Stuggle can even change primmos (apparently)

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Chilli Sauce's picture
Chilli Sauce
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Jan 7 2012 00:57
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My criticism is that you will pull from Marxists and condemn all else.

Can you PLEASE (and I'm not one to use all caps lightly) debate without constant strawmen?

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Jan 7 2012 09:00
Chilli Sauce wrote:
Can you PLEASE (and I'm not one to use all caps lightly) debate without constant strawmen?

Like I said to Rob Ray, I'm new here and may have just missed all the discussions of things like Proudhon's idea of federalism or Dejacque on exchange, but I have seen endless discussion of Marxian ideas with little more than the internet equivalent to a scoff when it comes to anti-authoritarians that weren't communist. If you're taking issue with the "all else" part, yes, that was hyperbole. And I'm sorry if it seemed like I was being over the top.

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Jan 7 2012 11:25

BP, I'm more that happy to drop this debate, but you are the one who came on here all guns blazing saying things like:

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In the short time I've posted here I've seen more positive mention of Marx and Marxist theory than any other anarchist board I've posted on, but when it comes to philosophies that are whole-heartedly and devoutly anti-authoritarian some people claim we need to oppose them as vehemently as capitalism [you claim this is what libcommers think about mutualism]. That just does not make any sense.

There's no big surprise that such talk is going to get people's backs up.

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Jan 7 2012 11:31
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...little more than the internet equivalent to a scoff when it comes to anti-authoritarians that weren't communist.

I don't think there's any way one can be fully anti-authoritarian without being a communist.

It's also probably worth noting that the board is called libcom--short for libertarian communism. The regular posters here, then, are probably going to be pretty committed communists.

slothjabber
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Jan 7 2012 12:43

I think this does cause newcomers some confusion, sometimes. I think it's possible to arrive here thinking 'LibCom' stands for '(forum for the) Libertarian Community' rather than '(forum of) Libertarian Communism'.

There have certainly been times over the years that I've intervened in threads by bewildered newbs wondering why we're all commies and no-one wants to discuss their great blueprint for for a local currency mutualist banking federation based on two acres and a shotgun for every property holder (or whatnot).

OK, that's also hyperbole. But the point stands.

action_now
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Jan 7 2012 14:21

atleast @theorynerd actually sounds like a cool guy to hang with.

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Jan 7 2012 16:16
slothjabber wrote:
no-one wants to discuss their great blueprint for for a local currency mutualist banking federation based on two acres and a shotgun for every property holder (or whatnot).

Two acres and a shotgun? Sign me up!

Alls I'm saying, is libertarian communism should draw from libertarianism (not US libertarianism) and communism. Which would mean Marx and Proudhon, Bakunin and Colt.

But yeah, consider my offensive down. Chalk it up to, well, whatever you want to. I stand corrected.

slothjabber
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Jan 7 2012 20:42

Well, I like Thoreau, though I must also say that the whole Call of the Wild/homesteader angle to American anarchism (I mean, Warren, Tucker, etc) says more, I think, about the peculiarities of American capitalism in the mid-late 19th century than it does about any real essence of freedom. I have no idea who or what 'Colt' is.

batswill
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Jan 7 2012 23:14
slothjabber wrote:
Well, I like Thoreau, though I must also say that the whole Call of the Wild/homesteader angle to American anarchism (I mean, Warren, Tucker, etc) says more, I think, about the peculiarities of American capitalism in the mid-late 19th century than it does about any real essence of freedom. I have no idea who or what 'Colt' is.

Yep!

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Jan 8 2012 00:11
slothjabber wrote:
Well, I like Thoreau, though I must also say that the whole Call of the Wild/homesteader angle to American anarchism (I mean, Warren, Tucker, etc) says more, I think, about the peculiarities of American capitalism in the mid-late 19th century than it does about any real essence of freedom. I have no idea who or what 'Colt' is.

Samuel L. Colt, inventor of the revolving pistol. That was tongue in cheek.

tastybrain
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Jan 8 2012 06:04
slothjabber wrote:
Well, I like Thoreau, though I must also say that the whole Call of the Wild/homesteader angle to American anarchism (I mean, Warren, Tucker, etc) says more, I think, about the peculiarities of American capitalism in the mid-late 19th century than it does about any real essence of freedom. I have no idea who or what 'Colt' is.

"Call of the Wild"? Walden Pond wasn't exactly "the wild", even in the 19th century...plus I heard his mother or someone else brought him all his meals?

So yeah. Not exactly the most rugged wilderness adventure...

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Jan 8 2012 08:08

I feel like it's 2002 all over again.

A lot of the 'rewilding' types in the states did go off into the woods to live in eco-villages. And a good number died from eating roadkill or something similar. Around here we just let them all go nuts and live in the woods. If they survive, more power to 'em, if not we couldn't say we didn't say so.

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Jan 8 2012 10:00

Anything get written about that? Would be good to point at as a "be careful what you wish for" thing...

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Jan 8 2012 11:52

Yeah, primitivism is pretty much irrelevant in North America outside the Northwest. Insurrectionary anarchism influenced by TCI and various French ultraleft, as well as Bonnanno and the Greeks took over like 3 years. Nobody cares what Zerzan says and DGR is basically a joke, looked at as a authoritarian group even. The only people who still care are "class struggle anarchists" who are out of touch with their own milieu, middle aged post-leftists ala AJODA who want it to be 2002 again and the occasional anticiv forum warriors who find years old threads to ressurect. I would say the nihilist communists probably have as much influence even. Let's stop talking about this.

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Jan 8 2012 12:04

Do the nihilist communist have any organisations (well obvious not an "organisation" but a journal,network, or forum they hang out on) or some sort of formal grouping?

Also, I think Revol is right in post #73. Primitivism carries with it the stains of American rugged individualism and growing up in a period of class retreat that had very little direct experience in collective struggles (nevermind successful collective struggles).

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Jan 8 2012 12:41
revol68 wrote:
the thing with primmos in the states is that they still have tonnes of lands and reserves that are essentially "wild", why don't the weirdos just go fuck off to them and live as hunter gathers, it's not like they actually need any resources or complicated social networks, so why not just go and do it instead of bitching on the internet about technology?

I guess the same could be said about commies, why don't they just fuck off into the woods and build their communes there yada yada stop evangelizing us blah blah we still want our Big Macs and flatscreens.

Now don't misunderstand me, I just don't think this line of arguing is in any way meaningful.

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Jan 8 2012 15:07

Yeah but we have an answer to that line, unlike primmos whose big plan actually is to fuck off to the woods:

1. Nothing wrong with flatscreens and burgers, it's how they are produced that needs changing.
2. You can't avoid a social relationship, especially in the woods. I don't even like woods particularly, full of bloody mozzies.
3. Fuck you, how about the ruling class pisses off to the woods and lives as a collection of Randian supermen off their own labour and we collectively keep the world we built under their yoke instead. It's our civilization, not theirs.

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Jan 8 2012 15:33
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2. You can't avoid a social relationship, especially in the woods. I don't even like woods particularly, full of bloody mozzies.

Rob Ray, do you think that revol68 has advanced a valid critique of primitivism? The reason I ask is that I fail to see how your communist response quoted above is appropriate only for a communist and not for a primitivist. Do you think that primitivists only care about 'technology' and not about 'social relationships', and do not consider the two things to be in any way linked? If it is the case that social relationships cannot be avoided even by going to the woods, does this not invalidate revol68's critique of primitivism?

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Jan 8 2012 15:48

Eh? For a primitivist the existence of technology is the big problem with the social relationship, so in order to "solve" our issues we have to basically fuck off back to the woods. For a communist, to solve the big problem we simply (!) have to end the notion of individual ownership of property. Hence Primitive-ist, and Commune-ist. A commune doesn't have to be in the woods, a primitive (ie. sans language, sans tech etc) kinda does.

If you mean it in the sense that they can't avoid this social relationship now, problem is that by denying the ability of a society to exist in the millions, they basically wipe that argument out - this society is little more than a temporary construct which in order to survive they'll have to go beyond.

action_now
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Jan 8 2012 15:47
Rob Ray wrote:
Eh? For a primitivist the existence of technology is the big problem with the social relationship

yeah, that's wrong. well it atleast isn't correct for all (i'd say most) primivitists.
read some camette or perlman or some shit.

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Jan 8 2012 15:59

Rob, thank you for your response.

I note that your appear to have, in your first sentence, answered my first question in the affirmative, stating that you do think revol68's critique of primitivism is valid, insofar as for a primitivist the solitary individual "fucking off" to the woods is a sufficient solution to society's problems.

Let me look at a couple of your statements from your last two posts:

first post: "You can't avoid a social relationship, especially in the woods." (emphasis in the original)

second post: "For a primitivist the existence of technology is the big problem with the social relationship"[.] (emphasis in the original)

I have thought through many different ways of approaching this argument and discarded them all. The reason for this is that having thought it through a number of times I have realised that I do not understand your position. It strikes me that an anarcho-primitivist who goes to live in the woods may be concerned that at some time in the future the woodland will be sold and cut down for timber: one can imagine any number of possible scenarios along a similar trajectory. This, presumably, is what you mean by "you can't avoid a social relationship". Yet you seem to maintain some sort of distinction with regard to communists and primitivists with regard to question of whether going to live in the woods is the desirable course of action.

Therefore, before I can continue, I must ask you the following: Why is it deemed from the communist perspective impossible to escape social relations, while the same does not hold for the primitivist perspective?

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Jan 8 2012 16:08

Camatte, afaict, argues that the civilisation we live in has been built specifically as a means of controlling the working class and would have to be rebuilt? I can see why that's placed in the bracket of a founding document of primitivism because it provides the critique (which I don't disagree with, as a basic concept).

Not quite the same thing as primitivism as I understand the term though, which has gone on to say that we need to go back to a hunter-gatherer state in order to become sustainable again, at least if its wiki page (yes I know it's not definitie, but it's likely to be closeish to how the majority of primitivists see it) is anything to go by:

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According to anarcho-primitivism, the shift from hunter-gatherer to agricultural subsistence gave rise to social stratification, coercion, and alienation. Anarcho-primitivists advocate a return to non-"civilized" ways of life through deindustrialisation, abolition of the division of labour or specialization, and abandonment of large-scale organization technologies.
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Jan 8 2012 16:17
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Why is it deemed from the communist perspective impossible to escape social relations, while the same does not hold for the primitivist perspective?

Because from the primitivist perspective the current social relation is not a sustainable or permanent one - ie. it is set to end in the near future. Therefore preparing for the new social relationship (post-oil, post civilisation, in a situation where most of the population is dying off) by going into the woods and learning self-reliance makes perfect sense.

The impermanence of the current social relationship is a factor in communist thinking as well, but we're not just accepting that millions will die and that the destruction of all we have built as a species is desirable, and we want to change it in ways that the primitivist would presumably consider pointlessly reformist (eg. not including the burning of all our bridges and homes and the destruction of our means of mass-producing food).

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Jan 8 2012 16:31
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Because from the primitivist perspective the current social relation is not a sustainable or permanent one - ie. it is set to end in the near future. Therefore preparing for the new social relationship (post-oil, post civilisation, in a situation where most of the population is dying off) by going into the woods and learning self-reliance makes perfect sense.

So can we conclude that it would irrational, self-refuting, for a primitivist to reject this course of action in order to take the equivalent course of action to many anarcho-communists, i.e. attempting to spread her or his position by discussing it with others, on the basis of the argument that the end of civilisation may not be immediately forthcoming and that civilisation (social relations) may prove to be inescapable even once one has adjourned to the forest?

It occurs to me that out of the primitivists in existence there may be some who do not believe that civilisation is highly likely to come to an end in the next forty to fifty years. There may be some, indeed, who are concerned about the possibility of a the continued activities of civilisation having severely disruptive impacts on their own lives at some not too distant point in the future.

Is it an absolutely intrinsic component of the primitivist position that civilisation is "set to end in the near future"? And when you say "near future", is that with regard to the time-frame of the human race or of the human individual who may be considering going to live in the woods?

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Jan 8 2012 16:42
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So can we conclude that it would irrational, self-refuting, for a primitivist to reject this course of action in order to take the equivalent course of action to many anarcho-communists, i.e. attempting to spread her or his position

Yes. Because basically, they're all dead anyway if civilisation collapses and spending your time evangelising rather than preparing just means you're more likely to join them.

Okay, let's say far future, in which case, you could indeed just sit and hope for the end of the world not to come until after you're dead. But then why bother spreading primitivism to anyone except your loved ones? What's the point in spreading the good word in a 99% death situation unless you're a Jehova's Witness?

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Jan 8 2012 17:30

So Rob you agree that for a primitivist the end of civilisation may not be imminent?

Rob Ray wrote:
let's say far future

I previously asked you this question:

jonglier wrote:
Why is it deemed from the communist perspective impossible to escape social relations, while the same does not hold for the primitivist perspective?

To which you replied:

Rob Ray wrote:
Because from the primitivist perspective the current social relation is not a sustainable or permanent one - ie. it is set to end in the near future. Therefore preparing for the new social relationship (post-oil, post civilisation, in a situation where most of the population is dying off) by going into the woods and learning self-reliance makes perfect sense.

I may note from the outset that there is difference between something "making sense" and something being a necessary outcome of ones position. Let me continue, however:

Now you are accepting that for a primitivist the end of civilisation may not be imminent, and as such your rejection of the possibility that a primitivist may not currently be able to escape existing social relations by going to live in the woods, an earlier part of the construction of your argument, is no longer grounded. You apparently accept that it is not for the primitivist position an absolute necessity that the end of civilisation is imminent. As such, I am forced to repeat my earlier question, with an additional qualification:

Given that it is possible to both be a primitivist and not believe that the end of civilisation is imminent, why is it deemed from the communist perspective impossible to escape social relations, while the same does not hold for the primitivist perspective?

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Jan 8 2012 17:51

revol68, thank you for your kind enquiry into my condition. In response, yes: I would be highly surprised if an objective study returned the result that there was indeed nothing wrong with me.

May I point out that my debate with Rob Ray is framed under specific conditions. I am not saying that communist society can be formed in the woods. I am responding quite specifically to a certain comment made by Rob Ray. After you earlier made the generous and understanding argument that primitivists should simply "fuck off to the woods", another contributor responded that whatever the merits of this argument, it is in fact highly analogous to the type of argument made by conservatives to communists. Rob Ray then responded by pointing out that, unlike primitivists, communists actually have good responses to this argument. Rob Ray's responses included this one:

Quote:
You can't avoid a social relationship, especially in the woods. [emphasis in the original]

My debate with Rob Ray has simply been, on my part, an attempt to ascertain why it is that, while communists cannot escape social relations, even by going to the woods, primitivists apparently can. As such it has been a highly specific discussion, and so far the question of whether full communism can be established in an isolated woodland environment has not arisen. I hope this clears up any confusion that may have resulted from my undoubtedly imprecise mode of expression.

All of this said, may I thank you for your incisive and stimulating contribution to this discussion.

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Jan 8 2012 17:59
revol68 wrote:
Primmos can fuck off and live in a primmo "society" by gathering into a small band, running off into the wilderness and living as hunter gatherers.

Only in the same way communists can do the same in relation to communism.

If we assume the primitivists' aim to be the complete destruction of technology, this cannot be achieved by simple "lifestylism" either, so they cannot simply "fuck off" into the woods.

Independent of what one thinks of the ideology in general.

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Jan 8 2012 18:09

But revol wasn't asking for it as a "necessary position", he was suggesting it as a logical choice that evangelical primitivists should take if they believe civilisation is going to/should die. (edit: and has since expanded on it to point out the ability for primitivists to drop out if they're prepared to live without).

As I say, sure you don't have to if you don't think this inevitablility happen in your lifetime, but then what point is there in being a primitivist? You might as well warn people about the Sun's expansion to burn the earth, which definitely will happen and which we definitely can't stop. You'd certainly get far fewer arguments. Logically the only reason to demand people listen to you talk about primitivism is if you think we can actually do something to save all those people.

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Jan 8 2012 18:14

Far be it from me to defend primitivists normally (and I do wish they'd fuck off to the woods or a dark mountain and leave the rest of us alone), but I imagine most of them would say that they can't because no matter how 'wild' the space they find is it will still be affected by industrial society, via e.g. climate change.