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Communism Worked In Central New York Around 1500

Summary:
A Beach On The East End Of Oneida Lake The Iroquois are an example of primitive communism. This post includes lots of anachronisms, and I use current place names. I had never heard of the Haudenosaunee before, which apparently is the preferred term. I find I do not know much about my neighbors, the Oneidas. The Oneidas were one of the five nations in the Iroquois confederacy. I am confused whether primitive capitalism is tied exclusively to hunter-gatherer societies, without a surplus product. Given the role of the three sisters, that is, corn, beans, and squash, in, say, the Oneida society, I guess they must have been an agricultural society. I gather that anthropologists have found the concept of a surplus product useful. Useful questions include who gets the surplus? What do they do

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Communism Worked In Central New York Around 1500
A Beach On The East End Of Oneida Lake

The Iroquois are an example of primitive communism. This post includes lots of anachronisms, and I use current place names. I had never heard of the Haudenosaunee before, which apparently is the preferred term. I find I do not know much about my neighbors, the Oneidas. The Oneidas were one of the five nations in the Iroquois confederacy.

I am confused whether primitive capitalism is tied exclusively to hunter-gatherer societies, without a surplus product. Given the role of the three sisters, that is, corn, beans, and squash, in, say, the Oneida society, I guess they must have been an agricultural society. I gather that anthropologists have found the concept of a surplus product useful. Useful questions include who gets the surplus? What do they do with the surplus? Clark (1992) is an example of an institutionalist economist who questions whether a surplus can be conceptualized independently of its use and distribution. If primitive communism prevailed among many for much of prehistory, Marx and Engels are wrong in saying, "The history of all hitherto existing societies is the history of class struggles". Apparently, in later editions of the Communist Manifesto, Engels wanted to replace 'history' with 'recorded history'.

Anyways, as I understand it, extended families of Oneidas lived collectively in longhouses. Society was relatively egalitarian and matriarchal. They had a concept of personal property, but not of private property. In particular, land could not be owned. I gather land was periodically reallocated among families, as needed. Luxemburg, in the framents of her textbook on political economy, says that land was likewise reallocated in the German mark, where a mark is a village in ancient times. I guess some villages raided others, but, as a whole, the Iroquois lived under the great law of peace. Memorial day weekend is almost the only time one can see NCAA lacrosse on national television in the USA.

Lewis Henry Morgan was a nineteenth century anthropologist. I do not know much about him, how Marx and Engels built upon his studies, or current views by anthropologists of these ideas. I was surprised to find he was from New York State and extensively used the Iroquois as an example for his claims.

What happened to these working communist societies? My answer is very selective. The Sullivan expedition was a genocidal campaign ordered by George Washington during the U.S. revolution. The question of Oneida land claims in New York are a matter of recent current events.

References
  • Charles M. A. Clark. 1992. An institutionalist critique of Sraffian economics. Journal of Economic Issues 16(2): 457-468.
  • Rosa Luxemburg. 2013. The Complete Works of Rosa Luxemburg: Volume I, Economic Writings 1, Verso.
  • Brian Moore. 1985. Black Robe
  • Lewis Henry Morgan. 1877. Ancient Society or Researches in the Lines of Human Progress from Savagery through Barbarism to Civilization

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