And the bourgeoisie– there are many kinds of bourgeois individuals and they are in many places– wove ceaselessly with the threads of calumny the evil slanders with which we have been regaled, because they, and they alone, have been injured and are capable of being injured by our activities, by our rebelliousness, and by the wildly irrepressible desires we carry in our hearts to be free like the eagles on the highest mountain peaks, like the lions in the jungle.
–from A Day Mournful and Overcast, by an “Uncontrollable” from the Iron Column.
The Iron Column was an autonomous, decentralized and volunteer militia in the Spanish Revolution of 1936, which was composed almost entirely of ex-prisoners rather than members of revolutionary trade unions or radical political groups. Under their banner, 6,000 men and women fought most tenaciously for generalized social liberation. But early in the Civil War, what had been a struggle for a free society was limited solely to the fight against fascism. The treachery of Stalinists, Republicans and other leftists, was to impose rank, hierarchy, and strict martial culture on all the militias, stabbing them in the back and reducing them, in the words of this same writer, to the status of “domestic animals.” In 1939, the Civil War was lost to the fascists, but long before that the Uncontrollables lost to the Stalinists. The Iron Column disbanded in 1937.
The truth ignored, misunderstood, or intentionally hidden by the Left and Right wings of capital alike is that repression is not solely, or even predominantly, a political phenomenon. The political manifestations of state repression are a kind of superstructure that is built on a bedrock of constant and diffuse repression that marks our whole lives and has metabolized in our bodies and our psyches. In fact, we could not even bring ourselves to submit to the paralyzing terror of a grand jury or any other of the more extreme tools of repression were it not for the thousand little humiliations that make up daily life in this society. The very Continue reading
So many activists, anarchists and counter-cultural types resort to escapist tendencies. Moving to the woods, buying land or traveling often come to mind, but when facing the problem of civilization, there is no escape. There is no territory, landbase, or commune to run to. As a solution, the consideration of these options assumes that such existences can survive or even enmesh themselves alongside a culture built upon runaway growth and the systematic control of all life. Alternatively, political and cultural reform lead to yet more efficient states and systems of control. Contentedness gets conflated with liberation as every food co-op, non-profit organization, or piece of welfare legislation diverts our despair and paralyzes us into inaction. Civilization absorbs every unique creation, commodifies every being, and feeds upon them, reaching every corner of the globe. Every being, human and nonhuman, who stands as a barrier to the State must either be recuperated or destroyed, as the history of colonialism cogently reveals. Continue reading
But the general movement of isolation, which is the reality of urbanism, must also include a controlled reintegration of workers depending on the needs of production and consumption that can be planned. Integration into the system requires that isolated individuals be recaptured and isolated together; factories and halls of culture, tourist resorts and housing developments are expressly organized to serve this pseudo-community that follows the isolated individual right into the family cell. The widespread use of receivers of the spectacular message enables the individual to fill his isolation with the dominant images– images which derive their power precisely from this isolation.”
–Guy Debord, “Society of the Spectacle”
Aspects of a Pleistocene Paradigm
Despite the rapacious work of the nineteenth-century lumber barons and the twentieth-century corporate energy moguls in homogenizing the continent, much wildness remains, and the fluidity of society is itself perhaps a doorway to the realization of Roxy Gordon’s statement that “real revolution is born from genetic memories of ancient reality.”
— Paul Shepard, from “Place and Human Development”
This is a link to a list that first appeared in the book Coming Home to the Pleistocene by Paul Shepard. It enumerates the many elements of an optimally free and healthy life for human animals. A minimum of coherence would require that any effort to tangibly eradicate domination, exploitation and alienation from our lives, as is the stated goal of anarchism, would not only aim to destroy capitalism and the state, but also all those institutions which prevent the access of all members of our species to these realities.
…in reality environmental requirements are greater and more exacting for human beings than for most other species. Men [sic] need, in their non-human environment, open country with occasional cover, labyrinthine play areas, a rich variety of plants, animals, rocks, stars; structures and forms numbering into the thousands; initiation solitude, transitional and holy places, a wide variety of food organisms and diversity of stone and wood, nearby fresh water, large mammalian herds, cave and other habitation sites, and so on. Beyond the ecological and psychological constants needed for normal human health there must be an environmental margin of security to allow choice and to contribute to the individuality of experience and learned behavior.
–Paul Shepard, from The Tender Carnivore and the Sacred Game