Fundamental Problems of Marxism

By George V. Plekhanov | Go to book overview

of intertribal law. Hunting tribes cannot form large political organization precisely because the low level of their productive forces compels them to scatter in small social groups, in search of means of subsistence. But the more these social groups are scattered, the more inevitable is it that even such disputes that in a civilized society could easily be settled in a magistrate's court are settled by means of more or less sanguinary combats. Eyre says that when several Australian tribes join forces for certain purposes in a particular place such contacts are never lengthy; even before a shortage of food or the need to hunt game have obliged the Australians to part company, hostile clashes flare up among them, which very soon lead, as is well known, to pitched battles.*

Anyone will understand that such clashes may arise from the most varied causes. However, it is noteworthy that most travellers ascribe them to economic causes. When Stanley asked several natives of equatorial Africa how their wars against neighboring tribes arose, the answer was: "Some of our young men go into the woods to hunt game, and they are surprised by our neighbors; then we go to them, and they come to fight us until one party is tired, or one is beaten.". In much the same way, Burton says, "All African wars . . . are for one of two objects, cattle-lifting or kidnapping.". Ratzel considers it probable that in New Zealand wars among the natives were frequently caused simply by the desire to enjoy human flesh.** The natives' inclination toward cannibalism is itself to be explained by the paucity of the New Zealand fauna.

Anyone knows to what great extent the outcome of a war depends on the weapons used by each of the belligerents. But those weapons are determined by the state of their productive forces, by their economy, and by their social relations, which

____________________
*
Ed. J. Eyre, Manners and Customs of the Aborigines of Australia, London, 1847, 243.
**
Völkerkunde, I, 93.
H. Stanley, In Darkest Africa, 1890, II, 92
R. Burton, The Lake Regions of Central Africa, London, 1860, II, 368

-53-

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Fundamental Problems of Marxism
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • Contents 5
  • EDITOR'S NOTE 6
  • EDITOR'S PREFACE 7
  • I- Philosophical Writings of Marx and Engels 23
  • Ii. Feuerbach and Marx 27
  • Iii. Thinking and Being in Feuerbach 34
  • Iv. Emergence of Historical Materialism 40
  • V. the Materialist Dialectic as Method 44
  • Vi. Productive Forces and Geography 49
  • Vii. Role of Relations of Production 53
  • Viii. Base and Culture 58
  • Ix. Interaction of Base and Superstructure 63
  • X. Man and Necessity in History 67
  • Xi. Economic Base and Ideology 71
  • Xii. Against One-Sidedness and Schematism 74
  • Xiii. Psychology of the Epoch 81
  • Xiv. Class Struggle and Ideas 84
  • Xv. Necessity and Freedom 88
  • Xvi. Necessity and Revolution 94
  • EDITOR'S NOTES 179
  • BIOGRAPHICAL NOTES AND INDEX 185
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