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Anarcho-primitivism is an anarchist critique of the origins and progress of civilization. According to anarcho-primitivism, the shift from hunter-gatherer to agricultural subsistence gave rise to social stratification, coercion, and alienation. Anarcho-primitivists advocate a return to non-"civilized" ways of life through deindustrialisation, abolition of the division of labour or specialization, and abandonment of large-scale organization technologies. There are other non-anarchist forms of primitivism, and not all primitivists point to the same phenomenon as the source of modern, civilized problems.

Many traditional anarchists reject the critique of civilization, many even denying that anarcho-primitivism has anything to do with anarchism, while some, such as Wolfi Landstreicher, endorse the critique but do not consider themselves anarcho-primitivists. Anarcho-primitivists are often distinguished by their focus on the praxis of achieving a feral state of being through "rewilding".

Contents

Precedents and influences

Early precedents within anarchism

Walden by Henry David Thoreau, influential early green-anarchist work

Anarchism started to have an ecological view mainly in the writings of American individualist anarchist and transcendentalist Henry David Thoreau. In his book Walden he advocates simple living and self-sufficiency among natural surroundings in resistance to the advancement of industrial civilization[1]. "Many have seen in Thoreau one of the precursors of ecologism and anarcho-primitivism represented today in John Zerzan. For George Woodcock this attitude can be also motivated by certain idea of resistance to progress and of rejection of the growing materialism which is the nature of American society in the mid XIX century."[1] John Zerzan himself included the text "Excursions" (1863) by Thoreau in his edited compilation of anti-civilization writings called Against civilization: Readings and reflections from 1999.[2]

In the late 19th century Anarchist naturism appeared as the union of anarchist and naturist philosophies.[3][4] Mainly it had importance within individualist anarchist circles[5][6] in Spain[3][4][5], France[5][7] and Portugal[8]. Important influences in it were Henry David Thoreau[1], Leo Tolstoy[3] and Elisee Reclus[9]. Anarcho-naturism advocated vegetarianism, free love, nudism and an ecological world view within anarchist groups and outside them[3][6].

Anarcho-naturism promoted an ecological worldview, small ecovillages, and most prominently nudism as a way to avoid the artificiality of the industrial mass society of modernity[10]. Naturist individualist anarchists saw the individual in his biological, physical and psychological aspects and avoided and tried to eliminate social determinations [10]. Important promoters of this were Henri Zisly and Emile Gravelle who collaborated in La Nouvelle Humanité followed by Le Naturien, Le Sauvage, L'Ordre Naturel, & La Vie Naturelle [11] Their ideas were important in individualist anarchist circles in France but also in Spain where Federico Urales (pseudonym of Joan Montseny), promotes the ideas of Gravelle and Zisly in La Revista Blanca (1898–1905)[12].

This tendency was strong enough as to call the attention of the CNTFAI in Spain. So Daniel Guérin in Anarchism: From Theory to Practice reports how "Spanish anarcho-syndicalism had long been concerned to safeguard the autonomy of what it called "affinity groups." There were many adepts of naturism and vegetarianism among its members, especially among the poor peasants of the south. Both these ways of living were considered suitable for the transformation of the human being in preparation for a libertarian society. At the Saragossa congress the members did not forget to consider the fate of groups of naturists and nudists, "unsuited to industrialization." As these groups would be unable to supply all their own needs, the congress anticipated that their delegates to the meetings of the confederation of communes would be able to negotiate special economic agreements with the other agricultural and industrial communes. Does this make us smile? On the eve of a vast, bloody, social transformation, the CNT did not think it foolish to try to meet the infinitely varied aspirations of individual human beings."[13]

More recent influences

Anarchists contribute to an anti-authoritarian push, which challenges all abstract power on a fundamental level, striving for truly egalitarian relationships and promoting communities based upon mutual aid . Primitivists, however, extend ideas of non-domination to all life, not just human life, going beyond the traditional anarchist's analysis. From anthropologists, primitivists are informed with a look at the origins of civilization, so as to understand what they are up against and how they got here, to help inform a change in direction. Inspired by the Luddites, primitivists rekindle an anti-technological/industrial direct action orientation. Insurrectionalists infuses a perspective which waits not for the fine-tuning of critique, but identifies and spontaneously attacks civilization's current institutions.

Primitivists claim they owe much to the Situationists, and their critique of the Spectacle and alienating commodity society. Deep ecology informs the primitivist perspective with an understanding that the well-being and flourishing of all life is linked to the awareness of the inherent worth and intrinsic value of the non-human world independent of its economic use value. Primitivists see deep ecology's appreciation for the richness and diversity of life as contributing to the realization that present human interference with the non-human world is coercive and excessive.

Bioregionalists bring the perspective of living within one's bioregion, and being intimately connected to the land, water, climate, plants, animals, and general patterns of their bioregion.

Primitivists have been profoundly influenced by the various indigenous cultures and earth-based peoples throughout history and those who still currently exist. While primitivists attempt to learn and incorporate sustainable techniques for survival and healthier ways of interacting with life, they see it as important not to flatten or generalize native peoples and their cultures, and to respect and attempt to understand their diversity without co-opting cultural identities and characteristics. Primitivists also feel that it is important to understand that all humans have come from earth-based peoples forcibly removed from our connections with the earth, and therefore have a place within anti-colonial struggles.

They are also inspired by the feral, those who have escaped domestication and have re-integrated with the wild. And, of course, primitivists honor the wild beings which make up the Earth. It is important to remember that, while many anarcho-primitivists draw influence from similar sources, anarcho-primitivism is something very personal to each individual who identifies or connects with these ideas and actions.

Thought and main concepts

Anarcho-primitivists argue that prior to the advent of agriculture, humans lived in small, nomadic bands which were socially, politically, and economically egalitarian. Being without hierarchy, these bands are sometimes viewed as embodying a form of anarchism. John Moore writes that anarcho-primitivism seeks "to expose, challenge and abolish all the multiple forms of power that structure the individual, social relations, and interrelations with the natural world."[14]

Primitivists hold that, following the emergence of agriculture, the growing masses of humanity subtly became evermore beholden to technological processes and abstract power structures arising from the division of labour and hierarchy. Primitivists disagree over what degree of horticulture might be present in an anarchist society, with some arguing that permaculture could have a role but others advocating a strictly hunter-gatherer subsistence.

Primitivism has drawn heavily upon cultural anthropology and archaeology. Within the last half-century, societies once viewed as barbaric have been largely reevaluated by academics, some of whom now hold that early humans lived in relative peace and prosperity. Frank Hole, an early-agriculture specialist, and Kent Flannery, a specialist in Mesoamerican civilization, have noted that, "No group on earth has more leisure time than hunters and gatherers, who spend it primarily on games, conversation and relaxing."[15][16]

Scholars such as Karl Polanyi and Marshall Sahlins characterized primitive societies as gift economies with "goods valued for their utility or beauty rather than cost; commodities exchanged more on the basis of need than of exchange value; distribution to the society at large without regard to labor that members have invested; labor performed without the idea of a wage in return or individual benefit, indeed largely without the notion of 'work' at all."[17] Other scholars and thinkers such as Paul Shepard, influenced by anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss, have written of the "Evolutionary Principle" which roughly states that when a species is removed from its natural habitat its behaviors will become pathological. Shepard has written at length on ways in which the human species' natural "ontogeny", which developed through millions of years of evolution in a foraging mode of existence, has been disrupted due to a sedentary lifestyle caused by agriculture.[18]

Civilization

Anarcho-primitivists view civilization as the logic, institution, and physical apparatus of domestication, control, and domination. They focus primarily on the question of origins. Civilization is seen as the underlying problem or root of oppression, and must therefore be dismantled or destroyed.

Anarcho-primitivists describe the rise of civilization as the shift over the past 10,000 years from an existence within and deeply connected to the web of life, to one psychologically separated from and attempting to control of the rest of life. They argue that prior to civilization there generally existed ample leisure time, considerable gender equality and social equality, a non-destructive and uncontrolling approach to the natural world, the absence of organized violence, no mediating or formal institutions, and strong health and robustness. Anarcho-primitivists state that civilization inaugurated mass warfare, the subjugation of women, population growth, busy work, concepts of property, entrenched hierarchies, as well as encouraging the spread of diseases. They claim that civilization begins with and relies on an enforced renunciation of instinctual freedom and that it is impossible to reform away such a renunciation.

The domestication of life

Domestication, according to primitivists, is the process that civilization uses to induct and control life according to its strictly ordered logic. Essentially, domestication is the tendency of civilization, as an orderly, predictable system, to attempt to assimilate the entire rest of the universe into itself, to make the whole world into one colossal orderly, predictable system. The mechanisms of domestication are said to include: taming, breeding, genetically modifying, schooling, caging, intimidating, coercing, extorting from, promising, contracting, governing, enslaving, terrorizing, raping, murdering, etc. Domestication is a pathological power-process begun by some groups of early humans who wished to reduce the uncertainties and dangers of life, attempting to manufacture a completely safe and organized existence. It is ultimately this force that primitivists (especially anarcho-primitivists) array themselves against.[citation needed]

Primitivists also describe it (more specifically) as the process by which previously nomadic human populations shifted towards a sedentary or settled existence through agriculture and animal husbandry. They claim that this kind of domestication demands a totalitarian relationship with both the land and the plants and animals being domesticated - ultimately, it even requires a totalitarian relationship with humanity. They say that whereas, in a state of wildness, all life shares and competes for resources, domestication destroys this balance. The domesticated landscape (e.g. pastoral lands/agricultural fields and, to a lesser degree, horticulture and gardening) is seen to necessitate the end of open sharing of the resources that formerly existed; where once "this was everyone's," it is now "mine." Anarcho-primitivists argue that this notion of ownership laid the foundation for social hierarchy as property and power emerged. It inevitably entailed the cultivation and exploitation of the surrounding environs and the creation of a simultaneous monopoly and monopsony by humans, and for humans - generating over time the value-based social structures we now know in which every conceivable physical thing from food to earth to genes to ideas are viewed as quantifiable assets, which are someone's private property. It also involved the destruction, enslavement, or assimilation of other groups of early people who did not attempt to make such a transition, or who were not as far along in the transition as the destroying, enslaving, and assimilating groups.

To primitivists, domestication not only changes the ecology from a free to a totalitarian order, it enslaves the species that are domesticated, as well as the domesticators themselves. According to primitivism, then, humans are nearing the beginning of the last phase of the domestication process as we are now experimenting with direct genetic engineering, and are making dramatic and frightening advances in the fields of psychology, anthropology, and sociology. This thereby allows us to quantify and objectify ourselves, until we too become commodities and property of no greater or lesser fundamental import than any other asset.

Origins and dynamics of patriarchy

Anarcho-primitivists hold that toward the beginning in the shift to civilization, an early product of domestication is patriarchy: the formalization of male domination and the development of institutions which reinforce it. Anarcho-primitivists say that by creating false gender distinctions and divisions between men and women, civilization, again, creates an "other" that can be objectified, controlled, dominated, utilized, and commodified. They see this as running parallel to the domestication of plants for agriculture and animals for herding, in general dynamics, and also in the specifics like the control of reproduction. Primitivists say that as in other realms of social stratification, roles are assigned to women in order to establish a very rigid and predictable order, beneficial to hierarchy. They claim that women came to be seen as property, no different from the crops in the field or the sheep in the pasture. Primitivists argue that ownership and absolute control, whether of land, plants, animals, slaves, children, or women, is part of the established dynamic of civilization.

Patriarchy, to a primitivist, demands the subjugation of the feminine and the usurpation of nature, propelling us toward total annihilation. They argue further that it defines power, control and dominion over wildness, freedom and life. They say that patriarchal conditioning dictates all of our interactions: with ourselves, our sexuality, our relationships to each other, and our relationship to nature. They claim it severely limits the spectrum of possible experience.

Division of labor and specialization

Anarcho-primitivists tend to see division of labor and specialization as fundamental and irreconcilable problems, decisive to social relationship within civilization. They see this disconnecting of the ability to care for ourselves and provide for our own needs as a technique of separation and dis-empowerment perpetuated by civilization. Specialization is seen as leading to inevitable inequalities of influence and undermining egalitarian relationships.

Rejection of science

Primitivists reject modern science as a method of understanding the world with a view to changing it. Science is not considered to be neutral by primitivists. It is seen as loaded with the motives and assumptions that come out of, and reinforce, civilization.

Modern scientific thought, according to primitivists, attempts to see the world as a collection of separate objects to be observed and understood. In order to accomplish this task, primitivists believe that scientists must distance themselves emotionally and physically, to have a one-way channel of information moving from the observed thing to the observer's self, which is defined as not a part of that thing.

Primitivists argue that this mechanistic worldview is tantamount to being the dominant religion of our time. Believing that science seeks to deal only with the quantitative, primitivists suggest that it does not admit subjective values or emotions. While primitivists perceive science as claiming that only those things that are reproducible, predictable, and the same for all observers are real and important, primitivists believe that reality itself is not reproducible, predictable, or the same for all observers.

Science is seen by primitivists as only partially considering reality, and is therefore guilty of putative reductionism. Observability, objectifiability, quantifiability, predictability, controllability, and uniformity are said to be the objects and means of science. This, say primitivists, leads to the world view that everything should be objectified, quantified, controlled, and in uniformity with everything and everyone else. Primitivists also see science as promoting the idea that anomalous experience, anomalous ideas, and anomalous people should be cast off or destroyed like imperfectly shaped machine components.

The problem of technology

Primitivists denounce modern technology completely. They see it as a complex system involving division of labor, resource extraction, and exploitation for the benefit of those who implement its process. They argue that the interface with and result of modern technology is always an alienated, mediated, and distorted reality. Modern technology too, like science, is seen as not being value-neutral. The values and goals of those who produce and control technology are believed always to be embedded within it.

Modern technology is held by primitivists to be distinct from simple tools in many regards. A simple tool is considered a temporary usage of an element within our immediate surroundings, used for a specific task. Tools are not viewed as involving complex systems which alienate the user from the act. Primitivists claim that this separation is implicit in technology, which creates an unhealthy and mediated experience which leads to various forms of authority. Domination is said to increase every time a modern "time-saving" technology is created, as primitivists claim it necessitates the construction of more technology to support, fuel, maintain, and repair the original technology. It is argued by primitivists that this leads very rapidly to the establishment of a complex technological system that seems to have an existence independent of the humans who created it. Primitivists believe that this system methodically destroys, eliminates, or subordinates the natural world, constructing a world fit only for machines.

Production and industrialism

The industrial way of life leads to the industrial way of death. From Shiloh to Dachau, from Antietam to Stalingrad, from Hiroshima to Vietnam and Afghanistan, the great specialty of industry and technology has been the mass production of human corpses.
 

According to primitivists a key component of the modern techno-capitalist structure is industrialism, the mechanized system of production built on centralized power and the exploitation of people and nature. Industrialism cannot exist, they say, without genocide, ecocide, and colonialism. They further say that to maintain it, coercion, land evictions, forced labor, cultural destruction, assimilation, ecological devastation, and global trade are accepted as necessary, even benign. Primitivists claim industrialism's standardization of life objectifies and commodifies it, viewing all life as a potential resource. They see their critique of industrialism as a natural extension of the anarchist critique of the state because they see industrialism as inherently authoritarian.

The primitivist argument against industrialism is such: In order to maintain an industrial society, one must set out to conquer and colonize lands in order to unsustainably acquire (generally) non-renewable resources to construct, feed, fuel, and grease the machines. This colonialism is rationalized by racism, sexism, and cultural chauvinism. In the process of acquiring these resources, people must be forced off their land. Additionally, in order to make people work in the factories that produce the machines, they must be dispossessed, enslaved, made dependent, and otherwise subjected to the destructive, toxic, degrading industrial system.

Primitivists hold that industrialism cannot exist without massive centralization and specialization. Furthermore, they hold that industrialism demands that resources be shipped from all over the globe in order to perpetuate its existence, and this globalism, they say, undermines local autonomy and self-sufficiency.

Finally primitivists contend that a engineeric worldview is behind industrialism, and that this same world-view has justified slavery, genocide, ecocide, and the subjugation of women.

Beyond Leftism

Primitivists do not see themselves as part of the Left (see also post-left anarchy). Rather they view the socialist and liberal orientations as corrupt. Primitivists argue that the Left has proven itself to be a monumental failure in its objectives. The Left, according to primitivists, is a general term and can roughly describe all socialist leanings (from social democrats and liberals to communists) which wish to re-socialize "the masses" into a more "progressive" agenda, often using coercive and manipulative approaches in order to create a false "unity" or the creation of political parties. While primitivists understand that the methods or extremes in implementation may differ, the overall push is seen as the same: the institution of a collectivized and monolithic world-view based on morality.

Some Primitivists have been even more hostile towards modern Leftism, with Ted Kaczynski's Industrial Society and Its Future dedicating whole sections to the problems with modern Leftism, and explaining that modern Leftism constitutes mental illnesses of over-socialization and feelings of inferiority which are themselves caused by industrial society's interference with individual autonomy and self-determination.

Against mass society

Most anarchists and revolutionaries spend a significant portion of their time developing schemes and mechanisms for production, distribution, adjudication, and communication between large numbers of people; in other words, the functioning of a complex society. Primitivists do not accept the premise of global (or even regional) social, political, and economic coordination and interdependence, or the organization needed for their administration. They reject mass society for practical and philosophical reasons. First, they reject the inherent governmental representation necessary for the functioning of situations outside the realm of direct experience (completely decentralized modes of existence). They do not wish to run society or organize a different society. They want a completely different frame of reference. They want a world where each group is autonomous and decides on its own terms how to live, with all interactions being non-coercive, based on affinity, freedom, and openness.

According to primitivists, mass society brutally collides not only with autonomy and the individual, but also with the earth and the network of ecological relationships which make up its living communities. They see it as simply not sustainable (in terms of the resource extraction, transportation, and communication systems necessary for any global economic system). It cannot continue indefinitely, nor is it possible to create alternative plans for a sustainable and humane mass society.

Liberation and organization

Green and black flag of Anarcho-Primitivism.

Primitivists argue that organizational models only provide us with more of the same. While it is recognized by some primitivists that there might be an occasional good intention, the organizational model is seen as coming from an inherently paternalistic and distrusting mindset which they hold is contradictory to anarchy. Primitivists believe that true relationships of affinity come from a deep understanding of one another through intimate need-based relationships of day-to-day life, not relationships based on organizations, ideologies, or abstract ideas. They say that the organizational model suppresses individual needs and desires for "the good of the collective" as it attempts to standardize both resistance and vision. From parties, to platforms, to federations, primitivists argue that as the scale of projects increase, the meaning and relevance they have to an individual's own life decrease.

Rather than the familiar organizational model, primitivists advocate the use of informal, affinity-based associations that they claim tend to minimize alienation from decision-making processes, and reduce mediation between our desires and our actions.

Revolution vs. reform

As anarchists, primitivists are fundamentally opposed to government, and likewise, any sort of collaboration or mediation with the state (or any institution of hierarchy and control)—except as a matter of tactical expediency. This position determines a certain continuity or direction of strategy, historically referred to as revolution. By revolution, primitivists mean the ongoing struggle to alter the social and political landscape in a fundamental way: for anarchists, this means its complete dismantling. The word "revolution" is seen as dependent on the position from which it is directed, as well as what would be termed "revolutionary" activity. Again, for anarchists, this is activity which is aimed at the complete dissolution of abstract power.

Reform, on the other hand, is seen as entailing any activity or strategy aimed at adjusting, altering, or selectively maintaining elements of the current system, typically utilizing the methods or apparatus of that system. The goals and methods of revolution, it is argued, cannot be dictated by, nor performed within, the context of the system. For anarchists, revolution and reform invoke incompatible methods and aims, and despite the use of certain pragmatic expedient approaches, do not exist on a continuum.

For primitivists, revolutionary activity questions, challenges, and works to dismantle the entire set-up or paradigm of civilization. Revolution is not seen as a far-off or distant singular event which we build towards or prepare people for, but instead, a way of life, or a practice of approaching situations.

Critique of symbolic culture

Some anarcho-primitivists view the shift towards an increasingly symbolic culture as highly problematic in the sense that it separates us from direct interaction. Often the response to this, by those who assume that it means that primitivists prefer to completely eliminate all forms of symbolic culture, is something to the effect of, "So, you just want to grunt?"[20]

However, typically the critique is regarding the problems inherent with a form of communication and comprehension that relies primarily on symbolic thought at the expense (and even exclusion) of other sensual and unmediated means of comprehension. The emphasis on the symbolic is a departure from direct experience into mediated experience in the form of language, art, number, time, etc.

Anarcho-primitivists argue that symbolic culture filters our entire perception through formal and informal symbols and separates us from direct and unmediated contact with reality. It goes beyond just giving things names, and extends to having an indirect relationship with a distorted image of the world that has passed through the lens of representation. It is debatable whether humans are "hard-wired" for symbolic thought, or if it developed as a cultural change or adaptation, but, according to anarcho-primitivists, the symbolic mode of expression and understanding is limited and deceptive, and over-dependence upon it leads to objectification, alienation, and perceptual tunnel vision. Many anarcho-primitivists promote and practice getting back in touch with and rekindling dormant and/or underutilized methods of interaction and cognition, such as touch and smell, as well as experimenting with and developing unique and personal modes of comprehension and expression.

Rewilding and reconnection

For most primitivist anarchists, rewilding and reconnecting with the earth is a life project. They state that it should not be limited to intellectual comprehension or the practice of primitive skills, but, instead, that it is a deep understanding of the pervasive ways in which we are domesticated, fractured, and dislocated from ourselves, each other, and the world. Rewilding is understood as having a physical component which involves reclaiming skills and developing methods for a sustainable co-existence, including how to feed, shelter, and heal ourselves with the plants, animals, and materials occurring naturally in our bioregions. It is also said to include the dismantling of the physical manifestations, apparatus, and infrastructure of civilization.

Rewilding is also described as having an emotional component, which involves healing ourselves and each other from what are perceived as 10,000-year-old wounds, learning how to live together in non-hierarchical and non-oppressive communities, and de-constructing the domesticating mindset in our social patterns. To the primitivist, "rewilding includes prioritizing direct experience and passion over mediation and alienation, re-thinking every dynamic and aspect of reality, connecting with our feral fury to defend our lives and to fight for a liberated existence, developing more trust in our intuition and being more connected to our instincts, and regaining the balance that has been virtually destroyed after thousands of years of patriarchal control and domestication. Rewilding is the process of becoming uncivilized."

Associations

In the United States anarcho-primitivism has been notably advocated by writers John Zerzan, Derrick Jensen and Kevin Tucker, and often associated with non-primitivist writers Daniel Quinn and John Gowdy. The anarcho-primitivist movement has connections to radical environmentalism, gaining some attention due to the ideas of Theodore Kaczynski ("the Unabomber") following his Luddite bombing campaign. Recently anarcho-primitivism has been enthusiastically explored by Green Anarchy, Species Traitor, and occasionally Anarchy: A Journal of Desire Armed, and even CrimethInc.. The current anarcho-primitivist movement originated in the journal Fifth Estate, and was developed over a series of years in the 1970s and 1980s by writers such as Fredy Perlman, David Watson, Bob Brubaker and John Zerzan. Vast theoretical differences between Watson's and Zerzan's forms of primitivism caused a split in the late 1980s.MOVE is a group in the United States that opposes all technology and advocates a back to nature lifestyle

During the 1990s the UK magazine Green Anarchist aligned itself with anarcho-primitivism, although there are many green anarchists who are not anarcho-primitivists.

Anti-civilization anarchists also organize groups in Spain, Israel, Turkey, Sweden, Finland, and India.

Anarcho-primitivism is associated with and has influenced the radical tendencies within Neo-Tribalism.

Criticism

Criticism from within anarchism

Notable critics of primitivism include Noam Chomsky, Michael Albert, Brian Sheppard, Andrew Flood, Stewart Home, Dana Ward, and, especially, Murray Bookchin, as seen in his polemical work entitled "Social Anarchism or Lifestyle Anarchism". Theodore Kaczynski, in his book The Road to Revolution, criticizes the green anarchists and anarcho-primitivists for having their critique neutralized to a great extent by the influence of the left, arguing that a real critique of civilization requires a real attack on the values of the existing system. He believes that "instead of rebelling against the values of civilization, they have adopted many civilized values themselves and have constructed an imaginary picture of primitive societies that embodies these civilized values".[21] He then proceeds to explain that what makes primitive life superior is not related at all to "gender equality, kindness to animals, non-competitiveness, or nonviolence", features which he considers to be the "soft values of modern civilization".

Population

Both critics and proponents of anarcho-primitivism generally agree that human population would be reduced when civilization crashes.[22][23] It is estimated that a hunter-gatherer lifestyle could sustain a population of 1 to 10 million humans.[24] Primitivists respond that civilization and the current human population is unsustainable to begin with, and they're not to blame for what is to be the inevitable crash. The likes of John Zerzan and Derrick Jensen propose a transition from the civilized way of life to the primitive that would lower the population with minimal death and starvation.[25]

Hypocrisy

Use of media technology

One common criticism of primitivists is that in order to disseminate their views, they make use of print and internet publishing technologies. Such arguments have been employed to suggest that anarcho-primitivists are insincere or hypocritical for using modern technology.

Primitivists, such as Derrick Jensen[26], John Zerzan[27], and many others [28] respond that using the internet and print media are effective at spreading their beliefs, and less harmful than doing nothing to avoid seeming "hypocritical". They believe that by using effective tools that are already in place today anyway, they can hopefully create a society where those technologies are no longer produced or used.[26][28] Derrick Jensen has responded to these critics first by saying that it "reveals the weakness of their own position: they cannot rebut the substance of our message, so they simply attack the messenger." [26]

Lifestyle

Another common criticism, which some believe suggests hypocrisy, is that few primitivist philosophers live in primitive societies themselves.

Jensen states that while the critics are accurate in saying that primitivists do not live a completely primitivist lifestyle, the critics are not accurate in saying that the primitives choose not to. He believes that no legitimate options exist within the system to live such a lifestyle, and that it is necessary that people "dismantle the industrial economy" before they have a real choice about how they will live.[26]

For instance, Theodore Kaczynski, who did live a primitive lifestyle said:

The honest truth is that I am not really politically oriented. I would have really rather just be living out in the woods. If nobody had started cutting roads through there and cutting the trees down and come buzzing around in helicopters and snowmobiles I would still just be living there and the rest of the world could just take care of itself. I got involved in political issues because I was driven to it, so to speak.

Jensen also claims that focusing primarily on lifestyle changes "serves the interests of those in power by keeping our focus off them." and instead considering one's self to be "the problem", rather than "those in power" [30]

Civilization and violence

Another line of criticism attacks the anarcho-primitivist argument that hierarchy and mass violence result from civilization, citing for example, the dominance and territorial struggles observed in chimpanzees.[31] Some thinkers within anarcho-primitivism such as Pierre Clastres offer an anthropological explanation of the necessity of a certain amount of violence, while embracing anarchy as the natural balance for primitive societies.[32]

Anarcho-primitivists,[33] based on several anthropological references,[34][35] argue that hunter-gatherer societies, by their very nature are less susceptible to war, violence and diseases.[36][37][38]

Practicality

Another question regarding anarcho-primitivism is the practicality. John Zerzan admits that primitivist ideals are difficult even for the convinced to put into practice: "It's a huge challenge. You've got these great grandiose ideas, but the rubber has to hit the road somewhere, and we know that. I don’t know how that's going to work.… [W]e are a long way from connecting with that reality and we have to face that. You start off with questioning things and trying to enlarge the space where people can have dialogue and raise the questions that are not being raised anywhere else. But we don’t have blueprints as to what people should do."[39]

Other primitivist thinkers have suggested that primitivism as a philosophy is rich with numerous practical applications even in our current context, including: paleolithic diet, nutrition and exercise, reducing consumerism, simple living, a do-it-yourself orientation, increasing local self-sufficiency, spending more time outdoors, going hunting and fishing, connecting with a local land-base, practicing nature awareness and primitive wilderness skills, increasing focus on personal relationships including family and local community, and activism on solidarity issues with indigenous peoples. Primitivism as a world view also tends to give credence to long-standing examples from indigenous peoples of solutions to various modern social problems, which touch on political issues as diverse as gay rights and abortion, to environmentalism, hunting and vegetarianism.

Mass society

Brian Sheppard asserts that anarcho-primitivism is not a form of anarchism at all. In Anarchism Vs. Primitivism he says: "In recent decades, groups of quasi-religious mystics have begun equating the primitivism they advocate (rejection of science, rationality, and technology often lumped together under a blanket term "technology") with anarchism. In reality, the two have nothing to do with each other."[40]

Flood agrees with this assertion and points out that primitivism clashes with what he identifies as the fundamental goal of anarchism, "the creation of a free mass society".[41]

Primitivists do not believe that a "mass society" can be free. They believe industry and agriculture inevitably lead to hierarchy and alienation. They claim that the division of labor that techno-industrial societies require to function force people into reliance on factories and the labor of other specialists to produce their food, clothing, shelter, and other necessities and that this dependence forces them to remain a part of this society, whether they like it or not.[42]

The critique of language

Because there are some primitivists who have extended their critique of symbolic culture to language itself, Georgetown University professor Mark Lance describes this particular theory of primitivism as "literally insane, for proper communication is necessary to create within the box a means to destroy the box."[43]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ a b c "Su obra más representativa es Walden, aparecida en 1854, aunque redactada entre 1845 y 1847, cuando Thoreau decide instalarse en el aislamiento de una cabaña en el bosque, y vivir en íntimo contacto con la naturaleza, en una vida de soledad y sobriedad. De esta experiencia, su filosofía trata de transmitirnos la idea que resulta necesario un retorno respetuoso a la naturaleza, y que la felicidad es sobre todo fruto de la riqueza interior y de la armonía de los individuos con el entorno natural. Muchos han visto en Thoreau a uno de los precursores del ecologismo y del anarquismo primitivista representado en la actualidad por Jonh Zerzan. Para George Woodcock(8), esta actitud puede estar también motivada por una cierta idea de resistencia al progreso y de rechazo al materialismo creciente que caracteriza la sociedad norteamericana de mediados de siglo XIX.""LA INSUMISIÓN VOLUNTARIA. EL ANARQUISMO INDIVIDUALISTA ESPAÑOL DURANTE LA DICTADURA Y LA SEGUNDA REPÚBLICA (1923-1938)" by Xavier Diez
  2. ^ 'Againts civilization: Readings and reflections' by [[John Zerzan] (editor)]]
  3. ^ a b c d EL NATURISMO LIBERTARIO EN LA PENÍNSULA IBÉRICA (1890-1939) by Jose Maria Rosello
  4. ^ a b "Anarchism, Nudism, Naturism" by Carlos Ortega
  5. ^ a b c "LA INSUMISIÓN VOLUNTARIA. EL ANARQUISMO INDIVIDUALISTA ESPAÑOL DURANTE LA DICTADURA Y LA SEGUNDA REPÚBLICA (1923-1938)" by Xavier Diez
  6. ^ a b "Les anarchistes individualistes du début du siècle l'avaient bien compris, et intégraient le naturisme dans leurs préoccupations. Il est vraiment dommage que ce discours se soit peu à peu effacé, d'antan plus que nous assistons, en ce moment, à un retour en force du puritanisme (conservateur par essence).""Anarchisme et naturisme, aujourd'hui." by Cathy Ytak
  7. ^ Recension des articles de l'En-Dehors consacrés au naturisme et au nudisme
  8. ^ ["Anarchisme et naturisme au Portugal, dans les années 1920" in Les anarchistes du Portugal by João Freire]
  9. ^ "The pioneers"
  10. ^ a b "EL NATURISMO LIBERTARIO EN LA PENÍNSULA IBÉRICA (1890-1939)" by Josep Maria Rosell
  11. ^ The daily bleed
  12. ^ "Los origenes del naturismo libertario" por Agustín Morán
  13. ^ http://theanarchistlibrary.org/HTML/Daniel_Guerin__Anarchism__From_Theory_to_Practice.html Anarchism: From theory to practice by Daniel Guérin
  14. ^ A Primitivist Primer: what is anarcho-primitivism?
  15. ^ Kirkpatrick Sale (1985). Dwellers in the Land: The Bioregional Vision. San Francisco: Sierra Club Books. ISBN 0871568470. OCLC 11811919. 
  16. ^ John M. Gowdy (1998). Limited Wants, Unlimited Means: A Reader on Hunter-Gatherer Economics. Island Press. pp. 265. ISBN 155963555X. 
  17. ^ Future Primitive
  18. ^ PaulShepardindex
  19. ^ The Guardian, April 21, 2004
  20. ^ An Introduction to Anti-Civilization Anarchist Thought
  21. ^ Kaczynski, Theodore (2008). "Letter to M.K.". The Road to Revolution. Xenia Editions. p. 327. ISBN 978-2-88892-065-6. 
  22. ^ https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/print/xx.html The CIA World Factbook
  23. ^ Jared Diamond - The worst mistake in the history of the Human Race
  24. ^ U.S. Census Bureau Historical Estimates of World Population
  25. ^ http://www.insurgentdesire.org.uk/fp.htm
  26. ^ a b c d Jensen, Derrick (2006). Endgame, Volume 1: The Problem of Civilization. New York City: Seven Stories Press. pp. 128. ISBN 978-1-58322-730-5. 
  27. ^ Zerzan, John. "Zerzan and Media: An Ignominious Tale". Insurgent Desire. http://www.insurgentdesire.org.uk/media.htm. Retrieved 2009-03-14. 
  28. ^ a b Connor, John; John Filiss, Leif Fredrickson, Lawrence Jarach, Ron Leighton, Jason McQuinn, John Moore, Jonathan Slyk. "An Open Letter on Technology and Mediation". Insurgent Desire. http://www.insurgentdesire.org.uk/openletter.htm. Retrieved 2009-03-14. 
  29. ^ "Interview with Ted Kaczynski, Administrative Maximum Facility Prison, Florence, Colorado, USA". Earth First Journal!. June 1999. http://www.insurgentdesire.org.uk/tedk.htm. Retrieved 2009-03-14. 
  30. ^ Jensen, Derrick (2006). Endgame, Volume 1: The Problem of Civilization. New York City: Seven Stories Press. pp. 173–174. ISBN 978-1-58322-730-5. 
  31. ^ Goodall, Jane (2000). Reason for hope. Grand Central Publishing. pp. 127. ISBN 978-0446676137. 
  32. ^ Clastres, Pierre (1994). Archeology of Violence. Semiotext(e). ISBN 0936756950. 
  33. ^ Zerzan, John (2002). Running on Emptiness: The Pathology of Civilization. Feral House. ISBN 092291575X. 
  34. ^ Sahlins, Marshall (2003). Stone Age Economics. Routledge. ISBN 0415320100. 
  35. ^ Lee, Richard (1979). The !Kung San: Men, Women and Work in a Foraging Society. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0521295610. 
  36. ^ The Consequences of Domestication and Sedentism by Emily Schultz, et al.
  37. ^ Elman, Service (1972). The Hunters. Prentice Hall. ISBN B000JNRGPK. 
  38. ^ Kelly, Robert L. (1995). The Foraging Spectrum: Diversity in Hunter-Gatherer Lifeways. Washington: Smithsonian Institution. ISBN 1-56098-465-1. 
  39. ^ http://www.guardian.co.uk/mayday/story/0,7369,475181,00.html Guardian Unlimited - Anarchy in the USA
  40. ^ Sheppard, Brian - Anarchism Vs. Primitivism
  41. ^ Flood, Andrew Is primitivism realistic? An anarchist reply to John Zerzan and others Anarchist Newswire (2005) http://www.anarkismo.net/newswire.php?story_id=1890
  42. ^ Against Mass Society by Chris Wilson
  43. ^ Lance, Mark from lecture Anarchist Practice, Rational Democracy, and Community NCOR (2004) http://dc.indymedia.org/newswire/display/90971

References

Further reading

  • Diamond, Stanley. In Search of the Primitive. 
  • Faun, Feral. Feral Revolution. 

External links








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