7. The Origins of Male Dominance and Hierarchy; what David Graeber and Jordan Peterson get wrong
10. David Graeber & David Wengrow “The Dawn of Everything” critique: The Wisdom of Kandiaronk
10.1 David Graeber & David Wengrow’s “The Dawn of Everything”: What is an “Egalitarian Society”?
Comment: Daniel Bitton, in his video, claimed that David Graeber either ignored or was ignorant of “immediate return societies.” This is not true. [His comments may only apply to material he has read in Graeber before the present book.] On page 128 of their book, we find the following opening sentence: “The greatest modern authority on hunter-gatherer egalitarianism is by general consent, the British anthropologist James Woodburn.” And they go on to talk about the distinction between “immediate return” and “delayed return” economies. And they go on to conclude: “This might sound like the basis of something hopeful or optimistic. Actually, it’s anything but. What it suggests is, again, that any equality worth the name is essentially impossible for all but the very simplest foragers.”  Given this judgment, the question is whether an “equality worth the name” is possible or impossible for a complex(?) or larger (?) society. I suggest that to anwer this question we should take note of the various socialistic experiments which were done in the 19th century in the United States (e.g. Shakers, Rappites, etc.), the anarchistic experiments of Nestor Makhno in Ukraine, the Spanish anarchists (1936-9), and the Zapatistas and Rojava today.
10.2 The Dawn of Everything: How Graeber & Wengrow’s book makes us bad at politics
Comment: Daniel Bitton is too optimistic as to what the Peasant’s Revolt in 1381 could have done, as well as to what the Occupy Movement in 2011 could have done. In the former, they made demands which were returned with rhetorical promises; in the latter, if demands were made, they would have been answered with something like: “we will take your demands into consideration.” In both cases, the uprisings were either crushed or disbanded. And if the so-called “colored revolutions” were the inspiration, all they managed to do is to replace one individual with another. Perhaps the right word for this is “coups,” but I would not call them “revolutions.”
After listening to Daniel Bitton’s criticism of David Graeber, which is to the point and very sensible, I listened to some of his other podcasts on “What is politics?” as well as the following two interviews in which he offers his criticisms of Graeber and his own anthropological views.
#155 Anthropology and Materialism Part 1 w/ Daniel Bitton
Comment: Daniel Bitton mentions a video of an interview with Chris Knight. Here is the video:
Chris Knight – The Anthropology of David Graeber
#156 Anthropology and Materialism Part 2 w/ Daniel Bitton
See also: ‘The Dawn of Everything’ gets human history wrong, Climate & Capitalism, Dec. 17, 2021. This consists of two articles: the first by Chris Knight, “In Fundamental Ways Incoherent and Wrong”; the second by Nancy Lindisfarne and Jonathan Neale, “All Things Being Equal”
Chris Knight, “Wrong About (Almost) Everything,”, FocaalBlog, December 22, 2021.