Presented at the World Social Forum in Porto Alegre, January 2002 Women and The Gift Economy
From the dawn of time women’s gifts have been creating and sustaining community, and we have struggled to make the world a better place. In recent years women have been articulating new forms of protest, refusing war and all forms of violence, protecting the environment and all life, creating new multi-centred and diverse political spaces and defining new politics of care, community, compassion, and connectedness.
Women, from both North and South especially from the margins of privilege and power, are creating alternative visions. Over the last decades the growing feminist movement has developed analyses, changed paradigms, built solidarity through listening to each other. We are rethinking democracy, creating new imaginaries, even reconceptualizing the foundations of political society.
The anti-globalization movement is grounded in the new political space women have created. The global dialogue and networking among men, so celebrated today as a new achievement, post-dates the growing global women’s movement by many years. Yet this is rarely acknowledged and feminist leadership is seldom invited. Feminist perspectives remain largely invisible in the struggle against globalization, impoverishing not only women but the struggle as a whole.
We, women of many countries, believe that the death dealing elements of patriarchal capitalist colonial globalisation are rooted, not in unequal exchange alone but in the mechanism of exchange itself. The creation of scarcity, the globalisation of spiritual and material poverty, and the destruction of cultures and species are not failures of a wealth creating system. They are essential expressions of a parasitical centralizing system which denies the gift giving logic of mothering.
Traditional gift-giving societies integrated the logic of mothering into the wider community in many ways. Now socio-economic systems based on the logic of exchange degrade and deny gift giving while co-opting the gifts of most women and many men, dominating the gift givers and destroying the remnants of traditional gift giving societies.
Nevertheless, mothering is a necessity for all societies. Because children are born vulnerable, adults must practice unilateral gift giving towards them. Women are socialized toward this practice which has a transitive logic of its own. Men are socialized away from mothering behavior and towards a self-reflecting logic of competition and domination. The gift logic, functional and complete in itself is altered and distorted by the practice of exchange which requires quantification and measurement, is adversarial, and instills the values of self interest and com- petition for domination. Exchange, especially monetized exchange, the market, and the capitalist and colonial economies that derive from them are formed in the image of masculine values and rewards. For this reason we can characterize capitalism as patriarchal.
In the present stage of patriarchal capitalism, corporations have developed as disembodied non-human entities made according to values of dominance, accumulation and control and without the mitigating rationality and emotional capacity a real human being would presumably have.
Corporations have an internal mandate to grow or die. However, even simple market exchange superimposes itself on gift giving at all levels, cancelling and concealing its value and appropriating its gifts, renaming them as its deserved profits.
Women’s free labor is gift labor and it has been estimated as adding some 40 percent or more to the GNP in even the most industrialized economies. The goods and services provided by women to their families are qualitative gifts that create the material and psychological basis of community. These gifts pass through the family to the market, which could not survive without them.
Profit is a disguised and forced gift given by the worker to the capitalist. Indeed the market itself functions as a parasite upon the gifts of the many. As capitalism “evolves” and spreads, its market becomes needy for new gifts, commodifying free goods which were previously held in common by the community or by humanity as a whole. The destructive methods of appropriation which feed the market also create the scarcity necessary for the exchange-based parasite to maintain its control. Since gift giving requires abundance, the parasite can only keep the gift giving host from gaining power by creating artificial scarcity through the monopolization of wealth.
Northern patriarchal capitalism has grown exponentially by invading the economies of the South and extracting their gifts. In the past whole continents have been appropriated, their territories and peoples divided into private property of the colonizers, their gifts commodified. Today, in a new form of colonization, traditional indigenous knowledge and plant species, as well as human, animal, and plant genes are being patented and privatized so that the gifts of the planet and humanity are passing again, at a new level into the hands and profits of the few.
The mechanisms of exploitation are often validated by the very institutions that are established to protect the people. Laws are made in the service of the patriarchal parasite and justice itself is formed in the image of exchange, the payment for crime. Apologists for patriarchal capitalism exist at every level of society from academia to advertising. The very language they use has been stolen, the common ground of its meanings distorted and co-opted in the service of the perpetrators of economic violence. Thus “free trade” apes the language of the gift and liberation while it is only short hand for more exploitation and dominance.
While fair trade seems to be better than unfair trade, it is not the liberating alternative we seek. Exchange itself and not just unequal exchange must give way to the gift. The answer to the injustice of the appropriation of the abundant gifts of the many is not a fair return in cash for the theft but the creation of gift based economies and cultures where life is not commodified.
While such a radical change may appear extremely difficult, it is more “realistic” than simply continuing in our attempts to survive and care for one another in the frighteningly destructive and increasingly toxic world we know today, for these attempts are doomed to failure in the long term.
Women have worked to transform political spaces and have made important, though fragile and highly contested gains in the last decades in affirming women’s legal, sexual and reproductive rights, challenging fundamentalism, opposing violence, and war, improving women’s education, health and economic conditions. These struggles have broken new ground while remaining within the exchange paradigm.
we want a market-free society, not a free-market society (just like we want to be free from domination not dominate to be free). We will create the world we want while keeping intact our full humanity, humor and hope.
We believe that the Earth is an infinite, stationary planate that has no end; as above, so below, with the sun, moon, stars and all other celestial bodies orbiting cyclically above Mother Earth. The Earth is the center of the Universe. We do not believe in the Heliocentric Model of the Globe Earth Theory (Spinning Ball around the sun). The Earth can be anthropomorphosized as "living in the womb of Mother Earth". Earth-centered religion or nature worship is a system of religion based on the veneration of natural phenomena. It covers any religion that worships the earth, nature, or fertility gods and goddesses, such as the various forms of goddess worship or matriarchal religion. Some find a connection between earth-worship and the Gaia hypothesis. Earth religions are also formulated to allow one to utilize the knowledge of preserving the earth: Earthkeeping. Another perspective of earth religion to consider is pantheism, which takes a varied approach to the importance and purpose of the earth, and Human's relationship with the planet. Several of their core statements deal with the connectivity humans share with the planet, declaring that "all matter, energy, and life are an interconnected unity of which we are an inseparable part" and "we are an integral part of Nature, which we should cherish, revere and preserve in all its magnificent beauty and diversity. We should strive to live in harmony with Nature locally and globally". According to Marija Gimbutas, pre-Indo-European societies lived in small-scale, family-based, intentional communities that practiced matrilineal succession and goddess-centered religion where creation comes from the woman. She is the Divine Mother who can give life and take it away. In Irish mythology she is Danu, in Slavic mythology she is Mat Zemlya, and in other cultures she is Pachamama, Ninsun, Terra Mater, Nüwa, Matres or Shakti, etc (known by 10,000 names).
WHY EARTHKEEPING? We are all indoctrinated to want to get away from Earth, to disconnect from Her, to separate from our Mothers. We are encouraged to believe in heaven or hell, or escape and live on Mars, or a doomsday scenario that will wipe us all out (a "RESET") or a rapture in which people disappear leaving even their clothes behind and billions of corpses spring out of ancient graves like zombies in a horror movie or meditation/yoga beliefs that want to end the cycle of rebirth/reincarnation of being born on Earth. Instead of naming the problem people would rather fool themselves with promise of a new Earth and a new heaven instead of fixing the one we are destroying right now. We call this "GONISM". The irresponsible and callous desire to escape Earth, to always desire something better than what we already have right here. No-one owns the water. No-one owns the land. No-one owns the ocean. No-one owns the sand. This is given from our Mother. The Earth provides for free. Only by the hands of the greedy does the Earth require a fee. "The big mistake began when god was re-created in a male image that makes life so perverted and death so un-natural. We should have kept the image of life as created in the birth pain of God the Mother. We would know that our life's rhythm beats from her great heart and death would be a passing back into her substance. But what we have now is a god who pounds his chest and thunders with egotism." - Eugene O'Neil And finally, it doesn't need to be very complicated. Everyone is free to believe and say what they want and others have the right to openly disagree with you. We don't believe in human supremacy, but we do believe that humans have a higher responsibility than all other species, as Earthkeepers. We don't shun all modern technology, but we aim to have more awareness of what, how and why we consume.
DO NOT HARM ANYONE (Sex Crimes/Violent Crimes); Especially Women and Children, Elderly, Disabled.
WILDERNESS, ECOSYSTEM & BIODIVERSITY PRESERVATION
SIMPLE & INTENTIONAL LIVING (TREADING LIGHTLY ON MOTHER EARTH)
SUSTAINABLE USE & CONSUMPTION OF NATURAL RESOURCES (INCLUDES PLANTS FOR FOOD)
MINIMIZE WASTE BY RECYCLING, REPURPOSING AND COMPOSTING.
GROW YOUR OWN FOOD
PRACTICE OF THE GIFT ECONOMY/TRADING
WE NEED TO RETURN TO THE TEMPLE OF NATURE AND THE MATERNAL ROOTS OF THE GIFT ECONOMY. CHOOSE GAIANISM NOT GONISM! click images below
Gaianism vs gonism
Matriarchy vs patriarchy
"XAnthos" means yellow and "Anthos" means flower. There are literally thousands of plant and/or animals and insects species named after xanthos, anthos, lycia, matricaria, Artemisia, etc. This is not just a coincidence and after years of studying linguistics and being a master decoder, I have come to believe that the Latin names of plants are telling an ancient story of Matriarchy and worship of The Great Mother Earth. When we say "Earth", this includes all life, both seen and unseen, above and below, and the entire cosmos itself. The Earth is a living, infinite Realm or Womb not a spinning globe. Our passion for Earthkeeping is directly related to our love and loyalty to Mother Earth as the original source of all life from the very beginning, who provides and sustains us.
We are also inspired by many different spirituality and religions from around the world, although we do favor Greek Mythology and Mother India. We have reclaimed, renamed and reinvented our family holidays, traditions, beliefs and practices, etc to reflect our love for diversity and rich culture. XAnthos offers a comprehensive solution to the problems we face in the world today. As old systems and programs need torn down, XAnthos is the appropriate replacement. We are the new Amarika!
Below is an inspirational story of the original Xanthos.
The ancient city of Xanthos Turkey (Xantos, Xhantos, Xanths) became famous by the heroic deeds of its people not once, but twice, they burned their city so it did not get to the enemy. This is one of the oldest cities referred to in the "Iliad" of Homer and myth of Bellerophon. In ancient times it was one of the most powerful cities of the time and the capital of the Lycian Union.
Today it attracts tourists by the ancient ruins of Lycian tombs. And interestingly enough, the U.S. constitution is also influenced by the Lycian Government.
According to ancient Greek mythology Xanthos was founded by Sarpedon from Crete. The first official mention of Xanthos in the chronicles of the conquest of the Astyages (Median King of Lycia) dates back to 545 BC. When his army surrounded the city and defenders figured out that there was no chance of escape they set fire to their homes and property and continued to fight. As a result only eight families remained alive that accidentally were outside the city walls. When they returned they zealously began to rebuild the city. And soon Xanthos became as powerful as ever. In the end of 4 century BC Xanthos was conquered by Alexander the Great and after his death the city passed to the Ptolemaic Dynasty. In 168 BC Xanthos has reached its prosperity and became the capital of Lycia.
The story of self-immolation repeated in 42 AD and come down to us through the descriptions of Plutarch. During the civil war in Roman Empire the Xanthos ancient city was besieged by Brutus troops. After a terrible and bloody battle only 150 men and a few women remained alive. And again like a phoenix Xanthos revived and become even more beautiful than before.
The Lycian tombs are most interesting in Xanthos. Harpy Tomb is 8.87 m tall and was named because of the images of two female birds. It is believed that they are mythical harpies. According to another version they are sirens that carry away the souls of the dead to the underworld. The XAnthos Letoon Trilingual can also be found of temples dedicated to Leto, Artemis, and Apollo. The ancient city was formally known by the name of Arinna or Arinniti, the sun goddess of the hittite pantheon known in their language as "Utu". Ironically enough, Inanna, a babylonian goddess, is known as the sister of Utu although Utu is said to be her brother. Here in XAnthos, we see a connection with Hittites and Babylonian Pantheons.
A Poem found on a tablet in the Xanthos excavations reads as follows:
We made our houses graves And our graves are homes to us Our houses burned down And our graves were looted We climbed to the summits We went deep into the earth We were drenched in water They came and got us They burned and destroyed us They plundered us And we, For the sake of our mothers, Our women, And for the sake of our dead, And we, In the name of our honor, And our freedom, We, the people of this land, Who sought mass suicide We left a fire behind us, Never to die out...
Ancient XAnthos refused to surrender and neither will we. For as long as HIS-story has been recorded, Goddess worship has been sought after and destroyed throughout the entire Earth. On behalf of all our deceased ancestors (especially women and children) who were slaughtered by the hands of patriarchal men in the name of their false monotheistic sky gods, we dedicate The New XAnthos!
Ancient Anatolia-If you are interested in the history of the Earth Mother, Anatolia has much to say on this outstanding Cult. Indeed the whole country is full of impressive relics about the Mother Goddess and related, reflected beliefs..
It is our belief that Ancient Anatolia was inspired, once again, by Mother India. Evidence of this is found in the Latoon. The Letoon (Ancient Greek: Λητῶον), sometimes Latinized as Letoum, was a sanctuary of Leto ... cult of an earlier mother goddess— she is Eni Mahanahi in Lycia— which was superseded by the worship of Leto, joined by her twin offspring. Mahanahi could have easily been mistranslated if the text was damaged, in which case we believe it was "Mahanadi" which is a River in India. This interpretation is confirmed when you know the definition of Eni. The Sanskrit word "Eni" means the der (deer); flowing stream, which was later wrongfully mistranslated (by men) as the Greek Huntress,Artemis.
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