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(The following biographical note was written by Levic Jessel in 1935 and was included in his introduction to the English language edition of The National Question and the Class-Struggle published in Chicago that same year by Farlag Borochov)

Born in Russia in 1881, Borochov possessed an historical background that undoubtedly influenced his outlook. Russia was at this time in the infancy of its capitalist development. It had passed through a century of revolutionary turmoil. One series of pogroms after another upon Jews, intellectuals and workers culminated in the "bloody Sunday" on the 9th of January, 1905, when thousands of peacefully demonstrating workers were shot down by the troops of the Czar.

It was in the spring of that year that Borochov presented his "National Question and the Class-Struggle," to the organizational convention of the scattered Poale-Zionist groups of Russia. He travelled widely throughout the country, lecturing and debating. This training contributed markedly towards the crystallization of his Poale —Zionist philosophy. It was not long before he became the outstanding theoretician and ideologist of Jewish Proletarian Nationalism. He achieved, furthermore, great distinction in other fields, particularly in philology and in the study of the Yiddish language.

On the very night of the dissolution of the First Russian Duma, June 3rd, 1906, he was arrested by the police. In prison, he carried out an extensive propaganda for Ukrainian Social Democracy among the arrested peasants. He won many adherents who, later, scattered among numerous villages, styled themselves "Borochovists."

At the outbreak of the World War he was in Austria. Forced to leave that country he went to America. There he bitterly fought the pro-war propaganda of leading Zionists who hoped to benefit from a British alliance.

When the March Revolution took place he returned to his native land and participated actively in revolutionary work. He delivered an address before the "Convention of Nationalities" in Kiev and made so profound an impression that he was selected as a delegate to the "Democratic Assembly" in Moscow. He died in this city in December, 1917, having lived through the November Revolution.


It might be of interest to know the subsequent course of the political movement — Poale Zionism — which Borochov founded and for which he provided the philosophical basis. As a reprecussion of the Bolshevik Revolution, and following the split in the Second International, the Poale-Zion Movement broke into a Right and Left wing in 1920. The Right Poale-Zion subsequently became affiliated with the Second International and has consistently followed the policies characteristic of all social-democratic parties. Today it is the leading party in the World Zionist Organization and is the controlling section of the Palestine Federation of Labour — the Histadruth.

The Left Poale-Zion remained true to the revolutionary teachings of Borochov. In 1922 it vainly sought affiliation with the Communist International, its application being rejected solely because of its adherence to the philosophy of proletarian nationalism and to its Palestinism. For Soviet Russia had not yet learned the validity of Jewish nationality. It chose also to overlook the conspicuous fact that the Poale-Zion was the only Jewish party in Russia that had fought whole-heartedly for the Revolution. To-day, the Left Poale-Zion is in the vanguard of the class-struggle throughout the world. It is the only Jewish revolutionary party to effect a synthesis between Proletarian Nationalism and the class-struggle.

LEVIC JESSEL, London, Ontario, Canada, 1935