Screened for centuries, there is indeed another civilized system that could spare us the disasters heralded by the collapse of our civilization. It is matriarchy. Living in matriarchy can help us avoid these catastrophes. Modern research on matriarchies, conducted for example by the philosopher Heide Göttner-Abendroth 1 has clarified it in concrete terms. And the results of this research are truly inspiring and encouraging.
Of course, this work and this new paradigm are still largely ignored and denigrated2 . There is even a fairly widespread belief that we have been living for a long time in some form of matriarchal families. This explains why we prefer to use the term "matriarchist". The supposed matriarchal families that some people evoke, even if they really existed, have very little to do with the balanced political, social and economic system found in matriarchies.
The situation of Western women has changed dramatically over the last century. In the province of Quebec in Canada for example, within just a few decades we have moved from being emblematic of a particularly oppressive Catholic patriarchy for women to one of the places in the world where women's emancipation is envied3 .
From a "matriarchist" point of view, we could summarize the current situation by saying that: Western women have already proved that they could eventually become the equal of men in this world that has been conceived and thought for and by men.
In fact, despite all the gains made to achieve some form of equality between men and women in the West, we still live in fundamentally "patriarchist" societies. We also prefer to use the term "patriarchist", rather than patriarchal, to describe the civilization in which we live. The adjectives matriarchal and patriarchal have been too closely associated with the roles of fathers and mothers of families in the West. We can no longer afford to play the puppets in this strategy so effective and clever to divide us to better let the ruling class prevail. In a matriarchy, there is absolutely no question of wanting to oppose fathers to mothers of families, and by extension men to women. This "war" of the sexes is absurd and leads nowhere.
Patriarchy and matriarchy are systems that are not limited to the functioning of families, although families play extremely important roles in both cases. These are two different types of civilization. Each has developed political and economic systems based on worldviews with fundamentally different goals. The patriarchy establishes by force relations of domination by dividing the population into more or less hermetic classes which form a pyramid. Whereas matriarchy bases the organization of society on the central role played by mothers in the cycle of life.
However, keep in mind that human civilizations are extremely complex. Neither pure patriarchy or pure or total matriarchy has ever existed. And wish that none ever exists. The goal of the Matriarchist Party is to show that radical but tested solutions exist to get our world out of the impasse in which it finds itself. Our goal is not to impose a point of view on others. It is rather to recognize that our way of life is organized and conditioned on bases that are leading us to our loss. And that profound changes to our collective operating rules will restore hope for better days for our community and for future generations.
The family that exists above all for each and every one of us is first and foremost the one that binds us to our mother. This is what matriarchy simply recognizes by identifying the mother as the one who invests her whole being in the origin of the cycle of life. The very important role of the spermatozoon in the process of creating human life is comparable to that of the oocyte. At this point, the father and the mother are at the same level. What sets the mother apart is putting many aspects of her life at risk during pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding. Generally, mothers also invest a lot in the early years of newborns. It is an invaluable contribution of mothers to the upholding of human society.
Patriarchy opposes to this evidence an almighty father who would be "the mother of the world"4 , the foundation of our monotheistic religions. The word patriarchy thus refers to the original or founding meaning of the Greek suffix "arkhe", while emphasizing its other meaning of dominant power. It is the patriarchs, or the fathers of the nation, who hold this role. Within religions, first of all, maintaining this belief of the all-powerful creator god deeply and firmly rooted in the minds of citizens. This belief is found explicitly for example, in the preamble to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms of the Constitution Act, 1982.5
The first step in establishing a patriarchy is the conquest of a territory and the submission of its people by force. At the political level, the patriarchs then maintain a system where the peoples are divided into a hierarchy of several levels of decision-making powers. These powers are held by a designated or elected minority. This organization is controlled by armed forces responsible for maintaining order. The order being that established by the patriarchs themselves, originally almost exclusively men, in their interest and not in that of the people.
At the economic level, the patriarchs have introduced the concept of private property, on which our economy is based. This expression comes from the verb to "deprive", itself derived from the Latin "privare" which means to take away from others what they have or to deprive them of the right to access it. Originally, it is essentially a theft. The others were deprived of access to a territory that they could freely access before. Here in Canada and the Americas, despite all the acrobatics of the colonial administrations to hide this reality, it is very difficult to see otherwise what happened to our first nations.6
The patriarchist economy aims to maintain or improve the privileged position of the ruling class. This is most often done to the detriment of the lower classes. In the West, the economic system put in place to play this role is capitalism. It adds to the notion of private property that of freedom of the market. The accumulation of private property and wealth by the ruling class has grown uninterrupted over the past centuries. Since the 1980s, the "neo-liberal" ideology with its ultimate weapon of "globalization" markets has tackled the "colonization of the globe"7 .
The gap between the rich and the poor has never been greater. The ecological balance of our world has never been so precarious. The Earth itself is the target of global nuclear and climate threats. All of this is a direct consequence of the patriarchist civilization that has taken control of our world.
The existence of an all-powerful father who is at the same time the mother of the world, does not correspond to anything found on Earth. To allow us to believe it, the patriarchs of our religions have imagined a "next world", where many other things would be possible too. One of those particularly attractive things is this idea of an eternal life that would continue in that afterlife, after death. With the success of this idea, our religions have decided to extend it also to the organization of the family. Suddenly, thanks to "marriage", the union of a couple of parents had to be "eternal" too. In fact, to last at least until the death of one of the members of the couple.
Even today in the Province of Quebec for example, death is the only situation that automatically leads to the end of marriage. The only other possibility of ending a marriage is divorce. And this one must be approved by a judge, based on only 3 possible reasons8 . One of these motives is adultery committed by one of the spouses (infidelity). Marriage is based on monogamy, the sexual exclusivity of partners. The patriarchist point of view can also be found more clearly in the etymology of the word marriage, that is, it is the family of the husband ("Mari" in French).9
The obvious goal is to grow the private property model by helping, for example, married couples to establish themselves on a small piece of conquered land, of which they are legally assigned private ownership. By spreading the new families on the territory, one thus carried out its exploitation on a larger scale, with each generation. It is a very effective way to support colonization10 .The economy patriarchs were delighted with this new way of seeing the family. It allowed them to increase their wealth even more quickly.
Of course, couples are far less eternal than life. Freed from religious hegemony, Quebec society is now witnessing the painful and chaotic dismantling of its families11 , supposed to last at least the whole life of the parents. What is quite amazing is that very few people dare question this model of the family, or even just that belief of an eternal couple of parents.
Religious marriage has institutionalized monogamy, the single marriage12 . Subsequently, a very strong stream of ideas trying to prove that human monogamy is "natural" has spread. As if it could be found in the animal world13 .
However, it is very difficult to find a consensus on the definition of animal monogamy. Because nothing compares to what humans have institutionalized as religious marriage with animals. Although there are rather broad definitions, animal monogamy is generally understood to mean keeping the same partner at least during the offspring growing season. Even if we stick to this lax definition, we can hardly justify institutionalized human monogamy today. Nowadays, the more the members of human societies are free, the less monogamy is frequent. That is, parents couple duration is shorter and shorter. And has less and less to do with offspring growth. The human being is therefore obviously not naturally monogamous.
And yet monogamy still resonates in the scientific world, which persists to use this term. Despite the manifest unlikelihood of this postulate, scientists go so far as to describe the human reproduction mode as "sequential"14 or "serial" monogamy.
This wording almost qualifies as an oxymoron. Indeed, the prefix "mono" clearly means "one". One wonders how it is possible to continue talking about human monogamy today when the sequence of sexual relations with different partners can sometimes be counted in minutes or hours.
It is as if the Western scientific community was unable to see the family other than from the parents couple's point of view15 .
Are we trying to make us believe that during these thousands of years of human civilization, none would have successfully implemented another family lifestyle than monogamy?
The collapse of the patriarchist nuclear family is obvious when we observe a gradual decline in the duration of parental couples. But the grip of this model remains a foundation of patriarchy even today. However, marriage is only an intermediate step towards its ultimate goal of taking control of the natural order of motherhood, becoming the only creator of human life. Assisted reproductive technologies have developed at a phenomenal rate, particularly in the last half-century. We are getting closer and closer to the ultimate moment targeted by patriarchy. The one where mankind (from the male point of view) will really become the creator of life, almost without natural help. Because we still count at the base on the spermatozoon and the oocyte to achieve this "feat"16 .
When this goal is achieved, marriage and the nuclear model of the family will no longer be of any use to patriarchy. But we are not there yet. And above all, is this really the path we want to take to "save" humanity?
The patriarchy in which we live is therefore based on four founding axes:
- The conquest of a territory and the control by force of an order established and decided originally by a ruling class;
- The belief in an all-powerful patriarch god, at the origin of everything and controlling everything;
- An economy based on private property and the growth of a free market for the benefit of a dominant class;
- A social organization grouping families based on the immutable union of a couple of parents.
If that is what the patriarchy in which we live looks like, what could a matriarchy look like? We attempt to answer this question precisely in this manifesto. If we propose to replace our patriarchy with a matriarchy, it is because we believe that life in matriarchy will adequately solve many of the fundamental problems facing our civilization.
First, in a matriarchy, the world is not designed for and by women. This is the first myth that it is essential to debunk. And that is causing a lot of confusion. The etymology of the word includes the Latin prefix "Mater" (the mother) and the Greek suffix "Arkhè", both well known. But "Arkhè" is not used here in the sense of command, dominant power or authority. It is rather "Arkhè" in its broader sense of origin or foundation17 .
A matriarchy is thus a society that recognizes mothers as being the base, the founding, and central element. It is not at all about a society that is "dominated" by mothers. Conventional research has thus sought to seek a civilization where mothers, and by extension women, would have found themselves in a dominant position in relation to men. The existence of this kind of matriarchy is indeed difficult to demonstrate.
On the other hand, the existence of civilizations in which mothers play a central role (not only limited to the family sphere) is very well documented. In these societies, men most often retain an important political role. This is one of the reasons often cited to oppose the idea of calling these societies matriarchies. In fact, it simply shows that these are societies in balance18
Giving them the status of matriarchy allows us to consider them as another well-organized political, social and economic system. It is the basic inspiration behind the writing of these pages.
Let's take the Iroquois, one of the most famous matriarchies. The constitution of the Iroquois Confederacy has been carefully transcribed by the founders of the United States so that it can be used as inspiration19
Article 44 is unambiguous about the central role given to mothers :
44. The lineal descent of the people of the Five Nations shall run in the female line. Women shall be considered the progenitors of the Nation. They shall own the land and the soil. Men and women shall follow the status of the mother20 .
Unfortunately, the balanced social organization of the Iroquois has not crossed the barriers of culture and time, so close to us. During its history, the Quebec nation has in fact often got close to the Amerindian nations. The intermingling of our two cultures was part of a concrete reality not so long ago. For example, the Francophone origins of the Métis Nation are undeniable. And many Quebecers proudly mention having "Indian" blood flowing through our veins!
Matriarchies were common among Aboriginal societies in North America. Work to restore their status as authentic matriarchies is a valuable source of inspiration to help establish modern matriarchies. Barbara Alice Mann, a proud descendant of the Iroquois matriarchy, is one of the leading figures of this movement. For example, her work dates the establishment of the Iroquois Confederacy back to 1142. This places the Iroquois Confederacy among the oldest democracies still alive, with the cantons of Switzerland and the Government of Iceland21
But consider the Iroquois nation a democracy is certainly debatable. Without directly contradicting this statement, Barbara Alice Mann believes that the idea of distributing equal political power among the entire population is "a prescription for disaster" 22 .
For that matter, we propose a new political system more in line with matriarchies : Aviacracy:_voting_with_care,_wisdom_and_awareness Aviacracy. That is, grandmothers’ exclusive right to vote.
A more realistic definition of matriarchies also allows us to consider several matriarchies that still exist today, such as the Mosuo, the Khasi and the Minangkabau, in Asia. These last two include populations that number in the millions. The Mosuo were chosen as a model community by the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) as part of the United Nations’ fiftieth anniversary in 1995.
The committee responsible for selecting 50 model communities was co-chaired by Pierre-Marc Jonhson23 .
In its press release, IISD reports that the matriarchal organization of the Moso has allowed them to maintain a fair distribution of wealth and resources for 2000 years 24 .
IISD also makes it clear that the choice of the Mosuos as a model community is intended to inspire change elsewhere in the world.
Contrary to what many members of the scientific community still believe, we must consider these societies as examples from which we can draw great lessons. There is indeed much to draw inspiration from, we who are far from qualifying as fair models of wealth and resources’ distribution.
More generally, matriarchies are civilizations which rest on a model in the form of cycle, inspired by the natural life. Mothers are identified as being the origin and are given the utmost respect. Natural skills related to motherhood are also celebrated. It provides mothers with fundamental roles in the organization and operation of these societies. Ensuring that decision-making bodies are always subject to the rule of consensus prevents situations in which a group could become dominant.
We do have before us a credible, viable and proven alternative to our delusional patriarchal capitalist democracy. Matriarchies are based on cycles rather than on the growth pyramid of patriarchy. They thus offer the fundamental advantage of being able to last practically forever.
Original quote : « … la société matriarcale n'est pas une utopie abstraite, contrairement à des projets de société purement philosophiques. De telles utopies ne se sont jamais traduites concrètement dans l'histoire de l'humanité. Au contraire, la société matriarcale est une expérience concrète, vécue pendant les périodes les plus longues de l'histoire des civilisations […]. Ses règles montrent comment peut s'organiser une vie commune, suivant les besoins, en paix, sans violence, c'est à dire tout simplement humainement. » (p. 6)
Heide Göettner-Abendroth, La recherche moderne sur le matriarcat : Définitions, perspectives, actualité
Matriarchiv.info, not dated
Original quote: « … nous nous disons parfois que notre société irait mieux si nous quittions le patriarcat pour entrer dans le matriarcat. … Cette vision des choses est un peu naïve et n’est fondée ni sur le plan historique, ni sur le plan culturel, ni sur le plan biologique. » (p. 13)
Serge Bouchard, Une société matriarcale est-elle plus juste?
From La planète des hommes / directed by Mario Proulx
Bayard Canada Books, 2005 - 209 pages, ISBN 2895790396
Original quote: « Dans la Belle province, c'est la journée de la femme tous les jours, ou presque! »
http://www.lexpress.fr/emploi/gestion-carriere/au-quebec-le-machisme-n-a-pas-droit-de-cite_1260285.html Danielle Stanton, Au Québec, le machisme n'a pas droit de cité
In the section « S’installer au Canada » of the French magazine L’Express
CAPITALIST PATRIARCHY AND THE NEGATION OF MATRIARCHY THE STRUGGLE FOR A “DEEP” ALTERNATIVE
Claudia von Werlhof, Vaughan, Genevieve (ed.): Women and the Gift Economy. A Radically Different World View is Possible, Toronto 2007 (Inanna), pp. 139-153
Constitution Act, 1982 (visited April 9th, 2016)
Justice Laws Website (Canada.ca)
Original quote: « Avec créativité et passion, le mouvement Idle No More a mis en évidence les dynamiques abusives présentes de longue date entre les gouvernements canadiens successifs et les peuples autochtones. Il a fait la lumière sur des années de malhonnêteté, de racisme et de vol pur et simple. »
Idle No More
Daniel Chapdelaine, À babord (visited April 9th, 2016)
Original quote: « ces « réformes » rétablissent les modèles coloniaux, font obstacle à toute planification nationale et à toute véritable démocratie, tout en mettant en place les structures d’un monde d’inégalité croissante dans lequel la vaste majorité est vouée à la souffrance et au désespoir pour servir les intérêts d’un très petit nombre de privilégiés et de puissants » (outside back cover)
Noam Chomsky about the book Mondialisation de la pauvreté et nouvel ordre mondial (The Globalization of Poverty and the New World Order, French Ed.) from Michel Chossudovsky,
Marriage in Quebec (visited June 6th, 2018)
Original quote : « La source étymologique bien arrangeante du mot "mariage" depuis le latin "matrimonium", bien que souvent citée est à écarter : "Mariage" vient de la source "mari" (le mâle) et non de "matri" (la mère). »
Etymologie Français latin grec Sanskrit (visited June 17th, 2018)
Marriage and Colonization, Soldiers < br /> Daily Life in New France (visited June 17th, 2018)
Original quote : « C'est peu dire que la famille soit en crise. Le chamboulement de l'institution a jeté ses membres dans un profond désarroi qui nourrit une pathologie familiale dont les symptômes commencent seulement à poindre : violence conjugale, violence parentale, suicide, décrochage scolaire, abandon parental pur et simple, rajeunissement de la délinquance et du crime, etc. » (p. 198)
Daniel Dagenais, La fin de la famille moderne
Les Presses de l'Université Laval, 2000
« en grec, le terme vient de deux mots signifiant unique, et mariage »
« monogame », definition from le dictionnaire Littré (visited April 10th, 2016)
Original quote: « Il s’agit de justifier par la « nature » le modèle de conjugalité des humains imposé jusqu’ici par l’Église »
Frank Cézilly, La monogamie est-elle naturelle ? (visited April 10th, 2016)
Original quote : « Ruptures et divorces rythment la monogamie humaine. Il serait donc plus juste de qualifier notre monogamie de « séquentielle », où plusieurs partenaires se succèdent habituellement au cours d’une vie humaine. »
Capsule outil: La monogamie humaine : causes et conséquences (visited June 17th, 2018)<br/> Bruno Dubuc,Université McGill
Original quote : « Le service de la vie La famille, plus précisément l’union stable et durable d’un homme et d’une femme, apparaît comme le mode le plus efficace, le plus adapté, pour assurer la reproduction, le renouvellement des générations. »
Jean-Didier Lecaillon, La famille au coeur de la société. La femme au centre de la famille
Académie d’Education et d’Etudes Sociales, February 2002 (visited Avril 16th, 2016)
Original quote : « Nous allons inexorablement vers une humanité unisexe, sinon qu’une moitié aura des ovocytes et l’autre des spermatozoïdes, qu’ils mettront en commun pour faire naitre des enfants, seul ou à plusieurs, sans relation physique, et sans même que nul ne les porte. Sans même que nul ne les conçoive si on se laisse aller au vertige du clonage. »
[http://www.slate.fr/story/67709/humanite-unisexe-biologie-immortalite Jacques Attali Vers l’humanité unisexe
slate.fr, 29.01.2013 (visited April 16th, 2016)
Peggy Reeves Sanday, Women at the Center : Life in a Modern Matriarchy
Cornell University Press, 2003
Original quote : « Toutes les personnes qui font des recherches sur ce thème ne donnent pas le même nom à cette forme de société, certain-e-s parlent de sociétés "matri-focales", d'autres de sociétés "matristiques" ou "matri-centrées" ou gylaniques. Elles/ils sont cependant d'accord sur un point : elles/ils font référence à la même forme de société qui ne présente pas de modèle patriarcal et qui se distingue par un niveau élevé de solidarité et de stabilité : Il s'agit donc d'une société en équilibre. » (p. 2)
Heide Goettner-Abendroth, La recherche moderne sur le matriarcat : Définitions, perspectives, actualité,
Bruce E. Johansen, Native American Ideas of Governance and the United States Constitution
eJournal USA, U.S. Department of State / June 2009 (visited June 18th, 2018)
http://www.ratical.org/many_worlds/6Nations/DatingIC.html Dating the Iroquois Confederacy (visited June 18th, 2018)
Barbara Alice Mann, conference
A (M)otherworld is Possible : Two Feminist Visions - Matriarchal Studies - The Gift Economy
October 23-25, 2009, York University, Toronto, Canada
We the Peoples: 50 Communities Awards (visited June 18th, 2018)
We the Peoples: 50 Communities Awards (visited June 18th, 2018)