Widened Agrojoint Activity and New Soviet Decrees to Benefit Lishentzy
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Widened Agrojoint Activity and New Soviet Decrees to Benefit Lishentzy

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The activities of the Agrojoint (American Jewish Joint Agricultural Corporation), which has spent millions in the economic rehabilitation of the Jews of Russia, will be tremendously widened in the future by yesterday’s Soviet decree opening wide the gates to all the Jews of the small towns to qualify as artisans and eventually become part and parcel of the Soviet industrial machine, declared Ezekiel Grower, assistant director of the Agro-joint in a statement to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

Mr. Grower points out that this is the first ameliorative ukase issued by the Soviet cabinet that speaks plainly of the townships in Ukrainia and White Russia and gives definite and sweeping instructions which enable almost everyone in the small towns to become a productive element with the prospect of becoming qualified for Soviet heavy industrial enterprises.


Especially significant, declared Mr. Grower, is that part of the decree which recommends that in cooperatives comprising thirty members each the artisan member should be given the same rights as the factory worker which means that the Jewish artisans will receive fair opportunities not only legally but economically as well since the workers are considered the cream of the Soviet citizenship.

Emphasizing that the decree puts an end to the quondam practice of overtaxing the artisans and confiscating their property when they could not meet the taxes, a policy that kept the artisan in constant fear of the tax collector, Mr. Grower explained that of special importance is the fact that the decree urges the discontinuance of the enforced merging of cooperatives and the extreme policy of “cleansing” the cooperatives of undesirable elements. These mergers and cleansings greatly affected the Jewish declassed because the Jews as newcomers in the artisan industry were consequently less qualified and hence the first to be ousted when the cooperatives were merged. As former traders the Jewish declassed also suffered from the cleansings, being expelled in greater percentages after such purgings than the non-Jews.

The Agrojoint, Mr. Grower concluded, with the new decree as a basis, is now able to start on a wide plan of assisting the artisans in how best to utilize the decree tinue the Soviet’s policy of aiding in the improvement of the economic status of the lishentzy, people without rights by virtue of their position before the Revolution. The majority of the lishentzy are Jews.

The first decision by the All-Soviet Artisans Association orders the reinstatement of all expelled lishentzy in the artisans’ cooperatives. The decision rules that henceforth the cooperatives may not expel anyone because he is a lishentzy, that all lishentzy who were expelled must be reinstated, that all previous orders of the Artisans’ Association contrary to today’s decision are nullified, and that all cooperatives with constitutional by-laws calling for the expulsion of lishentzy must revise the by-laws. The decision, however, rules that all lishentzy who are members of cooperatives shall have no right to be elected to committees or offices conducting the cooperatives and shall have no voting rights at the general membership meetings.


The second decision is a ruling by the All-Soviet Central Cooperative Association which admits the lishentzy to membership in the government’s cooperative stores. This association controls the distribution of goods throughout the Soviet Union.

The order says that all lishentzy may now be accepted into the cooperative as a member provided he pays a special price for his share. By becoming a member, however, he is not entitled to ge the so-called deficit goods from the cooperative, meaning bread, sugar, butter and other foodstuffs but he can freely obtain all kinds of non-deficit goods. The children of lishentzy are to get from the cooperative all kinds of provisions just as children of full citizens get, the order adds.

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