|A Shenerer un beserer velt: Building a beautiful future, Gender and Class in the Pro Communist Jewish Left in Canada, 1920-1950|
|The pro-Bolshevik Yiddish left was heavily influenced by events in Soviet Russia, and Comintern policy with respect to women. However, while the leaders of the mass Jewish organization were Communist Party people, many of the rank and file membership were not. They retained a strong commitment to an ethnic heritage, Yiddish, that was experienced through the lens of class politics, and retained that commitment sometimes at variance with internationalist comintern policies. Through a focus on two life histories of women from this community, I will look at how and why women became supporters of the Soviet revolution, and the activities that followed from these radical commitments. Primarily through material available in the Communist Yiddish Newspaper, Der Kamf, I will explore to what extent their activities in the mass Jewish organizations were inspired by what they thought was happening in the Soviet Union, and how they made the principles of Socialism and women's activism their own in a grassroots Canadian movement.
This paper expands and develops previously published work, entitled "Camp Naivelt and the Daughters of the Jewish Left" that is part of an edited collection called Sisters or strangers: Immigrant, ethnic and racialized women in Canadian history edited by Marlene Epp, Franca Iacovetta and Frances Swyripa, (Toronto, University of Toronto Press, 2005) It is part of a larger project I am engaged in explore Secular Jewish Culture and Community in Canada, 1920-1950, funded by the Social Science and Research Council of Canada.