In the midst of occupation, an economic experiment launched by a handful of Palestinian socialists has demonstrated a different way that the region's economy could develop if the Israeli occupation can be ended and resources made available to workers and village farmers. Residents of the West Bank village of Kafr Ein have established a modest olive oil cooperative to solve immediate economic problems. Inspired by old militants of the Palestinian Communist Party, the cooperative is democratic, participatory, and inclusive, with both men and women serving in positions of authority. The only limits to development this collective has faced are external – the lack of capital and the political situation. In spite of these obstacles, the Palestinian collectivizers of Kafr Ein have planted seeds that they hope will be harvested when the occupation ends and a liberated Palestine will see the development of a collective, democratic, socialist economy.
One the key organizers of the Kafr Ein collective is Daoud Al-Barghouthi. In his eighties now, Daoud is a wealth of stories from his days as an underground organizer for the Communist Party during the days of direct Israeli military governance. Daoud was a teacher, employed in the schools where he organized and participated in strikes and union organizing. Now in his retirement, Daoud is anything but inactive. With comrades from the Communist Party, rechristened the Palestinian People's Party in 1991, Daoud co-founded the Agricultural Land Company, an innocuous name for an ambitious project.
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