In the photo below you will see the copy of her new book The Origins and Nature of Hunting: Ecopatriarchy by Ria Montana, sent to me by Ria, with the cat who lives with me and Katie sat next to it.
Ria writes within a tradition of anarchist thought that I am often considered tied to – anarcho-primitivism. One of my most significant struggles with anarcho-primitivist discourse is, despite its exploration of areas not often ventured through within even many radical areas of thought, it has largely manifested as a monocultural space, with some very concrete roads for praxis. My personal experiences and beliefs regarding anarchy are more inclined towards fluidity and diversity. Ria’s journey off of the beaten track of anarcho-primitivist thought was wonderful from the outset, for this simple rejection of conforming to the norms of this area of discussion.
Now there is a fair bit that I feel could be criticised about the analysis that Ria presents, but I do not feel a need or desire to do so. This is because, from the outset, she presents her analysis as a means of building a case to support her experientially based beliefs – not as an objective, reductive, singular truth. The book is Ria seeking to connect with people’s compassion and that is largely all it needs to be seen as. What I enjoyed about this is, again, how different it is from the absolutism of purist an-prim thought – given that this is for the most part a challenge to the mainstreams of the tendency.
In challenging the “hunter” narrative of anarcho-primitivism, through a vegan-moral perspective, Ria “kills” (metaphorically) 2 birds with 1 stone – or perhaps 2 stones with 1 bird? The first is the fetishisation of eating meat within rewilding thought and the second is the toxic ideological object of “Man” the violent force, as if it is something romantic and desirable, and the sexism that pollutes much of the primitivist space.
Again, this is by no means perfect – but who wants perfect?! Does the reader really gain much from the email exchanges and conversations with anarcho-primitivists, seemingly via computers, which Ria has included? I don’t think so, personally. But this is her book, her challenge to primitivism, from within primitivism, and I think more like this is needed – I’ve dedicated a decent portion of the manuscript I’m working on to challenging some of the mainstream primitivist ideology from a prim-sympathetic perspective.
Now that this book has put forward this challenge to the anarcho-primitivists of the world, my thought is “will they rise to this challenge, or will the sexist monocultural ideologues just scoff and disregard this as some woman’s opinion?”
I have already recommended this book to 1 vegan male friend and have 2 vegan female friends in mind to recommend it to as well. I suggest that primitivists give this book a look over and use this as an opportunity to reflect.