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(en) Italy, UCADI #178 I-5 - Anarchist communists, the Jewish and Palestinian questions I. - The role of "Jewish pan-syndicalism" in the construction of the State (ca, de, fr, it, pt, tr)[machine translation]

Date Mon, 27 Nov 2023 09:08:16 +0200

The peculiarities of Jewish trade unionism that developed in Palestine starting from 1910, as a forerunner of the non-existent State of Israel, are therefore identifiable in a sort of pan-syndicalism with an ethnic-confessional and identity basis, the result of the self-organisation of the class of workers and peasants, based on the principles of solidarity, on the antagonistic culture, on the political capacity of the subordinate classes. This social formation constituted the founding basis of a social structure, the founding nucleus of the government infrastructure which gradually evolved, merging with the liberal and bourgeois vision of society, dominated by exploitation and the market, gradually causing the attempt to build a new society in which the State could be managed through forms of participatory democracy of an assembly nature.
In this peculiar context it was the union that replaced the State, taking on its tasks, sharing and distributing the goods produced, without totally rejecting the institutions of representative democracy and delegation, replaced and partly supported by forms of self-government of the producers which through participatory bodies established in the workplace took decisions and transmitted the choices to bodies made up of revocable delegates of the basic structures. It was a hybrid form of management of the company in transition, waiting for the conditions of greater stability and full jurisdiction of all the associated companies to be created over the territories they occupied.
The intensification of persecutions against Judaism, the growing anti-Semitism not only in Germany, but throughout Europe, the Schoah , fueling the exodus towards Palestine in an increasing way, will further condition the political processes we have just described, accentuating their ethnic-confessional characterization, consolidating its structure and resulting in the construction of a new State.
This singular institutional and organizational situation, which characterized the Jewish presence in Palestine in the second twenty years of the last century, still left profound traces even when it underwent a further and definitive transformation with the victory of the Zionist forces in the military conflict against the Arab ones, conducted mainly in the first phase through terrorist actions that led to the establishment of the State of Israel in May 1948.
This way of developing the form of State and government which, at the end of its journey, re-founded the identity of a nation, will leave its traces in the institutional structure of the new State which, not surprisingly, will not give itself a Constitution according to tradition continental Europe, but will prefer to adopt a form of government which, by assigning a particular role to the Constitutional Court, will entrust the judges to carry out, through a sort of delegated collective and popular supervision, the control of the democratic balance of society and its institutions, perhaps also drawing inspiration from role of sages and prophets in Jewish tradition.
The gradual nature of the process just described, its development over a fairly long period of time, sowed many perplexities and uncertainties in the judgment that the actors in this process themselves gave of what happened to themselves and their contemporaries did the same, especially of those who participated to this experience, with enthusiasm and hope.
In fact, in the first phase of construction of the basic structures of the trade union movement, that is, of the establishment of the kibbuz, the enthusiasm was very strong because those who participated seemed to see their ideals of equality and brotherhood, of fair distribution of resources, even because there were many experiences of collective life: look - for example - at the putting into practice of the most advanced libertarian pedagogical experience, represented by the education of children within the kibbuz, where they were and are still partly induced to living in common, cared for by educators, freed on an educational level from families and the family relationship, constituting a small autonomous community that experimented in its life habits with the community relationship in the construction of choices and decisions, forming its own supportive personality, accumulating experiences of interpersonal relationships that went beyond individualism and promoted collective relationships at the highest level of affective, emotional and experiential interaction.
The positive aspects of material and economic life, of collective participation in decisions, of experimentation with new interpersonal relationships, constituted for a long time a formidable antidote to the doubts and perplexities that restricting the experience to which one gave oneself to the ethnic and confessional sphere life, however they spread among those who were part of the experiment, and helped to overcome doubts about the exclusion of the Arab component from the experience, positively considering the aforementioned limits, reinterpreted as an additional condition of feasibility and feasibility of the experiment. On the other hand, from a purely theoretical point of view, a pan-syndicalist institutional structure was the order of the day at the time and seeing it created, albeit in a particular version (ethnic-religious), certainly constituted a challenge accepted and won, which induced to hope that it was possible to find and implement new models of social management that are more respectful of the principles of freedom, equality and social justice.[9]
Undoubtedly at the beginning of the 1920s, it must have appeared to many as a positive fact that it was possible, in the absence of a State that provided for this purpose, to find a way to manage education, healthcare, schools, regulate wages, organize public services, create institutional and collective participation moments through which choices and decisions can be shared. Although by then it was increasingly clear to many that the direction of the experiment had passed into the hands of the right-wing component of Zionism, that the structures created responded to the
economic centers of management of the experiment controlled by the holders of wealth within the Judaism, the distancing from this experience occurred very slowly, as happens with the end of a love, with the passing away of a loved experience, with the very passage of time of a human existence.
The kibbutz movement, born with great momentum, on the other hand, transformed internally: the agricultural kibbutzim was joined by workers who managed small or medium-sized companies and all types of activities. The growing hostility of the Palestinian Arabs introduced the function of defense into the kibbutz to the point of influencing its very urban configuration. Kibbutzim were born with the tower in the center that militarily controlled the surroundings to prevent attacks of all kinds against its infrastructures; militias were formed within the kibbutz to defend the settlement, the conditions were laid to abolish the difference between civilians and military, and kibbutzim exclusively dedicated to military activity was created. Due to the territorial context in which the Jewish settlements operated, they had to extend their defense/offense activity to men and women who were perpetually armed and mobilized, constituting an army of armed people. The gradual transformations from the experiment changed its nature, to the point that the State born from the ashes of an experiment took on strong libertarian characteristics of social organization. also due to the international situation, those of the imperialist state with a clear capitalist imprint, linked to the interests of national and international capital.

[9]If these are the original constitutive bases of the Kibbutzim, their historical evolution would deserve a separate discussion. At present, a good part of them have long since been converted into something very different from what they originally were. Having passed through the transformations that affected the State of Israel, the profound economic change that involved the entire society, between the Seventies and Eighties, was decisive in accelerating the involution of experience.

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