Degania has differed in its way of life from the Collectives and the Kibbutzim which were established after it.
- Degania has never had separate children’s quarters.
- Degania has always had hired labor because realism has dictated that maintaining the Kibbutz economy and industry would not be possible without the help of workers who are not members.
When the idea of collective life was agreed upon, one of the central issues on the agenda was that of determining the size and scope of the framework in which to maintain it. In order to demonstrate what this means, we will compare Degania ‘A’ to Ein Harod. The main idea in the establishment of Ein Harod by the Gdud Ha’avoda (meaning “work battalion”) people was that of a big kibbutz, in which the number of members would not be limited, and the assumption that this framework would cause the members’ different viewpoints to melt within it, and bring about the creation of an exemplary society. As opposed to this view, on Degania ‘A’ the view was held that the members are the main thing, and that it is they who will determine the form and the nature of the framework. Hence, the members of Degania ‘A’ upheld the idea of “the intimate group”, which in its essence must be small and ive, and from this viewpoint is derived a way of life differing from that of the Kibbutz, such as private quarters and the strengthening of the family nucleus. Every question, small or big, was deliberated by everyone, and not only questions relating to the farm but those pertaining to personal life as well.
“A beautiful life” – thus they defined the social aim; closeness within the internal relations between member and member and honorable relations on the outside. A life of work and creativity – a life of culture – is what they discussed and argued over many a night in the kibbutz yard. Over time, they formed the principles of the “beautiful way of life”: equality, liberty and democracy.