Cradle of Civilization

A Blog about the Birth of Our Civilisation and Development

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  • The Fertile Crescent

    The Fertile Crescent is a term for an old fertile area north, east and west of the Arabian Desert in Southwest Asia. The Mesopotamian valley and the Nile valley fall under this term even though the mountain zone around Mesopotamia is the natural zone for the transition in a historical sense.

    As a result of a number of unique geographical factors the Fertile Crescent have an impressive history of early human agricultural activity and culture. Besides the numerous archaeological sites with remains of skeletons and cultural relics the area is known primarily for its excavation sites linked to agricultural origins and development of the Neolithic era.

    It was here, in the forested mountain slopes of the periphery of this area, that agriculture originated in an ecologically restricted environment. The western zone and areas around the upper Euphrates gave growth to the first known Neolithic farming communities with small, round houses , also referred to as Pre Pottery Neolithic A (PPNA) cultures, which dates to just after 10,000 BC and include areas such as Jericho, the world’s oldest city.

    During the subsequent PPNB from 9000 BC these communities developed into larger villages with farming and animal husbandry as the main source of livelihood, with settlement in the two-story, rectangular house. Man now entered in symbiosis with grain and livestock species, with no opportunity to return to hunter – gatherer societies.

    The area west and north of the plains of the Euphrates and Tigris also saw the emergence of early complex societies in the much later Bronze Age (about 4000 BC). There is evidence of written culture and early state formation in this northern steppe area, although the written formation of the states relatively quickly shifted its center of gravity into the Mesopotamian valley and developed there. The area is therefore in very many writers been named “The Cradle of Civilization.”

    The area has experienced a series of upheavals and new formation of states. When Turkey was formed in the aftermath of the genocide against the Pontic Greeks, Armenians and Assyrians perpetrated by the Young Turks during the First World War it is estimated that two-thirds to three-quarters of all Armenians and Assyrians in the region died, and the Pontic Greeks was pushed to Greece.

    Israel was created out of the Ottoman Empire and the conquering of the Palestinian terretories. The existence of large Arab nation states from the Maghreb to the Levant has since represented a potential threat to Israel which should be neutralised when opportunities arise.

    This line of thinking was at the heart of David Ben Gurion’s policies in the 1950s which sought to exacerbate tensions between Christians and Muslims in the Lebanon for the fruits of acquiring regional influence by the dismembering the country and the possible acquisition of additional territory.

    The Christians are now being systematically targeted for genocide in Syria according to Vatican and other sources with contacts on the ground among the besieged Christian community.

    According to reports by the Vatican’s Fides News Agency collected by the Centre for the Study of Interventionism, the US-backed Free Syrian Army rebels and ever more radical spin-off factions are sacking Christian churches, shooting Christians dead in the street, broadcasting ultimatums that all Christians must be cleansed from the rebel-held villages, and even shooting priests.

    It is now time that the genocide against the Pontic Greeks, Assyrians and Armenians is being recognized, that the Israeli occupation, settlements and violence against the Palestinians stop, and that the various minorities in the area start to live their lifes in peace – without violence and threats from majority populations, or from the West, and then specificially from the US.

    War in the Fertile Crescent
    https://aratta.wordpress.com/2013/11/13/war-in-the-fertile-crescent

    Everyone is free to use the text on this blog as they want. There is no copyright etc. This because knowledge is more important than rules and regulations.

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Peter Kropotkin: Mutual Aid – A Factor of Evolution

Posted by Sjur Cappelen Papazian on December 23, 2014

Kropotkin circa 1900

Peter Kropotkin

The Conquest of Bread

Fields, Factories and Workshops

Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution

Mutual aid is a term in organization theory used to signify a voluntary reciprocal exchange of resources and services for mutual benefit.

Kropotkin pointed out what he considered to be the fallacies of the economic systems of feudalism and capitalism. He believed they create poverty and artificial scarcity while promoting privilege.

Instead he proposed a more decentralized economic system based on mutual aid, mutual support, and voluntary cooperation, asserting that the tendencies for this kind of organization already exist, both in evolution and in human society.

In 1902 Kropotkin published his book Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution, which provided an alternative view of animal and human survival, beyond the claims of interpersonal competition and natural hierarchy proffered at the time by some “social Darwinists” such as Francis Galton.

He argued that “it was an evolutionary emphasis on cooperation instead of competition in the Darwinian sense that made for the success of species, including the human”.

Kropotkin explored the widespread use of cooperation as a survival mechanism in human societies – through their many stages – and amongst animals. He used many real-life examples in an attempt to show that the main factor in facilitating evolution is cooperation between individuals in free-associated societies and groups, without central control, authority, or compulsion.

He did so in order to counteract the concept of fierce competition as the core of evolution, which concept provided a rationalization for the dominant political, economic, and social theories of the time and for the prevalent interpretations of Darwinism.

Mutual aid is arguably as ancient as human culture; an intrinsic part of the small, communal societies universal to humanity’s ancient past. From the dawn of humanity, until far beyond the invention of agriculture, humans were foragers, exchanging labor and resources for the benefit of groups and individuals alike.

As an intellectual abstraction, mutual aid was developed and advanced by mutualism or labor insurance systems and thus trade unions, and has been also used in cooperatives and other civil society movements.

Typically, mutual-aid groups will be free to join and participate in, and all activities will be voluntary. They are often structured as non-hierarchical, non-bureaucratic, non-profit organizations, with members controlling all resources and no external financial or professional support. They are member-led and member-organized.

They are egalitarian in nature, and designed to support participatory democracy, equality of member status and power shared leadership and cooperative decision-making. Members’ external societal status is considered irrelevant inside the group: status in the group is conferred by participation.

Based on Peter Kropotkin’s theories on mutual aid, those small groups are also discussed as a counter model to the historic concept of an autonomous individual.

Those discussions emphasize an open model of voluntary cooperation in mutual-aid groups as opposed to induced cooperation. Therefore they raise questions regarding the tension of the individual’s adaption and self-determination.

In order to overcome this tension an insight in the life perspective of others, a radical openness to all situations possible and a high awareness of and confidence in the self is necessary.

Examples of mutual-aid organizations include unions, the Friendly Societies that were common throughout Europe in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, medieval craft guilds, the American “fraternity societies” that existed during the Great Depression providing their members with health and life insurance and funeral benefits, and the English “workers clubs” of the 1930s that also provided health insurance.

Mutual aid is also a cornerstone of the self-help movement, in which the helper/helpee principle is important: the idea is that the more a person helps, the more he or she is helped, and that those who help most are helped most.

Mutual aid practices and principles are used in alcoholism and drug rehabilitation, HIV/AIDS support, among adult survivors of sexual abuse, parents of developmentally disabled children, and mentally ill older adults.

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