Sociology Index

PRIMITIVE COMMUNISM

Primitive Communism is an imagined first society in which all resources were owned in common. Has a close correspondence with some actual hunting and gatherer society.

We do not know exactly how long ago human beings evolved from other species. Modern man, according to many anthropologists, emerged in Africa about 100,000 years ago, and gradually spread out from there to replace all earlier species in the rest of the world (Snooks, 1996:50).

For thousands of years there was no private property, no money, no working for wages, no stock exchange and no class divisions. People lived with and for one another. It was a system of primitive communism.

Primitive Communism is a term associated with Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, and refers to what preceded stratification and exploitation in human history: Collective right to basic resources, Egalitarianism in social relationships, Absence of authoritarian rule and hierarchy.

Morgan, who has so minutely studied the primitive communist manners, in his last and important work 'Houses and House Life of the American Aborigines' describes the methods of hunting and fishing practised among the Redskins of North America: When the active pursuit of the herd commences, the hunters leave the dead animal in the track of the chase, to be appropriated by the first persons who come up behind.

This method of distribution is continued until all are supplied They cut up the beef into strings, and either dry it in the air or smoke it over a fire. Some make part of the capture into pemmican, which consists of dried and pulverised meat, mixed with melted buffalo fat, which is boiled in the hide of the animal.

So long as primitive communism subsists, the tribal lands are cultivated in common. In certain parts of India, says Nearchus, one of Alexander's generals, and eye-witness of events that took place in the 4th century, B.C., the lands were cultivated in common by tribes or groups of relatives, who at the end of the year shared among themselves the fruits and crops. - Nearchus apud Strabo.