The Quality of Life in Israel's Collectives:
Pioneering a Socialism Without Regimentation
There had been rumors during the 30′s of the communal settlements in Palestine. Occasionally, some of us said goodbye to some friend who had been reading Ber Borochov, and who announced one day that for some unaccountable reason he was migrating to a kibbutz in Eretz Yisrael. But the writings of Borochov in those days appeared to magnify a minor variable into major proportions; the conventional left-wing movements were more in accord with prevailing political common sense. It was only when Nazism revealed depths of cruelty in men for which rational Marxism had ill prepared a generation, and when it began to be perceived that Five Year Plans were not an all-sufficient answer to the problems of minority peoples, that the rumors of the Palestinian communal settlements were remembered.
What are these settlements? What is their philosophy? Do they teach us something important about a socialist form of life? Are they practicable elsewhere? Do they preserve intellectual freedom and prevent the rise of a bureaucratic class? Will they promote a free and original cultural expression? Are they social experiments which are destined to be short-lived Jewish versions of Brook Farm, and which have already found their Hawthorne in Arthur Koestler?
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