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Libertarian Communism is not against human nature

category mashriq / arabia / iraq | miscellaneous | opinion / analysis author Monday December 21, 2009 20:11author by Ilan Shalif - AAtW; ainfos; Matzpen;author address Tel Aviv Report this post to the editors

From each according to ability - to each according to needs

For those of us who are not so sure whether the libertarian communist principle of "From each according to ability - to each according to needs" is compatible with human nature.

Libertarian Communism is not against human nature

Ilan Shalif

The Zionist settler colonialist project in Palestine was significantly dependent on young pioneers from the East European Zionist youth movements most of them came from. These young people vacillated between nationalist and leftist ideas common at the period after the Second World War.

The Zionist establishment enabled them to build agricultural settlements - cooperatives and communes. These cooperatives, and more so the communes, advanced the expansion of the areas that Israel was built on in 1948 and many new ones were built even during the Israel's first years, in order to take possession of new areas.

The most interesting process for us is that even when the Zionist settler colonialist project and the Israeli State stopped promoting these settlements, some persisted up to the present day.

The Marxist and political socialist trends evaporated long ago... However, a substantial percentage (about 20%) of the communes persist in the internal libertarian communist relation of "from each according to ability - to each according to needs" (according to commune ability).

The other day, a 74-year-old member of one of these 70 communes (who is also an ex-minister) was interviewed on national TV and proudly claimed that the communist principle still holds: that his substantial monthly pension is added to the commune's income and he gets his equal share like all other members.

Like most members of the 70 sharing communes, he has not renounced Zionist settler colonialism... But like most other members of these communes, he still holds fast to the equality and solidarity principles of distributing the commune's wealth!

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author by Ebony Banderapublication date Mon Dec 21, 2009 23:57author address author phone Report this post to the editors

If you and like-minded individuals wish to establish a commune based on practicing "from each..." I for one wish you well and hope for your success. I would not wish to be a part of your commune, however. The only possible conflict here is if either you or I attempted to force the other to live in a way not freely chosen.

author by José Antonio Gutiérrez D.publication date Tue Dec 22, 2009 05:21author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Yes, the internal organisation of the Kibbutzim is in harmony with the libertarian communist principle of "from each according to their ability, etc.", but I don't know if its general philosophy is. I mean, building "libertarian communist" communes in land whose original inhabitants were displaced through naked terrorism and through sheer violence is an idea that gives me the shivers to be honest with you. I don't know if libertarian communism can be built upon the oppression of others, or upon ethnic cleansing, or upon any comparable practice. This holds true for Israel as for anywhere else. I don't know if the principles of "equality and solidarity" have any meaning when they apply only to a certain type of people (while the others get injustice, poverty, hunger, bullets, white phosphorus, etc.). As Bakunin says, you are not free unless anyone around you is equally free -the freedom of the others is the necessary condition for your own freedom!

author by Nestor McNabpublication date Tue Dec 22, 2009 16:47author address author phone Report this post to the editors

José Antonio, I think the point Ilan is trying to make with this brief article, is that the notion of communist economics (contained in the "equality & solidarity" part of the libertarian/anarchist communist motto "liberty, equality & solidarity") is not so difficult for people to accept. Even Israeli ex-government ministers can accept it. Obviously however, from our point of view the most important part of the equation is missing: "liberty", and Ilan is certainly not trying to say that the Israeli kibbutzim he mentions are anarchist societies.

author by José Antonio Gutiérrez D.publication date Tue Dec 22, 2009 20:26author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Sure Nestor, and I appreciate this, as he stated that they have not break with the Zionist setller colonialist project. I was not intending to have an argument really... All I'm doing is emphasizing something I am sure Ilan agrees with but that does not appear clearly in the article -that is that anarchism cannot flourish in occupied territory in any form. Though he does not say that the Kibbutzim are anarchists societies, the title may be a bit confusing as it talks about "Libertarian Communism".

author by Ilan Shalif - AAtW; ainfos; Matzpen;publication date Wed Dec 23, 2009 01:37author address Tel Avivauthor phone Report this post to the editors

The context of my short text was to refute an egoistic aspect of the capitalist ideology few antiauthoritarians tend to accept.

The specific point is the so called essential personal economic gain for efforts/work done by individuals.

Scientific finding that show intrinsic trends of human to prefer cooperation over competition do not get wide publicity.

Zionist settler colonialist project is a kind of big laboratory of community organization.

All along the years national socialists, pro-capitalist, and even fascists groups adopted internal libertarian communist relations when they built colonialist settlement.

I am sure that most of the 70 still sharing kibbutzes in which the internal relations are libertarian communist (if not all of them) have no problem with exploiting wage slaves.

And still, regardless of reactionary ideological trends, they still find the internal libertarian communist relation preferable over the "economic compensation according to work or efforts" as some anarchist do...

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