Mendo Island Journal — Timely. Useful. Sometimes Cranky.

Herb Ruhs: When will we stop the lyin’ and the denyn’

In Around Mendo Island on November 12, 2010 at 8:30 am

From HERB RUHS
Mendocino

When will we stop the lyin’ and the denyn’ and face the fact that, in every way, in every time, and in every place, the monster that is SOCIAL CLASS is the source of virtually all of our societal afflictions. Eden is just beyond the door where we leave class behind as a means of ordering society. Rank is the rankest of the rank things that escaped, unnoticed in denial, from Pandora’s box.

In a recent book (on order for me at Laughing Books in Boonville) called Pandora’s Seed: The Unforeseen Cost of Civilization, Spencer Wells, described as “renowned geneticist and anthropologist” takes the position (at least according to the review at Google Books) that our current existential crisis began with the advent of farming and the abandonment of the hunter gatherer life style. With all due respect, if the review was accurate, (I love Wells’ work) I think he is wrong.  From my study I suspect that most of us would be quite happy as early Neolithic farmers on the periphery of the “great civilizations” where the sociopaths had already gotten a foothold and instituted mono-cropping of grains with coerced labor.

My understanding is that our decline began with the invention of class.  Our torment since that time has been the inevitable consequences of class. Class war, a concept that, for me, includes all aspects of class violence, economic, spiritual and educational, is our primary reality.  Those who advocate for peace yet ignore class as the engine of war are pursuing a illusion.

Much of what is taught in our universities about prehistory is bull. Most of what people think they know about our origins is conditioned by the rightist political views of powerful folks in the Academy. Fact is that our species had the brass ring in our hands at the end of a ten thousand year run of good weather following the last ice ages. We began our descent with the establishment of hierarchical institutions like religion, the military and the patriarchal family. If we studied this archeological data (and ignored the idiots who are paid to interpret it for us and serve the interests of the dominant class) we would have the blueprint of how to reorganize society along healthy, sustainable lines. Without this history and continuing with the lying myths about barbarism, we are rudderless, mere herd of prey animals for the sociopaths.

I am familiar with are some reliable sources on pre-class based society, and undoubtedly readers will be aware of many more, but for those seeking this knowledge let me recommend that you start with David Graeber’s Fragments of an Anarchist Anthropology (free full text at http://www.ebook3000.com/politics/David-Graeber—Fragments-of-an-Anarchist-Anthropology_52481.html). For the more adventursome I recommend Against His-story, Against Leviathan by Fredy Perlman (http://noblesavagery.blogspot.com/2007/03/fredy-perlmans-against-his-story.html)

I could, at this point, begin a litany of sources in support, but my purpose is to initiate discussion between peers, classless or otherwise.  Let the controversy, if any, begin.
~~

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