James Horrox on anarchism and early kibbutzim

The Zionism of the early kibbutz communards had never imagined a national revival taking the form of a state-building enterprise. For them, the Balfour Declaration in 1917, promising a “national home” for the Jews, meant an opportunity to establish a completely new form of society and a chance to put their dreams and visions into practice. Collective settlement was not seen simply as the most efficient way of colonizing the land in order to create a Jewish state and install a market-capitalist economy, as some have since argued. Though the later centrality of the movement to the creation and defence of Israel is clear, the notion that the pioneers resorted to collectivism simply in order to create suitable conditions for the institution of that state is largely a myth. Even the founders of Degania were strictly opposed to the notions of government and state, and by the time the Third Aliya groups arrived, the idea of building a stateless society on the back of the new social model they had created was one that was widely embraced. The idea held in common by many of the groups arriving in Palestine during the 1920s was to transform the Yishuv into a stateless commonwealth of autonomous communities that would include few, if any, non-collective alternatives.

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from James Horrox, A Living Revolution: Anarchism in the Kibbutz Movement (Oakland, CA & Edinburgh: AK Press, 2009), pp 57–58.

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