---Original Message-----
Date: Tuesday, April 10, 2001 9:56 PM
Subject: Oldest Living Participatory Democracy on Earth-Iroquois

JCT: They used usury-free wampum. Would a world-wide UNILETS make the world look like the Iroquois civilization?

Publius2k (Pub?*@?*li.us) writes:
Oldest Living Participatory Democracy on Earth--The Iroquois Confederacy--impacts virtually all our lives today.  Was it
really anarchy in action?

Many modern governments drew some important principles from the Iroquois League of North American native  nations, originatorsof 'The Law of the Great Peace', though almost all have failed to produce a viable society free from state coercion, which was a hallmark of the great Iroquois peoples.

The Book:  Forgotten Founders, Benjamin Franklin, the Iroquois and the Rationale for the American Revolution, by Bruce E.
Johansen, Professor of Communication and Native American Studies, University of Nebraska at Omaha.

"it gives us the opportunity of studying the organization of a society which, as yet, knows no state."

Notes Lewis Henry Morgan in Ancient Society [1877]:

"Everything runs smoothly without soldiers, gendarmes, or police, without nobles, kings, governors, prefects or judges;
without prisons, without trials. All quarrels and disputes are settled by the whole body of those concerned...."

Ben Franklin commented on his contemporaries sarcastically:

"It would be a very strange thing if Six Nations of Ignorant Savages should be capable of forming a Scheme for such an Union
and be able to execute it in such a manner, as that it has subsisted Ages, and appears indissoluble, and yet a like union should be impracticable for ten or a dozen English colonies."

On Thomas Jefferson's appreciation for Indian society:

"Jefferson believed that freedom to exercise restraint on their leaders, and an egalitarian distribution of property secured for
Indians in general a greater degree of happiness than that to be found among the superintended sheep at the bottom of European class structures. Jefferson thought a great deal of "happiness," a word which in the eighteenth century carried
connotations of a sense of personal and societal security and well-being that it has since lost. Jefferson thought enough of
happiness to make its pursuit a natural right, along with life and liberty. In so doing, he dropped "property," the third member of the natural rights trilogy generally used by followers of John Locke.

Jefferson's writings made it evident that he, like Franklin, saw accumulation of property beyond that needed to satisfy one's
natural requirements as an impediment to liberty. To place "property" in the same trilogy with life and liberty, against the backdrop of Jefferson's views regarding the social nature of property, would have been a contradiction, Jefferson composed
some of his most trenchant rhetoric in opposition to the erection of a European-like aristocracy on American soil. To Jefferson, the pursuit of happiness appears to have involved neither the accumulation of property beyond basic need, nor the sheer pursuit of mirth. It meant freedom from tyranny, ..."

Marx and Engel's drew from the communal society of the Iroquois also and this changed the face of Europe, Asia and the world as we know it today:

"Two contemporaries of Buffalo Bill, Karl Marx and Frederich Engels, about the time of the Custer Battle were drawing on the
Indian models to support their theories of social evolution.  As had Franklin and Jefferson a century before, Marx and Engels
paid particular attention to the lack of state-induced coercion and the communal role of property that operated in the Iroquois

Marx read Lewis Henry Morgan's Ancient Society, which had been published in 1877, between December 1880 and March 1881, taking at least ninety-eight pages of handwritten notes. Ancient Society was Morgan's last major work; his first book-length study had been The League of the Ho-de-no-sau-nee or Iroquois (1851). Morgan was a close friend of the Seneca Ely Parker, a high-ranking Civil War officer. Like Johnson, Weiser, Colden, and others, Morgan was an adopted Iroquois. When Marx read Morgan's Ancient Society, he and Engels were studying the important anthropologists of their time. Morgan was one of them.

Marx's notes on Ancient Society adhere closely to the text, with little extraneous comment. What particularly intrigued Marx
about the Iroquois was their democratic political organization, and how it was meshed with a communal economic system -- how, in short, economic leveling was achieved without coercion.

During the late 1870s and early 1880s, Marx remained an insatiable reader, but a life of poverty and attendant health
problems had eroded his ability to organize and synthesize what he had read. After Marx died, Engels inherited his notes and, in 1884, published The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State, subtitled In Light of the Researches of Lewis H.
Morgan. The book sold well; it had gone through four editions in German by 1891. Engels called the book a "bequest to Marx." He wrote that Morgan's account of the Iroquois Confederacy "substantiated the view that classless communist societies had existed among primitive peoples," and that these societies had been free of some of the evils, such as class stratification,
that he associated with industrial capitalism. Jefferson had been driven by similar evils to depict Europe in metaphors of wolves and sheep, hammer and anvil.

To Engels, Morgan's description of the Iroquois was important because "it gives us the opportunity of studying the organization of a society which, as yet, knows no state." Jefferson had also been interested in the Iroquois' ability to maintain social consensus without a large state apparatus, as had Franklin. Engels described the Iroquoian state in much the same way that American revolutionaries had a century earlier:

Everything runs smoothly without soldiers, gendarmes, or police, without nobles, kings, governors, prefects or judges; without
prisons, without trials. All quarrels and disputes are settled by the whole body of those concerned. . . . The household is run
communistically by a number of families; the land is tribal property, only the small gardens being temporarily assigned to
the households -- still, not a bit of our extensive and complicated machinery of administration is required. . . . There are no poor and needy. The communistic household and the gens know their responsibility toward the aged, the sick and the disabled in war. All are free and equal -- including the women."

Without a doubt, corruptions of Marxist communism have been tyrannical.  This is not a failing of the underlying principles
drawn from the Iroquois, but rather a failure to implement the central concern for life and fairness outlined in 'The Law of
the Great Peace'.  The Iroquois were self governing and their law provided great protections against tyrannical leaders.  The
fundamental concept was to remove violence from their society and capital punishment was not allowed, with one exception.
Unrepentant, incorrigible, abusive leaders could be sentenced to death.

The Iroquois also recognized private property.

excerpts from ravings of Ratitor :)

JCT: I guess when we have a 1/(s-i) money system that automatically takes from the needy to give to the rich, problems arise that do not arise in a 1/s money system without the Reverse Robin Hood feedback. All this wonderful civilizations and democracy because they had a zero feedback money! And if the United Nations UNILETS Declaration passes, what you see is what you'll get! World-wide.

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