a system of tracing
family lineage through the father.
Engels argued that the development of private property led to
Wealth accumulated outside the home - which was women's domain -
so shifted the power base to men.
Men decided they wanted to ensure "their" wealth passed to "their"
children. Men, therefore, had to the sexual possession of the women.
is a form of family
Engels defines it as:
"the form of kinship organisation which prides
itself on its common descent...and is bound together by social and
religious institutions into a distinct community"
(Engels 1884 par. 3.2)
He says that the Gens "
forms the basis of the social order of most...barbarian
peoples" (Engels 1884 par. 2.2.1)
EXAMPLE: IROQUOIS INDIANS OF NORTH AMERICA
These were the warrior Indians of the Great Lakes in what is now New York
State. Their families were named after animals and birds (their Totem) and
there is a legend that they could change into animals and birds.
GENS: 1. WOLF, 2. BEAR, 3. TURTLE, 4. BEAVER, 5. DEER,
6. SNIPE 7.HERON, 8. HAWK.
Marriage between members of a Gens is prohibited.
Property and parenthood is traced via the mothers. Property remains
within a Gens.
This does not mean that women are in control.
It means that a woman's brother has more standing than her husband
(Who belongs to another Gens).
Each Gens elects a Peace Chief: And, when occasion demands, a
THE GENS ARE ORGANISED INTO FIVE TRIBES or NATIONS (The
MOHAWKS, ONIEDA, SENECA, ONONDAGA, CAYUGA) (See Extracts)
Each tribe has a tribal council. The members of the Council
communicate the views of the gens to the council and the views of
the Council to the Gens.
THE TRIBES TOGETHER FORM THE IROQUOIS CONFEDERACY
The Confederacy has a Common Council. The members of the
Council communicate the views of the Tribal Councils to the
Council and the views of the Common Council to the Tribal Council.
In Europe, Engels argues, an analogous family system of government
preceded the establishment of the Greek and Roman States.
In Greece and Rome we step directly from the Gens to Civilization
That is, we move from family government to state government.
Engels argues that the: separation of town and country and
of a merchant class
Notice that the move from family government to state government
involves the development of "citizenship" - membership of a city or
wider political unit in one's own right and not by virtue of family
- made family government antiquated and
- necessitated a separate institution (the State) to govern a territory
rather than a family.
From the development of private property, patriarchy and the state,
we pass through successive modes of production with corresponding
changes in the form of the state.
MODES OF PRODUCTION AND
STATES IN EUROPE
Engels makes a theoretical link between the pre-historic suppression
of women and the emergence of a women's emancipation movement
With the accumulation of wealth (cattle and slaves) outside the home,
"the domestic labour of the woman no longer counted beside the
acquisition of the necessities of life by the man... We can already
see from this that to emancipate woman and make her the equal of
the man is... an impossibility so long as the woman is shut out from
social productive labour and restricted to private domestic labour.
The emancipation of woman will only be possible when woman can
part in production on a large, social scale, and domestic work no
longer claims anything but an insignificant amount of her time."
This, he says, is beginning to be possible through the development of
large scale industry