White Working-Class Women and Anti-Jewish Oppression

Working-class women (unpaid and paid workers) are the majority of the world’s people. They do two-thirds of the world’s work, but they earn only ten percent of the world’s income and own only one percent of the world’s wealth. The overwhelming majority of working-class women, and all women, are women targeted by racism.

I led the White Working-Class Women’s Workshop as a white middle-class Jewish woman. It was a wonderful opportunity to be an ally, to address my own classism and internalized anti-Jewish oppression, and to challenge others’ anti-Jewish oppression.

An outstanding group of women attended—leaders of RC Community building, class liberation, women’s liberation, Jewish liberation, and eliminating white racism. It was a pleasure to see how these women flourished in an atmosphere that was not dominated by middle- and owning-class patterns. (I was the only person both raised and currently middle class.) It was an honor to assist this group of women to come home to each other, to have a place where they could fight for themselves and each other.

Anti-Jewish Oppression, classism, and Racism

Some white Gentile women said they had not known there were Jewish working-class people. Many of the Jewish working-class women said they had struggled to feel they had any place with working-class white Gentiles.

The United States and parts of Europe have had powerful working-class movements, often with militant Jewish working-class leadership. In many cases, it was Jewish female working-class leadership (for example, Rosa Luxemburg and Emma Goldman).

Anti-Jewish oppression has been key in the destruction of working-class revolutions and of a militant, class-conscious working class. The Holocaust destroyed almost the entire Jewish working class in Europe. Anti-Jewish oppression clearly coincided with racism: a “pseudo” racist ideology in European countries was used to justify the attempted extermination of Jews.

In the l950s in the United States, McCarthyism,1 the electrocution of the Rosenbergs,2 and the corruption of the Communist movements were all fueled by anti-Jewish oppression.

I led a Jewish group, and Diane Shisk an allies’ group, discharging on Israel and Gaza. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is very much about anti-Jewish oppression and racism.

Anti-Jewish oppression has become a tool of colonialism, genocide, and racism in much of the world.

Diane Balser

International Liberation Reference Person for Women

Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts, USA

(Present Time 171, April 2013)


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Last modified: 2017-05-31 15:35:00-07