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The Mother of Democracy

By Demosthenes Kyriazis


Natural and political power systems.

In the sets of insects, of birds, of animals and of people, power systems were developed, aiming at ensuring to all members of the set the basic subsistence goods; the goods of the food, of the safety and of the education. These systems, which were developed by the wisdom of Nature, are the natural power systems. Instead, in the human societies, power systems were developed by the controversial wisdom of man, that at the beginning had the same objectives as those of natural systems, but later men/rulers changed the objectives. These systems constitute the political systems of power, the regimes.


From the moment man is born, his survival, namely food, safety and education, is ensured from a natural power system, which is well known and familiar to us all, the maternal affection. It is significant that in the Greek language this affection is called maternal or parental power.


The maternal power / affection ensures for the newborn the most tender, the most gentle and most effective form of power that he will meet throughout the rest of his life.


Maternal affection is not a typical power system. It's more like an extension of the biological system of the womb, which protects human during the phase of his creation; it is "the matrix in vitro" protection of man immediately after his exit from the uterus. But the objectives of both the maternal affection, and of the natural power systems, are largely identical. In this sense the maternal affection is, should be, the archetype of man’s power system.

In the exercise of power / affection, the mother is forced to limit the freedom of the baby, to ensure the supply of the goods mentioned. Samples of this limitation are the cot with railings and the swaddling of the baby.

This conclusion also follows from the name given by the various peoples to the mother. The name of the mother in all peoples includes the same onomatopoeia root «ma». For example: Mater in Latin, Mother in English, Mutter in German, Mere in French, Mama in Italian, Μήτηρ in the ancient Greek, Μητέρα, Μαμά, Μάνα  in the new Greek. Note that the word mana (Μάνα) in Hebrew means food. The mana from the Sky. Surely the root 'ma' expresses the food, affectionate word "Mam" which mothers tell to their babies. But I think it limits also the baby’s freedom. The

« Μη παιδί μου», (Don’t my child) that with great frequency and so much tenderness the mothers of the whole world say.


Matriarchy and patriarchy.The two natural human power systems.

In the initial small communities of people, the power systems were identified with the mother. They were the systems of Matriarchy. Later these systems mutated into Patriarchal for the reasons outlined below.

In matriarchal societies, the right to succession and inheritance of mother / leader has all her blood relatives, ie her children regardless of the father with whom she has acquired them. These relatives are called fraternity (brotherhood), or faction (φατρία).


In patriarchal societies, the right to succession and inheritance of father /leader, have also his blood relatives, ie his children, regardless of the mother with whom he obtained them. These relatives are the father’s genus. The term genus (γένος) comes from the Greek verb γεννώ (genno) which means give birth. «Ο πατέρας γεννά και η μητέρα τίκτει», (The father gives birth and the mother whelp).   In most patriarchal systems, the inheritance and the father’s power is transferred to one member of the genus; to the eldest son. Exceptions to this rule there are, in the ancient Greeks, as well as in customary and legal law of the modern Greece.


The consistency and the mentality of the people of matriarchal and patriarchal societies

Consistency. In matriarchal societies the cohesion of the people was more solid, than in patriarchal societies. This was due to the common language and training which the mother ensures to her children. It is characteristic that even today, the first language a person learns is called maternal and not paternal. The common language is the most fundamental human communication factor. And the degree of communication is the main factor that shapes both the cohesion and the form of power; the democratic / collective or the monarchical / autocratic form of power.


Mindset. The mentality of the people in a society is created from the behavior of those who are considered as having the knowledge and the power standards. It is created from the behavior of leaders. Dominant leaders’ persons are: mother and father in earlier societies, the political, spiritual and “communicative” leaders nowadays


The mother's behavior is characterized by moderation, efficiency and equitability, without discrimination, love and care to all children. These maternal characteristics developed in matriarchal societies the culture of equality and the collective / democratic exercise of power. The members of the faction were more trained and more mature than the genus members, to accept equality and functioning of democratic regimes.


In patriarchal societies was developed the mentality of hierarchy and monarchical / authoritarian exercise of power, because the members of the genus experienced that only one of them, the eldest son, would be the heir of wealth and of the social power of the father. From this culture, the tendency of men for domination of the other people and of the inanimate and of living elements of the environment was born. The matches, the domination wars, made patriarchal societies more active, more imaginative and more effective than the matriarchal; led them to develop more complex and more efficient systems for the exercise of power, the improvement of human living conditions but also for the dominion. They pushed them to develop “the culture of the city, the civilization”.

The Greek philosopher Heraclitus (544-484 BC) said: «Πόλεμος πάντων μεν Πατήρ εστί, πάντων δε Βασιλεύς και τους μεν Θεούς έδειξε , τους δε ανθρώπους τους μεν δούλους εποίησε τους δε ελευθέρους».   (The war is the father of everything, the King of everything and emerged Gods and made people either slaves or free.)


From matriarchy to Democracy and from patriarchy to Monarchy.

As a result of these differences was the differentiation of goals in the two societies. In matriarchal societies predominant objective was the harmonious cohabitation of brothers and their participation in the exercise of power. Experiencing these goals made matriarchy the “development matrix” of the principles and practices of democracy. This view is reinforced by the following historical fact.

In ancient Athens, during the heroic age, in the era of King Cecrops, there were 12 factions organized in 4 clans, whose regime was that of Spontaneous Democracy [1]. In this regime of brothers (of factions), power organs were the General Assembly of citizens, and function organs the Council and the King. Recall that, power organs are those who are taking the major decisions and function organs those who are taking the minor ones, which induced and constrained by the major ones. The minor decisions, these of the Council and the King, are taken in order to be performed the major decisions (orders) of the brothers/citizens.


In patriarchal societies predominant objective is the maintenance and increase of the power of the leader and his loyal associates and the protection of the power system from dispersion phenomena of power and fortune, even from members belonging to the same generation of father / leader. Experiencing these objectives renders patriarchy the matrix of development of the principles and practices of Monarchy.


Over the centuries dominated the regimes with the spirit and principles of patriarchy. These regimes created, or even allowed to create, great disparities and injustices between rulers and the ruled member in society. The cohesion of the people / brothers disrupted and their confidence to those exercising the power was lost. Societies were deadlocked. Then, men / leaders with remarkable intellectual and moral powers changed the rules of government and redirected them towards the oldest principles and practices of matriarchy. That is the case of the Athenian State. The first attempt was made by Solon that changed their laws and orientated to those of the time of the 12 factions and matriarchy; of the time of Cecrops.  The laws of Solon decisively improved the conditions of equality among rules and ruled, between the rich and the poor. The most important of these laws is the Σεισάχθεια (Seisachtheia), which deleted the debts of farmers and abolished the institution of slavery due to debts. [2]


Later Kleisthenes didn’t confine himself to the changes of laws, but changed the regime so that the laws of logic and morality of Solon be created by the objective characteristics of the regime and not by the subjective characteristics of an enlightened ruler. This regime is the mutation of the regime of the 12 factions and matriarchy, of Cecrops era; it is the regime of “the governing and the governed citizen”; it is the regime of the Direct Democracy, of the True Democracy.


It is indisputable historical fact that the spirit of Democracy was born from men. But the soul of the Democracy was born earlier from the women of the matriarchal societies.


In the view of the majority of historians, the father of the regime of True Democracy is the ruler and reformer of the Athenian democracy,  Kleisthenes (570-507 BC). But the mother of the Democracy remains discreetly outside history foreground; remains unknown. This is because the Mother of Democracy is not one, but all the mothers of the world; it is your Mother and my Mother.




[1] Frederick Engels. The origin of the Family, Property and the State. Chap. V. The creation of the Athenian State.

[2] The term Σεισάχθεια (seisachtheia) comes from the words «Σείω το άχθος» (knock down the burden, the economic, political, social). As Seisachtheia finally prevailed the meaning of abolition of debts, the financial burden, but equally or more important is the abolition of the institution of slavery due to debts.




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