Eco-Extremism; An Intro & A Critique

    An Intro to Individualists Tending toward the Wild

    The group's origins broadly

    Kaczynski’s influence specifically

    On eco-extremism and anarchy

    There’s Nothing Anarchist about Eco-Fascism

    More non-news about the “Eco-Extremist Mafia”

  Arrests & Doxxings

    They Declare Guilty the "Individualist Tending to the Wild" for Explosive Attacks in the RM

      Bus stops, universities and public administration: the targets of the "lone wolf" obsessed with bombings

        After two years of investigation, the suspect is arrested

      They declare guilty the "individualist tending to the wild" for explosive attacks in the RM

        Gajardo was accused of the following facts:

      45 years in prison for subject who detonated bomb in Transantiago bus stop and who sent explosives

        These are the following episodes:

    Satanist ITS Members Communique and Arrest Report

      (ABYSS) 48 COMMUNIQUE OF THE INDIVIDUALISTS TENDING TOWARDS THE WILD

      ‘Eco-terrorist’ who planted bomb in Edinburgh park jailed

    Who is [censored], a Paralegal or an Eco-Extremist Mafia?

  Issue #1 – Spring 2014

    Welcome to Black Seed

    What is Green Anarchy?

      Anarchy vs Anarchism

      What is Primitivism?

      What is Civilization?

      Biocentrism vs Anthropocentrism

      A Critique of Symbolic Culture

      The Domestication of Life

      The Origins and Dynamics of Patriarchy

      Division of Labor and Specialization

      The Rejection of Science

      The Problem of Technology

      Production and Industrialism

      Beyond Leftism

      Against Mass Society

      Liberation vs Organization

      Revolution vs Reform

      Resisting the Mega-Machine

      The Need to be Critical

      Influences and Solidarity

      Rewilding and Reconnection

    When Nature Attacks

    Letters to the Editors

      RE: Non-Materialist Practice

      Correspondence with Riflebird

    Antagonist News

    Land And Freedom: An Old Challenge - by Sever

      An Old Slogan

      Land and Freedom Unalienated

      History

      Expropriations

      Feeding ourselves

      Finding What’s “Ours”

      A Longterm Proposal

      Communities of the Earth

      In Conclusion

    Animal Dreams - by John Zerzan

    User Experience - by Cliff Hayes

    Two Steps Back: The Return of Nonviolence in Ecological Resistance

      A Flash Back…

      The Perplexing Return of Non-Violence

      Embracing Civil Disobedience?

      Limiting Options and Narrowing Forms of Resistance: Ritualized Actions

      Alternatives?

    Naming All of the Names - by Cedar Leighlais

    Uncivilising Permaculture - by Tanday Lupalupa

      The Problem Of Cities: Urban Permaculture

      The Problem Of Semantics: Peak Oil/Energy Descent, Sustainability And The Collapse

      The Problem Of Agriculture: Horticulture, Permaculture, And The Wild

      The Problem Of Ideology: Eurocentrism, Globalisation And Autonomy

      Curse

    In Review: Witchcraft and the Gay Counterculture by Arthur Evans

    Forevergreen by Tanday Lupalupa

    The End Is Here

  Issue #2 – Fall 2014

    Welcome to Issue #2

    A Discussion on Green Anarchy

      What Is Green Anarchy?

      How Did You Come To A Green Anarchist Perspective?

      Are Green Anarchism, Anarcho-Primitivism, And Anti-Civilization Synonymous Terms?

      As An Academic Practice, What Role Does Anthropology Have In Green Anarchy?

      As Green Anarchists, We Can Easily See How Fucked The World Is. Is There A Place For Hope?

    Interview with Klee Benally

    Anarchy and Anthropology

      Outsiders Looking In and Away

      Creating Reality

      Cataloguing Conquest

      Revolutionary Potential

    Don't Turn Away

    Answers to Questions Not Asked: Anarchists & Anthropology

      Critique Isn’t Nearly Enough

      What Is The Most Fundamental Of All

      Behemoth

      Critique And Hostility

      What Is The Space Between 5,000 Nations And One

      The Sound Of One Hand Clapping

      The End Is The End

    The Undying Appeal of White Nationalism

      Ecology

      Music

      Nihilism as Question and the Suppression of the Hipster

      Radical Traditionalism, Revolutionary Reactionism

      Retreat from Politics

      The New Force

      Nothing Before the Earth

      Left-Right Collusion and The Technocratic Future

      Realization and Confrontation

      Bibliography

    Implications of an Anarchist Spirit in the Salmon Run

    Points For Further Discussion in the Digital Era

    Anarchy In Flight

    When Nature Attacks

      Cop Hit By Falling Tree During Traffic Stop

      Soldier Mauled By Bear At Base In Alaska

      Small Town Mayor Killed By Wasps

      Boy Attacked By Mountain Lion in Cupertino, CA

      Two Men Killed in Bull-Running Festival, Won’t Stop Festival

      Black Bear Kills Hiker in New Jersey

    A Voice From the Grave

    The Dark Mountain Manifesto

      I: WALKING ON LAVA

      II: THE SEVERED HAND

      III: UNCIVILISATION

      IV: TO THE FOOTHILLS!

      THE EIGHT PRINCIPLES OF UNCIVILISATION

    Ways of Casting Wishes

    It's All Falling Apart

      Liquid Food To Replace Eating Called “Soylent”

      DNA Company To Track Dog-Poop-Perpetrators

      Driver posts Facebook Update Collision

      Google’s next data collection project: Human body

      Kid Climbs Trees With prosthetic arm

      River in China mysteriously Turns Red Overnight

      “Occupy Hong Kong” Kicks Off, Demanding Democracy

    Two Steps Nowhere

      (Caveat I: Communication Is Impossible)

      (Caveat II: Labels Are Useless)

    Review: Green Syndicalism: An Alternative Red/Green Vision

    Pulling on the Threads of Representation

  Issue #3 – Spring 2015

    Welcome to Issue 3

    Childhood, Imagination, and the Forest - by Sever

    Don’t Worry, You Can Sleep at Night … and being able to sleep functions as a symptom of a greater problem – by Hunter H

      Revolutionary In-Crowd

    An Interview with Corrina Gould: On Disappearing to Survive – by A!

    Collision of Worlds: the pause between wilderness and civilization in California

    Accomplices Not Allies: Abolishing the Ally Industrial Complex

      Accomplices Not Allies

      Salvation aka Missionary Work & Self Therapy

      Exploitation & Co-optation

      Self proclaiming/confessional Allies

      Parachuters

      Academics, & Intellectuals

      Gatekeepers

      Navigators & Floaters

      Acts of Resignation

      Suggestions for some ways forward for anti-colonial accomplices:

      If you are wondering whether to get involved with or to support an organization:

    A Few Notes on the Social Machine – by Xander

    The old, and the new – by AJ

    Memories of the ZAD

      On Site

      Timeline of the ZAD

      Transmission from the ZAD de Notre Dame

    Prison News

    Technical Authority: Ideology, the Social Construction of Technology, and Technocracy - by Jason Rodgers

    It’s All Falling Apart: Dispatches From The End of the World

    The Nameless Raccoon – by aragorn!

    Blank 8 – by Noah Bernes, age 11

    Chronicle for Black Seed

    The Bear vs. The Mob – by aragorn!

    Wild Interventions

    Meeting At The Dead End: Nihilism, Green Anarchy and the Desire for Immediate Revolt – by Riflebird

      FROM ENSLAVEMENT TO OBLITERATION

      COMMON THREADS

      KNOW-IT-ALLS AND NO-HOPERS

      THE FAILURES OF PRIMITIVISM

      MEETING AT THE DEAD END

  Issue #4 – Winter 2015

    Is the End of the World Upon Us?

      What’s in this issue?

    Anarchy on the Scorched Earth, by Balora

    The Issues are not the Issue: A Letter to Earth First! from a Too-Distant Friend

      An Image From the Past

      A Glimpse of the Future

      Nothing Doing and Doing Nothing

      Political Identity vs. Affinity

      The Issues are not the Issue

    Against the Green Left: A Debate About Activism and Identity

    Against Resilence: The Katrina Disaster & The Politics of Disavowal, by John Clark

      Forgetting Commemoration

      Resilence Kills

      The Official Story: The Bush Version

      The Official Story: The Obama Version

      The Official Story: The Landrieu Version

    The Roots of a New Practice: An Interview With Knowing the Land is Resistance

    Corrosive Consciousness — Part I: How One Might Profane Green Platonism, by Bellamy Fitzpatrick

      Exiting the Madhouse: Moving Toward a Truly Critical Theory

      The Vagaries of Domestication

      The Elusive and Sacred Wildness

      The Persistence of Manichaeism

    It’s All Falling Apart: Dispatches From the End Times

    Prisoner Updates

    “There’s No Place to Go” — An Interview With Dominique

    Nihilist Animism, by Aragorn!

    Spacious Treeline In Words, by Gerald Vizenor

      Classroom Windmills

      Satirical Stallion

      Urban Shamans

      Terminal Creeds

    Wild Intervention

    Reviews

      Dixie Be Damned

      Black and Green Review No. 1

      On Killing the Undead: Issues 1 and 2 of Post-Scarcity Anarchism

  Issue #5 – Summer 2017

    Introduction

    Black Seed—An Old Green Anarchy by Aragorn!

      A New Story

      A Future Change

      Survival

    What Does Green Anarchy Mean Today? by Ramon Elani

    Science is Capital by dot matrix

      Fragments on Why Anthropology Can’t Be Anarchist

    Murder of the Civilized by Mallory Wuornos

    Smiles on the Tiles by Jack Diddly

    The Bones of Mayuk by S-kw’etu’?

    My Mind Below this Beautiful Country: Talsetan Brothers Share Their Stories of Land Defense and Indigenizing

    The Erotic Life of Stones by Dominique Ganawaabi and S0ren Aubade

    The Way of the Violent Stars by Ramon Elani

    The Catalog of Horror by Abe Cabrera

    Revolutionary Dissonance: Why Eco-Extremism Matters for Those Who Most Hate It by Bellamy Fitzpatrick

      “Choosing Sides”: To Condemn the Wrongdoer and the Non-Condemner Alike

      Neither Apoplexy Nor Cheerleading: Another Take on Eco-Extremism

      Ajajema’s Holy Warriors: Eco-Extremism as Revolutionary Theology

      Revolutionary Dissonance: The Failure of Eco-Extremism’s Most Eager Critics

    Animals Attack!

    Eco-Extremism or Extinctionism by John Jacobi

      Eco-Extremist Strategy?

      Human Values or Divine Values?

      Nihilist or Environmentalist?

      All Humans are Bad or Most Humans are Bad?

      Concerned or Unconcerned with Personal Wildness?

      Final Thoughts

    Anti-Social Attack!

    The World Without Forms by Rhyd Wildermuth

      Spooks That Kill

      The Fascists Know What We Prefer To Forget

      The World Without Forms

      Reclaiming What We’ve Thrown Away

    Uncivilized Artists, Violent Aesthetes by Linn O’Mable

    Resilencing: Social Injustice by John Clark

      RESILIENCE KILLS

      THE OFFICIAL STORY: THE BUSH VERSION

      THE OFFICIAL STORY: THE OBAMA VERSION

      THE OFFICIAL STORY: THE LANDRIEU VERSION

      RESILENCING: SOCIAL INJUSTICE

      RESILENCING: THE EDUCATION DISASTER

      RESILENCING: THE MIGRATION DISASTER

      RESILENCING: THE INCARCERATION DISASTER

      RESILENCING: THE ECOLOGICAL CATASTROPHE

      RESILENCING: DISSIDENT VOICES & THE BELOVED COMMUNITY

    The Planet Attacks!

    Against Self-Sufficiency, the Gift by Sever

      The Blank Slate

      The Community

      Circled Wagons

      The Gift

  Issue #6 – Summer 2018

    Welcome to Issue #6

    The Leopard's Grammar/ Iron Tree Blooms in the Void

    Speech of the Nameless

      My Shadow Will Not Speak for Me

    The Enemy, Life Itself: an exploration of sex negative sentiment

      sex isn’t revolutionary

      sex as identity, identity as coercion

    Eleven Ways to Kill a Child

      Reconsidering the Ethics of Infanticide

      The helpless and innocent

      The submissive woman and the myth of the mothering instinct

      Value Systems that Lead to Tolerance or Persecution

      SO, YOU WANT TO KILL YOUR CHILD

      An Evil Act

    In Thine Image: The Gnosis and Narcissism of High-Tech Escapism

      The Censorship of Self-Control

      Narcissus vs a Liquid Crystal Pool

      Towards An Atomic Weight of Belief

      Knowledge as the Lightning Scars of Chaos

      Killing Machines or Judge Dredd Runs on a Magic 8-Ball

      Order Was Only a Metaphor

      The Bleating Absence of Sound…

    Invocations to the Violent Deities: Shiva and Chinnamasta

    Equinox at the Headwaters

    Phagein

    Blackfish

    Earthdivers: Origin stories, mixed descent, and metaphor

    Still Time: Love Letter To Dark Mountain

      Desertion

      Linguistic lines of flight

      Bio-Insurrection and Negation’s Summer

      There is only clearcut here

    The Puppet and the Bomb

    Suddenly, Pan

    Living in the Hands of the Gods: Remembering Daniel Quinn

    Night through Dreams: Sangre de Muerdago – Noite

    Without Words: A New (old) GA

      Grammar is the problem…

      Or is it recognizability?

      How

      Brown Cow

    Against the World Builders: Eco-extremists respond to critics

      So to begin...

        A. Rape

        B. Misogyny

        C. Attacking anarchists

        D. Black Seed no. 5: With frenemies like these…

        E. Fascism

      Conclusion

    Do Ants Dream of Domestication: a review of Corrosive Consciousness

  Issue #7 – Summer 2019

    Editorial

    Revolution of Fungal Life by Anonymous

    Whatever-Veganism by Aragorn!

      A mild critique

      What is true

      What is differently true

      What is said

      Pro health

      Biting Back: A radical response to non-vegan arguments (excerpt)

    Towards an Anthropology as Science Fiction by Dominique Ganawaabi

    Post-Indian Aphorisms by Dominique Ganawaabi

    The Anpoa Duta Collective: Part 1

    My Mind Below this Beautiful Country: Part 2

      Tatsetan/Tahltan: A Land Based Nomadic Language

      Indigenizing, Land Defense, and Decolonization

    We Have Nothing To Say: Technology and the Economizing of Communication by Goat

      Defining technology and technique to bring about their ruin

      Marx’s technophilia: why the left will never be able to critique technology

      Techno-Capital Spirituality

      Techno-pessimism: Ellul’s Technological Society and Paoli’s Demotivational Training

      Applied Anti-Tech

    The Situation is Hopeless, Just Hopeless: A Pessimist’s Review of The Uninhabitable Earth by Mallory Wournos

    There’s A Twitter for That?! by Aragorn!

      There is an indigenous Twitter?

      Support and support

      Orientalism

      Federalism vs Confederalism

    BC Indigenous Land Defense Updates

      Secwepemc 'Tiny House Warriors' and TransMountain Extension Tar Sands Pipeline Resistance

      Unist'ot'en Camp and Coastal GasLink Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG)

  Issue #8 – Summer 2020

    Welcome to the eighth edition of Black Seed journal.

    An Obituary for Aragorn! by Leona

    Weary Warrior by Aunt Loretta

    The Burden of Our Travels by Klee Benally

    Locating An Indigenous Anarchism by Aragorn!

      First Principles

      Anarchist in spirit vs. Anarchist in word

      Native People are not gone

    Indigenous Anarchist Convergence – Report Back 1

    Fire Walk with Me: IAC reportback 2

    Contrasts at the Boundary Lines: A Chat with Armando Resendez by Dominique Ganawaabi

    Rethinking the Apocalypse: An Indigenous Anti-Futurist Manifesto

    The Anpoa Duta Collective Part 2: a conversation with Aragorn!

    Anti-Colonial Hxstory: Colonization is a plague

    Ongoing Colonization Continues to Desecrate Occupied Hia Ced O’odham Jewed by Sapé!

      Liberation Through Dismantling Borders and Barriers

      The O’odham Anti-Border Collective

      Recognition Strategy

      Where Militarization and Freeways Intersect

      Being Anti-Border is Being for Indigenous Land and Life

    Voting is Not Harm Reduction by Klee Benally & friends from Indigenous Action

      The Native Vote: A Strategy of Colonial Domination

      Assimilation: The Strategy of Enfranchisement

      You can’t decolonize the ballot

      Rejecting settler colonial authority, aka not voting.

    COVID-19, Resource Colonialism & Indigenous Resistance by Klee Benally

      The Navajo Resource Colony & COVID-19

      Food Deserts: A Project of Colonial Violence

      A Virulent Faith

       Missionizing Charity & Allyship

      Indigenous Mutual Aid is Necessary

      Prophecy & Medicine

    Your loneliness is a public health problem by Goat

      We are so lonely because we have no one to talk to

      We have no one to talk to because we have nothing to say

      We will not live as things that think about money

      We will not live in the complete absence of meaning

      You are not alone, except in dealing with the entirety of your life.

      We feel the urge to explode just the same as you do

      You may speak with everyone now that you have nothing to say

      If society betrays all desire

      Because nothing satisfies

      Abolish the clock

      Because life is too tense

      To be on the side of spirit

      Your loneliness is a public health problem

      Because there are barricades in our hearts

    Stand-up to be Performed at the Next Disaster by Skoden

Eco-Extremism; An Intro & A Critique

An Intro to Individualists Tending toward the Wild

From the book The Politics of Attack.

[ITS] has explicitly rejected association with anarchism, and via a subsequent (i.e. second generation) moniker, rejected both the label of “leftist” and “insurrectionary”.

In a rare interview the group provided in 2014, it describes its purpose, stating:

[ITS] deemed it necessary to carry out the direct attack against the Technoindustrial System. We think that the struggle against this is not only a stance of wanting to abandon Civilization, regressing to Nature, or in refuting the system’s values, without also, attacking it.

ITS has received international attention after repeatedly targeting scientists and researchers with lethal force. ITS has stood out from other bombers due to its lengthy, academic-styled communiqués and direct attacks on individuals from outside the typical target set: heads of state and corporations, officials in law enforcement, jailing, etc. ITS is unique in at least two matters: its stated objective to kill, and its specific, tech-related target set. In the 2014 interview, cell members explain:

Our immediate objectives are very clear: injure or kill scientists and researchers (by the means of whatever violent act) who ensure the Technoindustrial System continues its course. As we have declared on various occasions, our concrete objective is not the destruction of the Technoindustrial system, it is the attack with all the necessary resources, lashing out at this system which threatens to close off all paths to the reaching of our Individual Freedom, putting into practice our defensive instinct

… ITS has from the beginning proposed the attack against the system as the objective, striving to make these kinds of ideas spread around the globe through extreme acts, in defense of Wild Nature, as we have done.

According to their own historical account, the group began experimenting in 2011 with “arson attacks on cars and construction machinery, companies and institutions … until we decided to focus on terrorism and not sabotage”. From 2011–2014, ITS deployed at least 13 mail bombs, two mailed threats accompanied by bullets, and assassinated Méndez Salinas, a biotechnologist with the Institute of Bio-Technology at the National Autonomous University of Mexico. Salinas was shot in the head, and according to ITS, killed by “the most violent cell of ITS in Morelos, being already familiar with the purchase and use of firearms.”

Through their various communiqués and interviews, ITS has claimed responsibility for a series of attacks, many of which were claimed under other monikers and later linked to the ITS network. For example, in August 2014, ITS declared the formation of Wild Reaction (RS):

After a little more than three years of criminal-terrorist activity, the group

… [ITS] … begins a new phase in this open war against the Technoindustrial System … we want to explain that during all of 2012 and 2013, various groups of a terrorist and sabotage stripe were uniting themselves with the group ITS, so that now, after a long silence and for purely strategic reasons, we publicly claim [10 attacks from newly affiliated networks] … All of these have now fused with the ITS groups in Morelos, Mexico City, Guanajuato, Hidalgo, Coahuila and Veracruz … Due to this union, the extravagant and little-practical pseudonym of ““Individualists Tending toward the Wild’ (ITS) ceases to exist, and from now on the attacks against technology and civilization will be signed with the new name of“Wild Reaction”(RS).

Prior to this announcement, in April 2014 a group calling itself Obsidian Point Circle of Analysis (OPCAn) activated a new clandestine cell (which would later be absorbed into RS) called Obsidian Point Circle of Attack (OPCA). The formation of OPCAn was preceded by three commentaries on ITS and the authors “becoming tired of simply writing.” In its opening declaration OPCA writes:

It has been some time since we started writing about some situations that had arisen in Mexico concerning the terrorist group ITS; we published a total of three analyses, in which we have publicly demonstrated our support of the group ITS, in their actions as much as their position. Until now we have decided to solely be those who comfortably spread and highlighted the group’s communiques and actions, but that is over. The violent advance of the techno-industrial system, the degradation that civilization leaves in its wake and the oblivion they are forcing us toward, ceasing to be natural humans to the point of turning into humanoids: there must be a convincing response.

We abandon words and analyses in order to begin with our war … We only seek confrontation with the system, the sharpening of the conflict against it. From this day we publicly put aside the word “analysis,” in order to become The Obsidian Point Circle of Attack.

Thus, according to its own narrative, ITS inspired public commentary and critique by OPCAn and, in September 2014, when ITS became RS, it was announced that RS included OPCA as well. In the first declaration by RS, the authors explain: “during this year … two more terroristic groups have united with us who have put the development of the Technoindustrial System in their sights … The ‘Obsidian Point Circle of Attack’ … [and] … The ‘Atlatl Group.’” Therefore, a complete history of ITS’s actions includes both attacks claimed under their name, those claimed under the OPCA and RS, as well as smaller groupings merged under the network’s banner. According to a chronology assembled from the networks’ communications, the network has claimed at least 27 distinct actions including 22 IED attacks (mostly mail and package/parcel bombs), three written threats, several arsons of property, one animal release, and one fatal shooting.

In early 2016, the ITS moniker saw its first usage outside of the borders of Mexico. In the second ITS communiqué of 2016, the “Uncivilized Southerners” cell “abandoned a homemade explosive charge” on a bus in Santiago, Chile writing:

The Eco-Extremist tendency spreads … We are accomplices to its ideas and acts, forming part of it. We are giving life to an international project against civilization.

Because we are bullets to the head, mail-bombs, indiscriminate bombings and incinerating fire, we are:

Individualists Tending Toward the Wild – Chile.

A few days later, in the fourth ITS communiqué of 2016, an ITS cell in Argentina claimed responsibility for placing an IED in a Buenos Aires bus station. In the message accompanying the bomb, the attackers wrote: “ITS is in Argentina”. The emergence of new ITS cells appears to be an ongoing trend. Five days after the Argentina communiqué was posted to a Spanish-language insurrectionary hub, the same site featured a communiqué signed by five cells of ITS, three from Mexico, and one each from Argentina and Chile. The communiqué traces the origin and expansion of the ITS and RS monikers and announces “a new phase of the war against all that represents and sustains the advance of civilization and progress”.

In Mexico, ITS’s bombs have targeted civilian, seemingly ‘non-political’ scientists, professors, technical experts, researchers, and technocrats and within a politic most closely described as (Green) anarcho-primitivism. Famed “Unabomber” Theodore Kaczynski popularized this framework in the 1980s during a 17-year (1978–1995) bombing campaign involving 16 bombs, which killed three people and injured 23. Following the publication of “Industrial Society and its Future” – popularly known as the “Unabomber manifesto” and released five months after his final attack – Kaczynski’s spirit has been carried forth by ITS and a few similar networks.

The group's origins broadly

ITS Mexico were originally part of the green & insurrectionary anarchist milieus and likely grew up on earth first monkey-wrenching manuals from the 80s:

The group draws its inspiration from anarcho-primitivism, an "anti-civilization anarchy" from which ITS is largely inspired. “I took the theories of the 'Earth Liberation Front' further, and gave them a different tone,” explains Xale. "I was interested in the issues facing the American continent, in the indigenous cultures that opposed civilization," assures the Mexican member of ITS in the video.

With anarchism, the relationship at the moment is one of rupture, although there is no dishonor in accepting that many eco-extremists and some members of ITS come from anarchism, mostly from insurrectionist and eco-anarchist tendencies. Although at the time there were some ties, today the vast majority of anarchists hate us.

Referring to the groups history, Xale, a member of ITS Mexico wrote this:

This chronology could well be added to that of Individualities Tending to the Wild (2011-2013), or that of the anti civilization cells of the Earth Liberation Front (2008-2012), but we decided to focus on RS, for now.

Searching through the over 300 sabotage actions that occurred in Mexico between 2018 & 2012, and the at least 10 with ELF in the title of the post, there do appear to be a few attacks that fit ITS modus operandi and communiqués which fit their early idiolect:

Early this morning, September 21, our cell placed a bomb made of butane gas at the gates of the headquarters of Nueva Escuela Tecnológica [New School of Technology] in the municipality of Coacalco, Mexico State.

The authorities in that municipality had previously implemented security systems that belong in the worst nightmares of Orwell.

Security cameras, artificial eyes guarding their damned social peace, throughout the major avenues in Coacalco.

In the commercial area, the police presence is evident, state police and the mediocre municipal police pass through the streets and on Lopez Portillo Avenue.

Guarding the centers of domination and domestication that are also protected by surveillance cameras and the idiot guardians of the imposed order.

Facing this situation of high surveillance, it seemed impossible to strike, but rebellious creativity is greater than the highest degree of 'security' that the state implements. (178)

The Coacalco commercial area had been previously visited by eco-anarchist cells who conducted significant strikes right in front of the police, who were flabbergasted by an arson, a butane explosion, graffiti and paint spilled in anthropocentric business. (178)

Our action was censured both by the directors of the Nueva Escuela Tecnológica and the Mexico State authorities. They hid the damage that we caused and concealed the evidence of our presence at night. This is not unusual; it happened after the 'celebrations' of the ephemeral bicentennial celebration which were held in 'total' peace. (178)

The Agencia de Seguridad Estatal [state security agency] as well as detectives from the Mexico City police department are aware of our actions and our presence; they know that we were there and that we detonated our explosive charge as the lackeys on patrol passed by unable to stop us. (178)

We chose to attack the NET because it represents the new era of these centers of domestication called schools, where they learn things that are useless for a free life, but necessary for a life of slavery and alienation. They create beings that depend on technology in order to live in these concrete nests called cities, but more closely resemble large prisons. They train malleable minds to be used for entrepreneurship and to expand civilization over wild nature. We will not permit this. (178)

Once again we say: not with their cameras, nor their police officers, nor with their investigators, nor their prisons, will they be able to stop us; we once again skinned the rotten bastards, godammit! (178)

This action is dedicated to the Chilean anarchist prisoners, captured after the wave of repression in that country on August 14; we send much strength, from mexico we remember them in every direct action. (178)

We did not want to wait until the 24th to show our solidarity.

Support is not only for one day, it is in our everyday actions!

Direct solidarity for the eco prisoners Abraham López and Adrian Magdaleno, for the eco revolutionaries on hunger strike in Switzerland, for the animal liberation prisoner Walter Bond in the U.S., and the vegan warriors imprisoned in Italy!

Keep running Diego, you're fucking awesome!

Earth Liberation Front/Mexico

Upon reading translated Unabomber material they started along a road that began with committing arsons aimed at sabotaging evil companies and ended with them desiring to have the wider effect of terrorizing people through fear of injury or death out of a simple hatred for humanity:

… in 2011 the (newly formed) ITS was testing various modus operandi (from known and attempted arson attacks on cars and construction machinery, companies and institutions in Coahuila, Guanajuato, and Veracruz State of Mexico, until we decided to focus on terrorism and not sabotage). (179)

Here are old members of the FAI / CCF in Mexico acknowledging former collaboration and ideological crossover:

Exactly 5 years and seven months ago we signed a “joint statement” at the request of a comrade for whom we feel great affection and respect. That text was entitled “2nd Joint Statement of the Anarchist Insurrectional and Eco-Anarchist Groups”. … (180)

Back then, we let it be known publicly and energetically that: (180)

“With these ITS partners, we can have theoretical differences and discuss them (always arguing fraternally in a constant attempt to update ideas and by building a unitary criticism attuned to the reality of the anarchist struggle), but we have never disagreed with the methods used, understanding anti-authoritarian violence and propaganda for the facts as they are : valid practices consistent with our ethical principles.” (180)

Although ITS were one of the few clusters with which we did not directly coordinate when undertaking joint actions, we were in solidarity with them, in the same way that some of the comrades that made up our affinity groups obtained monetary resources for them to solve specific difficulties when requested. That has been (and is) the basis of practical co-ordination between the new anarchic insurrectionalism and eco-anarchism. (180)

In their early communiques they would express solidarity with anarchist prisoners:

Total support with the Anti-civilization prisoners in Mexico, with the Chilean comrades and with the furious Italians and Swiss. … (179)

One more time: Direct and total support with the anti-civilization prisoners of Mexico, with those eco-anarchists of Switzerland, to the affinities in Argentina, Spain, Italy, Chile and Russia. (179)

Here is an answer members of ITS gave in a text interview in 2014 I think showing they were leftists, in that they only later rejected leftist mass movement building and so are not simply post-left-&-right:

Individualists tending towards the wild formed at the beginning of 2011, and was motivated by the reasoning acquired during a slow process of getting to know, questioning, and the rejection of all that encompasses leftism and the civilized, and accordingly, employing all the above, we deemed it necessary to carry out the direct attack against the Technoindustrial System. We think that the struggle against this is not only a stance of wanting to abandon Civilization, regressing to Nature, or in refuting the system’s values, without also attacking it. (181)

Finally, ITS also claimed that more ELF and Anarchist groups joined them later when they briefly took on the name Wild Reaction:

First of all, we want to explain that during all of 2012 and 2013, various groups of a terrorist and sabotage stripe were uniting themselves with the group ITS, so that now, after a long silence and for purely strategic reasons, we publicly claim: (182)

1) The “Informal Anti-civilization Group,” which on June 29, 2011, took responsibility for the explosion that severely damaged a Santander bank in the city of Tultitlan, Mexico. (182)

2) “Uncivilized Autonomous,” who on October 16, 2011 set off a bomb inside the ATMs of a Banamex, located between the cities of Tultitlan and Coacalco in Mexico State. (182)

4) “Wild Indomitables,” who on October 16, 2011 left a butane gas bomb that did not detonate in a Santander bank in the Álvaro Obregón district of Mexico City. The act was never claimed until now. (182)

5) “Terrorist Cells for the Direct Attack – Anti-civilization Fraction,” which in 2010 and 2011 left a fake bomb in front of the IFaB (Pharmacological and Biopharmeceutical Research), and detonated an explosive outside the building of the National Ecology Institute (INE), both in the Tlalpan district of Mexico City. (182)

6) “Luddites against the Domestication of Wild Nature,” who during 2009 to 2011 had taken part in various incendiary attacks in some cities in Mexico State and various districts of Mexico City, claimed or unclaimed. (182)

8) “Earth Liberation Front – Bajío”, which on November 16, 2011 set off an explosive charge creating damages within the ATM area of a branch of the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) in the city of Irapuato in Guanajuato. (182)

All of these have now fused with the ITS groups in Morelos, Mexico City, Guanajuato, Hidalgo, Coahuila and Veracruz. (182)

Due to this union, the extravagant and little-practical pseudonym of “Individualists Tending toward the Wild” (ITS) ceases to exist, and from now on the attacks against technology and civilization will be signed with the new name of “Wild Reaction” (RS). (182)

These were groups that other anarchists were relating to as anarchists also. As the joint declaration of the insurrectional anarchist and eco-anarchist groups of Mexico referred to earlier was signed by some of these groups who later merged with ITS or had a very similar ideology:

Luddites against the Domestication of Wild Nature (LDNS)(189)

Earth Liberation Front (FLT)(189)

Free, Dangerous, Savage and Incendiary Individuals for the Black Plague (ILPSIPN)(189)

Kaczynski’s influence specifically

Born out of various radical ideologies such as animal liberation, insurrectionary anarchism, anarcho-primitivism, and the neo-Luddism of Theodore Kaczynski, it has germinated and sprouted forth into something entirely other …[216]

* * *

We have never denied that the essay, “Industrial Society and Its Future” has been an important part of our formation into what we are now. For that reason, in the past we used such terms as “leftists,” “power process,” “feelings of inferiority,” “liberty and autonomy,” etc. that in the present we have omitted or changed for other words so that we distinguish ourselves from the “indomitistas” of Kaczynski. …[217]

* * *

[ITS] specifically address their relationship to Kaczynski in their fourth communiqué:[207]

Have ITS copied Ted Kaczynski? The million-dollar question.[207]

Without a doubt, we see this person as an individual who with his profound rational analysis contributed greatly to the advance of antitechnological ideas; his simple way of living in a manner strictly away from Civilization and the persecution of his Freedom in an optimal environment make him a worthy individual who due to a family betrayal is serving multiple life sentences in the United States … If we cite Stirner, Rand, Kaczynski, Nietzsche, Orwell, some scientists and other people in our communiques they are only for references, we do not have reason to be in agreement with all their lines and positions … It has been said that we imitate the Unabomber; perhaps we have seen as strategic the action of [Kaczynski’s moniker] the Freedom Club against scientific personalities in the United States in the 70′s, 80′s and 90′s, and we have adopted this, but let it be clear that we have not imitated all his discourse in its totality, since as we said above, there are points that are plainly contrary to the positions of the FC.[207]

In their sixth communiqué, ITS (2012) notes that their early writings (i.e. first and second communiqués) did in fact borrow from Kaczynski, but that after reflecting on their “poor interpretations” the group has “discarded [Kaczynski’s ideas] and now for us they have no validity.” Despite what many regard as similarities in critique, and despite ITS occasionally quoting Kaczynski directly, ITS subsequently denies ideological connections. In the first communiqué as “Wild Reaction, ‘Kill or Die’ Group” (2014) the group writes:[207]

We deny being followers of Ted Kaczynski … we have indeed learned many things from reading Industrial Society and Its Future, the texts after this and the letters before this text signed by ‘Freedom Club’ (FC), but that does not mean that we are his followers. In fact our position clashes with Kaczynski’s, FC’s … since we do not consider ourselves revolutionaries, we do not want to form an ‘anti-technological movement’ that encourages the ‘total overthrow of the system,’ we do not see it as viable, we do not want victory, we do not pretend to win or lose, this is an individual fight against the mega-machine; we don’t care about getting something positive from this, since we are simply guided by our instincts of defense and survival.[207]

Here one can witness RS’s declared revolutionary intent, to “bring it all crashing down” while avoiding the trapping of movement building and conceiving of the conflict in terms of winners and losers. In this communiqué, after the group changed its name, RS goes on to further declare their ideological independence from the prominent critics of technology (e.g. primitivists) as well as the global anarcho-insurrectional milieu through which their communications are circulated and consumed. In their proclamation of non-affiliation, RS states:[207]

Thus neither Kaczynski … or any other with the (supposed) “primitivist” stamp represents RS. Nor do the Informal Anarchist Federation (FAI), the Conspiracy of Cells of Fire (CCF), Feral Faun, or any other with the “ecoanarchist” or “anti-civilization cell of …” stamp. RS and its groups only represent themselves. (Wild Reaction, “Kill or Die” Group 2014)[207]

Despite ITS/RS’s insistence to the contrary, prominent anarcho-primitivist thinker John Zerzen, often spoken of as the “founder” of the movement, notes that “ITS group is real slavish to Ted Kaczynski” (Morin 2014). Zerzen goes on to say that he does not believe ITS’s methods will prove successful and that he is “turn[ed] off” by their usage of mailed explosives and their cavalier dismissal of human causalities (Morin 2014).[207]

* * *

In thought and in action, Kaczynski is a lone wolf. His Manifesto articulates a theory or worldview that is peculiar to him and built from a unique combination of Ellul’s, Morris’s, and Seligman’s ideas. Terrorism scholars have recently questioned ‘whether it is time to put the “lone wolf” category to rest altogether’, since alleged lone wolves are rarely as independent as they appear: ‘ties to online and offline radical milieus are critical’Yet, as I have shown, Kaczynski is unusual in that most of his ideological formation took place in a library, outside of any radical milieu. His association with radical environmentalists, who shared his disdain for modern technology, was a consequence rather than a cause of his radicalization. The Unabomber case shows that terrorists can emerge from a relative ideological vacuum, even if this is rare, and that the concept of the lone wolf might therefore be worth retaining.[218]

Although Kaczynski began his anti-tech bombing campaign as a lone wolf, he has since become the leader of a pack. Just as he had hoped, his Manifesto has spawned an ideology – a public discourse of anti-tech – and inspired a cluster of anti-tech radical groups. Kaczynski is not just an extreme example of an anti-tech radical, but also the founder and lodestar of a new form of anti-tech radicalism. [218]

In the immediate aftermath of his arrest, many of Kaczynski’s followers came from the outer fringe of the green movement. One of his early correspondents and confidants was John Zerzan, a prominent anarcho-primitivist. Another was Derrick Jensen, cofounder of the radical environmentalist group Deep Green Resistance.Kaczynski’s alliances with green anarchists and radical environmentalists were tenuous and short-lived. He ultimately fell out with Zerzan, Jensen, and their respective movements for the same reason: they are committed to many ‘leftist’ causes that he considers to be dangerous distractions.Whereas Kaczynski’s opposition to technology is stubbornly single-minded, Zerzan and Jensen see technology as only one facet of ‘civilization’, alongside patriarchy, racism, and exploitation of animals. Only years later did Kaczynski begin to attract a following that was committed to his brand of anti-tech radicalism. As he notes in his 2016 book, ‘it is only since 2011 that I’ve had people who have been willing and able to spend substantial amounts of time and effort in doing research for me’.Coincidentally or not, 2011 is also the year that the Mexican terrorist group ITS emerged. [218]

John Jacobi, a follower of Kaczynski, distinguishes three clusters of Kaczynski-inspired anti-tech radicals.First are the ‘apostles’ of Kaczynski, the indomitistas, led by his pseudonymous Spanish correspondent Último Reducto. The indomitistas devote themselves mainly to translating and analysing Kaczynski’s writings. They comprise part of his ‘inner circle’, which also conducts research for him and operates the publisher, Fitch & Madison, which prints his books.The other two clusters are the ‘heretics’, who are inspired by Kaczynski’s writings but diverge from him and the indomitistas about the finer points of doctrine, strategy, and tactics. One is Jacobi’s own group, the wildists, which broke away from the more orthodox indomitistas to build a broader coalition of ‘anti-civilization’ radicals.The other cluster of heretics, which is my focus in this article, comprises ITS and its offshoots. Whereas the indomitistas and the wildists focus on developing and propagating anti-tech ideas, ITS is eager for dramatic and violent action. [218]

Journalists and terrorism scholars have labelled ITS ‘eco-terrorists’ and sometimes ‘eco-anarchists’, comparing the group to Deep Green Resistance and the Earth Liberation Front.ITS itself uses the term ‘eco-extremist’, which invites these comparisons.However, ITS is not just a more bellicose variant of radical environmentalism or green anarchism. An analysis of the group’s communiqués shows that its ideology is a distinctly Kaczynskian form of anti-tech radicalism. [218]

Although ITS was influenced by radical environmentalism, the ‘eco’ in ‘eco-extremism’ is misleading. It does not refer to ‘deep ecology’; ITS rejects the ‘sentimentalism, irrationalism and biocentrism’ that it sees in many radical environmentalist groups.Instead, the ‘eco’ refers to the group’s ideal of ‘wild nature’, which accords a central place to human nature. ITS’s central concern, like Kaczynski’s, is that ‘human beings are moving away more dangerously from their natural instincts’.Adopting Kaczynski’s ‘bioprimitivism’, as I have called it, ITS argues that ‘the human being is biologically programmed … through evolution’ for the life of a ‘hunter-gatherer-nomad’. [218]

Although it shares the hunter-gatherer ideal with green anarchists, ITS vehemently rejects any such label: ‘we are not “eco-anarchists” or “anarcho-environmentalists”’.The group describes as ‘delusional’ those who ‘romanticize Wild Nature’ and ‘believe that when Civilization falls everything will be rosy and a new world will flourish without social inequality, hunger, repression, etc’.This thinly-veiled attack on Zerzan’s anarcho-primitivism echoes Kaczynski’s essay, ‘The Truth About Primitive Life’, where he sets out to ‘debunk the anarcho-primitivist myth that portrays the life of hunter-gatherers as a kind of politically correct Garden of Eden’.ITS follows Kaczynski in condemning green anarchism as ‘leftist’. [218]

Kaczynski’s influence on ITS is difficult to miss. Many parts of the group’s communiqués are merely paraphrases of the Manifesto: ‘The essence of the power process has four parts: setting out of the goal, effort, attainment of the goal, and Autonomy’.But the depth of Kaczynski’s influence on ITS is difficult to appreciate without knowing the origins of his ideas. ITS cites Morris’s The Human Zoo in support of its claim that ‘the Wild Nature of the human being in general was perverted when it started to become civilized’. The same communiqué later echoes Morris without citing him: ‘it is totally abnormal to live together with hundreds of strangers around you’. [218]

ITS explicitly acknowledges some of its debts to Kaczynski. But this has not been enough to prevent misconceptions, because Kaczynski himself has also been lumped in with radical environmentalists and green anarchists. It is necessary to understand Kaczynski’s distinct constellation of concepts in order to appreciate the ideological distinctness of ITS. The group uses his signature vocabulary: the technological system, the power process, surrogate activities, leftism, feelings of inferiority, oversocialization, etc. This is not the vocabulary of radical environmentalism or green anarchism. With the exceptions of ‘civilization’ and ‘domination’, ITS explicitly rejects the ‘leftist’ vocabulary of anarchism: oppression, solidarity, mutual aid, class struggle, hierarchy, inequality, injustice, and imperialism. Further, as I have already shown, even the ‘green’ parts of ITS’s communiqués have been filtered through Kaczynski. ITS is not an eco-terrorist or green anarchist group, but a novel kind of anti-tech terrorist group. The group’s ideology is distinctly Kaczynskian, genealogically and morphologically. [218]

The modus operandi of ITS is not typical of radical environmentalists or green anarchists, who tend to be saboteurs or ‘monkeywrenchers’. Environmental radicals almost always target property rather than people. ITS, on the other hand, declares that it ‘is not a group of saboteurs (we do not share the strategy of sabotage or damage or destruction of property)’.Instead, as Kaczynski did, ITS aims to kill or maim people, such as scientists, whose surrogate activities propel the development of the technological system. [218]

Anti-tech radicals and environmental radicals have different attitudes towards violence in large part because they have different ideals. As Bron Taylor argues, environmental radicals share ‘general religious sentiments – that the earth and all life is sacred – that lessen the possibility that [environmental] movement activists will engage in terrorist violence’.As he correctly points out, there is ‘no indication that Kaczynski shared the sense, so prevalent in radical environmental subcultures, that life is worthy of reverence and the earth is sacred’.Kaczynski is instead committed to the ideal of wild nature, which serves to naturalize violence. He argues, and ITS concurs, that ‘a significant amount of violence is a natural part of human life’.Part of what it means to be a wild human being is to be a violent one, unencumbered by the fetters of civilized morality. [218]

The ideal of wild nature helps to explain anti-tech radicals’ target selection. For Kaczynski and ITS, living things have value only insofar as they are wild, and to be wild is to be ‘outside the power of the system’.When human beings become instruments of the system, they forfeit any value or dignity that they might have had. Scientists and technicians are permissible targets of violence because they have betrayed their wild nature, and they are desirable targets because they symbolize the technological system.Whereas environmental radicals’ reverence for life tends to steer them away from violence, towards destruction of property, anti-tech radicals’ ideal of wild nature serves to justify their violence. [218]

Yet ITS diverges from Kaczynski about the purpose of violence. For Kaczynski, violence is primarily a means to overthrow the technological system. ITS, on the other hand, argues that Kaczynski’s proposed revolution is ‘idealistic and irrational’.Not only is this revolution bound to fail; Kaczynski also falls into the trap of leftism when he models his revolution on the French and Russian revolutions.For members of ITS, violence is not a means to revolution, but a way to affirm or reclaim their own wildness: ‘the attack against the system … is a survival instinct, since the human is violent by nature’.Kaczynski condemns ITS and accuses the group of misappropriating his ideas. He hurls the charge of leftism right back at them, along with a diagnosis of learned helplessness: ‘The most important error that ITS commits is that they express, and therefore promote, an attitude of hopelessness about the possibility of eliminating the technological system’.This attitude of hopelessness gives ITS a more vengeful and nihilistic character than Kaczynski himself. [218]

On eco-extremism and anarchy

We really do not want to stand in firm defense of every soul that sets itself up as an enemy against the state and every form of government (over man, animals and nature). We believe that - and many anarchist and other prisoners agree with this - not everyone can be friends and that it is not possible to develop a relationship with everyone.

More specifically, we want to encourage discussion about direct action groups that reject anarchy as a political goal and as a daily struggle. These are the so-called eco-extremists who relentlessly shout "death to anarchy", rejecting their own origin and formation, an idea that nourished them through a fraternal relationship with the urban guerrilla fighters of today and the past, only to later move on to emphasize certain aspects that have always been part of anarchist milieu and its struggle for the liberation of man, our animal brothers and the earth.

Far from the constant tension that we who want and fight for a life of anarchy want to maintain, a certain trend that is considered eco-extremist throws in the trash the libertarian ideal that manifests itself through the insurgent struggle.

One small group, tied to a certain imaginary of "symbolic" peoples and to musical/alternative and university environments (they reject the university they still attend... and study what they hate so much), hates the human animal and therefore sees the enemy everywhere.

In that "wild fog", caused by their own smugness and messianism, they include the last worker, the victim of this crappy exploitative system, among their enemies. They talk about killing workers, farmers or any other person who, let's be honest, the discussion of our relatives over the years has not considered worthy interlocutors. Although we are accomplices, the enemy is someone else, and that is quite clear to any anarchist, libertarian, punk or nihilist. But for the eco-extremists, it is not so, in an attempt to be avant-garde and even trendy.

That is why we call on individuals and coordinated affinities who are fighting today to continue fighting for the liberation of all living beings and the earth, without losing sight of the political aspect of our actions, and the real enemies and targets.

Seven years since the death of Mauricio Morales, we salute the group "Manada de Choque Anarquico Nihilista" for its sober and insurgent action during the protests of May 1 and April 21, when they once again proved the success of coordination among affinities. In order to be clear and refute the "Maldicion Ecoextremista" page, which tried to present these acts as an act of irresponsible urban guerrillas, in order to appropriate libertarian activity!

We salute the fighters of the Paulino Scarfó Revolutionary Cell (FAI-FRI), who wrote in their statement of responsibility for the attack on the Santander Bank in La Cisterna: “ The attack has its ethics and is not indiscriminate; we have embraced the arson attack and we no longer support the ideas that are trying to spread ."

Pack of Saboteurs Heriberto Salazar (FAI-FRI)

There’s Nothing Anarchist about Eco-Fascism

“When horror knocks at your door, it’s difficult to hide from. All that can be done is to breathe, gather strength, and face it….I shared news of the woman found in University City. From the first moment, I was angered and protested the criminalization of the victim. The next morning I woke up to the horror and pain that she was my relative.”

– Statement from the family of Lesvy Rivera to Mexican society

“[W]e take responsibility for the homicide of another human in University City on May 3rd….Much has emerged about that damned thing leaning lifeless on a payphone… ‘that she suffered from alcoholism, that she wasn’t a student, this and that.’ But what does it matter? She’s just another mass, just another damned human who deserved death.”

– 29th Statement of Individualists Tending Toward the Wild (ITS)

Some things shouldn’t have to be said, but as is too often the case in this disaster of a world, that which should be most obvious often gets subsumed to the exigencies of politics, ideologies, money, emotion, or internet clicks. The purpose of this piece is to condemn the recent acts of eco-extremists in Mexico and those who cheer them on from abroad.

This critique does not aspire to alter the behavior of Individualists Tending Toward the Wild (ITS), Individualities Tending Toward the Wild (ITS), Wild Reaction (RS), Indiscriminate Group Tending Toward the Wild (GITS), Eco-extremist Mafia, or whatever they will change their name to tomorrow. Like any other deluded, sociopathic tyrant, these individuals have declared themselves above reproach, critique, reason, or accountability. They have appointed themselves judge, jury, and executioner; the guardians and enforcers of Truth using a romanticized past to justify their actions. As absolutist authoritarians, they have constructed a theoretical framework that, while ever-shifting and inconsistent, somehow always ends with a justification for why they get to hold a knife to the throats of all of humankind. In short, they think and act like the State.

There was a discussion about ITS on an IGD podcast from last December. For those unfamiliar, ITS and its spawn of affiliated acronyms publicly emerged in 2011 as an anti-civilization grouping that blew things up and tried to kill people they didn’t like, primarily university research scientists. In early statements, they spoke of favorably of anarchism and revolution. Over the course of just a few years and various groupings and splittings, they adopted a firm stance of rejection and reaction. They disavowed anarchism, revolution, leftism, or anything related to the social or human. They proudly adopted the mantle of eco-terrorism and proclaimed their disgust for the likes of John Zerzan or Ted Kaczynski, who they previously praised.

Unsurprisingly, through their increasing isolation and reactivity, ITS has turned into just plain murderers. (Or at least they’d like you to think so.) “The human being deserves extinction” and “We position ourselves against the human being, without caring about the use of civilization to carry out our acts” is now their creed. As such, in the State of Mexico, ITS claims it went out hunting for loggers to kill, but not finding any, they decided to ambush, shoot and murder a couple on a hike on April 30th, because, “We just want it to be clear that no human being will be safe in nature.” They suggest humans should instead stay in the cities, but then claim responsibility for the May 3rd femicide of Lesvy Rivera at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, stating, “Not even in your damned cities will you be safe.” The ITS phenomenon, while beginning in Mexico, has spread throughout much of Latin America, with groups using the ITS name claiming responsibility for attacks – including attempts at the mass murder of ordinary, working-class people – in multiple countries.

Understanding what led to the creation and evolution of groups such as ITS is a topic best addressed in a separate piece. As mentioned above and in the podcast, they find their roots in the insurrectionary and anti-civilization streams of anarchism. Mexico in particular has a vibrant clandestine, direct action insurrectionary movement. Mexico is also where 99 percent of all “crimes” go unpunished, where narcos, police, military and politicians either work hand in hand or kill one another and anyone else nearby in the tens of thousands. They also team up against aboveground social movements – repression being the only language the Mexican state speaks. It is not difficult to understand, in a country being gutted by neoliberalism, where appeals to the state are met with batons and bullets, where anarchists are already blowing things up, and where everyone else with an agenda seems to be killing people and getting away with it, why a group like ITS would emerge.

Yet at the same time in Mexico, aside from a few websites, ITS and its actions have not been praised or embraced by anarchists or anyone else. This likely also contributes to the escalating violence on ITS’s part – no one really pays attention to them except to dismiss or condemn. At least one anarchist group has publicly stated its belief that ITS is a state-run operation, designed to delegitimize the broader radical movement.

It seems more likely that ITS is a genuine group that believes what it says. Whether it has actually done what it says is another matter. Some attacks have certainly occurred, but a curiously large number of ITS attacks fail or go unmentioned anywhere except in their statements. They claim this is due to the police and media conspiring to not call attention to their acts. Yet the typical insurrectionary anarchist direct action is almost always reported with precise information, photos showing the damage caused, and can be verified in corporate media reports. How ITS is so much worse than other direct action groups at carrying out direct actions is an unanswered question. That ITS killed any of the three people they recently claimed to have killed is unlikely. The statement shares no details of the killings and only includes a photo taken from Facebook. Especially with regards to the femicide of Lesvy Rivera at UNAM, ITS is likely seeking to get a free ride on the coattails of a tragedy that has generated considerable action and coverage amongst the anarchists and radicals they hate so much yet whose attention they so desperately seek.

So do we anarchists give it to them? Admittedly, even the existence of this piece is a capitulation to their attention seeking. But worse are those that promote, even implicitly, the actions of ITS. Sites such as Anarchist News, Free Radical Radio, Atassa, and Little Black Cart. The “a retweet does not constitute endorsement” excuse doesn’t fly here. As ITS says, “We’ve been warning you since the beginning.” And now they are claiming to have killed three humans simply because they were human. Will ITS fans continue to distribute the propaganda of a group that by its own admission is not only not anarchist, but proudly terroristic, rejecting of all ethics, morals, or principles of liberation? They solely exist to kill people. It should not have to be explained why such a position does not merit support. Of a less pressing matter is the way in which ITS conceives of “nature” is itself a social and civilizational construct. Their (already constantly shifting) ideological basis for murder falls apart under any real scrutiny.

Some defend the publications and discussions (or trolling, as it were) they engender because while perhaps they don’t agree with killing people, the analysis ITS presents is intellectually stimulating and worthy of consideration. If ITS did kill her, Lesvy Rivera can surely appreciate that her brutal murder was found intellectually stimulating for some. It is the peak of colonial, racist arrogance that those from the safety of their U.S. or European homes feel comfortable debating the finer points of an ideology that amounts to brown people killing other brown people. We eagerly await the publishing on these sites of ISIS or al-Qaida communiques due to their intellectually stimulating critiques of U.S. imperialism in the Middle East.

The only support ITS should be receiving from anarchists is encouragement that they practice their dedication to human extinction on themselves. Just as the fascists of ISIS are meeting a true anarchist response, the fascists of ITS should be called to task, rather than coddled.

More non-news about the “Eco-Extremist Mafia”

Our last release [https://325.nostate.net/2018/09/15/who-is- [censored] -a-paralegal-or-an-eco-extremist-mafia-usa] of information about the so-called “Eco-Extremist Mafia” caused a commotion in the Church of ITS Mexico. Without giving them the oxygen they require in their parasitic nature on the international anarchist movement which they need to survive, we release a report and reply to the smears and idiocy of their position.

Within 12 hours of the doxxing of [censored] being released, the so-called ITS “Mafia”, who virtually live on the internet now, were so upset they had to describe the age and dryness of my Vagina! And take responsibility for the “massacre” beating of an anarcho-punk after a Zapatista rally last December! What is there left to say either to or about these misogynist, misanthropic, psychopathic high priests of the ITS death-cult?

Predictable smears from the post-truth ITS, who take responsibility for actions they have not done, imitating a tactic of IS/Daesh, and now, calling us “cops” who apparently emailed the UK police to inform them that the laughable ‘Archie the Robot’ “Archegonas” is responsible for the ‘Misanthropos Cacoguen’ ITS bomb that was indiscriminately left in a busy street in Edinburgh, Scotland where young people hang out and meet each other. Hilarious! And the basis for this? That a mainstream newspaper reported that cops received the communique (which reads more like a psychotic meltdown), from a Riseup.net mail server! It is more likely that the ‘Archegonas’ or another member of the “Eco-Extremist Mafia” did such a stupid act just to cause shit for Riseup, as they hate it so much, and now print lies against us as befits them. After years of shit from this idiot ‘Archegonas’, is this all that he and ITS can achieve? No, their words and texts reveal it all, and we are fucking laughing at the Church of the ITS Mexico and their choir-boys. That is the tactic of their silly smear, now repeated by some delusional idiot in Brazil. If that is the extent of their logic, it is no wonder that they have made the ideological and practical mistakes which have taken them to the abyss of shit, taking responsibility for minor homicides and planting bombs in public places with the sole intention of hurting as many people as possible. Eco-fascist scum.

After almost ten years of threats, smears and attacks, we are fighting back with some of the means we have, and we will continue to collect and publish information about the Eco-Extremists; the same as we do with the fascists. This is a known anti-fascist tactic proven to work, and we are not afraid of any reprisals. This tactic is an open source method to alert true comrades to the location and identity of their enemies: Our comrades who have been repeatedly smeared, threatened and harassed by this cringing little ITS gang. It has nothing to do with the police, we don’t give a fuck about the police, it is for us. Our comrades are using this tactic to great effect in UK, Germany, Spain, Australia, Canada, United States, Greece, Italy, Netherlands and everywhere that there are anarchists of action. Since ITS have always made it clear that they intend to kill us, that they are not anarchists and their actions and their ‘philosophy’ are not anarchic, we owe them nothing, nor do we owe their sheep-like supporters in America or Europe anything. The Church of ITS is nothing more than the murderous and mentally disturbed acting-out of any ordinary psychopath to whom we equally owe no allegiance whatsoever. We are not sure why they think they can demand any silence from us on the grounds of, what? Comradeship (or not even)? Criminalism? Don’t make us laugh, the ‘code of the streets’? ‘Moralism’ from those who don’t believe in anything? As one of our comrades in America wrote to us, “Funny how the nihilists turn into politicians as soon as another side draws a line in the sand and says enough is enough”.

The Church of ITS is an opportunistic authority of those that try to throw enough shit until some of it sticks, the classic tactic of fascists and bosses – “repeat a lie enough times and it becomes true”, propaganda at its best, written like the liars that they are. In the typical way of ITS, they try to use the words of other anarchists against us, in this case the CCF. We cannot and will not speak for our comrades of CCF, but in the quoted section by this minor ITS Brazil loser, CCF are describing their relationship to those they have worked with, not those who are already enemies and targets. Information regarding targets is to be circulated, and ITS are now Eco-fascist targets, having always eschewed any anarchist solidarity and comradeship. Maybe there was a time in the past there was some confusion as to the destination of the Church of ITS Mexico and their choir-boys, but now it is clear and has been for so long. Where are the original comrades of ITS? Where has the intelligent and articulate writing concerning technology and the direction of the techno-industrial-society gone? Disappeared in injuries, in arrests, not made public? Disappeared into hatred, fear and terror? Reduced to the garbage of blogs and social media? The international anarchist space is much more than this, and ITS needs conflict and division to feed their project, which has been given a platform by some of the most irresponsible shit-stirring post-modernist gamers and book-nerds in Europe and USA.

ITS and their sub-groups are simply vile, abusive performers in their own sick circus of hate and homicide. If we have the ability to fuck with them and make things difficult for them, even disrupt or attack them, then we will. Especially their “Eco-Extremist theorists” like [censored] and co. If it is possible for us to arrange for dozens and dozens of comrades to travel to Iraq and Syria to fight IS/Daesh, then we can send a few comrades to Mexico and Brazil. We are not scared, come and try to attack us, we will obliterate your wee dafties ‘Wildfire Cell’ and ‘Archegonas’. It’s not a problem for us, they know that they have never even emailed us to arrange a meeting in all this time. Same goes for the pathetically proud and thin-skinned ‘Maldicion Eco-Extremista’, what a joke. We have been emailing you, why won’t you meet our people in Mexico? Is it because your IP address is in Berkeley, San Francisco? The Church of ITS are nothing but cowards playing games, using the anarchist space for their own entertainment, just fucking scum who will get hurt and die soon.

[censored], ‘Abe Cabrera’. Now he has problems. Both himself and Guillory, his partner ,‘removed’ from the website of their employer, and here we publish his address, as a response to the smears of ITS. This is how your ‘indomitable’ translator and “theorist” [censored] ended up. A coward, and his “comrades” all betrayed him in public and left him for the dogs. That is the “Eco-Extremist Mafia”, the “theorists” who will go “forward”. The deafening silence from the “eco-extremist theorists” is really revealing after all the baiting, smears and threats taking place. And for each new provocation of the Church of ITS we will add the fire to the flames for the Americans and those we find in Europe. That each threat and attack will be answered.

[censored]
[censored]
[censored]
Telephone: [censored]

[censored]’s house is a $250,000 family home, not in the Latin American “Jungle” nor the “Ghetto”, nor the “Favelas”. He’s just another poser and fake like the rest of the “Eco-Extremist Mafia”. As part of our doxxing campaign, let’s look now at the emails we received from [censored] via the Atassa email account as [censored] tried to formulate an exit-scam and mitigate the impact we had on his life. These emails reveal a lot about his character and state of mind, and that of an “Eco-Extremist theorist”…

From: Atassa
Date: Sunday, September 16, 2018, 4:21 am
Subject: You Win

While we only have a vague idea of who told you that paralegal guy is the master mind behind all this, it’s evident that you care about this stuff more than we do. So you win. We’ve disappeared and you will never hear from us again. We wish you well in your projects.

Yes, [censored] wishes us well. What a cowardly piece of shit. He immediately ceased his Atassa project and took down every online evidence that Atassa existed, helped by the pseudo-comrade Aragorn/LBC, who continues to distribute the Atassa book-journal; hell, everything helps sales, right? [censored], who was translating the ITS texts, helping ITS/MaldicionEE write texts, make threats and glorifying in the murders, buckled so quickly. He even sent this next email shortly after, just to beg us a little more to save his miserable life, here it is.

From: Atassa
Date: Sunday, September 16, 2018, 5:12 am
Subject: You Win

Also, in exchange for taking down the supposed doxxing post against Mr. [censored], we can offer a public retraction of the Atassa project which you can publish on your site. You can assess whether that retraction is enough to end this whole business. We are not entirely unsympathetic to your aims and regret any damage that our actions have caused.

A retraction to “regret any damage that our actions have caused”. I had to repeat that, because it is just so beautiful. The Church of ITS Mexico who gave a long pontification about my old ‘anarcho-cop’ Vagina, and who had so much faith in [censored], and in his Catholic vivisectionist wife [https://325.nostate.net/2018/09/16/ [censored] -wife-of-eco-extremist-mafia-is-a-vivisectionist-usa], and this is how he repaid them. Beautiful. [censored] has no idea how much danger he is in, maybe now he’s starting to understand. What did the so-called “comrades” of [censored] have to say about it? Nothing. They dumped him. All of them.

From: Ramon Elani
Date: Wednesday, September 19, 7:10 am
Subject: Re: 7

Thank you for sending this to me. I no longer have dealings with this person or his project.
for the wild
ramon

Thanks Ramon, for confirming [censored] was Abe Cabrera, you did the right thing and it’s good to see that kind of solidarity “eco-extremist theorists” show each other.

From: Ramon Elani
Date: Wednesday, September 19, 8:56 am
Subject: Re: Betrayal

yes, i’ve long since regretted my involvement. though i still feel that my essay was misunderstood.
for the wild
ramon

Poor Ramon, he’s so misunderstood. As a co-editor of the ‘Black Seed’ garbage journal distributed by Aragorn/LBC, which tries to mix green anarchism and eco-extremism, and insert this toxic poison into the international anarchist ‘movement’, you are not misunderstood. It was clear in the decision to print the text ‘To the World Builders’ and it’s inclusion in the ‘The Anarchist Library’ what the position is you all have taken. Post-modern crap theorising around rape culture and murder, fuck you and die.

Elani is so “misunderstood” that the shit eco-academic-activist philosophy and creative writing project ‘Dark Mountain’, has published his new text, where he takes the opportunity to fully renege; disavowing property destruction, sabotage and attacks. So much for the “indomitable” Eco-Extremist theorists, what cowards.

From: Armenio Lewis
Date: Sunday, September 22, 2018, 1:46 pm
Subject: Atassa

I dont even know how to really word this so im gonna make this simple.
ALL participants and friendlies around the atassa project have reached out to me hoping I can, for lack of a better term, alleviate any animosity over the atassaproject.
Abe went off the deep end. What started as theoretical exploration of violence with no one except abe actually declaring and supporting ITS
Nobody wants beef, I’m just a middle man relaying this.
You can email back, call @ +150********, or completely ignore.
Fuck with abe all you want, he deserves it, but everyone else doesnt.

There it is; there is “ALL the participants and friendlies around the Atassa project”, which we assume includes LBC/Aragorn totally throwing [censored] under the bus just to save themselves any bother. They must seriously underestimate us to write such ridiculous shit – Ah, just a “theoretical exploration of violence”. What a fucking collection of cretins. So much for the claims of the Pope of ITS Mexico about their “theorists”, these people couldn’t theorise themselves out of a paper bag.

“Eco-Extremism” is an opportunistic trend of parasitism, online fakes and sacred beliefs, recycling on facebook, twitter and the “altervista” or “wordpress”. Although they would like you to think that their groups are spreading, instead they are dwindling, with a few people traveling between countries (or staying put in Mexico!) and believing in their sacred misanthropic mission. A mission which is expressed as hatred of women, hatred of anarchy, and ‘humanity’.

What we did find out, was that a few months ago [censored] promoted on his summer reading list on Atassa Facebook, the book “Iron Gates,” which is a fascist written and published book that is set in a concentration camp. Part rape fantasy, part pro-Nazi propaganda. It’s also one of the ‘go-to’ texts promoted by Atomwaffen Divison in the USA, which is like the American version of National Action (Neo-Nazi group in UK). A lot of comrades have pointed to a potential cross over between the Eco-Extremist material and Satanic/Neo-Nazi crap like Atomwaffen who has killed about half a dozen people in the US.

Yeah, so much for all these “theorists” and ITS “cells” that like to philosophise about what is and what is not “fascism”, and how dare the ‘anarcho-cops’ call them fascists.

We specifically warn against this EE tendency because of the potential for cross-overs with the nationalist-autonomous & nationalist-anarchist, neo-nazi and indigenous pagan “white tribe” eco-fascists who target the dredge of the anarchist scene with their irrationalist, green authoritarian and runic occult bullshit.

In the last text-threat from ITS Brazil, where they blame the Hambach Forest defenders for the death of the comrade who fell from the trees, we find the jealousy, the resentment, the bitterness of those who understand nothing about what it is that we are fighting for. In all the texts from ITS these past years we find a gross lack of understanding of what the anarchist ideas are and what anarchist methods are. Instead we just find a perverse and fanatic pathology and a weakness, leading to their ongoing blatant failures and authoritarian outcomes.

The “Eco-Extremist Curse” remains a joke, and for all the lies and smears that come from their mouths, we will target those that come within our reach.

As one of our comrades remarked “keep on threatening me with the evil-eye, come on…”

From my vast, old, soul eating Vagina…

L.

Arrests & Doxxings

They Declare Guilty the "Individualist Tending to the Wild" for Explosive Attacks in the RM

Bus stops, universities and public administration: the targets of the "lone wolf" obsessed with bombings

Friday 09 August 2019 | 11:45

By Valentina González
The information is from Felipe Cornejo

Sebastian Brogca | ONE Agency
4,493 views

The South Metropolitan Prosecutor's Office described Camilo Gajardo Escalona as a "lone wolf" , the 28-year-old who was arrested for his alleged participation in at least six attacks with explosive devices in the Metropolitan region.

According to the investigation, Gajardo would be behind the preparation, placement and shipment of at least five "package bombs" that reached, among others, less than the former president of Codelco, Óscar Landerretche and the president of the Metro board, Louis de Grange.

It was in January 2017 when, after 6:00 p.m., an alleged “gift” that had arrived at Landeretche’s home in La Reina ended up exploding , causing minor injuries to the then-president of the state mining company.

The following year, in April, the headquarters of the Raúl Silva Henríquez University had to be evacuated due to a bomb warning. Carabineros found a cardboard box with a battery with cables and a copper tube.

Meanwhile, in September 2018, a box with a bottle and gunpowder was found at a Transantiago bus stop on Santa Rosa Avenue, in front of the Faculty of Agronomy of the University of Chile.

On January 4, 2019, the capital experienced a new explosion , when an explosive device detonated at a Transantiago bus stop, leaving five people injured.

A few months later, in May of this year, the police managed to deactivate a bomb package addressed to the chairman of the Metro board, Louis de Granje.

After two years of investigation, the suspect is arrested

It was in the commune of Puente Alto where the operation carried out by the Carabineros OS-9 to arrest the alleged perpetrator of the explosive attacks was concentrated, after the South Metropolitan Prosecutor's Office requested his arrest warrant in the 20th Second Guarantee Court of Santiago.

Christopher Escobar | ONE Agency

It was the result of months of investigation carried out by the prosecution, with expert reports that intensified after the latest attacks on the 54th police station in Huechuraba and the package bomb received by the former Minister of the Interior, Rodrigo Hinzpeter, in his office in the district of Huechuraba. The Counts.

And it is that despite the fact that a "group" of anarchists was always targeted behind these attacks, the investigation of the Public Ministry has revealed that it would be a 28-year-old man, the only author behind a series of attacks since 2017 To the date.

Although there were attacks that were attributed by the eco-terrorist group Individualists Tending to the Wild, for the Prosecutor's Office it was a "lone wolf" , identified as Camilo Eduardo Gajardo Escalona.

Carabineros General Esteban Díaz explained that the procedure consisted of the arrest of the main suspect behind these attacks, as well as a search of his home to seize items that would link him to these crimes.

The police raid was carried out in the town of Atenas de Mena. At the scene, the police seized various elements linked to the making of explosive devices, without confirming whether it was a bomb with a possible future recipient.

The prosecutor in these cases, Héctor Barros, ruled out that the defendant is part of an anarchist group and emphasized that, based on the investigation, he would be the person behind the making and placement of these bombs.

Even so, the national prosecutor Jorge Abbott referred to his alleged link with ITS, pointing out that "they are organizations in which the behaviors are displayed by individual people and belong to a larger group, but they are not attached to an organization, but rather an idea ”.

Camilo Gajardo Escalona has three previous arrests since 2012, all related to the crime of public disorder.

During this day, Gajardo will be transferred to the Justice Center for his detention control in the evening block. At the moment, the South Metropolitan Prosecutor's Office has not ruled out requesting an extension of the detention, in order to carry out expert reports on the elements seized yesterday from his home and present them at the next formalization hearing, where he will face charges for the preparation, placement and shipment of explosive devices.

They declare guilty the "individualist tending to the wild" for explosive attacks in the RM

Friday 02 September 2022 | 10:05

By Felipe Delgado
With information from Daniela Forero-Ortiz.

Camilo Gajardo was found guilty of planting and sending explosive devices in the capital, under the group "Individualists Tending to the Wild." Among them are the explosives sent to Óscar Landerretche and Louis De Grange, as well as the placement of a bomb in a Transantiago bus stop.

The South Prosecutor's Office managed to get Camilo Gajardo Escalona convicted , who perpetrated various explosive attacks in the Metropolitan region that were claimed by the group "Individualists Tending to the Wild" (ITS).

The individual was charged with the crimes of sending and placing explosive devices between 2017 and 2019 in different parts of the capital. This after an investigation carried out together with the Carabineros OS9.

Gajardo was accused of the following facts:

1.- The device that detonated in the house of the then president of Codelco, Óscar Landerretche , on January 13, 2017, where the charges of frustrated homicide, injuries and damages are added.

2.- An explosive that detonated on a public transport bus in La Reina, on September 28, 2017.

3.- The placement of a bomb on a bench in front of the Raúl Silva Henríquez Catholic University (UCSH), on April 13, 2018. Here he is accused of frustrated homicide.

4.- The installation of another explosive in a bus stop in front of the Faculty of Agronomy of the University of Chile in La Pintana, on September 7, 2018.

5.- The explosion of a device at a Transantiago bus stop in Vicuña Mackenna with Bilbao, on January 4, 2019, also with the accusation of frustrated homicide.

6.- The sending of an explosive package to the president of Metro, Louis De Grange , on May 5, 2019, which was found abandoned and did not reach its destination.

In the trial, Gajardo was found guilty in facts 1, 3, 5 and 6 , but not in facts 2 and 4 in which he was acquitted. In addition, terrorism was ruled out.

In this regard, Louis De Grange told Radio Bío Bío that after what happened he experienced “a period of great anguish, and it was difficult to understand why this was happening to me. Fortunately, I received a lot of love and support from many people, both from Metro and from Carabineros and the Prosecutor's Office. Today is part of the past, of the difficulties that all of us have to face”.

Gajardo risks more than 100 years in prison for what happened. Prosecutor Alex Cortez highlighted that in the explosion that affected Landerretche, the conviction for qualified frustrated homicide was achieved , the same as for the explosion in the bus stop of Vicuña Mackenna.

Meanwhile, Alejandra Rubio, Gajardo's public criminal defender, highlighted the acquittal obtained in two of the accused crimes. Along with this, she indicated that the legal qualification for the device installed at UCSH and the one directed at Louis De Grange was finally lowered.

As he pointed out, this will lower the penalty he could obtain, which will be announced on October 19. Only then, Rubio pointed out, will the steps to be followed be decided.


45 years in prison for subject who detonated bomb in Transantiago bus stop and who sent explosives

Wednesday, October 19, 2022 | 14:31

Posted by Felipe Delgado
The information is from Daniela Forero-Ortiz

Sebastian Beltran | ONE Agency
31,293visits

Camilo Gajardo, guilty of sending explosive devices and detonating a bomb at a Transantiago bus stop, was sentenced to 45 years and one day in jail for various crimes, including attempted murder.

Camilo Gajardo Escalona was sentenced to 45 years and one day in jail , who perpetrated several explosive attacks in the Metropolitan region and who were claimed by the group "Individualists Tending to the Wild" (ITS).

Gajardo was found guilty of various shipments and installations of bombs , all this between 2017 and 2019 in different parts of the Metropolitan region.

They declare guilty the "individualist tending to the wild" for explosive attacks in the RM

These are the following episodes:

1.- The device that detonated in the house of the then president of Codelco, Óscar Landerretche , on January 13, 2017.

2.- The placement of a bomb on a bench in front of the Raúl Silva Henríquez Catholic University (UCSH), on April 13, 2018.

3.- The explosion of a device at a Transantiago bus stop in Vicuña Mackenna with Bilbao, on January 4, 2019.

4.- The sending of an explosive package to the president of Metro, Louis De Grange , on May 5, 2019, which did not reach its destination.

Meanwhile, he was acquitted of the accusation for an explosive that detonated on a public transport bus in La Reina, on September 28, 2017; and for the installation of another explosive in a bus stop in front of the Faculty of Agronomy of the University of Chile in La Pintana, on September 7, 2018.

The South Prosecutor's Office had requested more than 100 years in prison for Gajardo, given the various acts for which he was convicted, where charges of frustrated homicide were added.

Finally, the Sixth Oral Criminal Court of Santiago decreed 45 years and one day in jail for him. Prosecutor Alex Cortez pointed out that the conviction was achieved thanks to the large amount of evidence obtained together with OS9, Labocar and GOPE de Carabineros.

In the breakdown, he was given 20 years in prison in its maximum degree for all placements of explosive devices. Another 20 years more for the frustrated qualified homicides of the wounded in the home of Óscar Landerretche and in the bus stop of Vicuña Mackenna.

To this, another five years were added for the injuries in the last mentioned events.

Satanist ITS Members Communique and Arrest Report

(ABYSS) 48 COMMUNIQUE OF THE INDIVIDUALISTS TENDING TOWARDS THE WILD

My End is My Beginning.

Abyss rises. The sound of the tunnels is thumping to my ears. I walk in desolation into the fields of urban greyness. All that surrounds me, every ”normal” humanoid, is performing a litany towards crushing determinism. One more time I seize the opportunity to act and unleash My Hatred. I get ready not to stray from the mechanistic ”life-form”. I call upon Death and we enter in a maelstrom of the heartbeat of Chaos that transforms blood into a pumping engine in the libido of voidance that dissolves humanity attempting indiscriminate Destruction and Murder.

In extreme misanthropic skepticism and experimentation, beyond any human notion, I claim nichilistically the following attacks:

-The arson of 2 mini buses transporting elder people.

Why? Why don’t you ask the guys from the books you read to tell you why? Oh shit! They’re dead? I’ll tell you why then! Because I hate old people! Hahahahahahahahahahhahahahahahahhahahahahhahahahahahahaha!!!

-A package bomb left totally indiscriminately at a central location selectively.

Why do I not think of the ”innocent” people one might think… I answer with a question… Did my birth giver’s pussy think when it was fucked to be fertilized with microscopic semen that creates the vessels that I hate? Did anybody ask me to be born? Did anyone know what I would become? Do you know that some see consciousness as a curse? Fuck you, pathetic pricks, you don’t know shit then! I do not seek justification for existence, neither do I seek someone to blame. I seek the amoral rape of existence through the injection of life passing from the Death Gate. Anti-human odium is my life’s blood, transforming my vessel into the Beast.

The joke of human consciousness and what it creates I confront with nihilistic laughter, unconscious cynicism and misanthropic passion! When I say ”fuck you all”, it might as well be the most sincere thing I have said my

whole life! I wish my scream could burn you all, but it can’t do fuckin shit! Hahahahahahahah! This is why I have to experiment with fire, poison, bombs, even if the attack fails. Next time it might not, until I satisfy my Egotistical Satanity.

I do not care at all to offer an ”alternative” to the cops’ rhetoric, I will let them have it their way, since this is not a conversation anyway! Though they broke my heart that they didn’t share my ”message” to the world! Hahahahahahaha! My acts and their claims are personalised and I will enjoy them in the way I want. In this only I make the rules. I learned what my mistakes were this time and I am not going to repeat them. But for me the experimentation is all that matters. Really beyond good and evil and not just in words.

All those who think they have theoretically banished morality make me laugh morbidly. To destroy morality one carries the knife and jabs it in the flesh till it reaches the bone. I blow myself amorally against the foundations of ethics to nihilistically recreate myself. Going beyond the normal nihilist and the tolerant attitude of internalized humanist emotional limit created by the evolutionary disease of the training epiphanies of modernity and the anthropocene.

Any judgement comes through thought. A world that for me doesn’t exist. All I hear is vomit coming out of a hole we named mouth. The correlation of thought with reality is for me as contemptible as is the human condition itself. I do not judge, I do not justify, I take the instance of Nihility and I transform it into an attack on Life and a flirt of Death. I obliterate any ethical question as a clutch of conscience that devours an organism. As a concept that conciliates its creation with the supposed ”reality”. If humans were to go extinct this instant nothing would happen except that there would be no consciousness to tell about it. What are ethics if not sophisticated human artificiality? What are ethics if not the soothing, illusory agreement of the valuer and what is valued? What are values if not a leap of faith in the continuation of ”human” existence? Values, either metaphysical or not are a branch for the human being to grasp in order not to fall into the Void of the Abyss, stare at itself, and see nothing.

In my descent there are no words to describe how I feel or who I am. Language is a useless mass of human sounds and holy scripts that limit my Ego. The foundationless Nihilism is concluded Anti-human, at least for me. If only we could be free of metaphysicality! But especially today where the image makes a host out of everyone and consolidates ideology nothing can be expected. Beyond good and evil means only one thing. Not even I am liable to re-establishing this concept. This human notion.

I am an enclosed circuit, but one that wouldn’t exist without the world that surrounds it. I am not a spirit. Nothing is ethically important. I have no important targets and others not so important. In my scorn for the human animal and its projection of existence I experiment with Total Nihilism into Unknown territory. I seek the dissolution of the limit, ”spiritual” or ”physical”, that had been imposed by man. I deny any injection of the spirit through the flesh opening the window to ideological compartmentalization. Flesh has its own life and the metaphysical gate is denied. I deny god without replacing it with anything and for this I am Satan. For every ethics and ideology I will always be Satan.

It takes one to have known the spirit in all its aspects to be able to negate it. The illusion of freedom of the ”untouched ones” by civilization, hahahahahahahahahaha, this is another form of slavery, a form of humanistic denial of reality. Misanthropy will either be real experimentation through Nihility or it will be the will of Christ. You choose. My Misanthropy is a bomb at the core of ”human existence”. I see the human condition and consequently the human being as an inherently artificial animal. Its cognition and the conciliation of the perception/ value/ judgement/ reality/ action with the world is an error. If human consciousness is a ”privilige” of ”being human”, I only see imbecility of the highest kind and I attack it nichilistically, embracing the Dead End.

Everything I write is blood, sweat, flesh and semen. This creates My Spirit that claims itself in the Moment of emanation out of the Abyss in direct contact with reality. Everything else is humanistic trash that will be eradicated through Nihilism. The human spirit runs rampant today and every word is diarrhoea blown backwards. Idealism is crushed in the same way humans are crushed like bugs by the cycles of nature. Knowing of course that every aspiration, passion and ego worshipping desire will never be the same in contact with reality. The correlation of the two is totally discarded. But this is not an impediment for me and My Will, only an admittance and realization.

I believe in uniqueness but not as an ideology which sees it as a value, but only as a reductive tool for analysing a neverending battle that can never be completed inside human nature. After Stirner became an ideology throughout the years, it was a clear example that ideology is part of human nature, and that freedom, whichever the approach, is a disease.

I ask all those who want to create an ideological consciousness, or let’s call it for what it is, conscience, where is the clear distinction between determinism and free choice? Where is the clear distinction between ”domination” and ”free relations”? I assume they have the answer in hand because all of them have lived these ”pure” relations in reality and know how to go about them. And how to synchronize their minds with others to learn how to do it! But it appears that some have taken it upon themselves to become the next relics taking their rightful and righteous place among the legacy of humanochristianism.

Just to make it clear I am not conducting an anti-anarchist war nor an anti-fascist war, these are concerns that I don’t give a fuck about. I have seen so much hypocrisy in people that I cannot forget. I have seen so much torment by ideas but also from habit, I have seen hidden but also crude moralism, I have met so many people that wasted my time, I have been betrayed indirectly and directly. My Hate has moved to other fields, I have become something else and I thank all of you for creating me!

Furthermore I claim myself as part of the international Terrorist Mafia known as ITS. Between egoist conspirators I accepted a criminal offering on the basis of common interest. This is no spiritual union like those of the anarchists. I am not an Eco-extremist, I am a Nihilist Misanthrope as I like to call myself. Of course words mean nothing and are used in a specific context and for my own benefit.

”ITS is no longer a merely eco-extremist group but is nourished by the strongest egos, the most isolated solitaires and the most resentful individuals with civilization / humanity, within ITS there are people who do

not share spirituality either, they do not have beliefs, they do not have deities or anything like that, and we respect that completely, for the purpose is destruction and not so much “creed affiliation” or any other affiliation to some rotten and decadent ideology. That is, we want to make ITS a unique group, primordial, that represents everything we think and do, that is a latent danger, constant and mobile to act anywhere, unstoppable and dangerous.”

-X

We unite on the basis of egoistic respect, for concrete things that we share, for the materialization of our instincts against artificiality and not for the spiritualization of our desires, that dissolves the foundations of anarchochristianic solidarity and seeks to maximize power amongst interests for destruction of this humanistically pious world.

”The expansion of knowledge and egocentric experimentation are very important for individualists like us, climbing animalistic violence to more extreme degrees makes our personal war unique, so that we can experience and nurture our experiences, at the end of the day ITS is just a timeless meeting of individuals with a desire for destruction, where you can learn and teach with tangible facts, destroying the idea that a “terrorist group” “must be” a circle where only rotten ideologies are shared among the members. The passion above all!”

-X

Misanthropos Cacogen is a lover of nihilist anti-political violence. Terror inside the pettiness of this world is fun! My attempts for ”unholy” pleasure and murder are not over yet. All aspects of humanism are dead! Long live Death! Who would have the power to face the intensity of Nihil and survive? Then the question that arises is, who would become a Nihilist instead of a christly ”contemplator”?

Nihilist aggressor, Misanthropos Cacogen – Individualists Tending towards the Wild

‘Eco-terrorist’ who planted bomb in Edinburgh park jailed

Nikolaos Karvounakis had placed improvised device at Princes Street Gardens in January 2018

Nikolaos Karvounakis, 35. Photograph: Police Scotland/PA

A self-styled eco-terrorist who planted a viable homemade bomb in a popular public park in central Edinburgh has been jailed for more than eight years.

Nikolaos Karvounakis, originally from the Greek island of Crete, had placed the improvised device packed with 58 nails and sections of metal pipe in a shelter at Princes Street Gardens in January 2018.

Written on the flap inside the box were the words “fuck you all”. The device included low grade explosive, and a primitive but disconnected fuse made from a light filament and a battery.

Army explosives experts believed that had it been made operational or accidentally detonated, it would have been capable of causing significant injuries, the high court in Edinburgh heard. Karvounakis later claimed to be linked to a fringe group accused of eco-terrorism which originated in Mexico.

It took nearly two years before Karvounakis, 35, a former Greek national serviceman, was arrested. In December 2020 Police Scotland counter-terrorism officers received intelligence from European counterparts linking him to the offence. DNA taken from tape used in the device was found to belong to him.

Six weeks after the device was found, the Edinburgh Evening News received an email headed “International Terrorist Group in UK”. It contained a link to an extremist website where Karvounakis had anonymously claimed responsibility with a picture of the device and signed “Misanthropos Cacogen”.

Speaking for the prosecution, Angela Gray, the advocate depute, said Karvounakis claimed to be a “lover of nihilist anti-political violence” and to support an anarchist terror group Individualidades Tendiendo a lo Salvaje. The group has been blamed for bombing a nano-technology lab in Mexico City in 2011 that seriously injured a robotics researcher.

Gray told the court: “This is known as ITS, an abbreviation of a Spanish phrase translating to ‘individualists tending to the wild’. This Mexican terrorist organisation was formed during 2011. The group focuses on eco-terrorism, which involves acts of violence committed against people and or property in support of environmental causes.”

John Scullion QC, Karvounakis’s defence counsel, said he had been struggling with anxiety and low self-esteem, and had spent increasing amounts of time online. There he had drifted into conversations with extremists, whose beliefs he now repudiated.

Scullion said his client, who pleaded guilty to an offence under the Terrorism Act, had intended to cause disruption but had not planned to injure people, so had left the detonator unconnected. “It is fair to say he now bitterly regrets what he did and will bitterly regret it for the rest of his life,” Scullion told the court.

Lord Braid jailed Karvounakis for eight years and four months, and said he would have been jailed for 10 years had he not admitted his guilt and had no previous convictions.

“The offence involved a high degree of culpability on your part as shown by the significant degree of planning,” the judge said. “Afterwards you appeared to exult in the commission in your claim of responsibility.”

Det Chief Supt Stuart Houston, Police Scotland’s head of counter-terrorism, said: “The ideological beliefs held by Karvounakis were unusual.

“His reckless actions showed utter disregard for the safety of anyone within Princes Street Gardens [and] there is no doubt his presence and engagement online after the event could have easily encouraged others to carry out similar acts, with potentially catastrophic consequences. Not just in Scotland.”

Who is [censored], a Paralegal or an Eco-Extremist Mafia?

[censored]
[censored]
[censored]
Telephone: [censored]

ES: ¿Quién es [censored], un asistente legal o uno de la “Mafia Eco-Extremista”? - https://web.archive.org/web/20210302230609/https:/325.nostate.net/2018/09/19/ee-uu-quien-es- [censored] -un-asistente-legal-o-uno-de-la-mafia-eco-extremista/

BAHASA: Mengungkap Art Cabrera! (Mengungkap Gereja ITS bag i)

DE: Wer ist [censored]? Ein Anwaltsassistent oder ein Oeko-Extremist? - https://web.archive.org/web/20210302230609/https:/325.nostate.net/2018/10/07/wer-ist- [censored] -ein-anwaltsassistent-oder-ein-oeko-extremist/

Let’s help pull back the curtain on the so-called “Eco-Extremist Mafia” and expose them a bit more with the aid of our contacts. Tracking and collecting information on our authoritarian, fascist, reactionary and irrationalist enemies is part of our activities as anarchists. This “Mafia” have said they have been hiding in the shadows for a long time, but possibly this one has been hiding in the broom cupboard with the envelopes, papers, pens and computers.

“Art Cabrera” is [censored]. Who is “Art Cabrera”? That is the editor of the eco-fascist journal Atassa, which is the English language mouth-piece of the Church of ITS Mexico, ‘Individualists Tending Toward the Wild’.

[censored], a piece of trash who is responsible for translating and spreading so-called ‘Eco-Extremism’ from the United States, is trying to advance his reactionary doctrine whilst living a completely fake and inauthentic double-life. We are happy to publish his real name, photo and workplace contact details to cause him problems, minor or major. Since [censored] has always been very glad to serve the Church of Eco-Extremism, instigated death threats against our anarchist comrades and is believing he is untouchable, we take great delight in doxxing him. This is the company he works for in his real life, not the fantasy one where he is the boss of the “Eco-Extremist Mafia” in America:

https://www. [censored]

Maybe some of the anti-fascist and anarchist comrades in America would like to contact his workplace and his wife to warn her that he is a dangerous member of the “Eco-Extremist Mafia”, all their contact details are to be found there.

[censored] is a paralegal in his day job. If he isn’t fully lying, his day job is supposed to be legal work for migrants, but he claims he voted for Trump. Considering the infusion of corporate espionage these days, it’s just as probable that a troll like [censored] might just as well be a corporate spy, as a deluded fantasist authoritarian. According to the workplace website of his real life, [censored] graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a Bachelor’s Degree in Latin American Studies, and he works primarily in the area of employment-based immigration law. It also mentions that [censored] spent considerable time in both Mexico and Argentina, and is fluent in Spanish, which certainly fits the picture of a Berkeley University graduate who travelled abroad and thinks himself rather clever.

That this simple-looking, ugly, bald, fat-necked Catholic asshole has convinced quite a few supposedly radical ‘anarchists’ and ‘nihilists’ to join the Choir of the ITS is hilarious, more fool them. This is who Aragorn and LBC is willing to get into bed with just to irresponsibly try to stir shit up. [censored] is a fucking loser and should be used as target practice. Shot, stabbed, beaten, burned, whatever. Come to Europe, [censored], on a speaking tour and promote your book, let’s see what will happen to you. May there be some willing anarchists of praxis near-by who will put you out of your misery, you misanthropic waste.

And, as what most of us suspected to be true, the editor of Atassa is a Catholic, ex-Liberation Theologist, with a Marxist back-story. [censored]’s wife works for the same Legal firm, her name is [censored]. Apparently, neither [censored] nor [censored]’s kids know about his online eco-fascist “Mafia“ life at all. [censored] studied Biomedical Engineering in Texas A&M University and has a doctorate in Neurobiology from the University of [censored]. Are they not similar studies to those ITS targeted in Mexico?

Maybe [censored] wants his wife dead, raped or maimed too in his secret life.

[censored], maybe it’s time to tell your wife [censored] and your kids that you believe in rape culture, femicide, and indiscriminate terror in the name of your newest religious concept, Wild Nature. Or does [censored] already know you had a ‘Wild Nature’, a Janus? Is there something else that also is as two-faced and inauthentic in [censored]’s inner life that expresses itself in a life lived in deceit? Let’s find out.

L.

Thank you to our source.

Issue #1 – Spring 2014

Welcome to Black Seed

A Contribution to the Continuing Green Anarchist Conversation...

This is a paper that we hope adds to a continuing green anarchist conversation, one that may have started the first time native people were introduced to civilized interlopers, or in the first resistance to cities, or through the writings of Élisée Reclus (depending on how you measure the term “anarchist”). We are part of this tradition: one of violence, genocide, ecology, and anarchy.

It is worth mentioning that we are in a dialogue with Green Anarchy magazine (RIP). We were contributors to and students of that project, and lament its lack of a clear conclusion. Instead of decaying, dying, and being integrated into new life around it, Green Anarchy just seemed to disappear, rejecting the very notion of its own tradition. That was their way; ours is to honor those who came before and tend to the tendrils and shoots that we hope to form from this black seed.

We are not simply against civilization. We understand civilization to be one of many problems we face as anarchists. We wish to explore the material experiences (based in the physical world of interactions) of a perspective that places one against civilization and more broadly within the green anarchist perspective. However, we will also develop space distant from anarcho-primitivists’ tendencies towards fetishizing indigenous cultures, uncritical rewilding, appropriated spirituality, and reliance on anthropology. As a group, our preference is to use the editorial to take a stronger stance than we would individually. We are not unified in our opinions. We are using Black Seed as an experiment to suss out more particular critiques. We will use anarchist and anti-civilization perspectives but not be constrained by them.

One of the great challenges faced by all anarchists is that our words (rhetoric) imply activity that is damn near impossible in this world. This is doubly true in the context of the Western world, and double the challenge again given that we are writing this document well-ensconced in the heart of the American empire. We are both the beneficiaries of a system that has destroyed much more than life and the possibility of living it freely, and the victims of this system’s most pernicious power: forgetfulness.

If green anarchy is something distinct from either a general anarchist hostility towards the existent, or a red anarchist emphasis on class issues, it is a (necessarily feeble) attempt to reconcile the aforementioned impossibility. We live in the West and recognize the emptiness of what such an attempt entails. We have forgotten freedom and the beauty that surrounds us. We have a suspicion that somewhere in the conceptual terrain of ecological groups and the environmental movement lies something worth saving but it is probably less than we thought it was prior to our direct experience with those groups.

We also think that existing native traditions somehow relate to our project, which is very different from saying that we should emulate, parrot, or parody them; we recognize the presumptuous insufficiency of anthropology and cannot be sure how to negotiate the relationships between post- and pre-colonized people. What would it mean to live in an intact social body that is in spiritual connection to the earth? Neither we, nor anyone around us (especially in the cities), will ever know the answer to this question -- weekend trips to native lands absolutely not to the contrary.

This is meager gruel when compared to the utopian aspirations of those green anarchists who believed the revolution, whether it was to be brought about by appropriate technology (in the Whole Earth Catalog period of the 70s and 80s) or the End of Civilization, was right around the corner. The collapse is not coming. Capitalism has proven its capacity to swallow whole nearly every culture of resistance that has risen out of its belly. The crisis is here. It persists in various permutations within our everyday lives and the worldwide ecological crises that are already underway. We could write paragraphs of statistics about how the forests are being destroyed, the salmon, bears, and wolves are disappearing, polar ice caps are melting, and mountains are being whittled away. Many have named a specific year in the not-too-distant future as a “no turning back” point, when carbon emissions will have reached a point beyond humanity’s ability to reverse the damage done to the planet’s many ecologies. While we’ll explore these worthwhile reminders in our publication, we’re more interested in hearing stories, analysis, and celebrations of general upheaval, social revolt, and other experiments in mass refusal. We are asking for dialogue, critique, and reflections on these experiments, while encouraging both introductory and advanced understanding.

We are inspired by the Mi’qmak warriors in so-called New Brunswick, Canada in their struggle against fracking, those squatting and fighting against the development of a new airport (and its society!) in the woods north of Nantes, France, and the actions of the ELF at the Vale Resort to name but a few. We are moved by these events because they tell a tale of people with livelihoods inherently connected to the land beneath their feet coming together to violently resist the dominant social order and its practice of economic expansion.

The black seed is the distant, future possibility of our questions acting like weeds, breaking up concrete and ideology, and germinating into total fucking anarchy.

The Editors,

-Scéalaí

-Cedar Leighlais

-Pietje

-Zdereva Itvaryn

-Aragorn!

What is Green Anarchy?

An Introduction to Anti-Civilization Thought by the Green Anarchy Collective

Bridging both time and work, the following is an article that was featured in one of Green Anarchy magazine’s “Back to Basics” primers. We see this as a starting point for further exploration and discussion. The topics covered are central to a green anarchist critique or perspective. This is not an exhaustive list, but rather the beginnings of what we hope will be an ongoing conversation – one to be further expanded, updated, and explored in subsequent issues of Black Seed.

This primer is not meant to be the “defining principles” for a green anarchist “movement”, nor an anti-civilization manifesto. It is a look at some of the basic ideas and concepts that collective members share with each other, and with others who identify as green anarchists. We understand and celebrate the need to keep our visions and strategies open, and always welcome discussion. We feel that every aspect of what we think and who we are constantly needs to be challenged and remain flexible if we are to grow. We are not interested in developing a new ideology, nor perpetuating a singular world-view. We also understand that not all green anarchists are specifically anti-civilization (but we do have a hard time understanding how one can be against all domination without getting to its roots: civilization itself). At this point, however, most who use the term “green anarchist” do indict civilization and all that comes along with it (domestication, patriarchy, division of labor, technology, production, representation, alienation, objectification, control, the destruction of life, etc). While some would like to speak in terms of direct democracy and urban gardening, we feel it is impossible and undesirable to “green up” civilization and/or make it more “fair”. We feel that it is important to move towards a radically decentralized world, to challenge the logic and mindset of the death-culture, to end all mediation in our lives, and to destroy all the institutions and physical manifestations of this nightmare. We want to become uncivilized. In more general terms, this is the trajectory of green anarchy in thought and practice.

Anarchy vs Anarchism

One qualifier that we feel is important to begin with is the distinction between “anarchy” and “anarchism”. Some will write this off as merely semantics or trivial, but for most post-left and anti-civilization anarchists, this differentiation is important. While anarchism can serve as an important historical reference point from which to draw inspiration and lessons, it has become too systematic, fixed, and ideological…everything anarchy is not. Admittedly, this has less to do with anarchism’s social/political/philosophical orientation, and more to do with those who identify as anarchists. No doubt, many from our anarchist lineage would also be disappointed by this trend to solidify what should always be in flux. The early self-identified anarchists (Proudhon, Bakunin, Berkman, Goldman, Malatesta, and the like) were responding to their specific contexts, with their own specific motivations and desires. Too often, contemporary anarchists see these individuals as representing the boundaries of anarchy, and create a W.W.B.D. [What Would Bakunin Do (or more correctly–Think)] attitude towards anarchy, which is tragic and potentially dangerous. Today, some who identify as “classical” anarchists refuse to accept any effort in previously uncharted territory within anarchism (ie. Primitivism, Post-Leftism, etc) or trends which have often been at odds with the rudimentary workers’ mass movement approach (ie. Individualism, Nihilism, etc). These rigid, dogmatic, and extremely uncreative anarchists have gone so far as to declare that anarchism is a very specific social and economic methodology for organizing the working class. This is obviously an absurd extreme, but such tendencies can be seen in the ideas and projects of many contemporary anarcho-leftists (anarcho-sydicalists, anarcho-communists, platformists, federationists). “Anarchism”, as it stands today, is a far-left ideology, one which we need to get beyond. In contrast, “anarchy” is a formless, fluid, organic experience embracing multi-faceted visions of liberation, both personal and collective, and always open. As anarchists, we are not interested in forming a new framework or structure to live under or within, however “unobtrusive” or “ethical” it claims to be. Anarchists cannot provide another world for others, but we can raise questions and ideas, try to destroy all domination and that which impedes our lives and our dreams, and live directly connected with our desires.

What is Primitivism?

While not all green anarchists specifically identify as “Primitivists”, most acknowledge the significance that the primitivist critique has had on anti-civilization perspectives. Primitivism is simply an anthropological, intellectual, and experiential examination of the origins of civilization and the circumstances that led to this nightmare we currently inhabit. Primitivism recognizes that for most of human history, we lived in face-to-face communities in balance with each other and our surroundings, without formal hierarchies and institutions to mediate and control our lives. Primitivists wish to learn from the dynamics at play in the past and in contemporary gatherer-hunter/primitive societies (those that have existed and currently exist outside of civilization). While some primitivists wish for an immediate and complete return to gatherer-hunter band societies, most primitivists understand that an acknowledgement of what has been successful in the past does not unconditionally determine what will work in the future. The term “Future Primitive,” coined by anarcho-primitivist author John Zerzan, hints that a synthesis of primitive techniques and ideas can be joined with contemporary anarchist concepts and motivations to create healthy, sustainable, and egalitarian decentralized situations. Applied non-ideologically, anarcho-primitivism can be an important tool in the de-civilizing project.

What is Civilization?

Green anarchists tend to view civilization as the logic, institutions, and physical apparatus of domestication, control, and domination. While different individuals and groups prioritize distinct aspects of civilization (ie primitivists typically focus on the question of origins, feminists primarily focus on the roots and manifestations of patriarchy, and insurrectionary anarchists mainly focus on the destruction of contemporary institutions of control), most green anarchists agree that it is the underlying problem or root of oppression, and it needs to be dismantled. The rise of civilization can roughly be described as the shift over the past 10,000 years from an existence within and deeply connected to the web of life, to one separated from and in control of the rest of life. Prior to civilization there generally existed ample leisure time, considerable gender autonomy and equality, a non-destructive approach to the natural world, the absence of organized violence, no mediating or formal institutions, and strong health and robusticity. Civilization inaugurated warfare, the subjugation of women, population growth, drudge work, concepts of property, entrenched hierarchies, and virtually every known disease, to name a few of its devastating derivatives. Civilization begins with and relies on an enforced renunciation of instinctual freedom. It cannot be reformed and is thus our enemy.

Biocentrism vs Anthropocentrism

One way of analyzing the extreme discord between the world-views of primitive and earth-based societies and of civilization, is that of biocentric vs anthropocentric outlooks. Biocentrism is a perspective that centers and connects us to the earth and the complex web of life, while anthropocentrism, the dominant world view of western culture, places our primary focus on human society, to the exclusion of the rest of life. A biocentric view does not reject human society, but does move it out of the status of superiority and puts it into balance with all other life forces. It places a priority on a bioregional outlook, one that is deeply connected to the plants, animals, insects, climate, geographic features, and spirit of the place we inhabit. There is no split between ourselves and our environment, so there can be no objectification or otherness to life. Where separation and objectification are at the base of our ability to dominate and control, interconnectedness is a prerequisite for deep nurturing, care, and understanding. Green anarchy strives to move beyond human-centered ideas and decisions into a humble respect for all life and the dynamics of the ecosystems that sustain us.

A Critique of Symbolic Culture

Another aspect of how we view and relate to the world that can be problematic, in the sense that it separates us from a direct interaction, is our shift towards an almost exclusively symbolic culture. Often the response to this questioning is, “So, you just want to grunt?” Which might be the desire of a few, but typically the critique is a look at 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. The emphasis on the symbolic is a movement from direct experience into mediated experience in the form of language, art, number, time, etc Symbolic culture filters our entire perception through formal and informal symbols. It’s beyond just giving things names, but having an entire relationship to the world that comes through the lens of representation. It is debatable as to whether humans are “hard-wired” for symbolic thought or if it developed as a cultural change or adaptation, but the symbolic mode of expression and understanding is certainly limited and its over-dependence leads to objectification, alienation, and a tunnel-vision of perception. Many green anarchists promote and practice getting in touch with and rekindling dormant or underutilized methods of interaction and cognition, such as touch, smell, and telepathy, as well as experimenting with and developing unique and personal modes of comprehension and expression.

The Domestication of Life

Domestication is the process that civilization uses to indoctrinate and control life according to its logic. These time-tested mechanisms of subordination include: taming, breeding, genetically modifying, schooling, caging, intimidating, coercing, extorting, promising, governing, enslaving, terrorizing, murdering…the list goes on to include almost every civilized social interaction. Their movement and effects can be examined and felt throughout society, enforced through various institutions, rituals, and customs. It is also the process by which previously nomadic human populations shift towards a sedentary or settled existence through agriculture and animal husbandry. This kind of domestication demands a totalitarian relationship with both the land and the plants and animals being domesticated. Whereas in a state of wildness, all life shares and competes for resources, domestication destroys this balance. The domesticated landscape (eg pastoral lands/agricultural fields, and to a lesser degree—horticulture and gardening) necessitates the end of open sharing of the resources that formerly existed; where once “this was everyone’s,” it is now “mine”. In Daniel Quinn’s novel Ishmael, he explains this transformation from the “Leavers” (those who accepted what the earth provided) to that of the “Takers” (those who demanded from the earth what they wanted). This notion of ownership laid the foundation for social hierarchy as property and power emerged. Domestication not only changes the ecology from a free to a totalitarian order, it enslaves the species that are domesticated. Generally the more an environment is controlled, the less sustainable it is. The domestication of humans themselves involves many trade-offs in comparison to the foraging, nomadic mode. It is worth noting here that most of the shifts made from nomadic foraging to domestication were not made autonomously, they were made by the blade of the sword or barrel of the gun. Whereas only 2000 years ago the majority of the world population were gatherer-hunters, it is now .01%. The path of domestication is a colonizing force that has meant myriad pathologies for the conquered population and the originators of the practice. Several examples include a decline in nutritional health due to over-reliance on non-diverse diets, almost 40–60 diseases integrated into human populations per domesticated animal (influenza, the common cold, tuberculosis, etc), the emergence of surplus which can be used to feed a population out of balance and which invariably involves property and an end to unconditional sharing.

The Origins and Dynamics of Patriarchy

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. 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. This runs parallel to the domestication of plants for agriculture and animals for herding, in general dynamics, and also in specifics like the control of reproduction. 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. Woman come to be seen as property, no different then the crops in the field or the sheep in the pasture. Ownership and absolute control, whether of land, plants, animals, slaves, children, or women, is part of the established dynamic of civilization. Patriarchy demands the subjugation of the feminine and the usurpation of nature, propelling us toward total annihilation. It defines power, control and dominion over wildness, freedom, and life. Patriarchal conditioning dictates all of our interactions; with ourselves, our sexuality, our relationships to each other, and our relationship to nature. It severely limits the spectrum of possible experience. The interconnected relationship between the logic of civilization and patriarchy is undeniable; for thousands of years they have shaped the human experience on every level, from the institutional to the personal, while they have devoured life. To be against civilization, one must be against patriarchy; and to question patriarchy, it seems, one must also put civilization into question.

Division of Labor and Specialization

The disconnecting of the ability to care for ourselves and provide for our own needs is a technique of separation and disempowerment perpetuated by civilization. We are more useful to the system, and less useful to ourselves, if we are alienated from our own desires and each other through division of labor and specialization. We are no longer able to go out into the world and provide for ourselves and our loved ones the necessary nourishment and provisions for survival. Instead, we are forced into the production/consumption commodity system to which we are always indebted. Inequities of influence come about via the effective power of various kinds of experts. The concept of a specialist inherently creates power dynamics and undermines egalitarian relationships. While the Left may sometimes recognize these concepts politically, they are viewed as necessary dynamics, to keep in check or regulate, while green anarchists tend to see division of labor and specialization as fundamental and irreconcilable problems, decisive to social relationships within civilization.

The Rejection of Science

Most anti-civilization anarchists reject science as a method of understanding the world. Science is not neutral. It is loaded with motives and assumptions that come out of, and reinforce, the catastrophe of dissociation, disempowerment, and consuming deadness that we call “civilization.” Science assumes detachment. This is built into the very word “observation.” To “observe” something is to perceive it while distancing oneself emotionally and physically, to have a one-way channel of “information” moving from the observed thing to the “self,” which is defined as not a part of that thing. This death-based or mechanistic view is a religion, the dominant religion of our time. The method of science deals only with the quantitative. It does not admit values or emotions, or the way the air smells when it’s starting to rain—or if it deals with these things, it does so by transforming them into numbers, by turning oneness with the smell of the rain into abstract preoccupation with the chemical formula for ozone, turning the way it makes you feel into the intellectual idea that emotions are only an illusion of firing neurons. Numbers themselves are not truth but a chosen style of thinking. We have chosen a habit of mind that focuses our attention into a world removed from reality, where nothing has quality or awareness or a life of its own. We have chosen to transform the living into the dead. Careful-thinking scientists will admit that what they study is a narrow simulation of the complex real world, but few of them notice that this narrow focus is self-feeding, that it has built technological, economic, and political systems that are all working together, which suck our reality in on itself. As narrow as the world of numbers is, scientific method does not even permit all numbers—only those numbers which are reproducible, predictable, and the same for all observers. Of course reality itself is not reproducible or predictable or the same for all observers. But neither are fantasy worlds derived from reality. Science doesn’t stop at pulling us into a dream world—it goes one step further and makes this dream world a nightmare whose contents are selected for predictability and controllability and uniformity. All surprise and sensuality are vanquished. Because of science, states of consciousness that cannot be reliably disposed are classified as insane, or at best “non-ordinary,” and excluded. Anomalous experience, anomalous ideas, and anomalous people are cast off or destroyed like imperfectly-shaped machine components. Science is only a manifestation and locking in of an urge for control that we’ve had at least since we started farming fields and fencing animals instead of surfing the less predictable (but more abundant) world of reality, or “nature.” And from that time to now, this urge has driven every decision about what counts as “progress”, up to and including the genetic restructuring of life.

The Problem of Technology

All green anarchists question technology on some level. While there are those who still suggest the notion of “green” or “appropriate” technology and search for rationales to cling to forms of domestication, most reject technology completely. Technology is more than wires, silicon, plastic, and steel. It is a complex system involving division of labor, resource extraction, and exploitation for the benefit of those who implement its process. The interface with and result of technology is always an alienated, mediated, and distorted reality. Despite the claims of postmodern apologists and other technophiles, technology is not neutral. The values and goals of those who produce and control technology are always embedded within it. Technology is distinct from simple tools in many regards. A simple tool is a temporary usage of an element within our immediate surroundings used for a specific task. Tools do not involve complex systems which alienate the user from the act. Implicit in technology is this separation, creating an unhealthy and mediated experience which leads to various forms of authority. Domination increases every time a new “time-saving” technology is created, as it necessitates the construction of more technology to support, fuel, maintain and repair the original technology. This has led very rapidly to the establishment of a complex technological system that seems to have an existence independent from the humans who created it. Discarded by-products of the technological society are polluting both our physical and our psychological environments. Lives are stolen in service of the Machine and the toxic effluent of the technological system’s fuels—both are choking us. Technology is now replicating itself, with something resembling a sinister sentience. Technological society is a planetary infection, propelled forward by its own momentum, rapidly ordering a new kind of environment: one designed for mechanical efficiency and technological expansionism alone. The technological system methodically destroys, eliminates, or subordinates the natural world, constructing a world fit only for machines. The ideal for which the technological system strives is the mechanization of everything it encounters.

Production and Industrialism

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 without genocide, ecocide, and colonialism. To maintain it, coercion, land evictions, forced labor, cultural destruction, assimilation, ecological devastation, and global trade are accepted as necessary, even benign. Industrialism’s standardization of life objectifies and commodifies it, viewing all life as a potential resource. A critique of industrialism is a natural extension of the anarchist critique of the state because industrialism is inherently authoritarian. In order to maintain an industrial society, one must set out to conquer and colonize lands in order to acquire (generally) non-renewable resources to 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. And in order to make people work in the factories that produce the machines, they must be enslaved, made dependent, and otherwise subjected to the destructive, toxic, degrading industrial system. Industrialism cannot exist without massive centralization and specialization: Class domination is a tool of the industrial system that denies people access to resources and knowledge, making them helpless and easy to exploit. Furthermore, industrialism demands that resources be shipped from all over the globe in order to perpetuate its existence, and this globalism undermines local autonomy and self-sufficiency. It is a mechanistic worldview that is behind industrialism. This is the same world-view that has justified slavery, exterminations, and the subjugation of women. It should be obvious to all that industrialism is not only oppressive for humans, but that it is also fundamentally ecologically destructive.

Beyond Leftism

Unfortunately, many anarchists continue to be viewed, and view themselves, as part of the Left. This tendency is changing, as post-left and anti-civilization anarchists make clear distinctions between their perspectives and the bankruptcy of the socialist and liberal orientations. Not only has the Left proven itself to be a monumental failure in its objectives, but it is obvious from its history, contemporary practice, and ideological framework, that the Left (while presenting itself as altruistic and promoting “freedom”) is actually the antithesis of liberation. The Left has never fundamentally questioned technology, production, organization, representation, alienation, authoritarianism, morality, or Progress, and it has almost nothing to say about ecology, autonomy, or the individual on any meaningful level. The Left is a general term and can roughly describe all socialist leanings (from social democrats and liberals to Maoists and Stalinists) 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 the methods or extremes in implementation may differ, the overall push is the same, the institution of a collectivized and monolithic world-view based on morality.

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. But not all anarchists accept the premise of global (or even regional) social, political, and economic coordination and interdependence, or the organization needed for their administration. We reject mass society for practical and philosophical reasons. First, we reject the inherent representation necessary for the functioning of situations outside of the realm of direct experience (completely decentralized modes of existence). We do not wish to run society, or organize a different society, we want a completely different frame of reference. We want a world where each group is autonomous and decides on its own terms how to live, with all interactions based on affinity, free and open, and non-coercive. We want a life which we live, not one which is run. Mass society brutally collides not only with autonomy and the individual, but also with the earth. It is simply not sustainable (in terms of the resource extraction, transportation, and communication systems necessary for any global economic system) to continue on with, or to provide alternative plans for a mass society. Again, radical de-centralization seems key to autonomy and providing non-hierarchical and sustainable methods of subsistence.

Liberation vs Organization

We are beings striving for a deep and total break with the civilized order, anarchists desiring unrestrained freedom. We fight for liberation, for a de-centralized and unmediated relationship with our surroundings and those we love and share affinity with. Organizational models only provide us with more of the same bureaucracy, control, and alienation that we receive from the current set-up. While there might be an occasional good intention, the organizational model comes from an inherently paternalistic and distrusting mindset which seems contradictory to anarchy. 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. Typically, 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, it seems that as the scale of projects increase, the meaning and relevance they have for one’s own life decrease. Organizations are means for stabilizing creativity, controlling dissent, and reducing “counter-revolutionary tangents” (as chiefly determined by the elite cadres or leadership). They typically dwell in the quantitative, rather than the qualitative, and offer little space for independent thought or action. Informal, affinity-based associations tend to minimize alienation from decisions and processes, and reduce mediation between our desires and our actions. Relationships between groups of affinity are best left organic and temporal, rather than fixed and rigid.

Revolution vs Reform

As anarchists, we are fundamentally opposed to government, and likewise, any sort of collaboration or mediation with the state (or any institution of hierarchy and control). This position determines a certain continuity or direction of strategy, historically referred to as revolution. This term, while warped, diluted, and co-opted by various ideologies and agendas, can still have meaning to the anarchist and anti-ideological praxis. By revolution, we 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 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 dissolving of power. Reform, on the other hand, entails 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 cannot be dictated by, nor performed within, the context of the system. For anarchists, revolution and reform invoke incompatible methods and aims, and despite certain anarcho-liberal approaches, do not exist on a continuum. For anti-civilization anarchists, revolutionary activity questions, challenges, and works to dismantle the entire set-up or paradigm of civilization. Revolution is also not a far-off or distant singular event which we build towards or prepare people for, but instead, a life-way or practice of approaching situations.

Resisting the Mega-Machine

Anarchists in general, and green anarchists in particular, favor direct action over mediated or symbolic forms of resistance. Various methods and approaches, including cultural subversion, sabotage, insurrection, and political violence (although not limited to these) have been and remain part of the anarchist arsenal of attack. No one tactic can be effective in significantly altering the current order or its trajectory, but these methods, combined with transparent and ongoing social critique, are important. Subversion of the system can occur from the subtle to the dramatic, and can also be an important element of physical resistance. Sabotage has always been a vital part of anarchist activities, whether in the form of spontaneous vandalism (public or nocturnal) or through more highly illegal underground coordination in cell formation. Recently, groups like the Earth Liberation Front, a radical environmental group made up of autonomous cells targeting those who profit off of the destruction of the earth, have caused millions of dollars of damage to corporate outlets and offices, banks, timber mills, genetic research facilities, sport utility vehicles, and luxury homes. These actions, often taking the form of arson, along with articulate communiqués frequently indicting civilization, have inspired others to take action, and are effective means of not only bringing attention to environmental degradation, but also as deterrents to specific earth destroyers. Insurrectionary activity, or the proliferation of insurrectionary moments which can cause a rupture in the social peace in which people’s spontaneous rage can be unleashed and possibly spread into revolutionary conditions, are also on the rise. The riots in Seattle in 1999, Prague in 2000, and Genoa in 2001, were all (in different ways) sparks of insurrectionary activity, which, although limited in scope, can be seen as attempts to move in insurrectionary directions and make qualitative breaks with reformism and the entire system of enslavement. Political violence, including the targeting of individuals responsible for specific activities or the decisions which lead to oppression, has also been a focus for anarchists historically. Finally, considering the immense reality and all-pervasive reach of the system (socially, politically, technologically), attacks on the techno-grid and infrastructure of the mega-machine are of interest to anti-civilization anarchists. Regardless of approaches and intensity, militant action coupled with insightful analysis of civilization is increasing.

The Need to be Critical

As the march towards global annihilation continues, as society becomes more unhealthy, as we lose more control over our own lives, and as we fail to create significant resistance to the death-culture, it is vital for us to be extremely critical of past “revolutionary” movements, current struggles, and our own projects. We cannot perpetually repeat the mistakes of the past or be blind to our own deficiencies. The radical environmental movement is filled with single-issued campaigns and symbolic gestures and the anarchist scene is plagued with leftist and liberal tendencies. Both continue to go through rather meaningless “activist” motions, rarely attempting to objectively assess their (in)effectiveness. Often guilt and self-sacrifice, rather than their own liberation and freedom, guide these social do-gooders, as they proceed along a course that has been plotted out by the failures before them. The Left is a festering sore on the ass of humanity, environmentalists have been unsuccessful at preserving even a fraction of wild areas, and anarchists rarely have anything provocative to say, let alone do. While some would argue against criticism because it is “divisive”, any truly radical perspective would see the necessity of critical examination, in changing our lives and the world we inhabit. Those who wish to quell all debate until “after the revolution”, to contain all discussion into vague and meaningless chatter, and to subdue criticism of strategy, tactics, or ideas, are going nowhere, and can only hold us back. An essential aspect to any radical anarchist perspective must be to put everything into question, certainly including our own ideas, projects, and actions.

Influences and Solidarity

The green anarchist perspective is diverse and open, yet it does contain some continuity and primary elements. It has been influenced by anarchists, primitivists, Luddites, insurrectionalists, Situationists, surrealists, nihilists, deep ecologists, bioregionalists, eco-feminists, various indigenous cultures, anti-colonial struggles, the feral, the wild, and the earth. Anarchists, obviously, contribute the anti-authoritarian push, which challenges all power on a fundamental level, striving for truly egalitarian relationships and promoting mutual-aid communities. Green anarchists, however, extend ideas of non-domination to all of life, not just human life, going beyond the traditional anarchist analysis. From primitivists, green anarchists are informed with a critical and provocative look at the origins of civilization, so as to understand what this mess is and how we got here, to help inform a change in direction. Inspired by the Luddites, green anarchists rekindle an anti-technological/industrial direct action orientation. Insurrectionalists infuse a perspective which waits not for the fine-tuning of a crystalline critique, but identify and spontaneously attack current institutions of civilization which inherently bind our freedom and desire. Anti-civilization anarchists owe much to the Situationists, and their critique of the alienating commodity society, which we can break from by connecting with our dreams and unmediated desires. Nihilism’s refusal to accept any of the current reality understands the deeply engrained unhealth of this society and offers green anarchists a strategy which does not necessitate offering visions for society, but instead focuses on its destruction. Deep ecology, despite its misanthropic tendencies, informs the green anarchist 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 use value. Deep ecology’s appreciation for the richness and diversity of life contributes to the realization that the present human interference with the non-human world is coercive and excessive, with the situation rapidly worsening. 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. Eco-feminists have contributed to the comprehension of the roots, dynamics, manifestations, and reality of patriarchy, and its effect on the earth, women in particular, and humanity in general. Recently, the destructive separation of humans from the earth (civilization) has probably been articulated most clearly and intensely by eco-feminists. Anti-civilization anarchists have been profoundly influenced by the various indigenous cultures and earth-based peoples throughout history and those who still currently exist. While we humbly learn and incorporate sustainable techniques for survival and healthier ways of interacting with life, it is important to not flatten or generalize native peoples and their cultures, and to respect and attempt to understand their diversity without co-opting cultural identities and characteristics. Solidarity, support, and attempts to connect with native and anti-colonial struggles, which have been the front-lines of the fight against civilization, are essential as we attempt to dismantle the death-machine. It is also important to understand that we, at some point, have all come from earth-based peoples forcibly removed from our connections with the earth, and therefore have a place within anti-colonial struggles. We are also inspired by the feral, those who have escaped domestication and have re-integrated with the wild. And, of course, the wild beings which make up this beautiful blue and green organism called Earth. It is also important to remember that, while many green anarchists draw influence from similar sources, green anarchy is something very personal to each who identify or connect with these ideas and actions. Perspectives derived from one’s own life experiences within the death-culture (civilization), and one’s own desires outside the domestication process, are ultimately the most vivid and important in the uncivilizing process.

Rewilding and Reconnection

For most green/anti-civilization/primitivist anarchists, rewilding and reconnecting with the earth is a life project. It is not limited to intellectual comprehension or the practice of primitive skills, but instead, it is a deep understanding of the pervasive ways in which we are domesticated, fractured, and dislocated from our selves, each other, and the world, and the enormous and daily undertaking to be whole again. Rewilding has 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 bioregion. It also includes the dismantling of the physical manifestations, apparatus, and infrastructure of civilization. Rewilding has an emotional component, which involves healing ourselves and each other from the 10,000 year-old wounds which run deep, learning how to live together in non-hierarchical and non-oppressive communities, and deconstructing the domesticating mindset in our social patterns. Rewilding involves prioritizing direct experience and passion over mediation and alienation, re-thinking every dynamic and aspect of our 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.

For the Destruction of Civilization!

For the Reconnection to Life!


When Nature Attacks

Squirrel Blamed For Massive Southern Marin Power Outage - Marin Independent Journal, 1/8/2014

A squirrel is being blamed for a large power outage in Marin County that affected 23,000 customers Wednesday morning, according to Pacific Gas & Electric Co. PG&E spokesman Paul Moreno said the outage began at 10:12 a.m. when a squirrel caused a flashover and damaged a breaker at the Mill Valley substation. He said the squirrel acted as a conductor between equipment and didn’t survive the experience. About 12,000 customers in the affected areas of Mill Valley, Corte Madera, Tiburon and Muir Beach had restored power by 11:17 a.m. At 11:39 a.m. power was restored to all, Moreno said.

Pope’s Peace Doves Attacked By Crow & Seagull - from The Guardian, 1/26/2014

Two white doves that were released as a peace gesture by children standing alongside Pope Francis were attacked by other birds. As tens of thousands of people watched in St Peter’s Square on Sunday, a seagull and a large black crow swept down on the doves after they were set free from an open window of the Apostolic Palace. One dove lost some feathers as it broke free from the gull. But the crow pecked repeatedly at the other dove. It was not clear what happened to the doves as they flew off. Speaking at the window beforehand, Francis appealed for peace in Ukraine, where anti-government protesters have died.

Woman Badly Mauled By Black Bear in Her Suburban Florida Home - from NatureWorldNews, 4/14/2014

A woman in Seminole County, Florida was attacked by a 200-pound bear in the garage of her home, according to the Orlando Sentinel. The woman survived with bite marks to her head, arm and leg and claw marks on her back. She had to have 30 staples and 10 stitches in her head before being released from the hospital. Coincidentally, the day she was attacked an advisory had been issued about Florida black bear activity increasing, as the animals have just come out of their dens from winter hibernation. The day after the attack, the State said it captured and killed three bears in the area that showed no fear of people. One of the three bears was described as particularity aggressive. Our thoughts go out to the bears’ families and we wish them a speedy vengeance.

Earthquake Liberates Over 300 Prisoners In Chile - from Russia Today, 4/2/2014

Armed forces were sent to the city of Iquique, Chile to track down escaped prisoners after an earthquake, several after-shocks and the threat of tsunami wreaked havoc on a women’s prison. Authorities say the situation got out of control because the prison is located in an area prone to flooding. At the time of reporting, only 16 prisoners had been re-captured.


Letters to the Editors

We received a handful of responses to our original call-out for submissions that were posted on various websites. We decided to reprint the call-out for the sake of coherency alongside some interesting dialogue/responses we’ve since had.

It has been almost 6 years since the last issue of Green Anarchy. During its 25-issue run, the magazine brought green anarchist ideas to North America and the world. It succeeded as an incubator of ideas and a real provocation for those both inside and outside of the anarchist milieu. In the intervening years, even with drastic changes in terms of green capitalism, technological advancement, and an ever-worsening ecological crisis, green anarchist and anti-civilization ideas have not been terribly visible.

We intend to reintroduce this green anarchist provocation. The new project will have a different orientation than Green Anarchy did. Rather than framing our theory and practice in the abstract world of historical and anthropological perspectives on civilization (or in a fetishization of primitive cultures), we begin in conversation and with our own personal experiences. Currently, in the English-speaking world, single-issue, campaign-based organizing dominates radical perspectives on the developing global ecological crises and resistance to domination’s ever-expanding encroachment. As anarchists, we desire to push the dialogue further and open a space to engage critically with the development of capitalism and the state, along with the dead-ends of environmental activism, in both the radical varieties and the more recent mainstream green “civil disobedience” movements.

We are a collective comprised of former contributors to Green Anarchy magazine, recent propagandists of a green anarchist persuasion, and other rabble-rousers. This publication will be editorially controlled by us and produced and distributed by Little Black Cart. We intend to release a biannual publication and we are asking for your help.

We want to hear about your experiences. Please send us stories of ecological struggle, anti-authoritarian earth-based coalitions, non-materialist anarchist practice, allied prisoners, and signs of the system’s meltdown. We are interested in developing critiques of civilization, the state, and technology; as methods of social control evolve and adapt, so must our understandings of them. We are also interested in a mixed medium of submissions such as original artwork, photography, poetry, etc.

RE: Non-Materialist Practice

Question: Can anyone explain what non-materialist means here? Do they just mean they’re not Marxists?

Answer: One of the weaknesses of radical politics today is that our desire for freedom sounds an awful lot like, and indeed uses many of the same words as, other groups in their desire for freedom. The English words we use have themselves been trapped by traditions: liberal, Marxist, colonial. It is a challenge to say anything at all, especially something simple or ancient, framed by those we despise.

Personally, I’m looking for stories about what anarchists do that break out of academic or spiritual discourse, out of the particular traps I see in the circles around me. For you, it could be that the traps are countercultural or age-related. For another, it may be a question of rural versus urban or a question of identity or of subsistence. So to clarify the question in our original call-out, how do we open a about anarchist practice without receiving cornball answers to a question we aren’t asking. I’m not looking for solutions as much as I am engagement that lives anarchist and breathes the land.

Green anarchism often times sounds either woo or like it’s in recovery from Situationist or Earth First! ideas. For many people, that’s a high mark that they would be happy to reach. However, a fierce green anarchist perspective could also be specifically land-based, multigenerational, and grounded in relationships beyond casual affinity. It could learn from other people doing this things rather than chasing the so-called radical politics of activism, safe spaces, and decolonization in word alone.

-Aragorn!

Correspondence with Riflebird

What follows is an email correspondence between a member of the Fierce Dreams Collective, who put together a wild-skill-share gathering out in the woods in Australia, and one of the editorial collective members of Black Seed. Both writers felt it was fit for submitting given that it highlights much of the conversations and contradictions surrounding contemporary green-anarchist thought.

Hi there Black Seed.

It’s good to know that someone has an interest in continuing an ongoing green anarchist journal, a process that Green Anarchy (an anti-civilization journal of theory and action that was published from 2000-2009) started but couldn’t continue with. It is missed.

I had a bit of trouble understanding some of the post, or the journal’s intent. It could be a failure on my part, or it may be a collective project so different folks want different things. However, the terminology of ‘fetishizing’ indigenous cultures threw me off. After all, anarcho-primitivism seems to me to be the only strain of anarchistic thought that takes the ongoing genocide of indigenous people seriously, and the only thread that analyses hunter-gatherer lifeways to compare with current incarnations of mass society. This is significant because humans have existed so long without civilization but this fact is often still overlooked. I could understand if you want to scale back the anthropology, but I don’t feel that GA (Green Anarchy) fetishized indigenous cultures (maybe you feel differently, maybe some specific indigenous folks did, and that’s a topic for discussion of course), and I guess I wonder because this is a typical attack from leftists against green anarchists still today.

Speaking of leftism, the callout has said it wants to go beyond the dead ends of activism, but wants to focus on the development of capital and the state. If this journal is inspired by GA, the most powerful and long-lasting effects were its decimation of the left. There are so many avenues to talk about capital and the state (red anarchist blogs, historical materialism conferences, etc...). I’m not sure what’s meant by this.

I would also offer that green anarchist thought may have not been as visible in some ways as it was in the mid 2000’s when GA magazine was in full force but if you are trying to rekindle interest I’m not sure why you would downplay or trivialize the tactical resistance to civilization that is going on worldwide, possibly sparked by GA and similar sources. Right now in Chile, Moscow, Brazil, Mexico, and Finland, to name only a few, there are people speaking out and directly acting against civilization, explicitly naming it as the enemy in various communiques. I would say personally that the ideas have not gone away, rather they have spread further and also formed connections with other struggles. Of course GA was very well known, and had a huge distribution, and very prominent writers, so there is a need for green anarchist theory and voices nowadays in North America, which you are obviously addressing.

Anyway that’s just a few thoughts off the top of my head. If you want to see what our collective has been doing, there is a website: fiercedreams.wordpress.com. We’ve had a gathering and a couple of discussion nights so far and are motivated to continue exploring ideas around green anarchy in our corner of the world.

All the best, keep it wild.

Riflebird

Riflebird,

First I wanted to thank you for your response. This kind of correspondence is exactly what I’m hoping to get out of working on this publication. I also want to go ahead and say that my response is not representative of the other members of the editorial collective, I don’t think this type of correspondence necessitates nor could accomplish a “collective response.”

I guess what “fetishizing” of indigenous cultures that was referenced in the original call-out for submissions means to me is this tendency I have seen in the green-anarchist milieu to sort of put forth the idea that the way hunter-gatherer people lived was totally egalitarian, free from domination, and can be taken as a model to plan our future societies after industrial collapse. What I see as problematic in that assertion are a couple of things: A) This idea is largely reliant on the studies of anthropology, an academic social science that views its knowledge and research as ultimate and superior as it stands within the academic university. I do see the importance of studying and learning how humans have lived without the constraints of civilization, and how those studies in and of themselves can have bright insights into the oppressive manner of our current situations, yet the academic university approach is something I wish to step away from in an anarchist discourse given its specialized role in knowledge. B) The idea of creating or finding models in which we can follow to set up new societies “after the collapse” or “after the rupture” is not something I am interested in at all. My “project” or however you want to describe someone’s pursuit-of-anarchy-in-life is negative; I mean to focus on the destruction of civilization, the state, capitalism, technology, mediation, etc. The topic of “how will we hunt and gather when the cities collapse?” can be an interesting and fun thought-experiment, yet to me resembles the talk of “how will we organize the factories and cafés after the collapse of capitalism?” I am not so interested in how to live in liberation, which when discussed in this way frames the sometime-in-the-future-insurrection-to-come the same way that Christians might talk about “the Apocalypse” or Maoists talk about “the Revolution,” but I’m more interested in dismantling the current structures that dominate our lives and the world around us. I don’t believe it will realistically ever happen, yet I believe in the importance of it nonetheless.

Apart from that, one only needs to look at the Green Anarchy Primer Back To Basics Volume 1 to see just one example of the tendency of the green anarchist milieu to fetishize indigenous culture. What is seen on the first page is a picture of children running with spears in hands, taken completely out of context. One could ascertain that the imposed meaning on the inclusion of this photo is “Look at these wild children on the hunt! Amazing! Free! Anarchy!” This surface-level acknowledgement of a lifestyle merely reduces it to images that accompany political thought, completely disregarding the complexities and nuances that accompany any such lifestyle completely enveloped in the immediate surrounding world.

None of this is to say that indigenous culture is of no importance. If anything I wish to bring to light a discourse with and around indigenous communities and anarchy through this publication. At the least I want to hear from and dialogue with people in those communities, not write about them from afar.

The point you made of the criticism of the left in GA: I definitely find much importance in critiquing the left as they are our enemies and will recuperate anything they can get their hands on. On the other hand, a sentiment that I shared with some of the co-editors of Black Seed was that GA seemed a bit obsessive and fixated on critiquing the left. It became a thing for me at least where honestly I got quite bored with reading essay after essay attacking leftists. And perhaps this is one place in the announcement of the Black Seed project where the wording could have been worked on a little bit more, but to me capital and the state go hand in hand with civilization and technology. They are each spurred on by the other, and an advancement in the economy, technology or politics is an advancement for the others. I hope to help facilitate through this publication an illustration of the intertwined relations of each monster. I am completely baffled when I meet anarchists/anti-capitalists/whatever-rebels who do not find importance in the critiques and dismantling of technology and civilization.

And I would agree with your sentiment that it was perhaps unfitting to downplay currently ongoing explicitly anti-civilization struggles in other parts of the world. I would say that that sentiment came from a focus that is more directed at North America, where the dialogue surrounding environmental issues and radical/anarchist intervention is predominately maintained by those of Earth First! and Rising Tide; mostly leftist coalitions focused on issue-based-campaign organizing that resembles nothing more than begging to me. It would certainly behoove us in the North American context to give nods or at least acknowledge those who we share affinity with worldwide. To “downplay or trivialize the tactical resistance to civilization” is certainly not my intention and I would assume not those of the co-editors either.

Best wishes, for anarchy,

Cedar Leighlais, Black Seed Collective

Hello Cedar!

Thanks so much for your interesting and considered email. I found it quite thought provoking and definitely want to pursue the dialogue as well. As far as writing a collective response yes I have been struggling with that conundrum too this year. For this situation it’s a lot better to sort it out as individuals.

All that you have said makes sense to me and leaves me wanting to write something for Black Seed. Not all of it I agree with, however, which is all the more intriguing. For instance I don’t think that all band societies were egalitarian and utopian... but they offer the only example of longterm anarchist life to this day in my opinion (anarchy on a basic level, as having no rulers). So in that way, as a comparison point, since certain groups have some characteristics (once again, not treating non-civilized societies as a monolith) that are such a radical departure from life in mass society, I see value in discussing the differences. I do agree that they should not provide any kind of model or ideal, because post-civilization life will be a hell of a lot different to pre-civilization life. I totally agree about avoiding the trap of relying upon anthropology to try to give authority to any arguments against civilization, and I personally see it as just another institution that has to go.

From what you are saying, and I will endeavor to better understand it as we go along, we have a fair bit in common. I realize that because I haven’t been involved in any scene or urban anarchist community for a while, some of my influences are not exactly new (not to say they are all outdated, I hope). I am becoming more informed about what people are generally feeling and thinking here in Australia the more I reach out and try to have a dialogue. So I feel as if any discussions I can have are going to be good for me, to bring me up to date and up to speed with what is happening in the urban areas and around the world. Recently I read Seaweed’s Land and Freedom and I feel as if that is a great indicator, it does talk of capitalism and production, but also does not valorize nomadic hunter-gathering lifeways as an ideal, and does not dwell on academic or anthropological references, but it is still certainly green-anarchist leaning. Have you read that?

As far as the left goes, I did and do appreciate the anti-leftist raves in GA, but it is more for comic relief and blowing off steam than anything else. I take your point that there was probably too much of it and it detracted from the more important work of dismantling civilization and also may have formed a clique. The main reason I still see value in slamming the left is in the context of Australia it still goes so unquestioned. I feel like I have to defend myself routinely against moderate political activists a lot, and there is a strong overtone of presumptuousness and a pious tone that is still the default setting of ‘political campaigning’ here. I feel as if there is still a lot of work to do to break away from that and make it clear that we are not part of the left and do not ascribe to the values of the left. But for any potential Black Seed articles I would tone it down and focus on the task at hand! Haha. I certainly can see how the atmosphere is different in North America with Earth First! and whatnot, and it is a different beast. There are a lot more anarchists, a lot more anti-civilization discussion, just basically more people and more history.

There are a lot of parallels here though with activism, anti-logging protests, and N.G.O.’s and environmental campaigning to “save the forests”. It is the predominant method of combatting the ongoing ecological destruction, even to this day, and these ‘movements’ mostly plod along without critique.

You mentioned, “I am baffled when I meet anarchists/anti-capitalists/whatever-rebels who do not find importance in the critiques of technology and civilization.” Well, I am too, but subsequently I am baffled a LOT. The general vibe is one of defensiveness, outrage and scorn when these topics come up in most anarchist spaces here. It is breaking down slowly but it is going to take a while. Putting on Fierce Dreams has created a few openings and possibilities and so we will continue with this project in some shape or form as I feel that gatherings put people in direct contact with each other, at least among some trees. For a country so vast where folks are often isolated, it can be a good start.

All the best,

For the death of Leviathan,

Riflebird


Antagonist News

Russia: Two Excavators Torched - from interarma.info, 2/14/2014

“... we followed routine procedure: put some rags around engine parts and oil pumps, soaked them with gasoline, etc. After we left the area, we tarried for some time to enjoy the night view. Both excavators were trailing huge columns of smoke into the air. We establish the damage done at around 6-8 million rubles (approx. 200 000 USD).

We hope this act will slow down operations in this quarry. The area already boasts several abandoned quarries. Since our initial recon in this district large tracts of wood were drained and cut in order to clear up space for more quarry works. The sand excavated in here is used for future developement projects that do not take Nature or clean air into account.

We wish best of luck to all of you. Keep that fire burning.

MOSCOW 2014, ELF/FAI/IRF”

Turkey: Excavator Torched - from interarma.info, 2/20/2014

“On Thursday, February 20th, in Poyraz rural regions of Anatolian part of Istanbul, we attacked an excavator which is left to sleep on the verge of excavating the nature and we spray painted several locations around the site with the signs of ‘ELF-FAI/IRF.’ While this nature killer became unusable with a simple, time-set, handmade incendiary device, the message we wanted to give was clear: “If you build it, we will burn and destroy it!”

Tractors Sabotaged in Atlanta, GA - from directaction.info, 2/22/2014

“On the night of February 22nd, we poured a mixture of sand and water into the fuel tanks of two tractors used in the construction of a new Atlanta streetcar. We offer this small gesture of solidarity to the ZAD, the No TAV movement, and the occupation of the Hambach Forest. We would also like to send strength to those affected by increased surveillance or repression the new developments have brought to Atlanta.”

Brazil: 10 Police Cars Torched Inside Military Barracks - from War On Society Blog, 2/24/2014

“The financial loss estimated by the alarmed media is around 1 million but the actual losses are really more extensive than financial figures. It shows that they are vulnerable and that with just a little bit of gasoline and audacity we can strike them in the chest. The police, the media, the law abiding citizens, the secretary of security, and the governor poured out their pity. We applaud all the indomitable.”

Greece: Imprisoned Members of CCF Attack Prosecuting Witness During Trial - from Interarma, 2/27/2014

During this trial, the members of the Conspiracy Cells of Fire are being accused of setting fire to a prosecutor’s house who has been responsible for jailing many anarchist-guerillas. In this session, Vassilis Foukas, the prosecutor, was brought forth as a witness, and when it was the imprisoned’s turn to ask question, Foukas grew irritated, mouthed-off and attempted to walk out. Two of the CCF jumped up and got in his way, attacking him. The cops stepped in and helped him to escape before more could get involved.

Before that, the Foukas had said “I don’t have to answer anything!” just to get the response by a comrade “Asshole we burned your house, now we will bomb it…” The court adjourned and decided that the witness should be called again so that the questions can be completed.

Mexico: Package Bomb Sent to University Scientist - from War On Society Blog, Late-March

“...We abandon words and analyses in order to begin with our war, the war against what kills us and consumes us, against the invincible megamachine which only wild nature or its very own technology can collapse. We do not seek victories, triumphs or results from what we do or have done, we are not revolutionaries, platformists or anarchists.

We only seek confrontation with the system, the sharpening of the conflict against it. From this day we publicly put aside the word ‘analysis,’ in order to become The Obsidian Point Circle of Attack.

And with that said, we declare ourselves responsible for a package bomb with a considerable quantity of shrapnel, sent in the final days of March by express mail to Dr. José Narro Robles... Why attack the ‘respectable’ Mr. Narro?… Here is our response: Narro is one of the many public figures who propels the great majority of scientific and technological projects within and without the country, which tend to improve civilization, which aim toward economic development, and which tend toward progress, toward the perpetuation of the technoindustrial system, and finally the modification and destruction of wild nature (along with human nature).

We care little what they call us, such as ‘barbarian,’ ‘foolish,’ ‘mediocre,’ etc, we do not want to give any ‘good impression’ to their eyes, we do not want to be, nor are we, nor will we be, the traditional ‘social fighters’ of Mexico, we are egoist radicals, politically incorrect, irreverently individualist at war against the progress of the technoindustrial system.”

Oakland, CA Police Office Attacked - from anarchistnews.org, 4/2/2014

“Our aim was to demonstrate that action, however small, is both possible and desirable.

We dedicate this action to the rebels in Durham, North Carolina who have repeatedly taken to the streets in outrage against the killer pigs who murdered a young man, Chuy Huerta, in the back of a cop car last year. Weapons in hand,

we attacked for Chuy.”

Mining Executive’s Vancouver, B.C. Home Sprayed With Gunfire - from The Vancouver Sun, 4/4/2014

The home belonging to Johnathan More and Taylor Rae More was peppered with bullets the morning of Friday, April 4th. Johnathan More is president and CEO of Aldrin Resource Corp., a junior uranium company that is listed on the TSX Venture Exchange. The company recently announced its crews had begun drilling in search of uranium at its property in Saskatchewan’s Athabasca Basin.

He is also named as a director of Athabasca Nuclear, another Venture-listed uranium explorer, and the CEO and director of Mira Resources Corp., an oil and gas company with projects in West African countries Ghana and Angola.

More is listed on the Mira website as a former investment adviser and the founder of JM Finance LTD, a Canadian venture capital company.

Police responded to emergency phone calls about the incident and taped off the two-story home. It is not known whether or not they were home during the shooting, and no suspects have been named.

Meat Industry Suppliers Sabotaged in Solidarity With Animal Liberation Prisoners in Portland, OR - from Puget Sound Anarchists, 4/10/2014

On the night of April 10th, the locks were glued at Market Supply Co. (139 SE Taylor St, Portland, OR) and McGraw Marketing Co. (2514 SE 23rd Ave, Portland OR) also had its lock jammed with liquid nails.

These minor acts were done in solidarity with animal liberation prisoner Kevin Olliff.

Montreal: Rail Lines Blocked in Solidarity with Indigenous Communities in Conflict with the State - anarchistnews.org, 4/8/2014

“...8 train lines running through Montreal were blocked by disrupting the rail signals. This action was done in response to ongoing effors of colonization and repression by the state against indigenous communities across Turtle Island.

Rebels, indigenous folk and workers alike have targeted the train lines as an apt means for disrupting the flow of capital and these systems of domination. Historically and presently the railways have acted as a necessary toll for imperialism.

CN has chosen to build its infrastructure across indigenous territory as another act of stealing land from autonomous communities.

As anarchists we are invested in contributing to an active disruption of domination and state power.”

Land And Freedom: An Old Challenge - by Sever

An Old Slogan

One of the oldest anarchist slogans was “Land and Freedom.” You don’t hear it much anymore these days, but this battle cry was used most fervently in the revolutionary movements in Mexico, Spain, Russia, and Manchuria. In the first case, the movement that used those three words like a weapon and like a compass had an important indigenous background. In the second case, the workers of Spain who spoke of “Tierra y Libertad” were often fresh arrivals to the city who still remembered the feudal existence they had left behind in the countryside. In Russia and Manchuria, the revolutionaries who linked those two concepts, land and freedom, were largely peasants.

It was not the generic working class, formed in the factories and blue collar neighborhoods, for whom this slogan had the most meaning, but those exploited people who had only just begun their tutelage as proletarians.

The reformers of those aforementioned struggles interpreted “Land and Freedom” as two distinct, political demands: land, or some kind of agrarian reform that would dole out to the rural poor commoditized parcels so they could make their living in a monetized market; and freedom, or the opportunity to participate in the bourgeois organs of government.

Land, conceptualized thus, has since become obsolete, and freedom, also in the liberal sense, has been universalized and proven lacking. Yet if anarchists and other radical peasants and workers who rose up alongside them never held to the liberal conception of freedom, shouldn’t we suspect that when they talked about land they were also referring to something different?

Tragically, anarchists became proletarianized and stopped talking about land and freedom. Ever dwindling, they held on to their quaint conception of freedom that did not demand inclusion in government but rather its very destruction. Yet they surrended the idea of land to the liberal paradigm. It was something that existed outside the cities, that existed to produce food, and that would be liberated and rationally organized as soon as workers in the supposed nerve centers of capitalism—the urban hubs—brought down the government and reappropriated the social wealth.

The farthest that anarchists usually come to reject this omission is still within a dichotomy that externalizes land from the centers of capitalist accumulation: these are the anarchists who in one form or another “go back to the land,” leaving the cities, setting up communes, rural cooperatives, or embarking on efforts to rewild. The truth is, the “back to the land” movement and the rural communes of earlier generations, organized according to a wide variety of strategies of resistance, turned up a body of invaluable experience that anarchists collectively have still failed to absorb. Though some such experiments persist today and new versions are constantly being inaugurated, the tendency on the whole has been a failure, and we need to talk more extensively about why.

Non-indigenous anarchists who have decided to learn from indigenous struggles have played an important role in improving solidarity with some of the most important battles against capitalism taking place today, and they have also contributed to a practice of nurturing intimate relationships with the land in a way that supports us in our ongoing struggles. But when they counterpose land to city, I think they fail to get to the root of alienation, and the limited resonance of their practice seems to confirm this.

Land and Freedom Unalienated

The most radical possible interpretation of the slogan, “Land and Freedom”, does not posit two separate items joined on a list. It presents land and freedom as two interdependent concepts, each of which transforms the meaning of the other. The counter to the rationalist Western notion of land and that civilization’s corrupted notion of freedom is the vision that at least some early anarchists were projecting in their battle cry.

Land linked to freedom means a habitat that we freely interrelate with, to shape and be shaped by, unburdened by any productive or utilitarian impositions and the rationalist ideology they naturalize. Freedom linked to land means the self-organization of our vital activity, activity that we direct to achieve sustenance on our own terms, not as isolated units but as living beings within a web of wider relationships. Land and freedom means being able to feed ourselves without having to bend to any blackmail imposed by government or a privileged caste, having a home without paying for permission, learning from the earth and sharing with all other living beings without quantifying value, holding debts, or seeking profit. This conception of life enters into a battle of total negation with the world of government, money, wage or slave labor, industrial production, Bibles and priests, institutionalized learning, the spectacularization of daily existence, and all other apparatuses of control that flow from Enlightenment thinking and the colonialistic civilization it champions.

Land, in this sense, is not a place external to the city. For one, this is because capitalism does not reside primarily in urban space—it controls the whole map. The military and productive logics that control us and bludgeon the earth in urban space are also at work in rural space. Secondly, the reunited whole of land and freedom must be an ever present possibility no matter where we are. They constitute a social relationship, a way of relating to the world around us and the other beings in it, that is profoundly opposed to the alienated social relationship of capitalism. Alienation and primitive accumulation[1] are ceaseless, ongoing processes from one corner of the globe to the other. Those of us who are not indigenous, those of us who are fully colonized and have forgotten where we came from, do not have access to anything pristine. Alienation will follow us out to the farthest forest glade or desert oasis until we can begin to change our relationship to the world around us in a way that is simultaneously material and spiritual.

Equally, anarchy must be a robust concept. It must be an available practice no matter where we find ourselves—in the woods or in the city, in a prison or on the high seas. It requires us to transform our relationship with our surroundings, and therefore to also transform our surroundings, but it cannot be so fragile that it requires us to seek out some pristine place in order to spread anarchy. Will anti-civilization anarchism be a minoritarian sect of those anarchists who go to the woods to live deliberately, because they don’t like the alternative of organizing a union at the local burger joint, or will it be a challenge to the elements of the anarchist tradition that reproduce colonialism, patriarchy, and Enlightenment thinking, a challenge that is relative to all anarchists no matter where they pick their battles?

Land does not exist in opposition to the city. Rather, one concept of land exists in opposition to another. The anarchist or anti-civilization idea against the capitalist, Western idea. It is this latter concept that places land within the isolating dichotomy of city vs. wilderness. This is why “going back to the land” is doomed to fail, even though we may win valuable lessons and experiences in the course of that failure (as anarchists, we’ve rarely won anything else). We don’t need to go back to the land, because it never left us. We simply stopped seeing it and stopped communing with it.

Recreating our relationship with the world can happen wherever we are, in the city or in the countryside. But how does it happen?

History

An important step is to recover histories about how we lost our connection with the land and how we got colonized. These can be the histories of our people, defined ethnically, the history of our blood family, the histories of the people who have inhabited the place we call home, the histories of anarchists or queers or nomads or whomever else we consider ourselves to be one of. They must be all of these things, for no one history can tell it all. Not everyone was colonized the same way, and though capitalism has touched everyone on the planet, not everyone is a child of capitalism nor of the civilization that brought it across the globe.

The history of the proletariat as it has been told so far presents colonization (the very process that has silenced those other stories) as a process that was marginal while it was occurring and is now long since completed, when in fact many people still hold on to another way of relating to the land, and the process of colonization that molds us as proletarians or consumers—or whatever capitalism wants us to be in a given moment—is ongoing.

As we recover those histories, we need to root them in the world around us and communalize them, so that they lucidly imbue our surroundings, so that young people grow up learning them, and so they can never be stolen from us again. The printed or glowing page which I am using to share these imperatives with you can never be more than a coffin for our ideas. I seal the beloved corpse within to pass it across the void, but only because I hope that someone on the other side of the emptiness that insulates each one of us will take it out and lay it on firm ground, where it can fertilize tomorrow’s gardens.

Expropriations

Armed with this history, but never awaiting it, because limiting ourselves to distinct phases of struggle alienates tasks that must form an organic whole, we must take another step. The embodiment of a communal relationship with the world through increasingly profound expropriations that are simultaneously material and spiritual.

They are expropriations because they take forms of life out of the realm of property and into a world of communal relations where capitalist value has no meaning.

They are material because they touch the living world and the other bodies who inhabit it, and spiritual because they nourish us and reveal the animating relationship between all things.

Their simultaneity means that they undermine the established categories of economic, political, and cultural. Each of our acts unites elements from all the analytical categories designed to measure alienated life. The transcendence of the categories of alienation is the hallmark of the reunification of what civilization has alienated.

Do we harvest plants to feed ourselves, as an act of sabotage against a commodifying market, or because our herb-lore and our enjoyment of nature’s bounty tells us who we are in this world? Leave the question for the sociologists: for us it is a no-brainer.

If this quest leads us out of the cities and into the woods, so be it (though many more of us need lessons on how to reclaim communal relationships, how to enact land and freedom in urban space, and fast). But the profound need to overcome alienation and reencounter the world will never take us out of harm’s way. If we go to the woods to find peace—not inner peace but an absence of enemies—we’re doing it wrong. Life lived against the dictates of colonization is a life of illegality and conflict.

Expropriation means we are plucking forms of life out of the jaws of capitalism, or more precisely, ripping them out of its hideous, synthetic body, to help them reattain a life of their own. We do this so that we too can have lives of our own.

This does not mean—and I can’t emphasize this enough—that we measure our struggle in terms of how much damage we do to the State or how much the State defines us as a threat. Although anarchists embody the negation of the State, we are not its opposites. Opposites always obey the same paradigm.

The State has no understanding of the world as community. Capitalists, who lack the strategic and paranoid overview that agents of the State operate in, understand it even less. Some of our expropriations will be open declarations of war, and they will result in some of us dying or going to prison, but other expropriations won’t even be noticed by the forces of law and order, while the capitalist recuperators won’t catch on until our subversion has become a generalized practice.

If we are anarchists, if we are truly enemies of authority, there can be absolutely no symmetry between what capitalism tries to do to us and what we must do to capitalism. Our activity must correspond to our own needs, rather than being inverse reactions to the needs of capitalism.

Feeding ourselves

Little by little, we need to begin feeding ourselves in every sense through these expropriations. And in the unalienated logic of land and freedom, feeding ourselves does not mean producing food, but giving and taking. Nothing eats that is not eaten. The only rule is reciprocity. What capitalism arrogantly sees as exploitation, extracting value, is nothing but a short-sighted staving off of the consequences of the imbalance it creates.

Feeding ourselves, therefore, means rescuing the soil from the prisons of asphalt or monocultures, cleaning it and fertilizing it, so that we may also eat from it. It does not stop there. Feeding ourselves means writing songs and sharing them, and taking hold of the spaces to do so for free. Learning how to heal our bodies and spirits, and making those skills available to others who confront the grim challenge of trying to win access to a healthcare designed for machines. Sabotaging factories that poison our water or the construction equipment that erects buildings that would block our view of the sunset. Helping transform our surroundings into a welcoming habitat for the birds, bugs, trees, and flowers who make our lives a little less lonely. Carrying out raids that demonstrate that all the buildings where merchandise is kept and guarded are simply common storehouses of useful or useless things that we can go in and take whenever we want; that the whole ritual of buying and selling is just a stupid game that we’ve been playing for far too long.

The ways to feed ourselves are innumerable. A body does not live on carbohydrates and protein alone, and anyone who claims that the exploited, the proletariat, the people, or the species have set interests is a priest of domination. Our interests are constructed. If we do not loudly, violently assert our needs, politicians and advertisers will continue to define them.

Finding What’s “Ours”

In the course of our attempt to nourish ourselves outside of and against capitalism, we will quickly find that there is no liberated ground. No matter where we are, they make us pay rent, one way or another. A necessary and arduous step forward will be to free up space from the grips of domination and liberate a habitat that supports us, a habitat we are willing to protect. In the beginning, this habitat could be nothing more than an acre of farmland, a seasonal festival, a city park, or even just the space occupied by a decrepit building.

There are several important considerations we must explore if we are to find what’s ours. They all have to do with how we cultivate a profound relationship with place. We cannot aim for such a relationship if we are not willing to incur great danger. Making your home on a bit of land, refusing to treat it as a commodity, and rejecting the regulations imposed on it means going to prison or ending your days in an armed standoff unless you can call up fierce solidarity or mobilize an effective and creative resistance. But the more such resistance spreads, the more certain it is that people will die defending the land and their relationship with it.

If you would not die for land or a specific way of moving through it, don’t bother: you’ll never be able to find a home. But how can we build that kind of love when we are only moving on top of the land like oil on water, never becoming a part of it? Everyone yearns to overcome alienation, but very few people still enjoy a connection worth defending.

The fortitude we need takes great conviction, and that conviction can only build over time. Nowadays, perhaps only one out of a thousand of us would give up their lives to defend a habitat they consider themselves part of. The question we need to answer is, how do we foreground that kind of love, how do we spread it, and for those of us who survive and move on, how do we play our part in cultivating an inalienable relationship with place when the misery of defeat and the coldness of exile make it easier to forget?

It is all the more difficult in North America, where society is increasingly transient. Transcience is not a simple question of moving around, as though anarchists should simply stay in their hometown or as though nomads enjoyed a less profound relationship with the earth than sedentary gardeners. But nomads don’t travel just anywhere. They also cultivate an entirely specific relationship with the world around them. Their habitat just has a temporal as well as a spatial dimension.

The problem of transcience in capitalist society is one of not forming any relationship with the place where we live. This is the reason why anarchists who stay anywhere more than a few years drown in misery, and why the anarchists who always move to the new hip spot never stay more than one step ahead of it. It is a key problematic that we need to devote more thought to than we do to the latest French translation or intellectual trend.

In the Americas in particular, there is another great difficulty with finding what’s ours. Our potential relationship to the commodified land (land in the liberal sense that has been imposed by force of arms) is largely codified through a system of race categorization that was developed by colonizers in the 17th and 18th centuries. This land was stolen, and it was worked and improved—in the capitalist sense—by people who were stolen from their land. It’s true that the land in Europe was also stolen from those who lived in community with it, and that many of those people were shipped to the Americas and forced to work there. It’s also true that many of them ran off to live with the original inhabitants, or planned insurrections alongside the people kidnapped, enslaved, and taken from various parts of Africa, and that this subversive mingling is what forced the lords and masters to invent race.

It no less true that apart from having money, the surest way to win access to land—albeit commodified land—in the history of the Americas up until the present moment has been by being white. Whatever our feelings or consciousness of the imposed hierarchy of privilege, indigenous people have been robbed of their land and repeatedly prevented from reestablishing a nourishing, communal relationship with it, the descendants of African slaves have been kicked off whatever land they had access to any time it became desirable to whites or any time they had built up a high level of autonomy, while whites, at least sometimes, have been allowed limited access to the land as long as it did not conflict with the immediate interests and projects of the wealthy. The legacy of this dynamic continues today.

The implication of all this is that if white anarchists in the Americas (or Australia, New Zealand, and other settler states) want to form a deep relationship with a specific habitat, claiming land to the extent that it belongs to us and we belong to it, we had better make sure that the only other claims we are infringing on are those of capitalist and government landlords. Are there indigenous people who are struggling to restore their relationship with that same land? Is it land that black communities have been forced out of? How do those people feel about you being there, and what relationship do you have with them? Under what conditions would they like to have you as a neighbor? If white people in struggle continue to assert the first pick on land, this is hardly a departure from colonial relations.

Treating the land like a tabula raza, an empty space awaiting your arrival, is antithetical to cultivating a deep relationship with it. Etched into that land are all the relations with the people who came before you. By trying to become a part of it, will you be reviving their legacy, or destroying it? Find out before you attempt to put down roots.

A Longterm Proposal

The narrative we express in our struggles exerts a huge impact on the outcome of those struggles. Half of domination is symbolic, and by focusing on the quantifiable or the putatively material, rebels have missed out on this other sphere within which battles against power take place.

If we occupy a building as squatters, we signal that our concern is empty buildings and not the land beneath them, nor our relationship with it. If squatters become strong enough that the State is forced to ameliorate and recuperate them, it will take the path of ceding legal spaces and maybe even tweaking the housing laws or creating more public housing. In a revolutionary sense, nothing is won.

If we occupy a building as anarchists who communicate nothing but a desire to destroy all forms of authority, we are safe from recuperation, because we project no way forward for our struggle, no path for the State to reroute. We also make it almost impossible to advance, and we facilitate state repression. With nothing to win, our struggle thrives on desperation, and with nothing to share, no one else will connect to our struggle except the equally nihilistic.

But what if we raised the cry of “Land and Freedom”? What if we projected our struggle as a drive to progressively liberate territory from the logics of state and capitalism? What if we unabashedly spoke about our desire to free ourselves?

While we are weak, we will choose weak targets: vacant lots, abandoned land, an empty building with an absentee landlord. Or a place we already have access to, a home we live in for example. Whether we transform that place into a garden, a social center, a workshop, or a collective house, it must find its way into a specific narrative of liberation. If we justify our use of that space on the grounds that we are poor, that there isn’t enough affordable housing, that the youth need a place to hang out, that people need access to a garden for lack of fresh produce in their diets, or any similar discourse, we are opening the door to recuperation, we are pinning our rebellion to a crisis within capitalism and sabotaging all our work as soon as the economy improves or the government institutes some reform to ease the shortage of housing, produce, youth centers, and so forth.

If we justify our use of that space with a rejection of private property, we have taken an important step forward, but we also construct a battlefield in which our defeat is assured. A rejection of private property is abstract. It leaves a vacuum that must be filled if the capitalist paradigm will be broken. A relationship always exists between the bodies that inhabit the same place. What relationship will we develop to drive out the one of alienated commodities? By refusing to talk about this and put it into practice, we also refuse to destroy private property, no matter how radical a posture we adopt. Nor have we formed and expressed an inalienable relationship with the specific place we are trying to claim. Why that land? Why that building? And it’s true, we want to destroy private property the world over. But you do not form a relationship with the land in the abstract, as a communist might. This is why the spiritual aspect of struggle that the materialists, as priests of Enlightenment thinking, deride and neglect, is important. A communal relationship with the land is always specific.

This means that in every case, we need to assert our legitimacy to claim land over the legitimacy of the legal owners. And while we recognize no claims of legal ownership, we must deny every legal and capitalist claim specifically and generally at the same time. This means dragging specific owners through the mud as exploiters, colonizers, murderers, gentrifiers, speculators, and so forth, as a part of the process by which we assert our specific claim to that land, but always within a general narrative that refuses to recognize the commodity view of land and the titles, deeds, and jurisdictions that bind it.

While we are weak, it will make more sense to go after owners whose claims to a land-commodity are equally weak—banks that have won property through foreclosure, hated slumlords, governments that are unpopular or in crisis.

Initially, we can win access to land in a variety of ways. Seizing it and effectively defending it, raising the funds to buy it, pressuring the legal owner to cede the title. None of these are satisfactory because all of them leave the structures of capitalist ownership intact. Even in the first case, which clearly seems more radical, the legal owner maintains a claim that they can pursue at a later date, eventually mustering the state support needed to effect an eviction. Ownership has not been undermined, only access.

Once we have access to land, it is crucial to intensify our relationship with it. To share our lives with it and begin to feed ourselves with the relationship we create. To signal that relationship as a reversal to the long history of dispossession, enslavement, exploitation, blackmail, and forced integration that has dogged us for centuries. To announce the place as liberated land, if we are indigenous to the area, and as a maroon[2] haven if we are not. In our use of the semi-liberated place, we must communicate to the world that the social contract of capitalism is absolutely unacceptable to us, that our needs are other, and we have no choice but to fulfill them on our own. Simultaneously, we invite all the others who are not fulfilled by capitalism to connect with us.

As we intensify a relationship of land and freedom, our spreading roots will come up against the concrete foundation of property that lies beneath us. The next conflict is to negate the forms by which capitalism binds land (rejecting titles and claims of ownership) and to impugn the right of a government to tax and regulate land that it has stolen.

In the course of this fight, we will lose much of the land we gain access to. Buildings will be evicted, gardens will be paved over, forests will be cut down. This inevitability gives rise to two questions. How to strike a balance between prudence and conflicitivity so that we neither become pacified nor lose our places needlessly? And when we lose, how to do so in a way that is inspiring, that spreads and strengthens our narrative and legitimacy so that next time we will be stronger? The first question will be the harder one. Anarchists have a long history of losing well, but at least since World War II one of our most frequent failings has been the recuperation of our creative projects and the isolation of our destructive projects. Gaining something that they can lose often turns radicals into conservatives. Our semi-liberated places must aid us in our attacks on the State and give solidarity with those who are repressed. Not to do so means losing these places even as they persist in time; they are colonized, they become parodies of themselves and agents of social peace. At the same time, even as they must play a conflictive role, these are the places that nourish us, and we should not risk them needlessly.

Little by little, we will win places where we achieve de facto autonomy, and communal relationships with the land and all other living things can begin to flourish. These places will never be safe or stable. Any moment we are weak, the State may try to take them away from us, with or without a legal pretext. The more widespread support we have, the better justified our narrative and our legitimacy, and the deeper our relationship with a place, the more dangerous it will be for the State to attack us. Additionally, in times of reaction, it will be easier for us to hold on if we have won access to land using a variety of means, from squatting to winning titles. Radical sensibilities will prefer the former, but it should be clear that in both cases the capitalist foundation remains the same. The history of the squatting movements in Europe shows that squatting opens bubbles of autonomy but in and of itself it does not challenge capitalism.

If we have used a variety of means, it will be harder for the State to criminalize us across the board or to construct a legal apparatus capable of evicting us from all of our footholds.

By communicating and building strong networks, these different semi-liberated places can share resources and experiences, broaden their perspectives, and compound their legitimacy. The age-old question of organization is unimportant because such places are heterogeneous. They practice different forms of organization and do not all fit into the same organizational scheme. The present proposal does not envision a movement of urban and rural land projects working towards liberation, as though a thousand people will read this article, understand it in the same way, and all try to put the same thing into practice. The network that will form may well include movements within it, but none will be all-encompassing.

In the Americas, there are already many semi-liberated places in existence that dream of an end to capitalism, and weak networks connect them. Most of these places, or the strongest ones at least, have been created by indigenous struggles. I believe that anarchists who are against civilization can find their place within such networks, defining ourselves in relation to an ongoing attempt to restore a communal relationship with the land, as did the Magonistas in Mexico or many peasant anarchist partisans in the Russian Revolution. Up until now, we mostly define ourselves in relation to an anarchist movement or milieu, or in relation to consumer society. Neither the abstract community of the former nor the posture of rebel and alternative within the latter suit our project of liberation.

In part, this means avoiding sectarian duels with those anarchists who see their battlefield as the workplace or the post-modern city. People who understand themselves as proletarians should struggle as proletarians. I fear that the proletarian worldview is hopelessly poisoned by colonialism and will only reproduce the destruction of nature and the exploitation of all living beings, as proletarian movements have in the past, but using ideology as an indisputable tool for predicting the future just leaves a bad taste in my mouth. It’s better to make criticisms, share them, and back them up with robust struggles that embody a different logic.

If we are to understand ourselves within a network of projects that liberate the land from capitalism and create specific, communal relationships with that land, as newcomers (referring to those of us who are not indigenous) a certain amount of humility is in order. How can we learn from the indigenous struggles that have fought the longest and the hardest for the land without fetishizing them? How can we respect indigenous land claims without essentializing them or legitimizing the state-appointed tribal governments that often manage such claims? I can only offer these as questions, leaving the answers to practice. It is worth signalling, however, that such a practice must build itself on personal relationships of solidarity and friendship rather than abstract notions of unity.

Fortunately, there is a long history for such relationships. In the first centuries of the colonization of the Americas, many people brought over from Africa and Europe and made to work the newly alienated land ran away and fought alongside indigenous people fighting for their freedom and survival. Evidently, there existed a strong basis for solidarity. Today, especially in North America much of that solidarity is absent. Many of the poorest people, regardless of their skin color, are staunch advocates of colonization, Western progress, and capitalism.

Most non-indigenous people in the Americas do not have the practical option of going back to Europe, Africa, or Asia. Yet those of us who are not indigenous, just because we claim solidarity and envision a happy network of communities restoring communal relationships with the land, cannot assume that indigenous people will want us as neighbors. This is a problematic that cannot be resolved with theory or consideration.

Our only option is to struggle for our own needs—this is a prerequisite for any conversation of solidarity, as much as the identity politicians try to avoid it—try to build solidarity with indigenous peoples in struggle, explore the possibilities for a common fight against colonization, and see what answers arise, dealing with the conflicts that inevitably arise with patience and humility.

Communities of the Earth

As more and more of us begin to wrap our lives into these semi-liberated places, communities will form. Not the alienated pseudo-communities that the very worst of anarchists claim to have today. Communities are built by sharing, and if all we share is a little bit of time in our alienated lives, the bonds will not be strong enough to hold us together, as the failures of “accountability,” resistance to repression, healing, coping with burnout, and intergenerationality in the pseudo-communities amply demonstrate.

When we come together to intensify our relationships with a semi-liberated place, we share so much more. We become part of the web by which the others nourish themselves. At this point, it becomes honest to speak about a community.

As such communities begin to form, certain things will become evident. First of all, while vigorous debate and historical, theoretical clarity are vital in the life of the community, most of the skills and activities necessary for intensifying communal relationships are neither abstract nor discursive. They are practical skills that support the functions of life. Cooking, gardening, childcare, healing, sewing, brewing, dentistry, surgery, massage, gathering, hunting, fishing, trapping, weaving, welding, carpentry, plumbing, masonry, electricity, painting, drawing, carving, animal husbandry, curing, tanning, butchering, apiculture, silvaculture, mycology, storytelling, singing, music-making, conflict resolution, networking, translating, fighting, raiding, and otherwise relating with a hostile outside world (with legal skills, for example).

A community with three web designers, five writers, three gardeners, four musicians, a tanner, a brewer, a painter, and a lawyer will not survive. And not for lack of self-sufficiency. It is not about seceding from capitalism, but about bringing capitalism down with us. Such a community will not survive because they lack the skills necessary to intensify their relationships with one another and with the place they are trying to liberate. With weak relationships, they will not be able to withstand capitalism’s continuous onslaught. They will either be forced to move out or to pacify themselves.

Capitalist deskilling precedes the Fordist economy. Deskilling was present at the beginnings of industrialization, and it was present even earlier in the witch hunts and the attendant creation of universities and scientific professions in Renaissance Europe. Popular knowledge, especially that related to healing, was criminalized and destroyed, whereas a mechanical science of healing suited to nascent capitalism and the modernizing State that was grooming it, was instituted, enclosed, and regulated within the new academies. If we are to create communal relations against capitalism, we must commit ourselves to an intensive, lifelong process of reskilling so that we may nourish ourselves in every sense.

The creation of communities will not only show us the toxic uselessness of liberal education. It will also reveal the inadequacy of that cherished anarchist concept, affinity.

It is time to forget about affinity. Those who currently call themselves anarchists tend to be the warriors and messengers of communities that do not yet exist. Some others are the poets and artists who feed off of the warriors for a while before they go off on their own. We have seen what artists become, surrounded by other artists, and we have seen what warriors do, surrounded by other warriors, and the anarchist struggle has long suffered the consequences. The concept of affinity has done enough damage. It is a thoroughly rationalist notion, based on the idea of sameness as prerequisite for equality, and equality as something desirable.

Members of the much mythologized affinity group do not all experience their affinity in the same way. They do not perceive the group equally, and nearly every group, contrary to its mythology, does in fact have one or two central members. What holds the group together is not affinity, but a collective project. Only amidst a generalized scarcity of trust and sharing does it become possible to confuse these two binding forces.

The community, as a collective project, does not need affinity to hold together. What it needs is sharing, a common narrative, and above all, difference. In every community there should be some anarchists, in the sense given that term today. But a community of anarchists would be intolerable. As long as anarchists remain specialists of propaganda, sabotage, and solidarity—and this is the normative form that is reproduced today—we will scarcely be able to build communities. But as we learn to form connections of complementary difference, the dream of anarchy will become available to people whose temperament is not that of warriors or messengers, and anarchists, for our part, will find our place in a larger social body.

The gamble here is that a great many people are attracted to the dream of anarchy—self-organization, mutual aid, the destruction of all authority—but they are not attracted to the anarchist mode—protests, frequent risk-taking, the constant and scathing analysis of our surroundings; and that this anarchist mode, looped back in on itself, creates a pseudo-community that is toxic and self-defeating, whereas if it found a place within a broader struggle for life lived completely, could defend and spread communities subversive to capitalism.

In Conclusion

The challenge presented by a truly anarchist vision of the concepts, land and freedom, center an awareness of colonization as an ongoing force in capitalist society. It is a challenge that requires us to root out the liberal conceptions of land and freedom and all the baggage that accompanies them, including a great many ideations long internalized by anarchists, such as organization through affinity, the pseudo-community and self-referentialization within an abstract milieu, and the externalization of land or the dichotomy city/wilderness.

Above all, it is a challenge that requires a great creative labor. The tasks at hand can take the paths of reskilling, forming a specific relationship with the land, recovering histories that speak of our alienation, expropriating aspects of life, winning access to land, transforming that land, intensifying our relationships with it, and putting our destructive activity at the service of these new relationships.

I want to explore each of these ideas in more depth in future articles. But for now, we have the outlines of a challenge. It is not a new challenge, though I have tried to orient it to the specific problems of our times. Through reflection and action, I hope that once again anarchists can join others in taking up the call for land and freedom, and that when we do, we’ll know what we’re about.


Animal Dreams - by John Zerzan

This is the age of disembodiment, when our sense of separateness from the earth grows and we are meant to forget our animality. But we are animals and we co-evolved, like all animals, in rapport with other bodily forms and aspects of the world. Minds as well as senses arise from embodiment, just as other animals conveyed meaning—until modernity, that is. We are the top of the food chain, which makes us the only animal nobody needs. Hamlet was very much off the mark in calling humans “the beauty of the world, the paragon of animals.” Mark Twain was much closer: “the only animal that blushes. Or needs to.”[3] The life form that is arguably least well adapted to reality, that has weaker chances for survival among the at least 10 million animal (mostly insect) species. Humans are among the very few mammals who will kill their own kind without the provocation of extreme hunger.[4]

The human species is unique but so is every other species. We differ from the rest no more, it seems, than do other species from each other. Non-human animals have routinely amazing facilities for accomplishing things by acting on information they receive from their environments. They are creatures of instinct, but so are we. As Joseph Wood Krutch asked, “who is the more thoroughly acquainted with the world in which he lives?”[5] Adaptation to one’s world is a cognitive process. If we wonder which species is the smartest, the best answer is, most likely: they all are.

I think that Henry Beston is beautifully helpful: “We patronize them for their incompleteness, for their tragic fate of having taken form so far below ourselves. And therein we err, and greatly err. For the animal shall not be measured by man. In a world older and more complete than ours they move finished and complete, gifted with extensions of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear.”[6]

In the 1980s I knew someone who signed his excellent anti-authoritarian writings and flyers “70 animals.” That kind of identification has charmed me ever since. In rather a contrary spirit is the long-prevailing ban on that act of appropriation and greatest sin, anthropomorphism. Correcting this desperate error means that “A monkey cannot be angry: it exhibits aggression. A crane does not feel affection; it displays courtship or parental behavior. A cheetah is not frightened by a lion; it shows flight behavior.”[7]

Why not take this kind of reductive approach even further and simply remove animals from our vocabulary? This is already underway, if the Oxford Junior Dictionary is any indication. The 2009 edition added several techno words like Twitter and mp3, while the names of various animals, trees, etc. had been deleted.[8] Children (and others) have less and less contact with nature, after all.

But there is no substitute for direct contact with the living world, if we are to know what it is to be living. Our own world shrinks and shrivels, cut off from animal culture, from the zones of that shared, learned behavior. What Jacob Uexhull called the Umwelt, the universe known to each species. We need to be open to the community of our beginnings and to the present non-human life-world.

Amphibians have been here for 300 million years; birds for 150 million years. Dragonflies ask no more of the biosphere than they did 100 million years ago, while Homo species, around for not much more than three million years, are the only animals that are—since domestication and civilization—never satisfied, always pursuing new wants. [9]

Might it not be that nature is for the happiness of all species, not just one?7 We sense something like this as we search for oases of wildness in the vacuum of civilization. “ ‘Hope’ is the thing with feathers,” wrote Emily Dickinson.[10]

We have mainly lost the sense of the presence or aura of animals, of those who inhabit their bodies so wholly, fully. People in traditional indigenous cultures have not lost that awareness. They feel their kinship with all who live. Some of the bond remains even with us, however, and may be seen in small ways—our instinctive love of songbirds, for example.

All is not sweetness and light in the non-human realm either, especially in this shaken and disturbed world. Rape has been observed among orangutans, dolphins, seals, bighorn sheep, wild horses, and some birds, although it is not the norm in any of these species.[11] But even in animal societies marked by male power, females generally remain self-sufficient and responsible for their own sustenance, unlike in most human (domesticated) societies. In some groupings, in fact, females provide for all. Lionesses do the hunting in their prides, for example.[10 ]Each elk herd is led by a cow, wise in the ways of coyote, wolf, lynx, cougar, and human. And it is also the case, according to many, that non-humans can be as individually distinct as we are. Delia Akeley concluded that “apes and monkeys vary in their dispositions as much as do human beings,”[12] and Barry Lopez commented on the “markedly different individual personalities” of wolves.[13] But one does see an absence of many old, infirm, and diseased animals among non-domesticates. How the “food chain” operates here brings up questions such as, do wolves only kill animals that are near their end anyway—the old, sick, injured? This seems to be roughly the case, according to Lopez.[14]

Hierarchy and dominance among other species is a long-running assumption, often a baseless one. The idea that there is usually, if not always, a “pecking order” derives from a Norwegian graduate student in 1922. His concept came from observing domestic chickens in his back yard and spread virulently in the animal studies field. It is a classic example of projecting from human domestication where, of course, hierarchy and dominance are indeed the rule. Its universality unravels with the fact that poultry yard pecking orders are not observed in wild flocks.

Similar is the fallacy that the Freudian paradigm of murderous rivalry between fathers and sons represents the state of nature. Questionable in the first application; even more so, evidently, regarding non-humans. Masson and McCarthy refer to zebra, kiwi, beaver, wolf, and mongoose fathers exhibiting acceptance and affection toward their offspring.[15] South American muriqui monkeys, female and male, are non-aggressive, tolerant and co-operative. Steve Kemper’s “No Alpha Males Allowed” focuses on Karen Strier’s work with the muriqui, which subverts the dominant view of male primates.[16] Among Asian gibbons, primates that live in pairs, the male may stay with his mate a very long time after sexual activity has ceased.[17]

John Muir described a goose attacking a hunter in support of a wounded companion: “Never before had I regarded wild geese as dangerous, or capable of such noble self-sacrificing devotion.”[18] Geese mate monogamously and for life.

Widespread among non-humans are the social traits of parental care, co-operative foraging, and reciprocal kindness or mutual aid. Mary Midgley, in sum, referred to “their natural disposition to love and trust one another.”[19] Also, to love and trust others, such as humans, to the point of raising them. Jacques Graven, in a striking finding, refers to children having been adopted by wolves, bears, gazelles, pigs, and sheep.[20]

In his irresistible Desert Solitaire, the cantankerous Edward Abbey imagines that the frogs he hears singing do so for various practical purposes, “but also out of spontaneous love and joy.”[21] N.J. Berrill declared: “To be a bird is to be alive more intensely than any other living creature, 2 man included...they live in a world that is always the present, and mostly full of joy.”[22] To Joseph Wood Krutch it seemed that we have seen our capacity for joy atrophy. For animals, he decided, “joy seems to be more important and more accessible than it is to us.”[23]

Various non-human intelligences seem lately to be much more highly regarded than in the past. John Hoptas and Kristine Samuelson’s Tokyo Waka, a 2013 documentary film, looks at resourceful urban crows. How they use their beaks to shape twigs into hooks to snag grubs from trees, for example. In 2002, a New Caledonia crow named Betty was declared by an Oxford University researcher to have been the first animal to create a tool for a specific task without trial and error, something primates have evidently yet to achieve. Elephants’ actions, according to J.H. Williams, are “always revealing an intelligence which finds impromptu solutions for difficulties.”[24]

More surprising is what is coming to light about animals we usually consider to be further down the “food chain.” Katherine Harmon Courage has uncovered heretofore unseen capacities of the octopus. “It can solve mazes, open jars, use tools. It even has what seems to be a sophisticated inner life.” Courage goes on to state that the octopus “has a brain unlike that of almost any creature we might think of as intelligent.”[25] Along these lines is a growing interest in “cold-blooded cognition,” with recent studies revealing that reptile brains are not as undeveloped as we imagined. Lizards and tortoises, for instance, have exhibited impressive problem-solving capabilities.[26]

Jacques Graven was amazed to learn that the method of solving a maze is “scarcely different for a roach than for a rat,” and that striking achievements by mammals “reappear in almost identical form in insects.”[27] Speaking of mazes and the like, it may be added that very little of important truth is to be found in controlled laboratory experiments, whichever species may be subjected to them.

Memory is important to many creatures as an aid to survival. The work of animal scientist Tetsuro Matsuzawa demonstrates that chimpanzees have far stronger memories than humans.[28] Katydids have a hearing range many times that of ours. Honeybees can see ultraviolet light, invisible to us. The ichneumon fly can smell through solid wood. A monarch butterfly’s sense of taste is two hundred times as sensitive as the human tongue. The dung beetle finds its way with reference to the Milky Way. Animals with four legs, and who don’t wear shoes, probably pick up on a variety of emanations or vibrations lost on us. How about pet dogs or cats who are separated by hundreds of miles from their host families, and somehow find them? Only a kind of telepathy could account for the very many such cases.

A great deal more could be said about the gifts of animals. Or about their play. It is not “anthropomorphic” to recognize that animals play. Consider the mating dances of birds. I have seen the wonderful dawn dances of the sandhill crane. They dance, and have inspired an endless list of human societies. What of wild geese, whose matchless grace, elegance and devotion put us humans to shame?

Individuals of many species operate on an awareness that there is a distinction between “self” and “non-self.” A member of one species can always recognize another of the same species. These kinds of self-recognition are obvious. Another instance is that of grizzly bears hiding out of sight of humans and others. There is a consciousness that the whole body—the “self” if you will—must be concealed.

But do non-humans realize that they are “selves”? Do they have self-awareness such that they realize their mortality? Many posit an absence of self-reflection and make this supposed absence the primary dividing line between humans and all other animals. Bees use signs, but are not conscious of their signing. On what basis, however, can we make assumptions about what bees or other animals know or do not know? Chimpanzees and orangutans recognize themselves in a mirror; gorillas cannot. What exactly does this reveal? There is quite a set of unresolved questions, in fact, as to how conscious or unconscious human behavior is, especially in light of the fact that consciousness in ourselves is such a completely elusive thing. The complex, versatile, and adaptive responses we see as a rule among the living on this planet may or may not be guided by self-awareness. But self-awareness is not likely an all-or-nothing phenomenon. The differences between humans and others have not been established as radical; they are probably more a matter of degree. More fundamentally, we do not know how to even comprehend consciousnesses different from our own.

Our concept of self-awareness, vague though it is, seems to be the gold standard for evaluating non-humans. The other watershed condition is that of language: are we the only species that possess it? And these two benchmarks are commonly run together, in the assumption that consciousness can only be expressed by means of language. It is tempting to see in language the explanation for consciousness, to wonder whether the latter is only applicable to language-using beings. Indeed it can seem very difficult to think about the state of our minds without recourse to language. But if language were the only basis of a thinking order, all non-human animals would live in a completely disordered world, after all.

Wolves, dogs, dolphins, elephants, whales, to name a few, can vocalize at about the range of human registry. Humpback whale “songs” are complex intra-species forms of cultural expression across vast distances. It may be that animals’ calls are, overall, more a matter of doing than of meaning.

If we look for our kind of symbolic meaning, it does not seem to be sustained among our fellow animals. In their natural state, parrots never imitate the human voice; species that may be seen to draw in captivity do not do so in the wild. Primates trained to master language do not use it like humans. Herbert Terrace, once a convinced ape-language researcher, became one of its harshest critics. Trying to wrest “a few tidbits of language from a chimpanzee [who is] trying to get rewards,” says Terrace, produces nothing much of importance.[29]

Animals don’t do what humans do via speech, namely, make a symbol stand in for the thing.[30] As Tim Ingold puts it, “they do not impose a conceptual grid on the flow of experience and hence do not encode that experience in symbolic forms.”[31] An amazing richness of signaling, of the most varied kinds, does not equate to symbolizing. When a creature presents its intentional acts, it does so without the need to describe them, to re-present them.

The poet Richard Grossman found that truth is “the way it tells itself.”[32] Jacques Lacan saw the orientation toward representation as a lack; the animal is without the lack that constitutes the human subject. At the heart of nature, wrote Joseph Wood Krutch, are the values “as yet uncaptured by language;” he added that the quality of cranes lies “beyond the need of words.”[33]

I’ve long wondered how it is that so many animals look you in the eye. What do they mean by it? Gavin Maxwell enjoyed the “wondering inquisitiveness” of the eyes of Canadian porpoises,[34] while Diane Fossey’s Gorillas in the Mist is filled with examples of gorillas and humans gazing on one another in trust. John Muir wrote of Stickeen, an Alaskan dog with whom Muir survived a life-threatening situation, “His strength of character lay in his eyes. They looked as old as the hills, and as young, and as wild.”[35] John Lane was drawn by the eyes of alligators, an experience “not to be forgotten. Their black eyes hold steady as if staring through millions of miles or years.”[36]

Maybe there’s more to be learned there, in those direct windows, in that openness and immediacy, than by means of quite possibly unanswerable questions about consciousness and language. And if we could somehow see with those eyes, would it possibly allow us to really see ourselves?

There is an unmediated openness about the eyes. Death may be mentioned here, as perhaps the least mediated experience, or certainly among them. Loren Eiseley, near his own end, felt that wild things die “without question, without knowledge of mercy in the universe, knowing only themselves and their own pathway to the end.”[37] Ernest Seton-Thompson’s Biography of a Grizzly (1901) contains much about death. Today we are ever more distanced from encountering the reality of death—and animals. As our lives shrink, Thoreau’s words from 1859 are all the more true: “It seems as if no man had ever died in America; for in order to die you must first have lived.”[38] One need only add, it isn’t humans who know how to die, but the animals.

As if in acknowledgment, humans have exacted a revenge on selected species. Domestication is a kind of death, forcing animal vitality into a subjugated state. When animals are colonized and appropriated, both domesticated and domesticators are qualitatively reduced. It is the proverbial “greatest mistake in human history” for all concerned. The direct victims, once quite able to take care of themselves, lose autonomy, freedom of movement, brain size, and what Krutch called the “heroic virtues.”[39]

A farm pig is almost as much a human artifact as the farmer’s tractor. Compare to a wild boar. Wild means free. To John Muir, wild sheep represented conditions before the Fall; conversely, he decided, “If a domestic sheep was any indication, Man’s work had been degrading for himself and his charges.”[40] The level of an animal’s perfection, as Nietzsche saw it, was their “degree of wildness and their power to evade domestication.”[41] In light of the vast picture of oppression, David Nibert calls the institution “domesecration,” and it is not surprising that objections have been raised against even using the same name for wild and domestic members of a species.

Industrialism of course brought far worse lives on a mass scale, mass misery to feed mass society. Zoos and marine parks showcase further slavery, a fitting complement to the captivity at large. As the unbuilt, unmassified world recedes, the line between undomesticated and domesticated has blurred. Pretty much everything requires managing, up to and including the oxymoron “wildlife management.” We are now in fact in a new age of domestication, including an unprecedented escalation of controlled animal breeding in recent decades.[42]

The completely non-biocentric, humanist myth of immortality is part of the ethos of domestication, its rituals focused on sacrifice rather than on the freedom of pre-domesticated life. Freud’s Oedipal family model is a product of jointly domesticated animals and the father. Lacan’s formulations often stem from findings about caged animals, and Kristeva’s notion of abjection or disturbing threat, at base, refers to the act of domesticating. But the non- domesticated do not participate in assimilation into the conquered whole, in Freudian terms or otherwise.

Once there was a communal life of organisms in an ecosystem. Life fed on life, but not in a destructive trajectory. Even now we should not forget that the victory of domestication is far from total. Many species, for various reasons, are outside its orbit. “The lion tamer doesn’t actually tame anything,” John Harrington reminds us. He must stay within the boundaries the cats have established.[43]

“Almost everything about whales is a tantalizing mystery,” concluded Diane Ackerman.[44] Wendell Berry quotes his daughter in his poem, “To the Unseeable Animal”: “I hope there’s an animal somewhere that nobody has ever seen. And I hope nobody ever sees it.”[45] Do we need to 5 know, can we know, so much about other animals? Maybe what we need most to know is that we could possibly join them in their non-domestication.

Kant was grievously wrong about human superiority. “As the single being on earth that possesses understanding, he is certainly titular lord of nature.”[46] Walt Whitman provides a simple response: “Do not call the tortoise unworthy because she is not something else.”[47] It is noteworthy that women dominate what is called animal ethology, and are far less prone to follow Kant’s wrongheadedness.

The illusion of human domination of the natural world comes in many forms. One is the assumption that our prowess gives us long-range safety; we forget that this orientation can lead us into danger in the long run. Our lost connection, our lost awareness have led us into an age of horrors of every kind. And as Olaus Murie once said, “In the evolution of the human spirit, something much worse than hunger can happen to a people.”[48]

Jacques Derrida came to see the prime importance of the question of animality for humans, as pivotal to “the essence and future of humanity.”[49] The image of a free animal initiates a daydream, the starting point from which the dreamer departs. Meanwhile the living reality, the communion among species, yet manage to survive. The Inupiat Eskimo and Gwich’in people, who still travel without maps and discern direction without compasses, know that the caribou carry a piece of them in their hearts, while they carry the caribou in their hearts.[50]

The counsel of immediacy, of direct connection, has not been extinguished. “But ask now the beasts/ And they shall teach thee;/ And the fowls of the air/ And they shall teach thee;/ Or speak to the Earth/ And it shall teach thee.” (Job 12: 7-8) In the Arctic Jonathan Waterman moved away from separation, from domestication: “I first removed my watch. My ability to isolate different and unidentifiable smells became incredibly distracting. My hearing seemed to improve.”[51] Far from the Arctic, traces of this dimension have always been felt. Melville sensed in the sight of a sperm whale a colossal existence without which we are incomplete. One thinks of Virginia Woolf’s use of animal vocabularies and inter-species relations. Something whole, something unbroken, there millions of years before Homo showed up. Bequeathing to us what Henry Beston Sheahan called our “animal faith,” which he saw being destroyed by the Machine Age.[52] We are lost, but other animals point to the right road. They are the right road.

We lack that state of grace, but we do know how much is in danger. Laurie Allman, taking in a Michigan songbird: “I can tell in a glance that he does not know he is endangered. He knows only that his job is to sing, this day, from the top of that young jack pine. His beak is open, full of the sky behind him.”[53]

Here are Richard Grossman’s lines in favor of a return to the old joy: "We shall forge a change of mind and come to understand the spirit as animal.[54] We are still animals on the planet, with all its original messages waiting in our being."

December 2013

[55]] Vera Norwood, Made from this Earth (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1993), p. 235.

User Experience - by Cliff Hayes

Our experience is abused

by this user experience

filtered through a bitmap grid

layered in concrete and steel

A cradled touchscreen

has replaced the feel

of what constitutes

the real

Here the simulation serves

as stimulation for the nerves

Severed spirit

Never hears it

Until so much exaggeration

bludgeons to exasperation

An internet morphine drip

this digital drug of civilization

celebrity spectacles for admiration

everything a canvas

to elevate your user status

Does this user experience make us more connected

or is it the machines way of making us wretched

internet trolls

endless filibusters

distractions for a life already surrogated

distilled to bits

fed to drones

then terminated

Technology feeds this lifeless monster

then tells us that we’ve come so far

it would be too much

to downgrade its GUI

to a more primitive ancestor

Science led us to empty our heart

engineered products of mathematical modeling

those in the way have received a swift throttling

an intelligently designed experience is delivered

your assigned role is user

tribute is expected,

signed,

Your Abuser

Two Steps Back: The Return of Nonviolence in Ecological Resistance

This article originally appears shortened in the printed Issue #1 of Black Seed. The author wished to include historical content which places the article in an historical context for the online version.

At the turn of the century, Green Anarchy’s critique of civilization and uncompromising support of militant tactics was a challenge to anarchists and brought a number of new debates to the surface. Green Anarchy also existed within a space that adopted a combative approach towards ecological struggles with a series of high profile attacks, actions, blockades, and the like taking place across the United States. It was the years of black blocs at summit protests, the Earth Liberation Front (ELF), and other confrontations that tossed the question of nonviolence to the side in favor of a multifaceted approach embracing a “diversity of tactics.”

In the years since, a lot of that activity has receded within anarchist circles. The critique of civilization has arguably become less present, even though the bankruptcy of civilization becomes more obvious each day. If anything, the dystopian future outlined by Green Anarchy is arriving sooner than expected. Despite a shift in anarchist circles away from ecological struggles, these struggles have continued and in some ways are increasing in the United States. Whether due to awareness of global warming, the involvement of more mainstream non-profit groups, or an increase in Earth First!-style groups and approaches, the numbers of actions, action camps, and gatherings is growing. Somewhat like previous eras of resistance, anarchists and Earth First!-style radicals inhabit this new ecology of resistance, albeit with more distance between the two camps (to the extent that they can be separate) than existed in previous years.

Many of these actions fall under the rubric of what could be called “radical environmentalism” in that they are often initiated or supported by groups that have a deeper analysis or more militant approach than the Sierra Club, Greenpeace, or the other large environmental groups that operate primarily on the political terrain (lobbying and soliciting funds to engage in such activities).[56] Among these groups, Earth First! is the most prominent. From hosting annual meet-ups and conferences, providing trainings, and publishing accounts in the Earth First! Journal and on their website, Earth First! has been involved, either explicitly or indirectly.[57] Much of this new ecological activity has been what could be described as “non-violent” direct action: lockdowns, treesits, and the like. In many ways, it’s the standard toolbox from which Earth First! has drawn from for the better part of thirty-five years. However, what is different about these efforts is how Earth First! and this wider crowd has self-consciously started to adopt the restrictive rhetoric of non-violence and civil disobedience, as well as the worn approaches.[58]

There are multiple ways to orient oneself to this approach. On the one hand, outright dismissal seemslike the most easy course. Anarchists would see little to gain and would have an easy time debunking the tactical and strategic choices being made in the radical environmental movement. It isn’t hard to see this new route as a retreat into the failed approaches of the past. However, in the relative absence of a green anarchist presence in the United States over the past few years, Earth First! was the primary radical and militant voice. They are one of the only groups that will raise the problem of “industrial civilization”[59] and their publications are peppered with a vague form of anti-civilization anarchism, even if it rarely coheres into much of anything and is often missing from its actions.

A Flash Back…

Radical ecological action has a history in the United States that dates back at least to the 1980s when Earth First! appeared on the scene. Earth First! broke from the prevailing model of environmental activism both in terms of advocating for direct action to protect wild spaces (for example, blockading roads and treesits to prevent logging) and sabotage. From the early 1980s on, Earth First! has supported sabotage (often called “monkey wrenching”), by openly encouraging its use, publishing manuals popularizing the tactics, refusing to condemn its use, and supporting prisoners doing time for acts of ecological resistance. Earth First! is of course not a unified network, it’s a collection of relatively autonomous chapters, characterizing itself as “…not an organization, but a movement.”[60] Consequently, making blanket statements about Earth First! can be difficult, but it is fair to say that the mix of direct action and sabotage has been a prominent strategy. Nevertheless, Earth First! advocated for a range of different approaches over the years, talking about sabotage one minute and a few minutes later holding up the virtues of civil disobedience. In its Primer, Earth First! speaks favorably of monkey wrenching, while hedging its bets and saying that “the Earth First! movement neither advocates nor condemns monkeywrenching officially.”[61]

Earth First! has existed within a space that could be broadly called “radical environmentalism” that incorporates a range of other tactics. Anarchists have been involved in Earth First! over the years, coming to prominence in the late 1980s. An important point of reference was the publication of Live Wild or Die. It advocated for more destructive actions and a deeper analysis, moving closer to the anti- civilization anarchist perspective developing at the time. Influenced by publications such as Green Anarchist and Do Or Die out of England, more people in the United States began to advocate for a more conflictual approach. Perhaps as a reaction to some of the more contradictory elements of Earth First!, these critiques grew in prominence in the Pacific Northwest where some of the most high profile environmental struggles were taking place. Zines such as Black-Clad Messenger published with the tag line “actualizing industrial collapse” and Disorderly Conduct published by “The Bring on the Ruckus Society” (a seeming tongue-and-cheek critique of the “mass movement” that emerged after the protests against the WTO in Seattle in 1999) advanced a critique of civilization and advocated uncompromising militant action,[62] an approach also characterized the journal Green Anarchy.[63]

In the 1990s and into the early 2000s, these different groupings formed a constellation of activity characterized by a variety of new approaches. Lines between different grouping were relatively loose and their was considerable cross-over between groups. From occupations and treesits like Warner Creek to the Minnehaha Free State, different tactics and strategies existed in parallel with and drew strength from each other. While we now know based on various legal cases over the past several years the lines between Earth First!, the Earth Liberation Front, and anarchists weren’t always clear, the strategies were often different. For example, while Earth First! was involved with the Minnehaha Free State, the Earth Liberation Front tried tree spiking. Among the participants in the black bloc in Seattle that attacked chain stores and various other corporations during the World Trade Organization (WTO) summit were those who acted within this space.

While not always directly connected to ecological resistance, the years immediately following Seattle were ones characterized by militant confrontations with the state and attacks on corporate property. Outside of trade summits, black blocs were a favorite tactic, attacking the police and property. In Seattle, both the sanctity of corporate property and non-violent protest tactics were challenged. In the wake of Seattle, one heard relatively little about civil disobedience and non-violence, with the discussion dramatically shifting. While not everything was perfect, the subsequent confrontations were described as “direct action” rather than “civil disobedience,” a change in wording that signaled a desire to move beyond symbolic and ritualized displays of dissent. While there was no unified view, property destruction was largely seen as a given, with proponents either accepting it outright or trying to argue that it was in fact “non-violent.” Pacifism, peace police, and non-violence—all of which were characteristics of the post-1960s movements—were heavily critiqued (see for example, Peter Gelderloos How Nonviolence Protects the State). Rather than the restrictive non-violence codes of the past, “diversity of tactics” was the name of the game and for the most part those advocating for a strict adherence to nonviolence were on the defensive. In the realm of ecological resistance, attacks by the Earth Liberation Front were quite common. These weren’t just the high profile attacks at Veil or Michigan State, but reflected a conflictual practice that spread within the context of radical environmentalism to places such as Louisville, KY and Long Island.[64] Throughout the same period, the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) and the more radical portion of the animal liberation movement advocated and engaged in economic attacks. The SHAC campaign—which combined a diverse array of strategies from harassment of individuals to property destruction—almost brought Huntingdon Life Sciences to its knees. Even after September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks caused most leftists to abandon the “anti-globalization movement,” anarchists and others continued to pursue summit-based confrontations and nighttime attacks amongst the standard range of collectives, publications, infoshops, and other projects that make up the anarchist space.

If one is to compartmentalize history into eras, this era of activity ended largely due to the collapse of the anti-globalization movement, the Iraq War, and the rise of leftist protest coalitions (although paradoxically, the left was unable to mount an effective challenge to the war, but it was able to largely return the model of scripted mass marches), and the repression of what has been called “the Green Scare.”[65] With Operation: Backfire, several former participants in Earth Liberation Front actions were arrested after one became an informant. Other related cases including Marie Mason—who participated in several Earth Liberation Front actions in the Midwest—and the case of Eric McDavid (a victim of a government scheme to blow-up a dam), were followed by a decline in ELF activity.

Even with these setbacks, two mobilizations that happened towards the end of the 2000s reflected the lessons learned over the course of these summit demonstrations. Groups organizing against the Republican National Convention (RNC) in St. Paul in 2008 adopted a set of principles dubbed the “St. Paul Principles” that enshrined many of the operating practices of the previous years. It called for the support for a “diversity of tactics,” while also reaching agreements not to cooperate with law enforcement against other activists and to refrain from denouncing others in the media.[66] The primary anarchist organizing body—The RNC Welcoming Committee—and the prominent “liberal” groups all agreed to the same terms. The result was a disruptive mobilization wherein to a certain degree there was support and respect for different approaches. A year later, the Pittsburgh G-20 Resistance Project adopted similar language and organizing principles.[67]

The point of this is not just to present an overly simplified history of the early 2000s, but to make the argument that during the period dogmatic adherence to non-violence was largely abandoned. A wide- range of folks—from anarchists in the black bloc to those engaged in various forms of ecological resistance—were doing so outside of traditional forms of non-violent protest and civil disobedience. Earth First! existed within this context and benefited from the combative approach.

The Perplexing Return of Non-Violence

One of the most talked about recent campaigns in the radical environmental movement has been the Tar Sands Blockade, an effort in south Texas aimed stopping the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. Tar Sands Blockade was launched with the help of 350.org[68] and Rising Tide to establish a “peaceful direct action camp” with a particular focus on building relationships with those living in the pipeline’s path.14 Members of Earth First! participated as well and the larger Earth First! network issued a call encouraging Earth First!ers to go to Texas.[69] Before the Tar Sands Blockade ceased operating as a result of a civil lawsuit in which TransCanada claimed the campaign had cost them $5 million dollars,[70] it featured lockdowns in pipes and on bulldozers, treesits, and actions at corporate offices.

Tar Sands Blockade embraced “non-violent direct action.”[71] Far from using the term as a mere descriptor, they adopted the ideology of non-violence with all of its worst aspects. They described it as “a moral high ground from which we can build community in a broken world,” thereby creating a value judgment against other approaches. Similarly, they viewed nonviolent direct action as a course to be pursued only once other methods had been exhausted (a logic that implies one must go the tedious route of pursuing endless lawsuits first, in order to give their “resorting” to direct action more legitimacy). They cast nonviolence as the only choice, stating that “With respect for our community, our opposition, and ourselves, we affirm that we will engage in nonviolent, community building tactics.” Moreover, they adopted a rhetoric of professionalism, stating that there is a “need” for it and that all of those they work with will be “well-trained” and “abide by our code of conduct.” Not surprisingly, they pledge to treat all people—from police to those building the pipeline—as if they were their “own brothers and sisters.” After all, “in the end, we are family.” To top it off, much of their rhetoric around non-violence was adopted uncritically from “The 99% Spring” training guide, a booklet that was published as part of a series of trainings held by various non-profits with the goal of reigning in Occupy.[72] The booklet provides a basic introduction to nonviolence as practiced by U.S.-based activist groups, complete with sanitized histories based on prevailing myths of how “social change” happens. Ironically the recuperative and neutralizing advocacy of nonviolence was literally adopted from groups who had that explicit purpose. As the campaign carried on they began to describe it as “civil disobedience”—a change that reflected an even narrower approach. Despite this, nothing critical was said about the Tar Sands Blockade. The blockade received a cover image and a dramatic photo spread in an issue of the Earth First! Journal—notable for the complete lack of content beyond spectacular images.[73] Only one critique of the Tar Sands Blockade seems to have been published, otherwise coverage has been overwhelmingly positive.[74]

Nonviolence codes have proliferated rapidly within the radical environmental crowd. An action camp publicized on the Earth First! Newswire for the “Hands of Appalachia” campaign, was peppered with the words “non-violent” to describe their tactics of choice.[75] In the campaign’s “Non-Violence Policy,” they state that “All individuals are expected to commit to nonviolence” and further state that they “do not condone property destruction.”[76] Mountain Justice, another campaign targeting Mountain Top Removal mining in Appalachia, has a similar code. They explain that property destruction and violence have been used by coal companies to silence opposition, framing themselves as a more dignified non- violent approach.[77] They make it clear in multiple areas of their website that they “do NOT engage in sabotage.”[78] RAMPS (Radical Action for Mountain People’s Survival)—while less explicit— categorizes their anti-mountaintop removal work as a “non-violent direct action” campaign.[79]

Aside from limiting the range of responses to ecological destruction, nonviolence codes serve a policing role over struggles. There is self-policing when only a limited range of acceptable tactics are considered. In relation to others who resist, they have a policing role by isolating others and having a position that condemns other types of tactics. It’s paternalistic in the sense that the movement specialists—those with the training and those who do the trainings—decide for others what the best way to resist is. By stating explicitly that they will remain within certain narrow parameters, it is easier for the state to manage and neutralize them. While debating what is and isn’t “direct action” is not the most exciting or most relevant debate, it is interesting to note that the radical environmental movement is increasingly defining it in ways that include tactics that rely solely on representation by specialists, such as the so-called “paper wrenching” of filing lawsuits[80] or highly technical blockades.

Embracing Civil Disobedience?

Along with the embrace of non-violence, there has also been a shift towards even more restrictive forms in which “direct action” has been replaced with “civil disobedience.” While it may seem like a semantic debate, it suggests a political orientation. Whereas direct action is largely about disruption and gaining direct results (for example, stopping logging), civil disobedience is about performing an “illegal” act for the purpose of appealing to authority and/or demonstrating the unjust nature of a particular law or policy. It also carries the expectation of politeness, that one will act in a “civil” manner as one demonstrates their opposition.

There has been an increase in civil disobedience actions relating to the environment over the past couple of years. While none of these could be cast as “radical,” they are worth considering for the attention that they have received within the radical environmental movement. For the most part, these have been embraced or promoted uncritically. Over the summer, an editor for the Earth First! Journal wrote a piece titled “NGOs Kickoff Civil Disobedience Campaign at Chicago Anti-KXL Rally” which is representative of the attitude towards these new efforts. The campaign was organized by Credo Mobile (yes, a cell phone company that “supports activism and funds progressive nonprofits”) and aimed at preventing President Barack Obama from approving the Keystone XL. On their “Pledge of Resistance” they ask people to “engage in serious, dignified, peaceful civil disobedience,”[81] invoking the images of “the peaceful and dignified arrests” of over 1,253 people in August 2011, which they claim delayed approval of the plan. This is scripted civil disobedience at its finest, a scenario that could be straight out of Ward Churchill’s Pacifism as Pathology.[82] The writer from Earth First! didn’t seem to find anything wrong with this, instead imploring radicals to “…not to blow it by being self-righteous pricks.” The writer argues that actions “make space for growing broader support of direct action in general, if we engage them as such.” When the Sierra Club announced they were going to engage in civil disobedience, the Earth First! Newswire expressed some skepticism but saw it as the potential seeds for an ecological “mass movement” and said that the proper role for Earth First! was “to keep pushing the envelope—until said envelope has been reduced to ashes.”[83]

Unfortunately, this has not happened. Groups like Earth First!—whether caught up in fantasies about “the movement” or for other reasons—have uncritically supported these efforts. It doesn’t seem like they are doing much to catalyze support for direct action as Earth First! may have defined it in the past. Instead, these groups are having a constraining effect on the radical environmental movement. Eager to fit into the new ecological “movement,” it seems that many so-called radicals are beginning to narrowly position themselves in a way so as not to separate from these potential allies. Rather than pushing the envelope, Earth First! is in many ways closing the envelope in ways that limit struggles.

Groups within the “radical environmental” movement have started to self-identify their actions as civil disobedience. For example, the Michigan Coalition Against the Tar Sands (MI-CATS) described an action in which some members locked themselves to a bulldozer as “non-violent civil disobedience.”[84] Many of these actions have adopted the worst aspects of civil disobedience, playing up the “civil” aspect and adopting an attitude of personal sacrifice and martyrdom.[85] They become acts of personal heroics, as is the case when activists position themselves as being compelled to act in the face of great injustice as a “personal statement of civil disobedience.”[86] Actions become about the individuals as much as stopping the act of destruction. The story of why one acted is almost as important as the action itself. A familiar trope is a rhetoric of regret, where participants might express sadness that they are keeping people from “their jobs” or the police from “protecting society”—even though in this case those jobs are allowing for the destruction and the police are a part of the system that allows for it. [87] In the most ridiculous extreme of these actions, activists work with the police, choreographing their actions to place minimal strain on the police. This was the case at an action in Massachusetts where 350.org worked with police to coordinate the protest and wore shirts identifying those risking arrest.[88] It can also happen in smaller ways, such as when protestors announce their intentions in advance, as was seen at a MI-CATS action where an individual climbed into a pipeline until just 5pm.[89] This limits the tactic and removes the threat of uncontrollable disruption. In other cases the individual focus results in a celebrity culture where actual celebrities (think Taylor Swift’s ex-boyfriend, Robert Kennedy, and the like[90]) are praised for their sacrifice (and at elevated above others as being more important), or where “movement” celebrities are created.[91]

Over the summer of 2013, many ecological actions followed these models. The #FearlessSummer campaign (a series of actions primarily promoted through “social media”) and the #SummerHeat (named with a “Twitter hashtag”—is this really how disconnected from the Earth we have become?) campaign were two examples. Aside from the problematic politics of advocating a “clean energy economy”—which should be enough to keep so-called radicals away, these groups also embrace the same narrow range of tactics.[92] While theoretically decentralized, the influence of organizations pushing for nonviolence was apparent in much of the language. At best the topic is avoided (as is the case in the language for #FearlessSummer), but absent a stated supported of a diversity of tactics, it is all too easy for the recuperative aspects to take hold.[93] An organizing manual funded by 350.org called the “Creative Action Cookbook” was funded by 350.org advocated nonviolence, even offering a helpful scenario in which they described how scary a protest with a crowd of people (“mostly young white men in their twenties”) dressed in black is compared to a nonviolent protest where “even the police officers are smiling and they are gently putting protestors in mass arrest trucks.”[94] In the case of #SummerHeat, action participants at a scripted sit-in at a Chevron facility in Richmond, California were required to sign-up online and confirm that they “promise to be nonviolent and peaceful in all of my activities during the action.”[95] Guidelines further stated that “Non-violence includes no verbal abuse or threatening motions”[96] and that they should “appear dignified in dress and demeanor – these are serious issues, and we want to be taken seriously”[97].

For their part, Earth First!—as much one can make statements about it—seems intent on pursuing a policy of engagement with these efforts. This is most often done uncritically. In the case of the aforementioned #SummerHeat action, the coverage was absolutely glowing. The author praised the campaign, writing “350.org joining with the Industrial Workers of the World on an environmental justice campaign. If that doesn’t give you goosebumps, I don’t know what will.” They also included a quote praising the police for being “very gentle, apologetic, and polite.” In the absence of criticism, it is far more likely to see condescending tones directed towards those who disagree with this uncritical embrace of new movements—with anarchists receiving a particular amount of scorn.[98] The attitude seems to be that debate is divisive, a position that may get short-term allies, but is likely to gloss over differences and cause problems down the road. Moreover, it raises all sorts of questions: what are the ramifications of being dishonest about one’s beliefs for short term gain? Are they hidden out of fear? Paternalism? Etc? While not relating specifically to nonviolence, one example of pursuing an alliance despite significant differences was Earth First!’s multi-year embrace of Deep Green Resistance, a neo- Maoist group dominated by Derrick Jensen and the transphobia of Lierre Keith.[99]

Limiting Options and Narrowing Forms of Resistance: Ritualized Actions

It’s easy to criticize the efforts of groups like 350.org and the more mainstream of the environmental groups. In many ways, in the climate that exists in the United States, it isn’t surprising that such groups would adopt a strict adherence to non-violence—it is one of the primary myths that we’re taught about how “change” happens. In many cases, there are caricatures of past movements—the glossed over accounts of the civil rights movement or Gandhi and the Indian independence movement—that cast them as solely non-violent struggles or pick out the most passive forms of resistance and hold those up as successful.[100] A group like Earth First! or the anarchists/radicals who chose to work with these new groups should be challenging these narratives, not embracing them. This could be done through constructive criticism and propaganda, or by creating exciting and empowering alternatives.

Instead, Earth First! seems to be caught in a rut, pursuing a limited strategy of moving from one campaign to another and pursuing the same limited set of tactics. What is going to happen at any given action is predictable. There will be a call for solidarity actions (nowadays often called by some big group like 350.org as EF! is often reacting to their work rather than setting their own unique course), a lockdown will take place or a tripod will go up, a post will go on the newswire, and fundraising calls will go out. Or there will be an “action camp” featuring the usual set of workshops, followed on the last day by some kind of “action” following the above template. The actions themselves will be highly scripted and ritualized, with a series of unique roles—media liaisons, police liaisons, arrestables, etc. There is little if any improvisation, the actions are perfected down to a science—hence the reason why Earth First! can conduct so many “trainings” on how to do them. Moreover, by adopting as their primary form relatively specialized types of blockades that require some technical knowledge—it creates a culture of specialists in struggle. The result is an increasingly narrow range of actions with increasingly high stakes. If every lockdown is going to result in felony charges, at what point does the tactic become obsolete?

If the tactics aren’t working, neither is using these approaches to advance Earth First!’s understanding and critique of civilization. Whether to build the alliances described above or out of a strategic calculation of some sort, they almost always position themselves around a “single issue” rather than addressing the totality. Consequently, when Earth First! engages in these new movements, its views— particularly the criticism of civilization—are not being taken up. These movements are still defined narrowly in terms of protesting a particular type of energy. There has yet to be anything with a perspective critical of civilization or all forms of industrial infrastructure. So not only do the tactics become confined, but the politics as well.

Alternatives?

At best, the radical environmental movement is stuck in a rut, trapped within a space of increasing contradictions as leftist groups and large NGOs try to manage dissent. Groups like Earth First! and others that share similar approaches are playing a role in this by embracing non-violence, civil disobedience, moral appeals, and a culture of ritualized and scripted actions. Rather than growing from the experiences of the past, they have shifted onto a course that constrains struggle rather than expands it.

Of course, it doesn’t have to be like this. There are other approaches to take. Earlier in this piece, there was a discussion of the radical environmental milieu in the years following the Seattle WTO and how a multi-tendency space that broke with traditional forms of protest that created opportunities for new forms of resistance. While success is difficult to define, those years had a level of excitement and even victories that inspired many to take significant risks—perhaps even inspiring some of the current crop of Earth First! elders. Had the current level of stifling adherence to non-violence that we now see been applied to that period, many people like myself wouldn’t be around—we would have missed out on the excitement and formative experiences of confronting lines of riot police, the joy of moments of collective acts of rebellion, and the inspiration that came from pushing dumpsters into lines of police. This isn’t to reduce things down to simple tactical preferences, but rather to point out that just as Keystone XL won’t be stopped by non-violent civil disobedience in front of the White House, the Seattle round of trade talks wouldn’t have collapsed unless the states involved saw the opposition as a genuine threat—in that case, one which was unpredictable and uncontrollable, and one that challenged capitalism (at the very least)—via a diverse and combative approach.

Another example that is worth considering is the Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC) campaign. Using an entirely decentralized and open approach, the SHAC campaign—which targeted Huntingdon Life Sciences (HLS) and the companies that did business with them—allowed space for individuals and groups to engage in a wide range of actions under the idea that everything helped. A timeline of actions focusing on just one company, Marsh Inc., shows a staggering array of approaches ranging from home demonstrations, locks being glued in offices, blockades at offices, vandalism of homes, property destruction, demonstrations, etc.[101] In just a few months, Marsh ceased involvement with HLS. The symbiotic relationship between the aboveground and the underground, as well as support for a diversity of tactics helped catalyze a range of actions. While there are additional lessons to be learned from the SHAC campaign,[102] it is interesting to consider how such an approach might be applied to the current struggles over pipelines. How well would construction fare if local companies building pipelines were attacked with the same intensity as those doing business with HLS?

Similarly, ecological resistance could learn from the approaches developed by insurrectionary anarchists across North America. Anarchists have created a culture of attack that in the best cases works not only to expand their base, but also to materially damage their enemies. For example, struggles against the police in the Pacific Northwest that both offered relatively open forms for people to get involved in militant street confrontations as well as nighttime attacks on police stations. Moreover, these currents have been successful at catalyzing activity elsewhere, with calls for days of solidarity resulting in a smattering of actions across the continent. At the risk of reducing complexities, this has happened by advocating relatively open tactical approaches and articulating a need for attack. At best, Earth First! has remained distant from these strands and at worst has been hostile.[103]

Earth First!—and “the radical environmental movement”—could learn from the not-so-distant past and try new approaches being taken elsewhere. The most obvious approach is to cast aside the language of nonviolence, civil disobedience, and morality. Tactics should be measured by their effectiveness, not their adherence to principles loaded with value judgments. Is this lockdown going to work? Are the benefits worth the cost? Will this act of sabotage work? Which approach will work better? These are the types of questions that should be asked. Moreover, a culture should be created which embraces a diversity of tactics wherein groups agree not to condemn the actions of others, refuse to cooperate with the police, and refuse to isolate those pursuing more militant approaches. Regardless of individual and group tactical preferences, all choices gain strength when they are part of a broad space that cannot be easily co-opted and divided.

Of course, such a culture of militancy isn’t going to come about out of a simple declaration of support for a diversity of tactics. But, it is at least a start. If options are kept open, not only is there more to draw from, but more places to go.


Naming All of the Names - by Cedar Leighlais

In early February, two communiques surfaced on the Seattle-based website Tides of Flame[104],[105]. The communique author(s) took credit for obstructing the passage of workers headed to their offices at Microsoft in Redmond, WA, and again the next day of workers going to Amazon Headquarters in the Lower Queen Anne neighborhood of Seattle. Similarly, in the Bay Area (San Francisco, Oakland and Berkeley) anarchists and radicals have taken to blocking Google, Yahoo and Twitter commuter busses, even going so far as to physically attack them. In one of the communiques from Seattle, the author(s) plainly state that they have taken inspiration from these Bay Area actions. This invokes the memory of Os Cangaceiros, a group of social rebels in France during the 1980’s-90’s who would commonly block trains with banners and leaflets proclaiming solidarity with prisoners on strike and listing their demands. While it is exciting to see such tactics taken up commonly and spread beyond the original context in which they surfaced, anarchists and other rebels should nonetheless be willing to give actions and their communications the critical glare that we apply to the rest of the world. Holding back critique of anarchist communications out of respect for the actions they accompany would do nothing to further and enhance the struggle against domination.

As quoted in the first communique, “On Monday, February 10th, a small group of people blocked a Microsoft Connector Shuttle in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle.” The Microsoft Connector shuttle provides free transportation to Microsoft employees across the city of Seattle to the Microsoft headquarters located in a suburb of Seattle called Redmond, which can sometimes take hours to drive to during rush-hour. In the communique, the author(s) claim “Without the Connector Shuttle bringing these employees to Capitol Hill, Ballard, South Seattle, and the North End, the hyper-gentrification we now see would not have happened. Microsoft currently employs more people in the Seattle area than Amazon, Google, and Adobe combined. So it is not unreasonable to place the blame for the drastic restructuring of our neighborhoods largely on Microsoft and the developers who built according to their needs.”

On the contrary! This reasoning fails to acknowledge the Leviathan that is civilization, capitalism and the death-march that is technology and progress. Microsoft cannot solely be the party responsible for the economic development and gentrification of neighborhoods in Seattle, the Leviathan is much more nuanced than that. It uses its limbs to obstruct authentic life, whether through policing, science, or dystopic visions of ‘the future’. Furthermore, it is not just the police and city councils who wish to see neighborhoods “cleaned up” and are responsible for raised rent-prices. We are all complicit in capitalism, and the “revitalization” of neighborhoods in Seattle is an effort applauded by many of those who have relocated to the Seattle metropolitan area in the last five to ten years to begin careers and families. While it is important to connect the dots and name the names of those who play roles in maintaining the ever increasing drudgery of every day life, we cannot fall into the trap of attempting to find one common enemy when the Leviathan is everywhere, and such our enemies.

The other communique, detailing the blockade of a train of Amazon workers, goes into detail about the developed relations of the CIA and Amazon, a history of CIA-staged-coups and Amazon’s union-busting practices, and Amazon’s intention to replace all of its human workers within their service and delivery centers with drones and robots. The sentiment here is one of desiring a more fair workplace and a preservation of the working class as it has existed since industrial capitalism began. This is similar to the first communique that deeply stresses the economic hardships that have fallen on the poor and downtrodden throughout Seattle as gentrification rampages throughout neighborhoods and rent prices soar, stopping just short of crying “We want cheaper rent now!”

If one were to take these communiques in good faith, it could be assumed that the author(s) do indeed carry a larger critique of Microsoft, Amazon and the developments in technology and surveillance society that these corporations are currently aiding in. So why leave these sentiments out? In hopes of attracting more followers, or to have a message that is more eligible to the masses? Given that journalist Brendan Kiley (who seems to consistently know what the anarchists are up to and writes almost positively about them) from Seattle’s liberal paper The Stranger had gotten a secret heads-up of the action[106], the motivations seem clear: to communicate as far and wide to the general populace of Seattle an incredibly acceptable critique of Microsoft and Amazon, thus watering down the critique to be provided. This sentiment abandons the belligerence that is the ineffable and inflammable idea of anarchy. By definition, anarchy goes against the grain of the dominant social order, shouting “No!” while the rest of the world retires into bleak submission. If anarchists water down their ideas with the intention of finding more comrades and co-conspirators, surely they are to only find compromise and relations that in truth lack any real notion of affinity.

For the destruction of this world and for the fostering of friendships that light the night and our souls aflame, we must not hide the unruly elements of our characters in hopes of fitting in with a social body that will never accommodate our desires. Our enemy is ever expanding and developing as a vast and plural being, and so must our contempt for it.


Uncivilising Permaculture - by Tanday Lupalupa

An Anti-Civilisation and Anti-Colonial Critique of "Sustainable Agriculture"

In this essay, I wish to explore the way that permaculture intersects with an (anarchist[ic] and anti-colonial) anti-civilisation critique. By no means do I wish to tow some anarcho-primitivist line (though some inspiration from it is not denied), but rather to raise questions of where permaculture may accompany a critique of civilisation, and where it possibly diverges. Some of the critiques I raise here stem from my years of study and experience in the area, in which my critical lens often came to be at odds with my colleagues.

In the contemporary environmentalist milieu both the theory of permaculture and its practice have become popular as means by which to repair the earth’s depleting topsoil and to otherwise attempt to live more sustainably with our planet. It is but one response to the ecological crisis that we face, whether the conversation is centred around climate change, environmental destruction, food security, or the totality.

So what is permaculture? One of the co-orginators of the permaculture concept Bill Mollison, and his colleague Scott Pittman, define it as such:

“Permaculture (Permanent Agriculture) is the conscious design and maintenance of cultivated ecosystems which have the diversity, stability & resilience of natural ecosystems. It is the harmonious integration of landscape, people & appropriate technologies, providing good, shelter, energy & other needs in a sustainable way. Permaculture is a philosophy and an approach to land use which works with natural rhythms & patterns, weaving together the elements of microclimate, annual & perennial plants, animals, water & soil management, & human needs into intricately connected & productive communities.”

Permaculture as a concept is, in fact, quite broad. This opens it up as both something more in tune with the true complexities of world, yet vulnerable to co-optation. Permaculture exists not as a singularity, but as a multiplicity. For example, agriculture is a discipline of food production, unaware if its relationship to other disciplines, whereas permaculture is inter-disciplinary: it attempts to understand the interconnectedness of an ecosystem as a totality.

Given how broad the concept of permaculture is, there can be no generalised analysis of it. Rather, we can explore the different aspects of it both in theory and practice, and see how these compliment or detract from an anti-civilisation critique.

Before I go on, it may be helpful to explain where I’m coming from. There was a time quite a few years ago when, after having become more acquainted with anti-civilisation ideas, I began to destruct such things as my relationship to the earth, and my own autonomy – i.e. my own self-sufficiency. What skills did I have? What did I know about the earth/natural world? What did I know about my landbase/bioregion? I had in fact been travelling for a long time, and had very little sense of place. Eventually, I thought it was time to return to the lands I grew up in (or thereabouts), as in fact that was where permaculture had first developed. At that time, I saw learning about permaculture as a means to develop a relationship to one of the things that sustains me – food. Of course I had wilder dreams as it were, but I saw this as a starting point.

And from there, in different forms, I eventually studied permaculture, both formally through multiple courses, and informally through reading, meeting people, participating in projects.

And this is where my journey began.

The Problem Of Cities: Urban Permaculture

Most of my participation in permacultural projects, both in courses or otherwise, was generally urban-based. This of course is not so surprising, due to the fact I lived in the city during these times. I did, however, experience some rural dimensions to this, specifically one rural course (in that case, just outside of the city), and quite a few rural excursions. This is on top of the rural aspects to the permaculture design that I was required to learn in both courses. In permaculture design, a given property is traditionally divided into five (or six) zones. According to Wikipedia,

“Zones are a way of intelligently organizing design elements in a human environment on the basis of the frequency of human use and plant or animal needs.”

However, due to the generally smaller size of urban properties, only the first three zones (zone 0 being the house) are ever really utilised, though this may change to two due to the disappearance of backyard space. That is the main scope of urban permaculture.

One aspect of permaculture that straight off the bat stands out for analysis is how it manifests in urban environments. Permaculture as seen in cities can include community gardens, city farms, backyard gardens, and is an attempt to make urban spaces more self-sufficient and reduce our carbon footprint. An anti-civilisation critique of cities is that their existence is predicated on the importation of resources (e.g. food) from rural areas. Permaculture, especially of the urban variety, attempts to mediate this. Funnily enough, in both of the courses I undertook, the idea of the carbon footprint was presented, and we at least once analysed our own.

As it is, with such a concentration of humans in a confined space, there isn’t room in their immediate area to produce the means of their subsistence. The importation of resources, most importantly food, then creates a larger carbon footprint. The further the distance required to import these things, the more the system relies on of the existence of industrial infrastructure to move the (e.g. a truck moves food from a farm to a supermarket in the city, which is fuelled by petroleum, which is transported by ship from Saudi Arabia, which is mined by equipment which is also fuelled by petroleum... ad infinitum).

So then, permaculture looks at a given situation and tries to use design principles in order to use the pre-existing features on a piece of land (whether rural or urban) to advance further self-sufficiency, with a lower ecological impact (i.e. carbon footprint), and generally to make a property more green. This indeed goes beyond food, as it is a holistic approach to analysing a given place, and can also include such things storing water, using natural light, composting, etcetera.

It is not the purpose of this essay to discuss in detail (though I will briefly) whether permaculture designed cities can produce enough food for their inhabitants. Such contexts do not exist in my experience in the West. On top of that, Havana (Cuba) is often championed as the great hope of urban permaculture (see the documentary The Power of Community: How Cuba Survived Peak Oil) – whilst still not producing all of its own food. I do think what happens there is an interesting experiment, as experimentation is important to our adaptivity to the changing context of the ecological chaos ahead of us, yet I do also think such a fixation with “saving the cities” may well instead be dancing with the devil, yet another manifestation of greenwashing.

Breaking this down more, there is this emphasis on taking inspiration from nature, of which a city is quite the antithesis, and such a density of humans cannot support the carrying capacity of a given area. According to Wikipedia:

“The carrying capacity of a biological species in an environment is the maximum population size of the species that the environment can sustain indefinitely, given the food, habitat, water and other necessities available in the environment.”

According to Toby Hemenway, Paris produces 30% of its own food, more than most western cities, and similarly, Hugh Warwick notes that Havana produces up to 50%. So even in the permaculture mecca, the dependence on rural agriculture (permaculture?) is still 50%. Hemenway, a permaculturist, who lives in the city of Portland, goes on to say:

“We can get better at growing food in the cities, but I don’t think we can get good enough”.

I tend to agree. Population densities characteristic of cities are not harmonious with any sort of ecological carrying capacity. And I think that the idea of cities is so embedded in at least some strands of permaculture that manifests even outside of the city.

Indeed, I believe there is a certain dishonesty, or disillusionment at best, within the western urban permaculture philosophy, saying that certain modes of living – lifestyles, can be synthesized with carrying capacity. They cannot. This goes beyond simply the existence of cities, as I have witnessed the simple transplantation of the urban lifestyle into the rural setting. There is an individualism rife here, intertwined into a mess of hyper privilege – owning land by oneself (or simply reproducing the nuclear family), paying for both the design and construction to be undertaken by other people, maintaining all their creature comforts of the city (e.g. electricity, going to the supermarket), amongst others. Often, these houses will be much larger than are necessary. This almost appears to be an excuse for such people to ethically live in luxury. It is disgusting, and this very thing typifies my current difficulty with identifying at all with permaculture. Some also try to build themselves, but whether it’s a matter of their design or lack of workforce, it takes decades for them to finish building their homes. Again, if we are to take inspiration from nature, we need not look further than ourselves. When our species has lived with nature rather than opposed to it, both in the past and in remnants today, we evolutionarily live together – in a community. As Kevin Tucker said, “Rewilding is never a solitary adventure.”

An important distinction to make, however, is that such manifestations of permaculture differ greatly according to context, such as access to wealth. What this means in practice specifically is how technology is used. In richer countries, especially in urban environments, the fixation with usage of complex technological gadgets increases. Rather than it being an option, it often seems like more of a social norm. If access plays a big part in what permaculture may look like, then the versions of permaculture that may appear more ecologically sound will be simpler designs that don’t require the same access to economic privilege and resources that highly technological projects do. It is this simplicity, in the end, that inspires adaptation, holistic design, and knowledge out of necessity.

The Problem Of Semantics: Peak Oil/Energy Descent, Sustainability And The Collapse

One interesting and illuminating divergence is the way in which peak oil (or peak everything in Richard Heinberg’s words) is framed. Rather than using the aforementioned words, or even the more emotive and provocative collapse, some permaculturists like David Holmgren refer to a concept of “Energy descent” (also referred to as “Creative Descent”). This refers to:

“[the] retraction of oil use after the peak oil availability... the post-peak oil transitional phase, when humankind goes from the ascending use of energy that has occurred since the industrial revolution to a descending use of energy.”

One of the really productive elements of this framework as opposed to that of a more collapse-style, is that creating this imagery of a descent debunks the idea that there is some magical climactic event which will bring forth mass ecological destruction and the fall of civilisation. Instead, this points towards things unfolding in stages, and possibly quite slowly (relatively speaking). However, it goes beyond that, as it also is framed as a gentler, voluntary descent rather than one that is out of our hands. More specifically, another popular concept in this milieu is Energy Descent Planning (i.e. transition), a process developed by the Transition Towns Movement. This is a system for developing local plans to design and prepare for energy descent. In this sense, it means the actual process of gradually changing the way we live, such as the energy sources we use (alternative energy), to be healthier for the earth and to soften the energy descent.

Overall, this is a really helpful way to frame the equation. Creating frameworks where we positively are working together, decentralised, in our region-specific communities speaks to the heart. However, such positive wording is not without its dangers, i.e. greenwashing. Not to mention that it can create the illusion that perhaps things aren’t so bad. It’s in the cliché false dichotomy of positive/negative, where one may say, “I don’t want to think of the negatives, just the positives.”. Of course, I’m not suggesting you go out looking for so-called negative experiences, but rather, the trap is the bubble. You’ll forget reality. Indeed, it would be quite a bubble for you to forget reality in its entirety (people do try!), but with the types of walls that people create in their lives, in their minds, bursting some bubbles sometimes is a necessary reality check.

It may not be a collapse. Maybe it will be an energy descent. We could be lucky. But honestly, we really don’t know what will happen. What I do know is that it may be fucking horrible and no positive wording with save us from whatever comes ahead of us.

Then there’s this idea of sustainability. What exactly does sustainable even mean?

In breaking down the word “sustainability” to try to flesh out what it really entails, Toby Hemenway’s lecture How Permaculture Can Save Humanity and The Planet, but not Civilization, illuminates the conversation. What he posits is that sustainability is, in fact, a bit of a misnomer. It’s not really something that relates to a healthy ecology, but rather survival amidst destruction. For example, so-called sustainable logging may not directly affect the logging of other forests outside of designated sustainable logging coup, but it doesn’t help heal any of the destruction that has been, will be, and is currently waged on these forests. So Hemenway places sustainability as a halfway point between what he refers to as degenerative and regenerative practice. The former relates to actions that facilitate the degradation of ecosystems (i.e. everything the dominant culture does), whilst the latter facilitates ecosystem healing (i.e. everything the dominant culture doesn’t do). It’s an interesting point, and in fact helps break down the façade that claims that this buzzword, sustainability, is helping to save the planet. It’s greenwashing again, trying to excuse our destructive lifestyles. So in permaculture, regenerative practice attempts to mimic natural ecological functions that help repair the different types of damage that have been inflicted by civilisation. The message is clear; ceasing civilisation’s damage to the earth and being “sustainable,” will not save the earth. Until you find me a solar panel that doesn’t require mining, the damage is still being done.

The Problem Of Agriculture: Horticulture, Permaculture, And The Wild

So then the question arises—is it a question of scale? So-called urban permaculture ends up being (or at least depending on) another form of agriculture. We may get better at growing food in cities, but cannot grow all of it ourselves: hence, rural agriculture. Where does that leave permaculture? And where does that leave the wild? Some propose an anthropological look at horticultural societies as a possible link between permaculture and the wild. Jason Godesky and Toby Hemenway attempt to define horticulture:

“As I mentioned, [Yehudi] Cohen [in Man in Adaptation] locates another form of culture between foraging and agriculture. These are the horticulturists, who use simple methods to raise useful plants and animals. Horticulture in this sense is difficult to define precisely, because most foragers tend plants to some degree, most horticulturists gather wild food, and at some point between digging stick and plow a people must be called agriculturists. Many anthropologists agree that horticulture usually involves a fallow period, while agriculture overcomes this need through crop rotation, external fertilizers, or other techniques. Agriculture is also on a larger scale. Simply put, horticulturists are gardeners rather than farmers.”

To emphasize the difference here, the mention of things like fertilisers is important because the intensity and scale of agriculture is predicated on external sources of nutrients, and even energy. This is similar to a city’s reliance on external resources to maintain itself. Large-scale permaculture requires large wild spaces for resources (i.e. mining – petroleum, etc). But of course as cities expand, wild spaces must contract, as is exemplified by agriculture and especially industrialism.

Both horticulture and permaculture contain elements of gardening. They both have this measure of scale to them, and encourage diversity (as opposed to agriculture’s monocropping). There is a continuum between permaculture and foraging. For example, permaculture’s most wild zone, zone 5, allows for hunting and foraging. And even some of what has been perceived as foraged wilderness in horticultural societies has sometimes turned out to actually be their version of a permaculturist’s food forest. If then, the aim is the wild, and not simply the garden, then permaculture is a step in the right direction. Though, to be honest, it never seemed that many permaculturists I encountered ever seemed to see the forest for the trees – they only ever saw a garden.

Permaculture allows for multiple functions, ecologically, but Hemenway also claims that it can’t perform all of them, hence the necessity of large wild spaces:

“You can’t just turn the whole world into a garden. There are major eco-system functions that aren’t going to happen if we have completely gardened the entire planet. We don’t know enough about eco-system functions to run it all ourselves. We have to let alot of it stay wild so that alot of the not well-perceived and not well understood and unmanageable eco-system functions can proceed.”

So again, permaculture’s success, like that of horticulture, is predicated on allowing wild spaces for ecosystem functions. And here, in the presence of the wild, is where the question of the carbon footprint and carrying capacity really clash. The standard understanding of an individual’s carbon footprint refers to how much land, or how many Earth’s (!) are required for their needs. This usually relates to human use of land – agriculture. But if the whole world were a farm, or a garden, then where would the animals be? No, not cows or chickens, but wilds animals. Where will the resources be? Carrying capacity relates to every living being (human or not) in a given bioregion, so there’s an obvious problem with anthropocentrism to some extent within permaculture too. So every inch of this Earth is not simply a production unit, as some may perceive with their precision in measuring the output from growing grain on a piece of land versus using it to raise cows. The trick, again, is anthropocentrism. Both choices agricultural and neither allow for the survival of wild animals. This brings up biocentrism, the idea that we don’t inhabit this planet for our exclusive use – we share it.

Jason Godesky also talks about origins in the link between permaculture and horticulture:

“The fact that so many favorite permacultural techniques—enhancing edge, intercropping, guilds, and even many of Fukoka’s techniques like seedballs—are to be found among horticultural cultures around the world, is certainly instructive. Is there anything that can distinguish permaculture from horticulture? To date, I have been unable to find anything, leading me to the conclusion that permaculture is largely re-inventing the horticulturalist wheel.”

So it isn’t just that permaculture and horticulture have some incidental similarities, but that permaculture is directly influenced by horticulture. It’s similar to the way that anarcho-primitivism is influenced by hunter/gatherer societies. It can be seen as a way for those (e.g. Europeans) whose Earth-based cultures and lifeways have been destroyed, to give credence to those whose lifeways existed in the past or still exist. No doubt, enduring horticultural techniques have been integrated into permaculture, as proven by “permaculturists” who were already doing it before it was “invented”. Rediscovered knowledge of techniques such as seedballs has been also integrated. Literally, it seems like a process of relearning what we had been doing right, what worked. But this process, of course, is coming from our current situation, reliant on industrial agriculture. Where we are coming from is so tainted, not simply by our resource heavy techniques (e.g. materials dependent on mining), but by globalisation and colonisation. This includes plants and animals of course, though I am by no means being necessarily dogmatic against non-native species (which includes humans!). But what I’m also referring to is ideology.

By ideology, I don’t mean some vague anti-everything ideology. Everyone believes in something, or at least uses certain words as a way to convey an approximation of one’s ideas, though of course these words will never have any authentic meaning because of symbolic language. We get inspired by many things, and identify in various ways, but the point is to find it in your own context. Ideology homogenizes. Agriculture is ideological. And its ability to universally apply itself to any and all contexts is colonisation. Moreover, the predication of agriculture upon exterior resources because of the depletion it creates in its own context necessitates expansion. This is civilisation.

The Problem Of Ideology: Eurocentrism, Globalisation And Autonomy

“Agriculture itself must be overcome, as domestication, and because it removes more organic matter from the soil than it puts back. Permaculture is a technique that seems to attempt an agriculture that develops or reproduces itself and thus tends toward nature and away from domestication. It is one example of promising interim ways to survive while moving away from civilisation.” - John Zerzan

Where does this leave us now? Indeed, permaculture is a continuum to horticulture. Perhaps then, that allows for permaculture as a transitory process in line with an anti-civilisation critique, and perhaps even anarcho-primitivism. However, as with everything under capitalism, under civilisation, they have insidious mechanisms which help perpetuate and reproduce themselves. And through globalisation and colonisation, the ideology of Eurocentrism has spread. John E. Drabinski posits this:

“Eurocentrism is a key component of colonialism not just as a political and economic relation, but as a cultural project: taking itself as its own measure, Europe could do its violent work across the globe without ever being put in question by the victims. Further, and doubling the violence, taking itself as its own measure underpinned the missionary relation as civilizing force that figured as central to global domination after conquest and enslavement. Conversion to European languages and values (in the broadest sense) becomes equivalent to installing civilization where none previously existed.”

And the zine Desert relates this to anarchism:

“That this is happening as part of globalisation, and the growth of cities is not surprising given that the seeds of social movement Anarchism are largely carried around the planet on the coat tails of capitalism and often grow best, like weeds, on disturbed ground.”

The same, of course, could be said about anarcho-primitivism, autonomous Marxism, insurrectionary anarchism, as well as many other Western -isms, such as the multitude of those used in identity politics. You can see it in the plants in permaculture gardens – diets imported from elsewhere, and consolidated through genocide. Countless are the arguments I got into with my fellow permaculturists about the romanticisation of European plants and animals. You can see it in the ideas that are normalised in our societies, in the microcosm, in our communities (or lackthereof). The point isn’t to prevent idea-sharing (nor to create some false dichotomy of “pure” and “not pure”), or to disallow criticism, but simply to recognize autonomy. The imposition of ideas, and the held superiority of these ideas from a place of power (i.e. White supremacy/Eurocentrism), is the very antithesis of this. In Green Anarchy, Aragorn! similarly talks about Self-determination and Radical decentralization. The point here is that people, anarchists for example, may form a politic into a singularity. This is where solidarity dies, a place where you don’t engage with people outside your “understanding of reality,” but rather expect “reality to conform to their subject understanding of it.” Furthermore, Aragorn! presents some interesting ideas on what he thought could be an Indigenous Anarchism:

“... an anarchism of place. This would seem impossible in a world that has taken upon itself the task of placing us nowhere. A world that places us nowhere universally. Even where we are born, live, and die is not our home. An anarchism of place could look like living in one area for all of your life. It could look like living only in areas that are heavily wooded, that are near life-sustaining bodies of water, or in dry places. It could look like travelling through these areas. It could look like travelling every year as conditions, or desire, dictated. It could look like many things from the outside, but it would be choice dictated by the subjective experience of those living in place and not the exigency of economic or political priorities. Location is the differentiation that is crushed by the mortar of urbanization and pestle of mass culture into the paste of modern alienation. Finally an indigenous anarchism places us as an irremovable part of an extended family. This is an extension of the idea that everything is alive and therefore we are related to it in the sense that we too are alive. It is also a statement of a clear priority. The connection between living things, which we would shorthand to calling family, is the way that we understand ourselves in the world. We are part of a family and we know ourselves through family. Leaving aside the secular language for a moment, it is impossible to understand oneself or one another outside of the spirit. It is the mystery that should remain outside of language that is what we all share together and that sharing is living.”

I take inspiration from many things, such as permaculture and anarcho-primitivism, amongst others. I don’t see them as roadmaps to our liberation (that is not necessarily how they intend to be taken, though that doesn’t mean people don’t perceive them that way). The way I see it, both encourage location specific, adaptive strategies for the roads ahead. I also see them as tools for us to discover liberation in ourselves, in our friends, family, communities, and in our landbases. But it doesn’t really matter whether you use these words or not. As for me, things like permaculture and anarcho-primitivism are to some degree re-inventing the wheel. However, they are helpful for us in remembering what we were already doing right in our cultural histories. We can use different words, words from our own cultures for example, but if we were to truly search for any words that could describe our desires, of love, of wildness, and of total liberation, I would find that there are no words at all: silence.

Becoming wild and free, again, is a progression. The disease of the spectacle, of such things as instant gratification, creates these delusions that things are immediately consumable and causes us to move on to the next thing. In nature, this is a falsehood. When we develop direct relationships with our food, friends/family/community, bioregion, etc, our perception of time inevitably changes. We can’t rewild overnight. Not likely even in our lifetime. The destruction of civilisation is a long-term project as well. But we are but a speck in the lifespan of this earth, and the beginnings of the world we are building will be in our children, and in their children, in the children of the foxes who ate your chickens. And in the ashes of the world we leave behind.

“Any bioregion can be liberated through a succession of events and strategies based on the conditions unique to it.”

- Seaweed

It will be a process, both wild and organic, adaptive and local, generational, learning from yourselves and each other, where in the diminishing of ideological homogenisation, diversity reigns, human and nature. Permaculture could be a step. Anarcho-primitivism could be too. I may not stick entirely to the path, but the tracks seem to lead me in a direction I want to be going.

- Tanday Lupalupa

Bibliography:

  • Anonymous, Desert.

  • aragorn!, Locating An Indigenous Anarchism, Green Anarchy #19

  • The Community Solution, The Power of Community: How Cuba Survived Peak Oil

  • John E. Drabinski, Derrida, Eurocentrism, Decolonization

  • Jason Godesky, Thirty Theses

  • Toby Hemenway, How Permaculture Can Save Humanity and The Planet, but not Civilization

  • Toby Hemenway, Is Sustainable Agriculture an Oxymoron?

  • Bill Mollison & Scott Pittman, La Tierra Community CA PDC flyer

  • Seaweed, Land and Freedom: An Open Invitation

  • Hugh Warwick, Cuba’s Organic Revolution

  • Wikipedia.org, “Carrying_capacity”

  • Wikipedia.org, “Energy_descent”

  • Wikipedia.org, “Permaculture”

  • Koorosh Zahrai - Eurocentrism: The basis of our society, culture, and source of our problem coexisting with nature

  • John Zerzan, Running On Emptiness

Curse

May the wind haunt you

with the cries of the caged,

shrill scream swirling

through your ear canal.

May the ground crack always

between your feet.

May the wild ocean

tear you limb from limb,

toss your body on the rocky coast.

May your body finally decompose.

May it for once feed life.

May it know neither economy nor politics.

In Review: Witchcraft and the Gay Counterculture by Arthur Evans

In early Spring of 2013, a small handful of anarchists, calling themselves Feral Death Coven, republished and began circulating a book called Witchcraft and the Gay Counterculture by Arthur Evans. The original was published in 1978 by FAG RAG books, and is a cult classic among radical fairy and queer witch circles. Without permission or authority, the book is a beautifully pirated edition, suitable for its content. In a world where original editions of the book regularly sells for hundreds of dollars, such an edition is a welcome contribution to the queer, pagan, and anti-civilization canons. The new edition has largely been circulated at anarchist bookfairs and hand to hand, fueling discussion and inquiry.

In the context of a renewed interest in the history of the Witch-hunts and the rise of Christian civilization, this book offers a significant contribution. In recent years, anti-capitalists and pagans alike have explored a radical analysis of these histories and have worked to understand the conditions by which patriarchy and capitalism have developed together as two heads of the same monstrosity. This line of inquiry is perhaps best illustrated by the relatively widespread reading and discussion of Silvia Federici’s Caliban and the Witch and also the renewed excitement about Fredy Perlman’s Against His-story, Against Leviathan!

This book tells a congruent story, but from a unique position. While engaging with the same history as Federici, Arthur Evans departs from her in some marked ways. He subtitled his book “a radical view of western civilization, and some of the people it has tried to destroy,” and in doing so he attempts to hear and to share the perspective of those people annihilated in the Witch-hunts. This effort is something tragically absent in the patronizingly materialist writings in Caliban. While Federici critiques the capitalist Mind/Body and Material/Spiritual splits which cleaved the world into an alienated hell, her methodology is rooted in the Mind and Material poles of these violent dichotomies. This intrinsically domesticated perspective may indict the Witch-hunts, yet it remains a tacit acceptance of the ideology which has fueled centuries of genocide. In his lament for the world vanquished by Civilization and his celebration of the voices of the defeated, Evans’ critique has more in common with Fredy Perlman’s. Both describe Leviathan’s material rise as being inseparable from the sensual and spiritual poverty it has enforced upon the biosphere.

His narrative differs from both Caliban and Leviathan in its being explicitly queer. Fredy Perlman’s book describes the rise of patriarchy from a implicitly gender essentialist framework and has absolutely no analysis of the existence or struggles of queer people, which amounts to an unfortunate blemish on what is an otherwise brilliant text. Federici’s book is also regrettably tarnished by a more explicit gender essentialism. In the introduction to Caliban she argues that “the debates that have taken place among postmodern feminists concerning the need to dispose of ‘women’ as a category of analysis, and define feminism purely in oppositional terms, have been misguided” and that “then ‘women’ is a legitimate category of analysis, and... a crucial ground of struggle for women, as [it was] for the feminist movement of the 1970 which, on this basis, connected itself with the history of the witches.” Her willful refusal to engage with anti-essentialist queer and trans thinkers is made all the more sinister by her omission of the histories of these people within the Witch-hunts. In fact, queer people earn little more than a single footnote in Federici’s book length academic text. Thus, Witchcraft is a refreshing corrective to ways that Caliban falls short. Firstly, because as a historical document, the book demonstrates that the nascent Gay Liberation movement also connected itself with its witch predecessors. Secondly, by telling the history of witches from the perspective of the queer, trans and gender-variant people in the struggle, Evans provides an implicit rejection of ‘women’ as a hegemonic or natural category long before the so-called ‘postmodern debates’ which Federici conjures to dismiss this perspective. And lastly, because this book is perhaps the first to beautifully situate the rise of heteronormativity as inseparably bound to patriarchy, industrialism, and the state. So, for those who cannot be satisfied with a mere study of industrial/white-supremacist/patriarchal civilization, Witchcraft could prove to be a weapon in a struggle which concurrently attacks the industrial, racialized and gendered orders.

None of this, of course, is to say that Witchcraft is beyond criticism. The book is greatly flawed and dated in ways that cannot be ignored. Foremost among these problems is Evans’ ambiguous relationship to the disciplines of Anthropology and His-story. While he often critiques the biases and worldviews of the white anthropologists he draws upon, his criticism often feels superficial at best. He implicates these anthropologists and historians in a more general heteronormativity, but he never takes this towards a deeper critique of Anthropology itself (as if these Scientists would be acceptable if they were only more gay-friendly). Anthropology, as a white supremacist and civilized discipline, can only inherently look to the past through a domesticated and racist lens. The result of such inquiry will always then be mystified through a racist and essentialist paradigm. Many of the claims that Evans reproduces from white anthropologists, must thus be treated with even greater skepticism than he uses, and should constantly be subject to critique.

In Evans’ own introduction, he denounces academic historians and anthropologists. Instead, he celebrates mythology and folklore as being as significant and vital to our understanding of our collective past. It is sad, then, that he does not push this alternative to its conclusion. To actually take seriously a critique of the academic approach to the past would mean to be humble enough to admit the massive blind-spots of our domesticated way of seeing and to revere this unknown as a chaotic wonder to be explored. Refusing this academic worldview is equally important if we are to acknowledge that the struggles of indigenous people, queers, and witches are not a relic of the past – rather that these cultures survive into the present and continue their struggle for survival.

Yet there still remains a crucial benefit from a study of the war between Civilization and the nature-cultures that it has struggled to eradicate. This benefit is the perspective that the continuous trajectory of His-story and its Civilization has been won at the expense of countless queers, witches, gender-variants, trans-people, heretics, indigenous cultures and wildlife. And so this story demonstrates that the cherished Progress of the society which holds all of us hostage is also the story of rape, torture, eco-destruction, enslavement, murder, genocide and omnicide. If we understand the beast which confronts us, we are all better equipped to combat it without falling into its snares.

To genuinely appraise our enemy and to avoid its traps would mean to critique this book, but to take its conclusions beyond themselves. Contemporary readers of the text should find it very frustrating for its naïve optimism in its final chapter. Evans concludes his extremely thorough critique of industrialism, militarism, statism and patriarchy by paradoxically arguing for a ‘new technology’, a ‘new socialism’ and a ‘new civilization’ that is not based on any of the infrastructure of the current one. These hopeful and empty assertions can only possibly read as baseless and absurd after enduring the horrors of the text’s narrative. Those living in the cybernetic, techno-industrial, mass-alienated prison society which has unfolded in the last 35 years must concede that whatever optimism around technology and socialism that may have ever existed must be left in the dustbin of history. The countercultural fetish for a ‘new technology’ which prevailed in the 70s gave birth to the cybernetic governance that we now live within. It is abundantly clear that those who fetishize technology and socialism only serve to construct a more abysmal and well-managed dystopian future. Evans reads as all the more dated and foolish in his sympathies for a Maoism of the past. Any misplaced hope in the Maoist project must reconcile itself with the industrial and genocidal atrocities to which that project gave rise. We can safely discard of this naivete and conclude that no ‘new technology’ or ‘new socialism’ nor anything short of a cleansing fire can assist us in our self-liberation.

Even after excising the anthropological and socialist perspectives, this book still contains a great deal of relevance for those who desire such a fire. Witchcraft’s own argumentation offers a vindication of queer sensuality, magic, and anarchist violence which speaks for itself and can be followed toward any number of endeavors in the pursuit of freedom and wildness. In spite of our criticism, we are passionate about this book because of the way that these perspectives and proposals invigorate our own struggles against this world.

Witchcraft and the Gay Counterculture is available from Little Black Cart (littleblackcart.com)

Forevergreen by Tanday Lupalupa

At least I have you

When all is lost

When I am alone

Where all I have is fear

Pain

ztrauma

And there is no one there

For me

I have you

All my life

I’ve been searching

For someone

For people

Like me

Or that like me

However, unlikely

I left you behind

In this search

To be among the cold of grey peaks

And the loneliness of city streets

My lungs swell

My coughs taste blood

And I sneeze violently

Yet

I never think why

It’s killing me

At times I stayed close

And felt, something

Others, I went far

And felt, nothing

Always looking

Never finding

Lost

Confused

No longer even knowing what

I’m looking for

Feeling, nothing

Numb

The people I did find

Reminded me of you

A familiar, feeling

You

Of course

It’s you

It’s always been you

I found you

You’ve always been there

You never left

And as long as I’m there for you

You’ll be there for me

You’ll live forever

With you

The sun empowers my spirit

The birds sing to my childhood memories

Leaves rustle in anticipation of the winds caress

I taste your nourishing power as I consume your bounties

Flowing water, and wild food between my teeth

You brought me back to my senses

The feeling, is back

I cuddle up to your warmth

From the fire

I look to the stars

You read me the stories in the sky

Marvel in your majesty

I close my eyes

Silence

You are silent

Beyond words

And I give myself to you

I give you everything

And you give me the world

At least I have you

When all is lost

When I am alone

Where all I have is fear

Pain

Trauma

And there is noone there

For me

I have you

And perhaps

One day

Others

Will remember you too

And together

We’ll have each other

The End Is Here

Dispatches from the Ever-Fraying Fabric of Reality

Tourist Checking Facebook On Phone Falls Off Pier - from the Huffington Post, 12/18/2013

“A tourist in Australia had to be rescued by police after plunging off a pier while browsing Facebook on her phone, officials said Wednesday.

The woman was walking along a bay in Melbourne on Monday night when she became distracted by her Facebook feed and plummeted off the pier into the chilly water, Victoria state police said.

A witness called for help and police rushed to the woman’s aid. They found her flailing around in the water, about 20 meters (65 feet) from the pier.

‘She was still out in the water lying on her back in a floating position because she told us later that she couldn’t swim,”’Senior Constable Dean Kelly of the state water police told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. ‘She still had her mobile phone in her hand and initially she apologized and said sorry.’

NYC Apple Store’s $450K Window Shattered by Snow Blower - from Yahoo News, 1/22/2014

“You may have heard that record-shattering snow is ripping through the Northeast. An Apple Store in New York City just felt it firsthand.

The company’s world famous glass-encapsulated Fifth Avenue store was reportedly struck by a snowblower Tuesday evening, cracking one of its 15 giant window panes, according to Apple Insider. Details on how the accident happened are unclear, but the fix will no doubt be costly.

Apple news site 9to5Mac reports that each panel runs about $450,000. The store was renovated in 2011, replacing the 90 small glass panes originally making up the store’s above-ground cube with the 32-foot sheets that are now in place, a $6.7 million makeover.”

California Farmers Hire “Water Witches” To Find Water - from Aljazeera News, 3/2/2014

Due to the intense drought that hit California this winter, farmers were hard pressed to find naturally occurring water-wells for their farms by using a term called dowsing, or “water-witches.” “Practitioners of dowsing use rudimentary tools — usually copper sticks or wooden “divining rods” that resemble large wishbones — and what they describe as a natural energy to find water or minerals hidden deep underground.”

Two Major Pipelines Proposed To Speed Up The “Doubling” Of Tar Sands - from Warrior Publications, 3/7/2014

Two major oil pipelines — the most expensive in Canada — passed key hurdles this week: Energy East and Line 3 Replacement. Observers say they lead to “massive” environmental and economic consequences.

In a dizzying week of oil announcements, two new giant west-to-east pipelines passed key milestones. If built, the pipelines would rapidly expand Alberta’s oil sands, cause massive environmental impacts, and trigger thousands of new jobs, according to several observers.

The first project – TransCanada’s Energy East pipeline – would be the largest oil sands pipeline in North America – a continent-wrapping 4,500-km line to carry Alberta’s oil to Montreal, Quebec City and Saint John.

Likewise – Enbridge also announced plans for another massive pipeline – the Line 3 Replacement. The company said Monday it now has the financial backing for the $7 billion project.

The project would replace an existing 46-year-old pipeline between Alberta and Wisconsin. But unlike Keystone XL, this American-bound pipeline may not need Obama’s approval.

Aboriginal Rights A Threat To Canada’s Resource Agenda - from The Guardian, 3/4/2014

The Canadian government is increasingly worried that the growing clout of aboriginal peoples’ rights could obstruct its aggressive resource development plans, documents reveal.

Since 2008, the Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs has run a risk management program to evaluate and respond to “significant risks” to its agenda, including assertions of treaty rights, the rising expectations of aboriginal peoples, and new legal precedents at odds with the government’s policies.

Yearly government reports obtained by the Guardian predict that the failure to manage the risks could result in more “adversarial relations” with aboriginal peoples, “public outcry and negative international attention,” and “economic development projects [being] delayed.”

Mudslide in Oso, Washington Wipes Out Town And Kills 34, Officials Blame State-Sanctioned Logging - from The Seattle Times

“The plateau above the soggy hillside that gave way Saturday has been logged for almost a century, with hundreds of acres of softwoods cut and hauled away, according to state records.

But in recent decades, as the slope has become more unstable, scientists have increasingly challenged the timber harvests, with some even warning of possible calamity.

The state has continued to allow logging on the plateau, although it has imposed restrictions at least twice since the 1980s.”

Micah White, Adbusters CEO, Makes Plea For Donations to Purchase Google-Glasses and Train Activists in Using Them - activistboutique.com, 2/27/2014

You would have to poor through pages of obnoxious twitter posts by Adbuster’s CEO Micah White to find where he explicitly states it, but he’s raised enough money for himself to buy one of the Google-Glass-prototypes. He has also started a fundraising campaign so that he can start training activists in Nehalem, Oregon to use them and create new “social memes” to spark a “spiritual insurrection.”

“Hollywood-Style” Surveillance Society Inches Closer to Reality - cironline.org, 4/11/2014

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department has hired retired Air Force veteran Ross McNutt and his company Persistent Surveillance Systems to monitor in real-time Compton’s streets by flying aircraft with a series of video-cameras attached to the bottom to track suspects from the moment a crime occurs.

“We literally watched all of Compton during the time that we were flying, so we could zoom in anywhere within the city of Compton and follow cars and see people,” McNutt said. “Our goal was to basically jump to where reported crimes occurred and see what information we could generate that would help investigators solve the crimes.”

Police officers in Chula Vista, near San Diego, already have used mobile facial recognition technology to confirm the identities of people they suspect of crimes.

Issue #2 – Fall 2014

Welcome to Issue #2

We've made the conscious choice to produce a print-only newspaper in an era where much of anarchist dialogue occurs over the Internet. We hope that our choice of a print medium allows time for slowness and reflection, both as a challenge to the immediacy of the Internet as well as to deepen the dialogue. Whereas so much of Internet anarchist discourse is based on quick dismissals and ideological echo chambers, we hope to foster face-to-face conversations based on reflective of specific articles we publish and the larger questions they address. Black Seed has already helped further conversations surrounding the roles of anthropology and resistance.

Despite these successes, we were reminded that this project and these conversations are very much a process. Professing to not have any answers, yet asking questions, has put us editors in a position of vulnerability. Holding everything in question, even the idea of green anarchy itself, provides a certain kind of provocation for those who have a stake in advocating for or defending their ideological positions and tendencies. When one makes grandiose claims about how an ideology must or must not behave a certain way, the only room for a response remains that of a statement of allegiance or opposition to those claims. By honestly opening up the conversation with a series of questions, we’ve begun an experiment in life and thought.

How do we pay homage and respect to those who came before, living against civilization and with wildness, without holding hands with racist anthropological practices and appropriating cultures that are not ours? How do we begin to discuss that the very way we live our lives is out of sync with so many basic needs for living (not just surviving) without fetishizing lifestyles? What will it look like to illuminate the horrors that have been wreaked on the wild worlds of all species without laying out a program for revolution or life? It is our aim to explore these questions and their implications on our lives, not to answer them. Lived anarchy is a process with no end in sight. It’s our belief that green anarchy helps us to think about these larger questions.

Looking back at the first issue, the conversation was somewhat scattered, just as we were. We put forth a lot of energy trying to make Issue One everything we’ve ever wanted a publication to be: personal, defiant, studious, news-worthy, convincing, and hilarious. We didn’t deliver on all those fronts, as some critics have pointed out. Of course, no publication can grab everyone, but we aim to constantly improve the project. One of the more substantive criticisms we received was in the form of a question: Who is this for? On the one hand, it’s a fair question. Who do we expect to read this newspaper? What we do hope they get out of it? On the other hand, we realize that there is no typical reader. For a publication with a print run in the thousands, readership and distribution are constantly evolving. Though we asked specific questions in our calls for submissions, the paper is subject to the content submitted. This is consistent with our goal of creating a space for conversation rather than an ideological box. Black Seed is clearly an anarchist project aimed at the anarchist space that nonetheless hopes to spill out beyond the milieu. We started this project to contribute something to the void of green anarchist publishing, a forum for dialogue, and dialogue is indeed happening. At the same time, there are questions about the limitations of this orientation: are we writing to some perceived mythical “green anarchist” audience? Are we just writing to our friends? What is the point? These are larger questions that will be answered over time; other criticisms of the first issue are addressed by the articles curated within.

In light of all this, we’re excited to present this second issue. We’re continuing several specific conversations about green anarchy and indigeneity integral to this project as a whole; related is the topic of anthropology and its relationship to green anarchy. Dialogues growing away from violence/non-violence debates into deeper and reflective questioning regarding eco-defense are raised in the responsive “Two Steps Nowhere” submission. The “Green Anarchy panel discussion” dives into anthropology critique and the green anarchist/anti-civ anarchist distinction, while also touching on the trendy topic of “hope.” “Anarchy in Flight,” takes a completely different approach altogether by pushing aside the usual jargon but bringing in something very new and inspiring. We are also excited to print continuations of two pieces, “An Interview with Klee Benally” and “A Voice from the Grave,” begun in the first issue.

As the days get shorter and the acorns begin to fall, we hope to provide fodder for late night talks ‘round the fire and letters sent over the miles that come between us. And when those conversations lead you to think you’ve got it, know that you haven’t, none of us do, but know that we want to hear what you’re thinking, what small ways you’re finding to get free.

The Editors,

-Scealai

-Cedar Leighlais

-Pietje

-Zdereva Itvaryn

-Aragorn!


A Discussion on Green Anarchy

At the Seattle Anarchist Bookfair this year in late August, a roundtable discussion on green anarchy was held as one of the workshops. The speakers included Ian Smith (the moderator for uncivilizedanimals.wordpress.com), Kathan Zerzan (who co-hosts John Zerzan’s Anarchy Radio show once a month), Aragorn! (publisher of Black Seed) and Cedar Leighlais (an editor of Black Seed). What follows is the transcription of the discussion, not including the last half-hour of Q&A. The transcription has been edited for clarity.

Kathan: Well, I’ve just been elected the MC up here of this discussion that we’re going to have up here. We’ve got some questions that I’ll put out that I think are the basis of what we’re going to talk about. and then people will introduce themselves. The questions we’ll be discussing are: A) What is green anarchy? B) How did you come to a green anarchist perspective? C) Are green anarchy, primitivism, and anti-civilization synonymous terms? And then two kind of topical terms: anthropology—how can anarchists interact with it? And hope: what is the role of hope when we can see that the world has been so fucked by civilization?

What Is Green Anarchy?

K: I’m not going to just repeat the term. I participate in a radio show with John Zerzan, I have since 2007, I’m certainly aware of ongoing discussions and hear phrases and terms of tendencies that over the years seem to be developing into positions... so for myself I have the question: green anarchy, anarcho-primitivism, anti-civilization, are these the same thing? I think there are probably different opinions here that we will flesh out. I tend to think they are pretty much synonymous. I think that there is developing theory about the world we live in and how to interact with it, and that there might be specific, debatable, kind of academic differences that to me are somewhat irrelevant. Then there are practical-based differences in organizations like Deep Green Resistance or say Ted Kaczynski’s writings, that there does seem to be some pull towards military-style, hierarchical, centralized organization; when you get into the topic of armed struggle, you’re probably going to have centralized organizations, so that feels to me (and I’m no expert, I’m just saying what I see) that that’s one thing where I think there are major disagreements. But in terms of anti-civ, and green anarchy, I think there are way more similarities than disagreements.

Cedar: My name is Cedar. I’m appearing on this panel as one of the editors of Black Seed. To me green anarchy is a political tendency within the larger umbrella of anarchy that doesn’t stop at anything. It holds the entire world ready for critique and attack. That is very attractive to me, since I found that most of a lot of other niches within anarchy stop short of going all the way to the root of where these systems of oppression (to use a buzzword) come from. Often times that what is lacking from anarchist analysis is a deep historical understanding of where these things come from. The most important thing to me about green anarchy is that everything in our lives that fucks with us, holds us down, keeps us from being free, can be tied back to civilization; everything goes back to this complete onslaught and domestication, turning everything into a commodity. To me green anarchy is the analysis of this world, not just looking at things in terms of ecology or the environment with an anarchist lens; it’s not just about rewilding or hunting and harvesting berries, for me that’s not even part of green anarchy. For me that stuff is personal interest, and I’m also excited about it… Green anarchy also takes into consideration ongoing violent clashes in city centers and suburbs - some people would call that class war. Green anarchy is calling into question everything that we know.

Aragorn!: I was a columnist for Green Anarchy magazine, I also wrote essays for the magazine. So I’ve been involved with public green anarchist projects for a long time. I’m the publisher of Black Seed, which means that eventually I will not be involved that much in providing content, but as part of Little Black Cart, I pay for it and make sure that people can get it into their hands. That’s my involvement with Black Seed.

So, anarchism as a beautiful idea, both a sort of impossible conversation to have, and a conversation that becomes one of preferences - meaning all of us. And I believe that most people we meet on the streets agree with us when we say, “I want freedom, and I want to be with people in interesting constellations of freedom,” rather than “I want to be oppressed and I want to be in uninteresting relationships of oppression or hierarchy.” The traditional forms of anarchism - which happened at the same time as the rise of the workers’ movements in the 19th and early 20th centuries - reflected the moment that it lived in, which looked like a progressive, historical, abstract, and Manichean political philosophy. In the 1980s and 1990s, then, it began to be common to differentiate between red and green anarchism. That, progressive, historical, abstract, and Manichean, that is red anarchism. Green anarchism is everything else. So, for me, green anarchism is an umbrella term, that we can now talk about as having distinct interests underneath it, that are usually not progressive, historical, abstract, or Manichean. Green anarchism, obviously, in the way it factionalized out in the past 30 years, has taken on a variety of different nuances, has become influenced by different people who have dogs in the fight. I think it’s worth mentioning some of them, who are not usually mentioned in the anti-civilization part of this conversation.

There are people who want to reconcile Hegelian thought with a conversation about ecology; they’re called Bookchinites. Those people still exist, they still have journals and people who follow their ideas. There are people who think that instead of talking about destroying civilization, that we should be talking about post-civilization. There’s the anti-civilization discourse that includes a variety of perspectives. Here we’re talking about taxonomy, rather than green anarchism in particular, so we can talk about those distinctions later on. But for me, the main point is that green anarchy is not the anarchism that came before, which is progressive, historical, abstract, Manichean.

Ian Smith: I write a blog called Uncivilized Animals, which is probably the vehicle that connected me with some of the people here. I think Cedar’s idea of green anarchy being the largest frame that everything’s up for grabs is a good way of framing it. Personally I’ve always used these terms interchangeably, but I’ve done that unthinkingly, so this is the question that we brought to this and I was interested to hear other people’s thoughts. When I first thought about it and tried to think about it more, it was that anti-civilization is a negative term, it kind of leaves the floor open for something positive. Moving on to the next question, which is...

How Did You Come To A Green Anarchist Perspective?

I: On a personal note, my step onto this floor was mainstream, consumer veganism, and taking the next step out and then the next... thinking about what does it mean to respect animals? And how radically different the world as a whole would have to be if we genuinely respected other animals. I think that ripples out to the furthest periphery of what that means.

C: I would say mine goes back, like Ian I’ve been thinking about this all week, I can trace it back to my childhood. Everything previously in my life has had something to do with where I’m at now. Part of growing up outside of a small town, running around in the woods, I mean it’s cheesy American youth bullshit but it’s real too. Running around in the woods with total abandon for the rest of the world. In high school I was incredibly anti-social and found a place within the more anarcho-punk hardcore scene. The lyrics in those bands really resonated with me and I found importance in that. Eventually I was vegan and looked at it in a larger context. But when I did away with veganism, that happened at the same time that I started to accept a much more negative view of the world, and to see that even the small, non-profit, organic farm I worked on was bullshit, even that was “domestication.” Taking wild and free places and manipulating them for money or surplus or whatever. Even these small things that I had found solace in as a late teenager turned out to be part of an entire system. As I realized that everything is worth pointing a finger at, that was also when I put down veganism, and came to have a very staunch position against everything else. This had a lot to do with understanding that there was an importance outside of civilization, and also being incredibly aware of this relentless anger I have at the forces that control my life and the lives of those around me, and that consistently put down struggles for freedom.

A!: I have always been a green anarchist, but I have yet to figure out exactly what that means. One of the problems with labels and especially labels that are wrapped up with politics is the way that they’re very confusing, because they seem to be used much more as weapons than they are as clarifying statements. So the reason I embrace the term green anarchism is because of how open the term is. In other words, green anarchism to me is a set of ideas that desire freedom, and that do not accept that a clockwork universe exists. For me, there’s much more to figure out, and one of my goals for Black Seed, one of the reasons I’m helping to make it happen, is that I really want help figuring out what it means to not live in a clockwork universe together, and the way these conversations have happened up until now have felt very troubling and I am very uncomfortable about them. That said, I do find the work of Fredy Perlman and an U.K. author named John Moore to be very inspirational.

I: I guess I jumped ahead in my first statement. The only thing I would add is that a key component of this transition is shedding old identities that you’re given, whether that’s as worker or consumer (or whatever the case might be) to an identity as animal, and trying to be humble enough to look to other animals for solutions to problems and to learn from others in that way. Grappling with these things I often feel that in a different time and place people would have learned just by breathing the air when they’re growing up and now we’re struggling to learn these things with the clunky brain of an adult at whatever age you are and it’s really not feasible, but you know, maybe some progress can be made, so...

K: And I have the longest history, so I’ll be abbreviating a lot. I appreciate very much Aragorn!’s distinction between red anarchism and green anarchism, because I would say that kind of encompasses my trajectory. So I was born in 1950, female, United States of America, my father was military. I grew up moving throughout my childhood... I think I attended twelve schools or something. I was in Puerto Rico before Cuba, stopped in Guantanamo of all things on my way to Puerto Rico with my family to be a good child of a colonialist in Puerto Rico for three years. Came back to the U.S.; was in Georgia’s civil rights movement; where we were considered northerners and federal-agents because the military was integrating. So I started having contradictions with the society I lived in, and being an outsider... my last high school was in Colorado Spring, CO; the Vietnam War was raging, it was ‘68. I was a good military girl and believed in America and freedom, the communists were the enemies and that kind of thing. I had two older brothers, one ended up in Berkeley, the other in Milwaukee marching with Father Graupee against the war. I went to Oregon University of Portland, started questioning the war, went from doing draft resistance and legal activity to helping people get out of the country, to joining an autonomous Students for a Democratic Society (S.D.S.) that was probably my first experience with working with other people in an anarchist fashion. We didn’t have connections to national S.D.S., they’d had the split with Weather Underground then. Anyways, it’s a long history. At University of Oregon I was arrested, and the lovely government that I believed in... it was really in my face, the contradiction was really in my face: the good Catholic girl was looking at 25 years in prison for inciting to riot. And I felt like I was being a good girl, I was doing the right thing. S.D.S. was a local group at University of Oregon, not connected with the national group. In 1970 I was arrested. There was a centralized organization in the Bay Area that was Maoist and expanded to Eugene, O.R., and my lovely group of people I trusted and who I had worked with all year, we all became secret members of R.U. and became very interested in armed struggle and the repression that was taking place and we got more secretive and more ingrown and that kind of stuff. Life went on, the war allegedly ended, the central committee in California was talking about assigning people to ... “well maybe we won’t fight the charges, maybe you need to go to prison and organize in the prisons.” I always had trouble with authority, never respected authority, but... when the central committee in CA, when... I don’t even know who these people are, are apparently deciding where I’m going to go spend the next 25 years of my life to organize a revolution that doesn’t seem to be taking place in Eugene, Oregon, so I decided to get the hell out of Oregon and go to the belly of the monster, which was Chicago. In Chicago I got involved with left organizations that split with RU into Sojourner Truth Organization (S.T.O.), which was probably the transitional organization. We were accused of being anarcho-syndicalist, that was very unpopular; any reference to anarchist, anarcho-, it was like “Pfft, you’re a bad person.” 1970s became the 1980s, Reagan got elected; the group I was with also became in-focused; revolution was not happening. A vanguard of white, theory-centric males began to develop theory that was hierarchical again. Even though we were anarcho-syndicalist and the majority of people were very opposed to the idea of any kind of vanguard party. So I was part of leading a split. Then I moved back to Oregon with my three girls to where my parents lived. Any hope of a new world that I had was fading. Then I became familiar with my cousin’s writings through a patient I met as a nurse practitioner. He asked me if I knew John’s writings. I got John’s books Elements of Refusal, which is a good book. I encourage people to read it. And I began discussions with him, became familiar with the Situationists, Adorno, more theoretical thought that had taken place since I’d left academia; and the 1990s began to see young people on the streets, and anarchy being a developing body of thought. Very unrelated to the Marxism, Leninism and Maoism that I’d experienced before. And as the female voice in all this, you know I’ve been a female player in many different groups that have largely been male-dominated. and the anti-civilization perspective, and the understanding of where domination comes from and what it means to be domesticated, to be conquered, paralleled very much with ideas I was beginning to think about. So that’s too long, but it’s a long history.

Are Green Anarchism, Anarcho-Primitivism, And Anti-Civilization Synonymous Terms?

A!: So this is probably where things will get a bit more controversial. Absolutely not. As I think we generally agree, that green anarchy is a sort of umbrella term that encompasses a variety of terms within it. Anti-civ is also a general term, a general critique of civilization. From my perspective, anti-civ shares similarities with Marxism, with any other -ism, because it provides an abstract solution to a variety of problems, in this case the problem that it provides an answer to is civilization, which is a very big and abstract idea that we may or may not agree with all the specific details of, and it says “be against this big abstract thing”. As far as I’m concerned, this world filled with abstractions is a horror show from beginning to end, and the particular terminology we use to describe that horror show, whether it’s patriarchy, capitalism, civilization, is much more a matter of aesthetics than it is of anything else. I’m happy to have further conversations about why people prefer to believe in one religion vs. another, but there’s a certain way in which anti-civilization has become a religious term. Anarcho-primitivism is an even more narrow term that builds from the idea, the common sense idea that 90% of human history - if humans have been around for a hundred thousand years it’s only been the last ten thousand that civilization has come into being - so using that common sense idea it uses the science of anthropology to pull back time, and ends the story of freedom with the story of civilization. Anarcho-primitivism is a fine story and I encourage people to read good stories, but I highly dispute using anthropology to make truth claims about the world, and about the past, and particular the way that primitivism has become a set of ideas that are written about by a very small set of authors and has become a sort of cult around those authors, which feels very antithetical to why I am an anarchist.

I: I think we all touched on this a little bit, but I said earlier I have used these terms synonymously but not for any deliberately thought-out reason, so I am interested to hear how other people answer this question. Maybe anti-civ being a negative term can clear the decks of certain problems that Aragorn! sort of spelled out, but then leaves it open for different positive solutions, which might be why anarcho-primitivism purports to be a more positive vision, something to look to, to fill in those gaps. Not a lot to contribute to that one, I guess.

K: I went with John on a speaking tour in 2007, to some Eastern European countries, and I was asking myself at the time what label, what am I? And the important thing to me is the understanding of civilization as a problem; what makes up civilization, domestication, domination, and how you apply an understanding of existence of humanity and the way of life that happened before civilization to the present era was what I wanted the term to encompass. Anti-civilization seemed like a good one. Primitivism, I thought “that’s an art movement, that’s fancy painting.” It was not a provocative term... “Ohhh I’m a primtivist.” Like, what does that mean? [laughter] I kind of liked anarcho-primitivism ‘cause it ties primitivism to a political body of thought, anarchism. I don’t see it as one of these is better than the other. There’s a lot to be said... in the 90s… maybe I’m overplaying what was happening in the 90s and before the “War On Terror,” but I think there was more.. you could get more conversation going, there was more understanding, talking about anarchists, anarchy... There was a presence in the general public, that I don’t feel is as much there any more. Like, outside of this room, if we just went out and started talking to the people out there, people know what civilization is, but do they know how and why it might be problematic, that’s a further conversation.

C: As with Kathan, I remember a very specific period of my life where I was questioning a lot of labels I was putting on myself about political ideas about the world, specifically there was a time where I was questioning whether or not I would identify as an anarchist. Looking back now, what I realize about what was going through my head at the time was what felt uncomfortable to me was the label “anarchist” seemed to posit a forward, positive momentum in the world, which was something I have always been unsure of, the idea that there is a pie in the sky that we’re marching endlessly towards; I have always been that way, hating everything. Can’t really help it. So, for me anarcho-primitivism, anti-civilization, and green anarchy are not synonymous terms. I think that anarcho-primitivism and anti-civilization are two very separate tenets of what could be maybe seen as an over-arching green anarchy. Anarcho-primitivism is very much this anthropological, anarchist look and analysis on how things got to be how they are now - as Aragorn! and Kathan said - about how some thousand odd years ago, civilization came in and took over and that’s when everything got bad. The way that I want to interact with critiquing things is a lot deeper than that, and also realizing that freedom has happened inside of civilization, since domestication, agriculture, and so on. I think the thing that irks me the most about primitivism is this assertion that there is a positive momentum forward that we can take. It does not seem much different from a Maoist program for revolution, or the church telling you how to get to heaven, or the anarchist telling you how to start a revolution. It all seems much the same and I think that green anarchy is a larger, more encompassing thing. If we were to posit these into opposite things: anti-civilization being the negative critique of the world, anarcho-primitivism being the positive place we can go. And my interest in being part of the green anarchy dialogue is to talk about that, and also talk about the idea of abandoning hope, and that there is a lot to lose when we hope for things... but that’s another question, so I won’t go into that now. The next topic we wanted to cover was of anthropology....

As An Academic Practice, What Role Does Anthropology Have In Green Anarchy?

C: It has a really heavy presence within green anarchy, specifically anarcho-primitivism, often times used as a historical backbone, to back up assertions that, like, “Oh, hunter-gatherer good, everything else bad. Agriculture definitely bad too, the beginning of the end of hunter-gatherer.” Oh, I lost my train of thought and I’m answering the question instead of asking it... This is another thing that I am excited about in facilitating with Black Seed, is the conversation about anthropology: does it have a place in green anarchy, where are the contradictions, and what are the positive things that people do get from anthropology...

I: I’m thinking of it as parallel to how do people of this persuasion interact with technology that we might find problematic, that we know has a concrete harm toward others. As a discipline it’s had this exploitative history, that is a reason to be skeptical of it. And it’s not something that we can necessarily hold on to if we think that we’re getting somewhere different. So how do we interact with it: it isn’t necessarily true that it has no place? We may need to employ it in the same way we use problematic technologies right now. The other point I want to make is that we recognize that getting to where we may want to go, to keep this from being completely utopian, we have to acknowledge the benefits and the positive things that will be lost. So there are certain ways of knowing about the world that might be powerful that won’t exist, that wouldn’t exist, in a world that most green anarchists would see as a goal. There are certain ways that we know about the world today that we wouldn’t have access to at some point in the future that we desire. Acknowledging that certain benefits are going to be lost is important to have any credibility. We can’t just say that “right now it’s this parade of horrors with no redeeming virtue and that at some point it will be completely utopian.” So continue the parallel of anthropology with problematic technologies, every technology, no matter how destructive it is, no matter how alienating it is, it’s sold because it has some sort of benefit to us. We’re complicit in it, and we might have to muddle along with it for the time being, but recognizing the pros and cons, and figuring out where the preponderance of consequences lie.

K: Whether it’s anthropology or history, and I’m not disagreeing, there is danger in cults and religion and this missionary kind of thing, but I think we’re all living in a present that is rather dissatisfying, to put it mildly. You try and construct from where you’re at: how can I live day to day, what can I eat, it’s not some future-oriented, come to find Jesus, we’ll all be hunter-gatherers... but it’s that if you look at what happens with language, what happens with writing, that was one of the early things I read, kind of a popular book about before written language... the whole dark ages, as they’re called, when civilization collapsed after the Romans, when in fact there wasn’t writing, there wasn’t history, people were just living for about 900 years, and then civilization rebuilt itself, whatever. So anthropology, history, whatever you have, you use what you have, and sure there might be a real danger of this stupid Fred Flinstone idea, of oh some future, we’re gonna be this and that, but the reality is that the resources aren’t there for the Chinese who want ‘em, to say it crudely. The whole devastation that’s happening right now with food resources, this kind of stuff, something is giving as we sit here, it’s not sustainable, it’s not going to go on... so it’s not some big future “things are gonna change” it’s the reality; food shortages, water... So anthropology has studies that give you some clues on other ways of being and living.

C: Well I kind of already put out my answer... it’s interesting because I feel... I’m constantly trying to figure this out for myself because... while I feel highly critical of anthropology, history is also something I’m very excited about and I think that where I have most often seen anthropology come into contact with anarchy, is when anthropology is used to posit a way of life that we could potentially have like after the collapse or the insurrection or the revolution - however it’s put. I think that’s very problematic, because time spent on fantasizing about how we might live one day, well like that can be a fun thought project if I’m at work and I have nothing better to do, it’s not something that adds constructively to my life project, of trying to create some kind of agitation against things that keep me from being free. Anthropology within anarcho-primitivism creates space for that to happen, it encourages it, and if anything, it limits the greater anarchist discourse from stepping outside of rewilding convergences and... Also ends up creating space for people to inappropriately adopt native and indigenous cultures. Which is interesting because there’s been a lot ... As soon as I start to talk about that I often get a lot of resistance from anarcho-primitivists who want to immediately write off that I’m critiquing them from a leftist position. Where I’m coming from is a position of wanting to focus on destruction and negativity, less on “this is how it will be someday.” So that’s why I find it a problem that anthropology has found a place within green anarchist thought.

A!: I’m thinking about this a lot right now because I’m writing an article for the next issue of Black Seed on this topic. And at the heart of what i’m trying to tease out is that anthropology exposes a problem that’s actually not about the particular discipline of anthropology, but is about sociology, history, anthropology, and the humanities in general. So really it’s a question about how do we think. To distill a big conversation into a small one, I would like to propose a new way of anarchist thinking that is distinct from what I’ll call critique. Critique is something that anarchists have pretty much borrowed from Marxists: the idea that the things that you despise, you enter into a dialectical relationship with, so instead of just despising these things, you become the person who fixes those things. So a lot of our friends who we call liberals end up in a critical relationship with the urban planning institutions, with the non-profit complex... with the variety of institutions that exist in the world, and throw their bodies into what turns out to be fixing those things. Many people, and one of the interesting responses to the hostility that Black Seed has expressed about anthropology, has been how many people have responded “since Man The Hunter, so many people have entered into anthropological fields and they’re doing the good work of repairing it, of fixing it!” There is a person in the Bay Area who’s probably one of the most tortured anarchists in North America. He is a desperate fan of the Spanish Civil War. He knows more about it than any other living person. I’m not exaggerating; he knows more about the Spanish Civil War than any other person and yet is a post-left anarchist. That position, the post-left position, begins when we failed in Spain. The reason I mention him is because I love him; it’s adorable that this thing that happened in history is so alive for him. And the reason I can be tolerant of his relationship to the Spanish Civil War is because it’s just the story of where he’d rather be. And I’m the last person to judge other people’s stories. I love Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. That’s where I’d rather be. [laughter] A world of imagination... that sounds fucking awesome, and it will involve candy. So for me what I propose is that, rather than critique, and rather than engaging in dialectics, and rather than improving our enemies to make them more powerful and more effective, that anarchists continue to be incredibly curious, that we attack the things that we have curiosity about, that we do it with hostility, that we do not fix them, we do not embrace these things, that instead we stand apart. So in the context of history and anthropology, we do not become historians and anthropologists, we become story tellers. We do not get paid for our work, we share it with each other. That’s it.

As Green Anarchists, We Can Easily See How Fucked The World Is. Is There A Place For Hope?

K: I’ll shoot off the top of my head: yes there is - knowing full well I’m gonna get shot down... [laughter], that nihilism, and no hope is the way to go, that these are all Marxist-Leninist ideas, morals…I’m a moralist, morality, [laughter]. I know on a theoretical level... there are fine, theoretical considerations, I say a lot of things are open questions... I shoot from the hip. Yea, the world’s fucked. When I listen to you talk, it reminds me of being 18 [looks at Cedar - howls of laughter] . I was into Nietzsche, I was into Dostoyevsky, I was into Sartre, how do I make sense of this fucked world I’m in? I was looking at kids my age, young men, who... half their body parts were gone, and I was coming from a very visceral place. Army hospital, half-bodied men my age, who... there is something seriously wrong here. What does that mean to me? Should I go jump off a railroad bridge? It’s not a joke, my point about figuring things out at 18. And if something in philosophy, or maybe anthropology for some people, just looking at what Western Civilization has provided for me, reading other angsty writers and trying to use my own problem-solving, how do I live my life? I would say there was a certain amount of freedom in existential thought that, it doesn’t matter, so you are free. What you do doesn’t matter, good, bad, whatever, that’s the ultimate freedom. That’s the context I take this discussion in, like yea, if you don’t have hope you go off the railroad bridge. And more intellectual thinkers can certainly provoke me to question the philosophy of hope and what that means for the future, and that gives me pause for thought and I respect it, and to me that is the bottom line of this panel and this discussion, that this is a growing type thing, there is a ... hope.

C: The way I first started grappling with the idea of hope was kind of a tactical mindset, looking at actions of groups and autonomous individuals, radicals, anarchists, generally the illegalists, and over the last 30 years or so there being a general trend of actions that have certain kinds of themes... whether they’re legal to try to convince political entities to do this or that, or actions where the communique about them speaks to gentrification and the mistreatment of poor people, kind of seeing a train of thought that says if we act or do these kinds of things, if we drop a banner that speaks a certain kind of message, we will get our desired outcome. Where I applied the brakes on that was the idea that there was a desired outcome that could be perceived, outside of the destruction of everything we know. What I mean by that, to be more specific, often times people are like, “So you say no hope. Are you advocating for doing nothing, because you’re arguing that nothing is going to happen, we’re never going to win.” That’s not the point that I’m trying to get across. I think there is a heightened sense of intentionality and integrity and intensity that come out of acting without hope. I think that when we step to this world without any preconceptions about winning, but when we fight like we’re going to lose can make what we do more ferocious and unmanageable. It keeps our actions farther out of the reach of recuperation, which is consistently the thing that happens to mass uprisings. Abandoning hope is one of the soundest weapons that anarchists can pick up when it comes to engaging in this world with action.

A!: I don’t think you can talk about hope without talking about faith. And in general because radicals eschew religious language, what they put their faith in tends to be something that ... it’s a sloppy term but I think generally fits... is humanism. The idea that humans equal good, an ugly corollary is that more humans are better, and most humans is best. So when someone says hope, in general, they’re speaking to their analysis of human nature, which makes me very nervous, and what they tend to be implying is that they have faith that human conscious activity is going to result in good things. and I just... I guess when we talk about hope we’re being challenged to prove that we should be hopeless, and my turnaround is “prove why I should have faith in conscious human activity as a source of good.” I don’t see that when I open my eyes in the morning. But everything that Kathan and Cedar said is totally appropriate; Kathan made the nihilist argument, and Cedar kicked it with some insurrectionary flair. So all I need to say is that human conscious activity isn’t the magic bullet to solve much of anything.

I: My thinking is that Cedar’s thinking was one thought too many. [laughter] Seems like what he was saying is that if people abandon hope, then we might pull this thing off. [laughter] If we abandon hope, our odds are better. That’s kind of a hopeful perspective. [laughter] The odds are increased, but we can’t in good conscience think that way. So, when I hear these discussion I end up agreeing with whoever is speaking. because the definition being used is self-serving, it all depends on what you mean by “hope.” There’s the Derrick Jensen line that when you don’t have any agency, that’s when hope comes into play... Well, if you look at it that way, then yea. But it gets parsed in lots of ways. I’m thinking of it as something on par with cheerfulness [laughter]. The way that… cheerfulness is a virtue because it makes you pleasant to be around [laughter] and I think that hopeful people are more pleasant to be around [laughter], although Cedar’s company has been delightful, so... [laughter] so present company excluded. I think it could be considered a moral virtue in that sense of the word, as a disposition; the important thing to say I suppose is that whether we’re hopeful or not, we’re not making any sort of truth claim. When you say you’re hopeful or not, you’re saying you think the odds are more likely than not that this will work or not, it’s not a claim about the world. It’s neither true nor false, more of a disposition, a personality trait.


Interview with Klee Benally

Editor's Note: The entirey of this interview has been posted here, although it originally appeared as two parts in Issues 1 & 2.

Klee Benally is originally from Black Mesa and has worked most of his life at the front lines in struggles to protect Indigenous sacred lands. Klee doesn’t believe the current dominant social order (read “colonial system”) can be fixed but should (and will be) smashed to pieces. When asked about his politics he says, “I maintain Diné traditionalism as my way of being in this world. I have affinity with Anarchism and identify myself as an Indigenous Anarchist.” Klee performed with the rock group Blackfire for 20 years and performs solo today. http://kleebenally.com/

Aragorn! - What would it look like for someone who has no spiritual practice to develop one?

Klee -That’s a very personal question and I think what ends up happening is that people start these centers like the ones in Sedona, or start these new age centers. They are seeking that answer from other people (as opposed to within or from within their own roots or asking the land what developing a spiritual practice means). To me that is what it looks like when people start appropriating from all these other sources. Or they go to the usual suspects who are exploiting their own cultures or just selling them or--even if it’s not for sale, even if there is no monetary exchange--sometimes these people have been kicked out of their own communities and are pimping out their own culture for their own gratification. People are seeking from other sources, and forget that mother earth is THE source. Ya know there is this sort of this cliché that mother earth is not a resource it is THE source. It’s actually very true though. I think it is part of like, almost all indigenous cultures that I know, they don’t fucking missionize; they don’t go out and try to convert people. When people start asking that question, it’s like.... Is that an answer we can give? Because then we assume some kind of responsibility in that relationship. I think where people expect it, you know just different expectations about that. I can maybe speak from experience to people I have known who have come to some kind of spiritual understanding but again that’s deeply personal on some levels. Of course we have culture, it’s a social cohesion; how we understand our relationship to each other and relationship to the land. There’s an anthropological definition of “culture” and there’s our own definition or understanding of that, what that term means and how we again understand our relationship to each other and the land. The discussion about spirituality can’t happen without a discussion about culture and what that means and there is context to that. I think there is a violent context that we have to come terms with when we start talking about those things. There is a lot of trauma that we have to address through that discussion as well. In the past when I would answer that question, when I think I was in a different place than today, for Diné people we have Hózhó’ji which is “beauty-way” or more well defined Hózhó’ji is a way of health and harmony. Beauty is this sort of fetish as well, that anthropologists are like “here is a great definition.” They sort of latched on to but it’s deeper than that. You know when we as Diné people understand that foundation and philosophy, for our identity and our relation to each other through K’é or through our clan system, our relationship systems that extend not just to people but to our natural environment, to other beings. It’s not something that you can just say “here’s what this spirituality means and I’ll give it you.” There is this whole deeper understanding of what our ceremonial practices are, for us to restore health and harmony with our mind, our body, our spirit, and our soul, even within that. So the problem that we face a lot is when we say that to people, it seems rather convenient just to take it, and just to do what they want and that’s exploitation. To me it just an abuse, the process that we carried forward. There’s a lot of indigenous people who don’t want to share their cultural knowledge of course, for good reason, ‘cause it has just been exploited and abused and people just misuse it or they just distort it, and they take different parts that are rather convenient for them when they have an answer that resonates for them at the time. And then they...

A! – “picking and choosing”

K- ... I think through my experience (this is why I picked on Sedona really quickly) we have people like James Arthur Ray who was selling Sun Dances for like $10,000 and you know people who were ultimately killed by his hand through his application, interpretation of sweat lodge, who were there for the “Spiritual Warrior Retreat” in very clear quotation marks and that’s an extreme but that is what we see. This exploitation continues, so, yeah maybe sometime along the way he asked those questions and people gave him answers. I don’t know but that is his application.

A- What I identify with that (I guess I want to talk through why it’s impossible) is that basically you are saying that anyone who wants to take this project seriously basically has to commit to multi-generations. In other words, indigeneity, whatever that means, will require that kind of time span. It’s not going to happen in your lifetime. So of course why that’s impossible is the american consumer is not going to accept that this is something they can’t buy. Even if the consumption we’re talking about is of an ideology.

K – For some reason what you are saying reminds of this discussion around the apocalypse that I have been having with friends (you know because things seem very apocalyptic and so forth). Through my research it became clear, and this is even Christians saying this, that Christianity is linear, with this Genesis, with the Christ sacrifice or whatever, coming of Christ’s sacrifice and then judgment day. Ultimately the logical conclusion of Christianity is apocalypse, or judgment day ya know, as opposed to looking at it from an indigenous perspective--which is cyclical, you know; we are part of an ongoing process. So I don’t see a beginning and end to it, I see it as an ongoing process.. I don’t see it like, “oh here’s victory over here, here’s a goal, I can see a way to achieve something that we want to accomplish which is liberation of our lands, the thriving, the cultural vitality of our people and hopefully abolishing these systems of oppression that are built up and reinforced through colonization.” But at this point, and I don’t want it to be interpreted as being abstract, ‘cause it’s not, it’s anything but abstract, it’s very clear in relation to the system, it’s is an ongoing process. To some degree I think that is part of the western mentality; it’s like linear thought, how change is gonna come about. When we look at the multi-generational projects, with the seven generation concepts (even from other indigenous nations, certainly it’s pan-indigenous right now that it can be interpreted very easily with other indigenous nations) in relation to the core of our practices is to ensure that cultural knowledge is transmitted and maintains its relevance or vitality. So for me that’s part of it, thinking in that way that we are part of a cyclical way of being. It’s not saying we are going to sit on our hands and wait for shit to change, it’s about doing the best we can now.

A! - Did you see that article on indigenous egoism?

K - Yeah yeah, I read that.

A! - Fascinating!

K – Yeah, I, well, it’s not fresh in my mind but part of the issue I had with it was, just this sort of like over focus on individualism and which to me is again is this extremely western concept, which is interesting I think because in Diné culture we have a very strong sense of the individual. Children are taught or treated as individuals when they are young, but in relation to each other, there is this sort of like separation of the sense of “community”. That’s what I wanted to ask the author, what was her upbringing, what was her experience. How can I take what they said about egoism and apply it to my community? I don’t think it connects. It is part of the reason I am guarded with my words or I am fairly choosy sometimes. I don’t want to speak in these generalities, because that is what people expect. It’s just like when talking to indigenous people, oh you speak for everybody. And people want some pan-indigenous solution. Even part of the whole Zapatismo fed into that to some degree; they were very smart about using that to their tactical advantage to some degree. But it’s, I’m at the point right now where I am still playing with all of these concepts ideologically and trying to reconcile how they work from a cultural perspective and then apply them, ‘cause I don’t want to ever get caught in that trap of the theory and shit. It’s always on the ground for me. .. I would like to talk to the author more just to get a sense of what their experiences have been. And I need to read it again. Like I said it’s not fresh in my mind. But that was like the first thing. It was just like oh great, another voice that’s like, for the egoists and reinforcing the hyper-individualism and wait there is like this stretch and connection to indigeneity and I am just like, I’ve never seen that. In every community I have visited and traveled to and

A! - Well you have given me a couple of things to think about. I think that this decolonize, anti-decolonization differentiation... I think there is something interesting there. First of all it is a fantastic way to break away from the decolonization, the way it is being framed right now is not quite toxic, but...

K – I think it’s highly toxic, cause from what I see from a non-indigenous perspective to these areas, patently white--for the most part--perspective. It becomes a personal project and we don’t need more people just running around with these...

A! - By which you mean a process of personal self-revelation?

K – Yes. And ultimate gratification.

A! - My question for you, and I will frame it in the form of advice. So this new project: my goal is to be the editor emeritus of this project. In other words, I make it happen from the perspective of resources and I open my rolodex to make sure good writers and people find the project, but I am very serious about this. I really want a transformation along lines that we have already discussed, specifically along the line of talking about Native stuff in a different way, in a not fetishizing way and having voices, varied voices...

K – Beyond the usual suspects..?

A! – Yeah, so my suspicion is that what that is going to have to look like is me doing a lot of interviews. We are talking about a green anarchist publication, but I really would like it to look like the Green Anarchism that I would like to create... I think you and I have a bit of a sense as to what that would look like, so how to do this correctly? Because first of all, I have to say, if you look at today vs. ten years ago there’s a hell of a lot more people to talk to. I mean it’s unbelievable. It’s really unbelievable how many more people there are that have come into anarchism. How would you do it if you were me?

K – I know how I wouldn’t do it, unfortunately that is a lot of my initial response. I think part of it is just being on the ground with folks and connecting with folks who are on the front lines and being open to a sense that not everybody’s gonna have the articulate academic voice and just making sure that people feel comfortable engaging and that it’s not just gonna be some type of hostile place for them. When I started doing media work it was partly out of just the frustration with folks just sticking this lens and exotifying, essentializing, and picking off the things they felt were sexy for other people to pay attention to without dealing with the full range of who we are in all our contradictions and conflicts as indigenous folks. Maybe establishing this sense doesn’t have to be that explicit but trying to develop that relationship. You want to dissuade the cultural pimps to some degree and you want to get the heart of this discourse/discussion cause it sounds like part of the objective is to amplify indigenous voices in to the larger anarchist milieu, to assert another direction or ya know just another option for folks to embrace their fights. I guess that’s like my initial reaction when I heard. What is indigeneity mean for other folks who are not indigenous to this area. There might be some people who want to engage in that discussion. Like I said before, I don’t know how interested I am in focusing on that as much as just drawing some boundaries, and saying “hey maybe this is a good place for you all to focus your fight” and making sure people aren’t just (for lack of better terms) Zapatista-fying all these external struggles without saying “oh wait, right, here we are on Tongvan (Indigenous folks of LA area) land, maybe we should build a relationship with them and maybe it is going to take a lot longer than we want and maybe they don’t have the articulated position that’s convenient for us to just transpose their politics and our politics interchangeably.”

A! - But I guess, that’s talking about fighting a fight with people on the ground. You’re answering that question already with what you’re doing here. It’s not exactly what I am asking. How many people do you know are confident to say something challenging, how many of those people could say it in print vs face to face, how many of those people would it take days to develop a relationship before they would say it? Cause if that is the only option then if you point me to the right person I am willing to do it.

K – Yeah, so how it could be done is establishing a network. But folks need to have a demonstrated sense that it’s not just some exploitative work or something that’s hostile. ‘Cause like I said. We have a lot of shit lessons. It’s part of the reason a lot of native folks don’t go to the Bay Area Anarchist Book Fair. We have a lot of shit lessons. It’s part of the reason why a lot of O’odham folks outside of Phoenix don’t engage with radical folks. I know some communities where people have only gotten hostility. So there is not a good relationship. Starting in the Southwest, like you said there is this strong cultural base, and part of the history of that unfortunately is because a lot of the colonizers, I mean we fought off the Spanish for 350 years but a lot of the colonizers rushed past us for the gold in California. Honestly, looking at some of the sacred sites areas... Like I said, part of the reason people are so aggressively fighting for sacred sites and a lot of young people is because one, they are in areas where there is still an intact relationship so it meets some of the criteria that you established before. And those folks understand the risk and they are engaging on multiple fronts. I think maybe hitting some of those places or just reaching out to people.... Just focusing on the project first, your audience, again. Just to hear it a little more clearly.

A! -.. That’s a great question. I assume that the audience is the audience of the last magazine but perhaps that’s sloppy. So the provocation is how to make it better, how to reach a different set of people, and I would say in general that I have not done a particularly good job of... the term we use is marketing. This is a marketing problem. How do you find, especially since I am, like most anarchists, by and large isolated from the rest of the world, by the wall of them not caring about the way we put things and us being fine with that. So if I break out of that for a second and think, the problem with green discourse is that it’s, to use a loaded word, apocalyptic, and the influence of anthropology, green capitalism, and christianity.

K – I guess when I ask that question, part of it is about when you were talking about wanting to reach out to different contributors, find a range of voices. Part of that question is, what relevance is this to my community. It’s a question of distribution and dissemination and “Indian Country” too, maybe just looking at how that will work out and how that could look. There has been a range of different projects, the good ones being in Canada, the more a-political and more arts-focused ones here in the US and even them being somewhat limited and being a question. I don’t feel as well versed in bridging indegeneity (which to me feels still more like an academic term) and anarchism; you have a lot of interesting writings that explore that. More just your perspectives and what you have come to understand. Last time we talked you said you were an anarchist without adjectives. I don’t feel uneasy about saying I am an indigenous anarchist but indigenous always comes first; this is what I have to preface the discussion with. And my affinity with anarchism is through direct action, acting without mediation in the range of values, like mutual aid. Which sometimes reinforces that sense of community. To me it doesn’t have to be beyond the mutual here, but to me it connotates that to some degree. The range of other basic qualifications for anarchism. But I’m curious ‘cause you obviously dig deep, very deep. What’s your expression? I read something a while back, that I am pretty sure was written by you that was about Locating An Indigenous Anarchism and I went back and read that some time ago. It was more or less, it almost felt like it was a longing for something as opposed to identifying as much. Which I appreciated.

A! - It is also the nature of being an urban, mixed Indian. It’s a very different experience than yours. But, I think that where I begin, is probably in this space of having a suspicion that my own internal conflict is... on the one hand, I think that using the word “anarchist” has magic powers. That’s on the one hand. On the other hand I think that the anarchistic instincts are generalizable. The interesting part is in the specifics, but that many of the 500 had anarchistic sensibilities. So I’m not excited about the Iroquois (which some anarchists have become excited about cause they model after them their idealized organizational configuration or whatever). For me I am much more interested in the small stories of how one’s elders communicate ideas of how to behave and I think somewhere in those stories is something really different. I feel like I am not even a good enough storyteller; the older people in my life have been fantastic storytellers. It took me years to figure out what they were driving at. So for me the challenge to anarchists is, what does anarchism look like if it doesn’t use the word? The other part of this is that I have more influence than many people in the anarchist space. If I want to do a green anarchist publication I can and people are going to read it. So the political motivation here is that I want this story to be what the future of anarchism looks like. And the story is going to be a long one. It is going to be drawn out, and it’s not gonna be question then answer. I’m enough of a strategy person, up to now I have been able to fit pieces out, thinking a couple years out. This is more like a ten year fitting things together. And it involves a lot of strangers and a lot of suspicions but I’m not sure. ..The flip side in terms of the audience question is what do the people I am talking to get out of it. And that’s important. It’s not just important it’s a problem I don’t have an answer to. What I’m talking about would benefit anarchists, because they need it. So what is it that anarchists have that could actually benefit strangers? And the answer is the same that it always is. Ridiculous enthusiasm, a lot of laughter, but then, danger. So yeah I am going to have to think about that some more.

K – Yeah, that’s where we like Drew and Brian’s statements about wanting accomplices not allies. They’ve done a great job of deconstructing f ally-ship. Cause that’s part of what I hope gets sorted up front. It’s interesting with this current wave of liberal disillusionment, with the Obama administration, and Idle No more, the Keystone XL pipeline, that people are paying attention to native struggles and that there is a bit of a spotlight. And of course the non-profits are flocking, like the moths that they are, rather blind. Fitting the metaphor very well unfortunately. Yeah it will be interesting to see how that plays. ‘Cause there have been other times when indigenous struggles have been sexy, and then people just move on to the next interesting spectacle. And that’s what I would hope this base has some aversion to. So one question I had for you, I guess I’m still trying to extract some of your politics. So what is your reaction to the statement, we belong to the earth? Do you have an affinity for that?

A! - I do but it doesn’t have the sort of specificity that it does for you. A little bit about my story; so while my mother’s family is all registered Native people, my maternal grandfather was actually a Canadian, therefore his quantum did not count. So I’m not registered myself. But my father, a white man, loved Indians. Like he really really like Indians like he read all of Carlos Casteñada, he knows all the pipe ceremonies. I mean there is nothing about the western plains indians that he doesn’t know. That’s why he found my mother. So while I was raised by my mom, I spent plenty of time with this guy who very much fetishized this whole aspect of my life. So my mother’s spirituality was very quiet and not specific. And her mother was a catholic and pretty much everyone else was a catholic. I have one traditional relative, and she is still alive. She is actually why I am going to michigan, and she was raised by Catholics, so all this is very different from your experience. So it is much more on the level of platitudes than places.[?] Even though I can go to this Indian village, which is this shanty town outside of Traverse City, where generations of my people were. But that was a village of timber houses. Not what was there before. So my experience is post genocide. This is my language of course. You might not accept it but to me, my struggle, what does life look like, what does spirituality look like, my language is a couple words and my great great grandfather who died when I was six, who was the last fluent non english speaker that anyone in my family knows. So to me, the question is what does life look like in these sort of ruins. Which is kind of why I don’t talk about it so much, ‘cause that is what life in the ruins is like. But I know that something in here is very important and I know that something is missing. And I was raised with all the urban indian problems. Alcoholism, violence, etc. But those are the problems of urban people of color. Obviously natives have got a spin. But this isn’t a triumphant story. I don’t have a good to reflect against the bad. So while I am willing to go out and say spirituality is possible and I can even say there was a place where I spent a lot of my youth that was particularly important, I can’t bridge this sort of existential gap. I point to that gap as being the genocide gap. My language is harsh but that is the way that I would put it.

K – Yeah, that makes sense. It’s a lot to think about for sure. Thanks for sharing, appreciate it. Yeah I guess that part of it is what’s worth fighting for. When you talk about fatalism, that is part of the question for me.

A! - Of course, right. At certain points in my life, I absolutely thought there were things worth fighting for and over time I saw how thin and shadowy they were. So I fought against nazi-skinheads when I was a kid. I did a whole variety of irresponsible things in the belief that it had this certain resonance that it didn’t actually have or that it had for me only at that time . I’m not trying to demean my own experiences but what you’re talking about is different. Because of the three things or whatever.

K - I know you have challenged me with that question, of how unique intact indigenous cultures who meet those three criteria are. So you are engaging in this project and you put out some analyses sometime or just stories you share regarding indigeneity. I want to see what the chance is, ‘cause you put in my face a little bit about what can be done on a practical level. What are we asking or urging people to do or move towards, what are we inspiring. I guess that’s maybe in some way, shape, or form to just put that ball in your court and maybe hear your thoughts about that. Cause if we talk about how few indigenous nations maintain, that keep that fire burning...

A! - Have the capacity to.

K – Cause we look at some of the indigenous nations in California who have gotten just disturbingly rich off of casinos, completely removed from their language, spiritual practice, and so forth, not necessarily their land base, and so there are a couple of tribes that we met, or indigenous nations that we met that are just traveling to other indigenous nations and through a process that they just sort of developed, basically sharing and learning from other neighboring tribes but other tribes from other areas. And it was quite interesting cause they were just collecting to establish a culture, which is being done in a way, because they were up front with other nations people were sharing. And they’re doing in a way that wasn’t just constructing something false necessarily, because they are doing with a sense of--not necessarily restoring their connection but--restoring a connection to the land. I’m sure that from an anthropological perspective there is some kind of name for it or whatever. You know that’s just what they are doing to heal.

A! - That’s what they got. But the complication of course is that by and large this is part of the process they have to go through to get government recognition. Which in some occasions has been connected to casinos and other commercial enterprise... In Michigan it is about fishing rights. Fishing rights is big.

K - Yeah, it’s like, I guess you were asking, Where do you see things in 100 years or ten years or whatever. That’s part of it too I guess, just putting part of that discussion back in the mix.

A! - The way I approach this problem is somewhat different, and perhaps it is because I have read too much philosophy. Western philosophers have done a lot of good thinking about their enemies. I’m sure that there is someone who is waiting in the shadows against every argument that I could possibly have against them. But I basically desire the dismantling of the western project in all of its sundry forms and so specifically in this case what I am about to talk about, my language, is the causal chain that people create between action and spirit.

K- Causal alluding to causality?

A! - Right, cause and effect is one part of it, but also this idea that ethics is why I chose to sit here and talk to you rather than walk over to you and punch you in the face. I feel like all of this is... wrong is too simple, but there’s something in the way that all of these are constructed that I have a visceral revulsion to, and I’m not just going to pull it out and say that there is something just spiritual, but I could. But what I’ll say is that, a lot of questions that the western mind thinks are answered, for me are mysteries, and they are only satisfying and I can only be satisfied by them as long as they stay mysteries. And the extent to which one wants to answer them, I usually consider that person to be someone I am hostile towards. That make sense?

K – Absolutely.

A! - So, by and large when someone asks me the question, why are you doing what you are doing, my answer is fuck you. So I am a deep pessimist who puts out a book a month. Many of these books are about actions that happen on the street. Like one of our newest books is about street tactics. But I don’t believe in fighting on the street. But I put out a book a month. So there isn’t an answer to your question other than this mystery that is definitely my preferred mode. Yesterday I was talking with someone about the difference between social and anti-social activities and I more or less identified as being for anti-social activities. I was basically asked, “How can you be for infrastructure and anti-social activities?” And the answer that I gave them, different context, but whatever, spun my little story in a different way, but basically I said, I believe in the power of seduction. [both laugh] So. Yeah. [pause]

K – I wasn’t trying to ask you why you are doing what you are doing at all. I questioned earlier “what’s worth fighting for.” Is it in relation to just looking at some of the core values behind your thought. Sometimes that question about belonging to the earth irritates egoists. I don’t’ think they like to belong to anything, which is quite interesting. I like to concern myself with not just outputting or making lots of things but thinking about what the outcomes are. It’s like the strategic or tactical thing that’s been ingrained in me. Just like doing lots of ineffective things for so long, you just gotta try to consider other options. So sometimes you just gotta think about the project that you are working on and how I can put energy into that too, apply it to these areas and move my agenda, my project along, which I identify as essentially indigenous liberation, ya know, reinforcing resistance and ultimately liberation.

A! - I just don’t put things like that at all. There is something in that kind of triumphalism. I recognize how it’s a good communication skill to be able to talk like that. [laughs] I prefer to not be understood as far as that goes.

K – Yea, it’s interesting. I guess that’s why I keep revisiting some stuff cause it’s interesting and I’m trying to elicit a bit more understanding for myself and I appreciate your response of seduction and I appreciate reading stuff from the folks in Italy who are torching shit and talking about desire. I don’t like to fall into the trope traps and sometimes feel myself, like I said earlier, feeding into them. And I do need to have more discussions and read more about some of these things to some degree because I feel...

A! - Let me, I will maybe say what you are trying to get at from a very different place, maybe from a perspective you won’t appreciate. There is a reason why people are turning to you to talk as a spokesperson, and it’s because you know how to talk as a spokesperson.

K – Thanks for the insult, but yes, point taken.... I think that it is really interesting to see the tendencies in radical circles in relation to the anti-politic, and privilege theory, and identity politics stuff.

A! - When you refer to privilege theory what do you mean?

K – Well, primarily I am referring to folks addressing identity politics in relation to saying “we need to deconstruct this discourse around privilege” and just go beyond that and just focus on collective liberation. Essentially that, like Andrea Smith just wrote an essay that was talking about... essentially just arguing for collective liberation to occur, we need to stop having these discussions that turn into confessionals about each other’s privileges and people sort of atoning for their sins of privilege and just move beyond that. Part of what other folks have discussed too is just ensuring that folks are taking initiative and not just objectifying indigenous people or just objectifying even their senses of what the oppression is. ... I think the bottom line is that this theory based around “if we all come to terms with and own our own privilege and deconstruct it then we are going to get to wherever we need to be,” and ultimately that just turns in on itself and neutralizes people and ultimately the result is that whoever are the oppressed group are still objectified. We are just trying to move beyond that. That is my understanding, I think there is more to it.

A! - Yeah, I guess I am curious as to why you care about this?

K – I guess a lot of other people care about it and it seems like the terms to engage in allyship and support... The bottom line is that we can’t do this alone. Collective liberation means something else when I talk to other Diné people or other indigenous people and certainly when I talk about resistance and liberation struggles with the white folks we interface with here, or other folks of color, especially in the migrants rights struggle, the so-called migrant rights struggle. Especially in Phoenix, I think we see the problematic dynamics even worse with organizations like Puente perpetuating this invisiblization of O’odham folks whose lands they are occupying but also asserting this sort of indigeneity as well, recolonization as some people call it. This example should be built out more: Large budget non-profit migrant rights organizations like Puente are working for comprehensive immigration reform. Comprehensive immigration reform means increased militarism and “border security” in the form of drone flights, increased checkpoints, armed troops, the border wall, and more. Indigenous Peoples lands such as the Tohono’odham are bisected by the so-called US and so-called Mexican border. Some O’odham resist immigration reform as it means destroying Indigenous communities. Migrant rights organization and their “allies” invisibilize Tohono’odham and continue to rally for immigration reform perpetuating the destruction of their communities. Part of the basis of this intersectionality of oppression is tackling these issues and finding ways to make sure we are engaging people who can provide material support, cause our folks usually don’t have it at all... With the infoshop for example, from the get go we knew that the folks who have the time to volunteer are white folks with “privileged backgrounds”--they have a lot of resources and a sense of volunteerism as part of their social understandings. But for indigenous people it is just like, usually with families with young ages, and school and work and all these other things, it is a hard thing, to find a way to engage on a sustained level. That’s part of it; we have been forced to interface with folks who just show up. Then we assert our anti-colonial politic and then they don’t know how to navigate, so then we end up going through a bit of a process of orientation. Sometimes there’s static, sometimes there’s problematic dynamics, especially if there’s more white folks that are getting involved. So we have had a lot of growing pains with trying to process all this shit. And people have done it other places where it’s like everybody grew out of the identity oppression olympic games and shit, where the challenge has been to find a way to have each other’s backs.

A! - But you see, for me, that’s simple. And what you are talking about, you are willing to use a whole ton of jargon or discourses, and I know where those things come from... personally I would refer to it as “who I am willing to negotiate with, and on what terms” and that’s a pretty different conceptual space than kind of accepting the premise.

K – Yeah, and I think I have to give it more thought. Part of my initial response is that I’m not sure how much negotiation--as far as it is affirming and asserting like who we are and ensuring that other folks understand--and that’s establishing the terms and just proceeding, ya know? And certainly there has to be communication. We are not just gonna impose. I don’t think it has ever been the nature of the relationship, even though we have been imposed upon for so long... but I mean if we are going to have a discussion about indigeneity and what that means, there are certain terms that can’t be negotiated. That’s why I talked about the natural law before, there are things that... I guess it’s something I have to think about a little bit more. But yeah, I agree. I do get sucked in o the academic establishment sometimes. I get sucked into at least the periphery of the non-profit industry even thought I try to dismantle it at every turn and part of it is just navigating to survive. I am trying to find a way to be as effective as possible and sometimes that means asserting myself in a different way. When I first got involved in the peaks issue I had no idea what the National Environmental Policy Act process was or what an environmental impact study was or anything about The Forest Service decision-making framework, but I had to learn, to be able to navigate and understand. I always really deeply respect my brothers and sisters in the Native Youth movement when that was a really fiery movement, because they were fierce, no fucking question. And they wouldn’t have this conversation with white “allies”, there’s no point and I’m not gonna have this conversation with my elders cause there’s no point, and I say that not to dismiss their intellect, ‘cause their intellect is beyond this., I would offer them the respect to have a better conversation that’s direct on that level. I think part of it is a survival mechanism to some degree. Maybe I’ll grow out of it.

A! - I mean you’re not gonna be able to keep this space unless you are willing to do it and there is something there that is a realpolitic, that is something that I don’t accept but I get it... [laughs] Usually when I hear people say these things I don’t like them very much.

K – No, no it’s interesting. It’s part of a discussion I have had with other Native folks, ‘cause one, everyone on the outside presumes that Native people have all the same politics, which is the first fucked up assumption. Two, we do the same thing; we presume we are all on the same page too and I had this... I mean I’ve had tons of horrible experiences that have led people to either decide not to work with me or whatever, just because I can be really critical sometimes. And people are like “let’s start a campaign to get out the vote” and I’m just like “you’re presuming we are all on the same page politically and you just told me we didn’t have to have a discussion about politics before we talked about tactics that we wanted to use in a campaign.” There is definitely some deep things that we need to tackle. Yeah, sometimes I find myself dislocating myself from what I feel should be authenticity, who I am and the expression of who I want to be and honestly I think that’s part of the expression... Out of frustration is the differentiation between de-colonization and anti-colonial... I don’t think people are gonna get it otherwise. Unless there is a strong enough differentiation where people understand how to engage and how to not. I’ve told people through music, through work over the years, if they ask, things they can do to engage or not. I am just tired of doing that, I AM tired of sitting in those circles and trying to hold hands. And basically just getting frustrated with people who need that time to figure things out. Sometimes it’s easy to subscribe to that, what is it? It’s not a treadmill, it’s a hamster wheel or... (Sorry hamsters) of discourse and the jargon that goes along with it.

A! - Yeah. Ok let’s talk about some anarchist stuff. Weasel words, consensus, accountability.

K – Yeah ‘cause I do want to ask you more things.. Early on I had some issues with collective process; the quick response is just noting how people fetishize things easily. It’s just like the term “community.” What does that mean?

A! - Right. It’s a weasel word.

K - I mean we could have a long discussion about it. Yeah, people focus more on the process than the outcome sometimes and that’s the issue. Just like you can sit for fucking hours in a meeting or you can try to focus on getting shit done and doing the work, and sometimes that is the process. There’s that zine Fetishizing Process, which I think does a great job of sharing some anecdotes about how badly and how easily consensus process can be manipulated. We’ve had some great discussions... It’s the same thing with the word “accountability.” It’s still somewhat prevalent to fetishize accountability processes in communities and sometimes it is just as easily manipulated as consensus. To the point where we have seen people attacked through accountability processes. So here we have adopted a pairing of accountability and responsibility. There has always gotta be an element of that through whatever process. I think it’s great just anytime to throw out words sometimes, but there is also a danger in just deconstructing everything. Where do we stop? For me I have this point of reference, or points of reference which are always culturally based, which is sort of grounding for lack of a better term. Right now, you know like keh being our familial clan-based relationships, which to me I see, I use that interpretation of collective interchangeably, to varying degrees. One of the lessons I learned early on with the big mountain resistance was that everybody was just frustrated after the late 80s and early 90s. The fragmentation of some of the families in the resistance was just like, “Whoa, if we just had unity we would be effective and successful and have victory.” And I had some of my elders, some of my relatives, say, “Well if we were unified it might be easier for them to break us and sometimes we just need to be in our own camps, doing our things.”

A! - Forcing them to negotiate separate deals.

K- Yeah, and so I always took that with me and used it as a frame of reference when I thought about any joint or collaborative or collective effort. Just thinking about what are the terms of unity and what are the terms for working together, ‘cause sometimes people focus too much on the process and we forget about the outcomes that can be achieved in different ways. I really like having discussions like that... We just like the sense of experimentation and we like to take risks here sometimes, see what we can do based upon shitty experiences we have had everywhere else. Just having discussions with other people, looking at some of the methods that they have used and just being like, “yeah, fuck that, let’s try something else because it’s not working.” For years, every time I would get involved in any type of collective, one of the first things we talked about was modifying consensus if it’s necessary. There’s something to be said about over-focusing on the process and forgetting about what the actual desired outcomes are. So I agree with you on that. Obviously we’ve come to some conclusions from different perspectives. I would like to hear more from you about that though. I’m sure you have different experiences.

A! - Well I think I stopped... I mean, I was pretty into the process around consensus for a great number of years. I feel like every group I came into that had people less-experienced in these topics, I really walked people down the country road. Oh and partially that’s because I was in the Che Cafe (in San Diego), for a couple years and part of the process of becoming a core member was being educated... The Che Cafe is actually at the UC San Diego, and there were four other worker cooperatives at UC San Diego. One of them was a bookstore, they were the smart ones, and they actually, you had to go through a class where they taught you how to think about consensus and there’s a book called the “Red Doc”, it was a very thick binder and you had to go through the whole thing. I learned afterwards that those people were Maoists, but they were definitely teaching the Anarchists how to do consensus. So that was actually why, I mean I got the hard lesson, [Klee laughs] I got the full nine yards; they had very clear flow charts and the whole thing. They had created it out of a process of decades of big fighting. They did one thing that we actually replicated through my entire time in collectives, which was crit, self-crit. Do you know about this, from the 70s? It actually comes from China. I mean crit, self-crit is basically, we are in a collective together and you do something that is politically inappropriate, crit, self-crit is the process of you being thrashed over it, in public, within the group, within the central committee. To the point to you having to confess your mistake. This was seen as a way to even out power relationships. So in the context of the Che Cafe, every three months the fifteen of us would sit together and block out the whole day--with no one coming in or going out--to criticize each other. It was, I mean especially for me, this really was my, like, becoming an adult sort of thing. Prior to that happening, I threw temper tantrums. A part of my personality and my rage issues and all the rest. I threw temper tantrums. And boy after like two crit, self-crits I was cured. But of course, as you can imagine, there were maybe one or two other people who came from like a poor background. Everyone else... these were the children of rich people. I wasn’t a student, they were all UC San Diego students. It was a crazy thing for me to do, but that was... Whatever, that was part of my process; it was part of how I came to understand this stuff. And five years later I never worked with another group that did that because, actually that’s not fair. I have become increasingly critical of this over time. And especially what I feel is the sloppy use of language. Every anarchist group is not a collective. Anytime an anarchist decides to do something with another anarchist is not an example of consensus. But that’s, it’s kind of like a pet peeve, like when people say “very unique”, another pet peeve, but um... So I guess what it comes to is this point where there has become an obsession with process because anarchists don’t have particularly good answers to the questions “what does that mean?” Americans, by and large, are Protestants and the Protestants, they care about work a lot. It is part of their religion that they’re gonna work. As a matter of fact I grew up in Western Michigan; the neighborhoods in western Michigan were Black people, Poles (as the poorest of the white people they got their own ghetto), Indians, the Dutch. And the Dutch brought their type of Lutheranism to western Michigan, and they believe in pre-destination, so they work hard because they aren’t sure which way it is going to go [heaven or hell] but it’s already been decided. Anyways, big long story. The point is that...

K – I’m always interested in the long parts of the short stories.

A! - Yeah, of course. That’s where the flavor is! So the point is Americans by and large think very functionally. Anytime you share your crazy idea, the first question is always “How you gonna do it?” So the response that has really come through the peace movement of the 70s , but really of the 80s and the--not clamshell alliance but whatever it was called [the abalone alliance]--that was in the bay area. They are the people who brought consensus into the anarchist discourse. It wasn’t part of it at all before then. So that happened in the 80s and we have been burdened with it ever since. Basically I would like to have you join me in the resistance to it , but really it is joining the resistance to weasel words, ‘cause what has happened is that we just use these words to describe everything even if they aren’t necessarily particularly accurate.

K – Yeah absolutely.

A! - ‘Cause a group of people sitting around a table and more or less agreeing on doing something together, that still feels like a pretty good way to do things.

K – Yeah. Certainly the will of the majority or impositions are very challenging, but I think that is part of... at least the approach needs to be mindful of... I mean, indigenous organizing with the NGO non-profit world on an international level is focused on free prior informed consent, which I think makes sense to people. And it’s applicable I think. Right now there’s a bit of a monopoly on that term, in the international indigenous organizing spheres, but I think there’s different ways we can apply it beyond so-called human-rights struggles. There is something to be said about free, prior, and informed consent.

A! - The free part is the deception.

K – Yeah, right. Especially when defined by international institutions.

A! - ...and the violence all over the place there. Just because violence doesn’t look like violence any more.

K – That’s the thing. More recently I have been really fascinated with talking about legitimacy too, and just thinking about what that means in relation to... and I think it came out of one of the Rolling Thunders, there was a really good essay about legitimacy and I just took the word out of context. I don’t even remember what they were talking about but it was interesting. I think that sometimes if you have these terms and then you apply them you are legitimate, within these circles. And if you don’t have them, “What are you doing here?”

A! - Actually I was going to mention this earlier, I was always struck by the land bridge discussion.

K – Yeah, the Bering Strait.

A! - Specifically the idea of how, like I have challenged people a couple different times on the idea that... perhaps I accept that there were people who came out of the heart of Africa, the Euphrates and Tigris, the Euphrates Basin? I’m willing to accept that “POP!” People came. But you’re not willing to accept any other point of origin? In other words most people who are scientifically-minded and believe in evolution are very clear that everyone walked from there. It blows my mind.

K – Yeah. We did a tour with our traditional dance group and took our music up into those areas ‘cause there is an Athabaskan dialect, as it’s called, has always fascinated anthropologists and we were talking to them, and... You would have a much better conversation with my dad to some degree ‘cause he doesn’t... Like, he gets straight to the point. So it’s what we asked them up there, my dad was talking to them too and we were just asking them what they thought about this and my dad was saying, “Hey we’re relatives, in some way, shape, or form we know that in our history this is what we say. That there was a time of conflict here and some of our folks migrated up north and some folks came down and we have words or names for them,” and one of the things that folks up there, Dine said was that, if there’s a bridge, traffic goes both ways. And we were just laughing about it, because of their interpretation. I think the important thing for me, the main point I mentioned earlier, we have our origin story, our traditional history which is, that’s how we know ourselves in this world. It’s a challenging discussion when you have people dislocating that and taking that from us and calling it myths.•


Anarchy and Anthropology

by Kevin Tucker

One from the archives. The following is an article that we unearthed by Kevin Tucker which was featured in Species Traitor: An Insurrectionary Anarcho-primitivist Journal, Issue 3 (Spring 2003). The author looks at anthropology with a skeptical and sobering (no pun intended) gaze that offers many insights that we hope can spur further discussions on this particular school of “truth”, and maybe lay others to rest. The discussion of anthropology’s relationship to science and reason, and the author’s asking of whether or not anthropology is a tool that we can “use” without reproducing that system, were particularly good. Though this article was not submitted, it was certainly worthy of a reprint. If you can get your paws on the issue itself, there are some more gems in there that merit a gander. Perhaps Tucker’s views have changed since this article was first published 11 years ago, but maybe we can leave that question to the archaeologists.

As Theresa Kintz points out in her interview, anthropology (referring here to the general field that consists of biological/physical anthropology, cultural anthropology, archaeology, and linguistics), like all sciences, is a tool of the civilized. Radical anthropologist Stanley Diamond has written: “Civilization originates in conquest abroad and repression at home.” The role of science has been to justify and perfect that conquest and repression, and anthropology isn’t an exception. However, through the work of anthropologists (both unintentionally and intentional) we’ve come to a greater understanding of the human-animal and the anarchist state we’ve lived in for over 99% of our existence. We come against the problem of having to work with such tools of the civilizers while trying to destroy the entire mental and physical system that originated it.

Outsiders Looking In and Away

The original anthropologists primarily worked from the accounts of conquistadors, missionaries and travelers bringing back news of the ‘savages’ beyond the realms of civilization. The two options that the conquerors saw for the ‘primitives’ was to wipe them out or assimilate them, though as we have historically seen, both have led to similar outcomes. The assimilation was spearheaded by missionaries and those who found these people had more value alive (as labor) than dead, although the two are hardly separable. The hopes of the missionaries would be to pave the way for a ‘friendly’ relationship and to ‘civilize’ the ‘savages’ through their God.

The work of the time would predominately be self-serving accounts of the rise to civilization from ‘savagery’ and ‘barbarism’. The major turn would be with Franz Boas who focused on the need for direct field work around the turn of the century. Boas, a German immigrant to the United States, saw the natives of this country being slaughtered off and fast. His concern was that all of this knowledge would die off with these people and began the turn of anthropological work to recording the entirety of the knowledge being destroyed.

With Boas came the importance of describing and cataloguing aspects of people. This kind of approach is work of the scientist. Despite what good intentions Boas and his followers had, their work was entirely subjective. By describing everything that one sees, there is no kind of ‘objectivity’. There is only a situation that German philosopher Hans Peter Duerr calls “riding the fence”, meaning that there is a person trying to understand one reality to translate it to those in another reality. That person then is stuck in the middle, always a part of one culture and is therefore only capable of observing the other culture through their perceptions. What Duerr points to is that there is no kind of ‘scientific method’ that can even begin to bring about what it proposes it will . In this case, that is the field of anthropology acting as the study of humans, or as Stanley Diamond says, “the study of men in crisis by men in crisis.”

The process that Boas started was furthered by Polish anthropologist Bronislaw Malinowski a few decades later after his work with the Trobrianders of Papua New Guinea. Malinowski’s initial fieldwork there ended up lasting longer as he moved onto a remote island to avoid deportation during World War One. Over this period he became immersed in Trobriand culture, defining what he would later call “participant-observation”. Duerr comes to mind as I can see Malinowski the scientist becoming somewhat emerged into this ‘primitive’ society to return to Europe. Knowing his situation wasn’t permanent he always had a foot out the door in some respects.

I don’t feel this wipes all validity from his work, I just feel that when looking at these cases, these are all things we have to consider. This kind of ‘observation’ carries with it the scientism of objectivity, believing that the wholeness of a culture can be observed and understood from neutrality. French anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss has recognized that while science is still myth, it carries the possibility of finding a ‘factual reality’. He states: “Science will never give us all the answers. What we can try to do is to increase very slowly the number and the quality of the answers we are able to give, and this, I think, we can do only through science.” Through even this rather liberal assessment we are left with the belief in ‘hard facts’, and while Lévi-Strauss has denied ‘scientism’ he has none-the-less carried its underpinnings.

Through this, all of the positive outcomes of anthropology must also be understood in a way that is independent of civilized assertions. What we have seen from the field of anthropology and understanding the problems we face now is that “[f]undamentally we are people of the Pleistocene” , we are gatherer-hunters. The anarcho-primitivist critique takes this understanding very seriously, meaning that civilization is a recent invention and the effects of domestication are just a sign of our urging to return to the way of life that has shaped our being. With this, there is little reason why we shouldn’t uphold this kind of information, because it speaks directly to the repressed gatherer-hunter in all of us civilized peoples. What we should always be wary of is the dry scientism that underlies the specific search that anthropology takes on.

Creating Reality

In his book, Red Earth, White Lies, Sioux scholar Vine Deloria Jr. opens up questions about “the myth of scientific fact”. His drive in this was to debate the well established theory that Native Americans arrived on this continent by crossing the Bering Strait within the last 20,000 years (one of the more modestly accepted estimates). In the eyes of Deloria and other Native Americans (though not all) this theory, established as ‘fact’, is racist. I’m concerned in certain ways about validity of some arguments which may be based on ‘land claim’ issues, which has been an accusation against this particular book. As an anarchist, I feel that nothing makes any specific ‘land’ someone’s ‘property’, although I understand this kind of legal assertion against governments. Regardless of this possibility, I find that a lot of the arguments are worthy of heavy consideration.

What Deloria draws upon in this book are the ways in which anthropology, as a science, will pick and choose what ‘evidence’ it will bring into its ‘factual’ reality (although Deloria is guilty of this as well). This is a serious problem of all scientific understandings, a conception of a kind of ‘absolute truth’ which underlies all of existence (this dependency on ‘absolute truth’ is the reason that I would qualify most religion as science). What happens is that the possibilities for what is ‘real’ are framed only within what is ‘known as fact’ for those who are observing. A lot of people have a hard time understanding that science is all just theorizing, in this way it becomes only possible to think of people coming into this continent through the Bering Strait. I can’t say I take the ‘science’ side or the ‘indigenous’ side (since neither really exist), but I think that scientific ‘fact’ has limited our ability to look to other possibilities.

The problem, as I see it, isn’t in trying to figure out what is ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ but realizing that a system that carries such values and can impose them upon others is the problem. I, like Theresa, have little interest in battling myths with others, and as I will point to later, feel that a mythic, ecological consciousness is important to rewilding our lives, but I feel that anthropology can be vital only in deconstructing the universalized and institutionalized myths that underlie and maintain civilization.

Cataloguing Conquest

The past of archaeology isn’t much different than the rest of anthropology. The kind of observation that Malinowski brought into the fieldwork of anthropology could be said to be the basis of archaeological digs. It wasn’t till after Darwin’s Descent of Man (1859) that archaeologists would even recognize the past as existing outside the 6,000 year span that the Church allowed since ‘creation’. In the new world it wasn’t till Boas criticisms came to reshape the way digs were done. Archaeological digs, as we know them now, didn’t take their current form till the 1960’s through the work of Lewis Binford after the 1947 origin of the Carbon-14 dating technique, explicit use of evolutionary theory, employment of cultural and ecological concepts, and the use of systems theory.

Archaeology is essentially the study of the past through material remains. The work of archaeologists can only really be useful when put into context with how certain remains are used by more recently observed peoples or common usage of similar materials. What archaeology really has to work with is finding the exact location of things in the earth. Their work is to literally dig up the past and theorize on the implications of their findings. In many ways this is working with a huge disadvantage and moving into a lot of speculation, but as Theresa points out, there is a lot that can be learned from this despite the handicap. Some have taken these findings and added to the critique of civilization, such as John Zerzan, Jared Diamond, and Clive Ponting to name only a few.

What I see as problematic here is the actualities of all of this. While I see no point in discrediting the effects of all the collected information that points to the inherent problems of civilization, I do think there may be a point when this becomes self-serving. I’m not interested in ever saying that we should stop looking, but I’m concerned that this search has overcome the possibilities that are being opened up. When I was writing these questions to Theresa, something was constantly coming into my mind; that we know that civilization is fucked up and that this is not the way of life that humans have become ecologically evolved into, but how much do we have to constantly reassert it before we do something about it. I’m not accusing these folks of not trying to do something, but I become concerned in general.

Looking into the fields of anthropology, I constantly see people like Boas who are concerned with constantly recording and cataloguing all the problems of civilization. What comes to mind is a photograph from the Vietnam War of three American soldiers raping a Vietnamese woman. The war photographer (as well as the photographer and journalist in general) have made it their work to constantly record the destruction that is occurring, possibly with the hopes that what they have recorded may spur others to action. How much does it take before we stop just recording hoping that someone else will come along before we act? In many ways the anthropologist is just like that war photographer, watching destruction take place right before their eyes and recording it. Perhaps this is the success of domestication in disempowering individuals to feel that they can have no impact on the situation, but my interests remain purely revolutionary. I again am forced to ask what it will take before we stop being mere observers as our home and all life is being destroyed before we do something about it. I feel anthropology can serve as a weapon against the civilized ‘reality’, but I’m afraid that so long as it remains within scientific understanding it will seek to only make us all participant-observers to destruction.

As Theresa has mentioned, the work of the archaeologists is the business before the bulldozers. This can be a tough situation. Knowing that developers will completely destroy the land without regard would it be doing something positive to try and pull out the pieces of human past that will be plowed away? Can it serve as a kind of deterrent against developers or is a dig just another method of clearing out the land, whether developers follow or not? Most importantly, I’m concerned with finding a way of trying to stop the destruction from the start, and not trying to make the best of a shitty situation.

Revolutionary Potential

The work of radical anthropologists like Theresa, Pierre Clastres, Marshall Sahlins, Richard B. Lee, and Stanley Diamond (to name a few) is vital to moving anarchist critique and action. What is being uncovered by anthropology is too valuable to be discarded, and it is inspiring to see people from within these fields realizing the potential influence of their work. However, it is equally important to use that evidence as not just ‘findings’ and ‘evidence’. To move beyond civilization we will need to use this kind of knowledge to reawaken the wildness that sleeps within us. Anthropology will remain vital only so long as it speaks to us and we are able to use it without becoming it.

The exact same applies to history and other sciences. I personally feel that the work of the evolutionary theorists was vital to overthrow the scientific mythology of the religious conquerors. However, as a rewilding human, I’m forced to question the potential of this finding. To what degree is it important that we ‘know’ the specifics of our entire past? What is important is a mythological (anti-institutionalized) consciousness that enhances who we are within the context of the community of life that we are a part of. The success of civilization exists in reducing our reality to a backdrop of things that we exist apart from.

What I’m referring to above isn’t a kind of intentional ignorance or turning the cheek on ‘knowledge’, but to question what is a part of the human-animal. From my own understanding, a mythic, unwritten view is one that is able to flow with the world and can achieve what we’d hope to get from history and science without subjective implications on the world that we are theorizing about. The problem that is being opened here is getting to there from here. I’m interested in a reawakening of primal consciousness that has been repressed by civilized domestication in order to justify and continue conquest and exploitation. We are constantly up against questions of how can we use these things that shape the civilized reality in order to destroy it. Towards this I can only point to what I think is problematic, in this case being any kind of complete faith in sciences like anthropology and using what speaks to my being without disregarding what I just don’t care for.

The point in extending on this discussion is to find a way of using these kinds of findings without using the system that has produced them. I feel that a revolt against civilization will require a revolt against the scientism of civilization (Reason). What Theresa has laid out here is a view from inside the field about what is going on. I don’t agree entirely with her view, but I can respect her attempts to overturn from within without preoccupation or delusions of anthropology as the ‘wonderscience’ (as Lévi-Strauss surely would see it). The path to anarchy will require calling into question all of the ‘sacred cows’ that have laid the path for rational dissent so that we can return to our primal being.


Don't Turn Away

by Diane di Prima

if you are working on something don’t turn away &

especially if it hurts don’t look away how many how deep the sore flesh eaten to bone by infection

don’t turn away like hyena Vulture waiting guardians don’t look away guardians of the edge, of

Port0au-Prince, don’t look don’t look away the wraiths of forbidden hope don’t forbidden love

don’t dust whose skulls we bury who and bury wehre shall we keep the dead don’t loook away

don’t blink don’t turn it is the same north for the old ones don’t look away south for the children

i thought they came to stay look now look thru yr tears if you have any if there are any tears left

look they magnify tears magnify what you can still see

what what look

do you know mud warm mud what breeds in it no don’t ook it up don’t study it’s all before your

yes it’s in your skin your memory you can taste it too don’t refuse your memories they ARE you

don’t look away don’t let that one lie face down any longer turn it over is it he or she IS there a

face part of a face look close eyeballs are delicious to many zero in don’t go we have only just

come to this place it’s not a horror show.

what does it mean to rot? a great healer asked h e looked he invited all to look. what does it mean

to ROT what comes apart in the moist air look in the rain look in the streaming mud

what is a mass grave? this is not a rhetorical question. stand on the brink & look look close as you

can never mind the smell this will only take a moment I promise how long do you actually think

you have? stand on the edge the brink who is rotting here? what falls to pieces? how do you

know a piece?

look in discover stumble by accident on a grave at the edge of town is it fresh? look closer is it fairly

new? the mud is alive with forms moving shaping self-destructing recombinant they are not fearful

any longer look bear witness look earth is mass grave in the warming air


Answers to Questions Not Asked: Anarchists & Anthropology

-by Aragorn!

The issues with anthropology have little to do with anthropology itself. Wanting to understand and hear other people’s stories is a sound desire. It is arguable (but I’d side with it) that stories are one of the best things about humans and hearing new stories is one of the best ways to get to know new people. These things also have nothing to do with anthropology.

Those who confuse the specialization of an academic discipline with human curiosity are the ones doing the work of society, of the social order. Anarchists in general understand that one can observe, test, and propose solutions to any number of problems, in any number of areas of inquiry, without the stamp of approval of the institutions that discipline the curious into orthodoxy, that rely on their own logic, and that steer such inquiry for their own interests. When one eschews these institutions but continues their work, dividing daily life into narrow categories - even when one does it critically - then one is still doing the work of alienation and fragmentation.

Critique Isn’t Nearly Enough

By whatever name it is called: anthropology, sociology, psychology, philosophy, etc. human experience has been fragmented into a thousand shards. Those who do the new ordering and the recombining of the shards will be the new managers. Whether these specialists are speaking truth is irrelevant compared to the process of dissection, isolation, and objective truth telling they are attempting to do. At some point the truth is in the details and those details are about something entirely different from the relationships I have and am capable of having, the details are about something only a specialist would know and understand. The devil-in-the-details is society and the bargain is that tomorrow will be much like today.

Our project here is not a critical engagement with anarcho-anthropologists. Fans of the Other (whether it’s anime, Native Americans, or paleolithic era hunter-gatherers) are fairly harmless as far as they go. Our project is with the thinking that may (but may not) underlie the rhetoric of some anarcho-anthropologists but absolutely buttresses the thinking about what the role of society is; i.e. it works to normalize the other, flatten cultural difference, and participate in truth claims.

To put this a bit differently... I believe that the destruction of the western project (what some call civilization and what I call society), is a goal that I share with many of these neo-romanticists but we absolutely disagree about not just how to do it, but how to think about doing it. Painfully, I don’t believe we are even at the stage of a debate about tactics, but are instead at a preliminary discussion on how to conceive of the problem, which at some point may turn into a sharing of ideas about strategy that may result in debates about tactics. We are tentative comrades who - if the current reticence towards examining basic ideas is any indication - probably have a long way to go before meaningful cooperation can begin.

What Is The Most Fundamental Of All

A sort of shared beginning where we can start a conversation could come from the lovely words of Against His-Story, Against Leviathan! (AHAL).

<em>Leviathan is turning into Narcissus, admiring its own synthetic image in its own synthetic pond, enraptured by its spectacle of itself.

It is a good time for people to let go of its sanity, its masks and armors, and go mad, for they are already being ejected from its pretty polis.</em>

-Fredy Perlman

This book spins a creation story of Leviathan and of an enclosure—that we can safely call Civilization - that has captivated us all. But it’s not a true story. It is not Truth. It did not happen the way Fredy writes in the book (not even close). One could say that his story speaks to greater truths than the actual things that happened, and that’s fair, but let’s be clear among ourselves that the story of AHAL isn’t a true one, it’s something else.

Truth is an insistence on a single interpretation of facts on the ground. It lays evidentiary claims to reality by way of disciplines like the experimentation and rational claim-making of the natural sciences. It may claim a tentative or partial nature but it bases all argumentation on the centrality of, and provability or belief in, a central thesis.

To bring this into a discussion about anarchism and anthropology, the central conceit of the anarcho-anthropologists is the theory that prior to the first granary we (humans) were free of coercion, hierarchy, patriarchy (and the toxic mixture of those and more that we call Leviathan). By fixing this line of demarcation in time, location, and import we orient our dreams of a better/different world. If that line isn’t real, either because freedom existed both pre- and post- Civilization or because Leviathanesque elements existed prior to priests and the first assertion of a monopoly of violence, then the entire orientation around the line should be seen for being as utterly subjective as it is.

Serious play requires serious thinking and commitment (and the ability to laugh every step of the way). The issue with truth is how it considers play: as what only children and the ignorant do. The issue with truth is that at some point it will always insist on being taken seriously and will punish those who ignore the evidence - usually first with scorn and eventually with force.

As we go mad here in the shadow of Leviathan our problems seem to fracture and multiply. Is there a way out? Where do we begin? Where does the shadow begin and end? Are we truly mad at all? I would propose that these questions, all of them, are absolutely normal and equally (not) true. The monsters around us thrive in our quiet misery, in our pretend calculations around tripping them up and rising above, and above all in the ways that we understand ourselves in their shadow. The idea of Leviathan as truth is another pernicious way of being framed by ideas (as in the old adage about it’s theory when you have ideas and ideology when they have you).

The reification of civilization was not the goal of AHAL. As I read it, the goal of AHAL was to tell a story about a strange and maddening Leviathan, to problematize our relationship with what has come before, but also to see ourselves in that history. As in Fredy’s story we are zeks (workers, slaves) but as most of us have no remembrance of elsewhere, of home, he makes it clear how few tools we will have to contest this new disaster.

Behemoth

But what if Leviathan isn’t the worst of it. What if it isn’t the end but the chapter before a new horrorshow, dominated by a different mythological framework, one that literally disembodies and ensorcels us all, one that crushes Leviathan beneath its hooves, that assumes our disconnection from place, from home, and from each other as fellow travelers, that assumes that we primarily interact with other zeks through screens and ASCII characters. That builds on us, not as zeks, but as consumers of a life that we fear to live. The story of this new Behemoth isn’t about the violent dispossession of us from our homes, but of us from our capacity to imagine and make decisions for ourselves. For our resistance to Behemoth will be even more marginalized from the order of things than seizing the means of production was against Leviathan, it’ll be utterly constrained by communication technologies and superficialities.

Which is why we must reject Leviathan and Behemoth, just as we already reject Capitalism and the State. We must do this not just as abstractions more alive than most of our personal relationships, but in the very ways that they serve to frame reality, and the difference between what we want to be (or used to be) and what we are. Truth claims are traps that begin with our critical facilities and force us to either remove them or be stuck.

Critique And Hostility

The tension I’d like to build here involves a sort of knowing, understanding details about how the triumvirate (spectacle, biopower, and bloom) works, while at the same time not becoming trapped by that knowledge. As things get more complex (which the operation of a seven-billion-zek-machine necessarily will) those who can wrap their heads around more and more of the whole operation will be rewarded with the perception of their participation. One can become a respected commenter on political events, make a headline or two themselves, or become a paid functionary of state or industry. By throwing oneself into one’s job or into correcting the ills that one can identify and address in the world around them, one can truly make no difference at all.

I assume a reader who is hostile to this arrangement from both directions. On the one hand a revulsion for the business-as-usual roles one is rationalized into becoming and on the other that “making a difference” makes any difference at all, hostile to the idea that we are all eager little producers - of ideas if not products - just waiting our turn to have our products be popular and trendy. I propose that this hostility be destructive; rather than expressing itself as an aloof brand of cool, it should embody attack.

This is a distinct operation from what is traditionally called critique. Critique is always a sort of loving embrace, a negotiation between peers, and a quibbling about details. One critiques an essay, book, or song as one who is also engaged in writing or singing on the themes involved. Critique is usually inside-talking where there is no outside. This is usually disconcerting to those trapped by the context of critique-critiquer (no one likes to be critiqued) but irrelevant, trite, and ridiculous to anyone outside of this insider relationship. These relationships are called dialectical because those inside tend towards a similar goal and agree, by way of reasoned dialog, about the truth of a subject or the goal of their shared project.

Attack, or destructive knowledge, is mostly about understanding terrain, capabilities, and timing. It is not about a pursuit of truth or a purposeful productive project. It is not about a barbarian charge against those things one despises (where would such a charge begin? Or end?) Rather it searches for ways around nodes of critique (aka dialectical sandtraps or clusters of truth negotiations) for its own ends. Attack as an anarchist form of knowledge-acquisition means those ends are likely connected to the destruction of existing systems of social, cultural, and material organization. As it is largely unclear how to resolve the central paradox of knowing as it relates to changing or becoming, attack necessarily becomes languorous, ambivalent, and idle. Entire industries exist to take advantage of this tension, stifling instincts and the energy of attack by way of converting it into simple consumption, partial activism, and ideological solutions. (We fail, therefore we drink. We succeed, therefore we drink).

How could this look different? I will take a specific example. In the Bay Area currently - but within radical politics generally - questions of race have been absolutely captivating. Both from the experiences of minorities who want to express themselves and their difference - in a world that just doesn’t seem to give a fuck - and from the experiences of those who know that they have been raised to, on some level, not give a fuck, are levels of anxious efforts towards... what? On the post-marxist side of radical race efforts are projects like race traitor (and the ideological schemes that have grown from its seeds) that claim that the key to solving the problems of our age is abolishing the white race. The liberal/occupy side of radical race efforts was exemplified by the proposal in December of 2011 in Oakland to change the name of #OccupyOakland to Decolonize Oakland. (This argues - put very simply - that the language of occupy is that of colonization whereas the terminology of decolonization is about growing, sharing, connecting to traditions, healing, and education. To put it differently, it argues that language matters and it has an action plan on how to achieve the results it desires.) A final example comes from the post-occupy decolonization movement, which demands that white allies speak about their racial privilege, that occupy activists address genocidal violence, and that future encampments be organized and led by those who need them most.

There are a thousand ways to critically engage with these three perspectives, all of which involve accepting basic premises that may, or may not, be antithetical to how one actually thinks, but how can one attack them? How can our engagement with interesting and serious problems embody hostility to pre-existing methods and thinking about them? Obviously the first step is to lay them out in this way, to expose their analytical frameworks and solution-based orientations.

Another step is to understand that the politics, the words on paper and claims to goals, are only one level of what is happening. Another level is one of social arrangement and relationships. Most politics is also cover for a social scene and the way its members communicate with themselves about good and evil, right and wrong, and what the order of operations should be.

Most jargons and frameworks are about creating insider-outsider relationships and forcing the discussion (what the good talk about) to live entirely inside the framework. There is no outside.

As a matter of political practice, the attacking anarchist always has to be outside. An anarchist never accepts the premise that forces one inside of other people’s assumptions. If these assumptions begin with a series of definitional exercises that constrain reality to essential categories and then claim domination over them... then reject it all.

What Is The Space Between 5,000 Nations And One

<em>Not even Indians can relate themselves to this type of creature who, to anthropologists, is the “real” Indian. Indian people begin to feel that they are merely shadows of a mythical super-Indian.

Many anthros spare no expense to reinforce this sense of inadequacy in order to further support their influence over Indian people.</em>

-Vine Deloria, Anthropologists And Other Friends

After the treaties were signed and the bloody marches completed the government of the US started a long game. To describe this game as genocide is fine, as far as it goes, but what’s relevant here is that it’s the game that states play by default. Destroy all distinct cultures and organisms. Eliminate all threats to the monopoly of violence (which is the bedrock upon which states are built).

There is a straight line from the mouth-foam frothing colonialism of the 19th century to the secular liberalism of the 20th. This line is drawn in the expansion of job titles like legal assistant, program specialist, coordinator, researcher, etc, (recent job titles drawn from BIA.gov). It’s drawn as straight as the railroad, telegraph, highways, and fiber optic cables are. We participate in this heritage (this straight line) when we accept their terms of engagement and that is particularly the case when pan-identities (synthetic amalgamated identities created in the past few centuries) are considered true and real. It is clear that the Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa Indians are not the same, do not have the same interests or daily concerns, as the Sicangu Lakota residents of the Rosebud Reservation or the federally unrecognized people of Ohlone descent scattered around California - but referring to natives as one singular thing, as a fixed singular identity is seemingly natural. It is the way 500 nations have been distilled into one, one that is oppressed sure, but that is fading into the sunset of history as a single noble savage slumped over his defeated mount slowly plodding away. It is one sad story in a world where there are a thousand of them, all competing for our attention.

But this pan-identification goes the other way too. White people do not, in fact, exist. There is no white culture, tradition, or material condition. White, in the context of current racial identity and discourse, is another way to express negation: it is the absence of good food, dancing, and song. It is the way of lamenting how exchange relationships have become confused and entangled with all human relationships and gives that lamentation a cause; white people. And this is true, the forces that have created a phenomena that is called “white” are the same that have confused us about our relationships to each other and forced us into believing that massive pan-identities are singular, true ones. But these forces are not specifically white - white supremacy (if that’s even a useful term, which I highly doubt) is a symptom, not a cause. These causes are something, and somewhere, else.

Anthropologists, sociologists, marxists, etc are in the trade of creating these categories and using them to dominate others. They are doing the post-modern work of something-like-genocide. They directly aided in the transition of thousands of tribal formations (in North America and elsewhere) into categories of citizens, and today into categories of consumers, sub-cultures, and counter-cultures. Whatever their motivations, the god they serve is society: not social relationships between peers, but an ordered hierarchical world composed of classes (abstracted tribes), politics (abstracted collaboration), and consumers (abstracted humans).

The Sound Of One Hand Clapping

Whether it is a little matter of the relationship between a cave and the shadow on a wall, the author and the reader, or the observer and the observed, there has been a deep concern since records have been kept between those who keep the records, write them down, keep them safe, and those who are the subject of those records. If one were critical of these mechanisms and techniques one could reconcile themselves to political partnerships with the subjects, perhaps would find themselves protesting the record keepers, the keepers of truth, and resolved to the ways that the Internet has reconciled the difference. The gap between the cave and the wall is now illuminated by the electric glow of information passing by. That gap, between the name and what is being named, is also what is powering the whole show.

“The European materialist tradition of despiritualizing the universe is very similar to the mental process which goes into dehumanizing another person. And who seems most expert at dehumanizing other people? And why? (...) And what the process has in common for each group doing the dehumanizing is that it makes it all right to kill and otherwise destroy other people. One of the Christian commandments says, “Thou shalt not kill,” at least not humans, so the trick is to mentally convert the victims into nonhumans. Then you can proclaim violation of your own commandment as a virtue.”

-Russel Means,

“For America to Live, Europe Must Die”

Prior to the rise of mass society, when you knew the name or family of every person you met, there was no Other. There were different families, tribes, and ways but they were recognizable. One way to account for the otherification that is the hallmark of society is pure numbers. Regardless, there is no going back. We now live in a world populated by Others, by other people and other ways of treating and considering the shared problems we all have. We are no longer able to consent to this othering, as it’s built into the economic arrangement and we live as victims of it rather than as agents.

The only way to fight the othering instinct is to keep your circles radically small, and resist attempts to be integrated into this society. Since integration is the alpha and omega of the triumviarate, this effort is nearly impossible. Every resistance is seen as seductive by the cooptive forces of commerce and pluralism. Becoming impossible to manage is one of the few human (by which I mean the inverse of mass society) instincts left. Mostly though, this instinct has been manicured out of existence and soon will entirely live in stories and histories, as life escapes into screens and flipping bits. ‘

The whole continent of North America appears to be destined by Divine Providence to be peopled by one nation, speaking one language, professing one general system of religious and political principles, and accustomed to one general tenor of social usages and customs. For the common happiness of them all, for their peace and prosperity, I believe it is indispensable that they should be associated in one federal Union.

-John Quincy Adams, 1811

Military power has severe limits. It implements violence against other recognizable forces and then retreats. This is more true now than perhaps it was in the 18th century but unless you are prepared to salt the earth, at some point forces that work with different forms of logic come into play. Society (especially as we understand it) does not operate by way of violence, or it does but the ways in which this is true are so obfuscated by the triumvirate that one barely notices it. Society operates by the simple mechanisms of going to work everyday, collecting your checks from your fixed income, traveling on the roads provided by taxpayers, etc. It couldn’t be more normal that one-step-at-a-time, one-day-at-a-time, one-choice-at-a-time society (fixed, post-modern, and (in)tolerant) becomes the way we manage ourselves. This doesn’t mean we have escaped a time of managers, but that even they have little power: their role is more as functionaries: oiling gears; filling out work schedules; making sure budgets are adhered to, rather than telling those beneath them when, where, and what to do.

Today’s managers require a sophisticated education in scandal management, communication skills, and timing, to maintain the operation of their little piece of machinery and their few entrepreneurial subjects. Few managers know that when they are training themselves in art history or anthropology, they are actually learning how to operate humans inside of organizational charts. But they are.

The End Is The End

Over the past six months I’ve had the opportunity to answer a question I never expected to have posed to me: “Why are you so hard on Anthropology?” The argument being that it’s just another discipline much like others and only a poor relative of the big social sciences. Moreover, say its defenders, anthropology has learned the lessons of [Man The Hunter, Clastres, Deloria] and no longer [believes in progress, sees the Western project as inevitable, aids in genocide] and should not be held responsible for its past. As a matter of fact - they say - it should be considered the best curator of that past, as it knows where the bodies are buried and - they argue - the cause of freedom & anarchy is best served by honestly and critically engaging with the cultures that have come before, which are only revealed through anthropology...

The anthropologist is Judas but is eager to redeem himself. The point is that the specifics - how humans interacted prior to the toxic abstraction of Civilization - matter. Somewhere in the details of what has come before will be the evidence of a crime, a universal, agreed-upon-by-everyone, evil that we can smash like we do the idols of Racism, Sexism, etc. Indeed we have fallen but our redemption story is the only story we can write, given the evidence of our crimes.

This argument demonstrates the romantic desire to return to Eden: Eden and the possibility of return has always been a central theme of Western thought and is answered in two ways by anarcho-anthropologists. One answer conceives of a future living in the shadow of the past (at least the written past) listing as superior and preferable examples and experiences from cultures and lifeways entirely different and disconnected from ours. This form of post-romanticism devotes a great deal of intellectual energy to extending the brutal lessons of techno-culture forward in time, while drawing lines back in time through the pasteurization of (other people’s) anthropology.

The other answer is a kind of cosplay. If this world is evil, corrupt, and if its failure is already happening and/or guaranteed, then we should prepare for the future by learning to gather, hunt, and forage. Instead of intellectualizing our way out of a world of terror and technology we can rewild (a set of practices that emulate hunter-gatherer lifeways) and check out of the rat race for once and all. This rhetoric boils down to an assertion that we must prepare prior to The Collapse by (kind of) living as if it’s already happened.

There is no need to directly criticize these practices or beliefs. They are, in fact, entirely beside the point. The point, if I were to conclude by way of a new beginning, is that we live in a culture that forces all political questions to be answered, especially the big and hard ones about desiring another way of life, of desiring anarchy. Most political people become ensnared by this cultural pressure and end up sounding like city planners, politicians in waiting, and in the case of our friends the anarcho-anthropologists, like a utopian Garden of Eden recreation society.

For the rest of us we continue to have, ask, and think about the hard questions: how to become free individuals in free communities in harmony with one another and with the biosphere; how to break from a world of abstractions and ideologies; how do we treat our fellows zeks in the time of Leviathan? How will that change as Behemoth approaches? But questions have that frustrating quality of running through our hands like water, quenching certain thirsts, but never ours to lord over, much like anarchy.

Resources

Against History, Against Leviathan

– Fredy Perlman, Black & Red Books

Society of the Spectacle

– Guy Debord, Black & Red Books

Theory of Bloom

- Tiqqun, LBC Books

Custer Died for Your Sins

– Vine Deloria, University of Oklahoma Press

Marxism and Native Americans

– ed. Ward Churchill, South End Press


The Undying Appeal of White Nationalism

by James Joshua

Originally only a portion of this essay appeared in the printed version of Black Seed Issue #2. This is the entire essay, originally posted to a website that is now defunct.

**** Neofascism in the Cultural, Artistic, and Ecological Movements

The earth is firmly enveloped in crisis. This crisis is at once material and existential. The economy can no longer support the human weight that bends it at its foundation. Can not, or will not. The aftermath of the recession has produced only one reality: an intensified stratification of global society.

The crises have created a world devoid of meaning. Everywhere, people question the bold political narratives of the present, exposing them all as being without purpose. Democracy appears as the ridiculous theater that it always was.

In much of the world, young people found solace in the lack of meaning. They embraced cynicism and insincerity as responses to the real situation. As time went on, they found that this ironic perspective failed them in the very same way as did the dominant paradigm.

The recession of 2008 propelled the earth into a state of delirium. Over the following three years, the world fought to materially answer the existential crisis; to existentially answer the material. These popular movements posed a question. Is it even possible, in the 21st century, to imagine another way of living? All of society was exposed for its repressive essence, and people began to appropriate buildings, parks, universities, vacant lots, and city centers to begin directly creating a different way of life.

The question of the people fighting in occupied buildings and sleeping in city squares never received a response. Echoes, but not answers. The militants of 2011 reluctantly returned to life in the void.

We are still living with the same crisis. Meaning has yet to be restored. Around the world a new movement is emerging.

Across the globe, a reactionary wave has presented itself as the answer to the question posed six years ago. In Greece, Ukraine, Thailand, Venezuela, Russia, and Italy, neofascist parties have reemerged in the form of militant street-level uprisings. In the United States, fascist influences have begun to permeate the cultural, artistic, technological, and deep ecology movements.

In particular, the strong historical precedence of fascist influence on the legacy of ecological movements illuminates a need to take this situation seriously.

Ecology

Esoteric fascism is growing in the ecology movement. This is nothing new. The term “ecology” was coined by the racist, white nationalist, eugenics enamored German biologist Ernst Haeckel in the 19th century [1]. Haeckel founded the eugenicist and white nationalist Monist League in 1905 to propagate his racist views. Haeckel later joined the occultist Thule Society, a spiritual organization that sponsored and helped to develop the Nazi Party.

The German concept of “blut und boden” (blood and soil) traces its origins to the ethno-nationalist Volkisch movement. The belief insists that a people are connected to a historical territory, and that whites must protect the health of that land in order to ensure the continuity of the Aryan race.

Inspired by this view, German philosopher Rudolf Steiner founded Anthroposophy in 1912. Anthroposophy was a school of ethno-religious mysticism that promoted the idea of a race’s spiritual connection to a local environment along with the belief in a hierarchy of human races and the need to keep these races separate. These beliefs were heavily influential in the Volkisch movement of the 1920s.

The Wandervogel (wandering bird) youth movement was a strongly influential back-to-nature cultural force in Germany in the early 20th century centered around environmentalism, communal living, eastern religion, and staunch nationalism. Wandervogel youth believed political action to be incapable of correcting the deeply entrenched societal crisis, so they looked instead to personal and cultural transformation. The immigration of some Wandervogel youth to America in the early 20th century helped to inspire the Hippie movement [2]. Initially, the Wandervogel movement was comprised of people from somewhat disparate philosophical backgrounds, but by the 1930s most of the tendency was absorbed by the Nazi Party.

The Wandervogel subculture was a reflection of the larger The Lebensreform (life reform) movement. Lebensreform advocated organic diets, sexual liberation, vegetarianism, and a deep respect for nature. The tendency was popular in Switzerland and Germany in the early 20th century. Anarchists were very influential in the Lebensreform tendency, people like painter Karl Wilhelm Diefenbach and poet Gusto Graser promoted liberatory ideas among the movement. Graser, along with cultural libertines Henry Oedenkoven and Ida Hofmann, founded the Monte Verita commune in Switzerland in 1900. The commune initially existed as an experimentation in living according to communist ideals, promoting a way of living modeled after “primitive socialism”. Anarchists from around Europe flocked to Monte Verita. The communards were largely vegetarian, and practiced polyamory and held a deep respect for the environment.

By the 1930s, many of the anarchists of Monte Verita abandoned their long-held ethics and joined the Nazi Party [3].

The same trend occurred in the Lebensreform movement in general. Richard Ungewitter, a white nationalist pioneer of the German nudist movement and advocate of cultural upheaval, wrote and distributed white supremacist and anti semitic texts. He insisted that the seemingly emancipatory cultural trends of the time would be the way that the Aryan race would reestablish its dominance over “the diabolical Jews”. This reactionary tendency within the Lebensreform movement later inspired leaders of the Nazi Party.

The environmentalism of the Third Reich largely came from the mystical and anti-rational fascist lineage promoted by Richard Darre, Alfred Rosenberg, Rudolph Hess, and Heinrich Himmler [4]. It was Darre who introduced the blood and soil ideology to the NSDAP (Nazi party). As the Nazi movement was very dynamic in its early days, there was tension between the spiritualistic, anti-rational tendency and the cold, calculating, efficiently rational wing of the party.

Likewise, there was conflict between the ostensibly workerist and often openly gay wing of the movement (the Sturmabteilung, abbreviated as “SA”), and the rest of the NSDAP. The “blood purge” of the SA has become a focal point for some people in the current Neofolk subculture.

Music

The neofolk genre is loosely based around traditional european cultural heritage, practices, and music. Many of the bands that popularized the genre have current or past allegiances to fascist politics. Death in June, perhaps the best known name in the genre, is the project of third-reich obsessed musician Douglas Pearce. Pearce named the band in honor of the SA stormtroopers who were violently expelled from the Nazi Party in the Night of the Long Knives blood purge of 1934 [5].

Death in June has a history of collaboration with Boyd Rice, a somewhat more obtuse performer whose usage of third reich imagery is equally unironic. Rice appeared as an outspoken guest on the television show of Tom Metzger, founder of the well-known neo nazi group White Aryan Resistance. Rice has toured the US extensively with Cold Cave, an act founded by Wes Eisold. Eisold was a well known figure in the hardcore scene; his band American Nightmare was very popular in underground music scenes in the early 2000s.

Both Death in June and Boyd Rice have had several of their shows canceled due to pressure from anti-fascists over the past few years.

For the most part, bands in the neofolk and neo dark-wave scenes eschew overt fascist politics in favor of “apolitical” stances and a fixation on cultural heritage and “traditionalism”. Artists often state their insistence on playing “white” or “european” music that is free of “negro” influences such as rock and roll, jazz, or rhythm.

Stella Natura is a large neofolk music festival held in the Tahoe National Forest of Northern California featuring dozens of acts and hundreds of attendees. Though the promoter, Adam Torruella, claims the event is non-political, he has invited the white nationalist publisher Counter-Currents to table at the event [6].

Counter-Currents (which recently had its San Francisco office smashed up in a late night attack) primarily sells white supremacist literature from esoteric fascist authors such as Julius Evola and Savitri Devi. Devi, a Nazi sympathizer who served as a spy for the Axis Powers during WWII, was born in France, moved to India, converted to Hinduism, and was an animal rights activist and deep ecologist. She promoted the idea of the supremacy of the Aryan race and the need for whites to respect other “noble races” such as Indians, who were believed by the nazis to be the racial relatives of white Aryans.

The festival is sponsored by the Asatru Folk Assembly (AFA). Asatru is a pagan faith founded in the 1970s based on ancient Norse beliefs. Early on, there was a split in the Asatru movement around the issue of white nationalism. The universalists opposed racism, the tribalists focused on ethnic and cultural heritage, and the folkish tendency advocated an entirely racialized conception of Asatru . The AFA comes out of the folkish lineage, meaning that it is part of the white nationalist wing of Germanic Paganism.

The AFA provided security for the festival as the “Viking Brotherhood”; the original name of the organization. According to reports from concertgoers, the Viking Brotherhood roamed the perimeter with zip-ties on their hips while maintaining a diligent eye for anti-fascists.

The festival’s lineup has included several post-fascist acts and performers. Blood Axis, the band of neofascist author Michael Moynihan performed, as did Changes, a band founded by white nationalist Robert Taylor [7]. Fire and Ice and Waldteufel have also played the festival, both acts having ties to white nationalist movements. Neofascist bands Die Weisse Rose and Of the Wand and Moon were scheduled to perform in 2013 but could not enter the country due to visa issues.

This cultural tendency has grown among the hipster crowd, many of whom naively believe that the fascist aesthetic is merely ironic or just an added effect for shock-value. It has also grown among young white people from black metal and dark-wave scenes who feel alienated by the emptiness of modern society and desperately reach back to a romanticized and fictitious ancestral past.

Nihilism as Question and the Suppression of the Hipster

The epoch of the hipster has been marked by an irrepressible irony; a tangible insistence on the meaninglessness of things. The entire world appears to rotate without purpose; the era of metanarratives has long since passed and history seems to stand still. This tendency’s ascension coincides with a social era widely referred to as “liberal multiculturalism”. This multiculturalism is widely seen, by white people at least, as having reached a state of hegemonic dominion over all societal affairs. In this context, nothing can truly be racist, as the institutionalization of political correctness has seemingly relegated the older, more blatant forms of racism to the margins of culture and of society.

Because of this, the era of the hipster is not anti-racist, in fact it has no need to be. The ideology of the present era is better understood as post-racial; the apparent suppression of the old forms of prejudice have rendered white supremacy a phantom of the past only seen presently in the most anachronistic vestiges of white provincial society.

Racism is thus perceived as being powerless and therefore either innocuous or ironic. The hipster appreciation of Boyd Rice and Death in June is the result of the assumption that the resurgent fascist movement cannot possibly be sincere (as sincerity is impossible) and that, if by some far-fetched chance it were, it would be incapable of attaining meaning, as such overt racism cannot be a threat in a post-racial world.

In the world of pop culture and in the world of the anarchist, nihilism has firmly taken root. The rejection of all values, with the exception of the interests of the self, stems from a dissatisfaction with the meaninglessness of modern life. The hipster nihilist surrounds himself with accumulated symbols of irony, as sincerity has become impossible in a world without direction, and true meaning no longer exists. The anarchist nihilist maintains a steadfast refusal to participate in any political activity other than the occasional online cheering for the smashing of windows, as activism reeks of leftist naiveté and fails to comprehend its own pointlessness amid the magnitude of the present subsumption of the world.

Until now, nihilism has been addressed as a solution. But nihilism is a question. It is a passionless cry into an indifferent distance that continues to await an answer.

What will bring meaning to the world? What force can again restore a sense of purpose to those without direction? For many, reaching back toward the dirt-covered hands of long-buried ancestors has been a starting point. A normative vision of the past harkens back to a simpler era. Young people everywhere are again discovering religions and the languages of their ancestors. Many have begun to experiment with the assumed eating habits of someone’s distant ancestors, and are convinced that the paleo diet will bring them back in tune with what humans are supposed to eat in their natural state. On trendy shopping strips in America’s cities, artisan boutiques are again emerging. Micro-brewing and woodworking are regaining prominence. Experienced beard trimmers and butchers skilled in charcuterie are again making a living as men once did in a bygone past. Young men in Red Wings and work shirts revive the wardrobes of white men before their supposed systemic emasculation by liberal feminism; they appear identical to their grandfathers walking to work in those old segregated factories. Levi’s commercials speak proudly of pioneers and territorial expansion into both the wild west and into the untamed and pre-gentrified neighborhoods of America’s rust belt.

The neofolk movement is merely the avante garde wing of this diffuse and growing cultural tendency that longs for a romanticized and uncorrupted past.

Radical Traditionalism, Revolutionary Reactionism

Presently, the mystical current of racist ecology is slowly gaining traction among some circles of former anarchists. Most notable is Olympia, Washington, where two former Green Scare prisoners and ex-anarchists have turned to white nationalism, citing a desire for white-only spaces, a respect for neo-nazis, and a pronounced disdain for “the Mexicans”. Nathan “Exile” Block and Joyanna “Sadie” Zacher were heavily influential in the green anarchist tendency prior to and during their incarceration for late-night arson attacks against industries responsible for massive environmental degradation. Disconcertingly, these two influential former Earth Liberation Front militants were initiated into the world of political violence while running through the streets of downtown Seattle in the anti-WTO Black Bloc in 1999 [8].

Several other people associated with the green anarchist movement in Olympia have followed their reactionary trajectory.

The quasi-spiritual works of ego-fascist Julius Evola and the “esoteric hitlerism” of white supremacist author Miguel Serrano [9] have been heavily influential in this growing circle. A webpage [10] operated by Nathan Block appears as a cascading scroll of imagery adorned with swastikas, black suns, and Anglo-Saxon runes complimented by an assortment of quotations from obscure neofascist theorists. This cult-like formation has expressed a sincere admiration for would-be race war instigator Charles Manson [11], particularly his environmental decree “ATWA” which stands for “air trees water animals” or “all the way alive” (the latter was used as the title of a 2012 public statement from Zacher published in the Earth First Journal). A 2007 communique written by Block and Zacher makes several vague references to the need to continue the ecological struggle in the name of the white race (often hidden behind double meanings) before concluding with an allusion to Manson’s environmental decree.

"[A]nd let those of us who heed the calls so often ignored stand upright, with clear vision, whether illuminated by the great Sun or by a more obsure Light, which rides with the night terror with all creatures of the hidden horse: the clawed, the winged, the hoofed, and also with those beings referred to by the euphemisms of 'the ancestors,' 'the fair folk,' or indeed, the 'elves.'

air trees water animals [12]"

As with the Apoliteia tendency (explained below) and the Wandervogel movement, they claim an aversion to the political and a focus on individual and cultural pursuits such as touring in Neofolk bands and practicing Germanic pagan rituals.

Unfortunately, many green anarchists do not fully understand this resurgent white nationalism. Many assume that any apparent fascist sympathies must be purely aesthetic or symbolic. This willful ignorance will likely allow the trend to continue to grow, particularly in the white counter cultural enclaves of the Pacific North West.

Retreat from Politics

The current resurrection of fascism continues virtually unchecked due to the insistence of its authors and artists on their supposedly “apolitical” stance.

Apoliteia, as described in the early 20th century by the currently influential post-fascist author Julius Evola, is the rejection of compelled allegiance to the realm of traditional politics. For Evola, this did not mean that all political action is problematic, only that individuals should base this activity solely on their own personal interests.

Evola, promoting the concept of a hierarchy of races that placed blacks at the bottom and whites at the apex, also fixated on the mystical realm of race. He believed that race was manifested both in the body and in the soul, and that the ideal human being embodied the Aryan race both physically and spiritually [13].

“Our position, when we claim that race exists as much in the body as in the spirit, goes beyond these two points of view. Race is a profound force manifesting itself in the realm of the body (race of the body) as in the realm of the spirit (race of the interior, race of the sprit). In its full meaning the purity of race occurs when these two manifestations coincide [14].”

Evola promoted a sort of egoist fascism; the individual was to seek to become an “aristocrat of the soul” and to embody the brutality and order of the Holy Roman Empire within their own individual essence.

Evola objected to many of the visions of the PNF (Italian National Fascist Party) because of their focus on material conditions and relative lack of attention to spiritual and racial considerations. Though never a member of the PNF, he was an associate of Benito Mussolini and his writings eventually influenced the racial perspectives of the PNF hierarchy.

“And if Fascist Italy, among the various Western nations is the one which first wished for a reaction against the degeneration of the materialist, democratic and capitalist civilisation…there are grounds for thinking,…that Italy will be on the front line among the forces which will guide the future world and will restore the supremacy of the white race [15]“.

Evola was a bizarre character. At the peak of WWII, he would walk the streets of the city during allied bombing raids in order to “ponder his destiny”. One one such stroll, he was maimed by a Soviet bomb and as a result spent the remainder of his life paralyzed from the waist down [16].

For Evola, as for many of todays’ esoteric racists, a retreat from the political realm is accompanied by a rise in the cultural and artistic worlds. Liberal social-democracy has dominated the globe and vanquished its opponents on a political level. Post-fascists advocate remaining in the cultural sphere until the moment that social-democracy begins to collapse as a result of its own decadence; this fall will be the moment to again emerge into the world as a material force.

Modern society is meaningless, directionless, decadent. A new way must emerge to once again give purpose to life. For many, this force will resurrect the spirits of the ancestors, a reincarnation that is starting to appear in the world of culture.

The New Force

Third-positionism is a political tendency that seeks to synthesize aspects of anarchism and communism with white nationalism or extreme ethnic traditionalism. This tendency has grown significantly in Europe over the past few years. In Italy, the neofascist squatters of Casa Pound are occupying buildings and organizing militant demonstrations against the proposed construction of a high-speed rail that would be heavily damaging to the local environment. In Russia, fascists have used the anarchist black bloc tactic to anonymously march through city centers.

Today, neofascism appears much more exciting and radical than did the far right organizations of decades past. The images of popular unrest in Ukraine during the winter months inspired people around the world. It was not long before it became clear that violent neo-nazi street movements were responsible for instigating much of the anti-government unrest.

The May 22 military coup in Thailand came as the result of months of reactionary struggle, with many militants finding an ideological base in third-positionist (though not white supremacist) inspired politics [17].

In America, some third-positionist groups have been bold enough to refer to themselves as “anarchists”. BANA (Bay Area National Anarchists) was a short-lived white nationalist organization based in San Francisco and Dublin California. The group dissolved shortly after members were publicly beaten by anarchists in San Francisco following BANA’s counter-protest of a May Day immigration march [18].

In New York, NATA (National Anarchist Tribal Alliance) members were forcibly ejected from the anarchist bookfair last year, making it clear that the presence of neofascism will not be tolerated in anarchist circles, regardless of what name white nationalists choose to hide behind.

Nothing Before the Earth

At the time of its inception in 1980, the radical environmental group Earth First! took its name literally, avoiding broader social issues and focusing exclusively on a militant commitment to the preservation of the environment.

A decade later, the dedication of Earth First! attracted many anarchists to the group. These newer members were interested in developing a movement that, in addition to defending the earth, fought against racism, sexism, homophobia, and capitalism. This new political direction caused a split in the group with some of the founding members eventually leaving the organization in disgust.

David Foreman, Earth First! cofounder, went on to cofound the Wildlands Project and later joined the Sierra Club’s board of directors. His virulent anti-immigration views have caused many people in ecological movements to distance themselves from him, however his reactionary ideas have a surprisingly strong following. He was described by anarchist theorist Murray Bookchin as a “macho mountain man”. Bookchin, on the Foreman tendency:

“There are barely disguised racists, , macho Daniel Boones and outright social reactionaries who use the word ecology to express their views, just as there are deeply concerned naturalists, communitarians, social radicals, and feminists who use the word ecology to express theirs. [...] It was out of this [former] kind of crude eco-brutalism that Hitler, in the name of ‘population control,’ with a racial orientation, fashioned theories of blood and soil that led to the transport of millions of people to murder camps like Auschwitz. The same eco-brutalism now reappears a half-century later among self-professed deep ecologists who believe that Third World peoples should be permitted to starve to death and that desperate Indian immigrants from Latin America should be exclude[d] by the border cops from the United States lest they burden ‘our’ ecological resources [19].”

Foreman currently acts as the President of the Board for Apply the Brakes, an anti-immigration campaign initiated by white environmentalists [20]. Last year, he published a virulently xenophobic article for the green nativist “Earth Island Journal” obtusely entitled “More Immigration= More Americans= Less Wilderness [21]“.

For some reason, Mexicans only become a problem for the environment once they cross over to the white-man’s land. On the other side of the line, their impact on those fields and deserts who don’t yet know of borders doesn’t seem to be of concern to these environmentalists.

In spite of their disdain for indigenous “immigrants”, even the conservative ecological tendencies often maintain a fetishistic reverence for “The Indian”. In this Jeffersonian view, indigenous people are the archetypal noble savages presently confined to history books; the current realities of most indigenous communities are of little interest. For many white environmentalists, indigenous people are a natural extension of the local environment much like a wolf or a tree. In spite of this exoticization, indigenous people from south of the Mexican border are often viewed as alien trespassers on America’s soil.

Paradoxically, indigeneity is conceived of within the confines of colonial borders.

For David Foreman, the earth’s population has grown to unstable levels, and people in the third world must be purged to bring humanity back into equilibrium with the environment.

From an interview with Bill Devall (author of “Deep Ecology”):

“When I tell people the worst thing we could do [during the famine] in Ethiopia is to give aid—the best thing would be to just let nature seek its own balance, to let the people there just starve—they think this is monstrous. . . . Likewise, letting the USA be an overflow valve for problems in Latin America is not solving a thing. It’s just putting more pressure on the resources we have in the USA [22].”

Foreman’s views are unfortunately commonplace in the deep ecology tendency. If anything they are merely an echo of an earlier wave of reactionaries who offer an academic counter to Foreman’s simple-minded, He-Manish, backyard wrestling, Macho Man Randy Savage approach.

Lester Brown, a renowned ecologist and prolific author, also speaks on behalf of the Apply the Brakes campaign. Brown is a staunch nativist and promoter of the reduction of human population in the developing world. Much of his focus has been on China and the role that its growing population may play on global food prices.

American zoologist, microbiologist, and ecologist Garett Hardin was fixated on the forced reduction of human population as a means to ensure the longevity of the environment. Hardin advocated for coerced abortions, eugenics, and forced sterilization until his death in 2003 [23]. Hardin promoted a pseudo-scientific concept of a racial hierarchy of intelligence, and in 1994 he was one of 52 signatories to an editorial published in the Wall Street Journal on the genetic basis of racial superiority. In 1974, Hardin argued against sending food to people starving to death in the Ethiopian famine as a way to reduce the human population, decades before Foreman crudely parroted his ridiculous statements.

Like Hardin, Finnish ecologist Pentti Linkola argues that human population must be drastically reduced for the health of the earth. An advocate for eugenics and totalitarian state control, Linkola stated that the “massive thinning operations” of Hitler and Stalin were a step toward establishing an equilibrium between human population and the environment. He states that global chemical or nuclear warfare would be an ideal way of swiftly reducing the human population.

While Linkola’s wingnut ramblings are unlikely to develop directly into a global campaign of genocide, watered down variations of his ideas have a material base in the reactionary corners of deep ecology.

Left-Right Collusion and The Technocratic Future

Bizarre fascisms are starting to appear everywhere. Two of the three members of the board of directors of the Occupy Solidarity Network (Occupy Wall Street’s nonprofit wing) have at times publicly expressed vaguely fascist sentiments. Micah White, former Adbusters editor and cofounder of Occupy Wall Street, has traveled across the country promoting a populist left-right alliance, recently going so far as to advocate working alongside the violent Greek neo-nazi party Golden Dawn.

While it would be comforting to attribute this prospective collusion to naivete, it is clear that White is by no means unfamiliar with the dynamic nature of fascism. He has studied political movements for years and even authored an article exposing Pentti Linkola and other fascist influences in the ecological movements in 2010.

On August 12, 2011, a month before the start of Occupy Wall Street, White was interviewed by Nathan Schneider, author of “Thank You, Anarchy”:

The worst outcome would be to get there and they just fumble it by doing this whole lefty game we always play, which is self-defeatist. We go there, make some unreasonable demand, like, we want to abolish capitalism and we won’t leave until we do. And well, that’s like the war on terrorism; that’s an impossible dream. Or they just squander it by being some hipster, anarchist insurrection like, we’re gonna smash some stores and make a spectacle. And everyone’s like, ‘Why?’

Because we have something beautiful going here. So we’re trying to rise above the sectarian clashings of whether or not US Day of Rage is tweeting too much or whether or not the libertarians are – you know? And reach out to the Tea Party too. This is a moment for all of America.

I don’t see why this has to be a lefty moment or a righty moment, because this is a moment for us to reinvent democracy in America, because it’s getting to be too late. If we don’t do it now, we are reaching the end [24].”

While the far right Tea Party is not technically a fascist formation, White’s proposed nationalist left-right collusion is cause for concern, especially in the light of his statements about Golden Dawn. A proposed collaboration with the Tea Party is ridiculous, yet it must be mentioned that, in real terms, the Tea Party was the initial popular response to the economic crisis of 2008. This street-level conservatism spanned the nation with demonstrations against the bailout of Wall Street nearly three years before the left decided to occupy it.

While White’s dream of left-right collusion is disconcerting, it is important to note that he is not alone. Justine Tunney, creator of occupywallst.org and the Occupy Wall Street twitter account is also a member of the Occupy Solidarity Network board of directors. She currently works as a software engineer for Google. Recently, she used the official Occupy Wall Street twitter account to publicly advocate a corporatist political agenda:

"Ending poverty isn't a political program- it's an engineering problem [25]."

"I want to make clear that this is not an anti-corporate movement. This is an anti-wall street movement. [26]"

In an interview with Business Insider about her role in Occupy Wall Street, she stated that “democracy never works [27]“. From her personal twitter account she attempted to bolster her image of Google as a revolutionary force by insisting that “Silicon Valley is firmly post-capitalist” because tech companies like Google “expropriate ad money from capitalists to build a superintelligence & don’t pay dividends” to “entitled shareholders”. In March, she posted a petition to the White House website demanding the termination of all 4.3 million government employees, the resignation of Barack Obama, and the appointing of Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt as CEO of America [28].

Google, the largest collector of private personal information the world has ever known, acts as a giant data mine for advertisers and the state. The mere suggestion of granting the giant surveillance apparatus even deeper governing power is troubling.

Google’s rigid hierarchical structure has been (positively) likened to a monarchy by some reactionaries. Shareholders have virtually no voting power in the company as the company’s two founders control the vast majority of votes through the organization of shares. The workforce is organized into veritable castes delineated by colored badges. Most employees enjoy high pay (median salary $125,000), free gourmet meals, and a relaxed work environment. Lower-paid yellow-badge workers are confined to a separate building and excluded from the free food, limousine shuttles, or usage of company bikes. Their jobs consist entirely of tedious data-entry. These workers are not permitted to speak with the rest of the workforce. Filmmaker and former Google employee Andrew Norman Wilson stated that the yellow badge workers were mostly people of color [29].

According to its own numbers, Google’s overwhelmingly male American “tech” workforce is a mere one percent black and two percent latino [30].

Both Tunney and White have advocated raising funds to sustain a mercenary “non-violent militia” to take to the streets. Recently, Tunney suggested that her twitter followers “read Mencius Moldbug” referring to the pseudonym of computer programmer and aspiring writer Curtis Guy Yarvin. Yarvin, along with English philosopher Nick Land, is among the best known names in the “Dark Enlightenment” movement. This tendency, also referred to as the neoreactionary movement, promotes a pseudo-scientific notion of the racial superiority of whites under the guise of “human biodiversity”, opposes egalitarianism and democracy, and supports autocratic governance [31].

“Human biodiversity [HBD] is the rejection of the ‘blank state’ of human nature. Creepily obsessed with statistics that demonstrate IQ differences between the races, the darkly enlightened see social hierarchies as determined not by culture or opportunity but by the cold, hard destiny embedded in DNA…

Cue the adherents of The Bell Curve, eugenics enthusiasts, believers in white supremacy and sympathizers of the National Socialist German Workers’ Party. In the Dark Enlightenment, we seem to have stumbled across a place where pseudo-intellectually grounded racism is flourishing in a way it hasn’t since before World War II.

In our discussion, [Nick] Land was explicit in his view on this: ‘HBD, broadly conceived, is simply a fact. It is roughly as questionable, on intellectual grounds, as biological evolution or the heliocentric model of the solar system. No one who takes the trouble to educate themselves on the subject with even a minimum of intellectual integrity can doubt that’…

Is this fascism? Desire for genetically determined ruling classes, distrust of popular democratic reform, distaste for the aesthetic standards of mass culture, and nausea over the political correctness of modern life—the Dark Enlightenment does have all the markings of a true neo-fascist movement. It’s here that the dangers of the Dark Enlightenment are hard to dismiss [32].”

They advocate a return to feudal city-states as a counter to democratic governance while maintaining an almost religious reverence for technology.

Yarvin advocates a form of total corporate domination of society he calls “neocameralism”:

“To a neocameralist, a state is a business which owns a country. A state should be managed, like any other large business, by dividing logical ownership into negotiable shares, each of which yields a precise fraction of the state’s profit. (A well-run state is very profitable.) Each share has one vote, and the shareholders elect a board, which hires and fires managers [33].”

While ridiculous, the ideas of the neoreactionary tendency have attained some degree of support in the world of Silicon Valley tech workers.

Balaji Srinivasan, Computer Science lecturer at Stanford University and current partner in Silicon Valley venture capitalist firm Andreesen Horowitz, promoted “dark enlightenment” inspired ideas during a speech to a crowd of tech entrepreneurs last fall. He encouraged the dawning of a Silicon Valley secessionist movement that would break away from the United States and establish authoritarian city-states run by technology firms:

“We want to show what a society run by Silicon Valley would look like. That’s where ‘exit’ comes in .. . It basically means: build an opt-in society, ultimately outside the US, run by technology. And this is actually where the [Silicon] Valley is going. This is where we’re going over the next ten years …[Google co-founder] Larry Page, for example, wants to set aside a part of the world for unregulated experimentation [34].”

The contrast between this hyper-technological conservatism and the right-wing traditionalist ecological movements highlights the pluralistic essence of fascism. Throughout history fascism has been a movement that is at once rational and anti-rational, secular and spiritual, traditional and futuristic, capitalist and socialist, authoritarian and anti-statist, social and individualistic, luddite and technological, nationalistic and international. Fascism is a rigid paradox that does not fall in the face of contradiction. The Third Reich was at once the mystical and environmental perspective of Hess, Himmler, Rosenberg, and Darre and the hyper-rationalist and industrialist reality that flattened much of Europe. Mussolini was as influenced by Julius Evola’s esoteric traditionalism as by Filippo Marinetti’s rejection of of the past and advocation of a technological and artistic “futurism”.

The commonalities shared by these ideologically diverse reactionary movements are concerning: the belief in racial, ethnic, or cultural superiority, the revival of The Nation, the concept of a superhuman ubermensch at the individual or the racial level, fearsome disdain for groups considered “inferior”, an aversion to collective desire, and a reverence for force and brutality.

Realization and Confrontation

Autonomous from the directives of any centralized institution, neofascism exists as a single point in a perpetually expanding galaxy of state prisons, renegade police, urban developers, realtors, Sheriff Arpaios, minutemen, neo-nazis, militaries, psych wards, public education, and George Zimmermans. The new fascism is merely a third position of domination, another knot in the repressive net of state, patriarchy, and racism. Its hegemony comes not from its own virtue, but from its position in the wider network of white supremacy. It does not walk alone, but travels through the night guided by the spirits of overseers and pioneers, its path illuminated by fiery crosses and the barrel flash of vigilantes’ guns along the border.

Although the beneficiaries of American reactionary politics are almost exclusively white and gender-normative, it is important to remember that the token mouthpieces need not fit these descriptions. While the spokesmen of green fascism are mostly male and exclusively white, it is notable that Micah White is black, Justine Tunney is transgender, and Curtis Yarvin is Jewish.

While neofascist ideology does not appeal to most Americans, white supremacist and corporatist rhetoric has a clear resonance among powerful people with substantial means at their disposal. The whims of such people have always yielded a profound social impact.

Although the technocratic aspirations of Justine Tunney and the Dark Enlightenment scene seem far fetched, the social implications of the currently thriving technology industry must be taken seriously. In the Bay Area, the influx of highly paid mostly white Silicon Valley programmers and software engineers into low-income black, brown, and broke communities has dramatically altered the urban landscape. Around the Bay, a racialized reconfiguration of urban neighborhoods is occurring; blacks and latinos are being forcibly relocated or incarcerated to make room for the Justine Tunneys and Curtis Yarvins. When not exiled from their communities, the immiserated populations live stacked atop each other in overcrowded units while the wealthy newcomers build their technocratic dystopia.

Like virtually all Silicon Valley empires, Tunney’s beloved Google is wholly unapologetic about its role in steamrolling California’s cities, as are the majority of the high-paid workers who have no problem participating in the expulsion and confinement of black, brown, and broke people.

In a global sense, the role of blacks in the tech industry has been most clearly represented in the coltan mines of war-torn Congo, excavating the precious minerals necessary to power Silicon Valley’s digital bubble.

At times, the vast displacement of black residents has been accompanied by a more blatant racism, though generally this position is obscured through the lens of economics.

Bill White, prominent third-positionist and former national spokesman for the National Socialist Movement, owns nine properties in a low-income black neighborhood of Roanoke, Virginia. As a landlord, he engaged in a project of harassment and gentrification that he referred to as a “ghetto beautification project” [35]. He raised rents, evicted tenants, and was alleged to have patrolled the neighborhood carrying a shotgun to intimidate local blacks.

In more general terms, the whitening and gentrification of black and brown communities is materially congruent with neofascist ideology. The vaguely liberal sentiments of a handful of landlords and developers does nothing to change the real situation.

While the most recent waves of resistance in America have been leftist and at times even revolutionary, modern history has made clear the entirely unpredictable nature of white-majority subcultures and movements. Much of the 60s generation that shut down America’s thoroughfares in opposition to the war in Southeast Asia grew into the right-wing formation that elected Ronald Reagan in 1980. The America of Golden Gate Park’s drug loving hippie acid freaks metastasized into the war on drugs within fifteen years, with many middle-aged former leftists leaving their convictions behind with their youth. For the most part, white America sat by and watched as military-style raids into black and brown communities fed the expansion of a draconian prison slave-society that expanded over 700% since 1970.

From a global perspective, the socialist sensibilities of Mussolini and his associates transformed into an uncompromising fascist state, just as many the libertines of the German Lebensreform movement eventually joined the Nazis.

In May, the European Union’s parliamentary elections saw the rise of fascism in traditional politics. In France, the National Front won the parliamentary election, while in Greece Golden Dawn received enough votes to enter the European parliament for the first time [36]. Fascist representatives were also elected in Denmark, Germany, England, Austria, and Hungary.

As fascism views itself as a revolutionary tendency, it will not cease its attempts to disfigure the beautiful trajectory of radical movements. The current momentum of the New Right will smash up against a blockade of material resistance. The Tunneys and Whites, affixed to the most senseless fringes of the Occupy movements, along with the washed up Earth Liberation Front militants currently agitating in the ecological scenes of the Pacific Northwest, will not turn popular resistance into reactionary foolishness.

Bibliography


Implications of an Anarchist Spirit in the Salmon Run

by Cedar Leighlais

One day in the height of Autumn, my friends and I went to a secluded place in the Pacific Northwest to fish for salmon at the beginning of their spawning run, and we were nervous because we weren’t sure if they had arrived as far inland as the place we chose. Due to the thick undergrowth of sword fern, devil’s club, and heavy cedar branches, catching sight of the creek was impossible until we were standing on its banks. As soon as our feet were upon the tiny pebbles of the creek-side, we could hear that the splashing and turning of the creek was not just running water and could see countless large salmon making their sprints upstream. Our hearts delighted at the mere sight of the powerful fish, finishing their eternal cycle of life and death.

We all began to take our shoes and socks off, rolling up our pants and very reluctantly stepping into the water. The creek was so ice-cold and biting, I actually thought that if I stood in the creek long enough my toes might sustain serious nerve damage. Quickly losing feeling to my feet made it even harder to walk in the creek; navigating rocks, logs, the current, and constantly having large salmon swim through my legs was incredibly distracting.

To say the setting was beautiful is an extreme understatement. The forest seemed to be radiating that day. When I think back to that experience and truly recall everything about it: the feeling, the sights and sounds, the rare moment of felt-presence, I seem to remember seeing and feeling the forest’s pulse as I suddenly became aware of all of my surroundings. This is the opposite of what it’s like to live in the city. I find myself constantly shutting out so many things: the sound of traffic and the train that permeates through my backyard and house, shouts from incoherent drunks on the corner, annoying conversations seemingly coming from all sides, ugly housing developments, police, the list goes on. This prevents me from being present, from seeing and experiencing intense sensorial occurrences. But in the forest in that moment, I wanted to attach myself to everything happening around me.

Seeing that there were a handful of salmon hiding under a log and caught in a whirlpool of currents in a little off-shoot of the creek, one of my friends and I slowly walked towards them from opposite sides, not wanting to scare them off but wanting to have as far of a reach as possible between the two of us should they dart off.

My footing and balance were compromised by cold and uneven terrain when I found myself practically standing right next to a group of hiding salmon. Bending over with my hand waiting just above the water’s surface, I paused before striking. What was about to happen? I was so close to this fish it felt too good to be true; my heart was racing. Without a moment’s more hesitation, I plunged my hand into the water, aiming for the end of the tail where it joins with the fin. It happened almost too fast to recall, yet I found my fingers grasped around the slimy scales of the salmon’s fin, which acted as a sort of hilt to prevent it from sliding out of my hands as it wriggled, squirmed, thrashed and turned, attempting to get back into the water.

Without even thinking about it I placed the salmon on the log that it had been hiding under, plunged my free hand back into the creek, and grabbed a rock that was slightly smaller than the size of my fist. Holding the fish down with my palms on its gills with one hand, I proceeded to bring the rock crashing down on its head three to five times or so. Adrenaline was coursing through my veins and I can’t remember all of the specifics, but I did not need much more than intuition to tell me when the salmon was dead, the blood from its eyes and mouth mixing with the blood coming from my fingers that had ended up too close to where my rock was striking.

Breathing heavily and unable to tear my eyes away from the salmon’s, I announced, “I got it!” to my friends who had stopped their attempts to watch mine. Upstream, my friend shouted to me “You gotta drink its blood!” Without even questioning it I lifted the salmon up over my head, tilted back as if it were a giant vase full of something worth drinking all at once, and opened my mouth under the salmon’s, letting its still warm, salty blood pour into mine. I walked over to a downed tree that lay across the creek and crawled on top of it to get my feet out of the freezing water and to stand in the rays of sunshine that had sneaked past the clouds, cedars and Douglas firs and just stood there. Adrenaline rushed through my body. I was equally amazed and thrilled at what had just happened. I also felt total awe and wonderment. To this day, I am struck with total fucking joy when recalling this moment in my life. I am grateful for every time I retell the story, because it allows me to feel that experience all over again.

Processing the fish later on in the day, we laid out our catch on stumps and began hacking off the heads and tails and pulling out the spinal cords. I took the fish I had caught home, even though I was living by myself at the time, because I wanted the experience to be complete, to eat my entire catch and to allow this fish to give me its gift of sustenance throughout the winter.

My reflections and analysis of this experience has not stopped here, however. Often the discourse around hunting, fishing, and wild-food harvesting does not go much farther than its economic implications; these are wild resources untouched by capital and civilization and if we are to live wild and free we must learn how to use them to our advantages. I found that the reward for having caught, killed, processed and eaten a salmon from the wild went much farther than economics for me; for the first time in my life I believe I had what some may call a spiritual experience.

What does this even mean? I had the luck of not having grown up in a religious home, and the most experience I had with church was having gone to a week-long bible-camp in the summer out of my own volition that focused mostly on hiking in the woods or kayaking on the sound. The only religious teaching I was ever given at that camp was that God would love and accept me for who I was, no matter what, even if I arrived at the pearly white gates of heaven proclaiming “Fuck god in the face!” Organized religion failed to bring me under its grasp then, and it did not take much more than reading Sam Harris’ Letter To A Christian Nation at the age of 16 for me to foment an unbridled hatred towards western religion and all of its affiliates.

So spirituality for me had a negative connotation for a very long time, and it wasn’t until a couple of years ago that I began to accept the idea of experiencing spirituality divorced from any kind of practiced religion. However, I still have no idea what that could look like today, hundreds of years after the genocide of so many earth-based spiritual practices.

What I do know, however, is my experience. Intense sensorial engagement, complete joyous fulfillment, incredible awareness of presence, and the sense of wonder and awe that can only come after one has engaged with the cycle of life and death. Every time I retell this story, I can feel all of these things in my body, not just remember feeling them but actually go through the emotions all over again.

There are so many things that I feel must be taken into consideration when embarking on a journey into this conversation. First and foremost, that there were and still are many indigenous tribes in the Pacific Northwest that have celebrated and relied on the return of the Salmon Run since pre-history. Since the arrival of the colonial West and the signing of land treaties at the Nisqually River, the United States has systematically fucked with every Indigenous person’s access to traditional fishing practices. In my act of catching salmon, am I merely just taking advantage of my ability to drive out to a wildlife refuge and spend the morning in a creek with my friends, effectively latching onto a traditional practice that I have no experience with as a white person? Am I participating in the act of defiance that Indigenous people throughout the Puget Sound and coastal waters of the Pacific Northwest who, since that fateful signing of land treaties at Nisqually River, “poached” their salmon catch, disobeying orders of Fish & Game Authorities? Or am I partaking in neither of these, simply creating a new practice for myself of relating to wildness, of the self and the other?

Another thing I’m aware of is the disconnect between the telling of these traditions and the people who have traditionally practiced them. The only reason I am allowed any insight into any of these traditional practices is due to books written by historians and social anthropologists. Not only does this put me in an incredibly alienated position in relation to these practices, it also feels greatly appropriative, and thus inappropriate. I cannot in good faith pick up these practices and call them my own “tradition,” I cannot say I do them because “it’s how it has always been done.” Due to the uninhibited reaches of civilization and it’s efforts to destroy all earth-based spiritual practices, I have absolutely no ties whatsoever to any traditions or rituals that build spiritual connection to the earth. Furthermore, I have no elders with whom I can consult. I have older family members who do hunt and fish, yet the farthest my conversations have gone with them on the personal rewards of these endeavors does not venture farther than, “Damn, there’s really nothin’ like sittin’ on the lake with a fishing pole in one hand and a beer in the other!”

So I am left with improvising and creating a practice or rhythm of my own. I am a lost child seeking entrance into a world of interconnectedness, yet I consistently remain detached from myself and others. So what is the space that I inhabit, neither here nor there? This is where I find the struggle to determine some kind of spirituality in relation to the earth and away from civilization, if we are to use two polarized catch-all terms, in confluence with anarchy. As an anarchist, I find myself in a position between a world I cannot live in and an idea of a world that I want to live in. The impossibility of both of these raging rivers inevitably brings them crashing together.

This is why I find importance in the searching and questioning of a “spirituality” within an anarchist discourse. Understanding the historical implications of conquest and colonization and attempting to understand what has been taken from every grouping of humans since the onslaught of organized time and forced worship, we can continue to expand our understanding of how it is that the material conditions under which we live are unbearable and banal. When we realize what has been taken from us, we can begin to know what we must take back. I am not advocating for a new earth-based anarcho-religion, but for the lived-hatred of the systems enforced on us to be evermore total.

There is an ethereal high that accompanies the attack. When one shifts the emphasis from thought to feeling and action and utilizes their intellectual disdain for one’s enemy, the reward is far greater than words can express. It is my wish in writing this to spark a dialogue within an anarchist context around the spirit. What is it, how can we interact with it, how can we reawaken our own? How has it been damaged? It is also my wish that through these dialogues, anarchists can begin to again become aware of an age-old saying, “healing is a form of fighting is a form of healing is a form of…” Our enemies deserve to feel the brunt of our rage and sorrow, and we should also grant ourselves the chance to revel in and celebrate our unleashed spirits wreaking havoc on the material world.


Points For Further Discussion in the Digital Era

by Oxalis

In an issue of Green Anarchy published in 2004, Sphinx responded to one of the early Internet-based social networks, Friendster, declaring “You Won’t Find Me on Friendster.”* The article, while obviously now dated, was an early attempt to develop an understanding of modern networked computer communications. Its historical overview of the development of computer technologies and the ways that they had (at that time) changed how we interact with each other and the world were important insights. Sadly, this is a topic that needs further elaboration and discussion. The computer-based forms of communication and mediation have only increased in the years since 2004 and have done so at an incredibly rapid pace. The objections to Friendster from ten years ago—the concern about legality and a commitment to human communities—while still true, seem almost quaint as the proliferation has increased to a level that seemed almost unimaginable just a few years ago. In the past, the idea of abstaining from Friendster or a particular digital social network seemed plausible, to do so simply meant not going on the computer and/or limiting computer use. Computer use largely took place at a specific site, something that we could essentially choose to interact with. In many cases, that is no longer possible. Over the past few years, the Internet has essentially become all pervasive. Through smart phones, the Internet is everywhere. While there are exceptions outside of so-called “industrialized” countries and among those who cannot afford smart phones, for the most part the discussion is more a question of when people will get the capabilities, not if (see for example, all the efforts to get computers to everyone across the world and to enclose the entire world in the web).

This has all had a real impact on how we relate to each other. Seemingly everything is mediated or interrupted by computer-based communication. There are relatively few private moments left, as shown by the numerous studies that track the phenomena known as “sleep texting” or the numbers of people who admit to checking their phones during sex. The particular studies matter relatively little, what is important is the way in which this activity has more or less been normalized. Few people seem to care and indeed for those who have an issue with it, there seems to be nothing that can be done. The rather laughable digital utopianism has proven to be untrue—we haven’t arrived at an equal society as a result of equal access. Even in the best cases of open source tools, their challenge is a drop in the bucket and they can often be just as easily mobilized towards non-liberatory ends. Moreover, the Internet and computer technologies have contributed to a situation of information overload and the fragmentation into a seemingly unlimited number of different identities, making it harder than ever to be seen on the digital networks, arguably the ultimate goal. Added to this, the increasing fragmentation and personalization—enabled through sophisticated forms of behavior and browser tracking—assure that there is no universally accessible network that one can simply have access to, but rather a series of largely closed and overlapping networks. These technologies extend the logic of computers into all realms: success is the documentable and quantifiable number of “friends” or “connections” we have on various sites, future activity, preferences, and “personalization” are predicted by algorithms informed by massive amounts of stored personal data, and everything is ranked and rated.

In the present, more and more of our interactions are mediated by computers. The social networks are built on representation and presentation – we don’t necessarily show ourselves (assuming that there is somewhere an authentic self), but rather a representation that will do the best in a particular situation. The potential employee deletes last night’s drunken party photos to present a serious tone, while the frat boy eagerly shares photos of the previous night’s debauchery. Moreover, depending on the particular social network, the presentations differ. While “compartmentalization” is something we all have done in civilized social contexts for quite some time, the speed and frequency at which it happens is different. The constant maintenance of how we present ourselves results in a compulsive “need” to “check” everything, seeing what is “happening” on “social media” at all times. There is always something better “happening” elsewhere, whether that be the cool event that we didn’t know about or something “happening” entirely in the digital realm. Consequently, the real “event” may not be the one that we are physically at, but the “conversation” that happens online. “Reality” is increasingly redefined as that which is documentable online, and “conversation” is the “discussion” which happens through social media. Something is always happening elsewhere and we are never really present anywhere (while at the same time, we are stuck in a seemingly ahistorical constant present). The constant need to be attached, to be checking what’s going on, to be instantly accessible, is beneficial to the system, not only in terms of pacification but also in making us ideal workers. The maintenance of social networking profiles and other such activities is essentially free labor; and “always on, always reachable” isn’t just about “convenience.” While the networks are about others, especially in terms of quantifiable audiences and visibility, they are paradoxically also about the self. There is a built-in form of narcissism with constant pressure to act as if you and what you are doing is all that matters. There’s a striking sense of self-referentiality and praise, digital greetings from our “friends” always tell us how beautiful we are or how strong we are. In many ways, the new forms encourage a celebrity-like performance, where one assumes that at any point some of our “friends” might catch a glimpse of what we are doing—in many ways life becomes a constant performance for a real, imagined, or potential digital audience.

The technologies have also encouraged a further separation from the natural world. An already distanced populace has become further separated. Much of what we see—if we actually take the time to look—is filtered through screens. The “nature scene” is potential background for a “selfie,” the flower the perfect fodder for a photo blog. The aspiring forager need not learn through direct experience or shared knowledge, but can simply point the phone and determine what a particular plant is. The more attached we become to the phones in our pockets (or, let’s be real, in our hands because for some even the one-second delay in retrieving a phone from a pocket is too much), the less we actually see and experience on a day-to-day basis. Our separation from the wild increases, as does the domestication that comes in the form of virtual chains. Computer technologies are presented as compatible with the natural world, with much of the rhetoric invoking natural images. We have “cloud” computing, “green” “server farms,” and pledges that buildings containing thousands of computer servers are environmentally neutral because they are powered by solar energy, wind, etc. At the same time, the environmental impacts of these new technologies are largely ignored. This isn’t a call for green computing, but rather, a recognition that the environmental costs of a digital society are quite high, in terms of waste, water used in manufacturing microchips, and in minerals extracted. Moreover, just as there is always something happening elsewhere on social media, much of the creation of computer technologies happens “elsewhere” with the productive consequences made invisible.

As it has in the larger world, the proliferation of computer technologies has had a considerable impact on the anarchist space. Much of the discourse that happens within the anarchist space is mediated through computers. News websites, blogs, and social networks have gained a hold within the space, becoming virtual sites through which we come together. In a networked society, it is relatively obvious that the use of many of these technologies allow one’s enemies, be they the state, fascists, or others, the capacity to map activities and track specific individuals. The possibilities of this—while always hiding in plain sight—have become all the more obvious as more becomes known about the extent of government surveillance and the willingness of corporations to share data with the state. Despite this, many of us continue to use these technologies and participation in the various social networks, dating sites, photo sharing services, etc, barely raises an eyebrow in most circles. Even when using “open source” tools and those that respect privacy, the proliferation of these technologies has had a major impact. The snarky comment, the photos of the cool banner seemingly crafted for dissemination on the Internet, and the rise of “scannable” text and 140 character Tweets attest to this. As with any technology, modern computer technologies have a certain logic and ideology embedded within them and when we “use” them, we often internalize those values. Moreover, attachment and allegiance to (as well as dependence on) digital technologies makes us less likely to criticize them.

In terms of both the anarchist space and the larger world, the proliferation of these technologies has ramifications for how we act. If everything we do on the computer is tracked, if every movement is logged thanks to our smart phones, every person a potential cop, and every corner adorned with an Internet-enabled surveillance camera, what are the possibilities for action? If—as is increasingly the case—to abstain from the social networks is to mean to “not exist”—what does it mean for those of us who choose to abstain? What does it mean to assume that these technologies will exist “after the revolution” and/or that they can somehow be “democratized”? How does our willingness to use the platforms constrain our interactions and alter our forms of communication? With the ever-increasing expansion of Internet-access into previously “unconnected” spaces, is there even a possibility of abstention? Owing to the importance within the economy of the new communications technologies, are there new targets for attack that can be identified? How does one “oppose, “resist,” and/or “attack” something that is literally everywhere and seemingly nowhere at the same time?

To a large degree, many of us are complicit in these systems in varying ways. Perhaps there is way through which we can maintain a critical engagement via distance, using these systems and technologies to the extent that we feel we have to, i.e. using them for some forms of outward communication while making our priority face-to-face communication and discussion. At the same time, there should be more efforts aimed at directly and indirectly combating these technologies (i.e. attack, lessening reliance on them within the anarchist space, and assuming a position of hostility towards them). Additionally, more discussion and theorizing is needed to explore the ways in which these technologies function and how they have changed the terrain, both on an inter-personal level and a system-wide level. In a so-called post-industrial economy, the reliance on these systems—however much they may invoke seemingly intangible images of “the cloud”—ultimately depends on physical infrastructure and as such vulnerabilities exist. We should be looking for these weaknesses, both physically and rhetorically, and advancing an anti-technological practice and critique.

- “You Won’t Find Me on Friendster” is available on the Internet at http://blackseed.anarchyplanet.org


Anarchy In Flight

by Ron Sakolsky

<em>I sing as the bird sings.

I sing because—I am a singer.

But I use you for it because I need ears.</em>

-Max Stirner

<em>At home (in California) I used to play, and the birds used to whistle with

me. I would stop what I was working on and play with the birds.</em>

-Eric Dolphy

<em>While living in London I had an apartment with a small garden. During the

summer around 4 or 5 o’clock in the morning, just as the day began, birds

would gather here one by one and sing together, each declaring its freedom

in song. It is my wish to share this same spirit with other musicians and

communicate it to the people.</em>

-Dave Holland


When jazz improviser Dave Holland entitled one of his early recordings Conference of the Birds, he was drawing upon the deep well of mythical thought about the “language of birds”. Some see it as a perfect language. Others as a magical language used by birds to communicate with those humans sensitive to its cadences. In the Talmud, Solomon’s proverbial wisdom was reportedly due to his being granted understanding of the language of birds. In Kabbalah, Renaissance magic and alchemy the “green language” of birds is a secret language which is the key to perfect knowledge. In Sufism, the language of birds is analogous to the mystical language of angels. In a poetic rather than a mystical sense, surrealist writer Rikki Ducornet would give her highest praise to the radical nature of Penelope Rosemont’s book, Surrealist Experiences, by proclaiming: “In these writings, critical theory embraces the ‘language of birds’ and poetic language reveals open secrets of thought that is revolutionary thought at its wildest and brightest.” And perhaps the essence of the foundational surrealist practice of automatism itself can be most brilliantly rendered in Ducornet’s alchemical language of Birds of calcium and mercury, of lead and sulphur.

In further examining the depth of the surrealist affinity for birds, we might consider the passion of post-Second World War Paris Surrealist Group member, Vincent Bounoure, for “objects that speak in bird cries.” And in relation to bird song, we can make an analogy between André Breton’s praise of auditories over visionaries, and his ecstatic reveries on “free flight” expressed upon encountering the seabirds of the Gaspé peninsula during his wartime exile in Québec. As he so emphatically stated, “There can be no more valuable and far-reaching hope than in the beat of a wing.”

Beyond the musings of philosophers, poets, artists and musicians, within the culture of the Kaluli people of Bosavi in Papua New Guinea, everyday human singing is intimately connected to the rising and falling songs of rainforest birds (with the Kaluli even “becoming” birds on ritual occasions). Within this tropical setting, the human voice finds expression in relation to nature by being “in sync” not only with these rainforest birds, but with the fluid sounds of creeks, streams and waterfalls. All of these sonarities are connected to one another as participating “voices in the forest,” fading in and out, thinning and thickening, over the course of a day, with seasonal variations over time. Kaluli singing is characterized by what participant observer Steven Feld has called a “lift-up oversounding,” a dense multi-layered aesthetic and ecological soundscape which he considers to be consistent with anarchy as a lived experience.

As he explains:

Lift-up oversounding, like harmony, is both a grand metaphor for natural sonic relations, the way tones come together in time, as well as for social relations, for people doing things together in concert. It is the pattern of fluid but tense egalitarian social life, where an anarchic synchrony of energy and assertion takes prominence over fixed categories, in a social order without political or economic hierarchy.

As a result of his fieldwork in this Bosavi sound environment, Feld underwent a kind of poetic metamorphosis himself from academic ethnomusicologist to “echo-muse-ecologist.” Of course, the Kaluli sound mosaic is only one possible soundscape for anarchy. The egalitarian society Feld observed in Bosavi should not be exoticized as bucolic or pastoral. Rather, in his words, it is “fluid but tense.” Lift-up oversounding then is one site-specific Kaluli approach to striking the delicate balance between individual freedom and community in practice. Therefore, in a creative problem-solving sense, it provides a way of resolving the same kinds of anarchist tensions that flutter throughout the more familiar writings of both Kropotkin and Stirner, who each wrote on the relationship between birds, freedom and mutuality.

Too often, our conception of the anarchist soundscape is unilaterally forged on the barricades of social war and rebellion against authority. We experience the carnivalesque rhythms of an anarchist marching band in the streets or the dramatic thunder of the martial soundscapes associated with urban insurrection. We immerse ourselves in the sonic environment of a noise demo in defense of the winged resistance of the Individualist Cell of Birds of Fire or kick it to the beat of a punk-edged rap soundtrack by P.O.S. in the midst of a black bloc throw-down. Yet, we can likewise discern the broad musical sweep of anarchy by recognizing the anarchist trace of birdsong embodied in free flights of jazz improvisation, sound collage experimentation, deejay mash-ups and the naturally-layered soundscapes of indigenous peoples living on the land.

For Feld, both city-based and rainforested anarchic soundscapes are of sonic interest. Accordingly, in 2002, he recorded the songs, chants, speeches, and parades of anarchist May Day as celebrated in Carrara, Italy under the title, Primo Maggio Anarchico. When I first heard about this difficult to find 2002 recording, I’d never had the pleasure of hearing it, but since these outdoor festivities are held in the Merry Month of May, I assumed that on such occasions birdsong would always be a part of the mix. When I finally did get to listen to it in 2013, my hunch was confirmed on lucky Track 13.


When Nature Attacks

Attack is never inconsequential. When we do it we often justify our actions by rhetorical flourishes and calls to history, greed, or the correctness of some position or other. Fuck that shit! Our attack should never be reconciled to language but to velocity, sinew, and the ground we launch from. We share the passion that our non-human friends have against civilization and howl alongside them in rage.

Cop Hit By Falling Tree During Traffic Stop

from http://gawker.com, May 11th

An Centreville, Iowa cop had pulled over a driver for not turning their headlights on when a 30- foot oak tree cracked and fell, totaling the car and slamming the cop to the ground. The police

chief said there was no wind in the area that night and the owners of the tree said they had no idea it had rotted because it “appeared healthy” and continued to sprout green leaves each season. Both the driver and the cop walked away without major injuries, and the driver managed to not get a ticket.

Soldier Mauled By Bear At Base In Alaska

from Yahoo News, May 18th

A soldier was badly mauled as she jogged on a trail and encountered a bear and her two cubs. The soldier said she didn’t scream or fight during the attack, and the bear left her bleeding in an embankment. She sustained cuts to her neck, arms and legs, a torn ear and neck fractures. She was rushed to a hospital by a soldier who was driving by when he saw her walking down the road holding both hands to her bleeding neck. Soldier Mauled By Bear At Base In Alaska, Again from Yahoo News, July 21st An Alaska National Guard soldier was mauled by a bear while participating in a training exercise at a military base, officials said. The female brown bear was defending her two cubs when it mauled the Alaska Army National Guard soldier Sunday morning at Joint Base Elmendorf- Richardson. The exercise involves giving soldiers compasses and maps and timing them as they make their way alone to hidden locations on the course. The soldier was going through the woods when he encountered the bear and her cubs late Sunday morning. The bear approached the soldier, swatting at him and biting him before retreating after about 30 seconds. The soldier blew a safety whistle, alerting medics stationed nearby, Olmstead said. This was the second mauling at the base in about two months.

Small Town Mayor Killed By Wasps

from CNN, July 23rd

The mayor of La Prairie, a small town just outside of Montreal, Canada, was killed when she was attacked by 15 wasps. The spokeswoman for La Prairie said that the mayor was not allergic to wasps. Otter Attacks Swimmers In Pilchuck River, WA from Associated Press, August 1st A grandmother and grandson duo were swimming in the river when a 4-foot-long otter emerged and attacked the 8-year-old boy. Both had to be treated for their injuries at a hospital. ‘All of a sudden I just heard him scream for his life. He was just bobbing up and down in the water and as he came up there was something all the way on top of his head,’ she told King 5 News. The otter continued to attack as they left the water. ‘Even after it got into the river and out of our way it stood on its hind legs looking at us like, ‘Don’t do it again; don’t come in here.’’

Boy Attacked By Mountain Lion in Cupertino, CA

from www.ktvu.com, September 8th

A child was hiking about 10 feet in front of his family at the Picchetti Ranch Zinfandel Trail when a mountain lion jumped and attacked him from a hidden position. The large cat bit his neck and head and attempted to drag him off before two adults from the group scared it off. The boy was taken to the hospital under serious, yet non-life threatening condition. The authorities claim that the mountain lion followed them back toward their vehicles after the attack, and that they will kill the mountain lion “in the interest of public safety” when found, yet the mountain lion remains free and at large as of this publication. “This is the leanest time of year for all wildlife,” Rebecca Dmytryk, president of the Wildlife Emergency Services, said. “There is less out there to eat and this is the driest season we have had in decades… We should expect more and more of these encounters just the way the cards are stacked.”

Two Men Killed in Bull-Running Festival, Won’t Stop Festival

from huffingtonpost.com, September 14th

Authorities say two men, aged 46 and 27, were killed in a bull-running festival where the bulls are let loose inside barricades throughout a city and people are allowed in the barricades to taunt the bulls. People are warned of the dangers of this “festival” and it continued the next week.

Black Bear Kills Hiker in New Jersey

from huffingtonpost.com, September 22nd

A small group of hikers found themselves being followed by a black bear while hiking in the Apshawa Preserve and without knowing any better, decided to run and split off in different

directions. Two hours later, one of them was found dead with the bear enciricling his body even while authorities attempted to scare it off. The bear was killed by authorities, and wildlife officials claim that the attack may have happened due to a shortage in acorns and berries, integral parts of their diets.


A Voice From the Grave

Editor's Note: The entirey of this article has been posted here, although it originally appeared as two parts in Issues 1 & 2.

by S-kw'etu? Siceltmot

On occasion I have made the acquaintance of travellers who come from the lands that lay across the shqwun’u. It is customary on my territory to receive visitors with respect and courtesy, to make them feel welcome, but not too welcome, in light of the behaviour of their predecessors. What unfortunately occurs during some of these exchanges is the very awkward confession from the visitors that they are very much surprised that I am not dead because they have been encouraged to believe that I had died long before I was ever born. This myth—that the genocide of the indigenous people of North America is a historical event that, although sad and possibly wrong, is a reality that cannot be altered—is quite chilling when it is you and your family are the people who are still being annihilated.

My name is S-kw’etu’?, I am not dead, that is a myth, and I am not actually even an Indian, that too is a myth. I am a Salish Warrior. I have the great honour of being a descendent of my ancestors who have existed on our territories for well over ten thousand years, something that is very sacred to me. We are of the Mother, without her nothing would exist. It is my responsibility as a Warrior to protect my territory and the life that exists on her, including the settlers. I put myself at risk to protect people being assaulted as well as to prevent resource extraction that is doing harm to the Mother.

Many people would not understand why I would even include the settlers considering all the misery they have created and continue to create. However, if I excluded anyone that would be assimilating to colonial culture which would require that I discard my belief in equality for all and become a racist myself. This I cannot do. Not only is it not physically possible being I am not ‘pure anglo stock’ (nor is anyone else), but settler culture requires me to despise myself and my family, which is out of the question. I am very proud of my family and love them dearly, in fact I cherish them, and will long after I join the ancestors. No, I cannot even pretend to be a settler, not even to prolong my life and even if I did it would make no difference to the state who is occupying our territories, because with racial genocide nothing you do will alter the attitudes and beliefs of those who are the perpetrators or the state. Basically, assimilating to the dominant, oppressive, Aryan culture will not change your race; ergo assimilation will not save your life. It will, however, cost you your soul, which is too high a price to pay when it comes to your own racial extermination. Colonial Canada has established itself as very much active in the genocide of indigenous people, despite the cover-ups and denial that have caused most people, even some natives and the larger percentage of the settler population, to be unaware of this fact, or, due to the horrors of this reality, stay sane through its denial.

Admitting to or facing something as horrific as racial extermination is not easy for anyone, least of all me. Writing about my own experiences is in fact very difficult. However, allowing the truth to be continually swept under the rug will in no way alter that reality. Is it safe to assume, or even intelligent to believe, that what is being told to you is the truth, even though it contradicts what is occurring right before your eyes. Are the lies more cunningly told any more believable than the ones more commonly uttered? Are untruths and myths made any more factual based only on the quantity of voices repeating what they have been told of tale? Not at all. But from their point of view, putting a positive spin on genocide is not a very easy thing for even the greatest wordsmith to do, so best we just shh, keep that quiet, the economy may suffer if we don’t.

Secrets. I dislike secrets a great deal. The whole nefarious world has secrets, and relies on them to continue plaguing all life with destruction for economic reasons. And we keep these secrets, only because for the most part it is too dangerous to speak the truth or to cry out for help. Instead, we whisper in each others ears, which excludes many from ever knowing who preys upon the vulnerable in their communities. The children, the elderly, the disabled, women, men—it makes no difference when the mandate is ethnic cleansing.

The differences at times are subtle, indiscernible to the untrained or disinterested eye. The superior eye of course see things through their own narcissistic blinders, other times they see things that are vile, sensational and extreme but if ignored or discredited these things will eventually go away so things can get back to normal. Canada’s “normal” being getting our genocide back on track and progressing. I am a genocide survivor who is not Jewish, nor am I hundreds of years old. I am not even close to reaching one hundred years of age, and there is less chance of me living to that age than there is of my dying a violent death. These are the realities, not the myths.

So what then does genocide look like when not being perpetrated by Nazis and the SS? What does it look like when not on the television, edited and formatted for the viewers’ entertainment or pleasure, heroically portrayed by Hollywood’s finest actors, who are very willing, for money, to provide everyone with steady streams of indisputable evidence of all that is right and just in the world? This caters to its advertisers’ needs for money, nothing more. Genocide and racial cleansing are not known to generate much interest in car financing or electronics so don’t expect to see much footage on the subject, but do expect to see a great deal about money and its importance.

For those of you who are unaware, or kept in the dark due to systematic racial intolerance, I will tell you what genocide looks like. It looks like apathy. It looks like deliberate marginalization based on race. It looks just like Canada, the multicultural home to racial oppression, human rights violations and injustice in North America.

It looks like Timmy. Timmy is also not century old (this I can attest to because when I was a child not long ago so was he). He had the most amazing smile. Crooked teeth only made his face that much more handsome, and that smile made it easy to want to be his friend, to play with him, except by the age of ten Timmy was already incapable of playing—or much else. Before Timmy was transferred into the settler public school system he, as a status native, had been receiving his special privileges so he had been educated in a private school, unlike the common settler rabble. The special privileges are designed by Canada who assumes legal entitlement to natives by making them Canada’s wards. This is due to our racial inferiority and the privileges are kind of in lieu of rent on the property which colonial Canada now occupies.

Timmy’s privileged lifestyle meant that he had been kept as an inmate of the settler government on the remote Penelakut Island. The residential school on Kuper Island, as the settlers erroneously referred to it, first opened its doors 1890 and operated up until 1975. It is better known by its nickname, Alcatraz, due to its location and the fact that so many children drowned while trying to escape from the institution. Catholic-run under the watchful eye of the settler government, the inmates ages four and up were starved, beaten, raped, murdered, and tortured, many to death because their emaciated state made them wonderful subjects for Canada’s medical experiments. Of course, these private school educations that the modern multicultural settlers now accuse Natives of being ungrateful for (or in Canada-speak, ‘Taking the free educations we gave them and using them against us’) were funded by the slave labour of those students—another couple myths down the toilet.

Thirty percent of all the inmates who were condemned to exist at that institution did not survive the torture and abuse. They died. Was Timmy a survivor? No. He was technically alive, but his future after all that education was not looking too rosy. Have you ever met a person, a child, who had been so severely starved from an early age that their body and mind simply stopped developing?

Someone who was denied the right to grow, speak, interact or respond, to mature and have children of his own? This is the point of racial genocide. There are many like Timmy who I have met. It is extremely disturbing that a government would do such a thing, much less one that delights in condemning other people’s human rights violations despite the fact that they pale by comparison to Canada’s ongoing crimes. Calling them out on it also has no effect. The Chief Medical Officer of Indian Affairs, P.H. Bryce, called them out in 1907 when he saw what they were doing and how they were manipulating the records to cast the blame onto the parents. His book on the subject, titled The Story of A National Crime, was published in 1922 and sold for thirty-five cents a copy. It is now available free online for anyone who is interested in the truth. The fact is that none of this has been a secret, genocide is a cultural reality that many settlers accept and even justify to this day. If exposing the truth was all that was required to end the horrors then Timmy would have never been like that, he would have been healthy and happy. He attended one of those institutions fifty years after the first book exposing Canada’s deliberate abuse and slaughter of children was published.

Timmy was not his real name, his real name was unknown to me and is likely that no record of it exists, because the settler government began to destroy the school records in 1937. It is unlikely that anyone will ever know who he was. Timmy, you see, was not returned to his family. He was instead put into the care of a lonely, elderly, white spinster, which was not unusual. It still isn’t. Native children are still removed from their families and put into foster care, and are still often abused in those situations as well. The parents of the children who perished while receiving their special privileges never learned what happened to them. It is safe to assume that his family believes he is one of the many children who now lay in one of the mass graves at the school site or drowned in an attempt to escape. This is the norm. Many parents still have not found out what happened to their children, or whether they became grandparents and lost their grandchildren as well. Many of the girls who were raped in those institutions did bear children, and those babies were dispatched to hide the evidence. They did not hide Timmy though, not after what they did to him, because as he was he served Canada and settlers, he was evidence of their racial superiority and of our inability to take care of our own children without their generous ongoing help.

Dr. Bryce must have been a rare exception as a doctor back in those days. My own doctors, who operated half a century later, had much poorer attitudes towards healthcare and children than he did. Shortly after my birth, I became afflicted with a common baby malady: an intolerance to cows milk. Due to that simple problem I was incarcerated in the hospital for an extended period of time. My condition in the hospital has been described to me as wretched. I was uncared for and covered in bed sores. When my grandparents expressed concern about the open sores, they were promptly informed that the wounds could not be felt because I had no feelings. At that point they, along with all my family members, were banned from entering the hospital when I was a patient. This ban extended far beyond that initial hospital visit, and extended beyond my family members.

I can still clearly remember spending days, weeks, and months on end in that place, in total seclusion. The doctors or nurses would come to me, but did not often speak to me. They jabbed me, examined me, and left. During all those incarcerations I was not permitted to exit my room, or crib, if that was the only place they had for me. I spent many days confined to a crib at seven and eight years of age when I was shuffled out of the way when a non-native child was admitted. I was not allowed in the playroom, so I had to sate my boredom by watching while all the other sick children played with their family members who were encouraged to visit. Those people were not Indians, they were white and uncomfortable having us around. In those days segregation was common, still is actually.

In all that time I had two conversations. They were so unexpected and rare that to this day I remember them very well. One with a nurse who was trying to make me eat my hospital food, which was crap. She promised me pudding if I ate it all, so I did. My reward, the pudding, was far worse crap than the meal. I still remember the gross texture, taste, and my disappointment as that was the only offer of anything child-friendly I got there. Now I always refer to it as settler pudding, a lie, some blatant manipulation followed by a generous serving of crap as your reward. The second conversation I had was with a nice lady whose baby was occupying another crib. Her baby, unlike myself, fit the bed. She spent a lot of time up there with her baby, and my lack of company bothered her to the extent that she finally made the effort to make her way to my crib and visit me for a bit. On reflection, my lonely state aided those who deliberately and calculatedly harm us. By banning my native family members, they provided the anglo parents with evidence of the neglectful behaviour of native peoples, reinforcing their belief that the genocide is a wholesome and righteous act.

My ailments, whatever they were, where never disclosed to me or anyone else. My health is extremely poor, although I pay it no heed most of the time because being ill with an unknown problem that baffles medical people is not the most comforting position to be in. It is so bad here that often we turn away from ourselves, if only to remain sane in this multi-generational deliberate genocide.

The state and corporate paid media often spin the situations of at-risk people to appear as something that they, usually dead, must have surely created themselves. They should have known better or they would not be dead. Race and sex are both powerful elements in this colonial design, which they wield quite effectively. This is no surprise, the European elite mastered it through religion thousands of years before these colonizers ever stepped foot on our shores. It is a carefully crafted bias which colonial politicians use effectively. Can people who have not been permitted to be exposed to any other cultures can even hear them? Having nothing to compare their own culture to is a form of blindness that is very hard for the afflicted to remedy when it is so rampant and they have been taught to distrust and hate everything different from what their leaders tell them. They do not understand that the never-ending accusations and mudslinging that they believe is a proper democracy is little more than a corporate plutocracy. They could have easily looked to Iceland, an indigenous community of anglos who are not suffering like they are with the never ending enslavement to the capitalistic machine and elite. They instead prefer to blame us for their colonial reality, they blame us for the economic woes that their government creates and uses to justify their need to take more from everything and everyone. Their tax system was not created and is not managed by indigenous people. We don’t even have the right to raise our own children on our own land, to exercise our rights. We don’t even have human rights based on your government’s racist view points. Their own leader has stated that ‘human rights are a threat to democracy.’ One would think that would raise a little suspicion at least as to who they are allowing to control their life.

There is seemingly no practical point in creating biased spin against natives except to further bring about our extermination. Settlers are so incensed that their government treats natives differently—although they don’t know how or why—that they do not hesitate to inflict violence, often fatal, on any natives person they come across on the native territory they illegally occupy. Unprovoked, or government-provoked violence is common here. Be warned if you are not white; our territories are not safe for visitors. The sound of a bullet whizzing past my ear is another early childhood memory that I doubt many settler children have. I had been learning to fish. The shot was fired from across the lake from someone concealed in the forest. The bullet struck the water with a plop. I remember the ripples clearly, ripples that were first created by a colonial government determined to kill the Indians. Those words are in their own documents and the British Aryan Nation of North America is also found there. “Canada” is the theft of a native word that they use to describe their British Aryan Nation. Accidents do happen: had that person been a better shot, then I, too, would now be ‘just another dead Indian’ and the blame would have been mine somehow.

I bring history in to point out that this history is also present and alive today. This genocide is unlike the ones people understand better, the ones that rise up suddenly and are extinguished. Our genocide is past, present, and future because it has now gone on so long that it is accepted as rational or just the way things are and have to be. Many settlers and natives accept it because they were brought up with it. To them it is normal, unhealthy and destructive, but normal. The settlers who call themselves ‘white men’ do not want to look at what is going on because it is extremely unpleasant and they have grown used to nice, gentle, positive consumer messages. Natives cannot look because that only brings us more despair and hopelessness. The potential for suicide is another reality that has to be considered. In fact, I just found out that three days ago that another beautiful young person took their own life. Again, this is our normal. The onus is on the settlers to look. It is not up to us to tell them. They need to free themselves and learn to think for themselves, to become human beings again, not higher status slaves to oppression.

Violence and abuse has been a huge component in my existence and such accepted practice that it was not until I was in my early 20s that anyone bothered to even try to inform me that there were laws that prevented people from assaulting each other. That was news to me. That was my normal, and their reality was not much different—less, due to racism—but they, too, had suffered assaults that had not been addressed or remedied. The settler who told me that this was against the law was correct. The law somehow made them feel safe, except they refused to acknowledge that laws are applied on a sliding scale and never on my and many other people’s behalf due to their race, sex, or position in society. I am not a criminal. I behave in a moral, respectful manner towards all life. Technically, I break their laws constantly, but what I do is harmless; the laws I apply for myself are those of my own people not theirs. Even in their system I have no criminal record. My own arrests have been due to civil orders, they are deliberate violations of my rights as the inherited land owner, allowing businesses to remove resources from my territory against my expressed consent. Arresting natives for resisting the theft and destruction of their property is not a simple matter—they constantly have to break their own laws to do it—but they seem to have no problem managing it. The process is stupid: the province decides to sell some of your forest without your knowledge or consent. You object, as it is technically your land. You are arrested. You are released. You then have to go to court to have the charges dismissed because they are in violation of your rights and should not have been pressed in the first place. The fact that the police, judges, lawyers, and government agents conspired to create the illegal civil order in the first place is never addressed. Actually, I don’t know what they talk about at those trials, I never bother attending. No justice is ever served, it is all just a corporate subsidy. On criminal matters, however, they are very lax and prioritize their responses by their busy schedules: “Sorry, we can’t help you with that assault. We have a pre-scheduled appointment on behalf of the economy. You should be getting yourself to the hospital anyway, you are bleeding all over the place.” That is the response for non-native peoples. With native peoples who have been assaulted, it is often: “Hey, come back here. I noticed that they missed a few spots.” There is plenty of evidence of police assaulting native peoples: beatings, sexual assaults, starlight tours, the list is endless and because there are no repercussions for this, it continues today. Not knowing this can cost you your life if you are native. Reporting crimes is risky. Many people have gone in to report an assault only to be arrested. This behaviour, too, has been documented and sometimes is even reported in the press, but only if it is horrific and will sell media time and advertising. Depending on the level of nastiness, books, plays, and movies could bring in even more revenue. After we become dead Indians they pick apart our corpses because there is still a little more left to take and put in their own pockets. The true crime entertainment business is in no way suffering from a lack of consumers or material in the modern free world where whatever is good for the economy is the only thing that matters.

As the result of the police’s refusal to enforce the law and investigate and charge people who have assaulted other people, I have had those people come to me for shelter and protection instead, people whose faces are bloody messes, yet have been turned away and denied not only police aid but any other aid such as medical assistance or shelter as well. Finding themselves just sent back out and still in fear of whomever it was who hurt them, they come to me and stay with me until the violent party has had time to cool down and it is safe for them to be out again. Usually three days is adequate, depending on the nature of the problem. Actually, now that I reflect back a bit, I have done a considerable amount of policing on behalf of the people they are supposed to be aiding, and for no remuneration. I have broken up brawls, prevented assaults, corrected the behaviour of sexually deviant males, aided people in distress, helped temporarily homeless human beings re-establish themselves in securer, more fulfilling environments, simply because it needed to be done. However, I do not racially exclude anyone from this. The non-native people are extremely shocked, declaring that no one had ever done such a thing on their behalf before, not even the people their government pays to do it, pays with the money generated from the stolen resources from my people’s land. The truth is, the people being paid to take care of other people would probably arrest me for doing their job of helping people because that steals from the white man, instead of doing what they are supposed to, which is to do their job and respect my cultural rights. (These rights go beyond harvesting and hunting; culturally we take care of everyone and everything.) This does happen. They have created laws specifically prohibiting indigenous people from competing with them in the labour and resource market, which effectively set the norm in modern hiring practices. This took some time and effort as many of the settlers did not hate natives, that had to be ingrained first. Simply doing the opposite, creating a law in order to make amends while painting natives as the enemy, accomplishes nothing. Racists do not simply stop being racists because a law was created. They simply ignore the law, beyond complaining about it, and continue their racist hiring practices, because that is how it is done in the mythological land known as Canada. If natives find employment it is because the employer has chosen that person, not because of any laws—even many in the government still discriminate when hiring.

The fact people chose myths over facts is very concerning. The foolish narcissism of adopting this attitude is not only detrimental to the people you choose to put beneath you and stomp on, it is also detrimental to yourself, your family, and those who are yet to come. People determined to believe that Canada is legit and perfectly wonderful in order to fulfill their mandate of feeling happy always at all costs to everyone else, blind themselves to the truth. The truth is, whether you like it or not, that the failure to recognize and see the truth can kill you. We all have to die anyway; I have almost expired more than a few times. Death is inevitable, that is, unchangeable. How we appreciate the gift that is our life by using it is our decision. We have the ability to change a lot of things, including our lives and our deaths to some extent. We can chose how we do not want to die, we can put a little effort into that I think: we can chose not to allow ourselves to be poisoned by businesses, industries, drug companies, doctors, and food-producing industries. We can also chose not to be killed by mentally ill people who are not receiving treatment or support. We can choose not to be killed by members of other racial groups who are supposed to be our enemies. We can choose not to be killed by the gangs who are taking advantage of corrupt systems and unhealthy social conditions for profit (they are not all on the street either). We can choose not to be killed by state police agents or military who are being paid to protect us. We can choose not to fall prey to a sexual deviant or predator, of whom there are many alive and operating in the land of myths.

Very recently, Maryanne Pearce published a book titled An Awkward Silence: Missing and Murdered Vulnerable Women and the Canadian Justice System. She took this task on herself, researching and compiling a database of all murdered and missing people in Canada. She now suffers from post traumatic stress disorder, which she should, she took the onus and learned the truth, and these truths have to be known. The reality that Canada is a safe place is another myth. There are currently many dangerous and violent people wandering around free and at large and no effort is being put into apprehending or imprisoning them. This I was already well aware of, because the predators know that native and other minority women are marginalized by Canada, which means we are excluded from receiving the same rights, protection, and benefits many do receive only because of their race. For many years now, voices have risen in protest stating that there are six hundred missing or murdered native females who the police and government do nothing about because we are excluded. Six hundred missing or murdered is astronomical if you consider we are only two percent of the population that Canada claims to be responsible for. The number of six hundred was provided by an organization that Canada shut down in 2010 in response to the this fact coming out. Canada and the police have publicly denied this. Maryanne Pearce’s database proves there is now 824 missing or murdered native women, which means from 2010 to 2013 at least 224 more native women and girls were allowed to be murdered due to the Canadian government and their police agents’ deliberate attempts to sweep the problem back under their rug of nasty.

Even the United Nations condemned Canada for this ongoing crime. Canada’s response at the last crown speech? They stick by their prostitution laws. Of the 824 missing or murdered, she discovered that 659 were not prostitutes. Some were high school students, some even younger; many were young mothers, many were university students. The government, police, and media always apply the standard racist, colonial-logic formula (native + female = prostitute), claiming that consent was given for all abuse and violence, so these women had it coming. This is the same formula the police and the judicial system apply to any violence perpetrated against any indigenous woman or child. The male formula differs slightly (native + male = drug and alcohol crazed savage). He was the instigator of the violence, so had it coming. This is law by stereotypes, or “We reserve the right to judge any person who has been savagely violated and murdered based on our biased racist criteria before addressing the behaviour of the criminal who committed the crime, no matter how heinous the act.”

Only six were murdered by their significant others, which is quite low and deviates from the norm with non-natives. Thus, we dispose of the myth that it is native males who perpetrate the crimes. I do know more than a few native men. It is true that we have been subjected to never-ending streams of sexual, physical, emotional, and spiritual abuse from the colonial occupiers, which has resulted in us having numerous friends and family members who are now suffering with severe emotional and trauma issues. This will happen when the priest or foster daddy routinely shoves it in you from an early age in order to demonstrate what his god/culture thinks of your race.

Unless they have assimilated to ‘white culture,’ which is brought about through torture, I have no fear of native men. I actually admire them a great deal to have endured that and still come out of it sound, wonderful, and supportive. Native men are good men. They respect and admire us as well, something people who identify as being ‘white’ do not comprehend. Their culture does not promote equality between the sexes and they accept that as natural.

So what Maryanne Pearce discovered was that there are currently a large number of killers and more serial killers free and at large in Canada. The RCMP and police show little interest in the problem which everyone should be well aware of by now. Maryanne Pearce’s findings were used by several journalists to compose stories expressing the urgency of the problem. More than a few people are condemning those stories for being racist because they are not about white women who have been murdered. Dead white woman syndrome is a reality for racist cultures: twenty-seven times more news coverage is rewarded to missing white females than to missing native women and children. The deliberate racial bias in the coverage is also significant in that missing white females receive heartfelt, positive and impassioned coverage, designed to get that person back to their loved ones safely, whereas native females and girls who go missing get little more than “Missing native female, age, missing from, missing since and oh yeah did we mention she is brown?” Mug shots taken from previous arrests, if available, are the preferred images that accompany these messages. Many self-described ‘white’ people are now complaining about all the racism they have to endure because of these news stories. It is so tragic how these ‘white people’ have to suffer from so much racism which is due to the fact that other races do still exist and some journalists, especially Caucasians, actually have the audacity to remind them that there are still natives actually living on the territories they have been occupying. The very idea must chill them to the core: if that is true then there may even be other kinds of brown people out there too. Oh, will the horrors never end?

Maryanne Pearce’s work does include all women. She, like many people, had had enough of the vile racist, toxic attitudes within the Canadian government, police, judicial system and far too many of the settlers who continue to deliberately and remorselessly pursue their god-given right to harm the people whose lands they continue to occupy. I thank her for having the courage to to stand up and say, “Although I did not begin this, that is not the point. I am still a part of it and do want this to end.” The reality that over two percent of native women and girls in this population are being slaughtered indicates that racism is a serious factor behind this. This is very important to be aware of, especially when the foundation of your society and your claim to our territories is based upon ethnic cleansing.

Not every Caucasian who was born on our territories is a racist, despite the government and media’s continued anti-native propaganda. In fact, a steady growing number are beginning to stand up against it. Not every Caucasian wants the blood of innocent people on their hands, or on their conscience. No one should be comfortable with any government that sees human rights as a threat to democracy, or as something that is only given to those they allow to have them. One day you too may earn yourself or one of your grandchildren some of the ‘special privileges’ we have been receiving from your government. No one is immune to violence and horrors just by their superiority complex and lack of empathy for others. Even the self-described white people can just as easily be taken unawares, actually more easily due to their insisting on wearing ass hats. Whether or not you are the one who is subjected to being physically restrained, vilely and sickly tortured, raped, degraded, and slaughtered in order to sate a sadist’s urge depends not upon you, but upon them, they chose the prey. A high percentage of predators are racists, being that Canada is a racist culture, but some predators are ego-based. For them, whites are more suitable because they get the bonus of all that publicity. Many are opportunists, watching, waiting for the right moment. Only they define who they are and only they know what they need as far as a victim goes, what kind of suffering will sate their desires.

The predators who have been caught are primarily white males and strangers to their victim, Sometimes they even work in teams; four men gang-raped and murdered a young student. Only one of them, years later, received a five-year jail term. The racial motive has been repeated by killers and serial killers repeatedly. The response by police and the justice system is racist but what is all this racism actually achieving? Canada is condemning children and young women to death because of their race. Their handling of the long term violent sexual offenders is shrouded in secrecy. The names, charges and sentences are all kept hidden under legal publication bans. They selectively chose who the public is allowed to know about and that is a very rarely done. They have the power to allow the public to know if the person they are releasing is still a threat to the community, which means it is likely that the racist killers’ releases are not ever disclosed. They also take great pains to cover up the truth about the deaths of native children whom they have removed from their parents’ care and placed into foster care. This is another high-risk factor that is behind the missing and murdered native girls phenomenon. The criminals are often not even known to the victims in racially-motivated attacks. How are young girls, 13, 14, 15 years of age, who have been removed from their families and placed in strange communities for educational purposes, supposed to protect themselves from sadistic sex killers?

Youth and young women are targeted because they are naive, friendly, and their innocence makes them easy prey, but that is okay with Canada. There have been documented and published cases like that of a young native woman who was forced into sexual solicitation and the police being aware for over a year that the pimp was advertising her over the internet. They even arrested him for assaulting a male and recorded him threatening her on their jail system. They knowingly allowed him to force her to continue selling her body in order to pay his fines and provide him with canteen money for months. Not only did they not intervene, but the prison system and judicial system took the money. They knowingly accepted money generated from the forced sexual exploitation of a minor child. When they released the pimp after his fines were paid off, he physically assaulted the girl in the jail parking lot before driving home. They did nothing until a member of the public who saw the extent of the injuries on that child’s face phoned to log a complaint. Only then did they decide to obey the law. This was published in the mainstream press but publish any story about a native, the accusations against natives, and defense of the RCMP, and other police agencies rise up in a clamour. Clearly, the secrets have a purpose and the laws are deliberately ignored by police and the justice system. What happens when a child is sexually abused like many native children still are in their foster care or group homes where the state places them? They are severely traumatized and without support turn to drugs and alcohol, and prostitute themselves so they can afford their relief. By being forced down this path by the systematic racism that defines Canada, they eventually end up as bait for the steady stream of sexual predators and sadists.

Janet Henry, one of the many missing women and girls, is from the KwaKawQueWak Nation. She had two loving parents, her father was employed full time in fishing and logging, and they were living happily on their traditional territory until the Canadian government seized Henry and her siblings and placed them into the residential schools or foster care homes. While in foster care, she was abducted and drugged but not murdered for reasons only known to serial killer Clifford Olson, who slaughtered many children. One of her sisters was also murdered and another sibling committed suicide. Despite this, she finished high school, became a hairdresser, married, had a child. When her name was put on the missing persons list for women who disappeared from the DTES Salish Territory, it was assumed she was just another prostitute who fell victim to the pig cannibal killer Robert Pickton. However, no evidence has ever been found of her whereabouts or remains. It is quite likely yet another unknown serial killer took her life, or perhaps she is just vanished for her own protection; that also happens.

Three times in my life I have had encounters with known and released violent offenders, one of whom worked as a performer for children. That encounter for me was not traumatic; he tried to scare me, failed, and because I was clearly not frightened, simply went away kind of scared himself. It was not until a couple of days later, when I told my employer, that I found out how nasty he really was. She repeated the story to a female neighbour who he had attacked and violently assaulted years before, who had a severe PTSD attack just hearing that he was residing in the area. It kind of made me wish I had known his identity before. Then the police showed up. I hate those guys. They were annoying, but they seemed to be aware of his potential for violence, although did not confess anything to me.

The second violent offender I encountered had done time for breaking and entering a couple’s home and threatening them with a hand gun. He began showing up wherever I would; after work I rode a bicycle for a bit to the store, then out for dinner and he clearly knew my schedule. He found out where I lived, knocked on the door, and pretended he had been looking for my neighbour. I was not amused and sent him away. After telling the neighbour (who had not invited him over), and that same neighbour overhearing his conversations in the pub about me, let’s just say the boys got together and went to have a talk with him. Whatever was said stopped him.

The most recent offender I encountered, however, is by far the worst. He is a confirmed, listed sexual predator who has been convicted many times of sexual assault, assault, and also of sexual assault of a minor. His first juvenile conviction was for attempted murder. His famous attempted murder charge (which he got off) included several assaults of people with a weapon and unlawful confinement. The intended victim was thrown from a third story window into a dumpster, which saved his life. Fortunately for that person the police showed up just in time. The man was unknown to me when I first encountered him. I was unaware at that time that I was not unknown to him. When I refused his invitations to spend more time with him, he physically grabbed me and began to force his intentions on me in a busy public park. I had to force him off of me which was not easy. During our grapple apparently my elbow struck his penis and that was taken by him as consent. That was the beginning of my long game of cat and mouse with potentially deadly consequences for my children who he has promised to have sent to me a piece at a time. He is not posturing. I was watched constantly for well over two years, I was sexually assaulted more than I like to remember, and this has been the first male I have ever come across who could best me. Of course, I am getting old now, always have been physically challenged due to my early childhood illnesses, and he is twice my size. The scope of bizarre and twisted things that have taken place is beyond belief. Eventually he did find out where I lived. My neighbours witnessed and called emergency services because they feared for my life. He had a habit of shouting threats in front of my home in public, some of these episodes woke the whole neighbourhood. Despite the fact that he was on probation and had a restraining order against him from another woman, as well as being classified as a serial sexual predator, they refused to arrest him. They also decided that I really had no grounds for fear: why should a one-hundred-pound, ill, middle-aged woman fear a younger, two-hundred-pound, fit, athletic sexual offender after all? I had been suffering from pneumonia that day, which tends to happen sometimes due to whatever is wrong with me. I found myself alone with a family to protect, so we left the city and went into hiding for a few days to give him a cool down and eliminate the potential for murder.

Upon returning, I found I still had an amorous, potentially deadly admirer but now was also being harassed by police. The next thing that happened is that the police came and hauled me in for questioning about my ‘husband.’ They call him my husband. I have never been married and he was on probation from charges stemming from an incident with his wife which had occurred not even five months before. Finally, they told me that they would provide me with a no contact order. I wondered just how many women in the area that I was not aware of also had one. The loud public verbal threats continued, people witnessed him trying to enter my home on several occasions. They witnessed him hiding under my stairs in the early hours and after dark. I recorded the times and dates for several calls which came from his residence and provided them to police who made up excuses that were false as to why they could not be used as evidence of breaches against my no contact order. They basically put the onus on me to prove to them that he was in fact the party on the other end of the phone. My word alone was not enough evidence. Then, they literally tried to convince me to speak to him, which is absolutely the wrong thing to do with stalking and harassment situations.

He is an erotomaniac. One does not engage with an erotomaniac. The point of a non-contact order is not to have contact with the mentally disturbed individual because that will only make matters worse, but apparently the experts are not aware of this. Not long after, strangers were approaching me on his behalf, neighbours started receiving phone calls and having their windows knocked on, more midnight threats came, along with more harassment from police trying to pry into the sexual assault business. The man, as I saw on his record, is charged annually. He gets off on the rough sex defense. They know he is a rapist and stalker and all they want to do is get me to tell them about the sex bits, like that is not creepy. Eventually, because he was now harassing my neighbourhood and everyone was pretty much terrified I moved my family out of the city far away. Three months after I moved, the police found out where I was and called, not to see how I was or if I was alive, but because they had a warrant for his arrest stemming from the initial 911 calls that were made on my behalf by several people. What they wanted to know is if I could tell them where he was presently, very comforting. Sexual offenders are supposed to be supervised. They are supposed to report their addresses, working locations, car, and all other information that the police require, and his probation officer was supposed to have that information also. He did some time. Around six months later, I found out that my new home was now under police surveillance, which was kind of an obvious give away as to our location in the community, it was quite rural. I confirmed he was again at large, the surveillance continued, the RCMP kept coming to question me, but would not tell me what it was all about so we moved again, and again. That was a few years ago, we have had to completely disappear, to leave the community where we had lives and friends, to create new lives while he continues to terrify those people. But I guess at least they got rid of a few more Indians. There are children and people back there who relied on me to take care of them and now I can no longer do that. That is what hurts the most.

The male does not worry me as much as the police. When the whole business began, I did as I always do, I went to the library and researched the problem thoroughly, and I am very glad I did. What I learned, written by a police officer from the US who did not have anything nice to say about his colleagues in this area, prepared me for not only what the pursuer was doing but also how the police would fail. His advice did save a life, that I will attest to. But the police’s attempts to get me to engage with the stalker were very disturbing. They were trying to set me up and put myself at risk by encouraging me to talk to him and they had a twisted interest in trying to get me to speak about sexual assaults. I did search out and find the procedures manual they are supposed to use in situations like this. They clearly did the opposite, so basically I have to wonder how many other native women have been set up by the police? And one final note: there is a name on the list of missing and murdered women which was brought to my attention by a certain admirer several times. I haven’t read the new one through, I wonder if my name is on it now too. I have gone missing, but once again my death is actually a myth, only because I am one of the very few lucky ones.

This has to stop. No person, especially a child, should be allowed to be tortured, much less slaughtered, for the betterment of the economy. Please do not buy stolen native resources, do not buy from Canada. I do not want my grandchildren to endure what we have had to suffer for so many generations. We need sanctions now!


The Dark Mountain Manifesto

We have published an excerpted version of this manifesto with the hope that we were faithful to the tone and intent of it, here it appears in its entirety. Dark Mountain is a literary group based in the UK that is arguing for a kind of /dark ecology/ that is pessimistic towards activist approaches to “saving the environment” and optimistic about the possibility of us telling stories to each other. You can learn more about them at http://dark-mountain.net/

<example>

Rearmament

These grand and fatal movements toward death: the grandeur of the mass

Makes pity a fool, the tearing pity

For the atoms of the mass, the persons, the victims, makes it seem monstrous

To admire the tragic beauty they build.

It is beautiful as a river flowing or a slowly gathering

Glacier on a high mountain rock-face,

Bound to plow down a forest, or as frost in November,

The gold and flaming death-dance for leaves,

Or a girl in the night of her spent maidenhood, bleeding and kissing.

I would burn my right hand in a slow fire

To change the future … I should do foolishly. The beauty of modern

Man is not in the persons but in the

Disastrous rhythm, the heavy and mobile masses, the dance of the

Dream-led masses down the dark mountain.

— Robinson Jeffers, 1935

I: WALKING ON LAVA

<quote> The end of the human race will be that it will eventually die of civilisation.

— Ralph Waldo Emerson

Those who witness extreme social collapse at first hand seldom describe any deep revelation about the truths of human existence. What they do mention, if asked, is their surprise at how easy it is to die.

The pattern of ordinary life, in which so much stays the same from one day to the next, disguises the fragility of its fabric. How many of our activities are made possible by the impression of stability that pattern gives? So long as it repeats, or varies steadily enough, we are able to plan for tomorrow as if all the things we rely on and don’t think about too care- fully will still be there. When the pattern is broken, by civil war or natu- ral disaster or the smaller-scale tragedies that tear at its fabric, many of those activities become impossible or meaningless, while simply meeting needs we once took for granted may occupy much of our lives.

What war correspondents and relief workers report is not only the fragility of the fabric, but the speed with which it can unravel. As we write this, no one can say with certainty where the unravelling of the financial and commercial fabric of our economies will end. Meanwhile, beyond the cities, unchecked industrial exploitation frays the material basis of life in many parts of the world, and pulls at the ecological systems which sustain it.

Precarious as this moment may be, however, an awareness of the fragility of what we call civilisation is nothing new.

‘Few men realise,’ wrote Joseph Conrad in 1896, ‘that their life, the very essence of their character, their capabilities and their audacities, are only the expression of their belief in the safety of their surroundings.’ Conrad’s writings exposed the civilisation exported by European imperialists to be little more than a comforting illusion, not only in the dark, unconquerable heart of Africa, but in the whited sepulchres of their capital cities. The inhabitants of that civilisation believed ‘blindly in the irresistible force of its institutions and its morals, in the power of its police and of its opinion,’ but their confidence could be maintained only by the seeming solidity of the crowd of like-minded believers surrounding them. Outside the walls, the wild remained as close to the surface as blood under skin, though the city-dweller was no longer equipped to face it directly.

Bertrand Russell caught this vein in Conrad’s worldview, suggesting that the novelist ‘thought of civilised and morally tolerable human life as a dangerous walk on a thin crust of barely cooled lava which at any moment might break and let the unwary sink into fiery depths.’ What both Russell and Conrad were getting at was a simple fact which any historian could confirm: human civilisation is an intensely fragile con- struction. It is built on little more than belief: belief in the rightness of its values; belief in the strength of its system of law and order; belief in its currency; above all, perhaps, belief in its future.

Once that belief begins to crumble, the collapse of a civilisation may become unstoppable. That civilisations fall, sooner or later, is as much a law of history as gravity is a law of physics. What remains after the fall is a wild mixture of cultural debris, confused and angry people whose certainties have betrayed them, and those forces which were always there, deeper than the foundations of the city walls: the desire to survive and the desire for meaning.


It is, it seems, our civilisation’s turn to experience the inrush of the savage and the unseen; our turn to be brought up short by contact with untamed reality. There is a fall coming. We live in an age in which familiar restraints are being kicked away, and foundations snatched from under us. After a quarter century of complacency, in which we were invited to believe in bubbles that would never burst, prices that would never fall, the end of history, the crude repackaging of the triumphalism of Conrad’s Victorian twilight — Hubris has been introduced to Nemesis. Now a familiar human story is being played out. It is the story of an empire corroding from within. It is the story of a people who believed, for a long time, that their actions did not have consequences. It is the story of how that people will cope with the crumbling of their own myth. It is our story.

This time, the crumbling empire is the unassailable global economy, and the brave new world of consumer democracy being forged worldwide in its name. Upon the indestructibility of this edifice we have pinned the hopes of this latest phase of our civilisation. Now, its failure and fallibility exposed, the world’s elites are scrabbling frantically to buoy up an economic machine which, for decades, they told us needed little restraint, for restraint would be its undoing. Uncountable sums of money are being funnelled upwards in order to prevent an uncontrolled explosion. The machine is stuttering and the engineers are in panic. They are wondering if perhaps they do not understand it as well as they imagined. They are wondering whether they are controlling it at all or whether, perhaps, it is controlling them.

Increasingly, people are restless. The engineers group themselves into competing teams, but neither side seems to know what to do, and neither seems much different from the other. Around the world, discontent can be heard. The extremists are grinding their knives and moving in as the machine’s coughing and stuttering exposes the inadequacies of the political oligarchies who claimed to have everything in hand. Old gods are rearing their heads, and old answers: revolution, war, ethnic strife. Politics as we have known it totters, like the machine it was built to sustain. In its place could easily arise something more elemental, with a dark heart.

As the financial wizards lose their powers of levitation, as the politicians and economists struggle to conjure new explanations, it starts to dawn on us that behind the curtain, at the heart of the Emerald City, sits not the benign and omnipotent invisible hand we had been promised, but something else entirely. Something responsible for what Marx, writing not so long before Conrad, cast as the ‘everlasting uncertainty and anguish’ of the ‘bourgeois epoch’; a time in which ‘all that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned.’ Draw back the curtain, follow the tireless motion of cogs and wheels back to its source, and you will find the engine driving our civilisation: the myth of progress.

The myth of progress is to us what the myth of god-given warrior prowess was to the Romans, or the myth of eternal salvation was to the conquistadors: without it, our efforts cannot be sustained. Onto the root stock of Western Christianity, the Enlightenment at its most optimistic grafted a vision of an Earthly paradise, towards which human effort guided by calculative reason could take us. Following this guidance, each generation will live a better life than the life of those that went before it. History becomes an escalator, and the only way is up. On the top floor is human perfection. It is important that this should remain just out of reach in order to sustain the sensation of motion.

Recent history, however, has given this mechanism something of a battering. The past century too often threatened a descent into hell, rather than the promised heaven on Earth. Even within the prosperous and liberal societies of the West progress has, in many ways, failed to deliver the goods. Today’s generation are demonstrably less content, and consequently less optimistic, than those that went before. They work longer hours, with less security, and less chance of leaving behind the social back- ground into which they were born. They fear crime, social breakdown, overdevelopment, environmental collapse. They do not believe that the future will be better than the past. Individually, they are less constrained by class and convention than their parents or grandparents, but more constrained by law, surveillance, state proscription and personal debt. Their physical health is better, their mental health more fragile. Nobody knows what is coming. Nobody wants to look.

Most significantly of all, there is an underlying darkness at the root of everything we have built. Outside the cities, beyond the blurring edges of our civilisation, at the mercy of the machine but not under its control, lies something that neither Marx nor Conrad, Caesar nor Hume, Thatcher nor Lenin ever really understood. Something that Western civilisation — which has set the terms for global civilisation—was never capable of understanding, because to understand it would be to undermine, fatally, the myth of that civilisation. Something upon which that thin crust of lava is balanced; which feeds the machine and all the people who run it, and which they have all trained themselves not to see.

II: THE SEVERED HAND

<quote>

Then what is the answer? Not to be deluded by dreams.

To know that great civilisations have broken down into violence,

and their tyrants come, many times before.

When open violence appears, to avoid it with honor or choose

the least ugly faction; these evils are essential.

To keep one’s own integrity, be merciful and uncorrupted

and not wish for evil; and not be duped

By dreams of universal justice or happiness. These dreams will

not be fulfilled.

To know this, and know that however ugly the parts appear

the whole remains beautiful. A severed hand

Is an ugly thing and man dissevered from the earth and stars

and his history … for contemplation or in fact …

Often appears atrociously ugly. Integrity is wholeness,

the greatest beauty is

Organic wholeness, the wholeness of life and things, the divine beauty

of the universe. Love that, not man

Apart from that, or else you will share man’s pitiful confusions,

or drown in despair when his days darken.

— Robinson Jeffers, ‘The Answer’

The myth of progress is founded on the myth of nature. The first tells us that we are destined for greatness; the second tells us that greatness is cost-free. Each is intimately bound up with the other. Both tell us that we are apart from the world; that we began grunting in the primeval swamps, as a humble part of something called ‘nature’, which we have now triumphantly subdued. The very fact that we have a word for ‘nature’ is [5] evidence that we do not regard ourselves as part of it. Indeed, our separation from it is a myth integral to the triumph of our civilisation. We are, we tell ourselves, the only species ever to have attacked nature and won. In this, our unique glory is contained.

Outside the citadels of self-congratulation, lone voices have cried out against this infantile version of the human story for centuries, but it is only in the last few decades that its inaccuracy has become laughably apparent. We are the first generations to grow up surrounded by evidence that our attempt to separate ourselves from ‘nature’ has been a grim failure, proof not of our genius but our hubris. The attempt to sever the hand from the body has endangered the ‘progress’ we hold so dear, and it has endangered much of ‘nature’ too. The resulting upheaval underlies the crisis we now face.

We imagined ourselves isolated from the source of our existence. The fallout from this imaginative error is all around us: a quarter of the world’s mammals are threatened with imminent extinction; an acre and a half of rainforest is felled every second; 75% of the world’s fish stocks are on the verge of collapse; humanity consumes 25% more of the world’s natural ‘products’ than the Earth can replace — a figure predicted to rise to 80% by mid-century. Even through the deadening lens of statistics, we can glimpse the violence to which our myths have driven us.

And over it all looms runaway climate change. Climate change, which threatens to render all human projects irrelevant; which presents us with detailed evidence of our lack of understanding of the world we inhabit while, at the same time, demonstrating that we are still entirely reliant upon it. Climate change, which highlights in painful colour the head-on crash between civilisation and ‘nature’; which makes plain, more effectively than any carefully constructed argument or optimistically defiant protest, how the machine’s need for permanent growth will require us to destroy ourselves in its name. Climate change, which brings home at last our ultimate powerlessness.

These are the facts, or some of them. Yet facts never tell the whole story. (‘Facts’, Conrad wrote, in Lord Jim, ‘as if facts could prove anything.’) The facts of environmental crisis we hear so much about often conceal as much as they expose. We hear daily about the impacts of our activities on ‘the environment’ (like ‘nature’, this is an expression which distances us from the reality of our situation). Daily we hear, too, of the many ‘solutions’ to these problems: solutions which usually involve the necessity of urgent political agreement and a judicious application of human technological genius. Things may be changing, runs the narrative, but there is nothing we cannot deal with here, folks. We perhaps need to move faster, more urgently. Certainly we need to accelerate the pace of research and development. We accept that we must become more ‘sustainable’. But everything will be fine. There will still be growth, there will still be progress: these things will continue, because they have to continue, so they cannot do anything but continue. There is nothing to see here. Everything will be fine.


We do not believe that everything will be fine. We are not even sure, based on current definitions of progress and improvement, that we want it to be. Of all humanity’s delusions of difference, of its separation from and superiority to the living world which surrounds it, one distinction holds up better than most: we may well be the first species capable of effectively eliminating life on Earth. This is a hypothesis we seem intent on putting to the test. We are already responsible for denuding the world of much of its richness, magnificence, beauty, colour and magic, and we show no sign of slowing down. For a very long time, we imagined that ‘nature’ was something that happened elsewhere. The damage we did to it might be regrettable, but needed to be weighed against the benefits here and now. And in the worst case scenario, there would always be some kind of Plan B. Perhaps we would make for the moon, where we could survive in lunar colonies under giant bubbles as we planned our expansion across the galaxy.

But there is no Plan B and the bubble, it turns out, is where we have been living all the while. The bubble is that delusion of isolation under which we have laboured for so long. The bubble has cut us off from life on the only planet we have, or are ever likely to have. The bubble is civilisation.

Consider the structures on which that bubble has been built. Its foundations are geological: coal, oil, gas — millions upon millions of years of ancient sunlight, dragged from the depths of the planet and burned with abandon. On this base, the structure stands. Move upwards, and you pass through a jumble of supporting horrors: battery chicken sheds; industrial abattoirs; burning forests; beam-trawled ocean floors; dynamited reefs; hollowed-out mountains; wasted soil. Finally, on top of all these unseen layers, you reach the well-tended surface where you and I stand: unaware, or uninterested, in what goes on beneath us; demanding that the authorities keep us in the manner to which we have been accustomed; occasion- ally feeling twinges of guilt that lead us to buy organic chickens or locally-produced lettuces; yet for the most part glutted, but not sated, on the fruits of the horrors on which our lifestyles depend.

We are the first generations born into a new and unprecedented age — the age of ecocide. To name it thus is not to presume the outcome, but simply to describe a process which is underway. The ground, the sea, the air, the elemental backdrops to our existence — all these our economics has taken for granted, to be used as a bottomless tip, endlessly able to dilute and disperse the tailings of our extraction, production, consumption. The sheer scale of the sky or the weight of a swollen river makes it hard to imagine that creatures as flimsy as you and I could do that much damage. Philip Larkin gave voice to this attitude, and the creeping, worrying end of it in his poem Going, Going:

Things are tougher than we are, just

As earth will always respond

However we mess it about;

Chuck filth in the sea, if you must:

The tides will be clean beyond.

– But what do I feel now? Doubt?

Nearly forty years on from Larkin’s words, doubt is what all of us seem to feel, all of the time. Too much filth has been chucked in the sea and into the soil and into the atmosphere to make any other feeling sensible. The doubt, and the facts, have paved the way for a worldwide movement of environmental politics, which aimed, at least in its early, raw form, to challenge the myths of development and progress head-on. But time has not been kind to the greens. Today’s environmentalists are more likely to be found at corporate conferences hymning the virtues of ‘sustainability’ and ‘ethical consumption’ than doing anything as naive as questioning the intrinsic values of civilisation. Capitalism has absorbed the greens, as it absorbs so many challenges to its ascendancy. A radical challenge to the human machine has been transformed into yet another opportunity for shopping.

‘Denial’ is a hot word, heavy with connotations. When it is used to brand the remaining rump of climate change sceptics, they object noisily to the association with those who would rewrite the history of the Holocaust. Yet the focus on this dwindling group may serve as a distraction from a far larger form of denial, in its psychoanalytic sense. Freud wrote of the inability of people to hear things which did not fit with the way they saw themselves and the world. We put ourselves through all kinds of inner contortions, rather than look plainly at those things which challenge our fundamental understanding of the world.

Today, humanity is up to its neck in denial about what it has built, what it has become — and what it is in for. Ecological and economic collapse unfold before us and, if we acknowledge them at all, we act as if this were a temporary problem, a technical glitch. Centuries of hubris block our ears like wax plugs; we cannot hear the message which reality is screaming at us. For all our doubts and discontents, we are still wired to an idea of his- tory in which the future will be an upgraded version of the present. The assumption remains that things must continue in their current direction: the sense of crisis only smudges the meaning of that ‘must’. No longer a natural inevitability, it becomes an urgent necessity: we must find a way to go on having supermarkets and superhighways. We cannot contemplate the alternative.

And so we find ourselves, all of us together, poised trembling on the edge of a change so massive that we have no way of gauging it. None of us knows where to look, but all of us know not to look down. Secretly, we all think we are doomed: even the politicians think this; even the environmentalists. Some of us deal with it by going shopping. Some deal with it by hoping it is true. Some give up in despair. Some work frantically to try and fend off the coming storm.

Our question is: what would happen if we looked down? Would it be as bad as we imagine? What might we see? Could it even be good for us?

We believe it is time to look down.

III: UNCIVILISATION

<quote>

Without mystery, without curiosity and without the form imposed by a partial answer, there can be no stories—only confessions, com- muniqués, memories and fragments of autobiographical fantasy which for the moment pass as novels.

— John Berger, ‘A Story for Aesop’, from Keeping a Rendezvous

If we are indeed teetering on the edge of a massive change in how we live, in how human society itself is constructed, and in how we relate to the rest of the world, then we were led to this point by the stories we have told ourselves — above all, by the story of civilisation.

This story has many variants, religious and secular, scientific, economic and mystic. But all tell of humanity’s original transcendence of its animal beginnings, our growing mastery over a ‘nature’ to which we no longer belong, and the glorious future of plenty and prosperity which will follow when this mastery is complete. It is the story of human centrality, of a species destined to be lord of all it surveys, unconfined by the limits that apply to other, lesser creatures.

What makes this story so dangerous is that, for the most part, we have forgotten that it is a story. It has been told so many times by those who see themselves as rationalists, even scientists; heirs to the Enlightenment’s legacy — a legacy which includes the denial of the role of stories in making the world.

Humans have always lived by stories, and those with skill in telling them have been treated with respect and, often, a certain wariness. Beyond the limits of reason, reality remains mysterious, as incapable of being approached directly as a hunter’s quarry. With stories, with art, with symbols and layers of meaning, we stalk those elusive aspects of reality that go undreamed of in our philosophy. The storyteller weaves the mysterious into the fabric of life, lacing it with the comic, the tragic, the obscene, making safe paths through dangerous territory.

Yet as the myth of civilisation deepened its grip on our thinking, borrowing the guise of science and reason, we began to deny the role of stories, to dismiss their power as something primitive, childish, outgrown. The old tales by which generations had made sense of life’s subtleties and strangenesses were bowdlerised and packed off to the nursery. Religion, that bag of myths and mysteries, birthplace of the theatre, was straightened out into a framework of universal laws and moral account-keeping. The dream visions of the Middle Ages became the nonsense stories of Victorian childhood. In the age of the novel, stories were no longer the way to approach the deep truths of the world, so much as a way to pass time on a train journey. It is hard, today, to imagine that the word of a poet was once feared by a king.

Yet for all this, our world is still shaped by stories. Through television, film, novels and video games, we may be more thoroughly bombarded with narrative material than any people that ever lived. What is peculiar, however, is the carelessness with which these stories are channelled at us — as entertainment, a distraction from daily life, something to hold our attention to the other side of the ad break. There is little sense that these things make up the equipment by which we navigate reality. On the other hand, there are the serious stories told by economists, politicians, geneticists and corporate leaders. These are not presented as stories at all, but as direct accounts of how the world is. Choose between competing versions, then fight with those who chose differently. The ensuing conflicts play out on early morning radio, in afternoon debates and late night television pundit wars. And yet, for all the noise, what is striking is how much the opposing sides agree on: all their stories are only variants of the larger story of human centrality, of our ever-expanding control over ‘nature’, our right to perpetual economic growth, our ability to transcend all limits.

So we find ourselves, our ways of telling unbalanced, trapped inside a runaway narrative, headed for the worst kind of encounter with reality. In such a moment, writers, artists, poets and storytellers of all kinds have a critical role to play. Creativity remains the most uncontrollable of human forces: without it, the project of civilisation is inconceivable, yet no part of life remains so untamed and undomesticated. Words and images can change minds, hearts, even the course of history. Their makers shape the stories people carry through their lives, unearth old ones and breathe them back to life, add new twists, point to unexpected endings. It is time to pick up the threads and make the stories new, as they must always be made new, starting from where we are.

Mainstream art in the West has long been about shock; about busting taboos, about Getting Noticed. This has gone on for so long that it has become common to assert that in these ironic, exhausted, post-everything times, there are no taboos left to bust. But there is one.

The last taboo is the myth of civilisation. It is built upon the stories we have constructed about our genius, our indestructibility, our manifest destiny as a chosen species. It is where our vision and our self-belief intertwine with our reckless refusal to face the reality of our position on this Earth. It has led the human race to achieve what it has achieved; and has led the planet into the age of ecocide. The two are intimately linked. We believe they must decoupled if anything is to remain.

We believe that artists — which is to us the most welcoming of words, taking under its wing writers of all kinds, painters, musicians, sculptors, poets, designers, creators, makers of things, dreamers of dreams — have a responsibility to begin the process of decoupling. We believe that, in the age of ecocide, the last taboo must be broken — and that only artists can do it.

Ecocide demands a response. That response is too important to be left to politicians, economists, conceptual thinkers, number crunchers; too all-pervasive to be left to activists or campaigners. Artists are needed. So far, though, the artistic response has been muted. In between traditional nature poetry and agitprop, what is there? Where are the poems that have adjusted their scope to the scale of this challenge? Where are the novels that probe beyond the country house or the city centre? What new form of writing has emerged to challenge civilisation itself? What gallery mounts an exhibition equal to this challenge? Which musician has discovered the secret chord?

If the answers to these questions have been scarce up to now, it is perhaps both because the depth of collective denial is so great, and because the challenge is so very daunting. We are daunted by it, ourselves. But we believe it needs to be risen to. We believe that art must look over the edge, face the world that is coming with a steady eye, and rise to the challenge of ecocide with a challenge of its own: an artistic response to the crumbling of the empires of the mind.


This response we call Uncivilised art, and we are interested in one branch of it in particular: Uncivilised writing. Uncivilised writing is writing which attempts to stand outside the human bubble and see us as we are: highly evolved apes with an array of talents and abilities which we are unleashing without sufficient thought, control, compassion or intelligence. Apes who have constructed a sophisticated myth of their own importance with which to sustain their civilising project. Apes whose project has been to tame, to control, to subdue or to destroy — to civilise the forests, the deserts, the wild lands and the seas, to impose bonds on the minds of their own in order that they might feel nothing when they exploit or destroy their fellow creatures.

Against the civilising project, which has become the progenitor of ecocide, Uncivilised writing offers not a non-human perspective—we remain human and, even now, are not quite ashamed — but a perspective which sees us as one strand of a web rather than as the first palanquin in a glorious procession. It offers an unblinking look at the forces among which we find ourselves.

It sets out to paint a picture of homo sapiens which a being from another world or, better, a being from our own — a blue whale, an albatross, a mountain hare — might recognise as something approaching a truth. It sets out to tug our attention away from ourselves and turn it outwards; to uncentre our minds. It is writing, in short, which puts civilisation — and us — into perspective. Writing that comes not, as most writing still does, from the self-absorbed and self-congratulatory metropolitan centres of civilisation but from somewhere on its wilder fringes. Somewhere woody and weedy and largely avoided, from where insistent, uncomfortable truths about ourselves drift in; truths which we’re not keen on hearing. Writing which unflinchingly stares us down, however uncomfortable this may prove.

It might perhaps be just as useful to explain what Uncivilised writing is not. It is not environmental writing, for there is much of that about already, and most of it fails to jump the barrier which marks the limit of our collective human ego; much of it, indeed, ends up shoring-up that ego, and helping us to persist in our civilisational delusions. It is not nature writing, for there is no such thing as nature as distinct from people, and to suggest otherwise is to perpetuate the attitude which has brought us here. And it is not political writing, with which the world is already flooded, for politics is a human confection, complicit in ecocide and decaying from within.

Uncivilised writing is more rooted than any of these. Above all, it is determined to shift our worldview, not to feed into it. It is writing for outsiders. If you want to be loved, it might be best not to get involved, for the world, at least for a time, will resolutely refuse to listen.

A salutary example of this last point can be found in the fate of one of the twentieth century’s most significant yet most neglected poets. Robinson Jeffers was writing Uncivilised verse seventy years before this manifesto was thought of, though he did not call it that. In his early poetic career, Jeffers was a star: he appeared on the cover of Time magazine, read his poems in the US Library of Congress and was respected for the alternative he offered to the Modernist juggernaut. Today his work is left out of anthologies, his name is barely known and his politics are regarded with suspicion. Read Jeffers’ later work and you will see why. His crime was to deliberately puncture humanity’s sense of self-importance. His punishment was to be sent into a lonely literary exile from which, forty years after his death, he has still not been allowed to return.

But Jeffers knew what he was in for. He knew that nobody, in an age of ‘consumer choice’, wanted to be told by this stone-faced prophet of the California cliffs that ‘it is good for man … To know that his needs and nature are no more changed in fact in ten thousand years than the beaks of eagles.’ He knew that no comfortable liberal wanted to hear his angry warning, issued at the height of the Second World War: ‘Keep clear of the dupes that talk democracy / And the dogs that talk revolution / Drunk with talk, liars and believers … / Long live freedom, and damn the ideologies.’ His vision of a world in which humanity was doomed to destroy its surroundings and eventually itself (‘I would burn my right hand in a [14] slow fire / To change the future … I should do foolishly’) was furiously rejected in the rising age of consumer democracy which he also predicted (‘Be happy, adjust your economics to the new abundance…’)

Jeffers, as his poetry developed, developed a philosophy too. He called it ‘inhumanism.’ It was, he wrote:

a shifting of emphasis and significance from man to notman; the rejection of human solipsism and recognition of the transhuman magnificence…This manner of thought and feeling is neither misanthropic nor pessimist … It offers a reasonable detachment as rule of conduct, instead of love, hate and envy… it provides magnificence for the religious instinct, and satisfies our need to admire greatness and rejoice in beauty.

The shifting of emphasis from man to notman: this is the aim of Uncivilised writing. To ‘unhumanise our views a little, and become confident / As the rock and ocean that we were made from.’ This is not a rejection of our humanity — it is an affirmation of the wonder of what it means to be truly human. It is to accept the world for what it is and to make our home here, rather than dreaming of relocating to the stars, or existing in a Man-forged bubble and pretending to ourselves that there is nothing outside it to which we have any connection at all.

This, then, is the literary challenge of our age. So far, few have taken it up. The signs of the times flash out in urgent neon, but our literary lions have better things to read. Their art remains stuck in its own civilised bubble. The idea of civilisation is entangled, right down to its semantic roots, with city-dwelling, and this provokes a thought: if our writers seem unable to find new stories which might lead us through the times ahead, is this not a function of their metropolitan mentality? The big names of contemporary literature are equally at home in the fashionable quarters of London or New York, and their writing reflects the prejudices of the placeless, transnational elite to which they belong.

The converse also applies. Those voices which tell other stories tend to be rooted in a sense of place. Think of John Berger’s novels and essays from the Haute Savoie, or the depths explored by Alan Garner within a day’s walk of his birthplace in Cheshire. Think of Wendell Berry or WS Merwin, Mary Oliver or Cormac McCarthy. Those whose writings [15] approach the shores of the Uncivilised are those who know their place, in the physical sense, and who remain wary of the siren cries of metrovincial fashion and civilised excitement.

If we name particular writers whose work embodies what we are arguing for, the aim is not to place them more prominently on the existing map of literary reputations. Rather, as Geoff Dyer has said of Berger, to take their work seriously is to redraw the maps altogether — not only the map of literary reputations, but those by which we navigate all areas of life.

Even here, we go carefully, for cartography itself is not a neutral activity. The drawing of maps is full of colonial echoes. The civilised eye seeks to view the world from above, as something we can stand over and survey. The Uncivilised writer knows the world is, rather, something we are enmeshed in — a patchwork and a framework of places, experiences, sights, smells, sounds. Maps can lead, but can also mislead. Our maps must be the kind sketched in the dust with a stick, washed away by the next rain. They can be read only by those who ask to see them, and they cannot be bought.

This, then, is Uncivilised writing. Human, inhuman, stoic and entirely natural. Humble, questioning, suspicious of the big idea and the easy answer. Walking the boundaries and reopening old conversations. Apart but engaged, its practitioners always willing to get their hands dirty; aware, in fact, that dirt is essential; that keyboards should be tapped by those with soil under their fingernails and wilderness in their heads.

We tried ruling the world; we tried acting as God’s steward, then we tried ushering in the human revolution, the age of reason and isolation. We failed in all of it, and our failure destroyed more than we were even aware of. The time for civilisation is past. Uncivilisation, which knows its flaws because it has participated in them; which sees unflinchingly and bites down hard as it records — this is the project we must embark on now. This is the challenge for writing — for art — to meet. This is what we are here for.

IV: TO THE FOOTHILLS!

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One impulse from a vernal wood

May teach you more of man,

Of moral evil and of good,

Than all the sages can.

— William Wordsworth, ‘The Tables Turned’

A movement needs a beginning. An expedition needs a base camp. A project needs a headquarters. Uncivilisation is our project, and the promotion of Uncivilised writing — and art — needs a base. We present this manifesto not simply because we have something to say—who doesn’t?—but because we have something to do. We hope this pamphlet has created a spark. If so, we have a responsibility to fan the flames. This is what we intend to do. But we can’t do it alone.

This is a moment to ask deep questions and to ask them urgently. All around us, shifts are under way which suggest that our whole way of living is already passing into history. It is time to look for new paths and new stories, ones that can lead us through the end of the world as we know it and out the other side. We suspect that by questioning the foundations of civilisation, the myth of human centrality, our imagined isolation, we may find the beginning of such paths.

If we are right, it will be necessary to go literally beyond the Pale. Out- side the stockades we have built — the city walls, the original marker in stone or wood that first separated ‘man’ from ‘nature’. Beyond the gates, out into the wilderness, is where we are headed. And there we shall make for the higher ground for, as Jeffers wrote, ‘when the cities lie at the monster’s feet / There are left the mountains.’ We shall make the pilgrimage to the poet’s Dark Mountain, to the great, immovable, inhuman heights which were here before us and will be here after, and from their slopes we shall look back upon the pinprick lights of the distant cities and gain perspective on who we are and what we have become.

This is the Dark Mountain project. It starts here.

Where will it end? Nobody knows. Where will it lead? We are not sure. Its first incarnation, launched alongside this manifesto, is a website, which points the way to the ranges. It will contains thoughts, scribblings, jottings, ideas; it will work up the project of Uncivilisation, and invite all comers to join the discussion.

Then it will become a physical object, because virtual reality is, ultimately, no reality at all. It will become a journal, of paper, card, paint and print; of ideas, thoughts, observations, mumblings; new stories which will help to define the project — the school, the movement — of Uncivilised writing. It will collect the words and the images of those who consider themselves Uncivilised and have something to say about it; who want to help us attack the citadels. It will be a thing of beauty for the eye and for the heart and for the mind, for we are unfashionable enough to believe that beauty — like truth — not only exists, but still matters.

Beyond that… all is currently hidden from view. It is a long way across the plains, and things become obscured by distance. There are great white spaces on this map still. The civilised would fill them in; we are not so sure we want to. But we cannot resist exploring them, navigating by rumours and by the stars. We don’t know quite what we will find. We are slightly nervous. But we will not turn back, for we believe that something enormous may be out there, waiting to meet us.

Uncivilisation, like civilisation, is not something that can be created alone. Climbing the Dark Mountain cannot be a solitary exercise. We need bearers, sherpas, guides, fellow adventurers. We need to rope ourselves together for safety. At present, our form is loose and nebulous. It will firm itself up as we climb. Like the best writing, we need to be shaped by the ground beneath our feet, and what we become will be shaped, at least in part, by what we find on our journey.

If you would like to climb at least some of the way with us, we would like to hear from you. We feel sure there are others out there who would relish joining us on this expedition.

Come. Join us. We leave at dawn.

THE EIGHT PRINCIPLES OF UNCIVILISATION

‘We must unhumanise our views a little, and become confident

As the rock and ocean that we were made from.’

  1. We live in a time of social, economic and ecological unravelling. All around us are signs that our whole way of living is already passing into history. We will face this reality honestly and learn how to live with it.

  2. We reject the faith which holds that the converging crises of our times can be reduced to a set of ‘problems’ in need of technological or political ‘solutions’.

  3. We believe that the roots of these crises lie in the stories we have been telling ourselves. We intend to challenge the stories which underpin our civilisation: the myth of progress, the myth of human centrality, and the myth of our separation from ‘nature’. These myths are more dangerous for the fact that we have forgotten they are myths.

  4. We will reassert the role of storytelling as more than mere entertainment. It is through stories that we weave reality.

  5. Humans are not the point and purpose of the planet. Our art will begin with the attempt to step outside the human bubble. By careful attention, we will reengage with the non-human world.

  6. We will celebrate writing and art which is grounded in a sense of place and of time. Our literature has been dominated for too long by those who inhabit the cosmopolitan citadels.

  7. We will not lose ourselves in the elaboration of theories or ideologies. Our words will be elemental. We write with dirt under our fingernails.

  8. The end of the world as we know it is not the end of the world full stop. Together, we will find the hope beyond hope, the paths which lead to the unknown world ahead of us.


Ways of Casting Wishes

by Vira Hawthorn

We all have ways of casting wishes. In the anarchist milieu, one of the most common of these practices is the communiqué. Written as a story and shared in our world, communiqués attach a group of intentions to their departure. Each intention cannot be known, but every communiqué at least wishes for connection. It is the desire for resonance, a sharing of inspiration. The communiqué carries the wish for feeling and perceiving between people, for speaking in the space that alienation strangles into silence. Green anarchists know that civilization is responsible, at root, for alienation – the impassable distance between all of life. When we write about an event that has occurred, especially an event that breaks with normalcy, we aim with our intention for that barrier. We hope (despite our hopelessness) that even the slightest tingle of a real feeling will be felt.

In “Naming All Of The Names,” Cedar Leighlais continues the great tradition of criticism in our milieu. But, thrust into empty space, their blade has a blunt edge. That is to say: We should critique their criticism–even if only to make caricatures of ourselves-because they have not only missed the point, they have articulated a position that will only aid in the maintenance and growth of alienation, and the weakening of the wish for communication.

Leighlais’ article argues that if – in a communiqué - you do not name civilization as your enemy, explicitly, you have watered down your ideas, and will fail to build authentic relationships. Despite the fact that the communiqué they are critiquing in no way excludes civilization as an enemy, and that Leighlais’ argument is simply a bad faith criticism, we should still examine this position. Because there is a tendency in the anarchist world to equate every effort at communication with liberalism. Especially if the style of our communication uses description rather than jargon.

I have a sister. She isn’t an anarchist. But she does care deeply about the ways that society affects her and her loved ones. We talk about that. We talk about it because it is a place where we connect. If I said to her, “you feel alienated from yourself all of the time because you’re domesticated, because of the modernist separation of mind, body and spirit, because of the Leviathan and all of its limbs. We must attack the limbs for the sake of freedom!” – she would say, “What?”

This does not mean that my sister and I cannot be comrades or co-conspirators. There are places where we connect and can collaborate if we so choose. This does not mean that my sister doesn’t understand the world. She understands it in different terms. And this does not mean that my effort to connect with her is in any way liberal, proselytizing, or strategic. It means that I value the quality and content of our communication. I care about her, and I care about communicating my ideas to her, and I care about hearing what her ideas are, too.

If anarchists only communicate in jargon, our relationships will be built on style rather than content. With the intention of keeping our messages “pure,” we will find all else hollow. This is how the enforcement of anarchism as a subculture (and all subcultures create their own internal languages) contributes to the maintenance and growth of alienation. There are many ways that we insulate ourselves in the anarchist subculture, weak and shallow communication being second only to non-communication. And there isn’t much difference, in effect, between non-communication and poor communication.

To preemptively rebut an expected reaction here: I have a real, genuine, longing desire to meet and connect with people. This desire cannot be equated with the intentions of politicians and churches who, in an effort to amass popularity and power, seek to collect people and impose beliefs upon them.

For the communiqué, for conversation, for the wish of connection, honesty and clarity are far more creative powers than the classic anarchist or anti-civilization vocabulary. “Naming All Of The Names” directly requests of anarchists a hollow and rhetorical style of communication. Leighlais also writes in the style they are so encouraging of. For example, referencing Os Cangaceiros makes little sense in the context of the article. Os Cangaceiros was not the first, the most recent, nor the most similar example to Seattle’s context of anarchists putting their bodies in the way of labor to slow capital and share messages. However, A Crime Called Freedom is probably one of the most popular anarchist texts in circulation, and seems to be referenced here for its popularity over its relevance. The same type of reference is made to Against His-Story, Against Leviathan. I love that book, but just calling civilization “The Leviathan” out of context makes no sense, except that it’s hip in anarchist and anti-civilization circles.

Finally, there are three main pieces of writing that I found in relationship to the Microsoft and Amazon transportation blockings in Seattle. Two were the communiqués referenced in Leighlais’ article, and one was an analysis and history of gentrification from the last 10-15 years. The analysis and history described the correlation between gentrification, racism and colonialism, including an intimate story of someone’s lost relationship with nature. “Naming All Of The Names” is – to be blunt – a jaded, thoughtless, poorly researched straw-man argument.

But the article did initiate a series of inquiries for me, and my wish is that this response asks at least this question: How do we choose to communicate and what are the intentions behind our communication?

In the course of my growing, I have experienced communiqués and other forms of sharing as small openings into the unknown. Little splinters in the skin of the existent. It is in practice and in actions that I’ve searched for those pinholes and have attempted to tear further. As an insurrectionary anarchist, I communicate with the desperate urge for those moments. As a green anarchist, I believe that the material torn is the spiritual body of civilization.

If we don’t know our intentions, our wishes easily become curses. It feels likely to me that jargon and rhetoric belong to the capitalists. Let us speak truly and aim our intention with care: toward the heart of civilization.


It's All Falling Apart

The end of the world will not come in a bang, a clarion call of trumpets, and the dawning of a new era. The end of the world will be decades, if not centuries, of immiseration and degradation that will humiliate and starve us. This starvation will be of the body and the soul. This humiliation will be because at the same time we are taught about God and Country we, especially North Americans, will wait by the shore for our next barge of products from distant lands, believing the promise that the next gadget will fill the void we paved over, cut down, and wrapped in plastic in the first place. The end of the world isn’t going to be exciting or heroic, it’ll be bright, flashy, and mediocre.

Liquid Food To Replace Eating Called “Soylent”

from the New Yorker

Three men living in a small apartment in the Tenderloin District of San Francisco, CA were forced to come face to face with the inconveniences of food when their startup failed (a startup is a project to create some kind of new technology service that is funded by big-time investors before it is even created, much like the companies and people who funded colonial expeditions into North America in the 1500’s). Not having any time nor facilities to tend to their cooking needs, one of them isolated the nutritional needs required from food, ordered them over the internet as supplements, blended them into one drink, and is now calling it “Soylent.” Soylent’s production has been funded by Silicon Valley and heralded by the press as “the end of food.”

DNA Company To Track Dog-Poop-Perpetrators

from newsfeed.time.com

Dog poop is enough of a problem at an apartment complex in Plano, Texas that the management is deploying DNA tracking to find the pooping-perpetrators. Residents are expected to bring their dogs in to a lab to have them “registered”, and then they can be fined up to $250 if their dogs are found linked to retrieved “samples.”

Driver posts Facebook Update Collision

from globalnews.ca, April 28th

A woman in High Point, N.C. is dead after a head-on collision with a truck literally right after posting an update to her facebook that said “The happy song makes me HAPPY!” Authorities said “The facebook text happened at 8:33 a.m., we got the call on the wreck at 8:34 a.m..”

Google’s next data collection project: Human body

from Russia Today, July 25th

Google’s research arm is planning an initial study of 175 people to collect anonymous health data from biological samples like blood and saliva in the process of creating individual genome

databases that could eventually help fend off illness or disease. For Google’s Baseline Study, researches will track one’s genetic history, metabolic processes, and other aspects of an

individual’s body in efforts to create a baseline health standard. This is reminiscent of many futurist science-fiction stories where characters are plugged into a computer and diagnosed.

How far off are we?

Kid Climbs Trees With prosthetic arm

from Russia Today, July 29th

A 6-year-old boy has now been given the ability to catch balls and climb trees from a 3D Printer and a group of charitable university students in Florida. The boy was born with “right arm deficiency” and is missing his right arm from just above the elbow. An engineering doctoral student heard about the boy and decided to print a replacement arm with a 3D Printer, a piece of technology that runs with off-the-shelf materials and batteries. “We’ve already heard from another family who needs an arm. We’re committed to helping who we can. I think 3-D printing is revolutionizing our world in many ways. I believe changing the world of prosthetics is very real. There’s no reason why this approach shouldn’t work on adults too.”

River in China mysteriously Turns Red Overnight

from Russia Today, July 29th

A river in Eastern China has mysteriously turned red. Residents remarked on how clean the water has been for as long as they’ve known it, “We have always been able to catch fish and you can even drink the water because it’s just normally so good.” While there’s no chemical plant upstream, a professor of limnology (the study of inland waters) says “It looks like a pollutant phenomenon, water bodies have turned red very fast in the past have happened because people have dumped dyes into them.”

“Occupy Hong Kong” Kicks Off, Demanding Democracy

Happening at time of printing

Many news outlets have been announcing the arrival of a large protest movement in Hong Kong, some calling it “Occupy” yet all of the reports differing in some degree. It seems that this is

a student movement demanding democracy, violently fighting police in the streets and blocking avenues of traffic while all on their iphones, not looking at each other. “Movement leaders”

stepped out of political negotiations with government officials after protesters were physically attacked by people who were either “neighbors who opposed their tactics” or “thugs hired

by the government.”


Two Steps Nowhere

by Tommy Brock & Dire Wolfe

(Caveat I: Communication Is Impossible)

There is much to be said about the differences and potential collaboration between the green anarchist and eco-defense milieus. However, nearly everything stands in the way of honest communication. Critiques are both written and received in bad faith. There are those too jaded to contribute anything but snark to our struggles and those who take themselves too seriously to receive well-intentioned, thoughtful criticism. There are those so caught up in who they are as radicals, activists, militants, that they have completely lost the ability to stop and think or to reflect critically on their own activity. Our milieus are populated by so many personalities vying for social capital, attention, meaning, purpose, or adventure that it’s difficult to actually keep an eye on the thing that brought us into these spaces in the first place.

There are those who try, though. There are those who critique because they are frustrated by seeing things they care about fall into the same traps again and again. There are those who are risking failure by trying new things, by experimenting with new ways of resisting despite the constant gaze of naysayers. And there are those who are keeping their eye on the impossibility of total freedom while trying to throw themselves fully at their own limitations in everything they do. It is in this spirit that we write this—with an appreciation and respect for those who are pushing back against the onslaught of civilization but also with the knowledge that civilization is far too good at absorbing any attempts to resist it.

(Caveat II: Labels Are Useless)

The anarchist milieu seems to have become increasingly distinct from the space inhabited by people who participate in eco-defense. In other moments, there has been much more overlap. These days, eco-defenders (anarchist or not) have a network that feels mostly independent from the anarchist milieu (whatever that is).

Green anarchists, in one sense of the term, are those who make up a constellation of tendencies, all of whom, at the very least, situate themselves against The Left and against Civilization (both very ambiguously defined). Green Anarchy Magazine, along with others, elaborated a diverse and broad series of critiques that drew from insurrectionary, individualist, post-left, nihilist, anti-civilization, and indigenous thought.

A common problem: if you don’t happen to live on the West Coast, “green anarchist” is probably more often used in reference to a sort of ‘eco-focused’ anarchism that can be found in the radical environmentalist movement. Usually big-tent anarchism with a particular soft-spot for radical environmentalism: Noam Chomsky-reading, pro-democracy, left anarchists whose main concern is the environment. Some are perhaps more skeptical of cities and production, reading Derrick Jensen instead of Murray Bookchin, but still lack the expansive critique of domestication, colonization, morality, revolution, and politics that characterizes green anarchy.

While some who fall under the Green Anarchist umbrella (anarcho-primitivists, for example) propose courses of action (rewilding, attacking the grid, etc.), what unites green anarchists is perhaps a particular theoretical orientation to the problem of civilization—a series of critiques and questions. Although these critiques have inspired exciting actions, struggles, and moments of revolt, they can be seen as experiments and gestures—not ‘correct practices’ that all green anarchists engage in because they are implied by the theory. From this point of view, it’s anyone’s game as to how we might resist our situation.

Radical eco-defense, on the other hand, is a milieu that has coalesced around a practice or set of practices. Usually centered on particular campaigns (Tar Sands, Keystone XL, Mountaintop Removal, Logging, Fracking), all sorts of people come together to protect this or that parcel of land from those who would destroy it. Those indigenous to the threatened land, bleeding-heart activists whose consciences just can’t bear to see another tree cut down in the name of corporate profit, and everyone in between gather under the banner of eco-defense. The same people who attend a Earth First! Rendezvous can also be seen at Power Shift or giving workshops for the Sierra Club.

That’s what makes the eco-defense space so complicated. There are lots of different people with radically different critiques, goals, strategies, and relationships with the current order working together on a single campaign. Usually with predictable results: the people with the highest stakes and those taking the greatest risks get sold out while the NGOs and liberals pack up and go home, happy to have ‘made a difference’ by compromising with those who are destroying the land.

Because everyone is, on paper, working toward the same immediate goal, real differences in perspective and strategy are suppressed in the name of unity, access to resources, or mass appeal. People who, from my point of view, shouldn’t ever be on the same team, are. And there’s little recourse to draw meaningful lines when there’s also an immense repressive apparatus breathing down your necks and the only thing protecting you from it are the well-funded NGOs and progressive organizations.

Recently, Black Seed featured a critique of the radical environmentalist movement generally, and Earth First! and Tar Sands Blockade specifically. The article critiqued the way that Non-Violent Civil Disobedience (NVCD) has become central to the rhetorical and tactical arsenal of many direct action campaigns. Many anarchists share this complete disinterest with any struggle that so severely limits itself from the outset. However, the call for an increase in militant tactics or harking back to the good ol’ days of black blocs and summit shut-downs doesn’t feel very useful. An increase in militancy would likely bring down the full force of the repressive apparatus—to up the ante would almost certainly mean to go the way of the ELF.

Our struggles exist in the impossible space between absorption into liberal activism on the one hand, and the crushing might of the state on the other. Anarchists know this double-bind well. Many have learned the hard way that working with individuals and organizations whose interests lie in the perpetuation of this world leads to co-optation and exclusion at best and at worst, the firing squad or the grand jury. As the dust settles, the ones doing the heavy lifting on the front lines are swept aside by the bureaucrats and career activists who take credit for all the work and eclipse the possibility of further spontaneous, wild resistance.

We live in a country that has crushed every struggle that it has deemed a threat. The state unscrupulously murders or imprisons those who go toe to toe with the forces of control. Any movement or group that enjoys some amount of success is torn apart from the inside—it’s most radical factions disappeared and the rest channelled into liberal activism.

The radical environmentalist movement is living with the legacy of Operation Backfire and the reality of the green scare, of domestic terrorism watch-lists, of FBI, state, and local police collaboration, of snitches and informants, of trumped-up charges and constant surveillance. Even the most liberal environmentalists are looking over their shoulders more and more. In this light, it makes some sense as to why the rhetoric of NVCD has become so central, why the protective shadow of NGOs is covering so much of the landscape.

But it seems as though for most, the situation has escaped them. The reasons given for infiltrating NGOs, for playing nice with movement leaders, or for concealing their ‘real’ politics go beyond simple tactical considerations. We have inherited a history of repression, the implications of which don’t seem to have fully sunk in. Meetings are attended, coalitions are formed, and internships are taken while talking shit and having a laugh about how liberal and problematic everyone else is. But, despite rhetoric that says otherwise, the whole situation runs along smoothly—NGOs have little trouble finding interns and coalitions usually find themselves with those willing to go to jail for a few days. All this in exchange for a paycheck and the satisfaction of knowing that you and your friends are the real radicals. For all the talk of using resources for underground resistance, it rarely goes that far. The defeats and recuperation of the past 40 years are still with us. It has made us docile. Most are satisfied with patting themselves on the back for being more militant, radical, and correct than others, while doing little more than reproducing the subculture that makes us all feel like we’re important, that we’re really doing something.

Much of what happens in the radical environmentalist movement both lacks the capacity to accomplish its goals and the ethical commitment to autonomy, spontaneity, and the constant undermining of authority that allows revolt to flourish. On the one hand, many eco-defenders continue with the strange ritual of lockdown-arrest-bail out while waving the banner ‘No Compromise In Defense Of Mother Earth!’ all the while becoming more and more entangled in the web of compromises weaved by the non-profiteers, activists, and advocates who seem to be everywhere these days. Victories for people with the most to lose are rarely won.

For many anarchists, the terrain is murky. The mostly smooth gradient between liberal activists and militant eco-defender is confusing—it is difficult to know who is a potential accomplice and who is more interested in making a name for themselves (or worse, the organization they are a part of). Alliances can form in unlikely places and it’s important to be open to these, but it is also important to know your enemy.

It is clear enough to most anarchists that when at a demonstration or action, the police are our enemies. In other moments, we might find ourselves at odds with the loggers, surveyors, and construction workers unfortunate enough to be working their respective careers at those respective moments. More subtle, and for that reason all the more deserving of our hostility, are those enemies among us: those who would manage us in our struggles, those who would have us be little more than foot soldiers in their campaigns, those who define the appropriate ways to resist, those who need our energy to feed either their own egos or the swollen organization that, in turn, feeds off of them.

There are those whose participation in environmental campaigns amounts to little more than a desire to speak for others, to do ‘good’. We know them well: the many activists, advocates, social justice organizers, and career revolutionaries who spend their entire lives bouncing from one injustice to the next, always for the fame, for the paycheck, or for the peace of mind that comes with the knowledge that they’re dedicated to something more important than themselves that populate our worlds. These characters are the mechanisms by which Politics reproduces itself. They are the agents of Progress, channeling the energy and potential of a moment into the familiar avenues of spectacular activism.

This moral backdrop is a barrier for many anarchists’ enthusiastic involvement in campaigns. From where we sit, people are far too ready to sacrifice themselves on the altar of deep ecology with little but some moving photographs and an FBI file to show for it. There can be little affinity between anarchists and the martyrs caught up in their own narratives of spectacular self-sacrifice and pseudo-militancy. This isn’t to say that there aren’t things worth risking arrest (or death) for and I’m not really talking about tactics either. Lockdowns, for example, have been an important tactic in winning campaigns. Rather, I am trying to get at the strange moral logic—the peculiar desire to sacrifice oneself for The Good, to suffer— that motivates so many radicals.

Morality is only part of the problem. For so many, our milieus are our own specialized identity-machines. We become so caught up being ‘anarchists’, ‘militants’, ‘allies’, ‘activists’ or ‘eco-defenders’, so captured by micro-economies of social capital that we care more about appearances and our own stories than the things we say we’re committed to. We are ensnared by the logic of the milieu: moved to action by the reproduction of our selves as radical subjects, as individuals who know who they are by virtue of a particular kind of belonging. Despite our attempts, our desire to be something never amounts anything more than being this world’s loyal opposition, always ready to play its game by believing that it’s possible to belong or to honestly communicate who you are to others within the logic of civilization. Whether by the causes you are committed to, the clothes you wear, the news stories you share, the words you use (or don’t), or who you hang out with, insofar as we are motivated by advertising ourselves to strangers, we are being managed, controlled, disciplined.

“And we forget everything but the minutiae of struggle, this struggle which has become a way of life, and an end in itself. This struggle, which we kid ourselves is about the world, is now no more than the means of legitimising a microcosm, a milieu, a particular way of life that is wholly reliant on its own defeat and the continuation of the world as it is as the condition for its perpetuation.”

- frere dupont, Why Is It That Others Feel No Interest For Us?

The terrain is also populated by many organizations, each weighed down by their own tendencies to expand, accumulate, and absorb. Every organization—whether grassroots or multinational—falls into the same trap. What might start out as a genuine attempt to formalize a group dedicated to tackling a problem or issue quickly becomes its own monster (Leviathan, anyone?), concerned primarily with it’s own growth and permanence. As a group’s membership swells, as it enjoys a small parcel of influence or success, as jobs are created or contracts signed, it becomes increasingly concerned with securing more contracts, gaining more influence, recruiting more people. Until you have Greenpeace. Or the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. Or Epitaph Records.

The most energetic and rowdy eco-defenders are put in the spotlight, offered jobs, invited to write articles, and flown around to give trainings—slowly sapping their energy as their commitment to a particular set of ideas comes into conflict with the organization that is keeping them fed and housed. People who once knew better end up working for the same organizations that sold out other campaigns a generation earlier. If campaigns are to maintain any autonomy, lines must be drawn (and redrawn and redrawn) between those committed to total freedom and those whose interests lie in Politics, their identities, egos, morality, or the organizations they work for.

As was said earlier, we live and struggle in the shadow of the Black Panthers, of Project M.O.V.E., of the American Indian Movement, of the ALF and ELF. This is a history of inspiring moments, but also of defeat at the hands of an unscrupulous enemy. What does this mean for current eco-defense campaigns? For those who want to do-the-damn-thing (you know, win), they must free themselves of any illusion that the state can know their face or name and actually let them pose a threat to something with as much capital behind it as the KXL Pipeline, for example.

What would it take to successfully defend an area of land? Do we have the capacity to accomplish this? Are we willing to accept the risks or consequences for our actions? Will it be worth it? We must keep in mind the possibility that campaigns in response to the biggest, most egregious assaults on the natural world will not be winnable unless eco-defenders are willing to go seriously underground. We might be tactically out-gunned. And if those campaigns aren’t winnable, what is to be done?

There are a number of different ways to think about struggle. For many anarchists, any struggle worth participating in happens on the level of everyday life. They admit that we are not, and can never be agents in something as inhumanly large as History, Politics, or Progress. To aim our interventions at the level of meta-narrative is to admit defeat before we start, but continue out of sheer stubbornness or sacrifice.

The activities of Nations, multinational corporations, even your own city council (to say nothing of Capitalism or Civilization) are probably out of our control. It is unlikely that a small minority of anarchists, eco-defenders, or activists will ever manifest a force powerful enough to save the environment or destroy the existent. Our activity matters, but not really in the grand scheme of things, at least probably not in the way we wish it did. Yet many continue to speak, write, and act as if this weren’t the case.

A turn away from politics and from the constant defeat of activism and revolutionary struggle would mean shifting the scale with which we concern ourselves. We can disconnect the activity of our lives from fighting an all-or-nothing war against some perceived totality. We can instead find opportunities to be agents in our own lives and, occasionally, in the towns, neighborhoods, or land that we call home. We can understand that our situation is close to total but see our surroundings as made up of fragments of power—a multiplicity of connected but discreet apparatuses of control that can, in turn, be interrupted and in some cases destroyed. While there is no clear escape from civilization in sight, there are certainly lives and struggles that are more wild, less domesticated than others. And there are certainly enemies and weaknesses in the modes of control that order our lives.

This means a shift not necessarily in what we do, but rather, why we do what we do. It has less to do with actual actions/ practice and more to do with how we’re conceiving of our activity, struggles, collaborations. We can do these things to play, to learn more about our surroundings and how they’re controlled, to strengthen bonds, to form new ones. We can find each other and build relationships in the context of a shared project or deep affinity. We can engage in a relentless series of experiments to find the limits of what we’re capable of and, each time, push beyond them. We can explore the mechanisms of power that envelope us, find the weak points, and celebrate in the pockets, cracks, micro-ruptures that we’re able to momentarily create.

“As for civilisation, so for anarchy and anarchists — severely challenged, sometimes vanquished; possibilities for liberty and wildness opening up, possibilities for liberty and wildness closing. The unevenness of the present will be made more so. There is no global future.” - Desert

Moments of intense struggle and revolt seem to appear rarely and when they do happen, it seems clear that they are the result of years and years of groundwork, of careful relationship building between different groups (anarchists, eco-defenders, farmers, those who live in neighborhoods poisoned by fracking, etc). Our milieus are transient. We are rarely capable of sustainable relationships or long-term commitments. Our infrastructure is difficult to maintain and few are willing to do the unglamorous behind-the-scenes activity that allows the most intense struggles to flourish. We might find ourselves faced with different questions were we to stop chasing fire for the moment and imagine ourselves engaged in something that will last generations.

What would it mean to develop relationships that both last decades and are increasingly incompatible with the current order? How can we weaponize these relationships, remaining invisible enough to power to survive, but visible enough to others to be seductive? What if the goals were to connect with one another through our projects, to attack and get away with it, to engage in activity that is worth doing for its own sake— regardless of the consequences? What if we elaborated modes of struggle that don’t rely on the hope of certain victory or the despair of “well, we’ve got to try anyway, right?” What if we pushed ourselves to become as wild, chaotic, and unpredictable as possible—not with the goal of winning any particular campaigns necessarily, but to see how far, how strong, how sustainable, and how broadly we can extend the fight, while taking great care to disappear as the omnipresent repressive apparatus closes in on us and reappear when they least expect it. No faces, no names, no photo-ops, except perhaps of fire, defended territory, and broken machinery.

Are sure arrests and the consequent no-fly lists, felonies, and FBI files worth it if victory seems unlikely? Are there more liberatory and empowering ways to struggle against the machinery of civilization? Perhaps making some new enemies would be useful—maybe new generations of eco-defenders will tell Sierra Club and 350.org to go fuck themselves. Maybe we’ll see new relationships emerge between anarchists and eco-defenders who aren’t accountable to NGO stakeholders. And maybe we’ll be able to be more honest with ourselves and each other about who we are and what we are doing. Perhaps we’ll figure out how to do it more patiently, carefully, and without compromise. To the future conversations, the forging of new alliances, the fierce new conflicts, and the relentless expansion of those parts of us that are wild.


Review: Green Syndicalism: An Alternative Red/Green Vision

by Oxalis

These days, everyone from corporations to the government are “going green.” There has been an almost endless barrage of “greenwashing” campaigns aimed at painting everything with a shiny new “green” veneer from chic eco-friendly cafes to “environmentally friendly” dog food. Moreover, as the ecological crisis becomes ever harder to ignore, even political groupings are getting in on the act, with socialists and mainstream liberals suddenly discovering this fact and trying to dress up progress as “green.”

In light of this, its not surprising that some anarchists would adopt a similar approach, especially with many anarchists still clinging to the vision of mass society and mass industrialism. A few years back, the Northeastern Federation of Anarchist- Communists (NEFAC, since renamed to Common Struggle) published a snazzy green-colored edition on “The Environment, Industry, Crisis, and Alternatives” while the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) launched an “Environmental Unionism Caucus” and this year organized a campaign called “Towards an Ecological General Strike: Environmental Sustainability Through Economic Democracy.” In many ways, they are efforts designed to “green” the industrial-focused vision of anarchism expressed most often through anarcho-syndicalism, with some re-branding it as “green syndicalism.”

For those of us coming from an anti-civilization perspective, this is perhaps worthy of some attention as it is helpful to understand the ways others approach the crisis of civilization. I hadn’t encountered these theories until a few years ago, although I must admit to some small glimmer of hope when a Wobbly organizer in my hometown told me that there are currents within the IWW that envision the destruction of the industrial system, not just the wage system. As a means of exploring this idea, I sought out Jeff Shantz’s Green Syndicalism: An Alternative Red/Green Vision (Syracuse University Press, 2012). While it was rather dull and hard to read at various points due to its rather cumbersome language, it did offer a good introduction to the theory.

Green syndicalism advocates for increased connections between anarchists and other radicals who come out of what could broadly be called “the radical environmental movement” and “the labor movement” (46) arguing that both are incomplete without recognizing the other. Shantz argues in Green Syndicalism that the two perspectives have considerable overlap, a point that he makes by looking at Judi Bari’s role in building connections between Earth First! and the Industrial Workers of the World in the 1990s, as well as examining the historical reliance of both movements on direct action tactics including sabotage. Moreover, Shantz argues that the workplace provides a critical site of struggle (165) and that workers are uniquely positioned to put a literal “stop” to the destruction wrought by industrial society. Most interesting to our perspective, Shantz comes out strongly against the productivism of Marxism (xlvi) and argues that syndicalism is not simply a vision of a worker-centered world (xlviii), but is a counter-cultural movement that moves beyond pure economic concerns (108). He repeatedly asserts that green syndicalism is a multi-faceted approach that recognizes that “the mass-production techniques of industrialism cannot be reconciled with ecological sustenance, regardless of whether bosses or sturdy proletarians control them” (164).

When it comes to envisioning what a green syndicalist future would look like, Shantz—like many anarchists—says that there isn’t a specific plan, but rather it would grow out of the struggle (172). Still, in reading the book, there are some indications of how this future would look. Whereas previous visions of syndicalism may have seen industrialism as containing some liberatory potential, green syndicalists do not believe this (168). Instead, Shantz articulates a vision of producers against industrialism (169) and argues that the goal (to some degree) is the dismantling of factories. The theory includes “both a literal destruction of factories and their conversion toward ‘soft’ forms of small, local production” (54). According to Shantz, this would be decided by the workers themselves who would make decisions about the future of their workplaces (129). Beyond this, he speaks of the potential for voluntary federations (171) and de-centralized bio-regional communities (170-171) as potential ways of organizing society. While talk of the destruction of factories is appealing, the more one reads, the less certain this seems. There is a lot of talk of keeping production going, for example: “...certain industrial workshops and processes may be necessary (how would bikes or windmills be produced, for example)” (169). In other cases, he asserts that capitalist production would be replaced with “socially necessary production through means that are ecologically sensible” (167).

Like many theories, when it comes to practical applications, green syndicalism gets a little hazy. For the most part, Shantz argues in favor of traditional syndicalist tactics and those that have been developed in recent years such as “rank-and-file workers’ committees, flying squads, and precarious workers’ networks” (161). He argues that workers’ control is essential to stopping ecological destruction (113). In getting to that point, tactics include “such direct, nonbureaucratic forms of action as shop-floor sabotage, boycotts, green bans, and the formation of extra-union solidarity outside the workplace” and the ultimate weapon, the strike (130-131). Of course to do this, considerable time must be spent organizing workers. Green syndicalism rejects the concept of “boring from within” mainstream unions (131) and instead advocates developing other structures. He asserts that anarchists within the labor movement have been especially visible in building rank-and-file power in recent years (133), through processes including “building rank-and-file workers’ committees, flying squads, and precarious workers’ networks” (161). For Shantz, this power is what is ultimately important, not whether or not the structures are specifically anarchist (160). As workers “reach the consciousness of their own power and exercise this power in their daily lives” they are “in a way consciously adopting the ideas of anarchism” (160). Arguing the semantics of what is and isn’t anarchism is not all that exciting, but a question that remains is how will workers arrive at the conclusion that the factory system (or at the minimum suggested by green syndicalists, certain components of it) need to be dismantled. Obviously toxic forms of production might be easy targets (i.e. a company polluting the river running through the center of a town), but how would workers arrive at a more comprehensive critique of industrialism? In a global economic system where the most destructive forms of production are outsourced and obscured (for example, when using an iPhone, the average user likely has no idea how and where it was made), many modern consumer items seem to have relatively few environmental costs. Similarly, the idea that “production” could be organized by workers in a particular location is out-of-date, given both the declining number of workers in such positions as well as the reliance on raw materials and technologies from elsewhere.

While informed by radical ecological critiques, Green Syndicalism does not spend a lot of time engaging with anti-civilization and primitivist critiques. At one point, Shantz writes about “...anti-technology/anti-civilization discourses arguing quite persuasively that humans must abandon not only industry and technology, but civilization itself,” but then moves to a discussion of the abolition of work and/or its reconstitution along democratic lines (128). Such a position is seemingly at odds with the statement, and if the arguments are so convincing, why limit the discussion? Elsewhere, he describes anti-civilization perspectives as being “fundamentalist,” including those of “Earth First!, neoprimitivism, and Green Anarchy” (21). He argues that those advocating such views neglect the importance of class and “collapse capital and labor together” and fail to see how working-class power could contribute to a radical ecological movement (22). In keeping with this line of thinking, he argues that there cannot be “an immediate break with industrialism” (168). Interestingly, while Shantz says that “attentiveness to ecology means that entire realms of work, leisure (work’s accomplice), sustenance, need... must be brought into question,” his discussion does not raise civilization as an item of particular concern (184). Moreover, in accepting the possibility of some forms of industrial production, green syndicalism ignores the deeper questions of what industrialism does to us and our worldview. The interconnectedness of various forms of technology and methods of organizing production are not explored, therefore it is hard to imagine how one could have wind turbines without the entirety of the industrial system. These forms and processes are inherently complex and interrelated and we can’t generally have one technology without accepting the entire system. Moreover, from an anti-civilization perspective, it is important to understand that industrialism, factory production, small-scale production, etc. are part of an interrelated whole that is civilization and that its component parts cannot be isolated. In other words, we can’t have “production” of bicycles and windmills without the domestication, separation, division of labor, etc., that removes us from the land.

Overall, Green Syndicalism doesn’t offer much to those of us coming from an anti-civilization perspective. While it might be refreshing to see anarcho-syndicalists coming out against some forms of industrial production, the idea of “green syndicalism” falls short of fully indicting the present order. Its examination of industrialism is relatively limited and it leaves the larger question of civilization unexplored. In the end, the book was indeed trying to paint a “green” picture of a somewhat downsized future, while largely lacking in its exploration of the consequences of industrialism and civilization. At the same time, its tactical and strategic suggestions—largely more workplace organizing—were not convincing. We obviously cannot ignore the way in which workers are alienated in the current era, but at the same time, we need to go deeper in our critiques if we want to get to the root of that alienation and really reject industrialism. If anything, Green Syndicalism is a reminder that we need to argue more forcefully for our perspective and that in the absence of an anti-civilization critique, efforts will continue to recast some version of the current mass society as ecologically sustainable, whether that be green capitalism or green syndicalism.

Jeff Shantz, Green Syndicalism: An Alternative Red/Green Vision, (Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 2012).


Pulling on the Threads of Representation

by Hedwig

A communique on the release of pheasants from a Game Bird farm in Gervais, Oregon by the Animal Liberation Front ends with “For anarchy and animal liberation.” The insurrectionist group Individualists Tending Toward the Wild (ITS) state that “what moves us is reason and instinct, the defense of Wild Nature (including human) and consequently Freedom and Autonomy.” Part of the description for a talk at the 2013 Boston Anarchist Bookfair says “Natural anarchists see plants and nonhuman animals as allies in a shared struggle for peace and freedom for everybody.”

Once, this was an inspiration, during a time I tightly held the label veganarchist; honestly, deeply believing in the revolutionary potential of the animal and earth liberation movements.

Time passed and with time came an uncertainty I could not ignore, a question that lurked inside. And now as I consider participating in an action for anarchy and animal liberation, I am forced to pause. Eventually, I turn away.

In whatever language is used, no matter how their ‘solidarity’ is framed, I cannot get past the question.

“The problem of the head is the problem of representation, the problem of the existence of a body that represents society in so much as a body, of a subject that represents society in so much as subject.”[37]

The anarchist critique of democracy, political leadership, identity politics—all are the critique of representation. Representation flattens. Individual interests are universalized into dangerous ‘truth claims’ that cannot contend with the volatility of the world. The critique is the rejection of all acts that characterize individuals as a certain kind of being or that allow one to speak on behalf of another.

“Practices of telling people who they are and what they want erect a barrier between them and who (or what) they can create themselves to be.”[38]

Representation is a form of alienated power. Individuals are separated from their ability to act and forced to work through an intermediary. These individuals are left behind as their representative barters with other influences, making compromises for some greater good. Responding to the will of majorities and other alienated powers, desperately attempting to keep their sacred standing, the representative exploits the bodies and spirits of those they claim to stand for.

Against all representation and mediation, this is what it means to be anti-political.

Through the critique comes a new anarchist vision. My past was bound to the current, viewpoints expressed as against that which exists: anti-capitalism, anti-sexism, anti-speciesism... Our negativity must be more: “that which breaks from such orientations in the most absolute sense: the negating prefixes a-, an-, anti- ... anti-politics as a provisional orientation, branching out into countless refusals.”[39] It must think not only of the formulations but also the forms, a negation of politics, morality, historical progress, and all of the other backgrounds that act as our starting points. “We do not wish to run society, or organize a different society, we want a completely different frame of reference,”[40] a negativity that can only lead us to places unknown.

I approach nihilism. My anarchist thought becomes more than a radical or militant politics, it cannot be defined simply as a position against hierarchy or against domination. It grows into a rejection of all universal claims – moral and political.

The ground quivers. Old ideas are a comfort in the uncertainty—they are difficult to move past. Still, I am willing to ask the question nihilism brings, the question that lurks, that cannot be ignored.

What now of animal and earth liberation? What of these movements remain for me?

Obstacle 1: Against all hierarchies, earth and animal liberationists are against the human domination of animals and earth. In order to confront these oppressions directly, they become representatives of animals and earth.

Animal liberationists educate people about the experience of non-human animals, describing the conditions on factory farms, slaughterhouses, research laboratories, etc. (sometimes never having had first-hand experience with these institutions themselves). Earth liberationists become the ‘helpers’ of the wild and introduce words such as “defend,” “save,” and “protect” to the dialogue. Actions such as veganism, protest, or sabotage communicate a message about the desires of animals and earth; assumptions are made about how other living organisms want to be treated.[41]

A Thanksgiving pamphlet from the Black Paw Collective (a “crew of punks and anarchists”) tells us to fight alongside the turkeys who are protesting their death until their last breath.[42] We are told that connecting to the land can put one in touch with the ‘suffering of the earth,’ culminating in statements of “the personhood of plants… beings who can emote and feel pain or respond to other stimuli.”[43] All these claims to knowledge of animal and earth subjectivity…

These representatives then remind us that animals and earth are not the only ones harmed by animal and earth exploitation industries, hoping to bring more people over to the side of animals and wild nature. They may even expand their claims, that their actions begin to represent all of the ‘dispossessed’ (the actors sometimes simultaneously believing they epitomize the ideas of the human majority yet must guide this unconscious mass—as one communique states: “This was just a reflection of what millions of people already know and feel”).

It is no trivial point that non-human living species cannot communicate verbally,[44] they cannot speak their interests to any human, including those who represent them. The people involved in animal and earth liberation movements have no choice but to speak on their behalf. But representation is a political act, always. What is politics if not the belief that one can influence others in the name of some collective interest?

“On this point, it is important that we define our anti-politics as refusing all political logic: representation, mediation, dialogue with power. And so, once again, we must abandon queer academics and their easy answers.”[45]

Obstacle 2: Morals and ideals are asserted, often implicitly, hidden beneath statements of plurality.

When individual interests are defined by another, they are often shrouded in moral claims. Sometimes these moral codes are overt, and most anarchists are willing to critique (and mock) these blatant assertions (such as “veganism is an obligation and not an option”).[46]

But the anarchist critique of morality is more than just the critique of strict moral codes, it is a critique against universal statements and against the concept of the Good.

When animal liberationists fight for a world in which animals are no longer oppressed by humans, they are making statements about what is good, often involving a total rejection of any way of living that involves animal exploitation, as defined by them. Earth liberationists, particularly those with anti-civilization and primitivist leanings, often demand a certain style of living which may not be possible or desirable for others. Actions and communiques for animals and earth are laden with claims to good and bad behaviour.

There is no one ‘true’ way of living with the earth (and animals). Expanding the argument to say there are many or a variety of true ways of living with the earth does not make the argument any less moralistic. To flee from a definition of the Good only to be recaptured by arguments of many Goods misses the point. It is a nihilism that denies the validity of the singular Good at the heart of universalism, as well as the distinct senses of the Good at the heart of pluralism.[47]

In order to upset the foundation of anthropocentrism, in Animal Dreams John Zerzan reminds us of the ‘gifts of animals,’ describing the complexities of animal lives.[48] He even references scientific experiments that demonstrate ways in which animal capacities outstrip humans. Establishing that all animals (including humans) have exceptional abilities may help decenteralize humanity but it does nothing to negate morality—it still relies on the concept of the natural as the Good. The same argument can be applied to primitivism in which the Good (living in harmony with nature) is distributed into multiple goods as they acknowledge the variety in indigenous ways of life.

To be against morality is a negative act. There is (are) no Good(s). We should be shaking the ground of others’ moral claims, not creating new ones.

The step towards the anti-political has created obstacles that have kept me from the animal and earth liberation movements. I cannot find a way around the barriers, perhaps there are some things that cannot be reconciled.

I have not abandoned green anarchy. I want to contribute to a project building connections between the beginning of civilization, the development of gender, the production of science, the destruction of the earth, and the domination of animals. I am not ambivalent to the acts performed by animal and earth exploitation industries – they are vivid examples of why I want to see the current social order dismantled. The links are not trivial. Capital takes all of life, human and non-human, commodifies it, and alienates it, forcing the reproduction of hierarchical social relations. The domestication of all life destroys possibilities, forcing us to submit our bodies and minds to fixed modes of being. When we talk about changing the ways in which we relate to the world, our relationship with animals and earth should be a part of that discussion.

I don’t want to ignore the issues. I want a completely different frame of reference.

I am no longer interested in discussing the “animal problem” or the “ecological problem.” I do not want to be a representative for animals and earth. I do not want to speak in political or moral terms. I want to escape politics, not reproduce them. I am afraid there is no reconciliation. I’ve pulled on the thread of representation, and the whole sweater has unraveled.

There are a hundred reasons to attack industries that harm animals and the earth but we should be honest about where our motivations lie. I have no critique for the individual who sabotages a factory farm that is contaminating their water source or a worker who destroys the machinery at the slaughterhouse they work at. But as for me, I will not lie so that I can continue to challenge these industries—I will not pretend my actions are the realization of my desires when the real motivation remains my intention to save animals or the wild. I want to be honest about my experience. There is no animal or earth liberation movement left for me.

I am not sure what this different frame of reference is. I am not sure what a nihilist practice will look like, at this moment I only have an idea of what it is not. An anarchist friend asks me to join the Animal Defense League to stop trophy hunting in B.C., and I am forced to pause. Eventually, I turn away.

Issue #3 – Spring 2015

Welcome to Issue 3

On once woody branches, translucent tendrils and the softest of leaves emerge. Even the most reluctant of trees are budding out. The days are getting longer and some of us can lift our heads a little higher. Despite small signs of life’s persistence, something is gnawing at us that we can’t ignore.

As the scope of social and biological devastation has broadened, the tactics employed to bring this destruction about have diversified. The margin for creative self-expression has decreased as threats to populations and landbases have expanded, limiting dialogue and action around these issues. The response generated in both mainstream and radical narratives only seems to create a negative symbiosis with the expanding devastation. The call and response between the dominant culture and radical narratives moves us very little. We find ourselves looking for inspiration.

People look for meaning, spirituality, and guidance in a myriad of ways. Some of these attempts are obviously fulfilling, while others are not. Why does it make some of us so uncomfortable when people wholeheartedly try to reconstruct “a European indigeneity?”

Another way people – including some of our anarchist friends – try to make sense of history is through anthropology. It outrages us that people who have been torn from their culture have sometimes had to reconstruct stories, customs, and languages with the superimpositions of academia. Anthropology is a tragic byproduct of capitalist colonialism which we don’t want to reproduce here. We want people to tell their own stories because we know objectivity is a farce. In a world where anthropology’s truth is a given, we want to make space for something different.

In this issue of Black Seed, Sever’s “Childhood, Imagination, and the Forest” discusses the importance of a search for one’s own spirituality and talks about what a relationship to a landbase can actually look like. The author writes about the pitfalls of falling back on Pagan traditions, which had their own ties to colonization.

This issue also continues with themes of autonomous, land-based, lived anarchy, stressed by Sever in Black Seed Issue #1’s “Land and Freedom,” with a section of the paper devoted to the ZAD in France and an interview with Corrina Gould, wherein shares her experiences at the spiritual occupation of Sogorea Te and the differences she sees within indigenous and anarchist approaches to occupations. We will continue discussion on these themes in issues to come.

This project, as we’ve stated already and will continue to reiterate, is an experiment with time and conversation. We are alarmed that something as basic as conversation is being stripped away. Our relationships are mediated by lit screens and character counts, just the latest tools of domestication, making further demands on our time and removing the wonder that human animals once enjoyed through experience and experimentation.

When we say, time and time again, that this is a conversation, whether you are an anti-civ old timer or you are reading about these ideas for the first time, we are looking for your thoughts on these topics and others close to your heart.

We print our publication twice each year and, while this can result in a stilted dialogue, it’s a dialogue worth having. We encourage readers to savor the slowness and contemplation of storytelling, of letting ideas mull over and become new ones over time in the context of face-to-face conversation. And so we carve out a small hole and plant some seeds, dreaming that this experiment may germinate into new ideas, because alone and disconnected, we are lacking.

Until the leaves fall,

-Scealai

-Cedar Leighlais

-Aragorn!

-Pietje

Zdereva Itvaryn

-Madrone

Childhood, Imagination, and the Forest - by Sever

One summer when I was about thirteen, I decided to live for a week in the forest near my house. I had read up on edible plants, but pretty early on I took on raiding my father’s garden. In retrospect, I suppose my experiment in rewilding was a perfect success, since raiding the garden is exactly what the deer and gophers did.

I spent a large part of my childhood in that forest. I watched it assailed by progress. My family was among the first wave of profaners. Every year a new parcel of farm, orchard, or woodland would be converted into ugly, poorly made houses. The very ground was scooped up by bulldozers, contoured to fit the look the subdivision’s developers were projecting.

I noticed the effect on the creek I always played in, wading miles upstream in the summer, walking dangerously on a cracking sheet of ice in the winter, crossing fallen logs, catching crayfish, giving chase to the deer since they didn’t have any wolves to run after them anymore. The more woods were replaced by subdivisions, the worse the floods became, swelling the creek, brown and gorged, washing away its banks year after year. An island I once could leap to, gone, ancient tulip poplars that towered overhead, undermined and knocked down, the rocky bank where I let my pet garter snake go when I realized it wasn’t happy, silted over. An old railroad bridge where years later I learned they had executed an abolitionist preacher and a black militia man had been wounded and escaped, swept away.

My forest, though, the greater part of it, remained, protected by some law or another. In most places it was a long strip, just wide enough that I could ignore the houses on either side, walking from cliff to marsh to pine hill without ever coming in sight of what I recognized for civilization. And the length of it… I never got to the end. On some summer expeditions I would go for hours, albeit at a snail’s pace perhaps, until I reached some glade that I imagined humans had never set foot in before. Only later would I learn to distinguish first or second generation forests from old growth. In the meantime, how perplexed I would become on discovering a rusted length of barbed wire or an old junker in the midst of what I was sure was pristine forest.

The wild is often characterized as pristine. One element of the myth of the pristine is changelessness. In books, the intellectually rigorous will mention how nature is always changing, how even when it finds stability it cycles. They write the same thing about acephalous societies that are not properly “historical” in the Marxist sense. I had read these texts and understood them, but the idea was meaningless, or at least unactualized, until I took in all the intimate changes in one particular forest over a span of decades.

The concept of pristinity conveys a certain fragility. Wilderness is not wild unless it is untouched. I see it reflected in the tendency of post-modernists not to talk about freedom, to read any kind of influence as a form of corruption and thus a circumvention of liberty. So close, yet so far, they have deconstructed the self, and found liberty meaningless because they still use the rationalist, Enlightenment concept, based on sovereignty, a naturally endowed lord over his domain. Another kind of freedom dwells in the world where the self only exists through its relations, and the freedom of one does not end but begins with the freedom of another.

I find another echo of pristinity in the thinking of the primitivists, who believe that freedom and wilderness ended with one invention or another. It also stalks the thinking of the back-to-the-landers, who think that nature does not exist in the cities, nor capitalism in the countryside.

My bedraggled, polluted, eroded, young, bounded little forest saved my life. While my year-mates were learning about how to be popular, dress well, and play football, I was learning about life. This whole horrible farce never would have been worth it for me without that. And the wilderness that taught me had probably grown up in the space of a mere seventy years, since the Depression I reckon, on what had previously been farmland, clearcut by the English at least two hundred years before.

The wild is everywhere, ceaselessly pushing back. The only thing it needs from us are cracks. In the city, in the countryside, all of it impoverished by centuries or millennia of progress, wildness and freedom are active forces. Those who say there is no outside to capitalism never talk about crab grass or sparrows. They are almost right, there is one tiny, infinite thing they forget, and it is the most important thing of all.

The purpose of anarchists is to destroy. We don’t even need to destroy all of it. Confounded by words, we will have a hard time figuring out what exactly is meant by all of it. We only need to destroy enough of it, make enough cracks that sunlight and rain filter down to whatever poor dust is left beneath, enough so that the machine can’t reassemble itself, and nature will do the rest.

If we still wish to live after all this horror, we can also worry about cultivating what grows back, the way beavers or even deer shape their habitat. We can do that as gardeners, as humans, and beings who choose to live. The anarchist tradition also suggests a passel of marvelous future worlds, each of which are worth talking about it. But anarchism is the bastard child of civilization, the umbilical cord hanging ragged, another purpose in mind for the dagger clenched between its teeth. Anarchism’s destiny is to murder a certain future. To be tasked with destroying and replacing would convey an awful lot of power, even to a vocation that foreswears power.

Games of imagination came naturally, unbidden, while I wandered in the forest. The other kids played video games, and while I never kept myself entirely pure from this pursuit, I quickly noticed an inverse relationship between imagination and the consumption of imaginary worlds. I always preferred computer games to video games, the more open-ended the better, and especially those that allowed character development and the exploration of other universes. Nonetheless, they had a numbing effect. I found that with just a stick, and perhaps a friend or two, in the woods I could accomplish so much more, and afterwards I felt exhilarated, alive, kept up at night thinking about what adventures the next day would bring.

One of the greatest blocks of cement that we anarchists must crack is that which has been poured over the faculty of the imagination, with more being poured every day. People who cannot imagine other worlds are dead. They are zombies, they will never be revolutionaries. Anarchists who cannot imagine other worlds might as well roll over and rot. All of their words are moribund, fetid things. The nihilists who willfully confuse the drafting of blueprints with the exploration of imagined futures have to resort to pyrotechnics to cover up their fundamental frailty.

And while everyone had their own method of surviving repression, I find that imagining other worlds can disrupt the hegemony of this one. When I face a line of riot cops, sometimes I have to laugh, because what I see are corpses. I love the politicians in their pretty suits, because those are the same suits they are wearing as they are forced at gunpoint to clean up Superfund sites. And when I’m sad about friends in prison, I look out my window and see gardens where roads had been, and I know our fight is worth it.

The anarchist imagination has a lot to offer. But imagination rooted to place is even more potent, more alive. All the games I ever played in my forests are there waiting for me. And all the people who live in a place, though they do not dare to be anarchists, can imagine changes in their surroundings that could never be born from an ideology, and that the cleverest of all the anarchists would never think up, unless she were also from that place. One of the contributions of an anti-colonial, anti-rational anarchism is the importance it gives to the particular, against abstract schemes and universalities. There can be some benefit in anarchists debating levels of technology, one vision of the world versus another, but only if they realize that all they are doing is playing a game. For the winner of that debate to impose is vision on the world would be the cruelest violence. It is a million specific places that human communities must relate to, each of them different. Freedom will triumph when everyone actively imagines their own surroundings, and remakes themselves within the specific place that holds them up.

The forest also calls on our spirits to exult and express themselves, against the confines of a world that is rational and materialist, both in its dominant expressions and in the theories of its dissidents. Clumsily, like a baby first learning to swing its chubby fist, I began to pray in my forest. I would light candles, meditate, and feel the other living beings around me. Completely lacking guidance, I didn’t know anything about Daoism, Wicca, and Native American spirituality. I didn’t know anything about cultural appropriation (I think I still don’t), but the books on European paganism seemed the most appropriate to me. (And being on stolen land,”appropriate” is not the word I would use today).

I am reminded of the recent controversy in the Pacific Northwest, with a couple of Green Scare prisoners and their immediate circles dabbling in Norse neo-paganism and its attendant, crossover white supremacist iconography.

It’s curious how some white people look to Scandinavian pagans for a link to authentic, ecocentric European traditions. I could claim a line to that myself, if I wanted. Some of my ancestors were Vikings who became farmers. When I was a teenager I carved my own set of runestones and laid them in my little forest shrine. Since then it had occurred to me that what’s most interesting about the Norse is not their funny alphabet or their Prometheus-Christ god hanging from a yew tree, but all the ways they became what I hate most about this world. Why lie and see them as pure earth children when their brand of paganism made them so susceptible to statism and ecocide?

Nowadays, I cherish my ancestors for all their ugliness, their mistakes, their horrors. I cherish my ancestors for their puritanism, their involvement in genocide, the KKK, in clear-cutting one continent and then another. I cherish these things I hate, because this is all they gave me, and if it does not serve as a positive compass, it serves as a map of a minefield, warning me of a hundred possible missteps.

Why would so many white children, who in general despise their parents and ignore their grandparents, want to emulate their ancestors? Trauma is always the first hand-me-down, and I’m pretty damn sure our shit did not start with the Industrial Revolution.

The European pagans, at least those who populated or neighbored the Roman Empire, cut down their forests and created many more states than they overthrew. Turning to them might be better than mining the remains of colonized societies to manufacture spiritual models, if those were the only two options, but the truth is, there already is an unbroken spiritual connection between the ancestors of the West, and its forlorn modern children, and it isn’t to be found in any book, for it’s writ large across the world. Our heritage is ecocide, patriarchy, monotheism, the State, alienation, along with a hundred half-forgotten stories of rebellion against these forces.

I understand the need for authenticity, but everyone who feels it should understand it as a red flag, warning us away from the inherent artificiality of a search for the authentic.

The recent anarchist children’s story, The Witch’s Child, provides a sort of negative history of the West. Instead of proletariat and bourgeoisie, the classes it posits are the uprooted and the rootless ones, which I read as colonized peoples fighting to reassert their way of life, and people who have been colonized so completely and so long ago that even the memory of it has been obliterated. This last category certainly includes me and most people I know. We have no remaining spirituality, only the need for it.

It occurs to me that most comrades who attempt to fulfill this need fall into some rationalist assumptions about self and victory, namely that a person is simply one body and one lifetime. In fact each of us is the nexus of a million beings and the inheritor of a thousand generations, whose lives will play out in many lifetimes to come. What kind of idiot would think that life ends with brain death? It would take years of education to make a person so ignorant.

Facing the problem of spirituality, all of us rootless ones assume that we must and we can come up with a solution in a single generation, in a single body. But how could that be? If an old growth forest, by definition, cannot spring up in a single generation, how could a single generation in a human community create a healthy, earth-centered spirituality?

I don’t trust people – at least not white people or westernized people – who talk about spirituality. I think that’s a healthy impulse. Perhaps those of us who are starting, not from scratch but from the misery that our ancestors left us, shouldn’t ever talk in public about spirituality, nor shamelessly make collective rites. Maybe we should feel ashamed of our spirituality, and only talk about it in whispers. Maybe it’s not strong enough to come out into the open yet. Perhaps we should only attempt the most timid of steps forward, trusting that if we suggest a vague outline, the next generation will be able to fill in some darker shades, to talk about their nascent spirituality a little louder, and on and on until eventually we have something robust that can be passed on with confidence.

I might talk about the times the deer woke me up in the middle of the night, snorting and stamping at me as I lay in my sleeping bag, or the night I felt the contours of the land for a half a mile in every direction as an extension of my own body, as I listened to gust upon gust of a powerful wind rush over the pond, past the cliff, through the marsh, up the hill, and then suddenly crash all around me, rocking the trees back and forth then leaving us in silence until the next gust. But I am not good at talking about those things. They were very private moments.

I know that many of my friends have moments like that too, that they have never shared with me. I also know that when I’m holding a friend’s baby or taking care of a toddler, there is no limit to the stories I can tell or the songs I can sing. It’s funny the way adults will talk about magic with children but with no one else. They’re not simply taking advantage of the youngster’s gullibility to tell a tale no one else would listen to. What’s actually happening is they are confiding in these children a part of themselves that they need to exist, but don’t have the confidence to nurture on their own. The cycle becomes endless when we are taught never to learn from what children do best.

This time around, we can do it differently. We can tell our secrets to our children, tell them about magic and spirits, share in the private knowledge of the other worlds that so many people are ignorant of, and as they grow, have their backs rather than beating them down, honor their wisdom and lend them our confidence, so as they grow, they might trust their experiences, and speak a little louder, dare to go places where we could not tread.

Don’t Worry, You Can Sleep at Night … and being able to sleep functions as a symptom of a greater problem – by Hunter H

No longer do the ideological extremes function as the ultimate threat to our livelihoods, yet many within the so-called anarchist milieu (or other radical-leftist currents) remain focused on defending themselves from such extremes as central tenets of their praxis. How do we prevent ourselves from structuring ourselves as scarecrows – mere shells of humans existing only as a response to a threat, perched in place against crows, against the Other?

Certainly, fascism (an ambiguously used and degraded term) is horrible, along with nationalism in its many forms (racialized forms of nationalism, cultural Marxism, glorification of the nation-state, etc.), but this distaste for fascism is not popularly contested. In our post-Cold War era, political extremism and ultra-nationalism lack the ideological traction they once held, with the neoliberal politics of globalization guiding the nature of capitalist relations. The rhetoric of anti-fascism is not all explicitly anarchist and has served as fodder for the mobilization of countless ideologies, be it the justification of the Atomic Bomb in Japan or the creation of the Berlin Wall (which was officially referred to as the “Antifaschistischer Schutzwall” or the “Anti-Fascist Protection Rampart”).

European anti-fascist demonstrations draw out supporters by the thousands, but serve as no attack on any actual forces of power. Rather, these demonstrations merely vocalize a popular moral position while glorifying the dominate structure in place that stands in contrast to the dark centers of extremism, fascist or otherwise. Witness the freedom of the anti-fascist demonstrators to exercise their rights to protest, a true victory! But the victory goes to the interests of the state and capitalist enterprises, which understand the value of concessions towards public interest for the sake of self-preservation. Power in the 21st century is articulated more effectively through pacification and social control than through explicitly violent brute force. Rights, equality, and freedom are synonymous with assimilation into global markets and legal recognition by the state. The momentary material gains promoted by civil rights are delivered as a Trojan Horse, with pacification emerging from its bowels… What is to be done?

There are so many activists, radicals, militants, guerrillas, revolutionaries, entrepreneurs, politicians, businessmen, philanthropists, scientists, strategists, and other experts who know the answers – who know which crops to plant and how much water to add – and yet their crops continue to fail, season after season. If action is better than passivity, it hasn’t worked so far, and all we have to show for it are more and more farms of failed ideology; progress stacked upon progress, leaving the land overworked and barren, our planet destroyed, and ourselves socially and culturally bankrupt.

This is the logic of revolutionary optimism (or dogmatism), a logic that says that any push is a push in the right direction, even as the knot of industrial civilization and post-modernity tightens and tangles in the same direction. The decomposition of civilization into endless fragments is accelerating as each gesture that opens up the possibility of change in turn opens up the range of civilization’s dominion as it acquires new avenues for growth and expansion. Nihilism acknowledges that draining puss from an infected blister leads to a good chance of worsening the infection, and that there is no sterile incision that can be made into the flesh of the catastrophe that is post-modern civilization1. The screw of progress tightens and deepens into the depths of the future, with the torque of neoliberalism stripping away at its head.

Revolutionary In-Crowd

Politically active so-called revolutionaries, social anarchists, militants-taking-action, and other optimistic political actors frown upon what they call hipster nihilism. The hipster is an exemplary case of the Other in the context of idealized post-modern commodity relations, subsumed to the construction of an identity-via-commodity relationship to the ownership of goods. A hipster’s defining characteristic is their relationship to aesthetics as determined by popular capitalist production, in that they are seemingly hip or up-to-date with their fashion and clothing. Their taste for aesthetics is molded by ideological precedents laid forth by clothing manufacturers and marketers founded on the concept that clothing and the ownership of other consumer goods composes one’s personal identity.

Unfortunately, this dynamic is a two-way street, and gives progressive or radical-minded individuals the notion that negating popular aesthetics somehow leads to a more genuine form of fashion or self-expression. While a variety of aesthetic tastes certainly sounds more interesting, there is nothing that inherently removes counter-cultural variations of aesthetic preferences from their ideological roots (e.g. believing that dressing differently makes me different; that dressing like a crust punk makes me not a yuppie; that utilitarian aesthetics represent the true modern subject of the working class, etc.).

Those who mockingly shrug off alleged hipsters as lacking authenticity continue to exist, live, and dress themselves in the context of post-modern global capitalism, putting their superficially chosen pants on one leg at a time, just like the rest of us. Both conformity and non-conformity serve different gods of ideology, and capitalist production not only benefits, but thrives from the ebb and flow of both. There is no revolutionary cotton-polyfiber blend of fabric, no proper way to wear a black beret as an armed urban guerrilla. Nothing you can wear that will bring you closer to some mythical state of righteous commodity relations within the context of the world we exist in today, or for any foreseeable future. “Breaking out of the box” only means creating new markets for profitable expansion.

Abstention from commodity relations (veganism, dumpster diving, D.I.Y. movements) have no devastating effect on the targeted economic growth (and the subsequent economic devastation) – yet such trends are firmly entrenched in dictating group morality within the radical milieu, often serving no purpose beyond the social buffer of initiating new members into the group setting. Group stature is revoked upon the dismissal of group ideology. Breaking vegan within an anarchist scene? Betrayal towards the movement! But no one can explain why consumer politics are essential to the anarchist project or how creating or supporting alternative, “agreeable” markets is more ethical within the scope of anarchist thought. The overwhelming influence of leftist and often liberal ethics – which say that positive change can take place in the form of endless reform, awareness, consciousness, and righteousness – pervades the self-proclaimed anarchist scene but does not escape the realm of neoliberalism, which utilizes the implementation of reform and “improved” comfort of the masses as a weapon with which to maintain the power of state-commerce and social control.

What may have begun as counter-cultural trends have been recuperated and sold back to the next line of willing consumers looking to further devoid the aesthetic qualities that the trends were promoting of meaning, leaving any sort of “punk” or “queer” aesthetics to be just as economically subversive as a fashionable Abercrombie & Fitch wearing “yuppie.” Recuperation is the process of decomposition that begins with the ’77 style punk-rocker and streamlines it into stores like Hot Topic; that turns rioting into a glamorous subject of mainstream music videos. Every notion of change and progress is prey to state or capitalist forms of recuperation, be it sex, drugs, violence, anarchy as ideology, images of AK-47s, or rock & roll. Anti-capitalist and even former anti-state politics are targeted for recuperation by the state, which makes the necessary reforms and concessions, tightening and re-arranging the framework of civilization while greasing the gears of progress ad infinitum.

The “hipster nihilist” vs. the “genuine militant” dichotomy parallels the “fashionable hipster” vs. “ethical consumer” dynamic in that the latter in both cases claims to be ideologically superior to the former. The hipster modifier implies an inauthentic position, apparently derived from the notion that nihilists aren’t organizing or taking revolutionary action and are therefore only interested in the social acceptance provided by a political orientation within a scene. Thus, the subject of the hipster also carries over to other theory-based or intellectually-driven (as opposed to action-oriented) milieus (e.g. hipster Marxism).

But the hipster modifier also highlights a prominent misconception about the nature of current themes within nihilist thought – specifically of the distinction between passive and active nihilism. The proto-typical hipster would fall into the former category, a willing passenger in the rollercoaster of history, unaware that they are buckled tightly to their seat. The active nihilist is on the same ride, but is aware of the straps and buckles, can see the gears and wheels, and braces for the blind turns accordingly. Alejandro de Acosta describes:

…the difference between active nihilism and passive nihilism as an awareness. I do think that awareness matters in terms of how one might live beyond resentiment and beyond the spectacle of society. (216. The Impossible, Patience. History as Decomposition).

Active nihilism serves as a microscope to analyze claims of truth, severing ideological claims from their alleged metaphysical roots and exposing their folly.

There is a prominent current within the anarchist milieu, where one gets the sense that everyone has a plan. They know which action will bring forth the one true revolution, the Good and Right thing to do. In a formally structured socio-political environment that functions within the vacuum of causality, where one could coordinate and execute a strategic plan for political action towards some sort of global revolutionary framework (e.g. Marxist fields of thought), precise, persistent, and calculated action indeed seems to be the ethically responsible position. Indeed, if there was an end to the rope that could be pulled to untie us from this mess, most would likely pull it. But the knot only tightens.

Ideological disputes against fascism and nationalism aside, the strategy and tactics implemented by contemporary anti-fascist movements are mostly reduced to spectacular displays of territorial control – which is to say they aren’t seeking to destroy the idea of fascism as much as they are creating a uniform ideological space within the milieu. Any visible trace of fascist elements must be erased from common sight, steering them further into the extremes of the political spectrum and fundamentalist ideologies. The realm of extreme difference thrives from this interplay between the pro- and anti- forces, with nationalist and fascist-oriented political actors thriving from the necessary existence of the radical Other- the Other which justifies the very basis of their political agenda!

Anti-fascist groups, in the wake and tradition of post-WWII Germany, insist on the cultural censorship of fascist elements, insisting on a purity of ideas and aesthetics. This conservation of “problematic” concepts and imagery upholds the essence of the ideological source behind the imagery, which would otherwise lose its metaphysical power to time and the decomposition of its idealized forms. Musicians and artists that satirize or evoke Third Reich imagery are labeled as neo- or crypto-fascist, despite any actual political adherence to or support of fascist ideals – only blatant satire and formal critiques are deemed acceptable.

This maintenance of pristine imagery and ideology is more than fine for the professed practitioners or believers in the far-right. Ultranationalist street gangs cheer upon stumbling into anti-fascist groups to rumble with, with street gang politics providing a great way to perpetuate the platform of each group ad infinitum. Parallel to the moral War on Terror, the struggle for supreme ideology is self-replicating; with sides battling for righteousness eternally as ground troops (e.g. U.S. Military, ISIS, Anti-fa members, or racist skinheads) toss themselves into the meat grinder of war. This is the tainted hamburger meat of the political, which causes the anti-political stomach of the nihilist to wretch in distaste.

Nihilism should not be mistaken for apathy, lack of interest or ethics, or as some simple or shallow perspective disconnected from reality. It is a question, a different way of understanding, reacting to, and situating ourselves within or against our times. Against ideology, against the flow of history, and against civilization!

An Interview with Corrina Gould: On Disappearing to Survive – by A!

Corrina Gould is a Chochenyo and Karkin Ohlone woman, born and raised in Oakland, CA- or the ancient village of Huichin. She works at a drug and alcohol program for Native women and children, she and her close friend Johnella LaRose started the Shellmound Walk and the yearly Shellmound protest that happens at the Emeryville mall on Black Friday. Here, she talks about the history of indigenous people in the bay area, the shellmounds, and the spiritual occupation at Sogorea Te.

Aragorn! (A!): Can you talk a little about why you thought about doing the shellmound walk, the history of shellmounds in the bay area, and focus more on people finding them and celebrating them (instead of just paving over them).

Corrina: Yeah, there are over 425 of them that ring the entire bay area, wherever fresh water meets salt water; they’re these huge mounds, and there are always burials inside of them. Folks have to have fresh water. And our ancestors ate lots of fish, lots of clams... This is why they’re called shellmounds, because when archeologists came from other places they called these mounds “midden.” In Europe, midden means a dunghill or garbage heap, right? But then they realized that they were all burial sites. So, since they were known as midden already, people were like “So, you just throw your ancestors in the trash?”

It’s asinine... These are all spiritual places. People were buried, and then layers of shell would be put over them, to keep them safe of course, because there were large animals in the bay area, you know, grizzly bears lived here. These were places where people came together to have ceremony, people lived on our shellmounds, they were vantage points because people could see, and send signals to each other across the bay. They were needed for survival.

A!: How tall were they, and was the land around them usually cleared?

C: The one in Emeryville was one of five; they fingered out (like your hand). The one in the middle is central, and then smaller ones radiate out around it. The one at Emeryville was three stories high. You can imagine, that’s pretty tall. And it was three football fields in diameter. So you can get a visual, kind of, right? That was the largest of all of them. The oldest one was the one in Berkeley. That was around 4th Street, by Spenger’s parking lot, under the railroad tracks and under Truitt and White hardware store, that’s the oldest according to their carbon dating. But Strawberry Creek, which we can’t see at all, is under there and went right into the bay.

What we found was the issue of how to talk about these things in the bay area when one, even Ohlone people amongst Indian people, were nonexistent really, which happened because of the relocation laws. The Relocation Act was in the 50s and 60s, I’m not sure of the exact date…Their rationale was to take Native people out of the reservations because there was so much poverty, which of course was true, right? But there also their desire to get the Indians off the reservations so that the U.S. government could go into the reservation and use the resources that were there.

The whole assimilation process was really building on the idea of wiping out Native people in America. Which is why the 1978 Longest Walk happened, because there were bills that were going through Congress that were going to allow the US to say that American Indians no longer existed.

A!: It’s interesting to think in these terms of... where was the intentional genocide, and where was the unconscious motivation of genocide. I’m comfortable using the word, because I feel like… whatever, I don’t think it’s too harsh of a word.

C: I don’t think so either.

A!: I think a lot of people feel nervous about... ‘oh, it just happened’.

C: Well, it’s “progress.” It’s “just how things are.” The interesting thing is that California Indians are talking a lot about genocide right now because Junipero Serra is about to be canonized. What does that look like? We talk about the mass genocide of California Indians that happened with their first colonizers. And I think that’s one thing, that folks in the bay area don’t realize the history of where they’re at. That was one of the main reasons that we really needed to do the shellmound walk, because so much is invisible here. So I started talking about even Indian people not even knowing that Ohlone people still existed in the bay area, right? And you can’t blame them, nobody knew that, right? And even then it was really scary for Ohlone people to come out.

A!: And we could think of the missions as city states?

C: There were 21 of them, started in 1767 and lasted 98 years, starting from the bottom of California to San Rafael. My ancestors were enslaved in Mission Dolores in San Francisco, and Mission San Jose in Fremont. So Junipero Serra started the first nine missions with one of the first being Mission Dolores in SF. And, of course, his idea was to conquer the Indians, to use them as slave labor, and to kill them if they didn’t cooperate and become Catholic... to civilize, but it was really about having free slave labor to create these missions and to look at the land in a different way.

It’s still true that Native people look at land in a different way from non-Native people. Folks look at land and say, “look, there’s all these thousands of acres and the Indians aren’t using it, so they don’t need it.” While the Indians have been tending to the land for thousands of years, harvesting in ways that they can get their basket shoots straight, burning stuff off so that the vegetation that they ate came back in a good way, ways that they brought animals in to the land so that it’s not destroyed, and how they take care of the acorns and the fish in the area, so there was a natural process of care-taking the land, tenuring the land.

When other people got here they said, “There’s all this land and there’s so much rich soil,” (‘cause the natives had been tending it) “that we could put all these orchards up.” And that ‘s exactly what happened; they put these orchards up and kept pigs and goats and all these animals that we know as food. And giving those foods to my ancestors made them sick, as anybody eating food that they’re not used to will get sick, so they got sick and died. The animals came with diseases that folks here had never seen.

A!: If you were going to talk about the stages of genocide of California natives, how would you do that? Was there a stage prior to the founding of the missions? perhaps with the initial contact with whites?

C: So Native people were free to go after the missions closed, right? And the state of Mexico was here for a while, right. What was supposed to happen was that Native people could apply for land tracts for land that used to be theirs. The problem was that folks were illiterate.

A!: Not to mention the traditional world view about land.

C: Right. so how would they have done it? they didn’t think about it like that for one, and two, so they’re posting stuff up with words on it, so what do the words mean? It means nothing, and who’s gonna tell you that it does mean something? “Well, none of these Indians came forward and got this land that they could’ve gotten, so...” So, Mexico had it.

Then there was the Treaty of Guadalupe, where Indians were supposed to get land back, but that didn’t happen. Then the state of California was created and the state of California created laws specifically for genocide, for example a law stating basically that it was illegal to be Indian: that any white man could take you to a court of law and say that you were vagrant, and say that they would take care of your food and your clothing for the next 40 years, if they could use you for work, and the court would find in favor of that. They could take people’s kids away.

This is in to the 20th century. They could take your children and say they were orphans. And they could shoot you, as the parent, to make the children orphans. You didn’t have any rights because you couldn’t say anything in a court of law if you were not white. So children were taken from their parent(s) and sold into indentured servitude. People were hunted down because the state of California paid over a million dollars for the scalps, heads, and ears of Native american people.

A!: This is after Mexico.

C: Yeah, after Mexico. So this is Gold Rush era. Everybody flooded into the state, and of course there’s not enough gold to go around, but on the weekends, there’d be these black sundays, people would get on their horses, shoot a couple of Indians, have some money to get through so they could continue panning for gold. So it was all of these things that created the genocide of Natives in California.

A!: Sounds like you’re now talking about Natives who would’ve lived closer to the Sierras, while obviously San Francisco and the bay were already a different environment, with cities, etc. But also it is where the missions were.

C: Right. Yeah, there weren’t missions up there, they were all on the coast. It was still illegal to be Indian, even though you were in San Francisco or Oakland, so people could still kill you and get a bounty... this was the case anywhere in the state of California. They were trying to exterminate the Indian. There was no reason to have us here; we were an inferior race. They called us diggers, here. We were not even human. Not even just in the state of California, in the US, Indians did not get citizenship until 1924. So my great grandparents were not even born with citizenship. It wasn’t until 1978 that we had our own right to religion. So all of this forbidden stuff had to go underground. My particular family survived all of those ways of genocide by pretending to be Mexican. They worked on a ranch in Pleasanton, and survived. But the interesting thing is that they all intermarried with other Ohlones and other mission Indians who were close by.

A!: There was still some language.

C: There was still language. My great grandfather was one of the last speakers of Chochenyo language. This crazy... JP Harrington, and he was absolutely nuts. (I think the ancestors had something to do with it.) But he went... not just California languages but all these languages in Mexico, he’d seen all these languages disappearing and he just went and wrote notes and had people talking to wax cylinders and recorded them and got all of this information and that’s how we’re bringing our language back. Because he did that with my great grandfather. It’s really amazing that those things happened. Nels Nelson, who worked in Berkeley in 1909 knew then, over a hundred years ago, that all these shellmounds were going to be desecrated or removed, and he made a map of them, over a hundred years ago, and that’s what we used for the shellmound walks. It’s not just Ohlone people who were invisibilized, all Native people were invisibilized in the bay area for a while, even after Alcatraz and stuff. They kind of went away, you know?

A!: Yeah. And the problem with Alcatraz is that it’s sensationalism: it’s not “Natives exist in daily life” it’s “Natives exist in a circus.”

C: Right. I agree with that. So we decided that was important after Emeryville was such a debacle...

A!: That mall that opened in 2003?

C: 2002, I think. We decided to protest it. So we protest it every year...

So we walked all the shellmounds that we could find, superimposing our bay area map on Nels Nelson’s map and trying to figure out roadways and reading old newspapers that had stories about when ancestors were pulled out.We just figured out where they were, and we stopped and prayed at these places that were under buildings, under railway tracks, under bars, under schools, under all this stuff. And one of our main reasons was that if we didn’t recognize the ancestors from this land, we couldn’t do the work to be recognized. People work for recognition in different ways...

A!: For the audience, you’re talking about federal recognition of your tribe, and the complicated process, and the value of that recognition, pro and con.

C: Right. There are folks that work on federal recognition and I think it’s a farce. It was set up in a way that has never been for Indians or about Indians, it’s about preventing us from being recognized.

A!: It’s about genocide. Why don’t you talk about Sogorea Te. Since you’re talking about the end of the chapter of the walks, and there were a bunch of other things too...

C: In 2011, after twelve and a half years,t we’ve been going and helping Wounded Knee, SPIRIT, that’s the group that worked to get the city of Vallejo and the Vallejo Restoration District not to build a park there. It’s 15 acres of open land on the Carquinez Strait. It’s the last 15 acres right there in Vallejo that’s open land, and folks have been going to city council meetings--the city council is actually separate from their park district; their park district holds a lease on the land and are the caretakers.

So, we had to go through their board, and their board was super racist, and didn’t want to hear anything about holding on to that piece of land and leaving it as open space. There was an old abandoned house that was on top of it before, it would be overgrown all the time, there was a little creek that ran through it, and fishermen would fish there regularly, and people walked their dogs there. It was just open space and no one basically went there and there was a big huge housing development that was butted right up against it and actually a lot of the cremations had been removed when the built that development, and put onto Sogorea Te space, right? So, twelve and a half years going to board meetings, impact report meetings, having letter writing campaigns, all of that to have them say “we’re gonna do it anyway.” At that time the city of Vallejo was going bankrupt, people can look that up. So, they decided in all their wisdom to give the Greater Vallejo Park District $40,000 in free permitting to go ahead with the park.

We decided there was nothing else we could do. On April 14, 2011, we called folks up to go up there and hold it down. We figured we’d be there for a weekend, we ended up being there 109 days. We set up camp, we set up a sacred fire first of all. That was the first thing we did. And Fred Short was the one who put that together for us, he got the sacred fire going, and it stayed burning for 109 days. That was one of the biggest fights.

A!: So I’ve heard you speak about this as prefiguring the Occupy moment, especially as figuring out how a big pile of people shares a small space that is not where they normally live, so can you talk about some of the decision making, and some of the ways it mirrored and didn’t mirror Occupy, which happened later that same year.

C: Yeah, we actually came and welcomed Occupy that first day [in Oakland]. Sogorea Te, for a lot of the people who were there, was a spiritual awakening, and also caused a lot of post traumatic stress. I think at some point we need to get all together, because there’s pieces of the experience that are missing somewhere. I forget a lot of stuff. But, there was a group of eight of us, four Native and four non-native people, that got together to figure out things like how we were going to deal with the media, how we were going to do messaging, how we were going to deal with the police when they got there, who the security was gonna be, who was gonna be in charge of food, etc.

Each of us took our own place, but as we noticed people coming in to the land, the one thing that was centralized was the sacred fire and people who had never been there were greeted (by security or people there from the beginning) to tell them that when they walked in there they were walking on sacred land, and to come in a respectful way, and that if they wanted to stay there they could. And then they were told that we didn’t care what religion they were, but whatever they believed in, to say a prayer to whatever it was, and to put tobacco on that fire to help to keep this strength. The fire was a central place for having conversations with the entire group that lived there at the time, it helped focus us when the police came, everyone gathered around (children and women inside, men outside, security outside of that)... it was the central place we would meet when anything happened.

It was our place of spirituality, we would stand there in the morning and pray before we ate breakfast to welcome in our ancestors. There were ceremonies there; people from all over California, different tribes, people from the Pacific, came and brought ceremony there. It became an ongoing spiritual ceremony, we knew that there was something else besides us. So it took a lot of ego out of stuff, by doing it that way. Also we kept the space. There was no cussing when you were around the fire. No alcohol or drugs of any kind on the premises at any time. It was set up that way and everyone was in agreement about it.

People ask us how we kept it together, and it was because everyone had the same mind set; we were there to hold down this land for these ancestors, and that’s what our lifework was and we didn’t have time for that other stuff. So everyone found a place within there. Some people were good at cooking, some people were good at cleaning up trash, some people were good at watching people’s kids, some people were good at going and making copies so that we could flyer. Everyone had something they could do that would help the community.

A!: So that’s the strength. What were the weaknesses, compared to, in the context of, Occupy.

C: I think those were the strengths of Sogorea Te and the weaknesses of Occupy. I think that there’s some amazing things that happened at Occupy... I think the leadership was lacking in a way.

A!: Helps to have a specific mission.

C: Yeah. that helps. I don’t know. I traveled to different occupies, and some of them were just a group of folks hanging out in front of a post office. Some of them were big like Oakland. It was different. I think because... maybe it was because of how Sogorea Te was positioned.

I think the idea of occupy was great. the idea of people coming together and learning how to live together again is an amazing idea and it has to happen again. I think if I was to build up an Occupy in Oakland, not nationwide but in Oakland, then I would ensure that there was representation of all people, in the leadership, and that was not true of the Occupy in Oakland. There was a lot of education, but people were still stuck in their ideas of how things should be.

Sometimes in leadership folks have to make unpopular decisions, and stick by their guns, and sometimes they need to step back and let someone else shine for a while. And I think that is what happened at Sogorea Te. When you’re doing something that is so big, you’re not on all the time, you just can’t do it, so allowing yourself to back up and let someone else take the face, for a while? is good to do. It allows other people’s ideas and inventions to come in and you can see different things happen.

A!: So you’re using the word “leadership,” which is very loaded word for anarchists. Can you talk about it in a way that we can understand what you mean? A leader is not a boss, or a ruler?

C: No, not at all. Although sometimes people in those positions need to make harsh decisions. Let me back this up a little bit. I don’t know what Occupy had in place to make sure that everyone stayed safe and people were asked to leave. In the time we were at Sogorea Te, we asked four people to leave. It came from the group of people, and then it came to the leadership group, and then we talked to the people, and then they usually just left, in a quiet way. It wasn’t something where people had to be dragged out or anything like that. There were specific reasons for it. I don’t know if that happened at Occupy. I think there were some particular protocols that need to be in place when people are living together like that.

That said, for me leadership is not about people appointing themselves as the group head, but someone who follows what needs to be done. And I think whatever community you live in, mainstream or anarchy, there are certain people who make themselves available to regular folks, who have ideas that get grabbed onto by other people and gone with, and I think that’s happened with Sogorea Te. We had built relationships with folks, “you’ve been walking with us for four years, you know the work that we are doing here, you know what Wounded’s been doing for twelve and a half years, we’re now calling on you to help us.” So, folks showed up, and then folks who hadn’t met us before showed up, and folks who they knew showed up. So it was like that.

The Native people who were in the group that invited people had been doing the work for so long, people respected them and shared food with them and talked with them and they made themselves available and showed up at each others’ funerals and…we shared a life before. The non-native people who came had been involved in some way in grass roots organizing, and also had some kind of skill to share with folks and were willing to take direction from the Native folks and from women. And vice versa. So a leadership role comes from the people within, not from self-appointment or winning a popularity contest.

A!: I just talked to a friend who is in the bay area purely to go to school here. When he’s done with school he’s going back to the rez. He’s Dineh. It’s a little surprising to me that he is associating with the decolonize crowd in Oakland. Decolonize as far as I can tell is has amorphous definition, it’s not a clear, coherent, singular kind of thing, but it’s become weaponized before it’s become coherent. I talk about this moment from Occupy Oakland as sort of a central moment of this diffusion of the term decolonize. In talking to my friend last week, it was striking to me when he said that for him decolonize is the direct spiritual practice of reclaiming this land. Which is a very powerful thing to say, and what I really appreciate about him is that there was no guile. There were no political machinations in what he said. What he said is exactly what he meant, and I almost can’t even imagine someone in the bay area saying this and really meaning it, and backing it up in practical terms. Because decolonize is such a political movement, post Occupy. So maybe we can start this by talking about your sense of decolonize prior to the confrontation in 2011 and then since.

C: So, he can say that the way he said it because he comes from a place that is more traditional. So it’s not decolonize the way that the bay area looks at things. Where he comes from, it makes total sense to me that he would say that, think that, believe that. For me, I don’t think I really thought about decolonize before the whole movement or whatever it is. At that point, I was trying to re-acclimate myself into this world, because when we were at Sogorea Te, when we were left there, it left this huge void in a lot of us...

A!: Did you call it an occupation?

C: It was a spiritual occupation, yeah. We used that terminology. And it being a spiritual occupation made it different from a political one. But I think that--well, ok this is what I know--when people left Sogorea Te they were devastated because they were leaving a community they had built, a family that they created, and they were going back to this world that doesn’t care about anything that we care about.

I went back to my kids and I didn’t know how to be a mom to them the same way I was a mom before. I couldn’t watch tv for six months, or read a book. I couldn’t even concentrate... so going back to work full time was just getting through the day. I asked other people if they felt the same thing and they said yes; it was just so difficult to get back in our own bodies and to be in this kind of...I don’t know what it is. What society is today. It took a long time to get back.

Then we were asked to be at the Occupy thing, and did the welcoming folks to Occupy. Then pretty soon I started getting emails from folks about hey, we should change the name to decolonize, and I thought “Ok, I can jump on board with that.” So what does that mean? I started asking people, well, what does that mean to you? Cause there were a lot of groups, people were having teach-ins about various things including indigenous stuff. I was asked to do one but I was not there in my mind yet, I just couldn’t do it, but I started thinking about what does decolonize mean, and I decided that it does mean that people need to be educated about where they are, whose land they’re own, and to be adjusted to that place and space in their life. To me that’s the first part of decolonizing, is to realize you’re not from here. I don’t even care if you’re another Indian, you’re not from here. Folks really need to know that, that America was a creation. It’s not real. So what is reality, and how do you go back to these things... and then it just started to be a joke. After the whole decolonize thing happened in Occupy and screwed up, it was like “decolonize your food,” “decolonize your water,” you know what I mean?

If you start using a word frivolously like that, then it loses its original meaning, and that’s what happened. And I think that happens in the bay area a lot. That people take on the new fad, “let’s decolonize everything...” Like, if you have white privilege then find out about that, own up to it, and do something about it. But it’s not our job to teach you about that.

My friend Johnella says, we can’t teach all these folks about how they need to be in this world. Sometimes they need to figure it out themselves. It’s kind of like teaching your kids, you know? For a while I babied the heck out of my kids. They never knew we were poor, although we were. But then that stunted their growth, going into young adulthood. When people start to ask those questions, it’s because they already have a mindset that something’s wrong in this world. If they start to think about decolonizing, or going to rallies, or reading things about anarchy and different theories, then their mind is already there and they need to have conversations with people and not expect people to have all the answers for them.

When I think about decolonize now, I think it’s about re-educating ourselves about who we are, as human beings, and what our connection is to specific places, and once you figure that out you have the ability to see other human beings as other human beings, and to work together on bigger issues. I always say yes, I have this little tiny group of Ohlones who are left here, and we have this little tiny thing called shellmounds that are mostly paved over, and why should anybody give a shit about this issue when there’s global warming, all of this stuff, right? I always ask that, why should people be interested in this? Because what it comes down to is when we all have people we bury, those spaces should be sacred. When you can’t respect people’s sacredness around their burial sites, then you can’t respect a lot. That’s why I ask people to do the work, or to join me to save these places. If we don’t then after this generation we will be annihilated. We will only be a street sign. [pause] Save an endangered species...me [laughs]

A!: There’s a ton of places I’m tempted to go that are so theoretical and abstract that I don’t want to go there. One thing I do want to ask you about (which I think was one of the strengths of Occupy) was the idea of no demands. Have you heard of this?

C: Remind me.

A!: The concept is that as a way to fight the politicians, who of course will try to take over any movement or any sign of life... You know, there are always these people who predate on that sort of energy, and usually how they leverage it, how they succeed in politicizing these moments, is by nailing down the movement to a set of demands and they become the spokesperson for the demands, they become the most fluent in talking about the demands, and when they win, that becomes the tool belt that they use to justify how necessary they are for future activity along this issue.

So one anarchistic way of dealing with that is to no longer be a movement or a moment to nail itself to demands like “better education, we just want x, y, and z”. That defeated the politicians, but that tactic also allowed Occupy to come through people’s lives, and other than the people who were devastated by it (similar to your experience with Segora Te), for many people Occupy just passed right through their lives. This is sort of the criticism of it, especially when compared to the Civil Rights Movement, we can all point to this wonderful law, that’s you know greatly improved our lives... Civil Rights exist! And we can use it in conversation. But for people who are not fluent in these kinds of conversations, they didn’t come away with much from Occupy.

C: Right. I think people say the same thing about Segora Te, and we had demands. That’s interesting. I think that people look at the world in such a materialistic way, that they think there has to be a goal that you can grasp onto, to come away with. That you can say “this law exists because we did this,” or “35,000 other people didn’t get arrested because we did this.” We stopped hunger in America, or at least Oakland, for one day.

I think when you do something with a bigger idea behind it, you have to be ok with saying “I got some kind of awareness, there’s some kind of spiritual awareness now, there’s some kind of human contact that I had, that now I’m a different person. Because of Occupy, because of Segora Te, when I walk in this world, that walking still makes change, because it impacts the other people in our lives, and we have to continue having that impact on each other’s lives. Just like this guy who I visited today, he made an impact on my life. And vice versa, and we talked about that, just by being there and talking to each other. Children who experienced Occupy will be able to talk about that, and there are kids who come every year and say, “Mom, you remember when we slept here, in the teepee... how come our tent’s not here anymore, what happened to this place?” and we can continue to tell those stories.

A!: Is there an annual event?

C: There is an annual event, around April 14th, that’s the day we began the occupation, so either the weekend before or after. People come from all over the place back there, and people who weren’t there now want to come and see what it is.

A!: Can you talk a little about how it fell apart? Because it was a little different from Occupy, it wasn’t the cops storming in...

C: Yeah, it wasn’t the cops storming in, although we were ready for the cops storming in at any time… but at the end of the day [the city of Vallejo] worked with the Native American Heritage Commission and got the area designated as a tribe that is not from that area’s land. And Yocha Dehe, Cache Creek Casino, is the tribe that said that this was their land. We were gonna fight that because we know it’s not their land and we decided against that because we know that it’s my ancestral land, but coming into it, what Yocha Dehe did was to become a partner with them, with the city and the park district. By creating that partnership the city and park district became owners of the land as well. So it created the first... what’s called a cultural easement, within a city and park district and tribal entity. The first one ever created.

So, for $35,000 (I think), they bought into this, to create this cultural easement, and called us, telling us they were going to take care of it, that they were basically going to follow what we wanted. They were going to make sure that the structure was taken down in such a way that it didn’t have any heavy machinery on it where the shellmound was, that they weren’t going to grade the hill that had the cremations in it, that there would be no overhead lighting or bathrooms, and that the parking would be down to two spaces for handicapped people. There’s hundreds of parking spaces there because we had hundreds of people on that land for many different ceremonies, and none of them ever needed to park on the land. They ended up creating six parking spaces, putting in a water fountain, no overhead lighting and no bathroom, they did put these big cement benches and tables on it and they got rid of the housing structure but they did use heavy machinery on top of the mound without protecting it, they did grade down the area that had the cremations... So they got what they wanted by using other Native people.

A!: So they made a verbal agreement with you, everyone left, and then you discovered...

C: Yes. They made a verbal agreement with us, everything was written down, we looked at it, it basically gave us what we wanted. And it said we had to leave the premises by July 31, which is why we left on that day. And we figured, because it was a tribal entity, that they would do the right thing, so we were very naïve about that, figuring that Indians weren’t going to... So in retrospect we were like, “we could’ve done this ourselves.” We could’ve created a land trust, and a land trust could’ve done the exact same thing the tribal entity did, so that’s the tool we were missing...

So yeah. I think we had to be there, so we could learn these lessons. So for me, that’s what it is. For Occupy, that’s what it is... People who were involved in Occupy, did the medic stuff and did the kitchen and all of these crazy, fun, wild ideas, and brought life to themselves and other people, th’ats what they walk away with. So, in the material world, whatever, maybe it’s a loss. Just like Segora Te, which was a loss to some people.

This is what I tell people, it gave us how to be a human being again. And I think that’s the same with Occupy. People learned how to be human beings again, and share with each other, oh my gosh, and talk to each other.

A!: There’s a thing you brought up earlier that I would love to hear your deeper thoughts on, which is this idea of disappearing to survive. That is a really interesting idea, and I know that other people have experienced this... I’m just curious about your thoughts about what that looks like in this world, where it’s so hard for people to be visible at all.

C: I still see it in Indian kids, ‘cause I work in the public school district. That it’s easier to kind of mask yourself as something else, so that you don’t get those questions asked of you. I go around to the schools and track all the Indian kids in the Oakland Unified School District, and sometimes I find one kid in an elementary school. He’s the only kid, he’s in fourth grade, and they’re doing stuff on gold rush and the missions, and he definitely does not want to be asked, “what does it feel like to be Indian?” Even as adults we don’t want to be asked those questions by people who...I have no idea why they would ask that. But kids, and teachers, ask that still to this day.

In a city like Oakland, it’s easy to just kind of hide and invisibilize yourself so you don’t have to do that. A lot of the kids who we work with who are in afterschool programs, are mixed with African-American. So it’s much easier to fit in with the crowd, you know? And then when they come to us, and start talking about their traditions, and how their family still goes back for ceremony, there is a different part of them that lights up, and they’re able to leave the other folks behind for a while. It’s the popular culture that really kills us, you know. I think that’s what it is. I think it’s hiding to be whole, in some kind of way. My ancestors hid so they wouldn’t be killed. Then they hid so they could hold on to our songs ‘cause they were against the law until ‘78. And they hid for their kids to have an easier life--in California it was easier to be Mexican, even, than Indian.

It’s my generation that’s saying, ok, we don’t have to hide anymore. It’s ok for us to come out and talk about this stuff, but even with my kids going to elementary school with a bunch of Native kids (it was one of the schools with the largest populations), they still had a hard time in their classroom with their teacher. It’s the education system and society as a whole that makes you want to hide, still.

A!: Almost impossible to change it at all unless you change the whole damn thing.

C: Yeah. I often think that. It all needs to change. People need to figure that out sooner than later. So, I’m thankful that my ancestors hid in the way they did. And I’m thankful that whoever the crazy people were in the past, wrote down stuff and left those clues so I could find those things. I think having a voice in today’s society allows the next generation to pop up and say, “hey! I’ve got something to offer too, and we’re still here.” I think hiding is a good way to survive; like you say, people do it all over the world. They hide in different kinds of ways. I think sometimes we’re just tired of hiding.

A!: So the last question I have for you is one I brought up earlier and you may not have any particular thoughts about it, but... it’s the idea of what makes a good ally. Who have been people you’ve worked with who you’ve enjoyed working with, and what do you think of the accomplice vs ally, that is sort of the flavor of the month terminology. It’s the new decolonize...

C: Yes, the new decolonize... [laughter] I think that... gosh it’s hard to say.

A!: To approach it from a different direction: most of this bureaucratic nonsense that you’re trying to do, are you mostly doing it with other Natives or are you getting much help from people who are not native? And what have your collaborations looked like. ‘Cause it sounds like a lot of what you’re doing has Native people as the driving force, but I’m sure that’s not entirely true, especially financially.

C: Well, we had a small two-year grant from a foundation to start the land trust. We got one year of funding and don’t know if we’ll get the second year, which is what I hate about foundation stuff. I’ve had people who were at Segora Te with us, who provided herbal stuff, supplies, who said that they want to be this next step, this next journey, where we’re going with this... Because I think all folks came away wanting that community, loving that community, wanting to be a part of something like that. I haven’t utilized folks in a way that probably I should. People have come to me, but I think that...for me, there hasn’t been enough conversation to move this forward in a way that I feel comfortable with. Part of me is afraid to do this, what is it gonna look like, how is it gonna change my life...

A!: Are you gonna jeopardize what you have...

C: Yeah...yeah. I guess that’s it. Sometimes you get scared when you’re trying to do those kinds of things. Folks who are my allies are the ones who have walked with me from the beginning and haven’t left, and want to stay and offer help and also know when to back off and let me do what I gotta do. Who bring me information, so I can use that for the work. And are willing to stay on the line with us. And I saw a lot of people who were ready to do that, at Segora Te. I really have a lot of respect for and honor those people.

Accomplices. I don’t know. I think of my friend Johnella, who has been there and created IPOC with me, as my accomplice. She is the one that... we dreamed this stuff together. She’s gone off to school, but is still working on this landtrust. We live in different places, she lives out in the country mostly and I live out here in the city still but we’re still dreaming those ideas together, we both have that relationship with the land, because we’re both Native, we’re both mothers and grandmothers, and we’ve gone through all these years of work, doing this stuff and trust each other. For me that’s what an accomplice is, somebody who I would lay my life down for, who I trust.

So Johnella, I trusted her before, she was the one who came up with the idea of these walks. I had no idea what a walk was like. I had no idea. I trusted her. We sat down at that little cafe down the street with the maps and wrote it all out, and then drove the things, and it looked like, hey, we could drive this so easy, 18 miles, it’s nothing, right? We could do this, no big deal [laughter], but walking every step of that with all these people behind us, really counting on us to have food at the end of the day, counting on a floor to sleep on. That’s an accomplice. I appreciate the people who help me sit at the table and be an equal, that’s an ally. That’s somebody who says, your work is bomb, and people need to hear this, and I want you to share this with other people... but it’s not the same as having someone who does that work with you like that. An accomplice is more rare. I have a cousin, who grew up with me and helped me raise my kids, she’s my accomplice in that part of my life. I have a friend who went to all of our events, every single thing, and was kind of like my shadow to make sure nobody messed with me, until her health got bad, she is an accomplice, and we raised our kids together too, so it’s like that. So I have those folks. Wounded Knee, who has gone out of his comfort zone on all that kind of stuff and drove all over the world, all over the country, talking to people about Segora Te and why it’s important, he’s an accomplice. Fred, who lit the fire, and teaches us, someone who prays with my kids in the sweat lodge. I have lots of friends who are not native, and they do great work, and they support us, but on the weekends I don’t see ‘em. So, there’s different kinds of relationships.

A!: Any last thoughts?

C: I do have something. One of the things I really want to talk to people about is coming back to the land in a way that nourishes them, and feel whole again. I was talking to people over the weekend and they were saying, “oh yeah, there’s parks in the bay area and stuff” and I said, yeah, but do you know there’s kids living in the flatlands of Oakland that never get to the hills of Oakland and never are able to see that, and wouldn’t it be nice to have a plot of land in the middle of east oakland bottoms that kids could go to and feel safe in and have ceremony there. People could come and share food. Because people are so stuck in these boxes that are apartments, that have no land attached to them and don’t know where they come from, and don’t know where they’re going. We need to become interdependent again, and that’s part of the dream of the land trust, for people to become human again.

Collision of Worlds: the pause between wilderness and civilization in California

This is an introduction or review of the chapter “Collision of Worlds” by M. Kat Anderson, from her book, Tending the Wild (2005). Originally published with the chapter, it is available in zine form if you write to loosedogs@riseup.net.

“The white man sure ruined this country. It’s turned back to wilderness…” – James Rust, Southern Sierra Miwok elder

“Viewed retrospectively,” writes Max Oelschalaeger, “the idea of wilderness represents a heightened awareness by the agrarian or Neolithic mind, as farming and herding supplanted hunting and gathering, of distinctions between humankind and nature. As understood today is a mélange of competing philosophies, ranging from resource conservation to so-called deep ecology.” Wilderness, the wild, therefore names a loss. It names that from which we have actively separated ourselves in order to survive. The indigenous peoples of California did not distinguish between civilized lands and wild lands, as we do. In fact, both “wilderness” and “civilization” are missing from native vocabularies. This is language created by the colonizers and later conservationists. Instead of cultivating distinct tended plots that had been separated out from a wild nature, natives tended the lands around them. They altered those lands, sometimes drastically, so as to generate resources for their use, but never to such an extent that this distinction was produced: the wild, the civilized.

When European colonizers arrived in California, they found what they mistook for a particularly pristine wilderness. Henry David Thoreau saw California as “a foreboding wilderness, a place to do God’s work, a giant unmapped storehouse of wealth, and a place of raw, unspoiled beauty.” Euro-American nature enthusiasts wrote beautifully about valley grasslands, thick with wildflowers and wildlife, about dark redwood forests with bearing soil. Their writings, like their inspiration to preserve and control what they found, was misguided. It never occurred to them that the grass they walked on had been annually beaten by baskets constructed in such a way that the seeds they hit fell into the earth instead of being carried away into the wind.

What the Europeans had found was actually a cultivated forest, the product of thousands of years of care by individuals in native tribes: “Through coppicing, pruning, harrowing, sowing, weeding, burning, digging, thinning, and selective harvesting, they encouraged desired characteristics of individual plants, increased populations of useful plants, and altered the structures and compositions of plant communities.” Where fire was to be avoided they protected it; where fire was necessary, it roared – including, later on, through the homes of colonizers.

The text, “Collision of Worlds” by M. Kat Anderson, is just one chapter of a much larger book, Tending the Wild (2005). It tells the story of colonization, of the renaming and transformation of lands. It is about what happened when one world was imposed on another, altering it in such a way as to destroy the intimacy thus separating and so destroying the natives themselves. See, there was no way to combine the way the two cultures lived. Their daily practices were antithetical to one and other. Californian natives had “an intimacy unmatched by the modern-day wilderness guide, trained field botanist, or applied ecologist,” developed through successive generations. They did not only grow food for themselves to eat. They worked with the landscape to harvest enough materials for food, for construction, and so on, while maintaining relationships with plant populations that went beyond production and consumption. They tended the organism, the population, the plant community, and the landscape. Where a surplus was accumulated among them, it was shared. Land that had been used intensely for a time was left to develop from altered states, for decades.

That collecting sites were left untouched for generations was precisely what suggested to colonizers that much of California had never been touched, that these lands were wilderness and therefore available for the taking. Such taking did happen without intense struggle and rebellion. Regardless, a major factor in the vulnerability of this land (and its peoples) was that it had not been permanently claimed by nomination but by tending over long periods of time.

Colonization obliterated the work of thousands of years by tending. Destruction came swiftly. In 1868 the transcontinental railroad was completed – bisecting and connecting the shores. Indigenous people on this land described a barreling noise that started out faint and then grew louder as it came closer. The first time they saw a train they questioned its origin. “Is it of the stars? Or from the afterworld? A monstrous beast of the white man?” The iron rails were a message from a future that was so clumsy and loud it did not know how to whisper.

“Collision of Worlds,” as well as the larger work of which it is a part, tells the story of Europeans’ destruction of Californian plant communities, as well as of the human communities that lived among them. But it is important to remember that Tending of the Wild does not tell the story in order to advocate for a more careful preservation of the California wilderness. Anderson corrects the misconception that there are only two choices: one the one hand, private property, the destruction of the wild in preference for the civilized, and on the other hand, foraging, the preservation of nature as against small tribes who hardly alter the landscape by their activity.

The modern era has overseen and undertaken a long process of separation, which encourages us to see these two extremes as our only choices. We think of ourselves as nature outside of itself. We distinguish man from nature not only in our words, but in our world: our houses, our national parks, our supermarkets – we re-enact this separation daily. We then rely on this very separation in order to critique our world and our world-destroying ways of life. For, in the face of this enormity (and the constant boredom) that is man’s attempt to subdue nature, it is so tempting to declare oneself a partisan of nature, against man.

How often do we find ourselves pining for a faraway past, in which man was too weak to damage nature? We apply musical concepts of “harmony” or mathematical notions of “equilibrium” to imagine nature as something that remains ever the same, as perfect in itself, in a word, as natural. We forget that nature is also something terrible and cruel, something constantly subduing itself – as the ant subdues the aphid to collect the fruits of its labor, or as the hawk subdues its prey, tearing the nutrient-rich organs from still living and screaming flesh, then shitting them down into the soil that birthed man. Mountains crush their way onto shore and crumble down again. Super volcanos collapse and simmer into meadows. Change is inevitable. And so, man, too, partakes in this beauty and cruelty, as they were found here a part of it, in the organic process of dirt and sun, in the work and leisure of natural life, in the suffering and ceaseless transformation of a world that bears in side within itself no progress, no regress, no moral law. We partake in these things whether we tend the wild, or burn it down to make way for pastureland.

If the ambivalence of nature – of ourselves as nature, absorbed in nature as water is in water – is obscured, it is constantly separated out into good and bad objects, that is no accident. Whether we are wildcrafting for herbal medicine to heal us or fracking for natural resources, the same impulse that sends an anthropologist out to field work to find the “good” native, who lives in harmony with the earth, who uses, as they say, all parts of the animal. The role of anthropology – or as Agamben terms it in The Open (2004), the anthropological machine – is to draw and redraw the lines distinguishing us from “nature”.

This machine does not draw lines because it knows what the human is; rather, it is always trying to distinguish what the human is not: to distinguish the liminal figure of the inhuman man or the humanized animal, and thereby preserve man from his own animal nature, to save man from a confrontation with his natural nature. Here is a machine that must be brought to a halt: “To render inoperative the machine that governs our conception of man will therefore mean no longer seeking new – more effective and more “authentic” – articulations, but rather to show the central emptiness, the hiatus that – within man – separates man and animal, and to risk ourselves in this emptiness: the suspension of the suspension, Shabbat of both animal and man.”

What would is mean to risk ourselves in this emptiness, to suspend the suspension – of man and animal, of man and nature – within man? Tending the Wild gives us some idea. We may never get a chance to see a world like the one Anderson describes, a world in which the hiatus between wilderness and civilization has been suspended in favor of a different mode of existence. Our own version of that world would have to somehow preserve some of the immense extension of human possibilities that civilization claimed, over thousands of years, while ending the massive suffering and destruction of so much life that it bore within itself. – Chloe

Accomplices Not Allies: Abolishing the Ally Industrial Complex

This provocation is intended to intervene in some of the current tensions around solidarity/support work as the current trajectories are counter-liberatory from my perspective. Special thanks to DS in Phoenix for convos that lead to this ‘zine and all those who provided comments/questions/disagreements. Don’t construe this as being for “white young middle class allies”, just for paid activists, non-profits, or as a friend said, “downwardly-mobile anarchists or students.” There are many so-called “allies” in the migrant rights struggle who support “comprehensive immigration reform” which furthers militarization of Indigenous lands.

The ally industrial complex has been established by activists whose careers depend on the “issues” they work to address. These nonprofit capitalists advance their careers off the struggles they ostensibly support. They often work in the guise of “grassroots” or “community-based” and are not necessarily tied to any organization. They build organizational or individual capacity and power, establishing themselves comfortably among the top ranks in their hierarchy of oppression as they strive to become the ally “champions” of the most oppressed. While the exploitation of solidarity and support is nothing new, the commodification and exploitation of allyship is a growing trend in the activism industry.

Anyone who concerns themselves with anti-oppression struggles and collective liberation has at some point either participated in workshops, read ‘zines, or been parts of deep discussions on how to be a “good” ally. You can now pay hundreds of dollars to go to esoteric institutes for an allyship certificate in anti-oppression. You can go through workshops and receive an allyship badge. In order to commodify struggle it must first be objectified. This is exhibited in how “issues” are “framed” & “branded.” Where struggle is commodity, allyship is currency. Ally has also become an identity, disembodied from any real mutual understanding of support.The term ally has been rendered ineffective and meaningless.

Accomplices Not Allies

ac•com•plice/noun: accomplice;/plural noun: accomplices

a person who helps another commit a crime.

There exists a fiercely unrelenting desire to achieve total liberation, with the land and, together.

At some point there is a “we”, and we most likely will have to work together. This means, at the least, formulating mutual understandings that are not entirely antagonistic, otherwise we may find ourselves, our desires, and our struggles, to be incompatible. There are certain understandings that may not be negotiable. There are contradictions that we must come to terms with and certainly we will do this on our own terms.But we need to know who has our backs, or more appropriately: who is with us, at our sides?

The risks of an ally who provides support or solidarity (usually on a temporary basis) in a fight are much different than that of an accomplice. When we fight back or forward, together, becoming complicit in a struggle towards liberation, we are accomplices. Abolishing allyship can occur through the criminalization of support and solidarity.

While the strategies and tactics of asserting (or abolishing depending on your view) social power and political power may be diverse, there are some hard lessons that could bear not replicating. Consider the following to be a guide for identifying points of intervention against the ally industrial complex.

Salvation aka Missionary Work & Self Therapy

Allies all too often carry romantic notions of oppressed folks they wish to “help.” These are the ally “saviors” who see victims and tokens instead of people.

This victimization becomes a fetish for the worst of the allies in forms of exotification, manarchism, ‘splaining, POC sexploitation, etc. This kind of relationship generally fosters exploitation between both the oppressed and oppressor. The ally and the allied-with become entangled in an abusive relationship. Generally neither can see it until it’s too late. This relationship can also digress into co-dependency which means they have robbed each other of their own power. Ally “saviors” have a tendency to create dependency on them and their function as support. No one is here to be saved, we don’t need “missionary allies” or pity.

Guilt is also a primary ally motivating factor. Even if never admitted, guilt & shame generally function as motivators in the consciousness of an oppressor who realizes that they are operating on the wrong side. While guilt and shame are very powerful emotions, think about what you’re doing before you make another community’s struggle into your therapy session. Of course, acts of resistance and liberation can be healing, but tackling guilt, shame, and other trauma require a much different focus, or at least an explicit and consensual focus. What kind of relationships are built on guilt and shame?

Exploitation & Co-optation

Those who co-opt are only there to advance self interests (usually it’s either notoriety or financial). As these “allies” seek to impose their agenda, they out themselves. The ‘radical’ more militant-than-thou “grassroots” organizers are keen on seeking out “sexy” issues to co-opt (for notoriety/ego/super ally/most radical ally) and they set the terms of engagement or dictate what struggles get amplified or marginalized irregardless of whose homelands they’re operating on. The nonprofit establishment or non-profit industrial complex (NPIC) also seeks out “sexy” or “fundable” issues to co-opt and exploit as these are ripe for the grant funding that they covet. Too often, Indigenous liberation struggles for life and land, by nature, directly confront the entire framework to which this colonial & capitalist society is based on. This is threatening to potential capitalist funders so some groups are forced to compromise radical or liberatory work for funding, others become alienated and further invisibilized or subordinated to tokenism. Co-opters most often show up to the fight when the battle has already escalated and it’s a little too late.

These entities almost always propose trainings, workshops, action camps, and offer other specialized expertise in acts of patronization. These folks are generally paid huge salaries for their “professional” activism, get over-inflated grants for logistics and “organizational capacity building”, and struggles may become further exploited as “poster struggles” for their funders. Additionally, these skills most likely already exist within the communities or they are tendencies that need only be provoked into action.

These aren’t just dynamics practiced by large so-called non-governmental organizations (NGOs), individuals are adept at this self-serving tactic as well.

Co-optation also functions as a form of liberalism. Allyship can perpetuate a neutralizing dynamic by co-opting original liberatory intent into a reformist agenda.

Certain folks in the struggles (usually movement “personalities”) who don’t upset the ally establishment status quo can be rewarded with inclusion in the ally industry.

Self proclaiming/confessional Allies

All too often folks show up with an, “I am here to support you!” attitude that they wear like a badge. Ultimately making struggles out to feel like an extracurricular activity that they are getting “ally points” for. Self-asserted allies may even have anti-oppression principles and values as window dressing. Perhaps you’ve seen this quote by Lilla Watson on their materials: “If you come here to help me, you’re wasting your time. If you come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.” They are keen to posture, but their actions are inconsistent with their assertions.

Meaningful alliances aren’t imposed, they are consented upon. The self-proclaimed allies have no intention to abolish the entitlement that compelled them to impose their relationship upon those they claim to ally with.

Parachuters

Parachuters rush to the front lines seemingly from out-of-nowhere. They literally move from one hot or sexy spot to the next. They also fall under the “savior” & “self-proclaimed” categories as they mostly come from specialized institutes, organizations, & think-tanks. They’ve been through the trainings, workshops, lectures, etc., they are the “experts” so they know “what is best.” This paternalistic attitude is implicit in the structures (non-profits, institutes, etc) these “allies” derive their awareness of the “issues” from. Even if they reject their own non-profit programming, they are ultimately reactionary, entitled, and patronizing, or positioning with power-over, those they proclaim allyship with. It’s structural patronization that is rooted in the same dominion of hetero-patriarchal white supremacy.

Parachuters are usually missionaries with more funding.

Academics, & Intellectuals

Although sometimes directly from communities in struggle, intellectuals and academics also fit neatly in all of these categories. Their role in struggle can be extremely patronizing. In many cases the academic maintains institutional power above the knowledge and skill base of the community/ies in struggle. Intellectuals are most often fixated on un-learning oppression. These lot generally don’t have their feet on the ground, but are quick to be critical of those who do.

Should we desire to merely “unlearn” oppression, or to smash it to fucking pieces, and have it’s very existence gone?

An accomplice as academic would seek ways to leverage resources and material support and/or betray their institution to further liberation struggles. An intellectual accomplice would strategize with, not for and not be afraid to pick up a hammer.

Gatekeepers

Gatekeepers seek power over, not with, others. They are known for the tactics of controlling and/or withholding information, resources, connections, support, etc. Gatekeepers come from the outside and from within. When exposed they are usually rendered ineffective (so long as there are effective accountability/responsibility mechanisms).

Gatekeeping individuals and organizations, like “savior allies,” also have tendency to create dependency on them and their function as support. They have a tendency to dominate or control.

Navigators & Floaters

The “navigating” ally is someone who is familiar or skilled in jargon and maneuvers through spaces or struggles yet doesn’t have meaningful dialogue (by avoiding debates or remaining silent) or take meaningful action beyond their personal comfort zones (this exists with entire organizations too). They uphold their power and, by extension, the dominant power structures by not directly attacking them.

“Ally” here is more clearly defined as the act of making personal projects out of other folk’s oppression. These are lifestyle allies who act like passively participating or simply using the right terminology is support. When shit goes down they are the first to bail. They don’t stick around to take responsibility for their behavior. When confronted they often blame others and attempt to dismiss or delegitimize concerns.Accomplices aren’t afraid to engage in uncomfortable/unsettling/challenging debates or discussions.

Floaters are “allies” that hop from group to group and issue to issue, never being committed enough but always wanting their presence felt and their voices heard. They tend to disappear when it comes down to being held accountable or taking responsibility for fucked up behavior. Floaters are folks you can trust to tell the cops to “fuck off” but never engage in mutual risk, constantly put others at risk, are quick to be authoritarian about other peoples over stepping privileges, but never check their own. They basically are action junkie tourists who never want to be part of paying the price, the planning, or the responsibility but always want to be held up as worthy of being respected for “having been there” when a rock needed throwing, bloc needs forming, etc.

This dynamic is also important to be aware of for threats of infiltration. Provocateurs are notorious floaters going from place to place never being accountable to their words or actions. Infiltration doesn’t necessarily have to come from the state, the same impacts can occur by “well meaning” allies. It’s important to note that calling out infiltrators bears serious implications and shouldn’t be attempted without concrete evidence.

Acts of Resignation

Resignation of agency is a by-product of the allyship establishment. At first the dynamic may not seem problematic, after all, why would it be an issue with those who benefit from systems of oppression to reject or distance themselves from those benefits and behaviors (like entitlement, etc) that accompany them? In the worst cases, “allies” themselves act paralyzed believing it’s their duty as a “good ally.” There is a difference between acting for others, with others, and for one’s own interests, be explicit.

You wouldn’t find an accomplice resigning their agency, or capabilities as an act of “support.” They would find creative ways to weaponize their privilege (or more clearly, their rewards of being part of an oppressor class) as an expression of social war. Otherwise we end up with a bunch of anti-civ/primitivist appropriators or anarcho-hipsters, when saboteurs would be preferred.

Suggestions for some ways forward for anti-colonial accomplices:

Allyship is the corruption of radical spirit and imagination, it’s the dead end of decolonization.The ally establishment co-opts decolonization as a banner to fly at its unending anti-oppression gala. What is not understood is that decolonization is a threat to the very existence of settler “allies.” No matter how liberated you are, if you are still occupying Indigenous lands you are still a colonizer.

Decolonization (the process of restoring Indigenous identity) can be very personal and should be differentiated, though not disconnected, from anti-colonial struggle.

The work of an accomplice in anti-colonial struggle is to attack colonial structures & ideas.

The starting point is to articulate your relationship to Indigenous Peoples whose lands you are occupying. This is beyond acknowledgment or recognition. This can be particularly challenging for “non-federally recognized” Indigenous Peoples as they are invisiblized by the state and by the invaders occupying their homelands.

It may take time to establish lines of communication especially as some folks may have already been burnt by outsiders. If you do not know where or how to contact folks, do some ground work, research (but don’t rely on anthropological sources, they are euro-centric), and pay attention. Try to more listening than speaking and planning.

In long-term struggles communication may be ruptured between various factions, there are no easy ways to address this. Don’t try to work the situation out, but communicate openly with consideration of the points below.

Sometimes other Indigenous Peoples are “guests” on other’s homelands yet are tokenized as the Indigenous representatives for the “local struggles”. This dynamic also perpetuates settler colonialism. A lot of people also assume Indigenous folks are all on the same page “politically,” we’re definitely not.

While there may be times folks have the capacity and patience to do so, be aware of the dynamics perpetuated by hand-holding.

Understand that it is not our responsibility to hold your hand through a process to be an accomplice.

Accomplices listen with respect for the range of cultural practices and dynamics that exists within various Indigenous communities.

Accomplices aren’t motivated by personal guilt or shame, they may have their own agenda but they are explicit.

Accomplices are realized through mutual consent and build trust. They don’t just have our backs, they are at our side, or in their own spaces confronting and unsettling colonialism. As accomplices we are compelled to become accountable and responsible to each other, that is the nature of trust.

Don’t wait around for anyone to proclaim you to be an accomplice, you certainly cannot proclaim it yourself. You just are or you are not. The lines of oppression are already drawn. Direct action is really the best and may be the only way to learn what it is to be an accomplice. We’re in a fight, so be ready for confrontation and consequence.

If you are wondering whether to get involved with or to support an organization:

  • Be suspect of anyone and any organization who professes allyship, decolonization work, and/or wears their relationships with Indigenous Peoples as at badge

  • Use some of the points above to determine primary motives. Look at the organizations funding. Who is getting paid? How are they transparent? Who’s defining the terms? Who sets the agenda? Do campaigns align with what the needs are on the ground?

Are there local grassroots Indigenous People directly involved with the decision making?

A Few Notes on the Social Machine – by Xander

No matter how different, or even opposite the purpose: whether it be that of punishing the incorrigible, guarding the insane, reforming the vicious, confining the suspected, employing the idle, maintaining the helpless, curing the sick, instructing the willing in any branch of industry, or training the rising race in the path of education: in a word, whether it be applied to the purposes of perpetual prisons in the room of death, or prisons for confinement before trial, or penitentiary houses, or houses of correction, or work-houses, or manufactories, or mad-houses, or hospitals, or schools.”

-Jeremy Bentham, Panopticon Letter I [1787]

Make no mistake about it, we are being consumed. This eating and digestion of life – human and nonhuman – is perpetuated by a complex and diffuse system of inculcation and complicity that has been referred to as the social machine.1 Comprised of states and their economic systems, their statistics, institutions, sprawling urban and sub-urbanism; it is the university system, it is the police, and it is you and me. It is the machine that tries to harness and ingest everything it touches.

The social machine preserves itself by consuming, reconfiguring life by establishing and proliferating the colony system. The social machine is the heart of colonization and is not limited to a particular place or time, but is the projection of a specific relationship and vision that seeks to integrate and consume all life, past and present. Colonization needs loyal adherents, managers, and the continuous manufacturing of the timeless Other – as the object of charity, fear, or a combination of the two. This othering takes the form of the classic dichotomies: civilized/savage, legal/illegal, proletariat/non-proletariat, and the state’s favorite : criminal/citizen. These divisions are important. They form the rhythm of this machine and the intensity of monotonous suffering that conditions both our mentalities and the ground beneath us. The social machine, meanwhile, manufactures a system of perpetual double-binds, leaving nearly no room for escape, only endless rearticulations of freedom.

Discussion of the social machine raises the centuries-old question, phrased differently over time: how is colonial rule – or the industrial state – established, maintained and continuously able to grow? Here are a few notes from a perspective that seeks to challenge the positive social investments of this machine; investments that seek to confuse, implicate, and create self-identification in people through its colonizing processes.

The heart of the social machine is industrialism: the material form of capitalism in all of its divisive variants including liberal, planned, command, and neoliberal economies. All of these economies are a substantial part of this amorphous machine operated by “developed” and “developing” countries and people alike.2 The social machine is big, it’s everywhere, and it is trying to implicate and consume all of us into its gears. However, this is not to say it is omnipresent – it can be destroyed. This destruction requires intimate personal reflection on the structures around us and on the quality of life that the social machine enables; finding friends3 that want to take on a joyfully anarchist praxis; and, at the least, reflecting and conversing on the failures of organizing (it is often the reproduction of oppressive state organizational forms and relationships in organizing work that leads to activist burn-out). This might look like people adopting a different set of values (possibly anarchist) that will enable them to fight where they stand on their terms against the multiplicity of continuous attacks by the machine, its appendages, and its army of lemmings.

The social machine formed with Civilization and advanced with the mechanical philosophers and their utilitarianism that sought to create an “ideal perfection” for society.4 Jeremy Bentham, among others, articulated an obsession with a utopian order of geometric and moral perfection.5 Bentham’s solution to social “disorders” was the Panopticon, a guard town with blacked-out windows. More importantly, it was to be God’s eye making people feel they were under constant surveillance by the guard tower, the doctor, the factory foreman, or the teacher. Inspired by military planning from previous centuries, the Panopticon or more accurately panopticism is a technology that possesses the values and logic at the center of the social machine. As Bentham outlined, “the person to be inspected should always feel themselves as if under inspection,” and “the underkeepers or inspectors, the servants and subordinates of every kind, will be under the same irresistible control with respect to the head keeper or inspector, as the prisoners or other persons to be governed are with respect to them.6”

The crucial point is this: in what other instance as in this, will you see the interests of the governor and the governed in this important particular, so perfectly confounded and made one? – those of the keeper and the prisoners – those of the medical curator with those of the patients? Clean or unclean, safe or unsafe, he runs the chance that they do: if he lets them poison themselves, he lets them poison him. Encompassed on all sides by a multitude of persons, whose good or bad condition depends upon himself, he stands as a hostage in his own hands for the salubrity of the whole.

While a liberal ideal, panopticism is trying to create a system and social terrain of mutual dependency – a hostage-making system in which everyone is implicated and brought under the system’s order. Never forget, this internal control was introduced to people through abduction and overt violence. The emerging police apparatus would abduct anyone it saw as a vagrant, idler, or social enemy of the church, state, and its growing economy; an economy that would abduct and torture people into working. This process required the division and commodification of people and, with the rise of enclosures, the land itself.7 Bentham, among others, knew very well that this could only be sustained with dependency: “What other master is there that can reduce his workmen, if idle, to a situation next to starving, without suffering them to go elsewhere?8” This is what propels the social machine.

After abducting people, beating them, and burning or seizing their homes, the social machine needs to create enchanting and pleasant carrots after the stick of repression. These carrots could come in the form of new homes, sewage systems, education, computers, or even social relations. The rise of what are now known as counterinsurgency warfare techniques – attempts to turn relationships into levers, to transform flirtations, touch, and charismatic personalities into weapons of integration and pacification – has allowed the social machine to deepen its hold. The general point of this conquest and colonization is to create a situation of dependency. Dependency must also install addiction.9 What could be better for the industrial order than people’s perceived need for and addiction to its sweets? What keeps the corporate careerists, police, and doctors going other than the mythology of their own importance, their complete and utter dependence on work, and the cheap and expensive drugs ranging from donuts – hydrogenated oils, high doses of sugar, salt, etc – to mind numbering pharmaceuticals, to favorite television shows? In the social machine we are all rendered hunkies and prostitutes and our jumping between these roles is what keeps us and this machine going.

The social machine needs you to learn to endure and even like your work. Bentham knew that creating the possibility to allow work into the prison or workhouse that was not completely miserable could reinforce the positive lure of self-management. He writes: “But I neither see the great danger nor the great harm of a man’s liking his work too well; and how well soever he might have liked it elsewhere, I should still less apprehend his liking the thought of having it to do there.10” Once you can accept the work introduced to you and even better identify with it, and more so learn to derive meaning from it, you have been assimilated into the social machine and maybe there is room for your comfortable survival managing and policing others to keep with the perfection of things. Isn’t this the lesson of society and our personal goal of survival? Isn’t this how thoughtful and dangerous people end up cogs in the university system? Often, ‘we’ – individuals – fail to find the space or alternatives we need, especially if the alternative is a circle of people who talk past each other and establish informal group hierarchies with any number of techniques to cut down and guilt each other, until we eventually integrate full-time into these gears – at least temporarily. So, I anticipate the droning mumbles and squeals as I challenge my own and everyone else’s pleasures and social identities intertwined in this machine, is this assimilation all bad?

Dependency, addiction, and self-management seek to establish what has been called “administrative decentralization,11” or the decentralization of hierarchical systems. It is the epitome of self-identification and belief in a particular often unspoken, set of values that spread the consumption process of the social machine. Many libertarians and anarcho-syndicalists fall into this trap. With the right ingredients (roughly one part captured imagination, two parts addiction, and one part dependency) one can flip the slogan: “There is no authority but yourself” on its head to entail managing our own slavery with self-identification, no longer requiring intense coercion. Panopticism seeks, by any means necessary, to have people internalize a particular kind of authority that uses dependency and addiction as the criteria for punishment and reward. Administrative decentralization is the autonomous set of complex gears (social processes of consumption and production) that operate in synchronization with other complex gears within the framework of the state, while providing degrees of autonomy, feedback, and a sense of real and imagined freedom.

Once people have internalized this logic and are dependent on the colonial system, they have drunk the Kool-Aid of acquiescence and their pastimes, hopes, dreams, and discourse are predetermined, propagated by the media-industrial complex. On the other hand, if an individual is to take up an insurrectionary or anti-civilization disposition then they are faced with a series of double-binds. I do not mean to suggest these two camps – drinking Kool-Aid and insurrectionary dispositions – are mutually exclusive. They are all part of the same tumble dryer.

Double-binds are the way this machine protects itself and holds everyone hostage. The entire social machine is an elaborate system ready to integrate and implicate everyone, by any means necessary. It makes layer upon layer of double-binds that send the message to those that are colonized and being colonized that “if you act against this machine in part or in whole in a tangible and material way then you will not make a single difference and you will be imprisoned or killed.” While the other side of this double-bind is: “yes, things are really bad; people are dying, species extinct, and collapse looming, but you can change this machine, make it friendly, more efficient and representative of the people.” And of course there is the “who gives a shit” discourse. In short, this double-bind tries to capture the hearts and minds of people. It captures their hearts by “persuading people their best interests are served by [the social machine’s] success” and minds by “convincing them that [the social machine] can protect them, and that resisting [it] is pointless.12”

To engage in the political system formally is to accept the systematic double-binds that prolong this social machine of death – Obama or Romney? – the machine continues. This is why anti-politics is advisable, this is why despite our formal and informal degrees in political science we need to destroy power and reclaim our own. We must take back our colonized hearts and minds and see past the clever trick of administrative decentralization, present even in some attempts at decolonization, which only maintains the social machine despite its rotten racism/patriarchy/classism/industrialism.

This double-bind could not be made more apparent than in humanity’s total integration and dependency on cybernetics and logistics. Logistics are the veins of the social machine and the life blood of humans as we shuffle from box to box – house to bus to work to bar to park to supermarket to restaurant to movie. Almost the entire existence of the modern industrial human is resigned to a series of boxes that are completely dependent on logistics. The more this machine grows, the more vulnerable it feels, the more it wants to take, the closer it mixes our lives with its own structures, making us dependent on transportation, lights, air, food, sanitation, internet, the list goes on, but after all this machine serves us, right? That is why we are paralyzed by traffic, work, television, junk food, expensive hobbies, and booze. It is through logistics, the third order of the art of war, that dependency and addiction merge into one. Proliferating sicknesses that come in the form of entitlement, narcissism, insensitivity, anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress, industrial poisoning, elaborate drug habits and crippling dietary concerns – this machine is war, subtle and permanent.

This extreme dependence is making us needy, legislating and enforcing helplessness to spread the social machine, if we let it happen. On the other hand, this dependence creates mind-boggling entitlement and self-identification with the thing that is killing us. If it’s not directly and immediately to the point at which our reference to health is completely distorted, there are more of us ill than healthy, and emulation takes hold. Likewise, modern idleness takes the form of poison, insecurity, and dependency on machines that require specific and specialized modes of work. Either way and no matter what your take on these issues, the more we attack the logistics that propel this machine, the more we are attacking ourselves and our comforts – a double-bind, to say the least.

The social machine has a place for rich and poor, criminal and citizen, woman and man, black and brown, and any variety of sexualities. Some positions in this machine are less miserable than others, but that is exactly what keeps us eating each other while this machine is eating all of us. This machine loves it when we love our work, especially after five hundred years of disciplining us into loving it. Add some technophilia/techno-addiction to this work, and it appears unstoppable, but to maintain this regime of work, this particular order of perfection, it is bleeding us, our values, and our ways of life.

Let’s not forget that cable television was developed for three principle reasons in the 1960s:

1) to act “as a medium for citizen participation,”

2) “citizen-government communication,” and

3)”violence prevention” against widespread urban rebellion and race riots.13 These three rationales had one endgame: to secure internal state economic interests in developing a technology that would promote social integration through constant propaganda for national politics, manufactured debates and options, and, later, enchanting entertainment that served the overall purpose of social domestication and pacification. We have been taught not only to take the carrots, but to fight for them, and see them as our own. When we work to create or obtain these enchanting carrots, it is within an architecture that has built-in trap doors – or double binds.

If people are to ever going to begin to uproot this thing and begin to genuinely decolonize – acknowledging the rotten form of architecture and organization – it mean s not taking the bait, or at the least holding a tension against these technologies that are so good, so sweet and so pleasurable, so amazing it makes magic look like an outdated joke. It means seeing the social machine for what it is: a colonizing machine that seeks to consume everyone on its altar of progress – for its continued growth and development – turning hearts and minds into junky consumers whose agency is corralled into some form of prostitution. In short, maybe the only carrots we should eat are the ones we grow ourselves, and with our friends.

Soylent Green14 demonstrated one way industrial humans could start eating each other, but the social machine is designed to consume and perpetuate itself using every facet of our being – our spirit, our sexuality, our desires, and our actions. This negative set of concerns is not intended to be righteous or helpless, rather it intends to recognize the extent to which we are all being formed by this machine, some in much worse positions than others, but all of us still in it, taking its prescribed roles, scrapping for assimilation and work that is bearable if not pleasurable,15 searching for dignity in its architecture. Worse still, we may be forgetting how to live without this machine’s services and style of work, how to enjoy free time without the insane plethora of “modern” conveniences.

This is a quandary I face and symptoms I experience and I share these notes:

1) The social machine is consuming all of us in different intensities.

2) It has been building an architecture over the centuries to keep people dependent and addicted.

3) It wants to induce the feelings of pleasure and positive investments.

4) Furthermore, it likes it when we enjoy our work.

5) Finally, we are a technology of this colonial process, rebuilding and spreading its mentality. One way to think about this latter point are those scary robots in sci-fi movies. Once they are blown, destroyed, and shattered into hundreds of pieces, people think they’ve won the struggle against the machine. They begin to talk, celebrate, and relax, and then the camera pans over to these shattered pieces on the ground. Slowly, they begin to wiggle, pieces start moving together, and wires start poking out and connecting back to one another to rebuild this super robot. It is this wiggle and piecing back together that the industrial human has been conditioned to serve, acting as the social machine’s reproductive technology and its feedback that will work out the kinks, improve growth, and reassemble it back together.

It is in these terms I think we should revisit the failed practice to take back our values and destroy the reproductive capacities of the social machine that we have been made to serve. Let’s loot the social machine, take what we can, burn the rest, and be conscious about what will constitute its reproduction.

The old, and the new – by AJ

Having articulate and thoughtful politics about something that is currently ongoing is hard. Sacred truths that anarchists hold in common are rarely grasped immediately. Now-popular critiques become canonized in anarchist thought after the dust has settled, zines have been read, and books have been written, but not until then.

Technology is always uncharted territory. Having an analysis of it involves not only acknowledging that it produces anti-social behavior, something anarchists are overly-proficient in already, but theorizing specific ways it impacts our thoughts, behavior and perceptions. Experiencing new technology leaves impressions, which sit raw in the mind, producing vague emotions and thoughts, but rarely resulting in something which is easy to articulate. It usually takes many years for such experiences to settle in and become normalized before an understandable critique finds circulation through radical circles. By the time anarchists can explain the new alienation, it’s become the old alienation of two Apple press conferences ago.

Combine this with the fact that in liberal democratic society it is easy to adopt popular rhetoric which, by design, appears to be consistent with our (and everyone else’s) views. This sloganistic, talking-head rhetoric impedes thoughtful analysis and engulfs us in the empty marketplace of ideas which acts as a revolving door for stale critiques. Usually this occurs in the context of media-packaged ‘issues’ that are falsely presented as having two sides to them. In the past, this might have looked like something that NATO versus the Eastern Bloc, or North Vietnam against the United States. Maybe today it’s gentrification versus impoverished inner-cities. Essentially meant to reflect the eternal “are you a liberal or a conservative?”, these questions serve to hide perspectives that are hostile to the foundation on which the system stands. When we surrender to the pluralist mandate, we subsequently end up arguing on terms that are contrary to our radical values and goals.

Of particular interest to anarchists who read this publication is the debate over smartphones and how they impact our lives. To an anti-civ anarchists’ initial delight, there exists in mainstream discourse an anti-tech position. This rhetoric is not very well articulated, and can most easily be summed up as disgust over perceived images of vain teenagers taking selfies, people immersed in their phones in public settings, and the urge to taking pictures of magnificent situations instead of directly experiencing them. Anarchists might hear these talking points and repeat them because they seem to be anti-tech.

The trap we’re falling into here is that this is simply a pluralistic generational conflict, nothing more. It’s the millennials versus the ‘old-timers,’ whose fetishization of their times is completely knee-jerk. It’s one of the most enduring and least productive arguments of modern times. In consumer society each generation has new trends, fashions, and commodities that they define themselves by. This fuels a distancing between generations due to how quickly such things become outdated and irrelevant by a new set of cultural artifacts that always targets the next generation of young people.

To take up the anti-tech position in these arguments is just to pick a side in this pluralistic divide. As the shiny new toys increasingly colonize more of daily life, younger generations consider them defining of themselves and their identities. They cling to them and defend them the same way every generation defends themselves against their elders. The same people who criticize selfie-vanity were likely called out by their parents decades ago for listening to music on headphones during time meant to be spent with family. They likely don’t have any problems with seeing headphones worn in public.

Taking the “old-timers” argument may seem rational in that, as time passes, it appears technology colonizes more of our daily lives. One might say that the older generations’ perspective could be a basis for more critical conversations about civilization, since their technology was less invasive and colonizing. The problem with this premise is the false assumption that anti-civ anarchists share similar motivations regarding the present generation’s obsession with advanced technologies. Older generations long for ‘the good ol’ days’ before smartphones, and by doing so reify the cliché rose-tinted glasses phenomenon. In these critiques of present-day technology, the technology and lifestyles of the past are celebrated nostalgically and without critique. This is something the younger generation points out, and they’re justified in doing so. Instead of glancing at their smartphones on the bus, old-timers want walkmen and newspapers. They deplore people interacting on the internet in their own rooms and miss when the family would sit mindlessly around the television in the living room. Essentially, they don’t have a problem with the public-private shift, or how increasingly the private is invading the public, just how the instruments of alienation have changed. The old-timer perspective is basically a combination of confusion of new mores, and disdain at being considered irrelevant. Nothing radical here.

Most situations that people experience in modern Western societies are boring and useless. The landscape of the world has been shaped in such a way that everything is efficient in making us consumers/workers/citizens, and as such the roles we find ourselves in do not promote social interaction or engagement. For example, in the supermarket waiting line one is separated from others by shopping carts, facing forward, with impulse purchase items to our right and left. There are so many commodities and hobbies marketed to us that there is few and few overlap in our interests as time goes on. If they do have something in common, it is their experience consuming the same spectacles like the newest season of a Netflix series. Social life has very little potential for meaningful interaction. We are in our own private worlds at home, and in public we have little to say to each other, if we are in a situation that facilitates us saying anything at all.

As products of western philosophy, we think that the things themselves must be the cause of anti-social behavior, but that’s not getting to the root of why screens and the internet are so enticing. Like most things, smartphones are a cause, but they are also a result. Taking the above example, I think we can say with certainty that the uninteresting and meaningless situations of modern life, such as waiting in line at a supermarkets, helped create the smartphone. The smartphone is an improvement (from a capitalist perspective) on experiencing this miserable and mundane world. What was before merely boring can now be somewhat interesting. If we apply that formula everywhere and in every situation, then we can grasp the true purpose and meaning of the smartphone. It is this society’s alleviation of the boredom and social atomization that it creates.

Asserting new technologies as the cause of modern alienation is only half of the appropriate critique. Technology in a consumer society comes into existence as an attempt at reforming an otherwise dreary or unappealing aspect of the form of life it creates. Smartphones are meant to relieve the boredom of late capitalism. Instant access to information and one’s friends in addition to games and other entertainment means that one can now “live without dead time.”

Maybe social life is now at the point for many people where the smartphone experience is more interesting and desirable than talking to people in real life. Maybe our culture is no more or less alienating than it was before, but new technologies merely make it more apparent – giving form to our anti-social conditioning. The interests, hobbies, and values that people have are becoming increasingly diverse, while the form-of-life prescribed to us under capitalism remains just the same. The internet is again both a cause and result of this fracturing. If the people on your Tumblr are just like you and you become just like them, then the people you are physically around lose their appeal. The internet is where you find people who share your interests, more than the physical world.

I agree with those who critique smart-phone society, but we need to approach these questions with a broader perspective. Civilization itself, with all its shiny new toys, should be destroyed. But lamenting over how alienating they are is pointless at best, especially if it takes the form of arguments and positions that actually affirm the real-life alienations that modern society throws at us every day. We should remember that the problem isn’t just that people look down at their screens, but that there is increasingly little value in looking back up.

Memories of the ZAD

Quite briefly, the Z.A.D. is a struggle concerning the building of a dam in southern France, near Toulouse. Its construction would flood the valley to irrigate industrial farmers’ land, growing large amount of corn for animal agriculture. This also implies the destruction of 13 acres of wetlands supposedly protected by law and would affect the ecological system of the valley. The dam was over-evaluated.

The contestation starts to build in 2011 with the creation of the Collectif pour la sauvegarde de la zone humide du Testet (Collective to save the wetlands of the Testet) that will end up playing an important role on the legal field. In 2012, a few legal institutions give an unfavorable opinion about the project, and as they’re only consultative, no one cares. Surprisingly, the minister of Ecology cares, and refuses to sign the ministerial amendments. Unsurprisingly, the minister is dismissed, and the project revives. In October 2013, an informal group named “Tant qu’il y aura des bouilles” (literally, ‘Til there’ll be faces) joins the Collective. The occupation starts in the valley in different forms of squatting. In February, the place is evicted. End of August 2014, the valley is reoccupied, as deforestation starts. Machines cut, uproot, smash everything, and annihilate life on the surface and below.

I arrive on the 22nd of October, three days before the big manifestation that was called for on site:

AGAINST THE SIVENS DAM: Let’s enroot the resistance! BIG MEETING Saturday 25th, October 2014 at midday. Let’s bring back life to the Tester: constructions, workshops, plantations, debates, concerts… For more information: tantquilyauradesbouilles.wordpress.com

It is the first time I come. Many friends have arrived here before I and would share their stories and frustrations once we would reunite. I’m familiar with the atmosphere and the life at camp as I’ve spent most of the last 2 years at Notre Dame des Landes (NDDL).

So all I know on the struggle at this point it what I’ve been reading, and what I’ve been told.

On Site

There was a strong divergence on site about what methods should be employed to counter the works: strong enough to discourage a few to come here again or to set actions. There was a rich diversity of people composing the struggle, going from the young barricade holder to the mother of a 5-year-old and all you could imagine. This diversity, which was part of our force, was also a weakness. It brought a lot of debates, fights, and frustrations. We had to face the cultural, ideological, generational gaps between everyone. Not everybody was familiar with ecological resistance, political struggles, whatever we call the situation we were in, but many were full of certitudes and would try to convince others the way they think was more appropriate and should be followed by everyone. Pacifism and citizenism had a strong influence all along the struggle. Friends that preferred different methods got pointed out as “turbulents” and “dangerous”. During actions, some people even denounced them to the cops as potential trouble. Insane situations that prevented me from coming, because friends couldn’t be discreet in this situation, and cops could easily target them.

So once again come the questions: How do we compose together? How do we coordinate our differences. I believe we must find unity in diversity for it is one of our best weapons. With determination, then nothing could stop us.

So, as some would reject violence or more radical actions, as it would “only bring more violence,” some others would reject “pacifists” and spit on their methods too. Only a few would consider that who cares what you are, pacifist or violent, ‘cause we’re all on the same fucking side. Amazing how this divides us and how everybody jumps into the trap it sets. Why don’t we rather focus on how effective our actions are?

If indeed certain situations require certain more appropriate methods, it seemed that the way the struggle went until now was quite ineffective. The participation of THFS, the actions, and all that has been done brought positivity and brought a lot of individuals and the collective, but still, the situation was not in our favor at all. Machines continued to work, and trees continued to be cut.

There were about 30 to 50 people for the last two months. A lot of people started to arrive before the days of manifestation. Frustration grew into those who’d like to actually do something about the machines working less than two kilometers away. In camp, you could hear the machines, and see the dust flying as they would move. But so many trees had already been cut, that probably a lot of those on the site were exhausted. Cops illegally evicted camps, tents and squats, burning personal and collective belongings, IDs, instruments, tools, all kinds of resources, even piercing the water bottles and containers. CS gas, beatings, observing the destruction and being powerless about it. This is all that the life in these places involves. It takes a lot of resources. It is more intense than anything I’ve lived through before.

So the atmosphere was very exciting. Those working on the event were very busy and positive. Lots of good things going on, from writing signs to building toilets with bamboo, from delimiting the humid zone and raising awareness on what plants and what protected species lived there, to cooking, welcoming newcomers, playing music, and all the activities it suggests.

The “Préfet,” meaning the chief of police in the department, representing the state, announced that no police would be on site during the manifestation.

There, a kind of fort had been built, digging 10 to 15 feet deep with 100-foot long moats, with a fence and a portal to prevent an easy access to the machines. And so, on Friday afternoon, all the machines were brought somewhere outside the site. All that was left was only a generator and a construction site cabin, all guarded by three security personnel.

During the night, a group of thirty people came to the fort, and set the cabin and generator on fire without harming any of the guards. This event played a great role into what happened next. As lots of us felt that something had to happen with the construction site and the machines, that night, something did. There were no machines, and the construction was not compromised in any way. But we were not powerless anymore. We were determined. We were together, and we were a force.

So it’s now Saturday, and more people arrive onsite. The weather is sunny and the mood is high. A lot of the newcomers don’t know much about the situation on site, aside from what they’ve been reading on the website or the newspapers. So it’s kind of strange to see this mass of supporters to the cause, mostly only here for 48 hours.

The riot cops, probably because of the night’s event, are back on the construction site, close to the Fort, and now their presence raises a few questions. There was strictly nothing to protect, nor any risk to prevent. Nothing. Also, the Préfet had announced that no police would be here, so what were they doing onsite? I guess he didn’t like the message that was sent.

And so, there were hundreds of riot cops, dozens of trucks. The police commander will later say that 2000 people were protesting passively when “100 to 150 anarchists, masked and dressed in black, threw incendiary devices” at the police.

The situation was extraordinary. On one part of the site, where the camp was, there was the “big meeting” happening. Hundreds of people bringing food, construction material, tools, tents, any kind of resources. People smiling, people chanting, reuniting, chatting, dancing, welcoming others and whatnot. But resonating into the whole valley, we could hear the detonation of the grenades being thrown two kilometers away. A really deep roar. A noise that you’re not familiar with, something strong and terrifying. And so from where I was (meaning the camp), I was wondering what the fuck was happening to the other side of the site, wondering if my friends were OK. So I got some stuff and walked all the way to the “combat zone.” Along the way I was crossing people that would go there, a beer in their hand like tourists, and others would come back, some a bit shocked, some a bit amused.

As I had lived through similarly extremely-tense situations before in Notre Dame des Landes, something was happening in my inner-self. As I was walking, all these half-forgotten feelings were merging back to the surface. Fucking war. Grenades, spray gas, rubber bullets, charges, helicopters flying over, recording everything. Anarchy in the valley. There were people, carefully standing away from the cops and the situation, just looking at it, while others were trying to… I don’t know what they were trying to do. Bow they were there, as hundreds of people were gathering against this fucking dam and the world that comes with it. The police come with this world, so let’s fight it! Something like that. I don’t know, I wasn’t there when the fight started. There’s loads of recordings of the moment on the internet. Type “Affrontments Testet” for riot-porn. There’s people talking to the cops, people throwing random shit, people clowning, people being ineffective, people trying to be effective but wondering how to, people standing and watching…

I’ll see only a single Molotov cocktail, the one that was necessary for the media to justify the violence of the police, only “replying to the extreme violence of the protestors.” 700 grenades of all kinds will be thrown all along the afternoon and during the night, OF. The OF grenade is the kind of grenade that killed Rémi. I had experienced them before at NDDI, but I don’t recall the cops using the grenade launcher to throw them. Now I still doubt about it, but what I had learned at NDDI is that it was forbidden to launch them, so they were compelled to throw them manually, shouting “F4” before. So you could expect them and you’d better run if you didn’t want to get harmed. This time at Le Testet, cops would just launch them as they would launch spray gas. That was new to me and set a whole different atmosphere in the fight. You could only hear the grenade launcher “pop” as it would for any kind of grenade, but if the grenade didn’t explode in the air and spill its five-spray pucks (like hockey picks) whatever, it meant it could just fall between your legs and explode. These grenades, while exploding, spread dozens of pieces of plastic or metal, that get stuck into your legs, genitals, wherever it can get. It’s painful, hard to take out, and can seriously harm your tendons.

It was during the night that it was the most impressive. They would explode and provoke a mini nuclear-shroom-like-explosion. Again, the sound was terrible. Resonating into the whole balley. What did the birds think? According to the official report, during the night of the 25th to the 26th, in three hours, 298 grenades and 41 rubber bullets were shot. One is enough to lose your eye. A friend got shot in the genitals during fights in the summer. He’ll never be a father. During the day, with the media and all, the rules are different than the night. The situation always differs, but those who carry the “flashball” like to aim for the head, the genitals, the knees and plexus, right where it hurts the most. However violent and impressive it was, it is far from the repression other countries are submitted to. I reckon that. I guess you could just get accustomed to it.

During the night, the police will never move from their positions. Little groups would try to worry the cops, but they were quite ineffective. Why were they so ineffective? I’d say because the majority of the people present would do nothing. They would just assist the situation, safely shouting back from the front, where only other protestors would hear, but not even the cops, to which the message is addressed. People far from being serious, returning to the camp once they got bored and continuing “the party”.

No one thought about collecting rocks, bringing food and water, walkie-talkies, bring up gasoline, motivating those in front of the sound systems, not minding that grenades explode a kilometer away from the base. I think one reason to this is that a lot of “protestors” were not familiar with such a situation, they kept on being passive. I get that you don’t want to risk yourself too close to the cops, because you could get arrested or get hurt by a grenade. But there were a shitload of things to do outside of that perimeter, and because no one was doing shit but only a determined few, these few were ineffective. The cops never really got worried, even though they must have been scared at some point. It must be strange to be in a valley of people hating you, throwing rocks at you, howling like wolves, lighting fires all over the valley, insulting you constantly, but it was more of a spectacle, otherwise we would have made them leave the site. I’m being very critical now, because I’m frustrated to see how powerless we generally are in these situations. I might develop that when I’ll talk about my experience at NDDL in a future writing.

I wasn’t on the same side where Rémi died, maybe I wasn’t even there anymore, maybe I had left the combat zone. My memory’s pretty confused. I can’t remember the events chronologically very well. I can picture the grenade that killed him, but maybe I just dreamt it. Anyway, it’s Sunday morning, I’m at the camp site, it’s about 11 AM. Someone shares a rumor, someone might have died yesterday night. No way, no fucking way. I try not to keep it in my head before being sure. There’s no reason to give it importance while it is not confirmed. An hour passes, and we get the confirmation. Someone died. He was 21 years old. It could have been me, it could have been any one of us. It is us they killed. We decide to spread the word all over and meet at 1 PM, under the biggest tent. Before this I had to go into the woods. The intensity of the last 48 hours was a lot to process. Emotionally a mess, I walked among the trees, sat down and got some time for myself. Then I got back up, and went back to the valley. Everything had changed. Nothing would be the same anymore. They killed a man.

Right after the grenade exploded and took Rémi down, cops equipped with nightvision ordered to stop the use of OF grenades. They sprayed gas all over, turned the spotlight to where Rémi was, and for the first time in the night, got out of their perimeter and brought the body back to their trucks. A cop says “the guy is dead… this is way serious…”, and adds “they must not know.” Ten minutes after, a blue light appears, the ambulance. Total blackout, the cops turn all lights off. This lasts for 20 seconds. They turn the lights back on. The ambulance is gone.

Since Rémi died, all further construction work has been stopped. An inquiry was made to examine all details leading to his death. The police remained vague about how he died, even suggesting that he was carrying some bomb device in his bag that suddenly exploded, just so that they didn’t have to admit that they killed him. They said “a protestor died yesterday night at Sivens.” To us there was no doubt who was truly responsible.

So, the media repeated the cops’ statement, that someone had died, so suddenly everybody heard about the dam construction and started considering it, but the cops had managed to lighten their responsibility in his death.

We were only a few hundred in the streets of Toulouse, one of France’s biggest cities, to claim our rage. I got sad facing how few we were. How dew were were, actually realizing how important this was. The last protester that died in France was Malik Oussekine, in 1986.

He was killed by a group of cops named les voltigeurs (the acrobats), those who rode motorcycles. On had a bat, the other drove, and they beat up protestors after a demo. They beat Malik up so hard that he died. This no longer officially exists in the image that the police present to the public eye, although it does still exist in a different form. They don’t ride motorcycles anymore.

So the project is off the record for some weeks. An E.U. commission opens an infraction procedure against France for neglecting the ecological consequences of the dam on the wetlands. The ecology minister claims that the project is a mistake, and that it should differ from the initial project to satisfy both parties involved. The most recent update we got is: there’ll never be a dam where Rémi died. That they will not build what they first expected to. They’re currently working on the procedure to evict the site. There’s still pressure from those in favor of the dam.

Timeline of the ZAD

1970 - Inhabitants of Notre Dame des Landes (NDDL) and surrounding villages learn in the newspaper that there is an airport project planned for their area.

1972 – ADECA created, a local farmers association against the airport, project put on hold.

2000 – Project re-started.

2001 – ACIPA created, local people’s association against the airport.

2007 – Les Rosiers squatted, first political anti-airport squat on the ZAD.

2009, August – Climate action camp, week of actions, debates, a group of locals, “the resisting inhabitants,” invite people to stay and occupy to fight the airport. Ten people stay, squat “la Gaite” and start the occupation as a conscious strategy.

2009, Late – During a picnic at a worksite to protest drillings and earth samplings, a farmer and a squatter find all the earth samples, two weeks of work, and dump them on the ground. They are arrested and charged with “stealing the earth.”

2010, August – First general assembly in NDDL, starting a period of more interaction with locals outside of the ones we knew already.

2010, Fall – VINCI named as contractor for the airport.

2010, November/December – Public inquiries in Notre Dame, a time for discussing with locals and also trying to block the inquiries from happening.

2011, February and All Year – Blocking Biotope (environmental studies company) at least a couple times a week, to take their equipment or make them leave etc, then people started doing actions at their offices, like daytime raids.

2011, May – Occupation of the Sabot (farm), first big collective public-callout-type occupation, made in conjunction with the Reclaim The Fields Network. People were encouraged to bring pitchforks.

2011, June – Earth sample drillings at the Rolandiere, whole crazy week of actions, the first time that it was like war. Big meetings in a barn lasting all night.

2011, July – Occupation of the airport in Nantes with a couple hundred people, fighting in the airport, first time the police really started hurting and arresting people.

2011, August – Socialist party (in power) caravan attacked in the afternoon while they were campaigning, caravan destroyed, 4 arrested.

2011, September – Tree occupation in a park in the middle of the city to “bring the ZAD to Nantes” and be able to discuss with people. Violently evicted, 35 arrests.

2011, Fall – Radio Klaxon created, the pirate radio of the ZAD, (squatting the radio waves of VINCI) operates out of a treehouse a couple nights a week. It becomes a vital mode of communication during the evictions, and is emitting all the time, only to be destroyed by internal conflict in the radio group in the spring of 2013.

2012, March – Biggest demo in Nantes until then, 8-10,000 people, collective organization between different parts of the movement. ACIPA, squatters, Greenpeace, political parties, etc.

2012 – Repression! At least one trial every month, and at the demo outside the trial at least one person arrested every time, meaning always more trials and less energy for more offensive things. Lots of people questioning if they would stay or not.

“Remember when the judge used to come every Tuesday? Oh yeah that was 2012. And the Action Samba would always go play? Yeah, and just kind of chase him around, annoy the police a bit. But I feel like we used to talk about it every Monday, like ok, what are we going to do for the judge tomorrow?

“It’s funny to imagine the police driving down the road. I remember getting pulled over on my bike and harassed all the time.”

“I remember building my treehouse and getting pulled over with my bike trailer full of beans, and they passed all the time in la Saulce, like you would say, oh yeah, there’s a cop car passing again. You would see them almost daily. Now it’s unimaginable.”

2012, Summer – Lots of international meetings/convergences, there was an an intersquat, a skillshare, that got interrupted in the middle to go squat a house that was getting boarded up and then I don’t think there were any more discussions.

2012, October – Noise Fest. The party them was to have everyone dance on the ground, to flatten it to build a new cabin. “Ah yeah, where everyone was on LSD?” “I think so, I mostly remember that everyone was fucked up but me. LSD is not a good drug for stompy dancing.”

2012, October 16th to November 7th – Evictions.

2012, November 17th – Reoccupation demo, 40,000 people come to rebuild and build a village (la Chateigne) in a day.

2012, November 24th – Military police come back for a final eviction and stay, occupying all entrances, exits and crossroads, 24/7 until April, asking for ID several times a day, randomly beating and arresting people, forcing everyone to walk around the crossroads through the mud while being followed with spotlights. They are ambushed from time to time.

“The first Thursday meeting – which one? The first one after evictions, that huge messy meeting when we were like, right, ok this is a Thursday meeting, and it was kind of horrible but also a turning point, when we decided that we were going to re-establish some kind of stable idea od what the ZAD was. Because there were so many people coming and going all the time, it just seemed crazy to have an inhabitants meeting.”

Post-eviction wave of successful and united actions of any attempts to further the airport project, strong period when we could do actions with hundreds of people, including local farmers, at night, cause lots of damage, and not face very much legal threats.

2013, April – Seme ta ZAD demo to start new agricultural projects on the ZAD (all the old gardens and collective fields having been bulldozed). The police leave the crossroads for the first time, there is a huge party with all kinds of different people for two days in the crossroads, then people find the police one kilometer away and go attack them. They immediately take back the crossroads with extreme violence, some cops get beaten or set on fire, lots of comrades get hurt.

Agriculture becomes an important part of everyday life and also of political organizing. Most agricultural projects operate out of Bellevue, a house squatted by local farmers.

2014, February – Demo in Nantes, 50-60,000 people, the police block the path of the demo and it turns quickly into a riot. Giant paper-mache tractor puppet of a Mohawked Salamander (endangered species that is one of the legal reasons for protecting the ZAD). Police station set on fire, tourist and public transport offices destroyed.

2014, April – Disagreements between people who want forest to grow back and people who want to harvest hay in the fields to support other struggles. Several long days of meetings, with the people of “the East” making a “non-motorized zone”, effectively dividing the ZAD. Maybe there are too many nuances to put in a timeline, but it was definitely a turning point.

2014, June/July – Repression and trials following February demo.

2014, October/November – Remi Fraisse killed by the police at the ZAD due Testet, followed by three demonstrations/riots in Nantes over the course of 2 weeks.

Transmission from the ZAD de Notre Dame

What follows is the transcript of a conversation between Ana, Moonbeam, Sarah and Gaia, four participants in the ZAD de Notre Dame reflecting on their experiences within that struggle.

G: Ok, lessons learned – it’s really easy to be united when the police are evicting us.

All: Yeah, surprisingly so, yeah.

S: Yeah, it’s really easy to be united with each other but also to get people on our side, generally. Like the media’s a lot more sympathetic with us…

G: That you get local farmers saying things like “come and get us.”

A: And with this kind of support, and especially local support during evictions, I found it quite surprising how unpredictable it could be, the support, and not only local but farther away, networks of comrades, etc, and how also it was partly years and years of building up communications and stuff, of preparing for evictions, alarm lists, reoccupation demo… And we felt so unprepared before evictions, but partly it was due to the work that was done before, and partly things you can’t really anticipate so much, like how many people are coming from the villages around, and how much it really does touch people, and you never realized before, you thought it could be great. But you do some general assemblies and put invitations in everyone’s mailbox but not many people come, and then if evictions are happening or a strong moment like this, for me that was really… Wow.

And for me that was something that you couldn’t really count on before, but then you can’t totally exclude it either. That this is possible… and also a lesson it it’s actually putting lots of energy into things, even if you don’t really feel they’re working out so well, or trying to imagine the scenario of evictions and thinking, “Whoa there’s so many points where it can fail…” For example, at the end the communication thing worked so super good, and there’s lots of things that got put together last minute also, and it could have not worked if they decided to completely cut radio and mobile signals, and it could have not been possible, but at the end it was possible, and worked super great.

M: And even if they cut all the communications, everyone was walking back and forth all the time, I mean it would have been a big problem if they cut the communications, but there were people crossing each other all the time on foot in the fields, and then there was E [local woman] on a horse… ah that was the best part of the forages [June 2011], E on a horse making the rounds and yelling at the cops.

G: Methods to successfully resist an eviction include: having loads and loads of people, being spread out across 8 kilometers by 2 kilometers, having police that don’t come with that many people, having years to prepare and knowing the date beforehand…

M: The mud helped a lot though, because they couldn’t run in the mud, and would think twice before chasing us through the mud.

S: Maybe that’s one thing we learned, gendarmes; not very equipped to run in mud. (laughs)

M: And afraid of the forest – like one time with a couple of people making animal noises hiding behind trees and they felt unsafe and left. Oh, maybe that was against Biotope1… And also during evictions, a few people with slingshots in the big forest making noises and the cops just fucked off because they weren’t comfortable… they got more comfortable though.

S: I think they got a lot more comfortable when there’s 1,000 cops in the forest. They weren’t good at walking in the forest though, they fell over a lot.

A: I think it played a lot into our advantage that in the beginning of the evictions, for weeks they were more in this thing of not really arresting people, not really being super offensive, like hurting people. It more started with the attack on the Chat-teigne and the eviction of the big forest, the last eviction of the forest, and before that I don’t think they really hurt people badly…

G: But did that help us?

A: Well, it helped in the way that a lot of things were possible, like at the Sabot and around that area, people fighting back against the cops, it would have been still possible with the arrests, but I think it was this thing of OK – you throw all kinds of stuff at them, and they shoot back tear gas grenades and flashballs, well maybe flashballs came later. I don’t remember exactly, but mostly teargas, teargas, teargas and then feeling like they hold their position (the police) and don’t actually come and get anyone. Like they already have trouble in other parts of the ZAD, just keeping their line, and in that waty I think it helped that lots of people joined this quite offensive resistance around the Sabot. And same with other places, like the barricade situations that were getting quite a lot of people on board. I don’t know if it changed in the moment when there were cops disguised in black-bloc that arrested people on a barricade, it was in a time when there were less (manned) barricades but there were still some near the far west and Sabot and stuff.

S: Yeah and also I feel like they chose that tactic, going for two places at once, so there wouldn’t be loads of people in one place, so if they’ve got people in the Sabot when they’re not really trying to evict it then they can evict the big forest more easily.

M: And when people tried to leave the Sabot like to make a demo to the Planchettes or go to other places, they were violently and quickly pushed back, which showed that keeping people stuck in the path of the Sabot was to distract them.

G: And anyways, once they started using force, well maybe not arresting, well that was good for them in that it got people scared of being on barricades, but once they started using stronger weapons and more scary eviction tactics, that got loads of bad media and loads of public support for the struggle.

A: That was probably the turning point in evictions.

G: Yeah, why they gave up.

A: And then they couldn’t get it under control, the area.

M: And I still think that the mud played a big role, like the machine that was destroying my house, and V’s house, it got stuck in the mud several times, and they had to have another one come pull it out, and I heard of other houses where the same thing happened. And places like the Far West and the Gare were protected because they didn’t want to lose their machines, have them bubble under the surface, never to be seen again.

Evictions for me changed how I saw… well I was always really anti-journalist, because I felt like whatever we had to say that was important, they were never actually gonna print, they would only print what was possible to recuperate. Like they’re gonna print how we eat communally and how we compost our shit.

And they’re not gonna detail the political positions that we hold, or our critiques of hierarchy or capitalism. And so I was always anti-journalist, because I felt that if we used them to pass a message, they wouldn’t be able to transmit it because what we had to say was directly threatening to their job and social position, so what was the point? And then in evictions, well, I still have the same opinions about journalists, but seeing the difference that they made in publicizing what was happening, made me re-think the utility of talking to them. Also because most of my comrades felt similarly towards journalists and so it was the people that I head the least political affinity with talking to the media, presenting an image that I felt was boring and liberal and lifestyle centered, so I figured if people are gonna talk to them, I might as well do it too.

A: But partly it was us talking to them, and partly it was just them coming, filming, and putting it in the newspaper. And it did change public opinion or whatever, and it’s seen as a danger. What I think they wanted to avoid in the beginning with evictions was that it becomes such a big thing, but also the fact that there were so many people that were there and they kind of had to make media coverage on it, and also so much was happening that you could make daily headlines with it, pages and pages in the newspaper, and even without us talking to them, they already made a big media coverage.

But there were actually places for different ways of doing, like I had a urinary tract infection and was feeling super tried for two weeks, and it was possible to still do things even being down or sick or tired, and have a place, like a role – not necessarily a warm nice sleeping place, I mean I was still sleeping in the hay in the barn with everybody else, but that there was space for not being full-on every day, and knowing there are still all these people around, and everyone gives what they can when they can. It was only ten people, and so you have the feeling that you have to be full-on, if not you can’t be there. And maybe it’s a fucked up logic and we should put it into question anyway, but the fact that there were so many people and the infrastructure worked so well, it made it possible to step back sometimes.

S: I feel like when we had debriefings after evictions that the thing that nearly everybody said was “I felt really bad because I wasn’t being useful enough,” “This was happening somewhere else and there was nothing I could do,” “I didn’t know what I could do to be useful,” and all the people that I thought were the most on it, and feeling bad that you were not doing as useful things as them, were in this meeting saying “I felt bad because I wasn’t being useful” and it was really telling.

G: And so what other lessons did we learn… [in ironic voice] that diversity brings conflict…

M: Oh we didn’t talk about the hay. Like the field of disagreement.

G: Well we learned that it’s really difficult to organize when you’re a completely fluctuating group of people that never show up to the same meetings.

S: Especially when half of them hate meetings…

G: And are in political disagreement with the act of organizing. But that’s kind of obvious, maybe it’s not a useful lesson to many people.

But in a way, I think it showed that we weren’t really in agreement on the main things, that we agreed upon…some people were like “But I came to save nature, and to save nature we need to turn this field back into a forest,” and some people said “We came to resist an airport, and to do that we need to support the farmers in struggle as much as possible,” and other people said, “We see the ZAD as a possibility, and a place for doing social experiments, including cultivating the land and trying to feed ourselves,” and there were all these perspectives that weren’t compatible.

S: I think it’s also that all of our conflicts are in the open, like I don’t think we have more disagreements than you would expect from a group of people that all came together for kind of a common objective, but for lots of different motivations… I feel like, the way that it happened and the way that it is, living here, with the ways of communicating between people, even if we think that we don’t communicate that much, I feel like compared to a village with the same number of people, we actually know each other and our points of disagreement quite well, and I feel like that’s got something to do with it, that you actually know what everyone else is doing, you hear about it, you react to it, people shout at each other in the street about it, rather than muttering about it to their families in the evenings.

G: Also, a lot of it had to do with really strong emotions, people feeling “I have fought for this, I spent a month defending this place” and even though we say that the evictions were a period of really strong unity in the movement, a lot of people, especially around le Sabot, felt like they were abandoned by the rest of the ZAD, that they fought off the tear gas and police while thinking that the rest of us were safe and comfortable. And after having fought for something, I think there were vague agreements on the eastern barricades as to why they were there, and just the barricades in general, the ZAD didn’t care and were getting on with their lives, having meetings, knitting, rebuilding… While they were there on the barricades waiting in case the police came back. And both felt like they had fought for something, so they weren’t gonna give it up just like that, and people were saying “We stopped the police coming to destroy this area, and now we’re not gonna just let you come destroy it by driving a tractor down the Chemin de Pinky.” And the idea of, “We’ve spent a lot of energy, risked our health, went through a shit period, to gain control over this area, and we won’t just give it back because you say you’ve got something important to do with it.” A lot of people felt also like the farmers had abandoned them, that this was their struggle (the farmers) originally, but they didn’t come regularly to the barricades, so why should they hand it back…

M: I feel like part of that view, at least what I understood from people that I spoke to in the east and who were at those meetings, came from the fact that they arrived after what I would consider to be the period of evictions. And so yes, they were on the barricades, but they didn’t really have the same experience. And so for people that were here for the evictions, or what I would call the evictions, saw it as being very improbable with the political climate that they would re-attempt to evict right after, and saw it as not being strategic to spend 24/7 on the barricades. And so people decided to do different things with their lives and go about the struggle in other ways, and the people who had just arrived found it strategic to be on the barricades. And so they felt like they had been abandoned, like they had never seen the farmers, didn’t even know who they were, when my experience of eviction was that the farmers were highly present, were making barricades with their tractors, even leaving farm machinery or tractors to protect houses, like in front of the Rosiers, when the cops slashed all the tractor tires, that they definitely put themselves at risk.

G: Yeah, but for the amount of time that people were at Sabot, it was only one time. And there was always a new place being evicted, so the new people and new energy was getting dispersed but never going to the Sabot. I feel like most of the people at Sabot arrived during evictions but weren’t there before. And so they felt like it was really important to do barricades because they felt like that was what the ZAD was all about, and they’d seen it as successful during evictions.

M: I found it hard in the hay discussions and for the non-motorized zone, like that there had already been an agreement the year before, that wasn’t respected, and I found it really strange that people would make an agreement with a farmer, break it, then say, “We want all we’ve taken and more,” and I found it hard to take them seriously because they didn’t really have any bargaining power, and they weren’t enough people to have a rapport de force, so the only thing they had was their word, and they broke it, and then expected people to trust them to make a new agreement. Like, how do you make an agreement with people that break the only agreement you’ve ever made together?

A: Yeah, but a lot of people had totally different ways or ideas of organizing (or not organizing), and so on one side there are people that are used to having meetings and making decisions together, and we count on everyone respecting what we’ve agreed on together. Or at least people who are concerned, or who were there, and also that it’s passed on to those who arrive, and we expect them to respect it too, because we just spent all this time talking about it to find something we can agree on, and on the other hand there are people who don’t want to organize like this at all, who say, “We do as we feel and we decide for ourselves.”

S: I think a lot of it depends on how long people have spent on the ZAD, and I don’t mean it in a patronizing way, like “Oh, you don’t know, you’ve only just arrived.” But it does have an effect, because it depends on where people were before and what they were doing before, but I feel like the idea of being in a place where we’re supposed to be non-hierarchical or there’s like all of these things that you’ve felt oppressed by or all of the rules that you’ve had put upon you for your whole life, and you dream of having a place where that doesn’t happen. And then you come into the ZAD, and somehow you feel like there are rules being imposed upon you, because there are people having meetings and things are being decided, that you haven’t been able to get involved in or you can’t find your place in it, and I can totally imagine that people would feel restricted and have the need or desire to rebel against it and get pissed off, and say, “But no, fuck you actually. I’m here because I don’t want to be involved in long boring meetings or listen to other people.”

Or like taking the piss out of the “ZAD-Elders” because they are rolling their eyes in meetings, saying “We’ve already talked about this before,” but at the same time we’ve seen it happen really often after being on the ZAD for a while, when someone sees that actually, it is really annoying when there’s no rules, and that it is really annoying when everyone does what they want without talking to each other, it’s not a good strategy, just for getting on and having nice relationships with each other because you have to have some kind of guidelines about how the way you’re living stops other people from living he ways that they want to. I feel like we have more of a stable population now, and it helps because we learn to live together and the things that we disagree on, and that actually it’s quite selfish to think you can arrive and do whatever you want, and refuse to talk to people about it.

A: And I do understand, this thing of arriving on the ZAD, and this wish to finally be in a place where there are no rules, where you can supposedly be really “free” and decide “freely” what you want to do. I understand that there is a longing for this place, and a vision that people put into it, that there is a place where all your dream can be coming true, like this is a utopia. But it pissed me off so many times, the attitude that comes with it, especially coming and expecting that it is that way, and maybe not even moving around enough to realize how things work, and how they came to be put into place, and coming and seeing how it is now but not how it came to be, and seeing it as a “liberated area” in some ways, at least for the moment. Or a temporary autonomous zone, or however you want to see it. But not seeing that there was lots of work preceding it, lots of work to put the structures into place, like lots of people who struggled and had many disagreements before you came. But also, it’s not easy to come new.

A: For me, it’s also on the ZAD where I became the most sensibilized towards this whole idea of nature, and how twisted it is.

S: Well, you can twist it to whatever you want. It’s THE argument against vegetarianism – that it’s natural to eat meat. And then you’re like [smacks fist into forearm].

M: Or as an argument against homosexuality.

S: Exactly. I think one thing that upset me about the discussion around the non-motorized zone, in loads of discussions actually, was the territorial aspect. Like during and after evictions I felt quite criticized for concentrating all of my energy into the forest and not really being involved in other ZAD-wide structures. And when I say criticized, I mean by other people, but also by myself. Before but especially since the evictions I’ve had this feeling of a “ZAD-ness,” of wanting things to be available for other people on the ZAD. I don’t care if we don’t ALL talk about things, I don’t think people should have to talk about things they don’t want, but I like that there are things that are available to everyone on the ZAD, or things that everyone on the ZAD is invited to, things that we can all share, and for me that’s a really important thing, because we’re all living in the same place. And in a lot of meetings, like in the “grand moment” meetings, I found myself talking to mainly people in the East. Like when this question was brought up of what decisions do you think are relevant to you, what kind of decisions do you want to be involved in, they were like, “Well it depends where it happens.”

If it’s a decision that’s gonna affect where I live, then I wanna be involved, but if people are gonna do things where they live or in their houses then I don’t care, they can do what they want. And it just made me so sad, because for me that’s like no longer all thinking of it like a community or an area where we share things or whatever, because if I don’t care at all what people do in their homes, then that means I don’t consider their home to be my home and that I consider it to be completely separate. That there’s some kind of weird border, so I don’t care. So people in Bellevue can raise animals, and I don’t know, beat their animals and have some kind of weird factory farm, and I won’t care because it’s not my house.

A: I feel like it’s just more rich, it makes more sense politically to see the ZAD as a whole. When we have the non-motorized zone, it’s like dividing it up, it takes away from us all sharing land and discussing together how we use it, and what we want to happen here.

M: And it’s like, “No, I don’t want to leave you alone” (the East) like you do your thing and I do mine. I want to organize together, because we live together, we’re in a struggle together. And maybe we don’t want the same things, but that’s kind of the point. Like we stand to gain so much from each other, from exchanging ideas, like with permaculture I don’t want to be in this confrontational standoff of tilling vs. permaculture. I think there’s a lot to discuss and learn, but there’s just a block. It’s like we have to fight someone, so we went from fighting the police to fighting each other.

Prison News

Amelie, Fallon, & Carlos Released From Prison

After just over a year of time spent in prison in Mexico for the alleged involvement of a Molotov attack on a Nissan dealership and an office belonging to the Department of Transportation, the three comrades were released after their charges were dropped due to an appeal process. On April 10th, a letter from Carlos was published in 325.nostate.net declaring his decision to go on the run to defy his conditions of release. Our hearts go to them in a celebration of their release from enclosure.

Eric McDavid Released From Prison

After 9 years spending time in prison after getting set-up by FBI informant “Anna”, Eric McDavid was released on January 8th, 2015, 11 years earlier than his original sentence mandated. He’s ecstatic and extraordinarily thankful for people’s support and the work that people continue to do in supporting prisoners. We are incredibly overjoyed to hear this news, and to be able to publish it far and wide.

Technical Authority: Ideology, the Social Construction of Technology, and Technocracy - by Jason Rodgers

Technology reproduces the ideology of the totality. As a technology proliferates, it changes the people and communities that use it, in subtle but total ways. This point should not be confused with technological determinism. Technology is socially constructed. Technology doesn’t produce society. Society produces technology, and technology then produces society. Wolfi Landstreicher argued that technology “always develops within a social context with the explicit aim of reproducing that context. Its form, its purpose and its possibilities are determined by that context, and this is precisely why no technology is neutral” (Landstreicher 250).

This is not an argument that computers are evil. Morality does not play a part in this critique of technology. My primary point is that technology is not neutral, and that the notion of neutrality obscures and mystifies its influence. This is an influence that I find particularly negative in regards to freedom and autonomy.

It is often argued that a technology, such as the Internet, is just a tool. Well, certainly the Internet is a tool, but tools are also not neutral. Tools are also a product of the culture in which they develop, also a social construction. Tools reflect the values of these cultures. Cultures with different value sets create profoundly different tools. Kirkpatrick Sale said:

“Tools come with a prior history built in, expressing the values of a particular culture. A conquering, violent culture – of which western civilization is a prime example, with the United States as its extreme – is bound to produce conquering, violent tools. When U.S. industrialism turned to agriculture after World War II, for example, it went at it with all that it had learned on the battlefield, using tractors modeled on wartime tanks to cut up vast fields, crop dusters modeled on wartime planes to spray poison, and pesticides and herbicides developed from wartime chemical weapons and defoliants to destroy unwanted species” (Sale 262).

I would like to imagine that in a culture not based on domination that a whole new set of tools might develop, vastly different than most that we use today.

Media theorist Marshal McLuhan is often portrayed as a cheerleader for technological change, but actually he had a more nuanced viewpoint. To him, any technological change has at least two aspects, that “Any invention or technology is an extension or self-amputation of our physical bodies” (McLuhan 45). A person does not merely use a tool, the tool uses them. The object changes a person as they use it, allowing them to do certain things and eliminating the need to do others.

Technology causes changes over the entire social terrain. For instance, in technocracy the meaning of words changes. Take the word “expert”, which Neil Postman characterized by saying that “technopoly’s experts tend to be ignorant about any matter not directly related to their specialized interest” (Postman 87). Knowledge is broken down to such a degree that expertise in any facet requires systematic ignorance of all other aspects. With high tech devices, there is the additional dimension of being a product of massive divisions of labor. In a technological society, it becomes impossible to live autonomously. Every aspect of society is broken down and each person builds an isolated aspect. The process of manufacturing these tools remakes the world, through strip mines, economic slavery, and manufacturing processes which release highly toxic chemicals. Green tech is no exception, requiring the same manufacturing processes and alienating labor as any other industrial product.

A certain mythology has built up around technology, a mythology which serves an ideological purpose. Critics of technology are portrayed as being conservative, even as high technology has often been the underpinning of totalitarian regimes. James Carey wrote, “Instead of creating a ‘new future,’ modern technology invites the public to participate in a ritual of control in which fascination with technology masks underlying factors of politics and power” (Carey 195).

The very notion of objectivity, of being able to look at pure data and understand reality, contains a sort of mystification. This mythology has a highly authoritarian basis. It is perfectly compatible with, and even complimentary to, totalitarian regimes. “Information smacks of safe neutrality,” wrote Theodore Roszak, “it is the simple, helpful heaping up of unassailable facts. In that innocent guise, it is the perfect starting point for a technocratic political agenda that wants as little exposure for its objectives as possible” (Roszak 19). Information is presented as being discrete bits of which one can gather enough to understand reality. Actually, these pieces of data are discovered by cutting the world into certain grids. There are an endless variety of ways that raw existence can be divided. It may be impossible to escape this, but it is important to remember this process and realize it is not some simple objective truth.

Guy Debord said, “Isolation underpins technology, and technology isolates in its turn” (Debord 22). Through technological systems, more and more of our lives are separated from other people. Individuals gradually lose their tries to others. What ties a person has are through the consumption of media. A key point of the anonymous book Test Card F was that the problems of media are intrinsic to the technology, not due to content:

“The media is integral to the maintenance of hierarchical social control. The external models of experts have supplanted our own lived experience. With social life mediated by a bureaucracy of image technicians, communal life has been disrupted and denied; a surrogate, supervised community is the replacement. Under these conditions, a small elite makes the rest of the people dependent on its tutelage [sic] for survival” (anonymous 78).

This is not individualism. The fact that leftists can characterize capitalism as individualistic demonstrates the poverty of language. The individual is reduced to an isolated component of a collectivist system. The breakdown of community in favor of a massive state corporatism is not individualism.

The reason I often target computers and the Internet is because they are probably the most omnipresent and prevalent of technologies. Computers absorb everything they touch. Other forms of media become computerized. Gradually, more and more goods are digitized. “As the price of computing and bandwidth has plunged,” wrote Nicholas Carr, “it has become economical to transform more and more physical objects into purely digital goods, processing them with computers and transporting and trading them over networks” (Carr 122). Social relationships are also digitized. Lee Siegel wrote, “This new world turns the most consequential fact of human life – other people – into seemingly manipulable half-presences wholly available to our fantasies. It’s a world controlled by our wrist and finger” (Siegel 17). Computers are the dominant technology in everyday life.

Not only are computers the dominant technology, they are the technology of domination. “Unlike most machines, computers do no work; they direct work,” wrote Postman, “They are, as Norbert Wiener said, the technology of ‘command and control’, and have little value without something to control” (Postman 115). Computers allow surveillance and data gathering at a level that would otherwise be impossible. Wolfi Landstreicher wrote, “Cybernetic technology’s ability to process, record, gather and send information nearly instantaneously serves the needs of the state to document and monitor its subjects, as well as its need to reduce the real knowledge of those it rules to bits of information-data-hopping, thus, to reduce the real capacities for understanding of the exploited” (Landstreicher 39). The most boring sorts of computer programs, like a database or a spreadsheet, are the core of effective surveillance. This reveals the utter banality of totalitarianism. The countless uses of technology for authoritarian ends should dispel the utopian mystification surrounding it. It seems clear that, as Nicholas Carr wrote:

“Computer systems are not, at their core, technologies of emancipation. They are technologies of control. They were designed as tools for monitoring and influencing human behavior, for controlling what people do and how they do it. As we spend more time online, filling databases with details of our lives and desires, software programs will grow every more capable of discovering and exploiting subtle patterns in our behavior” (Carr 191).

Looking at the origin of computer systems may help to explain why this is the case. The Internet finds its origin in cold war military systems, such as SAGE, a network of radar centers built across the US connected by “some 1.5 million miles of dedicated phone lines” (Lubar 148). Computers and the Internet replicate the ideology of the military-industrial complex from which they arose. As they spread, they transform society more and more towards this regimented form.

None of this is meant to outline what anyone should do, how they should live, or what technology they should use. Most people live directly within the technological society, and survival will require some use of its technology. However, by critically examining technology, it is possible to determine which are personally distasteful and unpleasant, through which one could refuse them to increase the quality of their life. Furthermore, this will hopefully contribute to the development of tactical anti-media and an awareness of pressure points on which to focus resistance.

Should we ever be lucky enough to see the toppling of authoritarian society, technology would go with it. Without coercion and social control, there would be no one willing to do the alienating and demeaning labor required to maintain industrial society. Without wage slave shit workers and literal slave labor, it cannot be maintained. The society that would arise would certainly have some sort of tools and technology, but it would not be the sort one would generally call “tech”. It would most likely be low tech, the sort of objects that could be created by individuals and individual-scale communities.

It’s All Falling Apart: Dispatches From The End of the World

Civilization is the sum of many parts, the culmination of a series of different processes (for example, mediation and domestication), which have brought us to this point. Its end will likely be the same. As much as we might wish to, we won’t see it all end with a heroic struggle in which some version of “we” emerges triumphant and returns to the land. These stories are symptoms of a world stepping quickly towards the void of a humiliating and boring existence, enhanced by each new gadget sold to us as some miracle cure for the all-encompassing dread of daily life. Occasionally, the land and its inhabitants cry out, but for the most part, it’s a slow slog. Civilization is a morass: there are no easy ways out. If one takes the time to look, the signs that something is amiss are all around.

First Man-Made Biological Lead May Carve Path for Colonizing Space

www.dezeen.com, July 25th, 2014

A synthetic biological leaf has been developed which absorbs water and carbon dioxide to produce oxygen just like a plant, potentially enabling long-distance space travel. The “leaf” consists of chloroplasts suspended in a matrix made out of silk protein. Like the leaves of a plant, all it needs to produce oxygen is light and a small amount of water.

Death Of Northern White Rhino Leaves Only Six in Existence

www.thinkprogress.org, October 19th, 2014

Suni, a northern white rhino at a wildlife conservancy in Kenya, has died at 34-years of age. Suni was the first-ever of his kind to be born in captivity, and while his father died of natural causes at the same age, the death of Suni is yet to be determined, “The species now stands at the brink of complete extinction, a sorry testament to the greed of the human race,” said the Ol Pejeta Conservancy, which houses four of the rhinos left in the world. From the story: “Formerly found in central countries in East and Central Africa south of the Sahara, the northern white rhino was decimated by poaching, with their wild population reduced from around 500 to 15 in the 1970s and 1980s. In Asia, rhino horn was used as a traditional medicine and is often now used as a status symbol of success, especially in Vietnam. It can sell for more than gold or platinum.”

Couple Dies While Trying To Take Selfie / Man Dies While Taking Selfie with Gun

www.huffingtonpost.com, August 11th & 14th, 2014

A couple stepped past a protective barrier along a Cliffside in an attempt to take a picture of themselves, only to fall 260 feet into the ravine below and ultimately, their death. Their children, aged 5 and 6, witnessed the fall. Four days prior, a 21-year-old man from Mexico City died while taking pictures of himself with a loaded gun.

Tanzania Is Evicting the Maasai so Dubai’s Royal Family Can Hunt Lions and Elephants

www.salon.com, November 17th, 2014

40,000 Maasai people will be evicted from their homeland in Tanzania, because the Dubai royal family has bought it with the intention of using it as a reserve to hunt big game. Last year, the Tanzanian government had resisted the purchase, proposing instead a “wildlife corridor” dedicated to hunting near the Serengeti national park. However, the deal will still reportedly go through, and the Maasai will have to leave by the end of the year. There is a stall on this now, but the threat is still hanging over the Maasai’s heads.

Facebook Argument Spurs Pickaxe Attack

www.mlive.com, December 17th, 2014

A 21-year-old Holland Township, MI man was hospitalized after getting into an argument on Facebook over a former girlfriend. The suspected assailant and a friend drove to the man’s home armed with a pickaxe and baseball bat, delivering facial and head injuries.

3-D Printer Now Prints Food

www.cnn.com, December 31st, 2014

From CNN: “Currently, the device only prints food (squeezed into stainless steel capsules), which must be then cooked as usual. But a future model will also cook the preparation and produce it ready to eat. Users will also be able to control the device remotely using a smartphone, and share their recipes with the community. “This is real food, with real fresh ingredients, it’s just prepared using a new technology.”

Newsflash! Humans Are Destroying the Earth

www.news.vice.com, January 16th, 2015

From Vice: […] “In 2009, a group of 28 scientists from around the world came together to create the “planetary boundaries framework,” which identified nine processes that need to be monitored in order to maintain life on Earth. The processes were ozone depletion, biodiversity loss, chemical pollution, climate change, ocean acidification, freshwater composition, land systems change, nitrogen and phosphorous flows, and atmospheric aerosol loading. Crossing the recommended thresholds for any of these processes could generate abrupt and possibly irreversible environmental changes. Humans have surpasses the safe threshold for four of these boundaries, researchers say.

Mother Calls Cops On Son Who Won’t Stop Playing Xbox

www.usatoday.com, January 16th, 2015

A mother who couldn’t get her son to listen and turn off his video game called local Post Falls, ID police, who sent an officer to have a chat with the child. The son eventually turned off the Xbox after a conversation about respecting his mother. The officer hopes the interaction “left a lasting impression.”

Kenya Police Tear-Gas Children Over Playground Protest

www.cnn.com, January 22nd, 2015

School children and social-justice activists held a protests against the removal of their playground by a powerful politician and were inevitably met with violence from police. The private development company who has the title to the land now plans to build a parking lot for a hotel on the land. The protestors tore down sections of the wall that had been put up around their playground, and were later shot at with teargas by police.

Measles Outbreak At Disneyland

www.news.vice.com, January 22nd, 2015

Disneyland in California was ground-zero for a measles outbreak earlier this winter, with forty-two out of the fifty-nine total cases being linked to the so-called “Happiest Place On Earth,” five of those cases which were employees. After the United States had supposedly eliminated measles in 2000 after a 40-year-long vaccination campaign, the re-emergence has resurrected the debate on vaccines, which have proven to have devastating effects like causing brain tumors. According to the National Vaccine Information Center, the federal government has paid out more than $3 billion in settlements to people who claim injuries from vaccines over the past 25 years.

A Tiny Mussel Is About To Destroy The Amazon River’s Biodiversity

www.news.vice.com, February 7th, 2015

The golden mussel, native to China, arrived in Argentina in the early 1990’s via ballast water ships use to stay afloat, and its population soared within two years from five organisms per square meter to 82,000 per square meter. From ViceNews: “…Attempts to kill the mussel with chemicals carry environmental risks and aren’t guaranteed to solve the problem. The mussels can sense the toxicants in the water and slam their valves shut, remaining in a high-stakes game of hide-and-seek for weeks at a time.” Demetrio Boltovskoy, who has studied the golden mussel for 20 years, told ViceNews, “I think the solution is to learn to live with the mussel, and get used to it and try to fight it in plants, in industrial plants, in power plants, where it’s truly powerful,”. “In the wild, we have lost the battle.”

Woman’s Hair Gets Eaten By Robot Vacuum Cleaner

www.theguardian.com, February 8th, 2015

52 year-old South Korean woman takes nap on floor after taking a break from household chores, including running her robot vacuum cleaner. The vacuum cleaner came upon the woman’s hair while she napped on the floor, and began to suck it up. Firefighters freed the woman from further agony.

Toxic Orange Cloud Spreads Over Catalonia After Chemical Blast

www.theguardian.com, February 12th, 2015

From The Guardian: “More than 60,000 residents in north-eastern Spain have been told to stay indoors, after an explosion at a chemical warehouse sent a dense orange cloud into the sky that hovered over their municipalities for hours. As the cloud settled over of six municipalities in central Catalonia, including Igualada, Jorba and Odena, Spain’s emergency services told residents to close their windows and seal off any means of ventilation. “This is not a game,” they tweeted. “Don’t put yourself in danger to take pictures of the cloud outside.”

Robot Teacher Helps Students At Grand Rapids School

www.woodtv.com, March 18th, 2015

Every day, teacher Amy O’Neil commutes to high school in Michigan and two other states… via Internet chat and a robot. O’Neil helps students one-on-one using a $6,000 robot that moves on wheels from student to student, and classroom to classroom. Student Maddie Hoffman said, “When I first saw her coming right here, I was kind of like, ‘Um, OK, what is that?” However, in the end, she said it’s actually “pretty cool… because you get more one-on-one time with it instead of a big classroom.”

The Nameless Raccoon – by aragorn!

As important as donning the cloak, coat, or hat that makes one as of the Raccoon people (and separate from the gray) is the process of taking a name. Unlike the world of the gray where you are inflicted with labels that come from horrible stories of sacrifice and vengeance, the self-naming of the Raccoon people is a time for celebration and game. Usually names are taken from favored things and can tell a short story of an accomplishment or friend.

There was one Raccoon person who was so broken by the gray that this person refused to take on a new name. They knew that the gray would come one day and wanted to guard against that by being untraceable. If you have no name you have no shadow, and in a world that remembers everything only those who live in, as opposed to have, shadow will be free. Or so our nameless friend believed.

As it turns out, having no name can be a real challenge. You cannot be referred to, you cannot be called to dance or sing, and while the gray may not find you, neither can any of the Raccoons, Bears, or people outside of a very small group. This may be the best way to live in a world so very gray, but it is also a way that hasn’t much room for spark, dissonance, and the loving chaos that the Raccoons are known for.

The nameless Raccoon became referred to as just that. A wave of the hand and everyone knew who you were talking about. A nod, wink, and a ‘one-who-must-not-be-named’ foretold the nameless one’s arrival. A hug and an ‘until we see you again’ their departure. In a world without gray, it could be that none of us have names, but until then there is the Raccoon-with-no-name.

Blank 8 – by Noah Bernes, age 11

The forest is everywhere but now.

A stark contrast to where I am is where I was,

The difference of today is yesterday.

Birds chirping is where I was,

Steel and glass is where I am.

The trees, like a beacon of life, shooting into the air,

Are now the smoke, a beacon of technology and automation.

Wolves are replaced by rats, and life by steel.

The sky at night now holds not stars, but planes.

The city is everywhere but then.

Chronicle for Black Seed

I have something to say about my father and the rest of us. Given our context, who I imagine you are, what I imagine our context is, I suppose a lot of you hate your fathers. Or never knew them. Or both. Or that others of you have fathers that love you or treat you well enough, but you can find no way to translate your life to theirs, so there is just a communication gap between you. Asshole fathers, conservative fathers, liberal fathers, absentee fathers. In any case, I get along well enough with my father, and that is how this example moves me, because I am that rare case, getting along well enough with him, feeling able to say so, to write this out; maybe sharing something with him that he and I don’t share with a lot of others, a way of speaking, a sense of humor. Look, in the last ten years though, something’s happened to him. As long as I can remember, he has been concerned with the doings of the world’s governments, and this concern has led him to stay informed. A lot of people do this, read the news. If you are old enough you might remember this gesture: someone’s face hidden behind the newspaper as they read silently, then, still holding it open, folding down the top half to make some sort of comment – a lot of people did this.

This had to do with a way of responding to what he was taking in: he would read, and when something was bad in a glaringly-obvious way, sometimes upsetting but usually egregiously wrong, hypocritical, or transparently propagandistic, he would fold down the top of the paper and say something. He would usually read out loud the part that really set him off, and make sure you knew what was going on with the world and with him. One thing about this behavior is that it is one-way. At least in my place there was only one newspaper, only one World or Nation section to get mad about, and he had it. What was it all about? As I recall, the informational content was very low; it was mostly a kind of moral lesson. It’s difficult now to know how I heard it. I suppose that in some ways I learned the lesson.

Given who I imagine who you are, and what I imagine our context is, this remembered scene I’m narrating is now strange to us both, because it was staged as outrage, and it is as outrage, not as morality, that I ultimately inherited it. You might ask how. By learning it too well, passing through a hyper-moral phase of denunciation. I got stuck there for a while. Of course, one can get stuck in the outrage as well as the hypermorality and the denunciation. By stuck, I mean having no other form of understanding what is happening, no other way of being by oneself or with others, dwelling in hyperbole and exaggeration. Communities form like this, communities of outrage, of hypermorality, of denunciation, of course, united in their forness and againstness, though not really united at all, and so maybe not communities at all in the end.

So what I am trying to say, first, is that whatever kind of fathers you did or did not, do or do not have, I don’t think you are so distant from my story. Though we – you, and me at some times – have managed to hide such proximity by being against, denouncing. We have denounced, for example, something someone (not us) called patriarchy, which has to do with fathers but at a certain remove of abstraction – the remove making the denunciation functional. Anyhow, one could say that in my case, and maybe in your case, what defined us against real and imaginary fathers, and what brought us together as people so defined, was first of all a moral lesson learned and expressed as hypermorality and denunciation. In my case, the moral lesson eventually transformed, decoded almost, into outrage. The second thing I will say, then, is that this memory is not an entirely-bad one, that there was some againstness in his moral lesson that I am ok with having inherited, though my style – my style is quite different.

All of that for background. Now here’s what happened; it didn’t happen all at once, Slowly, he began lengthening his interventions. I didn’t live at home anymore, and I would call to say hello – and because I thought it would make them happy, my father and my mother, to get the call. And when he and I would be on the phone, he would ask me some trivial question or another about what I was doing – always what I was doing and not what I was thinking – and after a pause, he would launch into a lengthy monologue. My father is not an asshole, and so I cannot call it a rant, a vicious rant. It was not an irrational thing, at least not from within the monologue, which was like his newspaper outbursts of old but engorged, entirely engorged in terms of the informational content. He was no longer reading aloud; rather, he was condensing, rehearsing fact after fact, and then interpretation after interpretation, gleaned from books, television, newspapers, and, as the years passed, the internet as well. The moral outrage was there as well, but it was entirely channeled into the recitation of facts and interpretations, which he would discharge at me with no regard for my interest or perspective. If I so much as suggested that I differed from him, he would respond by increasing the volume, both the volume of his speech and the volume of facts. It was easier to let him go on, and go on he did, for hours at a time. It was exhausting and confusing, even more so because I had long since abandoned the attitudes of hypermorality and denunciation.

I understood still that my father had taught me a moral lesson, a moral lesson that I had applied to non-moral ends by studying its technology in moments of hypermorality and denunciation (also I just wanted some relation to my father that was less constrained, less ridiculous, but that may not matter much to you). So if at first I learned the moral lesson and then exaggerated it into hypermorality and denunciation, then afterwards I maybe taught myself how to grasp what in it was sheer outrage (for example, from anger at this or that government to hatred of all government, and from that to… well, I suppose you know this story). Now he too had changed. I was inclined to see my self-teaching as voluntary, but I couldn’t see what changed in him that way. The moral lesson and the outrage hidden within it were, whatever else they were, lively, seeking engagement. This new speech was more mechanical, and it didn’t seek anything except an ear to hear it – a jack to be plugged into, as it were.

I’ll begin again and tell you about a dream I had, in which my father confessed to me that he believed in UFOs. The nightmarish element was his fear, the fear in his voice and the contortion of his face as he told me about something he had secretly held onto for his whole life. There were no UFOs in the dream, as there are no UFOs in this world, not for me and not for him; at least, I mean no archetypal flying saucers from space with alien pilots who are inexplicably interested in some or all of us. That was not the nightmare. The nightmare was that this reasonable man turned out to be less than reasonable, and realized it, and to tell me was frightening in itself, frightening to both of us. I remember this dream now and then. Maybe it was a way of telling myself something about him, a sort of dream analysis in which it is not the dream that is analyzed, but the dreamer who is the analyst. It happened years before the shift I explained above, from the shorter outraged remark to the lengthy mechanical monologue, but in some way it came to explain that shift to me. The dreamer that I was analyzed him ahead of time, and concluded that after the shift he would be speaking out of anxious fear. I don’t mean the fear of being hurt or seeing something horrible, but something more diffuse: the fear of having your world unravel before you. UFOs meant, first of all, a world-shattering reality flying overhead. There are still people who believe in UFOs in the flying saucer way, so let me be clear about this part: it is of little interest for someone who is already paranoiac in their thinking to add one more suspicion, one more superstition, one more fantasy explanation to their hoard. It certainly has a lot to do with certain marginal political circles in this country and how they form, communities united in their paranoia, which also tears them apart, so that they are maybe not really united at all in the end. United maybe in listening to some radio show or visiting some website, and placing their bumper stickers on their truck and feeling it’s brave to do that, imagining an FBI agent taking a picture of the bumper that includes their license plate in the frame; yes, all this is done in concert but there is no chance for any unity in it, and it is another form of sadness. I am more interested in my father’s case, which is to say two things, first, what I already wrote, that in the moral lesson I learned something, something that does not authorize but in some sense allows me these analytic words; second, that I do care about what happens to him, who he was, who he is, what he is becoming. I think depending on who reads these pages the paranoiac’s story or my father’s maybe be more appropriate, but I have almost nothing to say to the paranoiac other than a dim and quiet good luck, good bye. I am wondering if my father has become someone to whom I have nothing to say, and I am wondering that in part for reasons that concern us all, those of us stretched between analysis and outrage. In my father’s case, what the dream analyst in me decided is that the shift came when his world unraveled, and the fear overtook the outrage.

For my father, outrage was not the capacity to act; he ceased to act politically, at least in any sense you or I would care about, long before I was born. But intelligent speech and outraged comment, fatherlike though they were in genre, were still effective actions in the sphere of family, and that is how I learned their lesson, unfatherlike and nonfamilial though I may be. I mean that his speech referred back to a situation where friends, not relatives, would gather and discuss events for the purpose of taking action. Analysis. I suppose I heard the echo or the memory of all that in his tone. After the shift, though, the tone changed. As I said, it became more mechanical, as recitations from memory can be; it also became more desperate, as though the only thing that could be done against the outrageous is to recite and repeat crimes and transgressions. Maybe you can understand what is so disturbing for me in all this, because it is not that my father would is unraveling and becoming more paranoid. He would have to have had that tendency to begin with. No, I think he is realizing, as rationally as he can, that his world is unraveling, that, as some say, the world is unraveling. That there is no analysis to be done, or that analysis is useless. But he realizes this unconsciously, or at least silently, privately, and the only interpretation that the few of us he talks to get to hear is the lengthy fact-filled monologue. The facts and interpretations float freely, as though awaiting an analysis that would give them a form and orient one to outrage, and of course, action; but the analysis never comes, as though the horizon of meaning had fallen away entirely. As though it had silently been acknowledged that analysis is useless in the end, and that we were closer to that end than we might have thought, or wanted to think; that what we were doing, then, was happening in a space of denial, denial of that uselessness, of the catastrophe of sense…

The unraveling of his world; the insistence of fear when outrage and analysis failed to coalesce, the denial of it all… Which comes first? Is one the cause of the other? Are they both the cause of the third? Or vice versa? I have no idea how to answer these questions; I need another dream image, but I have no yet had one come to me. The dream analyst is out. So I will set them aside, the questions, and write some about the rest of us. Here is an image: picture a meeting, people gathered in a circle or semicircle in a small room. Someone is speaking there, at length, and the others react and sometimes respond, attentively or not so attentively, acknowledging the too-long speech and making plans. Now subtract the speaker: simply make the figure disappear, leaving the rest of the people at the meeting. Picture everyone still gathered there, still doing just what you had them doing before, looking in the same direction, now at nothing – still acknowledging, still making plans. Or inattentively ignoring nothing, inattentive now to no one.

For my father, the world is unraveling in the only sense that matters to him since his newspaper days: geopolitically. His outrage was based on a sense of shared values and expectations, on the reality of morals and the transmissibility of the moral lesson; on a horizon of meaning, then, about what sensible people do, what is after all possible, or desirable. If the web of relations that seems to hold the world together geopolitically is so corroded that there no longer seems to be any sensible people, the sensible people are a tiny or powerless minority, the world is unraveling. Or if those relations are so corroded that the moral lesson, or the aesthetic or mathematical lesson for that matter, are no longer transmissible, then the world is unraveling. This is fearful and, unable to admit it, he holds out facts and interpretations in hopes that they will be caught up in a more distant, or future, or virtual web. Or perhaps it is far worse and he is in some sense more gone from the scene, just feeling himself speak to echo the old scenes of analysis and outrage with friends and family, talking to me not because he thinks I will inherit the moral lesson but because it feels good to remember, feels better than to admit what’s happened to the world.

And the rest of us? For some of us, the planet is unraveling in the ever-present sense we have of the destruction of animals, plants and places. For others, it is social life or social hope that is unraveling in past and present genocide, extermination, ultraviolence, all these relentless ways humans have of hunting other humans. There are also some among us who might say that they never had a planet or a world, never inherited or assembled one, and so what is unraveling or unraveled for them is the very idea, the social part, communicating with others who hold that there is something shared. And even for those of us in this place, we had a childhood, we had illusions. That we never had a world is a retroactive realization. So there are many of us, the rest of us, and we might share this sense that the world is unraveling. It is a metaphor, of course: unraveling, a simple enough image, but with the planet the metaphor is materialized, as what cuts into the webs of relations are manufac tured things, things that break apart eventually and, in their breakdown, pollute the webs of relations that make up the planet. This is why, for me, there is an echo, sometimes dim, sometimes deafening, of the shift that affected my father in all of our doings, if it’s true that between analysis and outrage we stretch our actions and our lives. I saw something of myself and the rest of us in all of that, so I made my father the case in a clinical sense; I studied him here with you to get a sense of a pathology that’s also ours. A little bit of neurosis (obsessiveness) on his side, and maybe a little bit of psychosis (paranoia) on yours.

A simpler way to put some of this, though, would be to say that the monologue comes from loneliness. My father had a political speech once, with his friends, maybe comrades; later, he had morally driven remarks for his family; now he gathers facts and interpretations largely in solitude, registering the world’s unraveling. I wrote that when he begins speaking to me, I only get the dimmest sense of moral outrage; it’s rather the fear, the obsessiveness over facts and interpretations disguising the fear. Now remember that this was happening over the phone, nowadays over the computer in real-time streams. When it happens face-to-face the technological mediation is still there to be felt, in the improbable quantity of facts and interpretations, and in the disconnection that barely lets the fear be felt as it overcomes, overshadows what’s left of the moral outrage that presumably motivated all of this to begin with, back with his friends. I said that his outrage used to be about the propagandistic element in the news, the shitty lies so transparently reprinted as if to see if anyone noticed or cared (because even then it was less about convincing through lies than seeing if anyone would ask a question or contest the lie) – so there was always this healthy skepticism in his performance with the paper. And now after the shift it is not as though that is gone and he has become propagandistic. It is so much stranger, the loneliness is absolute. The facts and interpretations, the obsessive recitation: there is no propaganda in it. He never spoke in slogans, still doesn’t ( I view that as something I learned from him, difficult to understand and retain like all negative lessons, which is why part of my apprenticeship was to try on slogans for size in moments of hypermorality and denunciation). He still won’t speak in slogans, but it’s clear that the data stream is one-sided; I mean that it has a small set of sources and echoes their terminology, their paradigms, their limits, their placement of the facts in the space of their interpretations. He is telling their story not through ideology and propaganda but through information, through being informed. And because information is not a story, not even that skeletal story we call analysis, and so neither creates nor nourishes bonds, in all that the fear also comes through. It’s a solitary fear mutated into fear of being misinformed, his fear about himself and others being misinformed (this being one nominal reason for his expression of all this in my direction, another being habit) – all of that as the armature and structure of denial, the impossible, pathetic response to the unspeakable world-catastrophe.

Analysis and outrage have always needed something like information, probably just perception and awareness, but you know very well what I mean when I talk about this other sense of information, its panic or overload. Information that accumulates endlessly and evades your attempts to analyze it. If you want to be outraged about something there are endless examples, endless real and even endless fake examples. If you are already outraged there is plenty to be outraged about… but that is where the fear comes in, the sense that this is all entirely out of control, and thus the unraveling. Out of control hardly means free, hardly means liberated or liberating. My father is indeed free to gather endless facts and interpretations as you are free to endlessly photograph yourself, or briefly express your clever opinions on multiple platforms. You may also liberally add facts and interpretations as you propagate your images and opinions. So freedom means little here, that freedom is the right word, although maybe you prefer liberation because it sounds less American, or qualify freedom with total so as to mark a real difference.

It is easy enough to say that my father is not an elder, since I have not presented him as one and since in our context, what I imagine our context to be, there are generally no elders. So, with or without me this silent fearful cry may go unheard. And it is easy enough to describe the fear, the almost panic behind the hoarding of facts and interpretations as something generational and technical, as someone of a newspaper generation responding to the internet. Something like that is of course at stake, and here I am discussing it in the pages of a newspaper, published by people who presumably think there is something to this sort of paper media. It would be where analysis and outrage are expressed in a way that also encompasses gestures such as forming a pile, getting passed out, being tucked under an arm or in a bag, and of course being spread open and read. Maybe even the remark over the fold I was referring to earlier. All these gestures amass and around or through them people amass. Communities form this way, communities of outrage, of hypermorality, of denunciation, of course. United in their for-ness or against-ness, though perhaps not really united at all and so maybe not communities at all in the end. I wonder about this not just because I think the technical means are failing us, not merely because we have so little serious analysis of the media we obsessively return to, but because there is also this thing I refer to when I write that my father’s world is unraveling, or that fear has overtaken outrage.

My father accumulates facts and interpretations and the rest of us accumulate something as well. For example, we take action and document our actions in little notes, more or less secret notes, written in a special code. We write these notes mostly to each other, and find many platforms ready for the uptake of these notes, so we go on writing them, and often enough it seems the actions are done so the note can be written. And the note is written so the community may be united, though now I wonder if it is bound in this way, and so whether it is a community in the end. I know more than one person troubled by this kind of unraveling who studiously avoids the word community as a result, replacing it with a synonym whose similarity they avidly deny. Are you, are we, gathered together in the hope that this is all going somewhere worthwhile, united in for-ness and against-ness, or at least in agreement occasionally enough to pretend that we have made or found a community of outrage, of hypermorality, of denunciation (though not really united at all, and if it is pretend, then maybe not a community at all in the end)?

If the elder my father could speak here, if he could rid himself of his fear, he would say: train yourself in the suspension of belief. If the elder I may become could speak now, he might say: rid yourself of fear; first of all, see the sadness in your compulsive repetitions. But here and now are world events and maybe what I am saying is that the world we share is unraveling, though we act in denial of that fact. The dream analyst is still out, so here is a final image: there are bodies in the street, not corpses, but active, militant bodies, so this is the site of action. They are lined up against something, it is a barrier, a wall or fence, and they’ve brought tools, sledgehammers and boltcutters, to attack it, to tear it down, to get at whatever or whoever is on the other side. I need you to picture this as a smoky scene, there is a lot of dark smoke everywhere, so you can barely see the barrier. Mostly, you see the bodies going at it, and you hear their work, their destructive labor. A chaotic noise. Now, in your imagination, subtract the barrier – this shouldn’t be hard, it was barely there. Leave them all there, let them keep attacking the nothing left where the barrier was. Picture that. And now, one more step: remove the noise, watch it all happen in silence.

The Bear vs. The Mob – by aragorn!

In the not so distant past, there was a day that will live on in memory and song. It is still talked about today as if it happened only yesterday. During this amazing day, the air was very crisp, a whisper of the first winter breeze. The day is remembered because of a tragedy. This tragedy was a tragedy for the gray, and has since been inflicted upon the people as the justification to end all justifications. But on the day itself, it was difficult to distinguish between something that should terrify the gray, and something that should scare people too. The people didn’t help matters much. Always wary of the gray, they sent up a great alarm, that we were next, that the end was nigh, and that much more was coming for us and for others. A gathering was called of all the people in the area. On the agenda was the hope that we could turn this day into a chance to work together on a common project, to use this opportunity for ourselves, rather than to just run and hide. The gathering worked out as many do. The people were in full regalia, Raccoon, Bear, Beaver, and Salmon People. People were there who you almost never see, except for during special occasions, like when gray attacks. While there was a happy atmosphere because of seeing each other, it was tempered with the fear of the gray.

The people are generally of two minds regarding the gray. They either believe that the gray is watching their every move and therefore they must take every precaution to seem innocuous, or they believe that the gray, out of ambivalence, ignores the people entirely. Either way, the people tend to both over-and under-estimate the gray. The people tend to respond to the gray, rather than to put the gray into the situation of having to respond to them.

“What should we do?” asked the Beaver person who sat in the center of the room. Simple questions often have unforeseen consequences, and this one was no different. Just as the people were of two minds regarding the gray, they were of several minds regarding the role of the people in defeating the gray. The question was never whether or not the gray should end, but how. Simple questions often hide not-so-simple things. And talking about not-so-simple things isn’t easy, and is usually avoided, even by the people. This is where the Bear People come in. In times of difficulty they can be relied on to make one thing very clear. It may not be the thing that they intend, in fact often the Bear-person-who-speaks-truth is blamed for it, rather than celebrated, but in times of difficulty Bear People roar and everyone listens. During this meeting the Beaver people were confused about what to do, but knew that something had to be done; something had to be built, to block the torrent of the gray, but they were wrong. The gray both couldn’t be stopped, it was only capable of running itself down.

When our friend the Bear Person roared that day, no one wanted to hear it. They chased the Bear out of the room. They proceeded to holler that the Bear should be ignored, that their confusion was actually far more coherent than the Bear’s protestation. But they didn’t end up building anything new. They didn’t stand in front of the gray as it rolled over anything in its path, and eventually, the gray slowed down and found something else to do.

Wild Interventions

We share the following events not as an attempt to speak for our non-human friends or the earth, but rather in recognition that we are not alone. There are those who have been against civilization from the start. We share their passion and howl alongside them in rage. We do not aim merely to celebrate these acts of violence, and certainly do not wish to condemn them. When “wild animals” attack campers, they do so because their homes and being are under pressure of annihilation. These stories function as an acknowledgement of the ongoing war of the civilized versus the wild, sometimes spectacular and sometimes mundane, but always a war.

Selfies With Bears Prompt Warning From Park Rangers

www.npr.org, October 31st, 2014

Photographs of people posing with a bear in the background have started to appear on social-networking website Instagram, and have prompted park rangers to issue warnings specific to the new phenomenon. “Wild bears are unpredictable and could attack.”

Unidentified Feline Loose Near Disneyland Paris

www.foxnews.com, November 14th, 2014

A large cat that was mistaken for a tiger was spotted in the neighborhood of Montevrain, about 25 miles east of Paris, and sparked a search that involved 200 police and military soldiers, including a helicopter. Police and soldiers were armed with tranquilizer guns for the hunt, which was reported to have lasted two days. There have been no reports of the feline’s capture.

In Russia, You Don’t Ride Plane, Plane Rides You

www.rt.com, November 26th, 2014

Freezing temperatures in Igarka, Russia kept a plane’s wheels stuck frozen to the ground and prevented it from lift-off, until the 74 passengers voluntarily got off the plane to help lush it down the takeoff runway.

Fascist Man Mauled By Lions At Zoo After Entering Enclosure

www.mirror.co.uk, December 7th, 2014

A 45-year-old man in full fascist regalia entered the lion enclosure at a zoo in Barcelona, Spain and was consequently attacked by a lion and two lionesses who pulled him into the service tunnel. He was rescued by zoo staff, firemen, and police who were able to push the animals back with water hoses and fire extinguishers, and then rushed to the hospital.

Deer Attacks Man After Being Shot With Arrow

www.fdlreporter.com , January 2nd, 2015

A 72-year-old man was injured when he was attacked by the deer that he had wounded with an arrow. While going through some thick brush, the deer leaped out and went after him, striking him in the leg with her head. He was transported to the hospital via ambulance.

Snowstorm Causes Massive Car Crash in Michigan

www.cnn.com, January 10th, 2015

A whiteout and slippery roads caused a huge pile-up on Interstate Highway 94 in Michigan, involving nearly 200 vehicles in a chain-reaction crash. Visibility was so bad that drivers could not see already-stalled out and crashed vehicles, building on the wreckage. A truck carrying fireworks was involved, causing a fire, and another truck carrying formic acid also crashed and damaged part of the highway, due to its contents.

Sperm Whale Engulfs Divers With “Poonado”

www.vice.com, January 23rd, 2015

A group of divers found themselves swimming in a sea of poop, as a sperm whale they were swimming close to decided to crash their photo-opportunity. The divers were on an expedition to photograph whales, when the subject of their pursuits released what one of the divers called a “poonado”, not stopping until a 100-foot-die cloud of its feces had coated the divers and their equipment. From Vice: “Some believe the torrent of rusty nuggets was a little-known defense mechanism, triggered by the proximity of the divers. On the other hand, it could have just been a spastic, diarrheic beast – that’s how little we understand about whales and their insane, magical shits.”

Coyotes Attack Horses At Lapeer County Sherriff’s Mounted Department, Killing One

www.abc12.com, January 30th, 2015

Over the last week of January, coyotes attacked horses at the County Sherriff’s Mounted Department in Lapeer County, Michigan twice, killing one of the horses and badly injuring the other. One of the horses suffered a two-foot gash on her side. “The owners of the farm said they saw the horses running around startled Friday morning. They went outside to see what was going on, and said they saw coyotes chasing their horses.”

Groundhog Bites Wisconsin Mayor On Groundhog’s Day, Confusing Weather Prediction

www.weather.com, February 3rd, 2015

As the Wisconsin Mayor bent over to “listen” to the groundhog’s weather forecast pertaining to an early spring or long winter, the groundhog (named Jimmy) took a bite out of his ear. This unprecedented act of hostility between the mayor had properly translated Jimmy’s prediction for the arrival of the coming Spring. The futility in attempting to understand all of the underlying factors in this incident seems boundless, yet let us celebrate our comrade’s brave attempt at freedom. Viva la Groundhog.

Drought Forces Brazil To Cancel “Carnivale” Celebrations

www.news.vice.com, February 5th, 2015

Droughts across the region have brought cancellations of Carnivale throughout Brazil. Traditionally, there are large water fountains and displays, yet the seriousness and longevity of the drought has caused some of the festivities to cancel those parts of their program, or cancel the entire party altogether. The BBC reported on the effects of the drought on Sao Paulo all the way back in November, as a severe drought that had been going on for months.

Meeting At The Dead