A Different Context
I just read the op-ed by Thai Jones, “From Russia to Zuccotti Park, the Parodox of Anarchism” in the December 2 issue. I am puzzled by the effort to somehow equate the 21st century protests against the inequality of wealth in America with the Russian revolution, which was against the brutality of the tsarist regimes. In the 19th and early 20th century the vast majority of Jews were struggling to determine whether they should join other ethnic and peasant classes in the revolt or to fight as a separate nation within Russia. Certainly the idea of “anarchism” was not a part of the plan of any organized Jewish struggle either among the Bundists or Zionist groups who debated for years how to approach the struggle for independence and emancipation.
In none of the Zionist conventions, and there were several of them, was there an ideology that talked to the issue of “anarchy.” They dealt more specifically with how Jews in Russia and Poland ought to react to the coming revolt and whether they should stay in exile or move en masse to a homeland in which they had control of their own lives.
To try and somehow single out some anarchists’ assaults against “authority” in 19th and early 20th century Russia and make some sort of comparison to what is happening now against Wall Street is to draw a false equation between the suffering of Jews under a brutal regime with the freedoms and rights that are afforded to a free citizenry in 21st century America.
Thomas A. Borin