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Kibbutz - ecovillage design and reflecting on a paralleled history  RSS feed

 
Amedean Messan
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When the idea of an "alternative" community concept was introduced to me some time ago I found it very intriguing and a modern novel approach. What I have grown to understand as reality is that there are paralleled histories for what I could speculate has repeatedly occurred throughout all of human history. Essentially, the idea is actually very old so there is good material available with some research.

I would like to keep this short but relevant as the subject of ecovillage design is incredibly expansive and notably focused on managing the flaws of human psychology. Recently I have watched an interesting documentary called ‘Inventing Our Life: The Kibbutz Experiment,’ which is the story of the establishing and evolution of Israeli Kibbutz communities. These communities nearly a century ago reflect much of the "back to the farm" movement as of recent in the United States. It is an interesting documentary which does highlight the challenges of certain models proposed and it also does provide a decent outline from many perspectives relating to issues. This film available on Netflix and is a good platform for discussion on the balance of community and individuality. This was also featured briefly in the New York Times (link below).

http://movies.nytimes.com/2012/04/25/movies/inventing-our-life-the-kibbutz-experiment-a-documentary.html

 
Dillon Stanger
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Unfortunately, from what I know, the kibbutzim rarely have communal living anymore. Every family owns a car, has their own kitchen, bathroom, etc. It was amazing how unique the kibbutz mentality was, where everyone there automatically assumed a sharing perspective.
 
Amedean Messan
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I don't think of it as an unfortunate effect. Community based ownership has many flaws where I think the documentary did an excellent job at characterizing the complexities of human nature.
 
Amedean Messan
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I found some additional links detailing the structure of the movement and a summary of the newer systems evolved shown from the original video. One interesting statistic mentions is the number of people born into the kibbutz and who later return at a rate of 60%.

In the “new kibbutz” there is more competition and the “stronger” members can earn more money than the “weaker” ones. But, the kibbuztnik is not part of the rat-race. Today, not only socialists want to join a kibbutz – the doors have been opened to all who are interested. More than 2,500 new members have joined kibbutzim during past two years – 60% of them were born on kibbutz, left the kibbutz, and have now chosen to return home.
Survey of Kibbutz Wages


http://www.kibbutz.org.il/eng/081101_kibbutz-eng.htm
 
James Koss
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It is important to understand the Kibbutz in context. As a self-reflecting local, it seems evident to me, considering the results of the Kibbutz experiment, that it was never intended to be a successful experiment.

By that, I mean that it was never a real experiment. The Kibbutz was a strategic way, for those in power, to claim the lands that were either previously occupied by Arabs, or that were under contention, without being actually occupied. Once you had young zealous people taking over a place and running it, it was not likely that they would fail to continue owning that land, nor rebel against those in power (due to having newborn children.)

The strongest case for this idea is the fact that quickly enough, once Israel was based, the government prevented any more new settlements and turned to using army bases to defend their interest. This is the current situation in Israel. Those previously agricultural "free" lands are now rapidly being converted into industrial development areas, for profit, with disregard to the needs of the population. This new industry includes, by the way, agriculture and houses, more than anything else.

So, the conclusion here is that the Kibbutz was never an independent effort with independence in mind, but rather a government financed and coerced effort, with the one goal of immediate occupation, then followed by extortion and return of the land back into the government hands (in the guise of industry.) To clarify, this means that the Kibbutz was never meant to be sustainable, as it was always protected by the government and rich.
 
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