THE FIRST, COMMUNAL, SOCIAL REVOLUTION
1. Economic law of correspondence between labour productivity
and the level of people’s needs.
If we take the last 40 thousand years of almost three million-year “Stone Age” we can see that during initial 25 to 30 thousand years of this period three greatest events had happened on the Earth. The first of these greatest events was the origin of man of modern (euhominid) type that meant the completion of the period of man being formed and the beginning of the history of man formed.
The formation of man of modern type took place, as we have already mentioned, mainly under the influence of labour, as well as under the influence of change in food, climatic conditions, natural and sexual selection.
The second greatest event of this 25 to 30 thousand-year period was the hunting-technical revolution, which is the first of four revolutions in the development of the society’s productive forces. As a result of this revolution, mechanical tools appeared and held the predominant position in technics; such new materials as bone, horn and tusk became widespread; new processing methods: retouch, grinding, polishing, sawing, drilling, steaming and baking became widespread; people began to apply widely the energy of artificially yielded fire, i.e. chemical energy released during burning of wood. And, finally, as a result of the hunting-technical revolution, primitive people changed from mainly gatherers into mainly hunters and fishermen.
The third greatest event of this period of the development of society is the first social revolution. The communal social revolution is the historical-time boundary, which divides the whole history of society into two largest periods: the period of society being formed and the period of formed society.
These three greatest events take place during one short, as compared to the previous period of the development of society, time period – only 25 to 30 thousand years. They are interconnected in the most direct way. We have already mentioned above that the origin of modern (in biological sense) man became a prerequisite for the hunting-technical and the communal-social revolutions in the development of society.
The two latter events, i.e. the hunting-technical and the communal-social revolutions are interconnected in such a way that the hunting-technical revolution is the first cause of the communal-social revolution in the course whereof a tribal society appears, which is based on mainly communal, public ownership of the main means of production and free collective labour.
What was the reason for the hunting-technical revolution to take place? In addition to the origin of man of modern type, the hunting-technical revolution was promoted by the fact that by that time productive forces reached such a level of their development that was quite sufficient for carrying out the first revolution in the development of the society’s productive forces. The level of technical, technological, economic development was such that the objective factor was available. The human factor that was conductive to the hunting-technical revolution was, as we have said above, the origin of man of modern type, whose mental development reached such a high level that man became able to carry out such a great event as the hunting-technical revolution.
But even that level of technical, technological and economic development of society, and the level of physical and mental development of man, which had been reached by that time, were not the cause but only a prerequisite for the hunting-technical revolution. The reason for the first revolution in the development of the society’s productive forces to take place was the contradiction, which appeared in society, between increased level of people’s needs and low level of labour productivity, as a consequence whereof man could not satisfy his needs by means of old production tools, production engineering and economy, the basis of which was inefficient gathering.
The contradiction between a higher level of needs and a lower level of labour productivity sprang up from time to time before the origin of man of modern type as well, but each time its end was that the moment the quantity of food in the area where currently the given group of primitive people lived became insufficient for their subsistence they migrated to a new place with larger quantity of food. After a time, in some cases short period, in others – longer, this contradiction between the level of needs and decreased labour productivity appeared again and was settled again the same way. It had been going on for an infinitely long time, during 2 – 3 million years, till the development of productive forces (objective factor) and the biological development of man (human factor) reached such a high level that the possibility appeared to settle this contradiction in a different, radical way, not temporarily, but one and for all. Moreover, not just a possibility but also the necessity of such settlement appeared, since it became impossible to settle the contradiction between a higher level of needs and a lower level of labour productivity using the old, traditional method.
The matter is that earlier, before the origin of man of modern type, the level of needs of primitive people over hundreds of thousand years remained constant and was rather low. The contradiction between a higher level of people’s needs and comparatively low level of labour productivity, which did not enable to satisfy these needs, sprang up not as a result that the level of primitive people’s needs increased in the course of time, but owing to the fact that labour productivity decreased from time to time since a primitive group having come to a new place consumed there more food than nature could produce during this time, and the quantity of products was getting smaller. The contradiction between the level of needs and labour productivity, which thus appeared, was settled easily, by recurrent change of place of residence, by means of nomadic life.
After the origin of man of modern type who finally came off an umbilical cord of the animal kingdom this contradiction develops not only at the expense of a recurrent decrease of labour productivity, which leads to the similar recurrent decrease of standard of living, to the reduction of quantity of foodstuff consumed by people, though, of course, people’s needs included not only foodstuff; but at the expense, moreover, mainly, at the expense of gradual, slow but uninterrupted rise of the level of people’s needs. That is one of the main differences between man being formed (Pithecanthropus, China man, Neanderthal man) and formed man (Cro-Magnon man).
It was impossible to settle this contradiction between permanently rising level of needs and level of labour productivity more and more lagging behind it with an old method. It could be settled only by some new, radical means. This means was indeed the hunting-technical revolution.
This interconnection between the level of people’s needs and the level of labour productivity is the main, if not the only motive force of technical, technological, economic progress of society over the whole time of its development and especially during the period of the developed, formed society; this interconnection, is therefore one of economic laws of society bearing a general character, i.e. is the main economic law acting over the whole history of the development of society.
This main economic law can be formulated as the law of correspondence between the level of labour productivity and the level of people’s needs.
2. The rise of labour productivity and standard of living.
In the course of the hunting-technical revolution, a jump in labour productivity took place, which level though rose previously, before the hunting-technical revolution, but the rate of rise of labour productivity before the hunting-technical revolution cannot be compared with the rate that sprang up during the hunting-technical revolution.
The labour productivity rose especially steeply in hunting and fishing where such efficient facilities as a bow with an arrow and nets began to be applied widely. At that time, many groups of ancient people start their transition from nomadic to semi-nomadic or even to a semi-settled life. Before the hunting-technical revolution, which was of great, inestimable importance, primitive man over a long period of time was dragging out a miserable, half-starved existence, was totally subordinated to severe forces of the caprices of nature. It is only as a result of the hunting-technical revolution that people could systematically find time, along with procurement of food, also for the development of technics, production engineering and art.
If people, after the hunting-technical revolution, began to spare some part of their time for rock paintings, modelling and carving statuettes, choreographic and musical art, etc., then it means that they not only managed to satisfy their needs in food, clothing, dwelling, instruments of labour, etc. due to steep rise of labour productivity in the course of the hunting-technical revolution, but had a surplus time as well, which they spent for their intellectual development, for satisfaction of their spiritual needs. Before the hunting-technical revolution, that was impossible.
Sometimes they say that in primitive-communal society there was no surplus product, which is regarded as a product of labour produced in excess of the minimum, which is absolutely required for people’s existence.
One can agree with it making the following reservations. If the matter concerns the primitive society before the hunting-technical revolution, then, undoubtedly, it has no possibility for systematic production of excess of the products of labour, i.e. surplus product. If surplus product was produced somewhere, it was of solely accidental, uncommon character.
But as for society after the hunting-technical revolution, the situation is a bit different. Undoubtedly, the people of that time did not produce or produced little products of labour in excess of their needs, but the reason why they did not do it was not that they were unable but that they saw no need, no sense for it. If hunters, armed with bows and arrows, killed one, two or three animals from the herd of wild animals, not five or ten, they did it because at that time this quantity was sufficient for them.
Man of that period of the development of society, i.e. the period after the hunting-technical revolution, did not try to procure more food or produce more other products of labour than he required. He was unfamiliar with the sense of greed, thirst for money, striving for enrichment and other vile senses, which are the product of civilization.
The possibility of making surplus product depends on the level of people’s needs and on the level of labour productivity. The level of needs of people of modern type was much higher than the level of needs of Neanderthal man, but even to a greater extent man of modern type exceeded Neanderthal man in labour productivity, which had risen steeply as a result of the hunting-technical revolution. This fact is acknowledged by many researchers. “A scientific experiment performed by a group of Soviet archaeologists in 1956 – 1957 is of great importance for the analysis of dynamics of primitive economy. The essence of the experiment lay in field examination of the productivity of stone instruments made in exact conformity with primitive specimens. The results of the experiment allow us to evaluate labour productivity in primitive economy with stone tools more precisely. It turned out that this productivity is considerably higher then it was usually supposed by the scientists. For example, for making such an instrument as an axe of stone, not months or even years were required as it was supposed but only several hours. Besides, it was determined that stone instruments were not of one-time use as it was considered, they were non-expendable. Many labour-intensive operations (for example, felling using a stone axe) took not days but minutes, hours as a maximum, and making of four-meter dug-out lasted only 10 days.
Thus, labour in primitive economy was not so much unproductive. Processing stone tools took relatively little time, it made organizational and social, cultural and other occupations possible for man.
A bow and a spear-throwing tool (a catapult for dart throwing) added to the technical base of primitive economy the first mechanisms per se. Accumulation and release of energy at the moment of shot in a bow and elongation of man’s hind by means of spear-throwing tool increased steeply labour productivity of hunter” (17).
We see that the level of labour productivity after the hunting-technical revolution rises sharply. It enables ancient man not only to satisfy all his needs regardless of the fact that they increased and kept on increasing gradually, but to produce surplus product systematically. But they do not aim at making surplus product, they do not need it, ancient people see no necessity, no sense in the production of surplus product. That is why they use additional time not for making surplus product but for extra rest, sports games, singing and dancing, art, religion, etc.
Since the primitive people of that period of the development of society did not strive for enrichment, then, naturally, they did not aim at appropriation of one’s labour or, rather, its product, i.e. at exploitation of man by man.
All the time of day (and night) – 24 hours - may be divided into three main parts:
1) necessary working time, which is absolutely required for the production of essential product of labour: foodstuff, clothing, dwelling, etc.;
2) necessary free time (time for rest), which is absolutely necessary for recreation (recovery of labour force) of man: sleep, eating, etc.;
3) surplus time.
Of these three parts of day, only the third one can turn from one form into another: from excess or surplus working time into surplus (additional) time for rest or occupation with non-productive labour: art, sport, religion, etc., and vice versa. In primitive-communal society, surplus time manifested itself, as a rule, in the form of additional rest and non-productive labour. In class society, vice versa - in the form of surplus working time, surplus productive labour, surplus product, surplus value.
Meanwhile, some researchers having not found the systematic production of surplus product in primitive-communal society draw a wrong conclusion, that the level of labour productivity in primitive-communal society was so low, that ancient people could anyhow produce only the required product and could not absolutely produce the surplus product. But this is the case only regarding primitive society being formed, which existed before the hunting-technical revolution and does not concern at all the communal society, which appeared after the hunting-technical revolution.
3. Population upsurge.
The jump in labour productivity in the course of the hunting-technical revolution resulted in the same steep improvement in nutrition. It, in its turn, led to considerable increase in life span of people. People became physically stronger, sturdier, they became more healthy. Moreover, now they ate much more diverse food, since besides fruit they procured meat of various large animals, fowl, fish. Later, having learned to yield fire artificially, people began to eat roasted, boiled, baked food systematically. As a result, over a historically short period of time, life span of people rose steeply, perhaps, half as much again or even more.
In consequence of sharp reduction of death-rate of malnutrition, starvation, diseases and sharp increase in life span of people, the population explosion happened – a quick augmentation of population of ancient hunting society that takes place both due to reduction of death-rate and rise of mean age and due to increase in birth rate. If, for example, life expectancy of people rises from 25 – 30 to 40 – 45 or 50 years, it is clear that families will be larger in number and will have more children.
The increase in the number of people in a hunting-fishing-gathering group results in its division into two independent groups and a migration of one of them to adjacent or more distant territory, in case if an adjacent territory is occupied, as, for a numerous group of people, the quantity of vegetable and meat food at a close distance around its location may be insufficient. A too much numerous group takes from nature in the given region more than nature can produce. That is why the density of population having appropriative economy should be limited by some bounds determined for each area, which are controlled by means of the division of numerous groups into smaller, kindred groups and migration of some of them into another region.
Thus, in the course of the hunting-technical revolution and especially after its completion a separation of people takes place. They gradually populate huge territories, which were earlier waste, settling around in all directions from their initial location.
Ancient hunting groups populate all continents (Australia, North and South America), large, medium and even many small islands. They penetrate and populate hot tropical, steppe and desert lands, cold northlands.
Besides, the density of population gradually increases, especially in the regions where one can procure more food and where people had started their transition to settled or semi-nomadic life earlier.
4. The origin of community-communal ownership of the main means of production.
On the territory of certain dimensions, people occupied with hunting, fishing and gathering can procure the quantity of foodstuff several or even dozens of times more than in case when they go gathering only, as it often took place before the hunting-technical revolution. The result of it was that ancient people in the course of the hunting-technical revolution gradually began to inhabit one and the same place longer than before.
It was not hampered by the circumstance that in some lean years on some territories the amount of fruit used by people for food was little, several times less than in other years. Herbivorous (and hence carnivorous as well) animals which use grass and leaves of shrubs and trees for food are less dependent on the caprices of nature than people, since climatic conditions influence the rise of fruit to a greater extent than that of leaves and grass. The same refers to fish. And since people together with fruit on a large scale began to use meat and fish for food, they became less dependent on productivity of fruit, cereals, etc. In lean years in the given area either because of late spring frost or for the reason of summer drought ancient people before the hunting-technical revolution were forced to migrate to other, sometimes, remote area where fruits were available. After the hunting-technical revolution, they compensated for a shortage of vegetable food with meat and fish food.
All this was conducive to people’s transition from nomadic to settled or semi-nomadic life, during which people though roam but within the bounds of some limited territory. Nomadic life in some more fertile places was also hampered by a circumstance that here, in consequence of a population upsurge, the density of population rose. And those groups of people who lived surrounded by other groups had no places to move on, at least nearby.
As the population and – as a result – its density increased, a lack of food, foodstuff was felt or such a threat appeared from time to time, at least in some, more populated places. Overpopulation of some territories results not only in separation of people but in clash between them as well.
Earlier, before the hunting-technical revolution, a shortage of food was conditioned by shortage of fruits produced by nature. As for forest, steppe, water and other territories, which are the main means of production, they were in abundance at the disposal of primitive people, owing to sparse population and low density of it. That is why the ownership of the main means of production did not appear.
Now, after the hunting-technical revolution, the shortage of food as a result of increase in density of population was conditioned by shortage of the main means of production.
Earlier, people’s standard of living depended on productivity of fruit. Considering low density of population, the size of the territory did not influence the standard of living. The amount of food gathered by them did not depend on the size of the waste territory around them but on the quantity of fruits they were able to gather during the day. Labour productivity depended not on the level of the development of people’s productive forces, but only on productivity of flora, fruit-trees and plants. There was no shortage of the main means of production; at least it was not felt by primitive people.
Now, under conditions of dense population, a shortage of the main means of production was on hand. If some group of hunters came to the dwelling place of a herd of wild animals and did not find them there it was or could be a consequence of the fact that another group hunted for these animals before them. If some group came to its conventional area where they used to gather fruits and found that the fruits had already been gathered it was also a consequence that it was left behind by some neighbour group.
And since the result of it was often that sometimes one, sometimes another group remained without food or its quantity was insufficient, it brought ancient groups to enmity, to smouldering and then to undisguised hostility towards each other. Under a pertinent pretext, this hostility began to develop into open armed conflicts getting more and more bloody nature.
In places where waste tracts of land existed, where the density of population of hunters and gatherers was still relatively low, the conflicts that sprang up from time to time could be settled by means of negotiations, further separation and more or less even increase in population density, but as the population expanded and as a consequence of it the density of population increased, as the territories which were waste before got more and more occupied, the settlement of the conflicts that sprung up more and more often using an old method became more and more difficult. A new, radical tool was required to settle or, at least, to damp down, to lessen the acuteness of these conflicts and their number. Finally, these conflicts were settled by the division of the territories of land between individual groups, communities, that means nothing but the appearance of ownership of the main means of production, the first form whereof was a community, public property. Together with ownership, there appeared the boundaries, which divided the territories of individual communities; those boundaries were just a “legal” expression of property. The ownership is applied not only to the territories of forests, steppes, ponds, groves, bogs, etc., but to everything they contain: fruits, fish, animals, birds, raw stone, etc. It is clear that animals are the property of one or another community only as long as the herd is on its territory, but in case the herd moved to the territory of another community the first one loses the right of property for these animals.
The appearance and consolidation of communal ownership of the main means of production is, at the same time, the completion of formation of socio-productive relations, the establishment of formed, developed socio-productive relations as well as the establishment of the first social mode of production.
The origin of ownership of the main means of production also means the emergence of the first, communal, or primitive-communal socio-economic formation.
The appearance and consolidation of communal ownership of the main means of production means completion of a two or three million-year period of formation of society. The appearance of ownership of the main means of production means that the first social revolution in society, which is the historical limit that divides the period of society being formed from the period of formed society, took place.
5. The consequences of the communal-social revolution.
The communal-social revolution was the first revolution in the development of socio-productive relations. But social relations include not only productive relations. They also include political, national-ethnic and, finally, spiritual-cultural relations. All these social relations change radically, qualitatively under direct influence of the communal-social revolution.
The consequence of the hunting-technical revolution is the communal-social revolution, and the consequence of the latter is: the communal-national revolution which is the first revolution in historical development of national-ethnic relations of society; the communal-cultural revolution which is the first revolution in historical development of spiritual relations of society; and, finally, the communal-democratic revolution which is the first revolution in the development of political relations of society.
These three revolutions in social relations are carried out unevenly, one is faster, another – slower, one begins earlier, other – later and again at different time, one ends ahead of the other. They influence each other reciprocally, speeding up or slowing down one another. But they all come to be after the communal-social revolution, which is the reason for their realization.
The first national revolution transforms national-ethnic relations of society. If before the first national revolution (it would be probably more correct to call it the first international revolution) primitive people lived jointly in small, dwarfish communities which numbered several dozens of people, then after the communal-national revolution ancient people lived in relatively numerous tribes, which consisted of thousands and tens of thousands people.
Sometimes during realization of the first national revolution there appeared even the unions of tribes with population of several hundreds of thousand people. At that, if during the beginning of the first national revolution ancient people spoke as a rule several languages or dialects, then at its completion the whole tribe spoke one and the same language which before was the most commonly used on the territory of the tribe appeared, the rest of the languages partially mixing with the victorious language gradually disappeared.
The first cultural revolution reorganizes radically spiritual-cultural relations of ancient society: ideology, morals, art. The new society requires new art, new culture for its consolidation, its power.
The first democratic revolution the same way radically transforms political relations of society. It is during this time that democracy arises for the first time in the development of society. Before the communal-democratic revolution the power in ancient communities was in hands of the physically strongest, the most active and aggressive leaders, as it takes place in the community of gregarious animals. All the rest members of community resignedly obeyed the leader, who dealt with rebels cruelly. During realization of the communal-democratic revolution, the place of leaders-despots (tyrants) was occupied by chiefs, who were elected either by all the people of tribe, or its sizeable part or its representatives.
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