Welcome to the Ber Borochov Internet Archive. Borochov was a "Marxist Zionist" who was born in Russia in 1881 and died there in 1917 shortly after the Russian Revolution. In his early years he was a member of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party which later split into the Bolsheviks and the Menshiviks (he was expelled prior to the 1903 split, however). Later, he helped found the Poale Zion Party, a "Labour Zionist" Party which supported the Russian Revolution in 1917 and which, after splitting into right and left sections, evolved into both the Mapai Party (later Labour and now "One Israel") and the more left wing Mapam Party (today Meretz).
Marxism-Zionism seems an odd synthesis but Borochov's theories anticipate later National Liberation Marxist theories. Many Russian members of Left Poale Zion joined the Bolshevik Party after 1917 and played a prominant part in the Communist Party's "Jewish Section" influencing policies favouring "agrarianising" Jews through the construction of agricultural settlements in Crimea and Ukraine and later with the development of a "Jewish Republic" in Biro-Bidzhan. The Jewish Section was dissolved in the 1930s and many ex-Poale Zionists who joined the Communist Party suffered in Stalin's purges.
Below, you'll see a link to Borochov's seminal essay "The National Question and the Class Struggle." The essay aims to be a broad Marxist analysis of the "National Question" without making specific reference to the Jewish Question or to Zionism and thus it still makes an interesting read and a relevant contribution to the debate on nationalism and Marxism by identifying "progressive" vs "reactionary" nationalism, and defining "proletarian nationalism" against bourgeois varieties. It also seeks to explain why sections of the working class sometimes indulge in reactionary nationalism, the importance of solving the national question as part of the class struggle, and analyses the importance of immigration and its relation to the National Question. While, elsewhere, Borochov argues for territorial concentration (specifically Zionism) as the solution to the "Jewish Question" the arguments and analysis posited in "The National Question and the Class Struggle" do not necessarily lead to that conclusion.
(1917) Poale Zion Peace Manifesto - Contribution to international socialist peace congress in Stockholm. Encapsulates Poale Zion platform of the time, includes demands for national self determination and a League of Nations.
Articles and Speeches by Borochov:
(1986) Bernard Avishai on Borochov - Historical and economic critique excerpted from The Tragedy of Zionism: Revolution & Democracy in Israel.
(1959) Arthur Hertzberg on Borochov - A short piece in which Hertzberg assesses the historical importance of Borochov's theories and provides a short biographical sketch as an introduction to selections from Borochov printed in Hertzberg's The Zionist Idea: A Historical Analysis and Reader.
(1969) Nathan Weinstock on Borochov - A Marxist critique published as "Appendix III - Borochov and the National Question" in Weinstock's book Zionism - False Messiah.
Biographical sketches of Borochov: