Ayllu

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= Communal system of the Andes (Aymara, Bolivia as well as Inca's), predating western colonialism, still existing, and in the process of being revived

Description

1. Bolivia

"Walter Mignolo:

"So what, then, is the ayllu? It is a kind of extended familial community, with a common (real or imaginary) ascendancy that collectively works a common territory. It is something akin to the Greek oikos, which provides the etymological root for ‘economy’. Each ayllu is defined by a territory that includes not just a piece of land, but the eco-system of which that land is one component. The territory is not private property. It is not property at all, but the home for all of those living in and from it. Remember: here, we are not in a capitalist economic organisation." (http://turbulence.org.uk/turbulence-5/decolonial/)


2. Incas

From the Wikipedia:

"The term 'ayllu' refers to a grouping of indigenous people of South America and has been translated as clan. The term represents a group based on assumed blood-ties which operates as an economic and social unit. The Inca Empire was essentially a number of Andean ayllus controlled by a few Inca ayllus. As an economic unit the ayllu represented collective ownership of the land as well as other resources such as llama herds and water sources. The success and cohesiveness of the Andean ayllus was largely due to communal agriculture. Ayllus could regularly split apart due to economic hardships, ignoring blood ties, or come together with other ayllus with whom they did not share genealogy for the purposes necessary co-operation such as in irrigation or defence. Despite regular conquering or grouping of ayllus the individual ayllu would remain intact even after a break up of the group or empire to which it had belonged. This was largely due to their economic self-sufficiency. However conquering ayllus like the Inca, by building the collective state, gained economic and political power and developed into the ruling class, but in doing so lost that self-sufficiency. This meant that the failure or defeat of the collective state meant the demise of the ruling class. The Inca ayllus were based in Cuzco, the empire's capital, which was divided into Hanan-Cuzco (upper Cuzco) and Hurin-Cuzco (lower Cuzco). This separation, common with Andean ayllus is known as dual divisions. The two halves of the ayllu would from separate customs and rites and would form separate units in the army but would remain on good terms with each other socially, taking part in feasts and mock battles. Dual division was mostly religious and symbolic but had little economic relevance.

When a ruler died, their chosen successor would receive all their political power and rights, while the ruler's other male descendants received all the monetary treasures. This process was called split inheritance." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inca)


"According to Ferreira and Chamot "The social system of the Incas had an ancient Andean origin based on the ayllu, an extended family group with a common ancestor. The economic system was also based on ancient social structures and can be explained through several principles, namely reciprocity, redistribution, and vertical control." These authors also add: "Redistribution , a practice employed by the state, ensured that all agricultural goods not exchanged by reciprocity were to be distributed in the different areas of the empire in the case of bad crops." In essence, the government of the Inca functioned as a safe guard against mass starvation." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inca_society#Economy)