP, although many Russian socialists of Jewish descent, especially outside of the Pale of Settlement
Pale of Settlement
The Pale of Settlement was the term given to a region of Imperial Russia, in which permanent residency by Jews was allowed, and beyond which Jewish permanent residency was generally prohibited...

, joined the RSDLP directly.

At the RSDLP's second congress in Brussels
Brussels
Brussels , officially the Brussels Region or Brussels-Capital Region , is the capital of Belgium and the de facto capital of the European Union...

 and London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

 in August 1903, the Bund's autonomous position within the RSDLP was rejected under pressure by the Bolsheviks and the Bund's representatives left the Congress, the first of many splits in the Russian social democratic movement in the years to come. The five representatives of the Bund at this Congress were Vladimir Kossowsky, Arkadi Kremer
Arkadi Kremer
Arkadi Kremer Also known as Aleksandr Kremer or Solomon Kremer.A.S. Kremer was a Russian socialist leader known as the 'Father of the Bund' Arkadi Kremer (1865-1935)Also known as Aleksandr Kremer or Solomon Kremer.A.S. Kremer was a Russian socialist leader known as the 'Father of the Bund' Arkadi...

, Mikhail Liber
Mikhail Liber
Mikhail Isaakovich Liber .M.I. Liber, sometimes known as 'Mark Liber', was a leader of the General Jewish Workers' Union . He also played a role in the Russian Social-Democratic Workers' Party and among the Mensheviks...

, Vladimir Medem
Vladimir Medem
right|250px|thumb|Picture of Medem from the Medem Library in ParisVladimir Davidovich Medem, né Grinberg , , was a Russian Jewish politician and ideologue of the Jewish Labour Bund‎...

 and Noah Portnoy.

The Bund formally rejoined the RSDLP when all of its faction reunited at the Fourth (Unification) Congress
4th Congress of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party
The Fourth Congress of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party that took place in Stockholm, Sweden, from April 10-25 , 1906....

 in Stockholm
Stockholm
Stockholm is the capital and the largest city of Sweden and constitutes the most populated urban area in Scandinavia. Stockholm is the most populous city in Sweden, with a population of 851,155 in the municipality , 1.37 million in the urban area , and around 2.1 million in the metropolitan area...

 in April 1906, with the support of the Mensheviks, but the party (RSDLP) remained fractured along ideological and ethnic lines. The Bund generally sided with the party's Menshevik
Menshevik
The Mensheviks were a faction of the Russian revolutionary movement that emerged in 1904 after a dispute between Vladimir Lenin and Julius Martov, both members of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party. The dispute originated at the Second Congress of that party, ostensibly over minor issues...

 faction led by Julius Martov
Julius Martov
Julius Martov or L. Martov was born in Constantinople in 1873...

 and against the Bolshevik
Bolshevik
The Bolsheviks, originally also Bolshevists , derived from bol'shinstvo, "majority") were a faction of the Marxist Russian Social Democratic Labour Party which split apart from the Menshevik faction at the Second Party Congress in 1903....

 faction led by Vladimir Lenin
Vladimir Lenin
Vladimir Ilyich Lenin was a Russian Marxist revolutionary and communist politician who led the October Revolution of 1917. As leader of the Bolsheviks, he headed the Soviet state during its initial years , as it fought to establish control of Russia in the Russian Civil War and worked to create a...

 during the factional struggles in the run up to the Russian Revolution of 1917
Russian Revolution of 1917
The Russian Revolution is the collective term for a series of revolutions in Russia in 1917, which destroyed the Tsarist autocracy and led to the creation of the Soviet Union. The Tsar was deposed and replaced by a provisional government in the first revolution of February 1917...

.

5th Congress


The fifth congress of the Bund met in Zurich
Zürich
Zurich is the largest city in Switzerland and the capital of the canton of Zurich. It is located in central Switzerland at the northwestern tip of Lake Zurich...

 in June 1903. 30 delegates took part in the proceedings, representing the major city branches of the party and the Foreign Committee. Two issues dominated the debates; the upcoming congress of the RSDLP and the national question. During the debates there was a division between the older guard of the Foreign Committee (Kossovsky, Kremer and John (Yosef) Mill and the younger generation represented by Medem, Liber and Raphael Abramovitch
Raphael Abramovitch
Raphael Rein Abramovich was a Russian socialist, a member of the General Jewish Workers' Union in Lithuania, Poland and Russia and a leader of the Menshevik wing of the Russian Social-Democratic Workers' Party .-Life:...

. The younger group wanted to stress the Jewish national character of the party. In the end no compromise could be reach, and no resolution was adopted on the national question.

1905 Revolution and its aftermath


In the Polish areas of the empire, the Bund was a leading force in the 1905 revolution. During the following years, the Bund went into a period of decay. The party tried to concentrate on labour activism around 1909-1910 and led strikes in ten cities. The strikes resulted in a deepened backlash for the party, and as of 1910 there were legal Bundist trade unions in only four cities, Białystok, Vilnius
Vilnius
Vilnius is the capital of Lithuania, and its largest city, with a population of 560,190 as of 2010. It is the seat of the Vilnius city municipality and of the Vilnius district municipality. It is also the capital of Vilnius County...

, Riga
Riga
Riga is the capital and largest city of Latvia. With 702,891 inhabitants Riga is the largest city of the Baltic states, one of the largest cities in Northern Europe and home to more than one third of Latvia's population. The city is an important seaport and a major industrial, commercial,...

 and Lodz
Lódz
Łódź is the third-largest city in Poland. Located in the central part of the country, it had a population of 742,387 in December 2009. It is the capital of Łódź Voivodeship, and is approximately south-west of Warsaw...

. Total membership in Bundist unions was around 1,500. At the time of the eight party conference only nine local branches were represented (Riga, Vilnius, Białystok, Lodz, Bobruisk, Pinsk
Pinsk
Pinsk , a town in Belarus, in the Polesia region, traversed by the river Pripyat, at the confluence of the Strumen and Pina rivers. The region was known as the Marsh of Pinsk. It is a fertile agricultural center. It lies south-west of Minsk. The population is about 130,000...

, Warsaw
Warsaw
Warsaw is the capital and largest city of Poland. It is located on the Vistula River, roughly from the Baltic Sea and from the Carpathian Mountains. Its population in 2010 was estimated at 1,716,855 residents with a greater metropolitan area of 2,631,902 residents, making Warsaw the 10th most...

, Grodno and Dvinsk) with a combined membership of 609 (out of whom 404 were active).

After the RSDLP finally split in 1912, the Bund became a federated part of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party (Menshevik) (by this time the Mensheviks had accepted the idea of a federated party organization).

Parliamentary representation


At the 1906 First Duma elections
Russian legislative election, 1906
Legislative elections were held in the Russian Empire in March 1906. At stake were the 478 seats in the State Duma of the Russian Empire, the legislative assembly. Election for the First State Duma, a session which only ran from April 27 to July 21 1906, returned a significant bloc of moderate...

, the Bund made an electoral agreement with the Lithuanian Labourers' Party (Trudoviks
Trudoviks
The Trudoviks were a moderate Labour party in early 20th Century Russia...

), which resulted in the election to the Duma of two (apparently non-Bundist) candidates supported by the Bund: Dr. Shmaryahu Levin
Shmaryahu Levin
Dr. Shmaryahu Levin , was a Jewish Zionist activist in the Russian Empire, then in Germany and in the United States, member of the first elected Russian Parliament in 1906-1907....

 for the Vilnius
Vilnius
Vilnius is the capital of Lithuania, and its largest city, with a population of 560,190 as of 2010. It is the seat of the Vilnius city municipality and of the Vilnius district municipality. It is also the capital of Vilnius County...

 province and Leon Bramson
Leon Bramson
Leon Bramson , was a Jewish activist, member of the first elected Russian Parliament in 1906-1907, then a leader and organizer of the World ORT....

 for the Kaunas
Kaunas
Kaunas is the second-largest city in Lithuania and has historically been a leading centre of Lithuanian economic, academic, and cultural life. Kaunas was the biggest city and the center of a powiat in Trakai Voivodeship of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania since 1413. During Russian Empire occupation...

 province. In total, there were twelve Jewish deputies in the Duma, falling to three in the Second Duma (February 1907 to June 1907), two in the Third Duma (1907–1912) and again three in the fourth, elected in 1912, none of them being affiliated to the Bund.

Political outlook


The Bund eventually came to strongly oppose Zionism
Zionism
Zionism is a Jewish political movement that, in its broadest sense, has supported the self-determination of the Jewish people in a sovereign Jewish national homeland. Since the establishment of the State of Israel, the Zionist movement continues primarily to advocate on behalf of the Jewish state...

, arguing that emigration to Palestine
Palestine
Palestine is a conventional name, among others, used to describe the geographic region between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, and various adjoining lands....

 was a form of escapism
Escapism
Escapism is mental diversion by means of entertainment or recreation, as an "escape" from the perceived unpleasant or banal aspects of daily life...

. The Bund did not advocate separatism. Instead, it focused on culture, rather than a state or a place, as the glue of Jewish "nationalism." In this they borrowed extensively from the Austro-Marxist
Austromarxism
Austromarxism was a Marxist theoretical current, led by Victor Adler, Otto Bauer, Karl Renner and Max Adler, members of the Social Democratic Workers' Party of Austria during the late decades of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy and the First Austrian Republic...

 school, further alienating the Bolsheviks and Lenin. The Bund also promoted the use of Yiddish as a Jewish national language and to some extent opposed the Zionist project of reviving Hebrew
Hebrew language
Hebrew is a Semitic language of the Afroasiatic language family. Culturally, is it considered by Jews and other religious groups as the language of the Jewish people, though other Jewish languages had originated among diaspora Jews, and the Hebrew language is also used by non-Jewish groups, such...

.

The Bund won converts mainly among Jewish artisans and workers, but also among the growing Jewish intelligentsia
Intelligentsia
The intelligentsia is a social class of people engaged in complex, mental and creative labor directed to the development and dissemination of culture, encompassing intellectuals and social groups close to them...

. It led a trade union movement of its own. It joined with the Poalei Zion (Labour Zionists) and other groups to form self-defense organisations to protect Jewish communities against pogrom
Pogrom
A pogrom is a form of violent riot, a mob attack directed against a minority group, and characterized by killings and destruction of their homes and properties, businesses, and religious centres...

s and government troops. During the Russian Revolution of 1905
Russian Revolution of 1905
The 1905 Russian Revolution was a wave of mass political and social unrest that spread through vast areas of the Russian Empire. Some of it was directed against the government, while some was undirected. It included worker strikes, peasant unrest, and military mutinies...

 the Bund headed the revolutionary movement in the Jewish towns, particularly in Belarus.

Activities abroad


Less than a year after the founding of the party, its Foreign Committee was set up in Geneva
Geneva
Geneva In the national languages of Switzerland the city is known as Genf , Ginevra and Genevra is the second-most-populous city in Switzerland and is the most populous city of Romandie, the French-speaking part of Switzerland...

. Also within the same timespan, Bundist groups began to constitute themselves internationally. However, the Bund did not construct any world party (as did Poalei Zion). On the contrary, the Bund argued that it was a party for action inside the Russian empire. The Bundist groups abroad were not included into the party structures. In 1902, a United Organization of Workers' Associations and Support Groups to the Bund Abroad was founded. The groups affiliated to the United Organization played an important role in raising funds for the party.

Between 1901-1903, the Foreign Committee was based in London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

.

The United Organization, the Foreign Committee as well as the Union of Russian Social Democrats Abroad were all dissolved at the time of the Russian revolution of 1917
Russian Revolution of 1917
The Russian Revolution is the collective term for a series of revolutions in Russia in 1917, which destroyed the Tsarist autocracy and led to the creation of the Soviet Union. The Tsar was deposed and replaced by a provisional government in the first revolution of February 1917...

.

Separation of the Polish Bund


When Poland fell under German occupation in 1914, contact between the Bundists in Poland and the party centre in St. Petersburg became difficult. In November 1914 the Bund Central Committee appointed a separate Committee of Bund Organizations in Poland to run the party in Poland. Theoretically the Bundists in Poland and Russia were members of the same party, but in practice the Polish Bundists operated as a party of their own. In December 1917 the split was formalized, as the Polish Bundists held a clandestine meeting in Lublin
Lublin
Lublin is the ninth largest city in Poland. It is the capital of Lublin Voivodeship with a population of 350,392 . Lublin is also the largest Polish city east of the Vistula river...

 and reconstituted themselves as a separate political party
General Jewish Labour Bund in Poland
The General Jewish Labour Bund in Poland was a Jewish socialist party in Poland which promoted the political, cultural and social autonomy of Jewish workers, sought to combat antisemitism and was generally opposed to Zionism.-Creation of the Polish Bund:...

.

1917


The Bund was the only Jewish party that worked within the soviets
Soviet (council)
Soviet was a name used for several Russian political organizations. Examples include the Czar's Council of Ministers, which was called the “Soviet of Ministers”; a workers' local council in late Imperial Russia; and the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union....

. Like other socialist parties in Russia, the Bund welcomed the February Revolution
February Revolution
The February Revolution of 1917 was the first of two revolutions in Russia in 1917. Centered around the then capital Petrograd in March . Its immediate result was the abdication of Tsar Nicholas II, the end of the Romanov dynasty, and the end of the Russian Empire...

 of 1917, but it did not support the October Revolution
October Revolution
The October Revolution , also known as the Great October Socialist Revolution , Red October, the October Uprising or the Bolshevik Revolution, was a political revolution and a part of the Russian Revolution of 1917...

 in which the Bolsheviks seized power. Like Mensheviks and other non-Bolshevik parties, the Bund called for the convening of the Russian Constituent Assembly
Russian Constituent Assembly
The All Russian Constituent Assembly was a constitutional body convened in Russia after the October Revolution of 1917. It is generally reckoned as the first democratically elected legislative body of any kind in Russian history. It met for 13 hours, from 4 p.m...

 long demanded by all Social Democratic factions. The Bund's key leader in Petrograd during these months was Mikhail Liber
Mikhail Liber
Mikhail Isaakovich Liber .M.I. Liber, sometimes known as 'Mark Liber', was a leader of the General Jewish Workers' Union . He also played a role in the Russian Social-Democratic Workers' Party and among the Mensheviks...

, who was to be roundly denounced by Lenin. With the Russian Civil War
Russian Civil War
The Russian Civil War was a multi-party war that occurred within the former Russian Empire after the Russian provisional government collapsed to the Soviets, under the domination of the Bolshevik party. Soviet forces first assumed power in Petrograd The Russian Civil War (1917–1923) was a...

 and the increase in anti-Semitic pogroms by nationalists and Whites
White movement
The White movement and its military arm the White Army - known as the White Guard or the Whites - was a loose confederation of Anti-Communist forces.The movement comprised one of the politico-military Russian forces who fought...

, the Bund was obliged to recognise the Soviet government and its militants fought in the Red Army
Red Army
The Workers' and Peasants' Red Army started out as the Soviet Union's revolutionary communist combat groups during the Russian Civil War of 1918-1922. It grew into the national army of the Soviet Union. By the 1930s the Red Army was among the largest armies in history.The "Red Army" name refers to...

 in large numbers.

At the time of the 1917 upheavals, Mikhail Liber was elected president of the Bund. In May 1917, a new Central Committee of the Bund was formed, consisting of Goldman, Erlich, Medem and Jeremiah Weinsthein. One Central Committee member, Medem, was in Poland at the time and couldn't travel to Saint Petersburg to meet with the rest of the Committee.

Four different Bund bureaus were represented as such among the 60 delegates to the May 1918 Menshevik
Menshevik
The Mensheviks were a faction of the Russian revolutionary movement that emerged in 1904 after a dispute between Vladimir Lenin and Julius Martov, both members of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party. The dispute originated at the Second Congress of that party, ostensibly over minor issues...

 Party conference: Moscow (Abramovich), Northern (Erlich
Henryk Ehrlich
Henryk Ehrlich was an activist of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party , member of the Petrograd Soviet, Warsaw City Council and member of the executive committee of the Second International...

), Western (Goldshtein, Melamed) and Occupied Lands (Aizenshtadt).

The political changes at the time of the Russian revolution resulted in splits in the Bund. In Ukraine, Bund branches in cities like Bobruisk, Ekaterinoburg and Odessa
Odessa
Odessa or Odesa is the administrative center of the Odessa Oblast located in southern Ukraine. The city is a major seaport located on the northwest shore of the Black Sea and the fourth largest city in Ukraine with a population of 1,029,000 .The predecessor of Odessa, a small Tatar settlement,...

 had formed 'leftwing Bund groups' in late 1918. In February 1919 these groups (representing the majority in the Bund in Ukraine) adopted the name Communist Bund
Communist Bund (Ukraine)
The Communist Bund was a Jewish Communist political party in Ukraine and Bielorussia, formed after a split in the General Jewish Labour Bund . In late 1918 Bund branches in cities like Bobruisk, Ekaterinoburg and Odessa formed 'leftwing Bund groups'...

 (Kombund), re-constituting themselves as an independent party. Moisei Rafes
Moisei Rafes
Moisei Grigorevich Rafes was a prominent politician of the Ukrainian People's Republic as the Bundist representative...

, who had been a leading figure of the Bund in Ukraine, became the leader of the Ukrainian Kombund. The Communist Bund supported the Soviet side in the Russian Civil War
Russian Civil War
The Russian Civil War was a multi-party war that occurred within the former Russian Empire after the Russian provisional government collapsed to the Soviets, under the domination of the Bolshevik party. Soviet forces first assumed power in Petrograd The Russian Civil War (1917–1923) was a...

.

The Bund also had elected officials at the local level. During the 1917 October Revolution
October Revolution
The October Revolution , also known as the Great October Socialist Revolution , Red October, the October Uprising or the Bolshevik Revolution, was a political revolution and a part of the Russian Revolution of 1917...

 and Russian Civil War
Russian Civil War
The Russian Civil War was a multi-party war that occurred within the former Russian Empire after the Russian provisional government collapsed to the Soviets, under the domination of the Bolshevik party. Soviet forces first assumed power in Petrograd The Russian Civil War (1917–1923) was a...

, the mayor of the predominantly Jewish Ukrainian town of Berdychiv
Berdychiv
Berdychiv is a historic city in the Zhytomyr Oblast of northern Ukraine. Serving as the administrative center of the Berdychiv Raion , the city itself is of direct oblast subordinance, and is located south of the oblast capital, Zhytomyr, at around .The current estimated population is around...

 (53,728 inhabitants, 80% of whom were Jewish at the 1897 census) was a Bundist, D. Lipets.

Final split at the Gomel conference


The remainder Bund in Russia held a conference (the Twelfth Conference of the Bund) on April 12–19, 1920 in Gomel, where the party was split into two different parties, the majority Communist Bund
Communist Bund (Russia)
The Communist Bund was a Jewish political party in Soviet Russia. It was formed as the Russian Bund was split at its 12th conference in Gomel in April 1920...

 (Kombund) and the minority Social Democratic Bund
Social Democratic Bund
The Social Democratic Bund was a short-lived Jewish political party in Soviet Russia. It was formed as the Russian Bund was split at its conference in Gomel in April 1920. The Social Democratic Bund was formed out of the rightwing minority section of the erstwhile Russian Bund...

.

The fourteen point of the resolution "On the Present Situation and the Tasks of Our Party" stated that

Summing up the experience of the last year, the Twelfth Conference of the Bund finds:
  1. that the Bund, in principle, had adopted the communist platform since the Eleventh Conference,
  2. that the Programme of the Communist Party, which is also the programme of the Soviet government, corresponds with the fundamental platform of the Bund,
  3. that a ’united socialist front’ with principled opponents of Soviet power, who draw a line between the proletariat and its government, is impossible,
  4. that the moment has come when the Bund can relinquish its official oppositional stand and take upon itself responsibility for the Soviet government’s policy.


The resolution on organisational questions stated that

The logical consequence of the political stand adopted by the Bund is the latter’s entry into the R.C.P on the same basis as the Bund’s membership of the R.S.D.L.P.. The conference authorised the C.C. of the Bund to see to it, as an essential condition, that the Bund preserve within the R.C.P. the status of an autonomous organisation of the Jewish proletariat.

Legacy


In 1921, the Communist Bund dissolved itself and its members sought admission to the Communist Party. As of 1923, the last Bundist groups had ceased to function in Soviet Russia. Many former Bundists, like Mikhail Liber
Mikhail Liber
Mikhail Isaakovich Liber .M.I. Liber, sometimes known as 'Mark Liber', was a leader of the General Jewish Workers' Union . He also played a role in the Russian Social-Democratic Workers' Party and among the Mensheviks...

, perished during Stalin's purges in the 1930s. The Polish Bundists continued their activities until 1948. During the latter half of the 20th century the Bundist legacy was represented through the International Jewish Labor Bund
International Jewish Labor Bund
The International Jewish Labor Bund is a New York-based international Jewish socialist organization, based on the legacy of the General Jewish Labour Bund founded in the Russian empire in 1897 and the Polish Bund that was active in the interwar years. The IJLB is composed by local Bundist groups...

, a federation of local Bundist groups around the world.

Former Bundists who became high level officials in the USSR

  • Israel Moiseevich Leplevsky
    Israel Leplevsky
    Israel Moiseevich Leplevsky was the head of the GPU in the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, then People's Commissar of Internal Affairs of the Ukrainian SSR from June 14, 1937 to January 25, 1938...

     (1894–1938), Bundist in 1904-1907, Minister ("People's Commissar") of Internal Affairs of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic (1937–1938)
  • Moisei Leibovits Ruhymovych (1889–1939), Bundist in 1904-1913, Minister ("People's Commissar") for military affairs of the Donetsk-Krivoy Rog Soviet Republic
    Donetsk-Krivoy Rog Soviet Republic
    The Donetsk-Krivoy Rog Soviet Republic was a short-lived and never recognized Soviet Republic founded on 12 February 1918 and sought an independence from the Soviet Ukraine...

      (1917–1918) and Minister ("People's Commissar") for Defense Industry of the USSR (1936–1937)

The Bundists in North America


Among the exiled Bundists who went on with Socialist politics in America was Baruch Charney Vladeck
Baruch Charney Vladeck
Baruch Charney Vladeck was an American Jewish labor leader, manager of the Jewish Daily Forward for twenty years, and a member of the New York City Council.-Early years:...

 (1886–1938), elected to the New York Board of Aldermen as a Socialist
Socialist Party of America
The Socialist Party of America was a multi-tendency democratic-socialist political party in the United States, formed in 1901 by a merger between the three-year-old Social Democratic Party of America and disaffected elements of the Socialist Labor Party which had split from the main organization...

 in 1917, defeated in 1921 but re-elected in 1937 to the newly formed New York City Council
New York City Council
The New York City Council is the lawmaking body of the City of New York. It has 51 members from 51 council districts throughout the five boroughs. The Council serves as a check against the mayor in a "strong" mayor-council government model. The council monitors performance of city agencies and...

 running on the American Labor Party
American Labor Party
The American Labor Party was a political party in the United States established in 1936 which was active almost exclusively in the state of New York. The organization was founded by labor leaders and former members of the Socialist Party who had established themselves as the Social Democratic...

 ticket. He was also the manager of the Jewish Daily Forward from 1918 till his death.

The father of David Lewis
David Lewis (politician)
David Lewis, CC was a Russian-born Canadian labour lawyer and social democratic politician. He was national secretary of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation from 1936 to 1950, and one of the key architects of the New Democratic Party in 1961...

 (1909–1981), former leader of the Federal New Democratic Party
New Democratic Party
The New Democratic Party , commonly referred to as the NDP, is a federal social-democratic political party in Canada. The interim leader of the NDP is Nycole Turmel who was appointed to the position due to the illness of Jack Layton, who died on August 22, 2011. The provincial wings of the NDP in...

 in Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

, was a Bundist leader in his Polish (now Belarusian) hometown Svislosz
Svislach
Svislach is a town in the South-West of Hrodna voblast, Belarus, an administrative center of the Svislach district.It is connected with Vaŭkavysk by a railroad branch and with Hrodna by a highway...

 before he emigrated to Canada in 1922.

The American Labour leader David Dubinsky
David Dubinsky
David Dubinsky was an American labor leader...

 (1892–1982), though never formally a member of the party, had joined the bakers' union, which was controlled by the Bund, and was elected assistant secretary within the union by 1906. He made his way to the United States in 1911. He became later a member of the Socialist Party of America
Socialist Party of America
The Socialist Party of America was a multi-tendency democratic-socialist political party in the United States, formed in 1901 by a merger between the three-year-old Social Democratic Party of America and disaffected elements of the Socialist Labor Party which had split from the main organization...

, helped found the American Labor Party
American Labor Party
The American Labor Party was a political party in the United States established in 1936 which was active almost exclusively in the state of New York. The organization was founded by labor leaders and former members of the Socialist Party who had established themselves as the Social Democratic...

 in 1936 and was from 1932 till 1966 the leader of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union
International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union
The International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union was once one of the largest labor unions in the United States, one of the first U.S. unions to have a primarily female membership, and a key player in the labor history of the 1920s and 1930s...

.

External links

  • Bund article at The YIVO Encyclopedia of Jews in Eastern Europe
    The YIVO Encyclopedia of Jews in Eastern Europe
    The YIVO Encyclopedia of Jews in Eastern Europe is a two-volume, English-language reference work on the history and culture of Eastern Europe Jewry in this region, prepared by the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research and published by Yale University Press in 2008.The Encyclopedia, 2,400 pages in...