The landowners seeing their estates going to ruin decided that it would be best

The landowners seeing their estates going to ruin

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down. The landowners, seeing their estates going to ruin, decided that it would be best to grant the legal freedom for which slaves were clamoring, and to keep exploiting the labor of these free serfs by insuring that they had no lands to plow other than those of the landlords. Thereby, a new set of social relations—that of landlord and serf—replaced~the olcf rela- tions of slavemaster antlslave. In somn instances, the changeover to_a..newjnode was accompanied by violence at a critical point This occurred when the ruling classes involved were being threatened with removal by the process of change. The feudal landlords remained in power for centuries during which the merchant and manufacturing interests grew wealthy and sought to achieve political power and social pre-eminence. When classes are so well defined, their con- sciousness is at a high level. Both the landlord class and the capitalists recognized what was at stake. The former fought to hold on to the social relations which no longer corresponded to the new technology of machine production and the organization of work by means of purchasing labor power. The capitalists flung themselves into revolutions in Europe in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries to break the old relations of produc- tion. The notions of revolution and class consciousness must be borne in mind when it comes to examining the situation of the modem worker and peasant classes in Africa. However, for the greater part of Africa’s history, the existing classes have been incompletely crystallized and the .changes have been gradual rather than revolutionary. What is probably of more relevance for early African develo ment is the pnnciplethat development oyer the world’s territorieshas always been unevetL ' " " While all societies have experienced development, it is equally true that the rate of development differed from continent to continent, and within each continent different parts increased their command over nature at different rates. Inside Africa, Egyptians were capable of producing wealth in abundance twenty-five centuries ago, because of mastery of many sci- entific natural laws and their invention of technology to irrigate, grow food, and extract minerals from the subsoil. At that time, hunting with HOW EUROPE UNDERDEVELOPED AFRICA 9 bows and even wooden clubs was what people depended on for survival in most parts of the African continent—and in various other places such as the British Isles. One of the most difficult questions to answer is exactly why different peoples developed at different rates when left on their own. Part of the answer lies in the environment in which human groups evolved and part of . |A it lies in the “superstructure” of human society. That is to say, as human j.
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