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by Nayvin Gordon

January 23, 2024

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What can be done?


There have always been some people who believe that they are entitled to rule over the rest of humanity.  This is because human behavior is driven by emotions. Decades of research has demonstrated this truth.  Human nature is, for the vast majority, powered by empathy and concern for the common good. There are some whose nature can be described as aggressively assertive, dominating, and driven by selfishness, greed, and power. 

The anthropologist, Douglas P. Fry comments, “Social stratification and resulting positions of leadership open the door for a plethora of injustices and cruelties that come with warfare, slavery, and other types of exploitation by unchecked power wielders. In centralized polities, the power of some people to dominate and control others increases many times over what is possible at the level of bands and tribes.” (“The Human Potential for Peace”.2006) 


For thousands of years, on many continents, humans lived in egalitarian bands and tribes.  They lived this way before and during slavery, feudalism, and corporate capitalism, systems dominated by a small elite that used warfare to expand their power, privilege, and profit.

History reveals that the vast majority of humanity, motivated by their desire for the common good, equality, and peace, has resisted, rebelled, and revolted against domination and exploitation: From the slave rebellions of Spartacus to revolutions against monarchy and colonialism to the socialist revolutions in Russia, and China.

How did egalitarian societies maintain equality and resist domination?  The anthropologist Christopher Boehm documented how members of egalitarian societies exert “intentional behavior that decisively suppressed hierarchical relations among adults as political actors.” “Differences between individuals are only permitted…, insofar as they work for the common good. Such equality can only persist as long as followers remain vigilantly egalitarian because they understand the nature of domination, the innate tendencies of individuals to dominate their peers”.  ("Egalitarian Behavior and Reverse Dominance Hierarchy", Current Anthropology, 1993)

“If an egalitarian ethos is present, abusive leadership is by definition, deviant.” … "it is a war of the great majority who are willing to settle for equality against the occasional dominator who is not… Upstarts who think they can get away with it.” After extensive study, Boehm concluded that humans consciously maintain egalitarianism by “constraining and controlling upstarts”. Such societies resist domination by ensuring that decisions are made by all, in the interest of all.

We must accept the need for eternal political vigilance and the need for force in the hands of the rank and file, to identify, expose, constrain, or punish those who wish to dominate, manipulate, or exploit us.

In the words of the famous anthropologist Stephen Jay Gould, humans have the capacity for war and destruction as well as peace and creativity.  "Which ultimately shall we choose?  As for the potential path of genocide and destruction, let us take a stand. It need not be.  We can do otherwise. (“The Richness of Life, the Essential Stephen Jay Gould”, 2007) 

We choose egalitarianism: economic, political, and social equality for all, to ensure a world without social status hierarchy, dominance, exploitation, and war.


Those, who control the war-mongering dominance hierarchies of today, are making active plans to foment nuclear war. The task before humanity is urgent.



 Nayvin Gordon, 1/22/24.


Gordon writes about politics and health, and his articles have appeared in: The Mercury News, Counterpunch, Z magazine, Countercurrents, Scoop Independent News, Anderson Valley Advertiser, Socialist Viewpoint, Multiracial Unity Blog, Scientific American, The Oakland Tribune, The Journal of Family Practice, American Family Physician and Dissident Voice

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