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Theorizing american labor antisemitism

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Chapter Summary

American society was virtually saturated with antisemitic propaganda during the years of the Great Depression and WWII. Father Coughlin was by far the most famous and wide-reaching voice of intolerance during the 30s but within his shadow moved an army of small-time and lesser-known demagogues as well as the spontaneous creations of thousands of baleful, shop floor poets. This chapter grasps the social logic of working-class antisemitism by gathering together the recurring theoretical elements and situating them within the core processes of alienation and the exchange of commodities as the prototype form of social and moral relations. Antisemitism exists because society has failed to achieve the form of an ethical order. Regardless of whether society is good or a moral abortion people subordinate themselves to it; only rarely do segments of society mobilize and rise up in opposition to the prevailing order.

Keywords: American society; Father Coughlin; Great Depression; working-class anti-Semitism; WWII



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