In this response to John Jacobi’s piece “Escaping Society Peacefully Isn’t an Option” I will not attempt to speak for any one else, but will vocalise my thoughts as they pertain to my individual desires. I will respond to what seems to me to be the core ideas within the piece individually.
I will say now that this response is intended to be a respectful acknowledgement of someone who thinks and feels extremely similarly to me, and who I think is worth responding to.
Escape. I do not see why escape is desirable, whether possible or not. I also do not find that I and most others are trapped, in a totalitarian sense. In anarchist and radical discourses we think too much in absolutes. Instead, I find that there are varying intensivities of capture, which changes continually, increasing and decreasing. I am, as I write this, a temporary autonomous zone. When I am in different spaces, with more intensive authoritarian technological apparatus around me, I am less autonomous. I am temporary, because I am temporary. The intensivity of my capture is at its least, while I have not escaped, when I am able to have the most amount of fun in civilisation – psychological warfare, sabotage and other creative projects are immediate sources of rebellion and liberation.
Peace. Why would peace be desirable. It seems to me that peace requires the most authoritarian measures of violence – with the most violent of societies being the most peaceful. Life, wild-Being, nature (whatever the fuck we call the world(/Real) that civilisation(/this-Reality) is built on) seems to me to a process of creative destruction and destructive creativity, which can be calmer or more energetic. But the world is never peaceful.
Inherently political. Why is our struggle an inherently political one? Why do we have to include the affairs of the city, the policing of daily life, within our praxis? To quote the post-hardcore band Alexisonfire “there’s no police between 2 beating hearts”. My life includes many non-political experiences. When I enjoy the feeling of the rain on my cheek, I am not bound to politics during that experience. I’m not appealing purely to what is called lifestyleism, but I do not find I am condemned to political engagements at all points of my anarchist praxis.
Communes. Why should we aspire for sedentary communal life? Is a commune not a society? My desire is directed towards tribal and nomadic life – both psychic and embodied. Why would I bound myself to another society, rather than grow my individual power, as my individual anarchist praxis? As an individualist I can form tribalistic-friendships, of smaller numbers but more intense relationship, not bound to any communal-societal culture, or subculture. If I were to join a commune, would I not be bound to the norms and requirements of that collective?
Social-animals. Am I a social animal? Am I bound to such an essentialistic reductive conception of myself? Am I innately human? I do not experience myself, or others, as this! I have not found any reason to believe in any essense that precedes my existence, which I am by metaphysical law required to conform to. My anarchy is largely a playful becoming-animal. I find myself most human when least anarchist. Perhaps Jacobi you are at risk of being human, all too human.
Outside/Inside Split. Jacobi seems to believe the very myth of civilisation, that there is an inside to escape the outside from – that there is nature and unnature. This retains the alienating narrative of cosmic-separation, where we identify with our mediation, and ultimately wallow in it. I do not find that I am cut off from what is wild at any point, in an absolutist and totalitarian sense. Sure domestication is a mutation of life, whose intensity has both qualitative and quantitative differences from what is wild. But I am alive, the air currents around me are wild, and even inside now there are processes of life, even if only microscopic, that are still true.
Victory via Primitivist Revolutionary Organisation. The idea of a primitivist revolutionary organisation seems strange to me, for a number of reasons.
One reason for this is because a revolution, in radical/political and scientific/cultural terms, is the seizing, consciously or unconsciously, of the meliorist historical progression, in a way that is expansive. Primitivism, like all anti-civ praxis, though is ultimately retractive, in its anti-anthropocentric perspective. As well as this, one of the strengths of primitivist thought is its critiques of time, which includes the concept of history.
An anti-civ praxis that is timeless, or presentist, by rejecting history in both of its directions, opens up the spaces where we find the civilisation collapses every day, as the Real destroys this Reality. The idea of winning or losing, in this fight against the world that they built, is for the most part, in presentist praxis, both largely irrelevant. A-historic praxis, in its pessimism, acknowledges that there are cosmic-geological-meteorological-processes, which move freely, regardless of civilisation’s attempt to repress them, which render any historic-attempt relatively meaningless – both to defend civilisation from total annihilation, and to instigate its destruction. Presentist praxis, in its absurdist joy, brings victory to the spaces we are and we-are-in, as every day affairs, in wild spaces, where life processes flow unrepressed – whether that is goldfinches and sparrows being able to nest freely, a captured elephant claiming revenge against those who enslaved them, anarchist rebels getting away from the police, or as lovers with no police between their beating hearts.
This is what I have found, during my explorations, my every-day breaching experiments, my meditations and my attacks.
I do no know whether or not organisations of a radical perspective can achieve much. I am impressed by some and despair over others. At best, perhaps radical organisations can function as bridges, but even then, are they so mediated and us so not? What I know for certain, in my embodied instinctual reaction, is that I have not yet found any organisation that I hold a belief in, which harbours no doubt or mistrust.
Where is the love? Environmentalism is a gravitational fall from the towers and skyscrapers of civilisation to the earth – a collapsing into the primordial eros, with a passionate, dark and joyfully erotic love, that is confusing and difficult, in the way that real love just is.
So where is the love of what is wild within this revulsion towards this tame and domesticated Reality – with its tame passions and loveless socially-contracted obligations?
Not just in Jacobi’s writings, but in many environmentalist essays and articles – especially those of more mainstream bright-Green perspectives – I find sincere criticism of this culture, but without any primal falling in love with the earth that we are and we are immersed in – paneroticism (to steal feral faun’s term). What is an ecological perspective without a – perhaps mad and erratic – egoist desire for an untamed world, ecologically and psychically rewilded (not simply out of reductionistic strategizing), for ourselves and for those we love, as Extensions of ourselves? Is it any more than banal moralising and blueprints for the construction of new histories to ruinate the earth?
I have written this with a sincere respect and appreciation for John Jacobi, for what he brings to the discussion, his insights and the work he puts in to the Wildwill project of which he is part. I am looking forward to reading his Repent to the Primitive, and hope that, between my perhaps critical thoughts, my affirmation of his thought is obvious.
I am increasingly finding in the spaces of discourse and action, which I am aware of, that everything is brought down to black and white objects of right or wrong, good or bad, losing or winning. This type of binary logic adheres to the law of the excluded middle, whose ontological function has been to clear-cut through forests of thought, to create roads from one Reality to another. It is an easy way to try to by-pass and drive through the confusing Real, whose absurdity we are immersed in.
My anarchy desires approaches that are closer to the dark ecologythat philosopher Timothy Morton writes about, which explores the excluded middle, and topological and intensive thinking which sociologist Manuel DeLanda argues as a process oriented approach to discourse – allowing for non-absolutist thought.
This isn’t a conclusion or a final destination, but another exploration in the excluded middle – and I am keen to explore with friends. In the excluded middle we can be egoist-environmentalists, nihilist-primitivists, anti-civ communists, and so on. Not bound to laws of non-contradiction by repressing our desires, in a feralexploration of the space between wildness and domestication, neither inside or outside, we can disagree with our allies, and agree with our enemies, as we explore the ever changing world we encounter.
My desire remains not directed towards the peace of violence, the violence of peace, or in escaping, but for intense immediate wild experiences of panerotic anarchist exploration.