Allow me to open the New Year with some basics. Given a 25-yr bit with the feds I’ve had plenty of time to spend on studying humanity from the ancient Neolithic to relatively modern times (the stone to Bronze and Iron ages; 10,000-2000 BCE).
Some think that humanity has socially progressed over the past 10,000 years. Technically perhaps, but for the rest of it….
From the 1500s, the native population in the western hemisphere (over 90 million souls) had their land stolen in the name of Christian and aristo-corporate white progress, even as they were massacred thru disease and genocide. The few who survived were imprisoned in “reservations.”
Indian children were impounded by law to Christian Mission schools, forbidden to speak their native language, wear long hair, dress in native garb, use their native names, and practice anything but Christianity in a hollow mockery of the Gospel.
The cry of “the South shall rise again!” was a joke. Southern corporatists had already resumed ALL and more of their crimes by 1877 (a mere dozen years after the Civil War ).
One of my former cellmates, Peter MacDonald, a chief of the Navajo Nation for 20 years (and one of those kidnapped children), explained to me that they got their current name, Navajo, from Spanish explorers. Their actual name is Dineh: “the original people.”
(Peter is also a former member and current president of the Navajo Code Talkers used during World War-II. Only a few are left.)
Virtually all ethnic groups believe that they’re unique and special, such as “the Blessed,” “the Chosen,” “Servant of God (Abd-Addah),” “Übermensch,” et cetera. In reality we’re all more or less from the same roots. This includes our spiritual beliefs and religions. No one is innately better than anyone else.
(Disclosure: For practically all of my life I’ve been and remain a Secular Humanist, which includes Universalism as one its tenets.)
Much of the current record supports the hypothesis that women probably provided more than 90% of family sustenance thru agri-gathering and netting small animals. You’d be surprised what the archaeological can reveal.
Big-game hunts were either collective affairs (including women and children to butcher and carry the meat) or the sport of men in one form or another.
When ancient clans developed into more permanent groups, men enforced home-rule. There is little evidence that big-game itself ever contributed much to early diets. Archaeology also indicates that religion was likely developed by women as ancient animist beliefs related to fertility and the cycles of growth.
I’d guess that men created hunting and sky omens and the development of competing sun-based, sky-father spirits. Of course, they made their God the exclusive one and has waged war against “Mrs. God” (and women) ever since.
Scientists show that the examples of cave hand-flutings, especially in ancient France, indicate female artists…that women first created and ruled the early animist beliefs.
Women were also the first slaves. Today, many still are…
Further down the line, just as Christianity and Islam are rooted in Judaism, Judaism itself is rooted in the ancient religion of Sumer (Shŭ-mer). Abraham, the father of the latter religions, was born and raised in Ur, a city-state of the Sumerian Empire. His father, Terach, was either a royal Sumerian priest or an idol-peddler.
Before his trek to the Land of Canaan, Abraham chose one of the senior Sumerian gods, probably Enlil (changed to unspoken or Yahweh as the one and only true God). Apparently, the Sumerian Empire was then breaking apart and Abraham proclaimed his superior (or only) God as promising him the lands of the Canaanites. Convenient.
(Many Palestinians consider themselves descended from the Canaanites. Small wonder that strife continues to this day.)
Abraham adapted the Creation Story (Genesis), from Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, the Tower of Babel, the story of Noah and the Flood, et cetera…all taken from Sumerian theo-mythology.
In any event, Abraham’s apparent plagiarism wasn’t discovered in the Sumerian record until the 1850s, almost 4,000 years later.
Ba’al was another Sumerian god, one for fertility and mountain storms. But the Hebrews dismissed Ba’al as idol worship and attributed him to the Cannanites and others. For Christians, Ba’al is a demon.
(With many different genetic studies underway, scientists are finding ever closer links between Jews and Palestinians. Many Palestinians have Jewish genetics in their make-up apparently having once been a physical part of the ancient Jewish population, and vice versa.
While I find all this quite interesting, another aspect of ancient law is that of the Jubilee Year.
One of the discoveries in ancient history of the Sumerians was how these societies handled large scale indebtedness and loss of their property.
As such states focus wealth onto fewer and fewer thus impoverishing the many, less people have a stake in such a society. Its society becomes destitute, imprisoned and enslaved.
After all, we’re not so far away from such even now. There are 2.4 million souls in America’s gulag already with some 85% guilty of no predatory crime. Primarily, the gulag is warehoused surplus labor.
Sumerians created a means to rectify this situation. It came to be known as a Jubilee Year. Early rulers found that literally wiping the slate clean of practically all debt–loans, interest, and property–they could restored stability. Quite a radical departure from today’s society.
These restorations of orderly society prevailed in Sumeria for some 2000 years during the Bronze Age. What the rulers of those societies knew back then and don’t today, is that unrestrained wealth withdrawn from common social intercourse eventually destroys that society itself.
This is not simply some ancient fable or myth. Discoveries of Bronze Age, Near Eastern royal proclamations in Sumer (2400-1600 BCE) verify that such edicts were in fact implemented and were successful.
Of course, revolutions occur otherwise. Given the resistance of some, they may well lose their heads over it…literally. Others try first to reform the disparity…usually too little too late.
The Israelite contribution to avoid and resist economic oppression was to empower this Jubilee Year into Mosaic Law by citing both the land and those who reside on it as a gift of God…no one ultimately owns people or the land exclusively.
Leviticus 25: 10-28…”And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land and to all the inhabitants thereof *…and ye shall return every man unto his possession [and] unto his family…. The land shall not be sold forever: for the land is mine; for ye are [guests] with me…. You will allow a right of redemption on all your landed property.”
* The bold text just above is enscribed on our Liberty Bell in Philadelphia. We need to impress and abide by the full quote.
I have no secular argument with that.
As Michael Hudson wrote back in 2002 before the current economic depression: “Rome was the first society not to cancel its debts. And we all know what happened to it….creditors got the entire economy in their debt, expropriated the land and public domain, and strangled the economy.”
Sound familiar? We hear it daily in Congress.