16 September 2011

Tear-stained embrace

The kibbutz movement was tailor made for the early settlers in Palestine because they did not have the luxury of a super-ordinate national government to provide for them. They needed to fend entirely for themselves. 
The problem was the kibbutzniks believed they were manifesting socialism when what they were really manifesting was civil society. When the immediate challenges of kibbutz life eased some the kibbutzniks couldn't pass along that way of life to the next generation because it didn't make sense anymore. The socialism didn't sell. 
What Zionism 2.0 needs to be is a kibbutz movement that has moved out of the kibbutz and into its next stage which manifests the civil society at the national level, viz, sheviit/shemitta. The kibbutz-based values need to find a way of translating into a national program, which is precisely what sheviit/shemitta would accomplish. 
The people of Israel have as their competitive advantage the makings of a civil society. Two millennia of diaspora have taught the Jewish people how to survive without the co-operation of the power elites. The Jewish people have been living in a prolonged state of disaster and civic collapse. What this people needs to do at present is to take the lessons of the diaspora and to import them into the homeland so that civil society can flourish even as the people have resumed their own power elites for governing the nation. 
The Jewish people need to import into Israel those institutions of diaspora, which are the institutions of sheviit/shemitta, that would periodically suspend the functioning of the power elites and replace those elites with the explicit functioning of the civil society. Diaspora, antisemitism, the lessons of life without authoritative oversight, the resilience and stability of civil society, the kibbutz movement all culminating in sheviit/shemitta makes for a strong unifying explanatory thread to serve as a national mythos and a national self-understanding. 
If we take this argument to its logical conclusion, it seems as if the iniquities the people of Israel committed which merited exile was the encroachment of the profane institutions onto their cognate sacred institutions. In exile the Jewish people lost their access to the profane institutions and needed to develop a deeper appreciation for the civil society, which is what the sacred institutions were meant to steward. The biblical system is not only non-government and non-market it is contra-government and contra-market. 
The tear-stained embrace of the Gaza settler by the Israeli soldier before they both proceeded to perform their activist rituals was a demonstration of civil society not so much over-ruling authority but effectively making it irrelevant. 

No comments:

Post a Comment