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anthropology

The First Oppressors in England


 Once upon a time, many thousands of years ago, when this country was covered with forests and swamps and there was no sea between it and the rest of Europe, a race of rather small, long-headed dark people roamed in the river valleys living on wild fruits and the flesh of what animals they secured in hunting. Their homes were caves and rabbit-like burrows. Their neighbours the mammoth, the woolly rhinocerous, the reindeer, the elephant, the hippopotamus and the lion. Life was very hard for them as their acquirements were few. They made tools and weapons out of stone roughly chipped into a form that helped to some extent in the struggle for life. Of boatbuilding they knew nothing beyond the skin boats in which they hazarded their lives on the watercourses. Of property they were equally ignorant, for they had none. Their social organisation was the horde with women at the centre.
 

Bibles, Bayonets and Bacilli

  The Socialist, in his war upon capitalism and its defenders, soon discovers that religion is an important bulwark of the enemy. In the preface to the S.P.G.B. pamphlet “Socialism and Religion” attention is drawn to a Non-conformist boast regarding the commercial value of “missions to the heathen."

 Further testimony as to the merits or demerits of missionary enterprise is furnished from time to time by explorers, government officials, and such like interesting personalities.

 Thus Col. Sam Hughes, Canadian Minister, addressing the Canadian Club of New York (11th Nov.), said that “Britain and her colonies will stand together in the upbuilding of humanity the world over," and told how some of the upbuilding is done. He declared that "in all his travels he has observed that the missionary with his bible and the bayonet went hand in hand in the promotion of civilisation."

Book Review: 'Adventures With the Missing Link'

The Missing Link

'Adventures With the Missing Link', by Raymond Dart (Hamish Hamilton)

This book can be confidently recommended to readers of the Socialist Standard and all those interested in human evolution. Couched in a readable narrative style, partly because the story is largely autobiographical, it recounts thirty years' research in South Africa.

Stephen Hawking: No Anthropologist

In an interview with the Times (7 March) world-famous scientist Stephen Hawking opined:

'"Since civilisation began, aggression has been useful inasmuch as it has definite survival advantages," he said. "It is hard-wired into our genes by Darwinian evolution. Now, however, technology has advanced at such a pace that this aggression may destroy us all by nuclear or biological war. We need to control this inherited instinct by our logic and reason."'

He may know a lot about theoretical physics but in stating that human aggression is 'hard-wired' and an 'inherited instinct' he has merely echoed popular prejudices cultivated by certain scientists, as this extract from our pamphlet Are We Prisoners of Our Genes? explains.

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