Archive for the 'Nationalism' Category

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.

Anarchist letters from Palestine in MAN! (1937)


Palestine, Aug 20, 1937

Dear Comrade:

Only now I have got back the MAN! after they “visited” other comrades through the country. I read and read them and though I am disagreeing with you in some things I think that MAN! is the best journal I have ever seen in English.

Especially hurt me your statement toward the disturbances in Palestine in August, 1936, and also the statement of your collaborator, Samuel Palinov, published in the FREIE ARBEITER STIME. I would have written in particular about the situation in Palestine, but now I want only to express you my best wishes, and to tell you that in the last August number there was nothing that I could disagree with. The article of Voltarine de Celyre appealed very much to me and I am really sorry that I have no money to do my part in helping you to publish it in pamphlet form.


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Palestine, August 25, 1937

Dear Comrade:

Just wanted to send you this short letter when I received yours. I thank you very much for it. And I am trying to answer some of your questions.

A. Of course our circles are against the partition of Palestine; first because we didn’t lose our faith that there is a possibility of mutual understanding with the Arabs, and secondly because we are against the Jewish State, following the ideals of the first laleos pioneers to Palestine who were (A. B. Gordon and I. Ch. Brener) very near to Anarchism and stated their idea is “not a Jewish State but a free creative settlement”, a “Human-Nation” striving for self-determination and not-assimilated culture.” These men founded the communal movement which numbers now more than 12,000 members, but who did not follow their founders. These communards’ life is very near to the anarchist ideals because they are giving, each one according to his ability, and each one receives according to his needs. The communes are membered by Zionist-social-democrats and other Marxist Parties. And we Anarchists are only a little number scattered among many communes, and though in the last year we more than doubled our number we are known as members of a commune, but not as anarchists.

B. That is the reason we cannot get money for our anarchist activity. Of course we cannot send you handcraft for the same reason. We are very busy now, in our new movement. Of course I hope to write in the future for MAN! in Hebrew and shall find some one among my friends who will translate it into English.

Best wishes to you and to MAN!.


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Since Governmental persecution of anarchists is universal, we are omitting the name of the Commune from which  the two letters came, as also the name of the writer – EDITOR.


from MAN!, April 1938, p 8 (400), taken from the reprint in the Greenwood Press anthology.

Spelling and grammar are as they appear in the journal.