May 3, 2009
I just added another anti-primitivist text to the sidebar links. This one, Critiquing Primitivism, Anarcho-Primitivism, and General Anti-Civilizationalism, was written by a revolutionary socialist rather than an anarchist.
So if primitivism is such a completely absurd idea, why waste your time arguing against it and its adherents? It is after all an extremely fragile ideology once it is put to the microscope. My primary point of contention with the primitivist school of thought is how, both by implication and often in its calls, seeks to have its followers reject rationalism for pseudo-mysticism and “oneness” with nature. If we look back on history we see that they are far from the first irrational ecological movement to do so. A good third of the German Nazi party came from forest-worshipping cults and soil movements that sprung up in Germany in the aftermath of World War I.
February 14, 2008
There’s been a lot of back-and-forth discussion on the anarchists LJ community lately concerning technology and urbanization. I don’t loiter on LJ enough to get involved in these threads (they seem to explode very rapidly into 100+ posts), but it’s nice to see the level of debate taking a step up. Of particular interest is this post on Land Mass, Crop Production, and Urbanization with some math worth thinking about.
January 24, 2007
William Gillis finished his 15th Thesis on Anti-Primitivism right after I posted about the other 14 yesterday. He’s also posted an Afterword that sums up his intent to instigate more of a dialogue and draw anarchists away from primitivism. His parting words are worth noting:
No matter how great a job I could have magically done writing these, there’s no way some folks are just going to wake up one morning and reject dreams of a fiery crash in favor of robots. For them I proffer the beginnings of a truce:
Do whatever you like that doesn’t directly oppress folks (like trying to initiate the die-off). If you feel like actually helping the rest of in the ongoing war against authority that’s great. But get your filthy crustie paws anywhere near our rocketships and I’ll personally blow you to kingdom come. No monkey-wrenching humanity’s hope for true Anarchy, goddamnit. After we’ve staved off the brutal murder of 6.5 Billion People, replanted the rainforests and resurrected the species your beloved hunter-gatherers killed, we’ll walk away. You get the Earth, the rest of us get the Heavens. I’d miss it, but at least your lot is unlikely to fuck it up too horribly. Besides, the commons were always a problem for industrial anarchism. So keep your little only-partial-utopia. Go ahead, force your children into semi-dystopia. When we’re done, when we’ve brought the stars fully to life and turned every galaxy in the night sky into a fluid of ecstatic thought, we’ll come back to whatever lifeless shell time and entropy has left the Earth. And we will breath a far more potent life into her.
I don’t think I’m willing to surrender the Earth to the anarchist equivalent of the SCA just yet, but he has a point that primitivists and tech-positive @s need to find a common ground and common respect, or we’re going to end up fighting each other.
January 22, 2007
Just came across these 15 Anti-Primitivist Theses posted over at Human Iterations (well, he’s posted 14 so far, with 1 to go). I haven’t read them all yet, but they look interesting so far. It’s also interesting to note that the author was first radicalized by green anarchist ideas, but has since turned around. These theses are posted partly as a response to the primitivist Anthropik Tribe’s Thirty Theses detailing their primitivist ideas.
In giving memetic flesh to these fifteen theses I seek not to call out the eco movement wholesale. Nor do I mean to limit myself to some official orthodoxy of Anarcho-Primitivism proper. Rather I mean to address what I consider the core “Primitivist” strand in Anarchism today and the deep failings that have come to define it.
1. Biology’s constructs and dichotomies are not useful.
2. The biosphere is not inherently good or superior, just very dynamic.
3. Humans can choose their dynamics.
4. Role-filling is moral nihilism.
5. Individuals flourish with increase of dynamic connections.
6. Understanding is not dependent on process but capacity to experience.
7. Physical limitation inspires social oppression.
8. Spatial limitation ingrains social hierarchy.
9. Freedom of information is necessary for free societies.
10. It’s impossible to speak of regional liberty.
11. Any society that embraces death will embrace oppression.
12. Technology can be applied dynamically.
13. We do not live in a closed system.
14. Hard though the struggle may be, the ease of partial victories will always cost us more.