All members have equal opportunities to fulfill their needs as they see fit. This is the chief philosophy behind Samar, which has been called an anarchic kibbutz. The chart shows that Samar is working toward a high degree of cooperation among its members, along with a high degree of independence for each individual.
Equality: We are not equal, we all have different needs and abilities. Therefore, striving for a technical “equality” of budgets, house size, etc., is at best futile.
How this philosophy is expressed in every day life?
Budgets: Samar has no “personal accounts.” All members have direct access to the kibbutz bank account through credit cards. Every month each family receives an accounting of the expenses for the previous month, including private medicine, paramedical, clubs and music lessons, and credit cards. There is a recommendation of average expenses per person, but no expectation for all families to spend the same amount.
Work: Members choose where and how much to work. Each work branch is responsible for its own work needs, recruiting members or bringing in volunteers (and on rare occasions, hired workers) as needed.
In practice, nearly everyone works; unemployment is no higher at Samar than in any other society. In addition, everyone is very aware of immediate needs such as filling in a hole milking the cows or working in a children’s house. During the date harvest all members work extra hours harvesting and sorting the dates.
Housing: Here is the area in which Samar’s unique “personality” is the most apparent. We do not have a standard size for a family house. We aim for all children from Bar Mitzva age on to have a single room in their parents’ house that will serve their needs as soldiers, as well. Most of the original cement-block houses built by the Jewish Agency in the 1970s have been enlarged and renovated to the extent that today, no two look alike – some using conventional building methods and some with alternative methods such as straw bales and mud.
How Does It Work?
Kibbutz Samar is successful: Economically, most years we break even or make a small profit. Socially, new members come every year, and few members leave. And, most importantly, if you ask most of the members, they’re happy to live on Samar and wouldn’t want to change.
Members of Samar do not talk about “The Kibbutz” against “Me.” Each member feels completely connected to the kibbutz. This can sometimes be unwieldy, as a decision that has not been personally accepted and internalized by nearly all the members will not be carried out, even if a majority voted in favor at a general assembly. But this personal commitment is much stronger than any rule. This is best seen during the date harvest, when people of all ages come during the work day and in the afternoons to harvest and pack dates. Even the children take part, happy to know that they are contributing to their community.