Sociology Index


Primitive Communism is the so called first society in which all resources were owned in common. Primitive Communism is a term associated with Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, and refers to what preceded stratification and exploitation in human history: Collective right to basic resources, Egalitarianism in social relationships, absence of authoritarian rule and hierarchy. For thousands of years there was no private property, no money, no working for wages, and no class divisions. It was a system of primitive communism. Primitive Communism has a close correspondence with some actual hunter gatherer society.

The societies described by primitive communism drew the interest of Karl Marx because they provided a way to show that the institutions of capitalism are historically specific and changeable. In Marx's model of socioeconomic structures, societies with primitive communism had no hierarchical social class structures or capital accumulation. Primitive communism is traditionally based on egalitarian social relations and common ownership.

Morgan, who has so minutely studied the primitive communist manners, in his last and important work 'Houses and House Life of the American Aborigines' describes the methods of hunting and fishing practised among the Redskins of North America: When the pursuit of the herd commences, the hunters leave the dead animal in the track of the chase, to be appropriated by the first persons who come up behind. This method of distribution is continued until all are supplied. Modern man, according anthropologists, emerged in Africa about 100,000 years ago, and spread out from there to replace all earlier species in the rest of the world.

So long as primitive communism subsists, the tribal lands are cultivated in common. In certain parts of India, says Nearchus, one of Alexander's generals, and eye-witness of events that took place in the 4th century, B.C., the lands were cultivated in common by tribes or groups of relatives, who at the end of the year shared among themselves the fruits and crops. - Nearchus apud Strabo.