Letter: History lessons

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The Independent Online
Your leading article of 21 January makes an apposite comment on the reverential attitude of the prehistoric cave painters of Vallon-Pont-d'Arc towards the animals they hunted, killed and ate. But there is another fundamental material contrast between prehistoric societies and our own. Big-game hunting communities operate through collective processes of production and consumption that have led some anthropologists to describe them as "primitive communist". What the protesters of Shoreham and Brightlingsea, the Claremont Road anti-M11 campaigners, and others are resisting is precisely the ideology of free-market forces that justifies ruthless exploitation of the natural environment by a few profit-hungry individuals, squeezing the last drop of blood from every living creature. In calling a halt to such selfish abuse, these broad coalitions of activists are on collision course with the economics of privatisation. It is but a small step to the ideals of the Labour Party's Clause IV, and a return of the resources of our planet to community ownership and control.

Yours faithfully, Chris KnighT (Department of Sociology University of East London)

CAMILLA POWER (University College, London)

Dagenham, Essex 23 January