How patriarchal authority became deep-rooted

A hierarchical and authoritarian structure is essential for a patriarchal society. Allying authoritarian administration with the shaman’s sacred authority resulted in the concept of hierarchy.




Abdullah Ocalan

A hierarchical and authoritarian structure is essential for a patriarchal society. Allying authoritarian administration with the shaman’s sacred authority resulted in the concept of hierarchy. The institution of authority would gradually gain prominence in society and as class distinctions intensified, would transform into state authority. As yet, hierarchical authority was personal,not yet institutionalised, and thus did not have as much dominance over society as in the institutionalised state. Compliance to it was partly voluntary, commitment determined by society’s interests.

However, the process that was set in motion was conducive to the birth of the hierarchical state. The primitive communal system resisted this process for a long time. Respect and commitment to the authority of the alliance was shown only if they shared their product accumulation with the members of society. In fact, accumulation of surplus product was seen as wrong; the person who commanded the most respect was the one who distributed his or her accumulation. (The revered tradition of generosity, which is still widespread in clan societies, has its roots in this powerful historical tradition.) From the very beginning, the community saw accumulation of surplus product as the most serious threat to itself and based its morality and religion on resisting this threat. But, eventually, man’s accumulation culture and hierarchical authority did defeat that of woman. We must be very clear that this victory was not an unavoidable, historical necessity. There is no law that states that a natural society must necessarily develop into a hierarchical and subsequently a statist society. There may be a propensity towards such a development, but equating such a propensity with an inevitable, incessant process that has to run its full course, would be a totally erroneous assumption. Viewing the existence of classes as fate has become nothing but an unintended tool for class ideologists.

After this defeat, severe tears appeared in woman’s communal society. The process of transforming to hierarchical society was not an easy one. This is the transition phase between primitive communal society and state. Eventually hierarchical society had to either disintegrate or result in statehood.

Although it did play some positive role in the development of society, its form of socialisation, the alliance between the male powers, provided the strength to hierarchical patriarchy to develop into statehood. It was really the hierarchical and patriarchal society that subjugated women, youth, and members of other ethnicities; it was done before the development of the state. The most important point is how this subjugation was accomplished. The authority to do this was not attained through laws, but through the new morals that were based on worldly needs instead of sacredness.

While there is a development towards the religious concept of an abstract and single god that reflects the values of the patriarchal society, the matriarchal authority of the natural society with its myriad goddesses resists. In the matriarchal order, the essential rules are to labour, produce and provide in order to keep people alive. While patriarchal morality legitimises accumulation and paves the way for ownership, the morality of communal society condemns accumulation of surplus as the source of all wrong-doing, and encourages its distribution. The internal harmony in society gradually deteriorates and tension increases.

The solution to this conflict would be either returning to the old matriarchal values or escalating patriarchal power inside and outside the community. To the patriarchal faction there was only one choice. The foundations for the violent, war-like society based on oppression and exploitation were established. Through this process of conflict the state-phase, the phase of institutionalised authority based on permanent force, was arrived at.

Without an analysis of woman’s status in the hierarchical system and the conditions under which she was enslaved, neither the state nor the classed system that it rests upon can be understood. Woman is not targeted as the female gender, but as the founder of the matriarchal society. Without a thorough analysis of women’s enslavement and establishing the conditions for overcoming it, no other slavery can be analysed or overcome. Without these analyses, fundamental mistakes cannot be avoided.

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