Stuggle can even change primmos (apparently)

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jonglier
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Jan 8 2012 18:42

alright revol68, I see what you're saying and I do regret being so sarcastic in my last post because what I thought was unrelated is related and I see that now.

communists can't escape social relations -- not because of physical, geographical reasons, but because they want to take possession of the productive forces of capitalism and this is absolutely intrinsic to what makes them communists.

I would still maintain my position that it is not a good response to the arguments primitivists to simply say "fuck off to the woods", for many reasons. Raylion and Alasdair are both right in my opinion. Your argument "fuck off to the woods" does not actually constitute a theoretical response to the claims of primitivists. For example if a primitivist says "technology dependant on mass production, such as factory assembly lines, is inherently alienating and requires a degree of bureaucracy and hierarchy in order to be carried out", and you respond by saying "in that case the logical thing is for you to fuck off to the woods", then for all we know, on the basis of what you have said, the claim made by the primitivist may still be true.

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888
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Jan 8 2012 19:48
Juan Conatz wrote:
Yeah, primitivism is pretty much irrelevant in North America outside the Northwest.

I can only think of two people who would probably call themselves primitivists in Seattle - it's not even notable here.

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Chilli Sauce
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Jan 9 2012 07:55
888 wrote:
Juan Conatz wrote:
Yeah, primitivism is pretty much irrelevant in North America outside the Northwest.

I can only think of two people who would probably call themselves primitivists in Seattle - it's not even notable here.

Ah, you know what tho, outside of A: AJODA (in my old town one person who wrote for them played a large part in the "scene" angry ) I've met very few people who've identified as primitivists. Generally, they're morely likely to defend primitivism and say things critical of "civilisation" or positive about Zerzan while identifying with Crimethinc or some other such group.

bzfgt
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Jan 8 2012 20:38

I'm not aware of anyone directly involved with putting out Ajoda, past or present, who identifies as a "primitivist," although Zerzan was a "contributing editor."

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Juan Conatz
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Jan 8 2012 23:24

Yeah, well, the thing about that label is that it's so stigmitizing that even those who are pretty much largely in agreement with the main ideas of it tend to always stress they don't indentify as such. In this cop-out they have much in common with numerous people and groups signed up to Anarkismo (an explicitly platformist statement of agreement) that do the same.

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Jan 9 2012 02:54

You mean platformists who say they aren't platformists? Strikes me as a weird thing to do. I never thought of platformism as a stigmitised trend.

Back onto primmos: Jonglier, are you saying that Primitivists would have a good argument for not going 'into the woods' because it's too likely capital will come and get them, or that that's simply what they would argue? To me the hypothetical primitivist argument you suggest seems obviously wrong because a) there are quite a few hunter gatherer societies today which have a decent degree of independence from capital (plenty more that are getting screwed, but you can do your research before deciding where to go) and b) there is a long history of projects attempting autonomous living within capitalism that are tolerated as long as they stay small scale, respect property rights (you'd have to buy your patch of wilderness) and are not actively oppositional to capital. They usually get wound up by the participants though.

Finally, if what primitivists say about civilisation is true, and it really is that bad, it's worth taking a bit of a risk of being reincorporated, even violently, to have a chance of living an unaliented life. Plenty of people have taken big risks for communism when they thought it was on the horizon. Living wild is always on the horizon for primmos with a bit of money or good connections. But they so rarely take the risk.

action_now
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Jan 9 2012 11:15
RedEd wrote:
You mean platformists who say they aren't platformists? Strikes me as a weird thing to do. I never thought of platformism as a stigmitised trend.

really?

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Juan Conatz
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Jan 9 2012 21:09

Platformism is defintly a label that's stigmatized, at least within the English speaking world. Check out any article from any of the CSAC groups on Infoshop (particularly from 2001-2005) or Anarchist News. I don't know about Canada, but there have been flare-ups on this topic before in regards to attitudes towards the summit mobilizations and anti-police brutality riots. There have been 1,000 comment megathreads on here over the practice of groups like NEFAC. Anarchist Black Cat forums were partially created because most of the Irish and American posters from platformist groups left libcom. Etc etc etc.

Anyway, the only reason I mentioned it was because it was ironic.

nathorange
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Jan 11 2012 11:14

Jordan,

While the modern mechanical version of agriculture is only a century old (if that), monocultural degenerative agriculture is much older: as old as the early urban settlements of the Fertile Crescent (c.8000 to 10,000 years old). The archaeological evidence is very clear about that. These early settlements denuded their land so badly that soil salinity forced them to pack up and colonise new areas. They were not small-scale, ecologically-minded gardeners like modern-day permaculturists (or the Hopewell people, or the ancient Oaxaca, or the tribes of the New Guinea Highlands etc). They were clear-cut agriculturists who practiced a particularly destructive form of wholesale monocultural production of grains and pulses to the detriment of the ecosystems they inhabited.

Nothing, as far as agriculture is concerned, has changed since that time. The mindset of agriculturists is still the same: destroy ecosystems and convert them into (food for) people. Agriculture is a hierarchical system of warfare against non-humans, against non-"civilised" humans, against ecosystems and against habitats. As an anarchist, how can you possibly defend it? How can it be justified?

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Rob Ray
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Jan 11 2012 08:47

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RedEd
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Jan 11 2012 09:36
nathorange wrote:
These early settlements denuded their land so badly that soil salinity forced them to pack up and colonise new areas.

The earliest agriculture was rain fed which does not cause build ups in soil salinity. What you are probably thinking of is irrigated agriculture in Mesopotamia where the two rivers (especially the Tigris IIRC) have significant enough levels of salt that over the course of decades/centuries it starts to damage crop yields. Irrigation was a later development than agriculture as such, post dating it by several millennia.

nathorange
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Jan 11 2012 12:00

RedEd, in response to my post you said:

Quote:
The earliest agriculture was rain fed which does not cause build ups in soil salinity.

. I'm not disputing that fact, nor am I contradicting it. I'm not saying that Mesopotamia was the earliest agriculture. I'm saying that it was one of the earliest examples of large-scale monocultural agriculture. I wrote this in response to Jordan, to highlight the fact that he was mistaken in his assumption that monocultural agriculture was a strategy invented in the past two hundred years.

Nevertheless, my point still stands that agriculture at its core is one of Civilisation's key instruments of ecocide and ethnocide. History is a testament to that fact.

Jordan
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Jan 11 2012 12:19

I think you'll find that you used - and then I picked up on - the word 'industrial' in describing the type of agriculture you were using.

Industrial agriculture is agriculture using the technology of the industrial revolution.

Permaculture aka Permanent Agriculture - relies on so many things that wouldn't be present in a primitive society.

nathorange
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Jan 11 2012 12:51
Jordan wrote:

Permaculture aka Permanent Agriculture - relies on so many things that wouldn't be present in a primitive society.

What things are you talking about? Being an active permaculturist myself for more than 10 years, I'm very curious. Why wouldn't permaculture work in a primitivist society?

(And you are right, by the way. It appears that the word "industrial" did slip into my post, the one you originally replied to. I should have proofread before I posted. That was careless of me. Apologies embarrassed )

Jordan
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Jan 11 2012 12:49
nathorange wrote:
Jordan wrote:

Permaculture aka Permanent Agriculture - relies on so many things that wouldn't be present in a primitive society.

What things are you talking about? Being an active permaculturist myself for more than 10 years, I'm very curious. Why wouldn't permaculture work in a primitivist society?

May I ask what you mean by 'active permaculturist'?

But essentially because, amongst other things, it relies on information that wouldn't be available in a primitive society. Genetic information, as well as information in the sense of knowledge.

nathorange
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Jan 11 2012 13:44
Jordan wrote:
May I ask what you mean by 'active permaculturist'?

Sure. I design and build permacultural gardens and food forests, and I run skill-sharing workshops (seed-saving, grafting, cob-building, cheese making) in my local community.

You said permaculture wouldn't work because

Quote:
it relies on information that wouldn't be available in a primitive society. Genetic information, as well as information in the sense of knowledge.

Why would knowledge and skills that I have now, that I pass on to members of my community, that they then share with others, suddenly disappear in a primitivist future? Primitivists (at least the ones I know) are not interested in copying "primitive societies" of the past. We are interested in exploring their ways of being as models of how to live successfully into the future.

I don't need to understand about genetic information to know how to plant a seed in the ground. Genetics is just a narrative told by Western Science about the way the world is - no different from any other narrative about the way the world is. The Australian Aboriginal narrative about how the echidna got its spines doesn't affect the shelter-building, fire-making, animal-hunting, tool-making skills of the tribe. Skill-based knowledge is not the same as knowledge of cultural stories. I will be able to grow permaculture gardens in a primitivist future because I already have the skills, as do my friends.

Jordan
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Jan 11 2012 14:15

I don't think your willingness to take up some of the aspects cherry picked from different primtive cultures and synthesizing it with agriculture and other aspects of civilization is really the same thing that others mean by 'primtivism'. If you want to call that Primtivism, fine, but I think you'll find the criticism of others runs a lot deeper.

I never said that Permaculture won't work; just that it's not primtivism.

I wouldn't personally have any desire to give up the various tools and resources we've used to construct our Permaculture either. An excavator, a compact tractor, a diesel based pump, chainsaw, electric drill and screwdriver, saw bench to cut up logs and bits of wood.The smallest of jobs which we do easily as it is would become a nightmare without the right tools. Run out of nails or staples? Can nip down the road and pick some up. I certainly wouldn't want to try and smelt some myself.

Access to books and internet resources mean that I have access to the knowledge of others.

The access to seeds, different plants etc. mean that we can import genetic information from others. Want to try new apple varieties? Try some other plant thing? I can order them online as it is. Get them posted from the United States or continental Europe or various other places.

And if things go tits up, I'm happy that I can go to hospital, rather than trying to heal myself with some kookie tribal medicine.

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Jan 11 2012 14:24
Jordan wrote:
And if things go tits up, I'm happy that I can go to hospital, rather than trying to heal myself with some kookie tribal medicine.

You see, medicine is just another "Western Science" narrative, no different from kookie tribal medicine.

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Jan 11 2012 18:04
nathorange wrote:
RedEd, in response to my post you said:
Quote:
The earliest agriculture was rain fed which does not cause build ups in soil salinity.

. I'm not disputing that fact, nor am I contradicting it. I'm not saying that Mesopotamia was the earliest agriculture. I'm saying that it was one of the earliest examples of large-scale monocultural agriculture. I wrote this in response to Jordan, to highlight the fact that he was mistaken in his assumption that monocultural agriculture was a strategy invented in the past two hundred years.

Nevertheless, my point still stands that agriculture at its core is one of Civilisation's key instruments of ecocide and ethnocide. History is a testament to that fact.

I don't want to be a dick about it but you wrote:

"While the modern mechanical version of agriculture is only a century old (if that), monocultural degenerative agriculture is much older: as old as the early urban settlements of the Fertile Crescent (c.8000 to 10,000 years old). The archaeological evidence is very clear about that. These early settlements denuded their land so badly that soil salinity forced them to pack up and colonise new areas."

Which is wrong on several points. Agriculture is not as old as the earliest urban settlements, it post dates them by at least a millennium, and only a small minority of these early settlements (those in southern Iraq) even using a very lose definition of early settlements (say, anything up to 4500 B.C.) had problems with soil salinity. And even in these settlements salinity rarely meant relocating, they usually just opened up new field and irrigation systems.

Whether or not this impacts on your broader ideas, I don't know. I just mention it because it's an area I know a bit about.

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Jan 11 2012 18:42
nathorange wrote:
I don't need to understand about genetic information to know how to plant a seed in the ground. Genetics is just a narrative told by Western Science about the way the world is - no different from any other narrative about the way the world is. The Australian Aboriginal narrative about how the echidna got its spines doesn't affect the shelter-building, fire-making, animal-hunting, tool-making skills of the tribe.

The difference is that genes actually do physically exist and knowing about them has an impact on what people can do.

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Arbeiten
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Jan 11 2012 18:58

hmmmm. Genes can be utilized by all sorts of crazy ideologies to create a 'narrative'. But genome = narrative. Bollocks. Honestly, I can't believe people say this, then get all uppity when someone doesn't take them seriously and tells them and their related tendency to fuck off to the woods

nathorange
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Jan 12 2012 01:26

RedEd, I don't think you're being a dick. I appreciate your openness to this conversation.

But again, if you look at my statement carefully, I'm not claiming that agriculture itself is "as old as the earliest urban settlements", I'm saying that the visibly "monocultural, degenerative" aspects of agriculture are that old.

You said:

Quote:
And even in these settlements salinity rarely meant relocating, they usually just opened up new field and irrigation systems.

Doesn't that prove my point? If you destroy an area (whether its a field, an ecosystem, or a region) to such an extent that it is no longer able to support your activity and you consequently have to move to a different area (field, ecosystem, region) where sooner or later the same thing happens, wouldn't you say that that characterises "relocation"? Moving from one field to another to another to another, destroying the land base as you go - if everyone in your settlement does this, what happens when you run out of fields?

I appreciate your knowledge in this area, I'm just not sure how you have concluded that my statements are "wrong on several points".

Jordan
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Jan 12 2012 02:01

Can you address my more serious points, rather than getting distracted by minor, pretty pointless points?

Different irrigation techniques can get around a lot of the problems you're talking about - such as those employed in Yeomans type designs, where areas are flooded using rain water collected in ponds for a period and then not done again for a period of time, rather than small amounts of water being moved into fields lots of times during the season.

How do you intend to do anything Permaculture-wise without industrial goods? You couldn't even keep livestock in without netting or some sort of fencing.

radicalgraffiti
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Jan 12 2012 02:05

hedges would probably work

Jordan
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Jan 12 2012 02:15
radicalgraffiti wrote:
hedges would probably work

Hedges aren't very reliable, nor do they keep out various pests (e.g. rabbits, foxes etc.) which will completely ruin a Permaculture given half a chance, especially a young one, as well as any regeneration.

Relying on hedges exclusively would be a regressive move.

nathorange
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Jan 12 2012 02:15
888 wrote:
The difference is that genes actually do physically exist and knowing about them has an impact on what people can do.

Sure. Any story about how the world is put together can influence what people can and can't do within their particular cultural milieu. There's nothing unique about genes there! If I am an Australian Aborigine and my culture tells me that Wallaroos are my totem - my spiritual ancestors - I'm not going to hunt them; I am going to honour them. Knowing this story shapes what I can and can't do. How is the story of genes any different?

With respect to your statement that "genes actually do physically exist", have you actually physically seen them with your own eyes? If not, how do you know they exist? Science tells us, right? Science is our culture's narrative-weaving machine that creates stories about the world (we like to call these stories "facts"; whether or not they are facts is beside the point). Other cultures have narrative-weaving machines too. If the culture is indigenous, we call their narratives "myths"; (whether or not they are myths is also beside the point; to the indigenous person, their "myths" are as much "fact" as Science is "fact" to us).

The stories that any narrative-weaving machine produces only make sense within their cultural context. So, in a primitivist future (a "post-civilised", "post-scientific" future), tell me, why will genes even be in my cultural lexicon when Science is no longer my narrative-weaving machine?

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Jan 12 2012 02:19

If it is all 'only narrative' what is the point in changing the 'narrative' in the first place wall . By reducing everything to a cultural text you completely undermine your whole project. The only justification you will have is 'well, i prefer that permaculture story'.

Jordan
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Jan 12 2012 02:20
nathorange wrote:
888 wrote:
The difference is that genes actually do physically exist and knowing about them has an impact on what people can do.

Sure. Any story about how the world is put together can influence what people can and can't do within their particular cultural milieu. There's nothing unique about genes there! If I am an Australian Aborigine and my culture tells me that Wallaroos are my totem - my spiritual ancestors - I'm not going to hunt them; I am going to honour them. Knowing this story shapes what I can and can't do. How is the story of genes any different?

With respect to your statement that "genes actually do physically exist", have you actually physically seen them with your own eyes? If not, how do you know they exist? Science tells us, right? Science is our culture's narrative-weaving machine that creates stories about the world (we like to call these stories "facts"; whether or not they are facts is beside the point). Other cultures have narrative-weaving machines too. If the culture is indigenous, we call their narratives "myths"; (whether or not they are myths is also beside the point; to the indigenous person, their "myths" are as much "fact" as Science is "fact" to us).

The stories that any narrative-weaving machine produces only make sense within their cultural context. So, in a primitivist future (a "post-civilised", "post-scientific" future), tell me, why will genes even be in my cultural lexicon when Science is no longer my narrative-weaving machine?

I'm probably going to get spanked for this but.. you're just being ridiculous.

admin: snip

nathorange
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Jan 12 2012 08:36
Jordan wrote:
I never said that Permaculture won't work; just that it's not primtivism.

I'm not saying that Permaculture IS primitivism either! I'm saying that gardening (permaculture) has a place in a primitivist future just as much as hunting and gathering. I am as much critiquing the purist primitivist (the "no language, no domestication" lot) as the anti-primitivist. Is that clearer?

You said:

Jordan wrote:
I don't think your willingness to take up some of the aspects cherry picked from different primtive cultures and synthesizing it with agriculture and other aspects of civilization is really the same thing that others mean by 'primtivism'. If you want to call that Primtivism, fine, but I think you'll find the criticism of others runs a lot deeper.

Maybe my ideas don't fit so neatly into your (and others) closed-box definition of Primitivism. Does that mean there's no place for people like me to have a voice in primitivist philosophy? By the way, I don't think I'm cherry picking at all. But I'm curious as to why you think I am. What aspects of civilisation and agriculture am I defending?

Also, permaculture does not have to depend on

Quote:
An excavator, a compact tractor, a diesel based pump, chainsaw, electric drill and screwdriver

That's my point. Permaculture can be practiced without these things. I know this from my own experience, not from theory. That is why I say that permaculture should be understood as being on par with hunting and gathering in a post-technological primitivist future.

nathorange
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Jan 12 2012 03:17
Jordan wrote:
How do you intend to do anything Permaculture-wise without industrial goods? You couldn't even keep livestock in without netting or some sort of fencing.

Are you even capable of thinking outside the (industrial tool) box?