The Renewal of the Kibbutz: From Reform to Transformation

A victory for socialism? The Israeli Kibbutz
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Published New Brunswick, N. Language English View all editions Prev Next edition 2 of 3. Author Russell, Raymond. Other Authors Hanneman, Robert.

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Survey data is used to understand which reforms were the most common and which were most successful. Bring it Home. A critique of early CrimethInc. These observations have led academics to ask whether the Israeli kibbutz sets itself apart from the myriad of failed socialist societies as a proven paragon of success. Welcome back. In the following years, population growth slowed down.

Gets, Shelomoh. Subjects Kibbutzim.

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Contents Development of the kibbutzim From crisis to reform, Consideration and adoption of innovations, Transformation of the kibbutzim, From transformation to renewal. Notes Includes bibliographical references p. Also published electronically. View online Borrow Buy Freely available Show 0 more links Set up My libraries How do I set up "My libraries"? Penrith Campus Library. None of your libraries hold this item.

Found at these bookshops Searching - please wait We were unable to find this edition in any bookshop we are able to search. These online bookshops told us they have this item:. Tags What are tags? Even the basic difference between them and us-namely that we work and they do not work-stems from this prime difference.

We are not laborers in a social sense, but rather workers in a national sense. We have come to work [in the Land of Israel] solely because we view the work that would bring about a [Jewish] national revival as creative work, and not because we have some socioeconomic conception. Adhering to the new, non-instrumental mode of production and practicing it as a way of life was also defined in the kibbutzim as the 'religion of work'. The term, which originally described the concept of work in the teaching of A. Gordon, also gives expression, in another way, to the idea that work should not be shaped and performed just as a means to an end but rather, as much as possible, as an end in itself.

For the religious person the practice of the religious way of life is an end in itself, and-as such-self-fulfillment. Thus, work should be practiced as a way of self-fulfillment, not as an indispensable economic means. The kibbutzim did practically abolish exploitation, but this success, I would suggest, was not only due to the abolition of private property. Common property has indeed been an important aspect of non-exploitative relations in small communities all over the world. However, common property is not an arrangement that brings about non-exploitative relations as its natural result.

Common property is basically a legal arrangement, which helps humans to create and maintain social relations free from economic exploitation; but it does not create such relations. The normative decision to abolish exploitation can be realized by a complex of organizational arrangements and activities. Shaping production as non-instrumental activity is a major component of this complex.

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Thus, non-instrumental activity, while having a high value in itself, fosters and helps maintain non-exploitative relations. Instrumental activity, as Marx and A. Gordon suggested, tends to bring about, or at least to strengthen, exploitation. Instrumental activity is not only a self-relationship - i. In such activity the environment, or nature, is perceived and treated as a complex of means, in a form of tools and material, for achieving the final goal - the requested products.

Nature is not perceived as something to be enjoyed in the process of production - for example, as diversified objects that may be experienced esthetically in an artistic mode of production.

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However, other human beings are part of the environment, part of nature, so they are viewed and treated as a means to an end, mainly as live tools. In this way, exploitation can develop as social reality. Exploitation is in its essence the use of the fellow human being as a means to an end, and this use ensues from instrumental production, or is enhanced by it. Marx, who believed, very radically, that all forms of exploitation ensue from instrumental production, said in this regard:.

The whole of human servitude is involved in the relation of the worker to production, and all relations of servitude [slavery, feudalism, capitalism] are but modifications and consequences of this relation. It should be emphasized: what largely ensues from instrumental activity is the drive to exploit other human beings, not exploitation itself. Exploitation itself is a result of a normative decision. Anyway, by shaping work, at least partially, as non-instrumental activity, the kibbutzim not only turned work into a kind of self-fulfillment, but substantially reduced the inclination toward exploitation within their society.

The main criterion of instrumental production, as of every instrumental activity, is efficiency. This means that as many as possible products should be produced, or attained, in the shortest way possible and with the smallest investment of energy and resources.

Modern production is subject to the criterion of efficiency, which, it is believed, guaranties high productivity. The kibbutzim, which deliberately gave up persistent application of this criterion, were nonetheless very productive. Labor productivity of the kibbutz industry was, over the 15 years from to , on average, 17 per cent higher than labor productivity of the Israeli industry.

Another aspect of the-partial-abolition of instrumental production in the kibbutzim was a partial abolition of the division of labor. This abolition should not be understood as the abolition of the economic branches, but rather as shaping the economy as a multifaceted whole enabling diverse creative activity.

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This abolition can also be understood as the possibility, in principle, to be active in different branches at different times and the inner ability, usually intrinsically connected with creativity, to change branches as a way of increasing satisfaction from work and enhancing the feeling of self-fulfillment in the economic domain. The multifarious economy built in the kibbutzim, in which branches were often maintained contrary to purely economic considerations, was traditionally one of the enigmatic aspects of the kibbutz economic way of life.

Being termed 'mixed economy', it was often perceived in studies of kibbutz economics as a method of securing self-sufficiency or as a system ensuring the kibbutz economy against difficult times or crises, of national or international magnitude, in certain branches. While the first explanation cannot be accepted, as the kibbutzim never sought to be an economic autarky, the second explanation is undoubtedly of some truth.

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Thus, mainly in the s and s, but to a small degree even prior to that, the kibbutzim branched out from agriculture into manufacturing. This late industrialization undoubtedly increased the economic viability of the kibbutzim; nevertheless, the 'mixed economy' had never been a purely economic system, and even in times - as in the years of industrialization - when economic considerations gained more weight, branches continued to be maintained because of the satisfaction they offered to the kibbutz members.

This aspect has become much more apparent since the rise of the 'differential kibbutz', the development of which has been connected with scarping out 'non-economic' branches. Comprehensive Democracy or the Internal Abolition of the State. The kibbutzim developed a comprehensive democratic way of life that was a clear utopian feature of their society. We can define this democratic way of life, which encompassed both economic and social aspects of their life, as direct participatory democracy.

This democracy found expression in certain institutions and activities. The first and most important institution was the General Assembly, i. The assembly also functioned as a source of information for the members in all important matters. No important aspect of kibbutz life was hidden from the members.

The various committees that were active in all fields of life-culture in general , feasts and festivities, education, higher education, economic matters, labor in general , personal matters, sports, etc. In all branches of the kibbutz economy, decisions concerning the daily running of the branch were made by the members working in the branch. Sessions, both official and unofficial, of the branch workers were routine.

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Managerial rotation was a rigid principle. The various kibbutz committees and the branch sessions were a decentralized democratic process that was an important component of a large direct participatory democracy. Most of the members, if not all of them, could continuously participate in shaping different aspects of their society.

If we define the state as a central body managing the public affairs, usually by means of a professional administration, without any continuous involvement of the people subject to this management, so the kibbutzim succeeded in abolishing the 'state', namely the bodies and modes of action analogous to the state. As we have said, the rise of the New Kibbutz has been connected, to a certain degree, with the socioeconomic and political processes that have taken place in Israel since the s.

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Some of these processes are part of international processes. We may count here the rise of economic neoliberalism as a partially universal phenomenon, the decline of the welfare state, also a partially universal process that has been very intense in Israel, and the decline of the Israeli labor movement. That movement has ceased to be the major political force, or the leading power, in Israel since the end of s. The decline of the Labor Party has not been just an electoral matter, namely the loss of political power it has sustained, but also an ideological decline.

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We think of the kibbutz as a place for communal living and working. Members work, reside, and eat together, and share income "from each according to abilit. The Renewal of the Kibbutz: From Reform to Transformation [Raymond Russell, Robert Hanneman, Shlomo Getz] on *FREE* shipping on.

Thus, the Labor Party has adopted a neoliberal stance in national economic matters. But we cannot speak of general processes only.

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Some decisions that were made by the Israeli governments that consisted of both the conservative Likud and the Labor Party have directly affected the kibbutzim and other productive segments of the Israeli economy. Thus in the mids Israel was in a very dire economic situation that was caused by the neoliberal policy of the Likud-led government. A very high rate of inflation more than per cent , an economic stagnation, and a very high unemployment rate were the main aspects of that crisis.

A government of national unity, in which the Labor Party was an equal partner, adopted a program for overcoming the crisis - a program that was the statist side of neoliberalism, i. As a result, the real interest rate for short-term credit rose in to a level of per cent; in this rate was almost 30 per cent. The kibbutzim, who at that time borrowed money more than usual in order to ensure continuous production and full employment, became deeply indebted to the banks and were practically bankrupt. As a result of that debt crisis, which severely hurt the kibbutzim, those groups within the kibbutzim that advocated a deep change in the kibbutz way of life, namely giving up the traditional communal way of life and integrating capitalist elements in the kibbutz economy, increased and became considerably emboldened.

The demand to abolish non-instrumental production and reduce democracy soon followed. As a matter of fact, those groups who advocated these changes did not support the efforts of the kibbutzim to gain - by a political decision at the national level, to be taken either by the government or by the Knesset the parliament - a substantial reduction of the debt owed by the them.

A decade later, the banks and the government agreed to forgive two-thirds of the debt, acknowledging that it had been caused by the excessive interest rates levied on the kibbutzim.

However, the debt forgiveness has not fully solved the problem, and the kibbutzim continue to serve an unfair debt.