Re: Pre-Columbian Native American Societies

"No soldiers, no gendarmes or police, no nobles, kings, regents, or judges, no prisons, no lawsuits - and  everything takes its orderly course. All quarrels and disputes are settled by the whole of the community affected, by the gens or the tribe, or by the gentes among themselves: only as an extreme and exceptional measure is blood revenge threatened - and our capital punishment is nothing by blood revenge in a civilized form, with all the advantages and drawbacks of civilization. Although there were many more matters to be settled in common than today - the household is maintained by a number of families in common, and is communistic, the land belongs to the tribe, only the small gardens are allotted provisionally to the households - yet there is not need for even a trace of our complicated administrative apparatus with all its ramifications. The decisions are taken by those concerned, and in most cases everything has been already settled by the custom of centuries. There cannot be any poor or needy - the communal household and the gens know their responsibilities towards the old, the sick, and those disabled in war. all are equal and free - the women included. There is no place yet for slaves, nor, as a rule, for the subjugation of other tribes.
And what men and women such a society breeds is proved by the admiration inspired in all white people who have come into contact with unspoiled Indians, by the personal dignity, uprightness, strength of character, and courage of these barbarians.
This is what men and society were before the division into classes. And when we compare their position with that of the overwhelming majority of civilized men today, and enormous gulf separates the present-day proletarian and peasant from the free member of the old gentile society.
But we must not forget that this organization was doomed. It did not go beyond the tribe. The confederacy of tribes already marks the beginning of its collapse. Outside the tribe was outside the law. Wherever there was not an explicit treaty of peace, tribe was at war with tribe, and wars were waged with the cruelty which distinguishes man from other animals, and which was only mitigated later by self-interest. This constitution presupposed an extremely undeveloped state of production and therefore and extremely sparse population over a wide area. Man's attitude to nature was therefore one of almost complete subjection to a strange incomprehensible power. Man was bounded by his tribe, both in relation to strangers from the outside the tribe and to himself. Thus, the power of the primitive society had to be broken and broken it was. But broken by influences which from the very start appear as a degradation, a fall from the simple moral greatness of the old gentile society. The lowest interests - base greed, brutal appetites, sordid avarice, selfish robbery of the common wealth - inaugurate the new, civilized, class society. It is by the vilest means - theft, violence, fraud, treason - that the old classless gentile society is underminded and overthrown. And the new society itself, during all the two and a half thousand years of its existence, has never been anything else b the development of the small minority at the expense of the exploited and oppressed majority; today it is so more than ever before."

- Frederick Engels
(excerpted from: The Origin of the Family, Private Property, and the State)

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