Knee-jerk anti-'Green' / anti-'Red' Ideology

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Jacques Roux
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Feb 28 2004 01:31
Knee-jerk anti-'Green' / anti-'Red' Ideology

I cant have been the only person to notice the amount of knee jerk reactions focussing on what ppl may refer to as Green Anarchy. Stuff like Animal Rights, Earth Liberation, Primitivism etc.

Not only online but offline aswell, within anarchist circles i find it quite wierd that so many anarchists who are keen to define (pigeon hole? wink) themselves as anarcho-'without-greeness' (communists, syndicalists, workerists, moron-erists, tradiontionalists? etc.) are so keen to put down 'Green' ideas, as soon as they are mentioned.

Looking for reasons for this, obviously the one that stands out is that they dont agree with 'green' ideas, but im not so sure how this manifests itself in the utter simplification of 'green' ideas to the point where they are made out to be picture-book simple and irrelevant.

Maybe some anarchists feel threatened by the popularity (tho i think popularity of solid green ideas is a myth) of these ideas, or indeed their success. In terms of getting out there and doing something i would say that 'the greens' are way ahead (looking at stuff like SHAC, ELF, ALF etc).

Anyway im losing the plot a bit here. My point is basically that i think its really unhealthy for us as anarchists to create a false division between 'green' and 'red' and seperate out into to camps, which both can represent themselves as very traditionalist and reactionay in ways. IMO only a mix of green/red ideas (black?) can ever succeed in accomploshing anything as the world is too complicated to try and simplify into divisions based the ideas green/red adhere to.

red n black star + star green black = circle A

wink

Now argue motherfuckers!

AlexA
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Feb 28 2004 01:43

I don't agree with the term "anti-Green", cos all anarchists care about the environment, sorry. Anti-certain strains of anarchism which call themselves "green" okay.

TBH I think it comes from both sides - see the "get back to your factory" and "workers' self-exploitation" stuff. And I do think that a lot of it is due to ignorance one way or the other. A lot of anarcho communists misunderstand aspects of primitivism, and the reverse applies too.

rkn wrote:
Maybe some anarchists feel threatened by the popularity (tho i think popularity of solid green ideas is a myth) of these ideas, or indeed their success. In terms of getting out there and doing something i would say that 'the greens' are way ahead (looking at stuff like SHAC, ELF, ALF etc).

Hmmmm well I don't know about popular!

SHAC aren't anarchist at all, and ALF are an animal rights group - neither of their tactics can be applied to the struggle against capital and the state, cos building workers' autonomy isn't a single-issue campaign. I don't know about much anti-ELF sentiment... okay they're quite neat, but just like the Angry Brigade (who were class struggle oriented) they ain't gonna achieve much/anything.

Quote:
Anyway im losing the plot a bit here. My point is basically that i think its really unhealthy for us as anarchists to create a false division between 'green' and 'red' and seperate out into to camps, which both can represent themselves as very traditionalist and reactionay in ways

I disagree with the term reactionary here (which means conservative) but yeah I don't think the caricaturing/slagging off from either side is that useful, particularly on bulletin boards...

Quote:
IMO only a mix of green/red ideas (black?) can ever succeed in accomploshing anything as the world is too complicated to try and simplify into divisions based the ideas green/red adhere to.

Well you know I think you're simplifying, splitting between red + green like that, cos things aren't that simple.

I do think however that if we're all committed to working as equals then we can have constructive input all round - particularly in individual campaigns or in organising in a particular community/industry

Can't we all just get along???

grin

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Jacques Roux
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Feb 28 2004 01:58
Quote:
I don't agree with the term "anti-Green", cos all anarchists care about the environment, sorry. Anti-certain strains of anarchism which call themselves "green" okay.

Being anti- certain green strains is totally justifiable as there are alot of dickheads out there.

All anarchos may care about the environment but i still there there is a lot of just kinda simplified ("haha wont if be funny to say this") type of comment from both sides which doesnt help. Revol68 - im not picking on you here but things like "i wanna keep my PS2".....

Quote:
TBH I think it comes from both sides - see the "get back to your factory" and "workers' self-exploitation" stuff. And I do think that a lot of it is due to ignorance one way or the other. A lot of anarcho communists misunderstand aspects of primitivism, and the reverse applies too.

Definetly it comes from both sides, but i would say most prominently from the non-green side (simply because there are more non-greens around!). I think most of it is from ignorance - but ignorance which stems from a tradition of just not wanting to understand another point of view rather than involntary ignorance.

Quote:
Hmmmm well I don't know about popular!

Which is why i said it was a myth wink tongue

I wasnt saying ALF/SHAC were anarchist (quite to the contrary in my experience with SHAC activists who i found to be bigoted rascists but anyway). I was saying that i get the impression that their actions / ideas are quite well publicised, because they get quite a large media reaction - maybe they are able to do this by being pretty unpolitical.

As for the ELF i would argue that burning down factories - causing significant economic damage to shut down a medium/small sized company would be relatively effective as anti-capitalist struggle.

Quote:
Well you know I think you're simplifying, splitting between red + green like that, cos things aren't that simple

I dont quite get you? You dont think im justified in assuming that simplified boundary between red / green exists?

Quote:
Can't we all just get along???

Aww group hug guys!!!! Mr. T

AlexA
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Feb 28 2004 02:02
rkn wrote:
Aww group hug guys!!!! Mr. T

Fuck off, hippy.

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Jacques Roux
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Feb 28 2004 09:28

revol - i hope u arnt looking at me to answer those Q's cos i aint no primmie and wouldnt have a clue where to start trying to defend them wink

meanoldman
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Feb 28 2004 10:35

Depends what you mean by green I guess. I'm 'green' in some kind of vague liberally way but I spent much of my childhood in Herefordshire killing fish, skinning rabbits and plucking pheasants, I am pro-vivisection and can't get too worked up about fox hunting which puts a pretty huge gulf between me and green-anarchists.

My understanding of primitivism is pretty limited, but what I have read (Zerzan in the main) has always struck me as reactionary bollocks of the worst kind. That anarchism is thought to include people like Zerzan I find embarrasing, which is why people try to categorise themselves further, I certainly want no part in the same movement as someone who rejects language and maths. (I'm a mathematician so I'm a bit buggered if he has his way... grin )

butchersapron
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Feb 28 2004 10:59

Personally. whilst recognising the fact primitivists ideas (as oppossed to generally accepted Green ideas) can be viewed as standing within the anarchist spectrum (and the fact that they developed out of *marxist* ideas, which they do seem to try and hide), i think the sort of cack that's been in Freedom recently, and more esp the responses to Iains arguments show just how idealistic (in the philosophical and therefore worthless and dangerous sense)they are and that there is zero engagement with the real world or society as currently constitituted - as shown by what they've come out with when put under pressure. The trots have a better underatsnding than most of the primmies on this! eek

To my mind it's the hating-your-parents stereotype that (young) anarchists are often tarred with, taken to it's logical conclusion - worthless nihilism (in the populist sense) dressed up in an ideology - though they'll deny they have an ideology - I HATE THE WHOLE WORLD AND HISTORY AS WELL!!!

But oddly enough, i do get on with a number of primmie types. grin

butchersapron
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Feb 28 2004 12:07
revol68 wrote:
primivitist ideas came out of a marxist background??????????? i fail to see how this can be!!!

They developed out of stuff like the Frankfurt School (who criticised the use of rationality and instrumentalism/enlightenment values - 'technology' basically) and later marxists like Camatte and Perlman, even Zerzan himself came out of a marxist tradition. But as i said, some of them like to pretend it was all anthroplogists like Marshall Sahlins - well it wasn't.

butchersapron
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Feb 28 2004 12:27

I said Zerzan *came out of* a marxist tradition not that he claims to be one now - and he did. Check his writings from the late 60s and early 70s when he was pretty much a council communist/non-orthodox marxist.

As for the Frankfurt school, they argued that rationalism and the use of 'instrumental reason' as best evidenced in the developement of technlogy was always and inherently inscribed with the ideas and needs of capital - you don't think that this is somehwow similiar to what some primitivists claim? - i think it's nearly identical. But they'll deny this because they rather handily see Marx as some monolitic bloc (or more accurately a strawman) which can easily be dismissed as supporting domination - if that's the case then they're also dismissing a large chunk of the fundamental grounds on which their case has been constructed - but they probably wouldn't know this anyway.

butchersapron
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Feb 28 2004 12:47

True enough that grin

l

Kalashnikov_Blues
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Feb 28 2004 13:14

I think some of the rift is based in the fact that both skools of thought don't give a fuck about the other, I know that sounds stupid initially, but it ends up as almost insulting if you think about it.

I don't care much about Fox Hunting, I like the little fuzzy critters and think animals have a right to a happy healthy life as much as me, if not more.

But I'm not a veggie, or overly bothered about the enviornment. And I get the impression that some greens take serious offence to my personal choices and end up comming across being as authoritative as the people they claim to hate.

I also think that theres a lot more proper "hate" in the greens that I have encountered. Like they get properly riled up and want serious blood, which to me isn't very nice grin I can understand and apperciate the points of veiw. But it ain't my cup of tea.

Anyway, I think I'm losing my train of thought, which is basically that we non veggies, non enviornmentalists are going to inherantly offend the overly sensitive greens when we say shit like "mmm kebab" (I actually do try not to eat much meat, but I'm not overly careful, though I RARELY eat kebabs)

We all have our place and need to work hand in hand or at least side by side to acheive the mutual goals that we have got. And "after the imminent revolution" they can fuck off to the country side, and I'll stay in my concrete worker co op jungle. Maybe I'll holiday in the Anarcho Cotswolds grin

and to quote:

red n black star + star green black = circle A

butchersapron
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Feb 28 2004 13:19

Very interesting Aufheben review article around this here:

Civilization and its Latest Discontents:gainst His-story, Against Leviathan! by Fredy Perlman

http://www.geocities.com/aufheben2/auf_4_perlman.html

and for the classic autonomist/operaist approach (one which i find to be pretty much spot on):

The Capitalist Use of Machinery: Marx Versus the Objectivists'

http://www.geocities.com/cordobakaf/panzieri.html

AlexA
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Feb 28 2004 13:22

revol, for answers on your primmie questions, you could do better than to try here - we have a massive thread about it:

http://enrager.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=488

rebel_lion
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Feb 28 2004 19:04

Good debate.

I agree that the distinction is a false and a nasty one - in certain circles which are loosely syndicalist or post-Marxist mention anything green and you are instantly dismissed as a "middle class liberal"... which upsets me given that i come from one of the poorest backgrounds of any activists i know, but over the last 2 years or so have gravitated much more from being very red n black star or even :red: to more star green black ... tho i'm still definitely red n black star grin

I agree with meanoldman that this has something to do with urban/rural backgrounds - i grew up on an urban council estate, so the urban proletariat and their concerns were more on my mind, but recently living in a somewhat more rural area and knowing more green-oriented ppl who do stuff like GM crop trashing, animal rights, anti road camps etc has woken me up to more environmentalist concerns...

i used to feel pretty much the same as KalashnikovBlues, but i am actually leaning towards veggieism and organic agriculture now (altho i still can't really feel *that* concerned about animal rights TBH), and i am more and more convinced that cities are unsustainable (not to get all Maoist and say "parasitic") entities that need to be deconstructed into a much more localist, growing-our-own-food-oriented way of life for anarchism to be possible... part of that is also to do with knowing people in the Radical Routes co-op movement...

i think zerzan is bollocks, i'm not a primitivist because i know too many people who for reasons of health or disability would have no freedom or quality of life without depending on technology.

ive got a good mate who is in SHAC and ALF who is an anarchist, unfortunately he doesn't use the net but his contribution to this thread would be very insightful and useful. i might print it out and show it to him...

i know that not all SHAC or animal rights in general ppl are anarchists, but many are. animal rights isn't really my issue, but i do have a very great admiration for the passion and commitment that the animal rights ppl i know (many of the most committed of whom are not the middle class stereotype, but ppl from very poor backgrounds who have gone thru many fucked up things in their own lives) have for their movement, and i think anarchism/anti-capitalism in general has a lot to learn from SHAC/ALF tactics...

class struggle can be a misleading paradigm as well. i believe in it, but i think the phrase is too caught up in rigid Marxist, 19th century assumptions about structures...

Lazlo_Woodbine
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Feb 28 2004 19:20
Kalashnikov_Blues wrote:
But I'm not a veggie, or overly bothered about the enviornment. And I get the impression that some greens take serious offence to my personal choices and end up comming across being as authoritative as the people they claim to hate.

I also think that theres a lot more proper "hate" in the greens that I have encountered. Like they get properly riled up and want serious blood, which to me isn't very nice grin

Your lifestyle isn't your own. If you are part of, and advocate, a system in which we burn tonnes of fossil fuels then your own 'lifestyle' choices are part and parcel of the destriction of communities across the world.

I think one reason that the term 'civilisation' is popular is because it encompasses pre-capitalist elements of domination, such as patriarchy and property ownership. We're looking for new ways to describe the enemy, which I think is fine.

I think that technology isn't neutral, just as social organisation isn't neutral. Bureaucracies and intitutions are inherantly alienating, just as the technologies thet facilitate them are inherantly alienating and focus power in the hands of a few.

However, I don't think this is 'our' fault -- it's based in systems of social domination. Grassroots democratic communities would not choose to develop such speciualised division of labour and allocate such power to a few. Power has always been siezed by the few using grater force.

That's why I'm fundamentally a *class struggle* anarchist, but one that recognises the full part that technological development plays in the systems of domination.

Class struggle primitivism, anyone? Mr. T

Augusto_Sandino
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Feb 28 2004 20:36

When you think about it, Kropotkin wanted everyone to live in agricultural villages, and wanted to abandon industry ideally, so thats pretty green.

The only gripe i have is that the size of the anarcho-syndicalist style movement means it sometimes gets eclipsed by the green movement style anarchists, and then people start connecting the two when really theyre very different, if not opposite. Like alot of other people have said they are, im not really that bothered about environmental problems, but very bothered about class struggle. I reckon the anarcho-syndicalist style wing and the anarcho-primitivist or green anarchist wing should probably just leave each other alone and agree to disagree. I'd rather be forging links with the Socialists than the environmentalists (as an anarcho-syndicalist sympathiser)

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Feb 28 2004 22:52

Personally, I'm a class struggle Anarchist and I think that environmental stuff is well important. If we want a revolution, we better make sure there's summat left to live on afterwards! So I might prioritise other stuff (workplace, community, prisons, anti-fa) over it but I still think it's vital. Animal Rights stuff I couldn't give two fucks about and I don't have much respect for anyone who thinks humans and animals are equal...the holocaust will ALWAYS be worse than the meat industry.

I don't think cities would be unsustainable in a free society as there wouldn't be the profit driven motive for urban sprawl. And just because there might be cities doesn't mean that they wouldn't have autonomous, local self-government. London wouldn't be run by one 10million person mass assembly! It would be cut down into smaller areas. red n black star Anarchists don't want some massive industrial super society.

Also, I dunno about greens being bigger than reds. I'd say reds were bigger but greens more visible due to media image of Anarchists. I mean, look at any of the syndicalist unions in Europe, they've got thousands of members.

nastyned
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Feb 28 2004 23:06
revol68 wrote:
anarchism needs to drop this fluuffy broad church and start getting coherent, my view is if it aint class struggle it can fuck off and play with the traffic.

my feeling is that if anarchism isn't class struggle it's really just militant liberalism.

red n black star circle A

nastyned
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Feb 28 2004 23:25
Lazlo_Woodbine wrote:

Class struggle primitivism, anyone?

I don't think they mix. it's other people (quite possibly using harmful technology) that oppress us, not the technology itself. red n black star circle A

Augusto_Sandino
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Feb 29 2004 20:26

Yeah, actually i agree with every single thing that Ed said. That is exactly the way that i think about it. But i think the "fluffy broad approach" is a good thing, if im interpreting it right. I dont so much mean with greens, more with socialists along "unite, proletarian brothers" lines.

nastyned
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Feb 29 2004 22:22

¡Uníos, Hermanos Proletarios!

red n black star circle A

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Mar 1 2004 14:45

well i'd rather work with greens than authoritarian commies any day. whatever you say about the theory and stuff, they won't actually be able or want to impose anything on anyone, so they not going to stab you in the back, although they might piss off and live in a forest, which is fine. trots on the other hand would sell us down the river faster than you can grab an icepick.

i thought most primmies were class struggle, and the reason they don't talk about dealing with day to day issues may be because they agree with other anarchists on that, so they don't see the point in repeating it. really, if people actually say down and spoke sensibly face to face with people from the "green" strains of anarchism, there wouldn't be so much of this pointless aggro. or at least not about theory, it would probably be about who slept with who, knowing the anarchist movement...

AlexA
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Mar 1 2004 15:19

Exactly - talking and trying to come up with some sort of plan for dealing with an actual issue, like supporting a strike say and there'd probably be almost 100% agreement.

"words divide us, actions unite us" (the libertarian bloc slogan!)

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Mar 1 2004 17:23

I think people have to understand really there is no red/green divide since anarchism is about DIY, so I can find just as much to agree/disagree with a class struggle anarchist (as I personally describe myself) as I would a green anarchist. If there is a divide as such then it should be addressed, because it shouldnt be there. At the end of the day if we are to inherent the earth it needs to be sustainable, durrutis saying about rebuilding after the capitalists have destroyed it is fine, but its no good if we have no ozone layer, all our rivers are polluted and we are left with no green fields....

However there are things implicit in your political outlook which make a difference, I think because of the way green issues are approached i) they encourage more 'lifestylers' and middle class types since they detract from genuine class struggle ii) they are more disorganised, and generally dislike federations.

But on those two points the greens really dont have a monopoly and people should at least try and get out of old habits and adapt to circumstances which have emerged over the last few decades

On another note animal abuse is as I see it an ever expanding awareness which needs to be addressed, especially since its more closely linked with human society than most anarchists seem to want to admit, however theres an agenda which is more important than bitching about someone just because they eat meat... roll eyes

butchersapron
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Mar 1 2004 17:33
alexa wrote:
Exactly - talking and trying to come up with some sort of plan for dealing with an actual issue, like supporting a strike say and there'd probably be almost 100% agreement.

"words divide us, actions unite us" (the libertarian bloc slogan!)

Oddly enough, they' may well condemn the workers - some of them did just that during the miners strike and at Wapping - where the strikers were called sexist pigs, and support refused because some of the papers printed there were sexist and not pc enough for some and other 'ideological crimes'...

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Jacques Roux
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Mar 1 2004 17:53

What was so sexist about them?!!? confused

butchersapron
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Mar 1 2004 18:12

They printed 'The Sun' with its page three models and other stuff, or called women 'luv'.

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Jacques Roux
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Mar 1 2004 19:07

Oh what hideous crimes.

Lazlo_Woodbine
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Mar 1 2004 19:44
butchersapron wrote:
alexa wrote:
Oddly enough, they' may well condemn the workers - some of them did just that during the miners strike and at Wapping - where the strikers were called sexist pigs, and support refused because some of the papers printed there were sexist and not pc enough for some and other 'ideological crimes'...

Well quite. Similarly some greens may not support struggle in car factories 'because cars are bad anyway'; but we're talking Green party liberals, of course, and even some within the GP -- like Matt S -- wouldn't go along with that view. A class struggle, anti-capitalist perspective is central -- otherwise you're simply a green version of the ruling class, and you're 'sustainable solutions; usually involve making the porrest suffer (again).

Control of print works and car factories should be central to class struggle greens -- how else are we to curtail industrial destruction and/or control the media? By lobbying the companies or making consumer boycotts?

AlexA
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Mar 1 2004 21:14

exactly - the point is whether class struggle is central to your politics. If it's not, then what's the point.

If it is, then ultimately who gives a shit if you think we should all live in mud (wink) or summat smile

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Mar 2 2004 12:16
alexa wrote:
exactly - the point is whether class struggle is central to your politics. If it's not, then what's the point.

If it is, then ultimately who gives a shit if you think we should all live in mud (wink) or summat :)

Although I dont agree with the green @'s on everything, I think theyre politics are more sophisticated than your potraying, for example can class struggle politics be an end in and of itself, is a self managed society we strive for sustainable confused