Distant Magnets: Expectations and Realities in the Immigrant Experience, 1840-1930

By Dirk Hoerder; Horst Rössler | Go to book overview

Capitalism has destroyed the old life and created a new life. It has uprooted masses from their homes, driven them into monstrous tenements. Here they gain new support: from their brother's arm, from their comrade's spirit; in a supporting and uplifting community. They have become free from the narrow horizon of the village; they have learned to desire greatness. And so they will wait, until the day comes that will give their community power, to arrange the world according to their own will -- with clear minds and clenched fists. 86

Vienna was of extraordinary importance for the labor movement: 37.3 percent of the party and trade-union members lived here. Working-class voters were extremely disadvantaged by the communal Kurienwahlrecht -- suffrage based on property qualifications -- which impeded the participation of Social Democracy at community level. The weight of identification with Vienna therefore lay less on the city itself than on its movement. 87 For labor migrants the labor movement in no way projected a euphoric picture of Vienna, which would have implicitly meant the promotion of migration. Ruined existences, poverty, housing shortages, and misery were much more prevalent in the workers' press and in social democratic publications than were examples of social ascent or prosperity. This, too, is an aspect of the differences between dream and reality: Do not succumb to desperation, but bring reality into line with your images and expectations.


Notes

We are grateful to Meredith Schneeweiss ( B. A., University of Vermont, 1975), who translated this manuscript from German.

1
See Peter R. Hofstätter, Einführung in die Wahrnehmungspsychologie ( Stuttgart: Kroener, 1973), 364-68.
2
See Alphons Lhotsky, "Mittelalterliche Lobsprüche auf Wien", in idem, Aufsätze und Vortrage, vol. 4 ( Vienna: Verlag far Geschichte und Politik, 1974), 11-13; Theodor Ilgen, Die Geschichte Kaiser Friedrichs III, von Aeneas Silvius ( Leipzig, 1899), 14-18.
3
See Wolfgang Mand, "Wien um 1900 -- ein goldener Stachel", in Wien um 1900: Aufbruch in die Moderne, ed. Peter Berner, Emil Brix, and Wolfgang Mantl ( Vienna: Verlag für Geschichte und Politik, 1986), 249-58; Carl Schorske, Wien: Geist und Gesellschaft im Fin de sidcle ( Frankfurt a.M.: S. Fischer, 1982); Käthe Leichter, Leben und Werk ( Vienna: Europaverlag, 1973),

-72-

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