Histomat: Adventures in Historical Materialism

'Historical materialism is the theory of the proletarian revolution.' Georg Luk√°cs

Monday, April 12, 2010

Michael Rosen on a visit to London's Jewish Museum

I'm the result of a few families out of the 150,000 people who came to Britain from Russia, Romania and "Russian Poland" around 130 years ago. Beginning with the Norman invasion and ending recently, other kinds of Jews are on display, too - Spanish, Portuguese, Indian - as well as converts: in the entrance foyer, a Chinese woman talks alongside a Hasidic rabbi and Jonathan Freedland. Jewish multiculturalism, even.
My parents grew into something else: Jewish internationalism. I see it on a trade-union banner. Across the top it reads: "The London Jewish Bakers Union". Across the bottom: "Workers of the World Unite". In the middle: "Buy bread with the union label". On the reverse, not visible when I visited, it says the same in Yiddish. So, these bakers seemed to think that they could speak their own language, bake Jewish bread, have a Jewish trade union and yet also say: "Labour is international."


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