There are multiple perspectives on any issue. The same thing can be said about what is better, or even what is best for society.
It seems as though not much direct research has been done about New Odessa. I perused multiple scholarly engines and had no luck. One journal article I scrolled past was just an acknowledgement of how agricultural communities are challenging to research.
Well, I did encounter a scholarly argument after some time. It is an interesting thesis that a grad student completed for her Masters in History. It is titled, “New Odessa, 1882-1887: United we stand, divided we fall”
Below is the abstract:
The Oregon Territory and later the State of Oregon have had a well-deserved reputation for encouraging free thought and liberal ideas. By tradition, Oregon has been the scene of rugged individualism, a proving ground for ideas and movements. The commune of New Odessa was one of the lesser known attempts of a group of immigrants coming from persecution in Russian to a new way of life in America.
This thesis is a study starting with the background of Russian Jewry, the social climate in the United States and particularly Oregon which allowed for the development of communes, the story of New Odessa, and the reason for its disappearance.
New Odessa was unique in Oregon as it was a Marxist commune founded by Russian Jews. The portion of the thesis on New Odessa was based on original research: the studying of periodicals of the time, original documents, and field research in the geographical location.
The more accepted and productive New Odessa became, the faster the disintegration. The geographical and cultural isolation of Oregon proved to be too great for the members of the community, most of whom had been students and urban residents in Russia. A difference in ideology between the two leaders resulted in a gradual decline in membership. By 1887, the community had been declared bankrupt.
While reading the Allegory of the Cave, I struggled to visualize what I was reading. If you felt the same way, then this video is definitely worthwhile.
Disclaimer: The narrator has a creepy voice.
Egalitarianism is an ideal, never has a society achieved true equality for all. Some societies are notably more equal than others (e.g. social mobility and civil rights are among some examples which are extended under this principle). In a sense though, Athens was remarkably egalitarian compared to contemporaneous cities:
- “[…]the enduring cooperation between citizens and non-citizens in Athenian business life – the recognition of which surely weakens the plausibility of a rigid demarcation line having supposedly physically segregated the various legal status groups – had important implications for the scope of social mobility in Athenian society”
1) Commercial transactions between citizens and non-citizens were prevalent.
2) Interactions in the democratic, free space known as the ‘agora’ are symbolic of a society where class rigidity and subsequent plutocracy do not dominate.
The point: Yes, Ancient Athens had a class system that included slaves and is therefore not egalitarian in a strict sense. But social mobility existed in society, meaning that Athens had developed both institutions and social conventions that embraced the principle of egalitarianism.
Source: Marloes, Deene. 2014. “LET’S WORK TOGETHER! ECONOMIC COOPERATION, SOCIAL CAPITAL, AND CHANCES OF SOCIAL MOBILITY IN CLASSICAL ATHENS.” Greece and Rome 152-160.
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