In 1876, Engels complained about “that idealistic world outlook which, especially since the fall of the world of antiquity, has dominated men’s minds. It still rules them to such a degree that even the most materialistic natural scientists of the Darwinian school are still unable to form any clear idea of the origin of man, because under this ideological influence they do not recognise the part that has been played therein by labour.” This situation remains true today, nearly a century and a half later, as prominent bourgeois institutions entertain us with vivid videos of the latest fossil finds in Africa and elsewhere without ever mentioning the role of labor in the lives of the people who left these remains.
This talk, by Professor Eugene E Ruyle, will discuss Engels contribution noting that the spectacular fossil finds since Engels’ death of the twentieth century have confirmed Engels brilliant insight that: “First comes labour, after it, and then side by side with it, articulate speech – these were the two most essential stimuli under the influence of which the brain of the ape gradually changed into that of man, which for all its similarity to the former is far larger and more perfect.” Ruyle will also discuss why bourgeois anthropology has neglected the work of Marx and Engels, in spite of their obvious importance.
Our speaker, Eugene E Ruyle, is Emeritus Professor of Anthropology at Cal State Long Beach, a working class university. He earned his PhD in 1971 and has published numerous articles, including “Labor, People, Culture: A Labor Theory of Human Origins” Yearbook of Physical Anthropology Vol 20, 1976. He currently lives in Oakland, CA where he is affiliated with the ICSS@NPML. He is also President of the East Bay Chapter of Veterans For Peace.