Ethnic Democracy and Its Ambiguities: The Case of the Needle Trade Unions
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[Excerpt] During the years between World War I and World War II the conduct among well-known Jewish labor leaders seems to have foreshadowed events in the history of America’s nationality following the tumult of the 1960’s. In the 1920’s and 1930’s America’s elected or appointed officials still used a pecking order based on assumed inequalities of race, ethnicity, and gender in making policy decisions. They presumed that their private interests, those of the “insiders,” the “leading groups,” or “controlling minorities,” were the only appropriate ones for determining public policy. It was then, especially in the Depression years, when the New Deal Democrats competed successful with fascists, socialists and Communists, that “ethnic democracy” in the world of organized workers began to emerge as part of a complex process. In time it would alter meanings of “private” and “public” among group relations in the changing history of America’s nationality.
ethnic democracy; labor; needle trade unions; nationality; America