Tuesday, February 20, 2007

another nail in the coffin of socialism

the maxim that has meant the most to me has always been: from each according to his/her ability, to each according to her/his need.

i see in today's grauniad that kibbutz degania, the oldest in the history of israel, has voted for privatisation.

allan shapiro, a long-time resident, was quoted as saying: "I feel sad and in a way I am nostalgic for the traditional kibbutz, but I have to realise that I am nostalgic for my dream of a community that I had before I came. We depended on loyalty to the community and ideology to take the place of the market," he said. "The socialist part was really sort of minor here. The important thing was that there were Jews working the land with their own hands and if there was a search for anything it was a search for community."

i too feel sad and nostalgic, although i think i felt like that 25 years ago when i was living on a kibbutz. already then the grandchildren of the founders had neither memory nor experience of the early days of hardship and toil. they wished not for the advent of running water, but for american sneakers. i remember my very first day at work, dressed in shabby blue work clothes that had been worn by many before me. as we bounced around in the truck on our way to the grapefruit trees, i wondered why we weren't singing pioneer songs (hey, i was 18!). at 8 am, after 2 hours in the sun being yelled at by our overseer and shlepping grapefruits from tree to truck, i was a little less naive :-)

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