Anarcho-primitivism
Overview
Anarcho-primitivism is an anarchist
Anarchism
Anarchism is generally defined as the political philosophy which holds the state to be undesirable, unnecessary, and harmful, or alternatively as opposing authority in the conduct of human relations...

 critique of the origins and progress of civilization
Civilization
Civilization is a sometimes controversial term that has been used in several related ways. Primarily, the term has been used to refer to the material and instrumental side of human cultures that are complex in terms of technology, science, and division of labor. Such civilizations are generally...

. According to anarcho-primitivism, the shift from hunter-gatherer
Hunter-gatherer
A hunter-gatherer or forage society is one in which most or all food is obtained from wild plants and animals, in contrast to agricultural societies which rely mainly on domesticated species. Hunting and gathering was the ancestral subsistence mode of Homo, and all modern humans were...

 to agricultural
Agriculture
Agriculture is the cultivation of animals, plants, fungi and other life forms for food, fiber, and other products used to sustain life. Agriculture was the key implement in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that nurtured the...

 subsistence gave rise to social stratification
Social stratification
In sociology the social stratification is a concept of class, involving the "classification of persons into groups based on shared socio-economic conditions ... a relational set of inequalities with economic, social, political and ideological dimensions."...

, coercion
Coercion
Coercion is the practice of forcing another party to behave in an involuntary manner by use of threats or intimidation or some other form of pressure or force. In law, coercion is codified as the duress crime. Such actions are used as leverage, to force the victim to act in the desired way...

, and alienation
Social alienation
The term social alienation has many discipline-specific uses; Roberts notes how even within the social sciences, it “is used to refer both to a personal psychological state and to a type of social relationship”...

. Anarcho-primitivists advocate a return to non-"civilized" ways of life through deindustrialisation, abolition of the division of labour
Division of labour
Division of labour is the specialisation of cooperative labour in specific, circumscribed tasks and likeroles. Historically an increasingly complex division of labour is closely associated with the growth of total output and trade, the rise of capitalism, and of the complexity of industrialisation...

 or specialization
Specialization (functional)
Specialization is the separation of tasks within a system. In a multicellular creature, cells are specialized for functions such as bone construction or oxygen transport. In capitalist societies, individual workers specialize for functions such as building construction or gasoline transport...

, and abandonment of large-scale organization technologies
Technology
Technology is the making, usage, and knowledge of tools, machines, techniques, crafts, systems or methods of organization in order to solve a problem or perform a specific function. It can also refer to the collection of such tools, machinery, and procedures. The word technology comes ;...

. There are other non-anarchist forms of primitivism
Primitivism
Primitivism is a Western art movement that borrows visual forms from non-Western or prehistoric peoples, such as Paul Gauguin's inclusion of Tahitian motifs in paintings and ceramics...

, and not all primitivists point to the same phenomenon as the source of modern, civilized problems.

Many traditional anarchists reject the critique of civilization, many even denying that anarcho-primitivism has anything to do with anarchism, while some, such as Wolfi Landstreicher
Wolfi Landstreicher
Wolfi Landstreicher is the former nom de plume of a contemporary anarchist philosopher involved in theoretical and practical activity...

, endorse the critique but do not consider themselves anarcho-primitivists.
Encyclopedia
Anarcho-primitivism is an anarchist
Anarchism
Anarchism is generally defined as the political philosophy which holds the state to be undesirable, unnecessary, and harmful, or alternatively as opposing authority in the conduct of human relations...

 critique of the origins and progress of civilization
Civilization
Civilization is a sometimes controversial term that has been used in several related ways. Primarily, the term has been used to refer to the material and instrumental side of human cultures that are complex in terms of technology, science, and division of labor. Such civilizations are generally...

. According to anarcho-primitivism, the shift from hunter-gatherer
Hunter-gatherer
A hunter-gatherer or forage society is one in which most or all food is obtained from wild plants and animals, in contrast to agricultural societies which rely mainly on domesticated species. Hunting and gathering was the ancestral subsistence mode of Homo, and all modern humans were...

 to agricultural
Agriculture
Agriculture is the cultivation of animals, plants, fungi and other life forms for food, fiber, and other products used to sustain life. Agriculture was the key implement in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that nurtured the...

 subsistence gave rise to social stratification
Social stratification
In sociology the social stratification is a concept of class, involving the "classification of persons into groups based on shared socio-economic conditions ... a relational set of inequalities with economic, social, political and ideological dimensions."...

, coercion
Coercion
Coercion is the practice of forcing another party to behave in an involuntary manner by use of threats or intimidation or some other form of pressure or force. In law, coercion is codified as the duress crime. Such actions are used as leverage, to force the victim to act in the desired way...

, and alienation
Social alienation
The term social alienation has many discipline-specific uses; Roberts notes how even within the social sciences, it “is used to refer both to a personal psychological state and to a type of social relationship”...

. Anarcho-primitivists advocate a return to non-"civilized" ways of life through deindustrialisation, abolition of the division of labour
Division of labour
Division of labour is the specialisation of cooperative labour in specific, circumscribed tasks and likeroles. Historically an increasingly complex division of labour is closely associated with the growth of total output and trade, the rise of capitalism, and of the complexity of industrialisation...

 or specialization
Specialization (functional)
Specialization is the separation of tasks within a system. In a multicellular creature, cells are specialized for functions such as bone construction or oxygen transport. In capitalist societies, individual workers specialize for functions such as building construction or gasoline transport...

, and abandonment of large-scale organization technologies
Technology
Technology is the making, usage, and knowledge of tools, machines, techniques, crafts, systems or methods of organization in order to solve a problem or perform a specific function. It can also refer to the collection of such tools, machinery, and procedures. The word technology comes ;...

. There are other non-anarchist forms of primitivism
Primitivism
Primitivism is a Western art movement that borrows visual forms from non-Western or prehistoric peoples, such as Paul Gauguin's inclusion of Tahitian motifs in paintings and ceramics...

, and not all primitivists point to the same phenomenon as the source of modern, civilized problems.

Many traditional anarchists reject the critique of civilization, many even denying that anarcho-primitivism has anything to do with anarchism, while some, such as Wolfi Landstreicher
Wolfi Landstreicher
Wolfi Landstreicher is the former nom de plume of a contemporary anarchist philosopher involved in theoretical and practical activity...

, endorse the critique but do not consider themselves anarcho-primitivists. Anarcho-primitivists are often distinguished by their focus on the praxis of achieving a feral
Feral
A feral organism is one that has changed from being domesticated to being wild or untamed. In the case of plants it is a movement from cultivated to uncultivated or controlled to volunteer. The introduction of feral animals or plants to their non-native regions, like any introduced species, may...

 state of being through "rewilding
Rewilding (anarchism)
Rewilding is the process of re-instating the role of keystone species to human society where the expression of this role appears lacking. The term originates in conservation biology in which "rewilding" stands for the re-introduction of keystone species into areas where such species appear locally...

".

Origins

Anarchism started to have an ecological view mainly in the writings of American individualist anarchist and transcendentalist
Transcendentalism
Transcendentalism is a philosophical movement that developed in the 1830s and 1840s in the New England region of the United States as a protest against the general state of culture and society, and in particular, the state of intellectualism at Harvard University and the doctrine of the Unitarian...

 Henry David Thoreau
Henry David Thoreau
Henry David Thoreau was an American author, poet, philosopher, abolitionist, naturalist, tax resister, development critic, surveyor, historian, and leading transcendentalist...

. In his book Walden
Walden
Walden is an American book written by noted Transcendentalist Henry David Thoreau...

he advocates simple living
Simple living
Simple living encompasses a number of different voluntary practices to simplify one's lifestyle. These may include reducing one's possessions or increasing self-sufficiency, for example. Simple living may be characterized by individuals being satisfied with what they need rather than want...

 and self-sufficiency
Self-sufficiency
Self-sufficiency refers to the state of not requiring any outside aid, support, or interaction, for survival; it is therefore a type of personal or collective autonomy...

 among natural surroundings in resistance to the advancement of industrial civilization. "Many have seen in Thoreau one of the precursors of ecologism and anarcho-primitivism represented today in John Zerzan
John Zerzan
John Zerzan is an American anarchist and primitivist philosopher and author. His works criticize agricultural civilization as inherently oppressive, and advocate drawing upon the ways of life of prehistoric humans as an inspiration for what a free society should look like...

. For George Woodcock
George Woodcock
George Woodcock was a Canadian writer of political biography and history, an anarchist thinker, an essayist and literary critic. He was also a poet, and published several volumes of travel writing. He founded in 1959 the journal Canadian Literature, the first academic journal specifically...

 this attitude can be also motivated by certain idea of resistance to progress and of rejection of the growing materialism which is the nature of American society in the mid XIX century." John Zerzan
John Zerzan
John Zerzan is an American anarchist and primitivist philosopher and author. His works criticize agricultural civilization as inherently oppressive, and advocate drawing upon the ways of life of prehistoric humans as an inspiration for what a free society should look like...

 himself included the text "Excursions" (1863) by Thoreau in his edited compilation of anti-civilization writings called Against civilization: Readings and reflections from 1999.

In the late 19th century Anarchist naturism appeared as the union of anarchist and naturist philosophies. Mainly it had importance within individualist anarchist circles in Spain, France and Portugal. Important influences in it were Henry David Thoreau
Henry David Thoreau
Henry David Thoreau was an American author, poet, philosopher, abolitionist, naturalist, tax resister, development critic, surveyor, historian, and leading transcendentalist...

, Leo Tolstoy
Leo Tolstoy
Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy was a Russian writer who primarily wrote novels and short stories. Later in life, he also wrote plays and essays. His two most famous works, the novels War and Peace and Anna Karenina, are acknowledged as two of the greatest novels of all time and a pinnacle of realist...

 and Elisee Reclus
Élisée Reclus
Élisée Reclus , also known as Jacques Élisée Reclus, was a renowned French geographer, writer and anarchist. He produced his 19-volume masterwork La Nouvelle Géographie universelle, la terre et les hommes , over a period of nearly 20 years...

. Anarcho-naturism advocated vegetarianism
Vegetarianism
Vegetarianism encompasses the practice of following plant-based diets , with or without the inclusion of dairy products or eggs, and with the exclusion of meat...

, free love
Free love
The term free love has been used to describe a social movement that rejects marriage, which is seen as a form of social bondage. The Free Love movement’s initial goal was to separate the state from sexual matters such as marriage, birth control, and adultery...

, nudism and an ecological world view within anarchist groups and outside them.

Anarcho-naturism promoted an ecological worldview, small ecovillage
Ecovillage
Ecovillages are intentional communities with the goal of becoming more socially, economically and ecologically sustainable. Some aim for a population of 50–150 individuals. Larger ecovillages of up to 2,000 individuals exist as networks of smaller subcommunities to create an ecovillage model that...

s, and most prominently nudism as a way to avoid the artificiality of the industrial mass society of modernity. Naturist individualist anarchists saw the individual in his biological, physical and psychological aspects and avoided and tried to eliminate social determinations. Important promoters of this were Henri Zisly
Henri Zisly
Henri Zisly was a french individualist anarchist and naturist. He participated alongside Henry Beylie and Emile Gravelle in many journals such as La nouvelle humanité and La Vie naturelle, which promoted anarchist-naturism.In 1902 he is one of the main initiators along Georges Butaud and Sophie...

 and Emile Gravelle
Emile Gravelle
Emile Gravelle was a French individualist anarchist and naturist activist, writer and painter. He published the review "L'Etat Naturel." Collaborated with Henri Zisly & Henri Beylie on "La Nouvelle Humanité," followed by "Le Naturien," "Le Sauvage," "L'Ordre Naturel," & "La Vie Naturelle." His...

 who collaborated in La Nouvelle Humanité followed by Le Naturien, Le Sauvage, L'Ordre Naturel, & La Vie Naturelle Their ideas were important in individualist anarchist circles in France but also in Spain where Federico Urales (pseudonym
Pseudonym
A pseudonym is a name that a person assumes for a particular purpose and that differs from his or her original orthonym...

 of Joan Montseny), promotes the ideas of Gravelle and Zisly in La Revista Blanca
La Revista Blanca
La Revista Blanca was a Spanish individualist anarchist magazine of sociology and arts published in Madrid by Joan Montseny y Teresa Mañé from 1898 to 1905 and in Barcelona from June 1, 1923 till August 15, 1936....

(1898–1905).

This tendency was strong enough as to call the attention of the CNT
Confederación Nacional del Trabajo
The Confederación Nacional del Trabajo is a Spanish confederation of anarcho-syndicalist labor unions affiliated with the International Workers Association . When working with the latter group it is also known as CNT-AIT...

FAI
Federación Anarquista Ibérica
The Federación Anarquista Ibérica is a Spanish organization of anarchist militants active within affinity groups inside the Confederación Nacional del Trabajo trade union. It is often abbreviated as CNT-FAI because of the close relationship between the two organizations...

 in Spain. So Daniel Guérin
Daniel Guérin
Daniel Guérin was a French libertarian and author, best known for his work Anarchism: From Theory to Practice, as well as his collection No Gods No Masters: An Anthology of Anarchism in which he collected writings on the idea and movement it inspired, from the first writings of Max Stirner in the...

 in Anarchism: From Theory to Practice reports how "Spanish anarcho-syndicalism
Anarcho-syndicalism
Anarcho-syndicalism is a branch of anarchism which focuses on the labour movement. The word syndicalism comes from the French word syndicat which means trade union , from the Latin word syndicus which in turn comes from the Greek word σύνδικος which means caretaker of an issue...

 had long been concerned to safeguard the autonomy of what it called "affinity group
Affinity group
An Affinity group is usually a small group of activists who work together on direct action.Affinity groups are organized in a non-hierarchical manner, usually using consensus decision making, and are often made up of trusted friends...

s." There were many adepts of naturism and vegetarianism
Vegetarianism
Vegetarianism encompasses the practice of following plant-based diets , with or without the inclusion of dairy products or eggs, and with the exclusion of meat...

 among its members, especially among the poor peasant
Peasant
A peasant is an agricultural worker who generally tend to be poor and homeless-Etymology:The word is derived from 15th century French païsant meaning one from the pays, or countryside, ultimately from the Latin pagus, or outlying administrative district.- Position in society :Peasants typically...

s of the south. Both these ways of living were considered suitable for the transformation of the human being in preparation for a libertarian society. At the Saragossa congress the members did not forget to consider the fate of groups of naturists and nudists, "unsuited to industrialization." As these groups would be unable to supply all their own needs, the congress anticipated that their delegates to the meetings of the confederation of communes would be able to negotiate special economic agreements with the other agricultural and industrial communes. Does this make us smile? On the eve of a vast, bloody, social transformation, the CNT did not think it foolish to try to meet the infinitely varied aspirations of individual human beings."

Recent themes

Anarchists contribute to an anti-authoritarian
Anti-authoritarian
Anti-authoritarianism is opposition to authoritarianism, which is defined as a "political doctrine advocating the principle of absolute rule: absolutism, autocracy, despotism, dictatorship, totalitarianism." Anti-authoritarians usually believe in full equality before the law and strong civil...

 push, which challenges all abstract power on a fundamental level, striving for truly egalitarian relationships and promoting communities based upon mutual aid. Primitivists, however, extend ideas of non-domination to all life, not just human life, going beyond the traditional anarchist's analysis. From anthropologists, primitivists are informed with a look at the origins of civilization, so as to understand what they are up against and how they got here, to help inform a change in direction. Inspired by the Luddites, primitivists rekindle an anti-technological/industrial direct action orientation. Insurrectionalists
Insurrectionary anarchism
Insurrectionary anarchism is a revolutionary theory, practice and tendency within the anarchist movement which emphasizes the theme of insurrection within anarchist practice. It is critical of formal organizations such as labor unions and federations that are based on a political programme and...

 infuses a perspective which waits not for the fine-tuning of critique, but identifies and spontaneously attacks civilization's current institutions.

Primitivists may owe much to the Situationists, and their critique of the Spectacle
The Society of the Spectacle
The Society of the Spectacle is a work of philosophy and critical theory by Guy Debord. It was first published in 1967 in France.-Book structure:...

 and alienating commodity society. Deep ecology
Deep ecology
Deep ecology is a contemporary ecological philosophy that recognizes an inherent worth of all living beings, regardless of their instrumental utility to human needs. The philosophy emphasizes the interdependence of organisms within ecosystems and that of ecosystems with each other within the...

 informs the primitivist perspective with an understanding that the well-being and flourishing of all life is linked to the awareness of the inherent worth and intrinsic value of the non-human world independent of its economic use value. Primitivists see deep ecology's appreciation for the richness and diversity of life as contributing to the realization that present human interference with the non-human world is coercive and excessive.

Bioregionalists
Bioregionalism
Bioregionalism is a political, cultural, and environmental system or set of views based on naturally defined areas called bioregions, similar to ecoregions. Bioregions are defined through physical and environmental features, including watershed boundaries and soil and terrain characteristics...

 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.

Some primitivists have been influenced by the various indigenous
Indigenous peoples
Indigenous peoples are ethnic groups that are defined as indigenous according to one of the various definitions of the term, there is no universally accepted definition but most of which carry connotations of being the "original inhabitants" of a territory....

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

Some are also inspired by the feral
Feral (subculture)
The feral subculture is a counter-cultural social movement originating in the latter part of the twentieth century, mainly centered in Australasia. The movement reached its heyday in the mid 1990s, in parallel with other similar movements in Europe and elsewhere...

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

Thought and main concepts

Some anarcho-primitivists state that prior to the advent of agriculture
Agriculture
Agriculture is the cultivation of animals, plants, fungi and other life forms for food, fiber, and other products used to sustain life. Agriculture was the key implement in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that nurtured the...

, humans lived in small, nomad
Nomad
Nomadic people , commonly known as itinerants in modern-day contexts, are communities of people who move from one place to another, rather than settling permanently in one location. There are an estimated 30-40 million nomads in the world. Many cultures have traditionally been nomadic, but...

ic bands
Band society
A band society is the simplest form of human society. A band generally consists of a small kin group, no larger than an extended family or clan; it has been defined as consisting of no more than 30 to 50 individuals.Bands have a loose organization...

 which were socially, politically, and economically egalitarian
Egalitarianism
Egalitarianism is a trend of thought that favors equality of some sort among moral agents, whether persons or animals. Emphasis is placed upon the fact that equality contains the idea of equity of quality...

. Being without hierarchy, these bands are sometimes viewed as embodying a form of anarchism
Anarchism
Anarchism is generally defined as the political philosophy which holds the state to be undesirable, unnecessary, and harmful, or alternatively as opposing authority in the conduct of human relations...

. John Moore
John Moore (anarchist)
John Moore was a British anarchist author, teacher and organiser. He died of a heart attack after collapsing on his way to work as a creative writing lecturer at the University of Luton...

 writes that anarcho-primitivism seeks "to expose, challenge and abolish all the multiple forms of power that structure the individual, social relations, and interrelations with the natural world."

Primitivists hold that, following the emergence of agriculture, the growing masses of humanity subtly became evermore beholden to technological processes ("technoaddiction") and abstract power structures arising from the division of labour
Division of labour
Division of labour is the specialisation of cooperative labour in specific, circumscribed tasks and likeroles. Historically an increasingly complex division of labour is closely associated with the growth of total output and trade, the rise of capitalism, and of the complexity of industrialisation...

 and hierarchy
Hierarchy
A hierarchy is an arrangement of items in which the items are represented as being "above," "below," or "at the same level as" one another...

. Primitivists disagree over what degree of horticulture
Horticulture
Horticulture is the industry and science of plant cultivation including the process of preparing soil for the planting of seeds, tubers, or cuttings. Horticulturists work and conduct research in the disciplines of plant propagation and cultivation, crop production, plant breeding and genetic...

 might be present in an anarchist society, with some arguing that permaculture
Permaculture
Permaculture is an approach to designing human settlements and agricultural systems that is modeled on the relationships found in nature. It is based on the ecology of how things interrelate rather than on the strictly biological concerns that form the foundation of modern agriculture...

 could have a role but others advocating a strictly hunter-gatherer
Hunter-gatherer
A hunter-gatherer or forage society is one in which most or all food is obtained from wild plants and animals, in contrast to agricultural societies which rely mainly on domesticated species. Hunting and gathering was the ancestral subsistence mode of Homo, and all modern humans were...

 subsistence.

Primitivism has drawn heavily upon cultural anthropology
Cultural anthropology
Cultural anthropology is a branch of anthropology focused on the study of cultural variation among humans, collecting data about the impact of global economic and political processes on local cultural realities. Anthropologists use a variety of methods, including participant observation,...

 and archaeology
Archaeology
Archaeology, or archeology , is the study of human society, primarily through the recovery and analysis of the material culture and environmental data that they have left behind, which includes artifacts, architecture, biofacts and cultural landscapes...

. Within the last half-century, societies once viewed as barbaric have been largely reevaluated by academics, some of whom now hold that early humans lived in relative peace and prosperity. Frank Hole, an early-agriculture specialist, and Kent Flannery, a specialist in Mesoamerican civilization, have noted that, "No group on earth has more leisure time than hunters and gatherers, who spend it primarily on games, conversation and relaxing." Jared Diamond
Jared Diamond
Jared Mason Diamond is an American scientist and author whose work draws from a variety of fields. He is currently Professor of Geography and Physiology at UCLA...

, in the article "The Worst Mistake in the History of the Human Race", said that hunter-gatherers practice the most successful and longest-lasting life style in human history, in contrast with agriculture which he described as a "mess" that has tumbled us, and it’s "unclear whether we can solve it". Based on the evidence that life expectancy has decreased with the adoption of agriculture, the anthropologist Mark Nathan Cohen
Mark Nathan Cohen
Mark Nathan Cohen is an American anthropologist and a professor in the State University of New York. He has an A.B. degree from Harvard College and a Ph.D. degree in anthropology . His areas of research and teaching include human evolution and demographic history, cultural evolution, biology,...

, expert in the field of population growth and life expectancy, has call for the need to revise our traditional sense that civilization represents progress in human well-being.

Scholars such as Karl Polanyi
Karl Polanyi
Karl Paul Polanyi was a Hungarian philosopher, political economist and economic anthropologist known for his opposition to traditional economic thought and his book The Great Transformation...

 and Marshall Sahlins
Marshall Sahlins
Marshall David Sahlins is a prominent American anthropologist. He received both a Bachelors and Masters degree at the University of Michigan where he studied with Leslie White, and earned his Ph.D. at Columbia University in 1954 where his main intellectual influences included Karl Polanyi and...

 characterized primitive societies as gift economies
Gift economy
In the social sciences, a gift economy is a society where valuable goods and services are regularly given without any explicit agreement for immediate or future rewards . Ideally, simultaneous or recurring giving serves to circulate and redistribute valuables within the community...

 with "goods valued for their utility or beauty rather than cost; commodities exchanged more on the basis of need than of exchange value
Exchange value
In political economy and especially Marxian economics, exchange value refers to one of four major attributes of a commodity, i.e., an item or service produced for, and sold on the market...

; distribution to the society at large without regard to labor that members have invested; labor performed without the idea of a wage in return or individual benefit, indeed largely without the notion of 'work' at all." Other scholars and thinkers such as Paul Shepard
Paul Shepard
Paul Howe Shepard, Jr. was an American environmentalist and author best known for introducing the "Pleistocene paradigm" to deep ecology. His works have attempted to establish a normative framework in terms of evolutionary theory and developmental psychology...

, influenced by anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss
Claude Lévi-Strauss
Claude Lévi-Strauss was a French anthropologist and ethnologist, and has been called, along with James George Frazer, the "father of modern anthropology"....

, have written of the "Evolutionary Principle
Evolutionary Principle
The evolutionary principle is a largely psychological doctrine formulated by anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss which roughly states that when a species is removed from the habitat in which it evolved, or that habitat changes significantly within a brief period , the species will develop...

" which roughly states that when a species is removed from its natural habitat its behaviors will become pathological. Shepard has written at length on ways in which the human species' natural "ontogeny", which developed through millions of years of evolution in a foraging mode of existence, has been disrupted due to a sedentary lifestyle
Sedentary lifestyle
Sedentary lifestyle is a medical term used to denote a type of lifestyle with no or irregular physical activity. A person who lives a sedentary lifestyle may colloquially be known as a couch potato. It is commonly found in both the developed and developing world...

 caused by agriculture.

Civilization and violence

Anarcho-primitivists view civilization as the logic
Logic
In philosophy, Logic is the formal systematic study of the principles of valid inference and correct reasoning. Logic is used in most intellectual activities, but is studied primarily in the disciplines of philosophy, mathematics, semantics, and computer science...

, institution
Institution
An institution is any structure or mechanism of social order and cooperation governing the behavior of a set of individuals within a given human community...

, and physical apparatus of domestication
Domestication
Domestication or taming is the process whereby a population of animals or plants, through a process of selection, becomes accustomed to human provision and control. In the Convention on Biological Diversity a domesticated species is defined as a 'species in which the evolutionary process has been...

, control, and domination. They focus primarily on the question of origins. Civilization is seen as the underlying problem or root of oppression, and must therefore be dismantled or destroyed.

Anarcho-primitivists describe the rise of civilization as the shift over the past 10,000 years from an existence within and deeply connected to the web of life, to one psychologically separated from and attempting to control the rest of life. They state that prior to civilization there generally existed ample leisure time, considerable gender equality
Gender equality
Gender equality is the goal of the equality of the genders, stemming from a belief in the injustice of myriad forms of gender inequality.- Concept :...

 and social equality
Social equality
Social equality is a social state of affairs in which all people within a specific society or isolated group have the same status in a certain respect. At the very least, social equality includes equal rights under the law, such as security, voting rights, freedom of speech and assembly, and the...

, a non-destructive and uncontrolling approach to the natural world, the absence of organized violence
Violence
Violence is the use of physical force to apply a state to others contrary to their wishes. violence, while often a stand-alone issue, is often the culmination of other kinds of conflict, e.g...

, no mediating or formal institutions, and strong health
Health
Health is the level of functional or metabolic efficiency of a living being. In humans, it is the general condition of a person's mind, body and spirit, usually meaning to be free from illness, injury or pain...

 and robustness. Anarcho-primitivists state that civilization inaugurated mass warfare, the subjugation of women, population growth, busy work, concepts of property, entrenched hierarchies, as well as encouraging the spread of diseases. They claim that civilization begins with and relies on an enforced renunciation of instinctual freedom and that it is impossible to reform
Reform movement
A reform movement is a kind of social movement that aims to make gradual change, or change in certain aspects of society, rather than rapid or fundamental changes...

 away such a renunciation.(No sources at all)

Anarcho-primitivists, based on several anthropological references, state that hunter-gatherer
Hunter-gatherer
A hunter-gatherer or forage society is one in which most or all food is obtained from wild plants and animals, in contrast to agricultural societies which rely mainly on domesticated species. Hunting and gathering was the ancestral subsistence mode of Homo, and all modern humans were...

 societies, by their very nature are less susceptible to war, violence and diseases.

Some authors have criticized the anarcho-primitivist argument that hierarchy and mass violence result from civilization, citing for example, the dominance and territorial struggles observed in chimpanzee
Chimpanzee
Chimpanzee, sometimes colloquially chimp, is the common name for the two extant species of ape in the genus Pan. The Congo River forms the boundary between the native habitat of the two species:...

s. Some thinkers within anarcho-primitivism such as Pierre Clastres
Pierre Clastres
Pierre Clastres, , was a French anthropologist and ethnographer. He is best known for his fieldwork among the Guayaki in Paraguay and his theory on stateless societies.-Theories:...

 offer an anthropological explanation of the necessity of a certain amount of violence, while embracing anarchy as the natural balance for primitive societies.

Science and technology

Some primitivists reject modern science
Science
Science is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe...

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

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

Primitivists argue that this mechanistic worldview is tantamount to being the dominant religion of our time. Believing that science seeks to deal only with the quantitative
Quantitative property
A quantitative property is one that exists in a range of magnitudes, and can therefore be measured with a number. Measurements of any particular quantitative property are expressed as a specific quantity, referred to as a unit, multiplied by a number. Examples of physical quantities are distance,...

, primitivists suggest that it does not admit subjective values or emotions. While primitivists perceive science as claiming that only those things that are reproducible, predictable, and the same for all observers are real and important, primitivists believe that reality itself is not reproducible, predictable, or the same for all observers.

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

Primitivists also see modern science as another form of mediation between humans and the natural world, resulting in further alienation from their environment. Instead, primitivists believe that individual knowledge should be based on individual experience as far as possible, rather than accepting another's dogma as fact. For example, primitivists obviously do not deny the theory of gravitation since it is easy to observe everything in the world adhering to the theory of gravitation in our day to day lives. However, when the theory of gravitation becomes dogmatic and handed down from generation to generation as a social dogma, rather than relying on individuals to grow and realise the facts about their environment in their own terms, it alienates people from coming to conclusions about their environment by themselves, and stunts the natural ability of humans to investigate and adapt to their own environment.

Primitivists denounce modern technology
Technology
Technology is the making, usage, and knowledge of tools, machines, techniques, crafts, systems or methods of organization in order to solve a problem or perform a specific function. It can also refer to the collection of such tools, machinery, and procedures. The word technology comes ;...

 completely, but some use modern technology on the basis that civilization has destroyed the normal social network and means of communicating and so they have no option but to compromise. Primitivists see technology as a complex system involving division of labor, resource extraction, and exploitation for the benefit of those who implement its process. Modern technology too, like science
Science
Science is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe...

, is seen as not being value-neutral. The values and goals of those who produce and control technology are believed always to be embedded within it.

Modern technology is held by primitivists to be distinct from simple tool
Tool
A tool is a device that can be used to produce an item or achieve a task, but that is not consumed in the process. Informally the word is also used to describe a procedure or process with a specific purpose. Tools that are used in particular fields or activities may have different designations such...

s in many regards. A simple tool is considered a temporary usage of an element within our immediate surroundings, used for a specific task. Tools are not viewed as involving complex systems which alienate the user from the act. Primitivists claim that this separation is implicit in technology, which creates an unhealthy and mediated experience which leads to various forms of authority. Domination is said to increase every time a modern "time-saving" technology is created, as primitivists claim it necessitates the construction of more technology to support, fuel, maintain, and repair the original technology. It is argued by primitivists that this leads very rapidly to the establishment of a complex technological system that seems to have an existence independent of the humans who created it. Primitivists believe that this system methodically destroys, eliminates, or subordinates the natural world, constructing a world fit only for machine
Machine
A machine manages power to accomplish a task, examples include, a mechanical system, a computing system, an electronic system, and a molecular machine. In common usage, the meaning is that of a device having parts that perform or assist in performing any type of work...

s.

Domestication

Domestication
Domestication
Domestication or taming is the process whereby a population of animals or plants, through a process of selection, becomes accustomed to human provision and control. In the Convention on Biological Diversity a domesticated species is defined as a 'species in which the evolutionary process has been...

, according to primitivists, is the process that civilization uses to control life according to civilization's ordered logic. Essentially, domestication is the tendency of civilization, as an orderly, predictable system, to attempt to assimilate the entire rest of the universe into itself, to make the whole world into one colossal orderly, predictable system. Domestication is a power-process begun by some groups of early humans who wished to reduce the uncertainties and dangers of life, attempting to manufacture a completely safe and organized existence.

Primitivists also describe it (more specifically) as the process by which previously nomad
Nomad
Nomadic people , commonly known as itinerants in modern-day contexts, are communities of people who move from one place to another, rather than settling permanently in one location. There are an estimated 30-40 million nomads in the world. Many cultures have traditionally been nomadic, but...

ic human populations shifted towards a sedentary or settled existence through agriculture
Agriculture
Agriculture is the cultivation of animals, plants, fungi and other life forms for food, fiber, and other products used to sustain life. Agriculture was the key implement in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that nurtured the...

 and animal husbandry
Animal husbandry
Animal husbandry is the agricultural practice of breeding and raising livestock.- History :Animal husbandry has been practiced for thousands of years, since the first domestication of animals....

. They claim that this kind of domestication demands a totalitarian relationship with both the land and the plants and animals being domesticated - ultimately, it even requires a totalitarian relationship with humanity. They say that whereas, in a state of wildness, all life shares and competes for resources, domestication destroys this balance. The domesticated landscape (e.g. pastoral lands/agricultural fields and, to a lesser degree, horticulture
Horticulture
Horticulture is the industry and science of plant cultivation including the process of preparing soil for the planting of seeds, tubers, or cuttings. Horticulturists work and conduct research in the disciplines of plant propagation and cultivation, crop production, plant breeding and genetic...

 and gardening
Gardening
Gardening is the practice of growing and cultivating plants. Ornamental plants are normally grown for their flowers, foliage, or overall appearance; useful plants are grown for consumption , for their dyes, or for medicinal or cosmetic use...

) is seen to necessitate the end of open sharing of the resources that formerly existed; where once "this was everyone's," it is now "mine." Anarcho-primitivists state that this notion of ownership laid the foundation for social hierarchy
Hierarchy
A hierarchy is an arrangement of items in which the items are represented as being "above," "below," or "at the same level as" one another...

 as property and power emerged. It inevitably entailed the cultivation and exploitation of the surrounding environs and the creation of a simultaneous monopoly and monopsony
Monopsony
In economics, a monopsony is a market form in which only one buyer faces many sellers. It is an example of imperfect competition, similar to a monopoly, in which only one seller faces many buyers...

 by humans, and for humans - generating over time the value-based social structures we now know in which every conceivable physical thing from food to earth to genes to ideas are viewed as quantifiable assets, which are someone's private property. It also involved the destruction, enslavement, or assimilation of other groups of early people who did not attempt to make such a transition, or who were not as far along in the transition as the destroying, enslaving, and assimilating groups.

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

John Zerzan, defines domestication as "the will to dominate animals and plants", and says that domestication is "civilization's defining basis".

Rewilding and reconnection

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

Rewilding is also described as having an emotion
Emotion
Emotion is a complex psychophysiological experience of an individual's state of mind as interacting with biochemical and environmental influences. In humans, emotion fundamentally involves "physiological arousal, expressive behaviors, and conscious experience." Emotion is associated with mood,...

al component, which involves healing ourselves and each other from what are perceived as 10,000-year-old wounds, learning how to live together in non-hierarchical and non-oppressive communities, and de-constructing the domesticating mindset in our social patterns. To the primitivist, "rewilding includes prioritizing direct experience and passion over mediation and alienation
Social alienation
The term social alienation has many discipline-specific uses; Roberts notes how even within the social sciences, it “is used to refer both to a personal psychological state and to a type of social relationship”...

, re-thinking every dynamic and aspect of reality, connecting with our feral fury to defend our lives and to fight for a liberated existence, developing more trust in our intuition and being more connected to our instincts, and regaining the balance that has been virtually destroyed after thousands of years of patriarchal control and domestication. Rewilding is the process of becoming uncivilized."

Industrial capitalism

According to primitivists a key component of the modern techno-capitalist
Technocapitalism
Technocapitalism is a term used to describe the changes in capitalism brought about by the emergence of high technology sectors in the economy.-New organizations:Luis Suarez-Villa, in his 2009 book Technocapitalism: A Critical Perspective on Technological...

 structure is industrialism, the mechanized system of production built on centralized power and the exploitation of people and nature. Industrialism cannot exist, they say, without genocide, ecocide, and colonialism. They further say that to maintain it, coercion, land evictions, forced labor, cultural destruction, assimilation, ecological devastation, and global trade
Globalization
Globalization refers to the increasingly global relationships of culture, people and economic activity. Most often, it refers to economics: the global distribution of the production of goods and services, through reduction of barriers to international trade such as tariffs, export fees, and import...

 are accepted as necessary, even benign. Primitivists claim industrialism's standardization of life objectifies
Objectification
Objectification is the process by which an abstract concept is made as objective as possible in the purest sense of the term. It is also treated as if it is a concrete thing or physical object...

 and commodifies it, viewing all life as a potential resource. They see their critique of industrialism as a natural extension of the anarchist critique of the state because they see industrialism as inherently authoritarian.

The primitivist argument against industrialism is such: In order to maintain an industrial society, one must set out to conquer and colonize lands in order to unsustainably acquire (generally) non-renewable resources to construct, feed, fuel, and grease the machines. This colonialism is rationalized by racism
Racism
Racism is the belief that inherent different traits in human racial groups justify discrimination. In the modern English language, the term "racism" is used predominantly as a pejorative epithet. It is applied especially to the practice or advocacy of racial discrimination of a pernicious nature...

, sexism
Sexism
Sexism, also known as gender discrimination or sex discrimination, is the application of the belief or attitude that there are characteristics implicit to one's gender that indirectly affect one's abilities in unrelated areas...

, and cultural chauvinism. In the process of acquiring these resources, people must be forced off their land. Additionally, in order to make people work in the factories that produce the machines, they must be dispossessed, enslaved, made dependent, and otherwise subjected to the destructive, toxic, degrading industrial system.

Primitivists hold that industrialism cannot exist without massive centralization
Centralization
Centralisation, or centralization , is the process by which the activities of an organisation, particularly those regarding planning and decision-making, become concentrated within a particular location and/or group....

 and specialization. Furthermore, they hold that industrialism demands that resources be shipped from all over the globe in order to perpetuate its existence, and this globalism, they say, undermines local autonomy and self-sufficiency.

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

Consumerism and mass society

Most anarchists
Anarchism
Anarchism is generally defined as the political philosophy which holds the state to be undesirable, unnecessary, and harmful, or alternatively as opposing authority in the conduct of human relations...

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

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

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

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

Primitivists do not believe that a "mass society
Mass society
Mass society is a description associated with society in the modern, industrial era. "Guided by the structural-functional approach and drawing on the ideas of Tönnies, Durkheim, and Weber, understands modernity as the emergence of a mass society...

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

On the other hand, some do not think of industrialization as a coercive force, and merely advocate a primitivist lifestyle for environmental reasons.

Patriarchy and feminism

Anarcho-primitivists hold that toward the beginning in the shift to civilization, an early product of domestication is patriarchy
Patriarchy
Patriarchy is a social system in which the role of the male as the primary authority figure is central to social organization, and where fathers hold authority over women, children, and property. It implies the institutions of male rule and privilege, and entails female subordination...

: the formalization of male domination and the development of institutions which reinforce it. Anarcho-primitivists say that by creating false gender
Gender
Gender is a range of characteristics used to distinguish between males and females, particularly in the cases of men and women and the masculine and feminine attributes assigned to them. Depending on the context, the discriminating characteristics vary from sex to social role to gender identity...

 distinctions and divisions between men and women, civilization, again, creates an "other" that can be objectified, controlled, dominated, utilized, and commodified. They see this as running parallel to the domestication of plants for agriculture and animals for herding, in general dynamics, and also in the specifics like the control of reproduction. Primitivists say that as in other realms of social stratification
Social stratification
In sociology the social stratification is a concept of class, involving the "classification of persons into groups based on shared socio-economic conditions ... a relational set of inequalities with economic, social, political and ideological dimensions."...

, roles are assigned to women in order to establish a very rigid and predictable order, beneficial to hierarchy
Hierarchy
A hierarchy is an arrangement of items in which the items are represented as being "above," "below," or "at the same level as" one another...

. They claim that women came to be seen as property
Property
Property is any physical or intangible entity that is owned by a person or jointly by a group of people or a legal entity like a corporation...

, no different from the crops in the field or the sheep in the pasture. Primitivists state that ownership and absolute control, whether of land, plants, animals, slaves, children, or women, is part of the established dynamic of civilization.

Patriarchy, to a primitivist, demands the subjugation of the feminine and the usurpation of nature
Nature
Nature, in the broadest sense, is equivalent to the natural world, physical world, or material world. "Nature" refers to the phenomena of the physical world, and also to life in general...

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

Hierarchical organizations, division of labor, and bureaucracy

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

Primitivists state that organizational models only provide us with more of the same. While it is recognized by some primitivists that there might be an occasional good intention, the organizational model is seen as coming from an inherently paternalistic and distrusting mindset which they hold is contradictory to anarchy
Anarchy
Anarchy , has more than one colloquial definition. In the United States, the term "anarchy" typically is meant to refer to a society which lacks publicly recognized government or violently enforced political authority...

. Primitivists believe that true relationships of affinity come from a deep understanding of one another through intimate need-based relationships of day-to-day life, not relationships based on organizations, ideologies, or abstract ideas. They say that the organizational model suppresses individual needs and desires for "the good of the collective" as it attempts to standardize both resistance and vision. From parties, to platforms, to federations, primitivists argue that as the scale of projects increase, the meaning and relevance they have to an individual's own life decrease.

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

Critique of mechanical time and symbolic culture

Some anarcho-primitivists view the shift towards an increasingly symbolic culture
Symbolic culture
Symbolic culture is a concept used by archaeologists, social anthropologists and sociologists to differentiate the cultural realm constructed and inhabited uniquely by Homo sapiens from ordinary "culture", which many other animals possess. Symbolic culture presupposes more than the ability to learn...

 as highly problematic in the sense that it separates us from direct interaction. Often the response to this, by those who assume that it means that primitivists prefer to completely eliminate all forms of symbolic culture, is something to the effect of, "So, you just want to grunt?"

However, typically the critique is regarding the problems inherent with a form of communication
Communication
Communication is the activity of conveying meaningful information. Communication requires a sender, a message, and an intended recipient, although the receiver need not be present or aware of the sender's intent to communicate at the time of communication; thus communication can occur across vast...

 and comprehension that relies primarily on symbolic thought at the expense (and even exclusion) of other sensual and unmediated means of comprehension. The emphasis on the symbolic is a departure from direct experience into mediated experience in the form of language
Language
Language may refer either to the specifically human capacity for acquiring and using complex systems of communication, or to a specific instance of such a system of complex communication...

, art
Art
Art is the product or process of deliberately arranging items in a way that influences and affects one or more of the senses, emotions, and intellect....

, number
Number
A number is a mathematical object used to count and measure. In mathematics, the definition of number has been extended over the years to include such numbers as zero, negative numbers, rational numbers, irrational numbers, and complex numbers....

, time, etc.

Anarcho-primitivists state that symbolic culture filters our entire perception through formal and informal symbols and separates us from direct and unmediated contact with reality. It goes beyond just giving things names, and extends to having an indirect relationship with a distorted image of the world that has passed through the lens of representation. It is debatable whether humans are "hard-wired" for symbolic thought, or if it developed as a cultural change or adaptation, but, according to anarcho-primitivists, the symbolic mode of expression and understanding is limited and deceptive, and over-dependence upon it leads to objectification, alienation, and perceptual tunnel vision
Tunnel vision
Tunnel vision is the loss of peripheral vision with retention of central vision, resulting in a constricted circular tunnel-like field of vision.- Medical / biological causes :Tunnel vision can be caused by:...

. Many anarcho-primitivists promote and practice getting back in touch with and rekindling dormant and/or underutilized methods of interaction and cognition, such as touch and smell, as well as experimenting with and developing unique and personal modes of comprehension and expression.

Because there are some primitivists who have extended their critique of symbolic culture to language itself, Georgetown University
Georgetown University
Georgetown University is a private, Jesuit, research university whose main campus is in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, D.C. Founded in 1789, it is the oldest Catholic university in the United States...

 professor Mark Lance
Mark Lance
Mark Lance is a professor in the Philosophy Department and Justice and Peace Studies Program at Georgetown University. He earned his Ph.D. at the University of Pittsburgh under the direction of Robert Brandom and his main area of expertise is the philosophy of language, epistemology, philosophical...

 describes this particular theory of primitivism as "literally insane, for proper communication is necessary to create within the box a means to destroy the box."

Organizations

In the United States anarcho-primitivism has been notably advocated by writers John Zerzan
John Zerzan
John Zerzan is an American anarchist and primitivist philosopher and author. His works criticize agricultural civilization as inherently oppressive, and advocate drawing upon the ways of life of prehistoric humans as an inspiration for what a free society should look like...

 and Kevin Tucker
Kevin Tucker
Kevin Tucker is an anarcho-primitivist writer and speaker who lives in rural Pennsylvania. He is the editor of Species Traitor, an insurrectionary anarcho-primitivist journal, an editor and contributor to Green Anarchy magazine, and co-founder of the Black and Green Network...

, and often associated with non-primitivist writers Derrick Jensen
Derrick Jensen
Derrick Jensen is an American author and environmental activist living in Crescent City, California. Jensen has published several books questioning and critiquing modern civilization and its values, including A Language Older Than Words, The Culture of Make Believe, and Endgame. He holds a B.S...

, Daniel Quinn
Daniel Quinn
Daniel Quinn is an American writer described as an environmentalist. He is best known for his book Ishmael , which won the Turner Tomorrow Fellowship Award in 1991....

, and John Gowdy. The anarcho-primitivist movement has connections to radical environmentalism
Radical environmentalism
Radical environmentalism, is a grassroots branch of the larger environmental movement that emerged out of an ecocentrism-based frustration with the co-option of mainstream environmentalism...

, gaining some attention due to the ideas of Theodore Kaczynski
Theodore Kaczynski
Theodore John "Ted" Kaczynski , also known as the "Unabomber" , is an American mathematician, social critic, anarcho-primitivist, and Neo-Luddite who engaged in a mail bombing campaign that spanned nearly 20 years, killing three people and injuring 23 others.Kaczynski was born in Chicago, Illinois,...

 ("the Unabomber") following his Luddite
Luddite
The Luddites were a social movement of 19th-century English textile artisans who protested – often by destroying mechanised looms – against the changes produced by the Industrial Revolution, which they felt were leaving them without work and changing their way of life...

 bombing campaign. Recently anarcho-primitivism has been enthusiastically explored by Green Anarchy
Green Anarchy
Green Anarchy was a magazine published by a collective located in Eugene, Oregon. The magazine's focus was primitivism, post-left anarchy, radical environmentalism, African American struggles, anarchist resistance, indigenous resistance, earth and animal liberation, anti-capitalism and supporting...

, Species Traitor
Species Traitor
Species Traitor is a sporadically published journal of insurrectionary anarcho-primitivism. It is printed as a project of Black and Green Network and edited by anarcho-primitivist writer, Kevin Tucker....

, and occasionally Anarchy: A Journal of Desire Armed
Anarchy: A Journal of Desire Armed
Anarchy: A Journal of Desire Armed is a North American anarchist magazine, and is one of the most popular anarchist publications in North America. It could be described as a general interest and critical, non-ideological anarchist journal...

, and even CrimethInc.
CrimethInc.
CrimethInc., also known as CWC , is a decentralized anarchist collective of autonomous cells. CrimethInc. emerged in the mid-1990s, initially as the hardcore zine Inside Front, and began operating as a collective in 1996...

. The current anarcho-primitivist movement originated in the journal Fifth Estate, and was developed over a series of years in the 1970s and 1980s by writers such as Fredy Perlman
Fredy Perlman
Fredy Perlman was an author, publisher and activist. His most popular work, the book Against His-Story, Against Leviathan!, details the rise of state domination with a retelling of history through the Hobbesian metaphor of the Leviathan. The book remains a major source of inspiration for...

, David Watson, Bob Brubaker and John Zerzan. Vast theoretical differences between Watson's and Zerzan's forms of primitivism caused a split in the late 1980s.

During the 1990s the UK magazine Green Anarchist
Green Anarchist
The magazine Green Anarchist was for a while the principal voice in the UK advocating green anarchism, an explicit fusion of libertarian socialist and ecological thinking.-Early years:...

aligned itself with anarcho-primitivism, although there are many green anarchists
Green anarchism
Green anarchism, or ecoanarchism, is a school of thought within anarchism which puts a particular emphasis on environmental issues. An important early influence was the thought of the American anarchist Henry David Thoreau and his book Walden...

 who are not anarcho-primitivists.

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

Anarcho-primitivism is associated with and has influenced the radical tendencies within Neo-Tribalism
Neo-Tribalism
Neotribalism or modern tribalism is the ideology that human beings have evolved to live in tribal society, as opposed to mass society, and thus will naturally form social networks constituting new "tribes."-Sociological theory:...

.

Revolution and reformism

Primitivists do not see themselves as part of the Left
Left-wing politics
In politics, Left, left-wing and leftist generally refer to support for social change to create a more egalitarian society...

 (see also post-left anarchy
Post-left anarchy
Post-left anarchy is a recent current in anarchist thought that promotes a critique of anarchism's relationship to traditional leftism. Some post-leftists seek to escape the confines of ideology in general also presenting a critique of organizations and morality...

). Rather they view the socialist and liberal
Liberalism
Liberalism is the belief in the importance of liberty and equal rights. Liberals espouse a wide array of views depending on their understanding of these principles, but generally, liberals support ideas such as constitutionalism, liberal democracy, free and fair elections, human rights,...

 orientations as corrupt. Primitivists argue that the Left has proven itself to be a failure in its objectives. The Left, according to primitivists, is a general term and can roughly describe all socialist leanings (from social democrats and liberals to communists) which wish to re-socialize "the masses" into a more "progressive" agenda or the creation of political parties. While primitivists understand that the methods or extremes in implementation may differ, the overall push is seen as the same: the institution of a collectivized and monolithic world-view based on morality
Morality
Morality is the differentiation among intentions, decisions, and actions between those that are good and bad . A moral code is a system of morality and a moral is any one practice or teaching within a moral code...

.

Some primitivists have been even more hostile towards modern leftism, with Ted Kaczynski's Industrial Society and Its Future dedicating whole sections to the problems with modern leftism.

As anarchists, primitivists are fundamentally opposed to government
Government
Government refers to the legislators, administrators, and arbitrators in the administrative bureaucracy who control a state at a given time, and to the system of government by which they are organized...

, and likewise, any sort of collaboration or mediation with the state
State (polity)
A state is an organized political community, living under a government. States may be sovereign and may enjoy a monopoly on the legal initiation of force and are not dependent on, or subject to any other power or state. Many states are federated states which participate in a federal union...

 (or any institution of hierarchy and control)—except as a matter of tactical expediency. This position determines a certain continuity or direction of strategy, historically referred to as revolution
Revolution
A revolution is a fundamental change in power or organizational structures that takes place in a relatively short period of time.Aristotle described two types of political revolution:...

. By revolution, primitivists mean the ongoing struggle to alter the social and political landscape in a fundamental way: for anarchists, this means its complete dismantling. The word "revolution" is seen as dependent on the position from which it is directed, as well as what would be termed "revolutionary" activity. Again, for anarchists, this is activity which is aimed at the complete dissolution of abstract power.

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

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

Perceptions within anarchist movements

Notable critics of primitivism include Noam Chomsky
Noam Chomsky
Avram Noam Chomsky is an American linguist, philosopher, cognitive scientist, and activist. He is an Institute Professor and Professor in the Department of Linguistics & Philosophy at MIT, where he has worked for over 50 years. Chomsky has been described as the "father of modern linguistics" and...

, Michael Albert
Michael Albert
Michael Albert is an American activist, economist, speaker, and writer. He is co-editor of ZNet, and co-editor and co-founder of Z Magazine. He also co-founded South End Press and has written numerous books and articles...

, Brian Sheppard, Andrew Flood, Stewart Home
Stewart Home
Stewart Home is an English artist, filmmaker, writer, pamphleteer, art historian, and activist. He is best known for his novels such as the non-narrative 69 Things To Do With A Dead Princess , his re-imagining of the 1960s in Tainted Love , and earlier parodistic pulp fictions Pure Mania, Red...

, Dana Ward
Dana Ward
Dana Ward is a professor of Political Studies at Pitzer College, where he founded and maintains the Anarchy Archives and has taught since 1982. He was the Executive Director of The International Society of Political Psychology from July 1998 to the Fall of 2004...

, Ken Knabb
Ken Knabb
Ken Knabb is an American writer, translator, and theorist, best known for his translations of Guy Debord and the Situationist International.-Early life:...

, and, especially, Murray Bookchin
Murray Bookchin
Murray Bookchin was an American libertarian socialist author, orator, and philosopher. A pioneer in the ecology movement, Bookchin was the founder of the social ecology movement within anarchist, libertarian socialist and ecological thought. He was the author of two dozen books on politics,...

, as seen in his polemical work entitled "Social Anarchism or Lifestyle Anarchism".

Strategies and practices

A common criticism, which some believe suggests hypocrisy, is that people rejecting civilization continue to live a civilized lifestyle themselves. Jensen responds that this resort to ad hominem
Ad hominem
An ad hominem , short for argumentum ad hominem, is an attempt to negate the truth of a claim by pointing out a negative characteristic or belief of the person supporting it...

illustrates the weakness of the critic's opinion, as the critic has resorted to attacking the messenger only after failing to attack the message itself. He further responds that although it is "vital to make lifestyle choices to mitigate damage caused by being a member of industrial civilization, ...to assign primary responsibility to oneself, and to focus primarily on making oneself better, is an immense copout, an abrogation of responsibility. With all the world at stake, it is self-indulgent, self-righteous, and self-important. It is also nearly ubiquitous. And it serves the interests of those in power by keeping our focus off them."

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

Use of media technology

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

Derrick Jensen, John Zerzan, and many others respond that using the Internet and print media are effective at spreading their beliefs, and less harmful than doing nothing to avoid seeming "hypocritical". They believe that by using effective tools that are already in place today anyway, they can hopefully create a society where those technologies are no longer produced or used.

In the Arts

James Cameron
James Cameron
James Francis Cameron is a Canadian-American film director, film producer, screenwriter, editor, environmentalist and inventor...

's movie Avatar has been described by commentators sympathetic to anarcho-primitivism as a manifesto for such views, as well as the 1999 movie Instinct
Instinct (film)
Instinct is a 1999 film starring Anthony Hopkins, Cuba Gooding, Jr., George Dzundza, Donald Sutherland, Kim Cattrall and Maura Tierney. It was very loosely inspired by Ishmael, a novel by Daniel Quinn. In the United States, the film had the working title Ishmael...

.

See also

  • Antimodernism
  • Eco-communalism
    Eco-communalism
    Eco-communalism is an environmental philosophy based on ideals of simple living, self-sufficiency, sustainability, and local economies. Eco-communalists envision a future in which the economic system of capitalism is replaced with a global web of economically interdependent and interconnected...

  • Ecofeminism
    Ecofeminism
    Ecofeminism is a social and political movement which points to the existence of considerable common ground between environmentalism and feminism, with some currents linking deep ecology and feminism...

  • Green anarchism
    Green anarchism
    Green anarchism, or ecoanarchism, is a school of thought within anarchism which puts a particular emphasis on environmental issues. An important early influence was the thought of the American anarchist Henry David Thoreau and his book Walden...

  • Green Anarchy
    Green Anarchy
    Green Anarchy was a magazine published by a collective located in Eugene, Oregon. The magazine's focus was primitivism, post-left anarchy, radical environmentalism, African American struggles, anarchist resistance, indigenous resistance, earth and animal liberation, anti-capitalism and supporting...

  • Hunter-gatherer
    Hunter-gatherer
    A hunter-gatherer or forage society is one in which most or all food is obtained from wild plants and animals, in contrast to agricultural societies which rely mainly on domesticated species. Hunting and gathering was the ancestral subsistence mode of Homo, and all modern humans were...

  • Earth liberation
    Earth liberation
    Earth liberation has no universal understanding as a concept, as it is much considered to be a part of radical environmentalism, or as a militant off-shoot, favouring instead radical and revolutionary environmentalism.-History:...

  • Deindustrialization
    Deindustrialization
    Deindustrialization is a process of social and economic change caused by the removal or reduction of industrial capacity or activity in a country or region, especially heavy industry or manufacturing industry. It is an opposite of industrialization.- Multiple interpretations :There are multiple...


  • Post-left anarchy
    Post-left anarchy
    Post-left anarchy is a recent current in anarchist thought that promotes a critique of anarchism's relationship to traditional leftism. Some post-leftists seek to escape the confines of ideology in general also presenting a critique of organizations and morality...

  • Myth of Progress
  • Neo-Luddism
    Neo-luddism
    Neo-Luddism is a personal world view opposing any modern technology. Its name is based on the historical legacy of the British Luddites which were active between 1811 and 1816...

  • Primitive communism
    Primitive communism
    Primitive communism is a term used by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels to describe what they interpreted as early forms of communism: As a model, primitive communism is usually used to describe early hunter-gatherer societies, that had no hierarchical social class structures or capital accumulation...

  • Neo-Tribalism
    Neo-Tribalism
    Neotribalism or modern tribalism is the ideology that human beings have evolved to live in tribal society, as opposed to mass society, and thus will naturally form social networks constituting new "tribes."-Sociological theory:...

  • Simple living
    Simple living
    Simple living encompasses a number of different voluntary practices to simplify one's lifestyle. These may include reducing one's possessions or increasing self-sufficiency, for example. Simple living may be characterized by individuals being satisfied with what they need rather than want...

  • Diogenes of Sinope
    Diogenes of Sinope
    Diogenes the Cynic was a Greek philosopher and one of the founders of Cynic philosophy. Also known as Diogenes of Sinope , he was born in Sinope , an Ionian colony on the Black Sea , in 412 or 404 BCE and died at Corinth in 323 BCE.Diogenes of Sinope was a controversial figure...

  • Survivalism
    Survivalism
    Survivalism is a movement of individuals or groups who are actively preparing for future possible disruptions in local, regional, national, or international social or political order...



Further reading

  • Gagliano, Giuseppe,Il ritorno alla Madre Terra.L'utopia verde tra ecologia radicale e ecoterrorismo,Editrice Uniservice, 2010,p. 229 ISBN 9788861785953 (The title essay is available online here)

Periodicals

  • Green Anarchy
    Green Anarchy
    Green Anarchy was a magazine published by a collective located in Eugene, Oregon. The magazine's focus was primitivism, post-left anarchy, radical environmentalism, African American struggles, anarchist resistance, indigenous resistance, earth and animal liberation, anti-capitalism and supporting...

    : An Anti-Civilization Journal of Theory and Action
  • Species Traitor
    Species Traitor
    Species Traitor is a sporadically published journal of insurrectionary anarcho-primitivism. It is printed as a project of Black and Green Network and edited by anarcho-primitivist writer, Kevin Tucker....

    : An Insurrectionary Anarcho-Primitivist Journal
  • Disorderly Conduct (journal)
  • Fifth Estate: An Anti-Authoritarian Magazine of Ideas and Action

Web


External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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