via This Is Primal War. May 4:
Calling Out Brian Sheppard
Reading Brian Sheppard’s half-cocked analysis of Anarcho-Primitivism, by way of Bakunin 1, has been beneficial to me for at least one reason; it has reminded me of the garbage that is created by those so content with civilized living. Holding anti-civ ideas has become a bit less marginalized in the past few years, but that bit is not much in the scheme of things. Any credit to the larger understanding of AP critiques is not due so much to it’s philosophers such as John Zerzan, Kevin Tucker, or Layla Abdel-Rahim, as to civilization itself, playing out it’s destined course fully into the dark chasms it creates. One only need take a half honest look at the world we are creating to see the potable water disappear, the forests fall to more subdivision housing, the mountain tops blasted into tiny bits. The trend of hydraulic fracking has all but re-colonized the western states of Wyoming and Colorado with a new agriculture of refineries sprouting up across the already endangered landscape, as well as the entirety of the eastern “shale” regions. The whole world is held in the grasp of war, or near-war for those places not yet embroiled, which are numbering fewer and fewer by the month. As oil wars take over one nation, water wars erupt in another, land wars nearly everywhere, and the honing of the gunships of technology are even bringing the wars to our very bodies with man made super viruses, just waiting for their time to be unleashed. All sounds pretty bleak, I know, and those primitivist philosophers I mentioned, as well as the many I did not, could all collectively utter a great “i told you so”, if we’d think it’d matter. But, it won’t. Not because people wouldn’t care, but that they wouldn’t hear.
Those in the west who hold primitive critiques of civilization are still viewed as mostly unimportant by the left, while those from as of yet “developed” regions are simply not viewed at all by leftists, liberals and their ilk. This is, of course, not to say that the ideas and those who write them are unimportant, no, no. This is to say that the leading minds in the business of progress are in control of the discussion and seek to benefit from our further domestication, and therefore the funding and exposure to such minds as a Bill Gibbons or a Chris Hedges is more readily available. Even some folks who posture to sit on the fringes of radical thought, such as Derrick Jensen, are tolerable to the dominant culture, if only to offer a ponder at temporary halts to the onslaught of colonization that is technocracy, ever dancing around the roots of civilization and striking at the façade to entice those who may wish to delve deeper, back into the shallow pool of thought. Changing your lightbulbs and voting in local elections is still the most creative solutions that abound, and for good reason. The problem they are solving is how to get better wattage use and how to harness local political power. The problem primitivists are looking it is the very basis for those structures of power themselves. Power dynamic is a much discussed but rarely inspected phenomena of civilization. It is discussed in-so-far-as we abhor the wielding of power of the bosses, teachers, and preachers over our heads, but left without inspection each time we flip on the lights at the vegan cafe to better read dead philosophies of bygone revolutionaries to each other. The real power dynamic there is never discussed; the power of thousands of guns pointed at any one moment to secure the stores of grain, soy and water for such things as vegan cupcakes or the power of enslaved and berated rivers to fuel our electricity dependence. Those powers are seemingly acceptable expenditures and the cost of life of the bio-regions and all of it’s inhabitants is a penance to the glory of industrial, fair-trade faux food. While examining domestication and civilization itself won’t be as easy as unionizing your starbucks, BS, it may very well be not only the intuitive path, but also the logical and rational path for any radical. Let’s pick out some of the BS critiques to better illustrate what we are up against. I want to make this clear though, that while I am going to be addressing, at least in part, the particular BS writing against primitivism, I will not limit my disdain of academic garbage polity to just this one writer(?). This is not an attack on BS alone, but leveled against the slew of ignorant idealizations of primitivist thought, as if there were a specific type of thought that can be deemed “primitivist” definitively. It seems that, as far as I can find, the only half decent critique of AP ideas that is out there in the world of print is one that is brought by an anti-civ prisoner, Theodore Kaczynski2. Uncle Ted has his own views about some AP writers and their ideas, but overall, seems unconcerned with any strain of thought in particular, outside of his views that technological civilization, in it’s entirety, need be brought down. As of yet, the arguments against anti-civ ideals from the syndicalist perspective consist of cupcakes and piecemeal critiques, dependent upon dishonest evaluations and outright lies. The cupcake argument is the only one that actually holds any water for me. I would whole-heartedly welcome a thought out critique that actually engages the ideas, not simply evades them.
Upton Sinclair quipped that “it is impossible to make a man see something that his paycheck depends upon him not seeing it.” It must then follow that BS would hide from any threat to the institutions of industry, being that he is a proud purveyor of it. Being a member of the I.W.W., a relic left hanging on from the bygone days of worker’s unions that passed when the workers gave in to the inevitable takeover of technocrats, it is clear that his paycheck is nestled firmly over his eyes. How else would it be possible for a person who makes radical claims of equality to ally themselves with the machines that segregate and destroy the world? The first point of this drab rehashing of Bakunin’s ideologies is to condescendingly scoff at primitivists as today’s “romantic, anti-society sect.” Fair enough, coming from today’s colonizer whose imagination has given over to the workings of organizing toothless rallies and color coded protests, I would say I am most definitely a romantic by comparison. I romanticize to great lengths. I romantically view the world of full days and fuller nights, without clocking in to a shit job, where-in my mind is ground down and my emotions are spent. Of course, I would not expect an organizer to necessarily understand exactly how taxing manual labor can be, but I can tell you that the world is a much more romantic place once the noose of labor has been severed, so long, of course, as you don’t happen to reside in the natural gas fields the workers put in, or the mountains that the workers removed the tops of, or on the bay where the workers spilled massive amounts of toxic chemicals to disperse the massive amounts of toxic chemicals they spilled yesterday. If you don’t happen to live in those places, it is a wonderfully romantic world to inhabit. I am happy to spend my time with my family, in the willow withed river valleys of Cascadia, until the workers finish her off too (not without a fight). But to use the term romantic as a derisive thing? Would it be fair play to note that there is nothing more romanticized than to expound the dead words of pro-state “revolutionary” as one’s own way of understanding? A romantic view of revolutionaries? In the social anarchist milieu? Perish the thought!
To say that I am anti-society would be a mixing of words that just may apply, but does not have too. If by society, BS calls upon the concrete laden valleys of death and filth that function as the inner workings of a great clock, much like the one that controls it’s very movement, then yes, most certainly would I be “anti-society”. It’s inhabitants are of the most confused and angry animals in existence, and I speak to this as a product of it, not a mere throwing of words towards a world of which I know little. The rivers are clogged by artifices of depletion, forcing all species who inhabit them to either conform to the maze of confusing channels and make due without vital resources once freely available, or die. The open lands where grazing herds once meandered are fenced and poisoned into obsolescence, contributing more to the destruction of land, and all of it’s inhabitants, than we may ever know. If this is the BS society, then who would not be opposed to it? Who would choose to labor away as a cog in the machine of the mundane if there was a way to opt out? Not many do. Alcoholism and escapertainment reign in the cities, giving brief moments of respite to the lonely animals who have been removed from their own nature. Distraction is a linchpin to urban development. If any self realization, or actualization is attained, it is quickly swept under the rug of consumerism and mesmerizing light shows of strip mall psychosis. There are entire industries dedicated to simply manufacturing the desires for this modern life, and without these industries, it is doubtful that modernity would wake with the sun tomorrow. The workers that BS deludes to represent are not full of brotherly and sisterly love, all through the commonality of calluses earned for the cause of the great society. They are more often segmented and dissociated individuals, filled to the lip with anxieties and disorders, all quenched with poisons and pills. The city is their mother and her milk is the refuse of the machines. The dystopic promises of industry are fulfilled here. Daily news reports of homicides fill the pages of every paper. School shootings and sexual violence are rampant, and these in the institutions where the workers ship their children off to learn to become workers. The disconnect is furthered by the technological society’s “tools for communication”. Texting has replaced conversation while tweeting removes the responsibility of response. “Friendship” means little more than a superficial connection of avatars in a virtual world of advertisements. If it isn’t “updated” it did not happen. Our attention span is rivaled in it’s shortcomings only by our grasp of our ancestral story. Our entire societal structure is formed around the central, organizing force of militarism, with every technological advancement, from computers to food additives to fertilizers all having passed through the hands of the military first, most of which were developed specifically for military use! The advent of capitalism found a way to make wars not only profitable, but enjoyable for the masses. Capitalism is not the enemy of this society, only an instrument, a technique if you will, brandished as a weapon both by and on itself. To say one is simply opposed to capitalism is to say very little in the face of the realism of industrial living.
Capitalism did not invent the war on our freedom, it only made it more acceptable to the enslaved and more profitable to the slave-masters. It is, in fact, society itself that is it’s own enemy, ever creating the crisis to advance into new colonies of our very psyche. According to the logic of BS, or is it Bakunin, hard to say when one uses solely the words of another to represent themselves who exactly I should address, at any rate, according to the dogma laid out before us, we should be not opposed to the state or to capitalism, rather we should seek to transform the state and use “the technological advances of capitalist society but jettisoned its oppressive social forms otherwise.” We must then be grateful for capitalism, according to this apparently non-radical, by it’s own submissions, view. BS goes on to say “Despite what is outwardly claimed, a look at the underpinnings of primitivist ideas reveals that the ideology is predicated upon a set of beliefs inconsistent with any goals of increasing human freedom, happiness or equality.” but fails to ever show us those dark underpinnings, rather glides past this daft statement to comfort us with the happy society promisings of industry revolutionized to fit the mold of social anarchist party plans. He assures us all that in accordance with what he would later call “true and worthy” anarchism that it explicitly is not “ to damn the abstraction of “consumer/ industrial/ modern society” and advocate that “society and its institutions be destroyed” as many passionate young primitivist rebels do. The solution is to work for revolutionary social change so that society may hold true to its promise of helping fully develop humanity’s latent potentialities.” But later comes at us with “ in order for revolutionaries was not the destruction of “society” as such, but rather the destruction of the modern form of society, to be replaced with a newer form”. Okay BS, which is it? Do you wish to avoid the “abstractions” of modern society, or maintain it? At one point you say that it is certain unfavorable elements of modern society that make it so oppressive, and without those elements, it would be the highest form of human existence, but then say that it is NOT the abstractions of this society, or modernity, that need be focused on, at least not for the “real” revolutionaries. I am spinning here, anyone else dizzy?
I can only think that BS is attempting to be coy with his clever twisting of the voided, colonialist writings of Bakunin as a sort of metaphor for his own sense of entitlement being threatened here.
Engage, not Escape
In the section referring to primitivists as some imaginary group of individuals hell-bent on solitary living, BS uses this loaded quote of Bakunin’s; “Imagine a man endowed with the most inspired powers by nature,cast out from all human society into a desert since infancy. If he does not miserably perish, which is the most probable result, he will become nothing but a boor, an ape, lacking speech and thought …”
Now, one could speculate that either BS falls for the exceptional-ism of Bakunin’s trite, racist belief, or that he is so endowed with a love for this man that he chooses to simply ignore the ramifications of such a quote to fill space in his rather vapid critique. I am sure that the multitudes of people indigenous to desert regions would find much lacking in the understanding of Bakunin’s critique, and would be quite appalled to be objectified as “boors” or “apes”. Of course, Bakunin would not be the first to do this to them, as it is a foundation of western expanse, which is not, incidentally, an expanse of capitalism, rather an expanse of industrialism and civilization. The one uses the words to laugh off any serious discussion, the latter uses them to commit genocide. Ah, but it is us, the primitivists, who resemble the aristocracy, right?
BS goes on to comment that solitude is a punishment within society. This is interesting, because if one were to look at the primitivist cannon, I cannot find one that lauds seclusion, or “lone-wolfing” it, as an answer to anything! In TK’s critique of Anarchoprimitivism, he mentions often his own experience of living alone in the wilderness, and the hardships that that choice entailed. What is not discussed, when BS mentions TK as this ribald madman who hates all social contact, is that he paid dearly for this choice. TK makes note that the amount of time and energy that he expounded to gather and hunt food was nearly all consuming. What TK, himself, does not focus on is that we, humans, are social creatures, as most every species is. We are dependent upon cooperation to sustain ourselves, and that shared effort is a building point of our contentedness in our environment. It is through shared experiences that we were able to adapt to changing climate, harsh weather, dietary shifts and travel. TK was neither partnered with a band of humans with whom to share the duties of living in the wild, nor was he equipped with the lifetime of skills and knowledge of the environment he chose. He was, in many ways, so cast out by the thought of modern society, that he could not stand the prospect of rebuilding differently while allowing modernity to maintain it’s wrath upon the world. He chose to take up an active battle against it, to engage in the fight, and not to merely escape, as BS alludes. If we look at the living bands of gatherer-hunter people today, we see strong ties to community and relationship, but not the binding forces of hierarchy to maintain them. It is only through these relationships have these people survived and held onto the way of life that has been inherent to them since time immemorial.
BS speaks of the punishment of seclusion, but offers nothing to answer the institutionalization of such measures of ostracising that is so entwined with domestication and magnified in industrial society. It is only present in these (civilized) communities, the ability to hold onto such means of survival that entire populations can be imprisoned for any length of time. Even if raids and battles ensue between less complex societies, it would be not only detrimental but nearly impossible to sustain slavery and imprisonment. Prisoners must be fed and slaves must be chained. In a nomadic society, the prospect for this is very much diminished, let alone the incentive of it. What incentive is it for one group to enslave another, if the very population of the group in question is itself fluid and based upon voluntary association? This voluntary community makes little space for dominance or ownership of anything, let alone populations of other beings. It is relationship itself that sustains these populations, coupled with ancestral knowledge and skill-sets that, not only are freely shared amongst the group, but are also unmatched in the civilized world.
When one speaks of avoidance or destruction of society, that does not equate to the destruction of all relationship, and in fact, works towards the opposite. The most lonely animals in the world are in our cities. They are the alienated, the dispossessed, the despised wretches of the very society that BS seeks to uphold as their only hope. If any parallels are to be drawn here, one may find much bolder lines connecting Bakunin to the Bible than primitivists to the aristocracy. Let’s look at Bakunin’s understanding of man being born somehow failed, and only through the benefit of western civilization can man ever hope to find a path towards unleashing his “latent potentiality”, as BS puts it. We are sinners! All of us, and we must come out form our “savage” places and through our labour will we be redeemed! Never to return to the ignorance of savagery, but forthright into the bosom mass society! Back to work! For Bakunin to have spent a great bit of energy focusing on the destruction of the God ideology, he certainly seeks to maintain the religiosity of the language. This is no surprise though, as he, Bakunin and BS I suppose, long to keep the reigns of civilization firmly grasped so as to simply change it’s course to one more favourable to their ideals, no matter what we had to do to get there, or what we will have to do to stay.
When we begin to shed the blinders of civilized control, we begin to see the world opening in a way we haven’t seen since childhood. That child’s view is now under attack with technology racing to ease us into social existence from the moment we are born. A child whom has had little or no exposure to television, video games, junk foods and compulsory schooling has a vastly different world outlook than those in their peer group that have. I know this because I have two children, and because of that, my community consists of other families and varying styles of living. The children with a more socially acceptable, modern home-life, are diagnosed, doped up, shipped off, shut down, shut up, and shitbagged. It is not that their parents are wicked tyrants with a penchant for torture, at least not in the scope of modern societal norms. No. They are busy workers, with ambitions and deadlines, and progress forbid that a thing like children are going to gum up their works. So, the kids are given the best institutions money can buy. Anxiety disorders are striking as young as three years old, with the cure not being the removal of disastrous elements, but the advancement of them in the form of pharmaceuticals. Obesity is as rampant in 9 year old children as is the counter of anorexia. Our children are starving, and some with very full stomachs. They are starving for the freedom that every animal is born into, and only domesticated ones lack. When the blinders come off, though, it is not so much the living forests, or breathing plains that catch our views, as it is the disgusting outcrop of “society”. We see the poisons passed off as food, the rivers gasping for breath under the assault of agri-chemicals, the roe deer with patchy hair, dying of cancers whose distributor are the natural gas fields. We don’t see our true nature so quickly as we see our false surroundings. Of course we would want to escape! No sane creature would stay in these places by choice. It is a matter of force that domestication takes it’s hold. Stay, be tortured and dehumanized, but eat. Go, and surely suffer the fate of a boorish ape who lacks thought. I have to ask who is the escape artist? To be so removed from the very functions of yourself that you would choose to remain a slave to it’s whims than to face your own nature and do something about it? It is not escape from life that primitivism looks for, but the engagement of it. This way of life is built upon the very function of escape, for without that pressure valve, this society would not stand. When one can live their entire life without ever having gathered their own food for a meal, the level of escapism must be recognized as staggering, but worse than that, we have entire populations that do just that, coupled with the amount of people who live in single person homes and claim to have little or no real life friends outside of the virtual world of their computer life, I think we can see further what we mean by escapism.
The genocide of thought.
The average plate of food, in the U.S. travels over 1,800 miles, some as far as 8,000 miles, just to arrive on the table. The food is sourced from countries with populations of starving humans high enough that starvation is pandemic, yet, it is primitivists who are referred to as genocidal. There is rarely a critique of primitivism that does not, in some fashion, refer to the primitivist critique as anti-human with an urge to depopulate the planet by force. We are often told that, if we were to return to that “ignorant and brutal” state of living of hunter-gatherer bands, that we would not be able to feed the current populaton levels. No shit. You can’t feed the world as it is, with all of your wonders of science and communication and agriculture, agrarian societies are starving, war-torn ecological disaster zones. But that doesn’t seem to matter so much when the people suffering are “savages” who don’t have cell phones. The groups that sociologists find to be the over all most content, healthy peoples, just happen to be the last of the remaining gatherer-hunter populations of the world. They are also the most endangered peoples, as their land is being torn away by industries and governments, in the name of modernity and progress. Funny how that works. Not so much. What is funny, though, is that a person who refers to uncivilized beings as “boors” and “savages” by quoting his historical comrade cannot for a moment stop to consider what genocides have occurred, how they occurred and for what purpose. Of course, according to BS, we would just be idealizing past peoples couching them in “mystic symbolism” to remark to the overall health and well being pre-contact with industrious purveyors of progress.
“It is the liberty of the primitivist rebel who looks backward, to the past of human history, for liberation, rather than forward.” says BS, as he parleys writings over a hundred years old to prove this point. So, at this point, we reach a give in. We must accept, according to BS, that it is a given that the world accept this way of life that it is so clearly revolting against. To question the roots of the problems and to find possible reparations for our lives, is to be a romantic who looks backward. Pardon me for asking, BS, but is not the entire concept of radical thinking to delve deeper into the root of something? If you can, follow me for a moment into the future of industry, and let’s figure out where and how freedom comes from within society and not without.
We currently have the highest, per capita, prison population in the world. The prison system was conceived after the northern expanse of banking controlled capital usurped the southern chattel slavery economy. This represented a “revolution” for future leftists to tout as a war for freedom, the civil war, and doubly represented the ingenuity of mass society to maintain it’s firm hold on the throats of world. Indigenous peoples here have seen, more than anyone, the promises of freedom through civilizing, but it unfortunately came with a “kill the indian, save the man” program. Alcohol and casinos, cheap processed sugary foods and diabetes are in the deck now. You would put forth that to even question the present by inspecting the past is a useless endeavor. The inability to question is, if not a foundation of civilization, most certainly a major tenement of order required to maintain civilized living. Social organization cannot sustain inspection if it is to be effective. This holds true in groups that seek to profit from the status quo, as well as groups who may very well claim to detest it and seek to undermine it, alter it, or shift it. Anything short of the goal of total dismantlement of mass society imbues the participant with an untenable set of social mores, either spelled out in charters and manifestos or, more often;unspoken. The esoteric sensation of elitism that this secret set of rules formulates is apparent in nearly any revolutionary or subcultural movement. The Marxist movements of recent past to present day show a clear-cut list of principles, with work being the gold and the worker the goose, but what when supposed radical organizations are not so clear? Enter Social Anarchism.
To call social anarchists an organization may have been a stretch at one time, the pantechnicon of the internet has most definitely moved the spectacle into this phase of understanding. I suppose I should describe what I mean by a “social anarchist”. If given to the BS definition of the anarchist, we would be told that anarchism, as a political philosophy, began around a hundred and thirty years ago, with a force of working class peasants and pissed off Princes (kropotkin), rebelling against harsh work conditions and lobbying in favor of a more egalitarian society. I stress the word more, because no worker’s movement could ever take themselves seriously if they volleyed for a totally egalitarian society, now could they? What with division of labor and production at the helm, equality just takes a back seat. Social anarchists of today tend to accept this view, and have a narrowed sense of what resistance to oppression is. Sure, most academically understand the history of genocide of indigenous peoples, but that is exactly where the understanding stagnates, as a historical act. Most see gender equality as a right in the workplace, but fail to question either gender as a mandate or work as an institution! The social anarchist of today is angry about a whole lot but not willing to question very much about it. Well, the anger is warranted, and more anger is to come, rightfully so, but the end goal can never be liberation if the end goal includes mass society in any form. The worker’s paradise will be the grave of us all. Industry mounts and morphs into technocracy, creating as it’s end goal a singularity. A one world so mechanized and streamlined that questions of equality are no where to be found, but every slave is equal on the plantation, and the plantation is all encompassing. With technology and biology merging, we are seeing entire populations of living beings under strict supervision, not from without, but from within. It sounds like science fiction, but what part of science is not a fiction? What part of science is not merely man made answers to man made questions? You can say we have “advanced” culturally because we no longer say that fire is demons escaping from burning pyres of wood, and now “know” that it is “really” carbon. I say that carbon is a funny name for your demon.
As the spectacle learns from itself, we begin to see the ebb and flow of insurrection and organization, with the two rarely, if ever, allying. In the famed riots of recent history, we see street clashes between not only the cops and rioters, but amongst the factions of rioters themselves. Liberal organizers most often side with, and even work directly with state apparati to control the un-controlables. Organizers of marxist/communist ilks are too busy hocking The Socialist Appeal at a buck a piece to even take part, while would-be red armies are busy shouting down a Starbucks manager instead of smashing the Starbucks to bits. The truly free people are most often the disorganized, decentralized groups in the blocs, and out of, who cannot be held to account, cannot be forced into line, and will not be paraded through the streets led through red ropes of police escorts. That is the only hope for freedom that day, in the smoke of burning police cars and amongst the sea of shattered glass. Then, of course, it is back to the drag, until the next time. Many social anarchists then get to return to the academies to write reports for Mother Jones, where-in they vilify the chaotic actions, those liberated from the confines of scheduling and meetings, and champion the suppose disobedience of those who gleefully allowed themselves to be carted of in handcuffs for the cameras. This is their great insurrection? Submission? No thank you. Then the upsurge of economic crisis hits again and those less content with jobs and schools or demands begin to rise up, only to have a few memorable actions before the hordes of organizers, like vultures to carrion, swoop in to “lead the people”. Lead them right back to where they so urgently fought to escape. All the while, the social anarchist looks with head shaking at the bad press that anarchy receives, and truly hope to redeem the good name by playing pretty for the papers, denouncing insurrectionist actions and distancing themselves from any resistance in their back yards, while proudly touting the fair trade, eco friendly brand name of t-shirt with the EZLN print on the front. The ebb forgives, and swells again, and any small gains made “for the people” only truly strengthen the systems of control. Reform is exactly as it says, a re-form of power. To say these words in many a infoshop may get you nods of approval, until you start to elaborate on exactly what this means. The end of capitalism is a reform. Socialism is reform, at best, and still statist. Communism is control. Veganism is a reform. Unionizing is reform. Process is a reform, and barely one at that, more of a microcosm of social power brandishing. The question of how to reshape modernity to fit their ideals is not such a hard one to address, simply because their ideals already fit within the foundations of this society so well. The adulation of work ethic, the sacrifice of the self for the greater good, the divine right to land use for agriculture and industry, the demonizing of wildness, the glorifying of organization, all typical attributes to the syndicalist and all very much acceptable to the construct of modernity. The rhetoric used to push these ideals is little more than parroting of the same few voices over time, with amazing articulation but little to no depth. It is easy to get cached responses, but nearly impossible to enter into debate or even discourse on these ideals.
Before KT’s debacle of a debate with a syndicalist last year, I had approached a certain cafe who proudly displays the red and black jack on their store front, menus, merchandise, print and electronic versions of their meeting notes (yes, extreme boredom.com) along with a circle a on their window, about hosting a series of green and red debates. I thought this would be an engaging, at times explosive, other times hilarious series to attend or participate in. We could hash out disparities between the two group’s ideologies, possibly finding overlap in areas that we can agree on and definitely defining certain areas that we will not. Now, this certain “radical” cafe very much makes the apparition of being anarchist in origins, but when approached about hosting these events, it was not even offered up to “the collective” for discussion, rather it was shut down immediately by a “fellow worker”. That is not the shocking part. I am never shocked to see syndicalists cower away from defending their ideas, precisely because most of the ideas are not their ideas.
The party plan of socialist/communist thinking is engrained in the rhetoric and implementation of programs, to the point where many social anarchists see the ideas of anarchy solely the intellectual property of a few philosophers, always ready at arms with quotes and “historical” precedence. Of course, the “history” is short and narrowly focused in a bias that rivals any of their right wing counterparts, looking always to reaffirm the hard line of worker based culture. If you disagree with the processes, well, there is a process to deal with that as well. Basic human communications are wrenched to fit into established paradigms, with no understanding of circumstances, differing of opinions or experiences. If I were to ask to hold a series of discussions surrounding the revolutionary writings of (insert famous dead anarchist philosopher here) , I am sure it would have been accepted or at the very least discussed. One of the many games of both the right and left, that is to say the entire power structure itself, is to lead each other down a road of academic competitions, designed to triumph not with ideas, but with regurgitation and rationale. Rationale, the rationing of thought.
The shocking part was not that it is impossible to defend such ideas as egalitarian industrial complex, nor that one would not want to be forced to confront it. The truly disgusting reason given cam when I was told, in no uncertain terms, “not all of our customers are anarchist, so to host an explicitly anarchist event would possibly turn away business”. Raise that red and black flag high! This is to show the mentality that is required to hold such conflicting views as liberation and work. The anarchist cafe could not afford to host anarchist discussions because their clientele may not be anarchist. Here’s a news flash. Neither is your cafe, so don’t sweat it. I am not assuming that the people who work at, or congregate at these spaces are not anarchists. I am sure many are. I am saying that the space; the safer space, the “liberated” space, the “cop free” space, the vegan only space, is not inherently anarchist. It is not because of the processes or institutionalized programs that the “collective” has put into place that I say the space is not anarchist, those are the choice of the group to enact as they see fit, so long as anyone can opt out at any time. It is the very nature of civilized spaces that do not allow this space to be yet liberated. The space functions because of it’s ability to navigate the domination of the planet and it’s inhabitants, not to the detriment of it. The bottom line is the bottom line. This can also be said for any “revolution” that does not seek, in it’s inception or it’s eventuality, to completely liberate itself from any form of dominance and control, including that which the revolutionary themselves may wield.
Thus begins the failings of DGR, that suspect organization led by the guru status holder Derrick Jensen, with his cohorts Lierre Kieth and Aric McBay. They claim to be the enemy of industrial civilization, yet fail to element the very foundational elements of civilization in their organization. This could account for the distinction between Civilization over all and specifically “industrial civilization”. Hierarchy, domestication, control, policing, censorship and outright silencing are all present in DGR, and all this before the group even “officially” kicked off. They aim to be revolutionaries, following in the path of such statist groups as the I.R.A., a nationalist group known well for their violent controls of it’s membership. If you can’t even begin your organization from a birthplace of equality and freedom, I fear to see where you will end up. Unfortunately, DGR has grasped the interests of many folks who are discontent with modernity and industrial society, but if left to the programming of DGR, will fail to dig any deeper than this initial battle. I could continue for another thousand pages on this kick, but will leave it for other writings.
BS, IWW, Bakunin, Andrew Flood, and the countless boring defenders of civilization, domestication, industry and technocracy, despite their revolutionary leanings, are not yet entrenched in the battle for liberation, because they continue to uphold the artificial elements of control. They, in fact, are not romantics, but certainly are not grounded in any realistic adventure towards freedom, so long as they pretend that work and freedom are attainable partnerships. Get fucking real, get fucking radical.
1Bakunin Versus the Primitivists, Brian Oliver Sheppard 10 December, 2004
2The Truth About Primitive Life: A Critique of Anarcho-Primitivism, Kaczynski, Ted 2008