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11/18/21 11/18/21 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from new york, this is democracy now! >> it is a sad day in which to sayssuing a depiction of murdering a member of congress is wrong. amy: the house votes to censure republican congressmember paul
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gosar for posting an animated video on social media where he murders congressmember alexandria ocasio-cortez. we will hear we will hear aoc's speech. then we will talk to slate eagle analyst dahlia lithwick. >> all nine of the plaintiffs who were harmed are saying, we want money damages. we want to know who your funding sources are. we want to understand how these networks have hate groups work together. amy: finally, "the dawn of everything: a new history of humanity." we speak to the archaeologist david wengrow about his new book with david graeber the pioneering anthropologist who died last year, just weeks after finishing the epic work. they examine how indigenous cultures contribute greatly to
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what we have come to understand a so-called western ideas of democracy and equality, but these contributions have been erased from history. >> constantly people saying, well, this idea [indiscernible] amy: all that and more, coming up. welcome to democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. the white house had wednesday it will expand u.s. vaccine manufacturing to produce an additional one billion doses a year. critics call the plan a good first step is that much more needs to be done to end the current pandemic and to stop future outbreaks. oxfam america said in a statement, "manufacturing should be spread around the world especially africa, not limited to the u.s."
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fewer than 5% of people in low-income countries have received a single dose of a vaccine. white house coronavirus response coordinator said wednesday about 10% of u.s. children aged five to 11 have gotten their first covid shots. he announced another vaccine milestone. >> today we reach the milestone of 80% of americans 12 and older with at least one shot. a make of the number of people hospitalized with covid 19 continues to climb across the u.s. with cases rising in 36 states. nearly 1100 u.s. residents are dying of the disease on average every day. the house has voted to censure republican congressmember paul gosar for posting an animated video on social media in which he murders congressmember alexandria ocasio-cortez and attacks president biden. gosar has refused to apologize and re-tweeted the video just minutes after the house censured him. he then deleted the post less
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than an hour later. gosar is the first lawmaker to be censured in more than a decade. he was also stripped of his committee assignments. just two republicans voted in favor of censure, adam kinzinger of illinois and liz cheney of wyoming. a man whose horned fur hat, face paint, and six-foot spear made him one of the more recognizable rioters at the deadly january 6 capitol insurrection was sentenced to 41 months in prison on wednesday. jacob chansley had pleaded guilty to obstructing an official proceeding. chansley was among a group that broke into the senate chamber and left a threatening note to vice president mike pence reading, "it's only a matter of time. justice is coming!" in kenosha, wisconsin, jury deliberations continue for a third day in the homicide trial of the white teenage gunman kyle rittenhouse. on wednesday, rittenhouse's attorneys again asked for a
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mistrial, arguing the defense received a lower quality drone video of the night rittenhouse shot and killed two protesters and injured one other. the defense said it may have changed its arguments if it had originally viewed the same higher quality footage that was shown in court during the trial. judge bruce schroeder has yet to rule on either mistrial request from the defense but said he may still do so, even after a potential guilty verdict is delivered. in brunswick, georgia, travis mcmichael took the stand wednesday in his own murder trial and claimed he acted in self-defense when he shot and killed ahmaud arbery after chasing him down in his truck. >> i shot -- >> he had my gun. it was obvious that he was attacked and if he had gotten the shotgun from me, this is a
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life and death situation. amy: travis mcmichael's father gregory mcmichael, a former police officer and their neighbor william bryan are also accused of chasing down and killing arbery, a 25-year-old black man, while he was out for a jog. hundreds of pastors and clergy members are expected to gather outside of the glynn county courthouse today in support of ahmaud arbery's family. the relic comes after defense attorneys repeatedly objected to the presence of reverend jesse jackson and other religious leaders in the courtroom's gallery, saying they were intimidating the jury. in oklahoma, the clock is ticking to save the life of death row prisoner julius jones, who is scheduled to be executed today at 4:00 p.m. central time unless governor kevin stitt grants him clemency. julius jones, a black man, has long maintained his innocence in a 1999 murder, and three people have said in sworn affidavits that jones' co-defendant christopher jordan admitted he was responsible for the killing. the oklahoma pardon and parole board has twice voted in favor
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of commuting jones' sentence to life in prison with the possibility of parole. on wednesday, students across oklahoma city walked out of class in support julius jones. two of the three men convicted of the 1965 assassination of malcolm x are being exonerated today. this comes after decades of advocacy on behalf of the men and after a two-year investigation by the manhattan da's office and the innocence project found that prosecutors the fbi, and the new york police department omitted key evidence around the murder. muhammad aziz is 83, having -- was released on parole in 1985 and has been fighting to clear his name the other man, . khalil islam, died in 2009. tune into democracy now! on friday for much more on this story. climate activists have condemned the biden administration for proceeding with an auction of over 80 million acres in the gulf of mexico for oil and gas extraction. it's the largest-ever sale of drilling leases in the gulf and
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comes just days after the u.n. global climate summit wrapped. an attorney at the center for biological diversity said -- "it's hard to imagine a more hypocritical and dangerous thing for the administration to do. it's incredibly reckless and we think unlawful, too." president biden meets the leaders of canada and mexico at the white house today for a face-to-face meeting informally known as the "three amigos" summit. canada prime minister justin trudeau and mexico's andres manuel lopez obrador will announce the redistribution of millions of covid-19 vaccine doses originally so-called loaned to them by the united states to other countries in the western hemisphere. also on the agenda, the aging line 5 pipeline, which is operated by the canadian company enbridge under the straits of mackinaw. prime minister trudeau is pushing to keep the pipeline open after michigan governor gretchen whitmer ordered it shut down in may over concerns that a spill could devastate the great
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lakes. meanwhile, trudeau and mexican president amlo are opposing a provision of biden's proposed build back better act that would create tax credits for electric vehicles produced by union workers in the united states. vermont senator bernie sanders is calling on lawmakers to reject a proposed $778 billion pentagon budget. the 2022 national defense authorization act calls for a $37 billion increase in military spending compared to president trump's record pentagon budget. is is bernie sanders speaking from the senate floor wednesday. >> there was a time when scientists are telling us that we face an existential threat in tes of climate change. we are told that we just don't have enough money to transform our energy system away from fossil fuel and create a planet that will be healthy and habitable for our kids and future generations.
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just don't have enough money. yet today the u.s. senate wi begin consiration of an annual dense budget that costs $778 billion. amy: in sudan, soldiers fired tear gas at anti-coup marchers who braved a deadly crackdown on demonstrations to return to the streets thursday. the protests came a day after security forces opened fire with live ammunition on marchers in the capital khartoum, killing 15 people and wounding dozens of others. that brings the death toll to at least $.39 sudan's military seized power in an october 25 coup. in washington, d.c. more than 200 protesters were arrested outside the white house wednesday as they held a nonviolent demonstration calling on president biden to prioritize federal voting rights protections. it was the second straight day of large-scale protests in washington. one of those arrested was ben jealous, president of people for the american way and former
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president of the naacp. you can see our interview with him hours before he was detained, at some 10,000 union workers who produce farm equipment for the john deere company have voted to ratify a new six-year contract it will end their month-long strike. 61% of the united auto workers members at john deere voted in favor of the deal, which brings an immediate 10% raise, an $8500 signing bonus, two future 5% raises, and bonuses to workers who meet production targets. meanwhile, some 40,000 healthcare workers at kaiser permanente hospitals across northern california were poised to begin a sympathy strike this morning in solidarity with hundreds of engineers who've been on picket lines for two months demanding better pay. the cdc reports the united states saw more than 100,000 drug overdoses over a 12 month period ending in april, nearly 30% increase over the previous year stoppages the first time annual overdose deaths reached
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six figures. advocates isolation and stress brought on by the pandemic rot high rates of drug abuse. opioids, including fentanyl, accounted for about three quarters of all overdose deaths. and the winners of the 2021 national book awards have been announced. north carolina writer jason mott won the fiction prize for his novel titled "hell of a book." mott's story was inspired by police killings of african americans in recent years. harvard university historian tiya miles won the 2021 nonfiction prize for "all that she carried: the journey of ashley's sack, a black family keepsake." it's the story of a family torn apart by slavery in the mid-19th century. martín espada won an award for his book of poetry, "floaters," which honors asylum seekers who've drowned trying to cross the rio grande into texas. espada read a passage on democracy now! in january 2020.
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>> like a pure bottled thrown into the river by a boy too drunk to cry like the shard of a styrofoam cup drained of coffee round as the river, like the plague of a fishing boat broken in half by the river, the dead float in the dead have a name. floaters, say the men of the voter patrol, keeping watch on night by the river. parts pumping coffee as they say the word "floaters" out as a bubble heart, as issue as it nudges the body to see if it breathes, to see if it moans, to see if it sits up and speaks. amy: winner of the national book award. you can see the whole poem and our interview with him at and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. the house voted to censure
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republican congressmember paul gosar for posting an animated video on social media where he murders congressmember alexandria ocasio-cortez and attacks president biden. just two republicans voted in favor of the censure, adam kinzinger and liz cheney. gosar is the first lawmaker to be censured in more than a decade. he was also stripped of his committee assignments. gosar has refused to apologize and retweeted the violent video after the censure vote. on wednesday, house minority leader kevin mccarthy refused to condemn gosar and called the censure vote an "abuse of power." shortly after the house minority leader spoke, congressmember alexandria ocasio-cortez addressed the house. >> i have been serving in this body just under three years. in that three years, enormous amount has happened. but in response to the
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republican leader's remarks when he says this action is unprecented, what i believe is unprecedented is for a member of house leadership of either party to be unable to condemn incitement of violence against a member of this body. it is sad. it is a sad day in which a member who leads a political party in the united states of america cannot bring themselves to say that issuing the depiction of murdering a member of congress is wrong. and instead, decides to than venture off into a tangent about gas prices and inflation. what is so hard? what is so hard about saying this is wrong?
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this is not about me. this is not about representative gosar. this is about what we are willing to accept. not just the republican leader, but i have seen other members of this party advance the argument, including representative gosar the illusion that this is just a joke. that what we say and what we do does not matter so long as we claim a lack of meaning. now this nihilism runs deep. and it conveys and betrays a certain contempt for the meaning and importance of our work here. that what we do so long as we claim that it is a joke doesn't
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matter, that what we say here doesn't matter, that our actions every day as selected leaders in the united states of america doesn't matter. that this chamber and what happens in it doesn't matter. and i am here to rise to say it does. our work here matters. our example matters. there is meaning in our service. and as leaders in this country when we incite violence with depictions against our colleagues, that trickles down into violence in this country. and that is where we must draw the line, independent of party, identity, or belief. it is about eight core
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recognition of human dignity and value and worth. so when we talk about as mentioned in the resolution that these depictions are part of a larger trend of misogyny and racial misogyny, racist misogyny, this has results in dampening the participation. and so this vote is not as complex as perhaps the republican leader would like to make folks believe. it is pretty cut and dry. do you find -- does anyone in this chamber find this behavior acceptable? would you allow depictions of violence against women, against colleagues?
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would you allow that in your home? do you think this should happen on the school board? in city council? in a church? and if it is not acceptable they are, why should it be accepted here? amy: that was congressmember alexandria ocasio-rtez prior the votto censure republican lawmaker paul gosar for posting an animated video on social media where he murders her and attacks president biden. california comes member jackie speier also spoke wednesday, cosponsor of the censure vote. she herself survived the jonestown massacre in 1978. she was shot five times. she was an aide who was assassinated in the massacre. >> i take no pleasure in introducing this resolution. no one asked me to, no one tapped me on the shoulder. i am a victim of violence.
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i know what it is like. i was also in the gallery clamoring for life when the shots rang out in the speakers lobby. we are here today because a sitting member thought it was ok to post a deranged animated video of himself killing a fellow member of this house. and also attacking the president of the united states. that video has been seen by 3 million people. it was up for over two days before it was taken down. inciting violence begets violence. congressman alexandria ocasio-cortez has become the go to subject of the radical right to stir up their base.
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as often is the case for women of color. it is disgusting and profoundly unacceptable. tragically, the minority leader has not condemned the video. for eight days, he said nothing. silence speaks volumes. silence normalizes violence. violence against women in politics is a global phenomeno a 2016 survey found 82% of women parliamentarians have experienced psychological violence and 44% have received threats of death rape, beatings, or objection. the intent of these online threats against women is clear. silence them. strip them of their power and discourage them from running for office. amy: california commerce member jackie speier speaking before the 223-207 vote to censure
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republican congressmember paul gosar for posting an animated video on social media where he murders congressmember elsie bang and -- congressmember alexandria ocasio-cortez and attacks president biden. congressman gosar retweeted the video after the vote. coming up, the dawn of everything, new history of humidity by david wengrow in the late david graeber who died after finishing the epic work. first, we go to charlottesville organizers of the deli what's a premises rally are on trial. we will speak to dahlia lithwick . stay with us. ♪♪ [music eak]
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amy: this is democracy now!, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with nermeen shaikh. nermeen: welcome to all of our listenerand viewers from around the country and around the world. amy: jurors in charlottesville virginia, are hearing closing arguments today in a civil trial
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that seeks to hold white supremacists accountable for organizing the deadly "unite the right" rally in 2017 and conspiring to commit racially motivated violence. several hundred white supremacists marched with tiki torches across the university of virginia chanting, "you will not , replace us," "jews will not replace us," and "white lives matter." the next day, self-described neo-nazi james alex fields slammed his car into a crowd of anti-racist counter-protesters killing heather heyer and injuring dozens more. he was sentenced to life in prison for murder and hate crimes and lost an appeal this week. two of the white supremacists have been defending themselves in the court room, richard spencer and christopher cantwell. they took the stand tuesday, and tried unsuccessfully to have the judge dismiss the case for lack of evidence, even as they used racial slurs during the trial. when cantwell cross-examined one of the witnesses, holocaust historian deborah lipstadt, he asked her -- "there's no such thing as an
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innocent anti-semitic joke? " after today's closing arguments, jurors are expected to begin deliberations friday. for more, we're joined by dahlia lithwick, senior editor and senior legal correspondent. she's been covering the trial and lived in of charlottesville during the unite the right rally. her recent piece is headlined "why the nazis are treating their trial in charlottesville like a joke." welcome back to democracy now! we are in this key moment of three, when my argue white supremacist trials. yet this one, rittenhouse, in the case of the murder of ahmaud arbery. we're going to start in charlottesville. talk about the uniqueness of this trial and what has been set in the fights between the white supremacists who are representing themselves. >> one of the things that is really striking about this trial is the extent to which we all
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thought the defendants were going to be somewhat organized, they were going to present a coherent front, they were going to at least attempt to prove to the world that what they did was innocent. what we have seen instead is just chaos. the plaintiff's case was airtight. so much documentary evidence. reams of testimony, compelli testimony. when the defense got up to present its case at the beginning of this week, it was in fighting, cap fighting. at one point, richard spencer was questioning jason kessler the local organizer about why he ought was a psycho. as you said, the n-word is being dropped. christopher cantwell was literally standing up and replaying video of himself assaulting. people. one of the lessons of this trial to me, given four years to prepare a defense, these
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entities and people come all they could come up with was performance art showmanship and a little bit about what you heard of paul gosar, just this is a joke, this is fun, this is hilarious, don't you agree? nermeen: you mentioned the plaintiffs, their testimony. what most struck you about what they said? >> i think it is hard not to be moved by the trauma. you had one plaintififf after another, some of whom sustained five changing injuries, some of whom have sustained the kind of posttraumatic stress that has rendered them almost incapacitated, unbelievably tragic trauma. her them talk -- when you heard them talk about what they sustained that day how it has affected their livesnd made them terrified and then to see them being cross-examined,
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again, by the chris cantwells of the world, richard spencers of the world, trying to imply there were some kind of nefarious and people plot and this was a trap laid by anti-fascists in order to discredit the white supremacist movement. i think what has struck me most is the discordance between the genuine life altering suffering of the plaintiffs and the sense that this is just a comedy tour, that it is neither serious nor sober nor warranting of action on the part of the defendant. nermeen: could you explain who is richard spencer and who is cantwell? >> richard spencer rose to fame shortly after donald trump was elected. he was for a momenthe poster y of the freshly scrubbed preppy new face of white
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supremacy. he is credited with inventing the term "altar right," which was supposed to be the freshly scrubbed nazi. right after the election, he led sort of victory party where people gave the nazi salute and shouted nazi slogans. th is richard spencer. he has fallen from grace. he is representing himself. his wife left him with allegations of terrific abuse and is penniless. are also on trial for murdering in this case, ahmaud arbery and contendi self-defense. talk about rittenhouse and his self-defense. >> i thinkou made this point in your lead and that we have now reached a moment where people are claiming self-defense when they brintheir own weapon -- in the case of rittenhouse, across state lines, web and he was not legally entitled to own they bring their weapon into a public setting and in they claim
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self-defense because they feel the weapon was going to be used against them and decided the arbery case for that but rittenhouse, too is laying a claim to this idea that he was in danger and entitled to shoot all of these people in the span of 120 seconds because they were going to take his weapon from him and there were going to kill him with it. the point i was trying to make, and i think this is really connected to the u.s. supreme court hearing oral argument just a few weeks ago in a case that would probably strike down the law, is if everybody has a weapon and everybody feels their weapon can be used against them and then forward a claim, everybody would be reasonable. entirely reasonable in a world where everyone is armed and everybody thinks their ve of all because somne else will shoot them with their own gun that everyone will shoot first. it does not seem like a civil society.
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it seems like the ok corral to me. in a deep, deep sense the rittenhouse jurors have to confront the fact it may have been perfectly reasonable for him to feel he was under threat because his own weapon could be used against him. but what does that say about a world in which everyone could use that as a claim of self-defense? amy: thank you for being with us dahlia lithwick dahlia lithwick,,. when we come back, "the dawn of everything: a new history of humanity." stay with us. ♪ [music break]
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amy: this is democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with nermeen shaikh. we turn now to a groundbreaking new book. it is titled "the dawn of everything: a new history of humanity," written by the late anthropologist david graeber and
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the archeologist david wengrow. the book examines how indigenous cultures contributed greatly to what we have come to understand as the so-called western ideas of democracy and equality, but these contributions have been erased from history. after years of research, the two men completed the book in the summer of 2020 just weeks before david graeber died unexpectedly at the age of 59. he was ovacationn venice italy. graeber s a high influenal anthrologist a a vetan of the intertional anti-capalist moment tha shed for a differentision of globalation. his book "debt: the first 5000 years" made the case for swping debt ncellation. helso help organize the occupy wall street protest on september 17, 2011, and was credited with helping to coin the phrase "we are the 99%." in both his academic and
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activist work, david graeber looked at ways to radically recreate society. this is david graeber speaking on democracy now! just two days after occupy began. >> so i ended up helping to facilitate a meeting of at least 2000 people. it was mostly young people and most were people who have gone to the educational system who were deeply in debt and found it impossible to get jobs. these people feel very strongly that they did the right thing they did what they were supposed to and the system failed them. they're not going to be saved by the people in charge. if there is going to be any kind of society worth living in we're going to have to create it ourselves. amy: that was the late david graeber in 2011. we are joined now by his friend and co-author who wrote "the dawn of everything: a new history of humanity." he joins from london where he is a professor of comparative archaeology at university
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college london. david, thank you so much for joining us. our condolences on the death of david just as you finished this book. david lived just down the street from democracy now! studios in the international ladies garment workers housing complex that is just about a block from here which so much shaped him. can you talk about, well, just start with the title "the dawn of everything" and this new narrative that you both want to bring to the world. >> well, we really started exchanging ideas around the time you're describing, the time of the occupy movement commissar around 2011. we exchanged books. david gave me the debt book you mention. i gave him ia book i wrote
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on ancient civilizations. we are interested in how our fields -- i am an anthropologist -- how we could contribute to debates on social inequality which had been escalating since the financial crash in 2008. initially, we planned to write something quite short, but sort of pamphlet, just introduce readers to major discoveries from our fields that we felt had not really escaped out of the academy into wider consciousness. firstly, this very conventional idea that before human beings invented agriculture we lived almost exclusively in tiny -- hunter-gatherers. it is not true. it is widely inaccurate. there was not a such period of prolonged political innocence.
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and secondly, the equally conventional and entrenched idea that our species became trapped in inequality through the invention of agriculture and then later cities, that is not true, either. actually what the broad sweep of history shows is that living in large-scale densely populated technologically sophisticated societies really doesn't require people to simply give up social freedoms in the way we are often told it does. as you can probably gather by now, this was already getting beyond a short pamphlet. nermeen: david, one of the critical points that your book makes is that encounter between indigenous intellectuals and early european colonists was
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very important to what we now refer to as the enlightenment ideas of democracy, and of inequality. one of the central figures you name is a late 17th century indigenous intellectual. could you explain who he was and what his example illustrates about this broader history of the encounter between european colonists and indigenous peoples? >> yes. well, it goes back to the first question, really. we realized there was something fundamentally strange about the fact human histories conventionally framed in this way about a question about the origins of inequality. where does the question come from? it already seems there is something else, an agent equals or freedom. and tracing it back to its origins, they really go back to an essay competition in 1753, a
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french academy poses that question. what is the origin of social inequality? and reflecting on this we realize this is strange. we're talking about france before the revolution. why do people already assume things were once different? following that line of inquiry led us to the americans in this encounter between european colonists and indigenous societies, particularly around the region of the great lakes of what is now canada. it was in that area that europeans first encountered entire societies built on principles of social freedom that was still completely alien to european civilizations at the time. and this man was very much a product of that social milieu.
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he was a leading figure at the time. he was one of the signatories in 1701 of the great piece of montréal. apart from being a warrior and diplomat, he was clearly regarded by most everyone who met him, europeans and indigenous people, something one of the most intelligent people that ever met. a great anchor, a great orator. he was routinely invited to the table at the den french governor of that part of the colonies to engage in debates with europeans on topics that ranged from christianity to marriage customs, the role of money, and whole idea of clinical freedoms. and many of these conversations were recorded. and in them, he launches a truly stinging critique of european behavior. there's a lot about women's freedoms, a lot about the obsessions with wealth and money
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that forms as power. there many observations on the kind of endemic homelessness that was apparent already then in european towns, colonial towns included. and there's a lot of discussion, a lot of criticism of the way europeans are constantly on the one hand competing with each other, but also differing to each other on the basis of rank and status -- which seems to have been a principal that was alien and absent from your coin speaking societies at the time. so when the chief wanted to engage people in some kind of collective project, there is no real way to command or coerce. it was already predicated on persuasion. it was widely observed by jesuit missionaries and others at the time that people would sit in the village plaza for long area -- hours and try to convince each other and reach consensus on the issues at the time.
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it is not contested that europe in the age of enlightenment adopted important cultural habits of the americans and smoking tobacco from pipes, drinking cap native beverages. some just for some reason it never seems to have occurred to stories that we also borrowed concepts and ideas in the book we try to show that is exactly what happened. this man is a product of that culture, which influenced europeans in quite profound ways. nermeen: one of the things that are striking about e book is what you say here that there was from this manner presumably others to these critiques o european society at the time, could you explain why you think these critiques have been all but entirely erased?
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from the records? from historical records? >> it is a very interesting question because from time to time, the last few decades historians -- some of them like the historian who himself is a detonation with a phd in history, has drawn attention to these sources. but for reasons i can't really explain that really reflect i think very poorly on our institutions and on the academy they have been marginalized. one thing we try to do in our book is shine a light on that existing scholarship. amy: i would like to go back to 2018 when david graeber talked about "the dawn of everything" during a teachout outside your school, the university college london. >> we started saying well, need to be -- if we move that aside,
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what is the real question is where did the idea of inequality comerom? it is like, how do we get stopped in one mode? it is very different having a pole force and you're going to be on the police force this year but next year you will andhe year after that you will, you know, so people aren't going to behave the se in hierarchy if the hierarchy can get ripped down for half the year. and because that is a late david graeber. david wengrow you were sitting next to masi driscoll your school. if you can explain the current debates about both democracy and equality and how they are really explain it differently in "the dawn of everything" in this new history of humanity. >> it is interesting and a bit painful to listen to that clip for many reasons. one of which is we're going to
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be on strike again in a few weeks time over exactly the same issue. what david is describing is one of the major things that came out of our research, which is that human beings for most of the history of our species has simply been a much more playful and experimental species and we tend to give ourselves credit for, including a propensity to simply invent an experiment with different forms of political arrangements. once you realize this is the case, the question itself changes. we start thinking differently about the big questions of human history. if it is not about the origins of inner aldi, so if we do away with this false notion there was once this society of giggles what has been about? what david is talking about in this clip is the other question that then comes into view, which is how do we get stuck in a situation where these days we find it almost impossible to even imagine, let alone put into
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effect, other forms of social arrangements? and how stuck are we, really, in that respect? and i think the first step toward answering that question is precisely to examine the big story that we tell about the history of our species and about human capacities in general. what we're trying to do in the book is blow away the cobwebs of these outdated theories and basically myths which persuade us the kinds of inequality we have today are in fact inevitable result of social evolution. once you take those things away, what you're left with is people making everyday decisions. that in itself seems to us in a important step in getting un stuck. amy: talk about the argument you make around war and competition that it is not evolutionaryily
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rooted in human beings, it is not inevitable. talk about this different view of history when it comes to war. >> when you see -- when he looked directly at the evidence and we do have pretty good evidence, direct evidence these days for things like rates of violence and interpersonal conflicts and injuries in the archaeological record -- the way i would put it is, yes, warfare violence can be traced very far back to the history of our species, but then more inevitable in that body of evidence in the periods of peace and violence and war come and they go, so one concept we are warlike and competitive any more or less than you can say we are innately all truest and cooperative. the question which really emerges from the book is why it is that certain points in
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history violence, including warfare, has a more profound and durable effect than others. in other words, bypassing acts of violence which are obviously traumatic, but they don't always become structural. they don't always become embedded in the fabric of homes and family life, some of the other things you have touched on already in your show today. and that became a real focus of the book and a focus of trying to understand how it is that our societies have gotten to the stage where we do feel trapped and stuck. simply by diagnosing the problem better, we feel that is itself important in reflecting on how one can then untangle oneself from those kinds of violence. nermeen: could you explain david, from david graeber's we just played, how this conception
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of war and violence also has something to do with the fact of hierarchies being fluid in the way your book shows and that david spoke about that people who were occupd and powerful positions did not occupy th in perpetuity, meaning not even in the same year that the was a constant shift between those who were ipower and those who were not? >> this is an excellent example of what i was talking about in the sense the experimental nature, human politics. when we think about hunter having gather societies, we tend to think about perhaps 1, 2 basic forms of egalitarian society. what we found is there's really a large literature on societies that some of them practiced agriculture, some did not. that actually used to flip alternate social systems on a
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seasonal basis. one of the examples in the book which david was referring to where the planes nations, north america. at a certain time of year, it was the time of year when the bison and the buffalo came through on their seasonal migrations and would form into a kind of society that in some respects resembles what we today would call a state. there was a police force. there were squads of soldiers who had full coercive powers if anyone in danger these -- the success of the hunt they can be whipped, present even killed. but the point about this well, there are two points. first, the individuals who occupied those roles those coercive roles rotated on an annual or biannual basis. so you could be confronting the person you whipped and punished the next year and at the other end of the process. in the second is these societies
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with their co-research institutions, did not last beyond the period of the hunting season and the sundowner's ritual which followed. and for the rest of the year, these planes societies would split off into demographically smaller groups, which had entirely different moral systems and where coercion wasn't permitted and people would have to resolve disputes through processes such as deliberation and debate. nermeen: you right in the book just to look at the conte of the arguments that you make in this part monumental work, 700 pages long, that the book began as an appeal to ask better questions. so as academics journalists activists committed to social justice and greater levels of equality, what are the questions that we should be asking? >> well, as you mentioned, david
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was deeply involved in the global justice movement. at least as i perceive it, the central question of that movement is whether our current cultural system, with all of it, issues including its use of sustainability and the climate crisis, whether this is really basically the only way that we can organize our societies today or whether there are in fact viable alternatives. as an anthropologist and an archaeologist, it is a very logical thing to do, simply look at the other ways that humans have in fact organized themselves over the whole span of our species. history. when you do that in the light of modern scientific evidence, other questions and other possibilities do in fact come to light. for example, questions about
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sustainable cities. it turns out for many centuries or even thousands of years, we have evidence now of really large-scale densely populated societies whi lived in cities that were essentially decentralized in terms of their decision-making processes. we have examples of mass societies -- delight amy: 30 seconds. >> without reducing people to numbers in a queue, so they don't have the kind of impersonal bureaucracies that we sort of take for granted today and feel inevitable. amy: we have 10 seconds. >> including one from pre-columbian central america mexico. amy: five seconds. >> democracy which were based on the principle of containing one's ego rather than flaunting one's ego. amy: we have to leave it there david. thank you so much for being with us. people can get it in the book by
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david wengrow and delay david
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