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Response to RainDog (Reply #62)

Sun Apr 7, 2013, 08:21 AM

66. Indeed

And here is a link to anyone wondering what we are talking about:
[link:http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1884/origin-family/index.htm|
The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State]

As far as I understand, some anthropological details in that work are not precise, given things we have learned since it was written. But the conclusions still seem to make the most sense to me even with the bits that may be controversial.

I'm not saying it is the answer to everything, but I tend toward historical materialism and I found this Engels work to be very, very enlightening in terms of development of patriarchy --and-- the whole concept of private property (and how the state evolved to protect it).

It's been awhile since I read it all the way through.

Here's the passage I remember most - while it doesn't get into details about the matriarchy vs patriarchy thing, it references it and connects it to the private property thing:

Thus in the Greek constitution of the heroic age we see the old gentile order as still a living force. But we also see the beginnings of its disintegration: father-right, with transmission of the property to the children, by which accumulation of wealth within the family was favored and the family itself became a power as against the gens; reaction of the inequality of wealth on the constitution by the formation of the first rudiments of hereditary nobility and monarchy; slavery, at first only of prisoners of war, but already preparing the way for the enslavement of fellow-members of the tribe and even of the gens; the old wars between tribe and tribe already degenerating into systematic pillage by land and sea for the acquisition of cattle, slaves and treasure, and becoming a regular source of wealth; in short, riches praised and respected as the highest good and the old gentile order misused to justify the violent seizure of riches. Only one thing was wanting: an institution which not only secured the newly acquired riches of individuals against the communistic traditions of the gentile order, which not only sanctified the private property formerly so little valued, and declared this sanctification to be the highest purpose of all human society; but an institution which set the seal of general social recognition on each new method of acquiring property and thus amassing wealth at continually increasing speed; an institution which perpetuated, not only this growing cleavage of society into classes, but also the right of the possessing class to exploit the non-possessing, and the rule of the former over the latter.


(aka 'the state')

ETA: I was so happy to see your response. I figured since I hadn't given any context, I wouldn't get any response, let alone one along the lines of what was actually on my mind when I posted it!

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