corrections to primitivist misconceptions on this board

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Username
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Nov 11 2004 00:21
corrections to primitivist misconceptions on this board
Arnold DeVries, in Primitive Man and His Food (1952) p47, wrote:
The common view that primitive man is generally short lived and subject to many diseases is often held by physician as well as layman, and the general lack of sanitation, modern treatment, surgery and drugs in the primitive world is thought to prevent maintenance of health at a high physical level. [. . .]

But the facts are known, and these comprise a very interesting and important story. They indicate that, when living under near-isolated conditions, apart from civilization and without access to the foods of civilization, primitive man lives in much better physical condition than does the usual member of civilized society. When his own nutrition is adequate and complete, as it often is, he maintains complete immunity to dental caries. His teeth are white and sparkling, with neither brushing nor cleansing agents used, and the dental arch is broad, with the teeth formed in perfect alignment.

The facial and body development is also good. The face is finely formed, well-set and broad. The body is free from deformity and proportioned as beauty and symmetry would indicate desirable. [. . .]

Reproductive efficiency is such as to permit parturition with no difficulty and little or no pain. There are no prenatal deformities. Resistance to infectious disease is high, few individuals being sick, and these usually rapidly recovering. The degenerative diseases are rare, even in advanced life, some of them being completely unknown and unheard of by the primitive. Mental complaints are equally rare, and the state of happiness and contentment is one scarcely known by civilized man. The duration of life is long, the people being yet strong and vigorous as they pass the proverbial three score and ten mark, and living in many cases beyond a century.

These are the characteristics of the finest and most healthful primitive races, who live under the most ideal climatic and nutritional conditions. Primitive races less favored by environment are less successful in meeting weakness and disease, but even the poorest of these have better teeth and skeletal development than civilized man, and they usually present other physical advantages as well.

The experience of primitive man has therefore been one of great importance. We note that people living today, under the culture and environment of the Stone Age, have not only equalled but far surpassed civilized man in strength, physical development and immunity to disease.

star green black

LiveFastDiarrea
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Nov 11 2004 02:09

you dont half talk some shit.

Anarch
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Nov 11 2004 02:51

It's not bad enough we have to combat Trots and fascists, but we got you guys and gals in the green anarchist movement eating us apart from the inside. Yes it is improtant to keep the environment healthy, but everything published by the greens is bullshit. Please start calling yourselves primitivists exclusively and leave anarchism alone! Who the hell cares about what the cavemen were like? What does that have to do with modern and real problems!?!?

Ceannairc
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Nov 11 2004 08:59

Now we know where Superman came from. He was just soooo primitive!

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JDMF
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Nov 11 2004 10:05

even if that was true, what kind of political programs can you draw from it?

Either you behave like a jehovas witness and save yourself and move to some remote location to live your dream (and probably move back after a while...), or you wipe out most of humanity? Either way, it has little to do with anarchism...

Username
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Nov 11 2004 10:32

hi everybody,

i'm not really talking shit, LiveFastDiarrea. i'm responding to some things that some people posted in the recent past.

Anarch, green anarchy isn't just about the environment. Green anarchism is about the hierarchy that resulted when our ancestors separated from the environment and the belief that hierarchy will always result no matter what other brand of anarchism you proffer when you stay divided from the wilderness. It has everything to do with modern and real problems because it is why they exist.

JDMF, agriculture and industry produce states in spite of your red anarchism. Harold Barclay even said something like this, and he was an anthropologist, not a primitivist. Barclay even criticized Zerzan. Because agriculture made the population go up, you experiment with reducing food production so that everyone receives an a couple grams less a day. If the birth rate goes down and when people have died of old age and there are significantly less than six and a half billion people on earth, then you can stop using industry, which also encourages population growth. With that pattern, everyone could return to the real anarchy that has actually existed for thousands of years if he/she wanted. Your theoretical anarchy has only been proven to exist for a couple years, right?

Yours,

Username

JoeBlack
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Nov 11 2004 11:35
Username wrote:
i'm responding to some things that some people posted in the recent past.

But this isn't a response, it's wishful thinking from 1952. There is no evidence here for any of the claims made, are we supposed to believe him just because he is an author?

Actual studies of pre-neolithic remains suggest a life expectancy of 18-21, modern 'primitive' expectancy tends to be higher, around 26 (whoppee) but is complicated by contact with 'civilisation' (disease draws it down, raiding farmers field for food in times of shortage draws it up). And about 1 in 7 women die in childbirth. There is also a suspiciusly high death rate due to witch craft (can be as high as 3%) which suggests why mental illness may not be that visible. This is all from specific studies of specific people published in the years since 1952 in peer reviewed papers. Go do some googling, there are a lot of scientific papers online, some even reveal points you might like (farmers joining 'primitive' populations in time of famine, that some people live into their late 60's etc).

Lazlo_Woodbine
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Nov 11 2004 12:01
Username wrote:
you experiment with reducing food production so that everyone receives an a couple grams less a day. If the birth rate goes down and when people have died of old age and there are significantly less than six and a half billion people on earth, then you can stop using industry, which also encourages population growth. With that pattern, everyone could return to the real anarchy that has actually existed for thousands of years if he/she wanted.

Why would anyone *want* to do this? Most of the world doesn't have enough food anyway, so I'm afraid you're talking from a very Euro-American position, there.

Anarchism can only come about through the end of scaircity -- if you can show that non-agricultural methods of food production can work to meet our needs then it'll become accepted by some people.

JoeBlack
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Nov 11 2004 14:31
Lazlo_Woodbine wrote:
Username wrote:
you experiment with reducing food production so that everyone receives an a couple grams less a day.

Why would anyone *want* to do this?

And more to the point how could you do this in an anarchist fashion?

Your talking about some central body that can on a whim decide how much food each individual gets every moment of every day of their lives. Thats a global concentration camp, not an anarchist society. Amusingly I don't think we even have the technology to implement the survellance and control that would be needed to stop hungry people feeding themselves by cultivating a secret vegteble garden or picking blackberries or fishing or eating rats in a cellar.

A very good illustration of why the 'logic' of primitivism leads not to anarchism but to fascism.

Lazlo_Woodbine
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Nov 11 2004 14:34

No it doesn't -- any more than the logic of communism leads to a police strate monitoring people's posessions. Contracting new relationships and showing that these ways of living are more fun is how all kinds of anarchism spread.

Don't assume that Username speaks for all anti-civilisation anarchists.

captainmission
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Nov 11 2004 14:39
Username wrote:
But the facts are known, and these comprise a very interesting and important story. They indicate that, when living under near-isolated conditions, apart from civilization and without access to the foods of civilization, primitive man lives in much better physical condition than does the usual member of civilized society.

Does DeVries give any evidence to back this up? Or just rant on about this fantasy of the 'isolated' nobel savage? (and this whole isolated, untouched, apart from civilization is bullshit by 1952 there were virtually no 'primitive' people untouched by colonal administration).

Quote:
We note that people living today, under the culture and environment of the Stone Age...

well no, modern day 'primitives' don't live under the cultre of the stone-age (what ever the fuck that is) but a whole varity of different cultures.

basing a whole political philosophy arround the idea of the nobel savage is not only daft, but doesn't deal with the racist and colonialal orignin of the idea. The victorian fascination with the nobel savage did nothing to prevent the eradiction of 'primitive' people- there's alot reason to belief that at actually served as the justification for there eradication (after all the real savages could never compete with the representation that the white man made in its place). You even continue the colonial obessesion with catergoring the 'primatives body and proving how animal like and close to nature.

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agriculture and industry produce states in spite of your red anarchism. Harold Barclay even said something like this, and he was an anthropologist, not a primitivist.

Barclay's books are popular anthropology, wouldn't stand up to long as an acedemic work. He makes lot of sweaping generalisations, and grouping together lots of disperate societies to make an arguement. Might be some merit to his work but anthropology can bring alot more to understanding power than making evolutionist grand narratives about civilisation. Plus Barclay gives examples of horticulural and pastrol societies without 'states'.

Quote:
you experiment with reducing food production so that everyone receives an a couple grams less a day.

So you need to control food production and then strave sections of the population? Capitalism does a pretty good job of this already. And what about people that don't agree with your master plan?

Quote:
There is also a suspiciusly high death rate due to witch craft (can be as high as 3%) which suggests why mental illness may not be that visible.

Well ignoring that witchcraft practices aren't 'primitive' beliefs, or what exactly a death due to witch craft is (a witch killing some with his/her powers, someone killing a witch, a murder motivated by another reason or an accidental death attributed to witchcraft), what in bejesus's name does it have to no with the invisability of mental illness?

Lazlo_Woodbine
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Nov 11 2004 14:52

The whole idea of the 'primitive' neccessarily supposes the existence of something called the 'progressive'. As an anti-civ, I reject such linear conceptions of society.

So...

Primitivism is actually a part of civilised ideology eek

Mr. T

lucy82
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Nov 11 2004 16:17
Quote:
Because agriculture made the population go up, you experiment with reducing food production so that everyone receives an a couple grams less a day. If the birth rate goes down and when people have died of old age and there are significantly less than six and a half billion people on earth, then you can stop using industry, which also encourages population growth.

the factors that influence population growth are complicated and its easy to confuse causation with correlation. by your argument though, its availability of food and use of industry which encourage population growth basically. which is pretty much simplistic bollocks (unless you are seriously suggesting widespread and socially acceptable death from disease and starvation as a blueprint for society)... depending on where abouts in the world you live, theres enough of that shit happening already. what do you want to do? make disease and starvation more equitable? Education, urbanization and labor force participation are some of the key factors in reducing the birthrate. Western industrialised countries such as the USA have a birthrate of 2.1. while Chad has a birthrate of 6.6. (cue disease and starvation, on stage).

Which, (playing devils advocate), could be seen to suggest that industrialisation is actually a good thing as you seem to believe that simplistically reducing population growth would bring about the sick nirvana with undertones of perfecting humanity described in your quote from Arnold DeVries....

just out of interest, looking at the assumptions underpinning that quote, whether someone is seen as deformed or beautiful, or sees themselves as such, is not a given fact. its constructed. Personally, I want to live in a world with people with coursely formed faces and narrow dental arches. I want people with all sorts of different abilities including the abilities that, in this society, here and now, get labelled "disabled". I want pretty much the whole joyous mess far more than I want to live with members of the centenarian masterrace.

Anarch
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Nov 11 2004 20:12

"green anarchy isn't just about the environment. Green anarchism is about the hierarchy that resulted when our ancestors separated from the environment and the belief that hierarchy will always result no matter what other brand of anarchism you proffer when you stay divided from the wilderness"

...all right hows about this. You tell me how you are going to encourage 7 billion people to re-connect with the wilderness. roll eyes

Lazlo_Woodbine
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Nov 12 2004 19:55

Well Username's there's some pretty good criticisms of your post there, by several posters, including green-focused and anti-civ. Since you're not being flamed, would you like to respond?

Anarch
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Nov 12 2004 21:31

I was just thinking that greens around here recieve a lot of criticism, and I am certainly one of the ones doing the criticizing. It is hard for me to see any point to the whole thing, and I do feel that it is harmful to the anarchist movement, BUT, I also feel that perhaps I have been unwilling to listen or keep an open mind. So Username, I hereby apolagise and I will debate with an open mind your points. So please, I am honestly curious how green anarchism could be realistically implemented if we felt it was desirable.

:red: red n black star star green black

Lazlo_Woodbine
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Nov 12 2004 22:34

Well if username doesn't turn up maybe me or some other green anarchist could take you up on that offer.

Anarch
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Nov 12 2004 22:53

I guess as long as someone(s) is going to explain this whole green anarchist thing, would you mind including why you consider youreselves anarchists at all? Is it purely for the anti-authoritarian ant-hierarchical reasons? If so I would point out that anarchism while those things seems heavily invested historically in class issues. Maybe it would be better to term your goals as anti-authoritarian primitivism or something. I just think that given the ideas of red and green anarchists are basically impossible to combine, that we will always be in conflict...

lucy82
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Nov 12 2004 22:57

i've just spent four hours writing an article about social housing shit in salford, reality is biting.. someone reassure me quickly that green anarchism can be realistically implemented cause i'm losing the will to live

sorry, bad day... sad

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JDMF
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Nov 13 2004 08:11

dont use green anarchist and primitivist terms interchangeably, it only encourages them smile I don't think username is an anarchist, at least his opinions on this board don't give that impression.

Anarch
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Nov 13 2004 15:35

"I don't think username is an anarchist"

Then why is he/she posting here? confused

Anarch
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Nov 14 2004 18:09

Will no one defend green anarchism? Please be quick, I feel the need to drive a car and leave my squat for an apartment. Someone please show me the path of reconnecting with the natural world! wink Just kidding, but I was really kind of looking forward to someone explaining how this whole thing would or could ever work. But if no one replies I guess I will just drop it.

Come on star green black s represent!

Wendal
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Nov 29 2004 00:09

I personally think this quarell between red n black star and star green black is realy useless and bad for the movement.

I think that Primitivism has been a great gain for the anarchist movement since they are realy into fuck shit up.

We both have a common goal to overthrow capitalism and the state right?

Why dont do our best to work together on that point?

It would even be most likely in a postrevolutionary time for anarchists and(?) primitivists to share the same world peacefully.

Extreme massproduction today would/will be a sucide and without the capitalist a lot less would need to be produced to fill people basics needs and more above that. What im saying is that an Anarchist industry will not have to be a major threat to the enviorment.

Some people will choose to work together in a anarcho-syndicalistic way generaly to have to work less.

Other people might choose self-sufficient gardening. They might have to work longer each day than the collectivistic industrialised anarchists to gather their crops but it might be worth it beacuse this work contribute to their quality of life.

Even on the way to a future anarchy i cant see that much of different ideas.

In both anarchism and primitivism there are reformative ideas and those who are ready tear everything down at once(Primitivist: Una Bomber Anarchists: Bakunin)

I mean its not like the communist-annarchist conflict where there is such a big things as goverments and the dictatorship of the proleteriat where there are realy no chances to find common grounds.

Primitivsts are also more likely to reach out to a lot of people that for example anarcho-syndicalists are not likely to reach.

Since anarchism is based on mass-movement and since there is no way to build a stable anarchic society if many people feels unsatisfied it is important that there are ways of life for all non-opressive needs.

If anyone feels that they want to be an apostle and show people excactly how to live in the postrevolutionary anarchy then they can simply do so then(or now) by living their lifes out of their ideals.

In a free postrevolutionary world the group with the most fulfilling life will win over people to its lifestyle.

It could happen that people leave the factories cuz they suck and move in with the hairy blokes in the caves or vice versa but if think that it is most likely that some people choose a primitivistic lifestyle and some choose to be a part of a more technological anarchy depending on what would give tthat person quality of life.

/ Peace and unity

Lazlo_Woodbine
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Nov 29 2004 13:35
Wendal wrote:
Since anarchism is based on mass-movement and since there is no way to build a stable anarchic society if many people feels unsatisfied it is important that there are ways of life for all non-opressive needs.

Yes I agree. However, the kind of human-hating opinions expressed by some primitivists can lead people to worry that primitivists want to impose their idea of 'real nature' on the rest of us.

Thora
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Nov 29 2004 13:50

I think there's a difference between primivitism, having an anti-civilisation critique and having an emphasis on ecological resistance - a lot of people seem to lump them all together and dismiss it as something to do with mass die-offs and language oppressing us or whatever wink

Personally, I'd say I have something of an anti-civilisation critique in that we can learn from the past, so I feel its important to examine the roots of patriarchy, class stratification, bureaucracy etc. The lives of those external to civilisation (both past and present) seem to be characterised by greater gender equality, egalitarian social relationships and ecological harmony than many of those within civilisation - so why is that? I'm not advocating a "return" to anything, but I don't think it is possible or desirable to maintain our current level of industrialisation. Maybe there's a third way of more appropriate, less oppressive technology?

I don't see that this approach is mutually exclusive to a more class-struggle approach - all our struggles against oppression and domination are inextricably linked. With the birth of civilisation, and particularly widespread agriculture, we came to see the natural world as a resource to be exploited rather than something we are part of. This domination of the land inevitably lead to the commodification and exploitation of both animals and humans - through class, patriarchy etc.

Thats kind of how I see it anyway - now no accusations of primivitism please (though I do like John Zerzan... eek )

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Steven.
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Nov 29 2004 14:32
Thora wrote:
Thats kind of how I see it anyway - now no accusations of primivitism please (though I do like John Zerzan... eek )

I'm sorry, not dissing the rest of your post or anything, but zerzan is a fucking moron!

Yeah sure it's useful to examine aspects of more egalitarian and free societies than our own - but Zerzan is a complete cretin! I started going through Future Primitive and it was just shite. Taking correlation for causation, and making a whole load of illogical deductions, which he presents as facts, cos obviously they must be if he puts an academic's name and a year in brackets next to it.

One particular classic was him saying primitive people didn't invent language cos they decided they were happier without it grin grin

Thora
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Nov 29 2004 14:36
Steven. wrote:
Yeah sure it's useful to examine aspects of more egalitarian and free societies than our own - but Zerzan is a complete cretin! I started going through Future Primitive and it was just shite. Taking correlation for causation, and making a whole load of illogical deductions, which he presents as facts, cos obviously they must be if he puts an academic's name and a year in brackets next to it.

Yeah, I can agree with that - a lot of his assertions do seem to be pulled out of his arse. Something about childbirth being completely safe and painless before civilisation was my favourite grin

I do find him an enjoyable writer to read though, just so long as its approached with caution.

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Steven.
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Nov 29 2004 14:45
Thora wrote:
Yeah, I can agree with that - a lot of his assertions do seem to be pulled out of his arse. Something about childbirth being completely safe and painless before civilisation was my favourite grin

Perhaps cos there were no words with which to express the general "Aaaaaaaaaaargh!!! This fucking hurts!!!!" thing before?

Quote:
I do find him an enjoyable writer to read though, just so long as its approached with caution.

Fair enough I spose - I just generally prefer reading more personal memoir accounts when it comes to political books, a lot more engaging I find.

He's still a twat though

grin

Thora
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Nov 29 2004 14:47
Steven. wrote:

Fair enough I spose - I just generally prefer reading more personal memoir accounts when it comes to political books, a lot more engaging I find.

I just prefer not to read political books if I can help it wink Zerzan was recommended by a friend however...

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Steven.
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Nov 29 2004 14:50
Thora wrote:
Steven. wrote:

Fair enough I spose - I just generally prefer reading more personal memoir accounts when it comes to political books, a lot more engaging I find.

I just prefer not to read political books if I can help it wink Zerzan was recommended by a friend however...

Hmmmm now I wonder who that could possibly be...

wink

Wendal
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Nov 29 2004 15:29
Lazlo_Woodbine wrote:
the kind of human-hating opinions expressed by some primitivists can lead people to worry that primitivists want to impose their idea of 'real nature' on the rest of us.

I think that as long as the industrialised society keep away from extreme massproduction and makes sure that they are not a major threat to the enviorment the Primitivists will leave them alone.

There might also be good for the evioroment that there is some people with more modern equipment to deal with sour water, acid rain and other natural catastrophes that may result from the damage the enviorement has already taken and old forgotten factories that releases some waste that might create a local polution that would be hard to deal with using sticks and stones.