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October 22, 2009


"On the contrary, a working anarchism for anything more advanced than a hunter-gatherer society would have to be anarcho-capitalism, because you'd need government to prevent capitalism from arising in a free society."

Anarchism could work in advanced society but on impossible condition that its attitude toward material things is completely removed, just as it was nonexistent with american-indians before white changed that. Am-indians were a perfect example of hunter-gatherer society with very litle, almost nonexistant government. They operated without any sense of personal property.
Personal property protection is what creates and grows government. Larger personal properties forces need for larger government.

Am-indians were a perfect example of hunter-gatherer society with very litle, almost nonexistant government. They operated without any sense of personal property.

1)we may need to agree on a definition of 'government' in order to continue this discussion
2)Lumping all Native American cultures together is usually a mistake
3)Many Native American cultures were not pure hunter-gatherers
4)Even the Plains Indian cultures certainly had personal property- horses, tipis, etc. Maybe you're talking about the ownership of land, rather than "personal property"?
5)In my experience cultures that seem to get closest to anarchy (eg Plains Indians, the Boers) are feudal in nature- there is a Big Man, and a collection of people voluntarily or involuntarily dependent on that person. That is, if we just look at the Big Men they look pretty autonomous, but if we include all of the human members of the society we see firmly entrenched, enforced, codified customs. That is, laws.

As for the first question, I don't think there's a sharp line between 'custom' and 'government'. Custom is inevitable, enforcement of custom is inevitable, standardization of enforcement of custom is inevitable, and you've got yourself a law. And a government.

1)government-governing/leading structure. Am-In leaders were established by strength of influence/ friendship that was established by skills. Hunting skills, sharing the hunting fruits and thuggishness. Leader can change as soon as more skilled one appears.
2) and 3) more general appearance
4) i am talking about a 'sense' of personal property which is important in strong state structures, sense which is creating the need for protection by government.
5) see number 1) and also those customs(you call them laws) are spreading the family customs and connections trough blood connection and spreading outward. Mixing of blood by incision in palm and handshaking is spreading that family connection to non-blood relatives, making them 'blood-brothers' is way those customs are established. It is about influence creating (networking) for leadership.

The law is just writing those customs on paper and enforcing it more standardised and homogenly in as large structures as modern states. The government structures in modern state is evolution of those family customs. The sense of land ownership creates the need for strong government with its own expenses to enforce homogenly, orderly society. Am-Indians on the Plains had no sense of land ownership.

Am-indians were a perfect example of hunter-gatherer society with very litle, almost nonexistant government.

One word: Haudenosaunee.

There were hunter-gatherers in the Americas - but even restricting your definition of "American Indian" to the peoples who lived within what is now the United States, that includes many different cultures, standards of living, levels of technology, and forms of government.

Look up "Pueblo People", Jordan.

1)I agree, some (not all!) Native American cultures didn't have much in the way of formalized leadership structures. But they did have some strongly formalized roles, defended by the opinion of the group. I don't see a significant difference between the majority imposing their viewpoint via unformalized processes v formalized ones, for the puposes of deciding whether there is a government or not.
2-3)I think you'd be better as well discussing specific groups- there isn't much one can say that includes Inuit, Commamche, Navajo, Aztek, Inca, etc.
4)It seems that we're going in circles- the did have personal property, but not a 'sense' of personal property that requires government, which we can tell because they did not have government. Again, there is a strong sense of pride of ownership among the Plains tribes towards horses and other prized goods. Being semi-nomadic they couldn't become as focused on acquisition as more settled peoples, but they did put quite a bit of emphasis on these sorts of things.
So Im not sure of the distinction you're drawing here. Perhaps there's something in the phrase "personal property proteection" that isn't clear to me.
5)I was talking about the 2nd- and 3rd-class citizens in such societies. It's easy to think of eg a Boer farmer as an independent entity dealing with his equals without a government- not so easy to view his chattel slaves or subsurvient womenfolk as such. And their status was enforced not just by his personal power, but by his neighbors' acceptance of this status and their willingness to assist in keeping those lower-class citizens in their place.

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