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(en) France, Alternative Libertaire AL #237 - Read: Christophe Darmangeat "Primitive communism is no longer what it was... (The origins of the oppression of women)" (fr, pt) [machine translation]

Date Sun, 27 Apr 2014 20:02:14 +0300


The recent publication of a new book by Christopher Darmangeat, Conversation on the birth inequality gives us the opportunity to return to a previous book, published in 2009. In his essay on the origin of women's oppression, the author, Marxist, offers a critical review of the work of Engels, something that had not been done as comprehensively since the publication of the Origin of Family, Private Property and the State , published in 1884! ---- Thus, Uncle Engels in his big book incorporated the findings of the American anthropologist Lewis Henry Morgan, in which he saw the first scientific analysis of primitive societies, and by extension the prehistory of class societies. By observing the operation of the Iroquois, the researcher identifies a matrilineal and matrilocal, that is to say that the identity of children and inheritance is transmitted through (matrilineal) mothers and men during their marriage leave their original group to go live with their companions (matrilocality). In addition, the Iroquois lived in large communal houses where several families lived together. Engels sees the social organization traces of a primitive communism. He then explains the transition to a patriarchal system by the appearance of private property and the capture of wealth by men who change the system of inheritance for their wealth remains in their lineage. Which also implies a transition to monogamy women so that the father's identity is certain.

Christophe began Darmangeat here to update and redefine what was called the "primitive matriarchy" from the many ethnological and archaeological data accumulated since the publication of the work of Engels. It demonstrates that the matriarchy as understood today, as for the patriarchate, that is to say a domination of men by women is not observable in any place and any time! Certainly, matrilocal and matrilineal societies sometimes allow women to have an important place in the political, economic and social life, but this position does not preclude the existence of other powers exercised by the group of men. In addition, the author shows that there is everywhere the sphere of men and women who have different economic, social and political responsibilities. If we can then, for some companies, talk of equivalence between the sexes, we can however not really talk about equality, since men and women can do the same things.

Thus, it seems to the author that male domination is rooted far in the past, before the onset of classes and state, wealth and private property. For him, the cause of the oppression of women is sought in the sexual division of labor, that is to say that the various economic, political and social tasks are fragmented, a part échoie women and other men. Thereafter, the male powers were enhanced by the development of new techniques, the capture of wealth and power at the expense of women. A striking example sexual division of labor is the male monopoly of weapons: indeed, in almost all so-called primitive societies, a women making and using lethal weapons prevents forbidden, which results in the image Epinal women quietly picking blueberries at home while men, braving the dangers of Paleolithic life, went out to hunt mammoth or war equipped with big clubs! This has gradually led to exercise power more importantly, to the detriment of women.

Opening the conclusion is also interesting, since it proposes the idea that it is paradoxically capitalism that issues of equality between men and women could emerge more systematically, and even though this system does not help that they meet the requirements of the abolition of patriarchy. This is partly explained by the fact that over the fragmentation of work becomes more complex, more gender factors become obsolete and unnecessary in the division of labor. In any case, this book is really enlightening, by its rigorous approach and documented its conclusions renew the image that we still sometimes primitive societies it is the noble savages of Rousseau, egalitarian societies anthropologists or primitive communism Engels!

Elsa (AL Toulouse)

Christophe Darmangeat, Primitive communism is no longer what it was... The origins of women's oppression , Collective Edition Smolny, Toulouse, 2012, 474 pages, 20 euros.
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