Revolutionary Fundraising and Global Networks: A Micro-Economic Approach to the Social Meaning of Money and Mobilization before the Second World War
|EASTERN-EUROPE; History; MIGRATION
Already decades ago Jonathan Frankel found that Russian `[r]evolutionary organizations depended to an extraordinary extent on the ebb and flow of fundraising'. This even increased in independent Poland where, for instance, the large school-network TSISHO constantly required massive inflow of funds raised abroad. Among the many emigrants from Russia, Bundists overseas were especially successful fundraisers. For thousands of them, fundraising became the single most important mode of maintaining ties with a movement in which they had developed their distinct identities and which many of them sought to revitalize on distant shores. To date not a single study has asked for the backgrounds and the effects of this crucial and transnationally interdependent activism. It started with monodirectional transfers and developed into multiple forms of exchange, including ideas, organisational patterns, materials and manpower. Over the decades preceding the Second World War it constantly increased due the Bund's increasing engagement with a socialist and secular global Jewish culture. Finally it propelled the recreation of some of the movement's most successful branches in the New World. Yet, despite the common context, the practices and effects of such initiatives in the United States differed drastically from those in Argentina. Based on extensive source work in local archives, this article explores the extent and relevance of Bundist fundraising in different societies. As a result it will present a comparative perspective on practices of Bundist transnational solidarity and thereby scrutinize our understanding of the presence of eastern Europe as a factor in global history - and the other way around. This global perspective also aims in another direction. For decades historians of the Russian Revolution - as well as of revolutions and social movements in general - have been engaged in debates about who organized the movement, who ran the revolution and which microor macro level dynamics were decisive. However, we have never seriously asked who paid for the revolution and what consequences the collection of money has in revolutionary movements. The economic history of revolution still needs to be written. This article aims to be first step in this direction.
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checked on Mar 2, 2024