Kibbutzim and Communism
While reading Marx and Engels’s Communest Manifesto, it brought me back to a few summers ago when I visited a Kibbutz in Israel. A Kibbutz, for those of you who don’t know, is a collective community in Israel that was traditionally based on agriculture. This is a recent picture of a Kibbutz in the Golan Heights. Kibbutzim started up in the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th century when the Russian and European jews began to immigrate to Palestine. This was called the first aliyah.
Although Marx and Engels promoted a revolt of the P to the B, this did not occur in Israel to start the Kibbutzim. The jews who fled to Palestine did however come from Russia and the other European societies and knew of the capitalist structure. In a way, they had a mini revolt form capitalist society and developed an initial communist society. Kibbutzim were an easy way to have a relatively large amount of people live in Israel and expand their new economy and production.
Even without the Marx and Engels revolutionary beginning, Kibbutzim are mainly based on Marx and Engels’s principles from the Communist Manifesto. The measures that should be taken in for a communist society to arise are basically all applicable to Kibbutzim.
1. Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes.
2. A heavy progressive or graduated income tax.
3. Abolition of all right of inheritance.
4. Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels.
5. Centralisation of credit in the hands of the state, by means of a national bank with state capital and an exclusive monopoly.
6. Centralisation of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the state.
7. Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the state; the brining into cultivation of waste-lands, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan.
8. Equal liability of all to labour. Establishment of industrial armies, especially for agriculture.
9. Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abolition of the distinction between town and country, by a more equable distribution of the population over the country.
10. Free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of children’s factory labour in its present form. Combination of education with industrial production, &c. &c.
Kibbutzim in Israel follow these rules or measures almost completely. There is no private land ownership, somewhat heavy taxes, no inheritance, all money is centralized in one bank on the kibbutz, and basically all the other measures are followed. I’m not sure about measure 4, since I personally did not witness an emigration taking place or a rebel.
Kibbutzim were the beginning of Israel’s society and economy. Israel had grown into a thriving industrialized economy with some kibbutzim still surviving. Maybe Marx and Engels were right when they talked about communism, but only in the correct circumstances.