The Last Battles of Old-World Ideologies in the Race for Identity and Communal Power: Communists vs. Bundists vs. Zionists in Mexico, 1938-1951

How to Cite

Cimet-Singer, A. (1994). The Last Battles of Old-World Ideologies in the Race for Identity and Communal Power: Communists vs. Bundists vs. Zionists in Mexico, 1938-1951. Estudios Interdisciplinarios De América Latina Y El Caribe, 5(2). Retrieved from


This essay describes the ideological conflicts and disputes within the Ashkenazi community in Mexico City from 1938 to 1951, spurred by various party-like communal organizations and their leaders attempting to gain control of as yet undefined parameters of political life. I undertake to show the process by which a pattem of political unidimensionality took root in this community and discuss the consequences of such a political reality. In other words, political conflicts exist in all societies, and there is always someone that becomes a winner while another may become a loser. However, not all confrontations produce either/or situations. In fact, in most cases, especially in societies that incorporate democratic values, the loser is not expected to just disappear. Neither is it expected - regardless of the desires of the competing agents- that he or she should alter his/her views and be prepared to align with the new power structure and the groups that maintain it. However, in the case analyzed here, this is precisely what evolved. When Communists, Bundists and others lost to Zionists, the political fights between these party-like groups had clearly become fights for control - who could speak, what could be said, and how should it be said -, foreclosing, so to speak, all non-aligned options. This was not just a matter of language. There was a clear attempt to impose a pattem of total allegiance to the dominating party. Zionism, becoming the central political power in Eretz Israel and aiming to secure support in the Diaspora, pursued political exclusivity in the community without the choice of political and cultural diversity that might have been expected given the history of the community and Diaspora conditions, which differed from the Israeli ones. In other words, once a group won, there were no concessions made to any of the losing contenders, no matter what and whom they represented, so that a process of political and cultural unidimensionality remained the only available option in this community that had seen diversity and plurality in abundance. The newly- defined political line of behavior became the essential test for measuring loyalty to the ethnic group.

Copyright © 2012-2013 Estudios Interdisciplinarios de América Latina y el Caribe.
ISSN 0792-7061
Editores:  Ori Preuss; Nahuel Ribke
Instituto Sverdlin de Historia y Cultura de América Latina, Escuela de Historia
Universidad de Tel Aviv, Ramat Aviv,
P.O.B. 39040 (69978), Israel.
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