sabato 7 settembre 2013

riflessioni critiche sul primitivismo: a primitivist primer di john moore

Avendo citato indirettamente il saggio di moore, ne riporto qui un estratto; il saggio completo è reperibile qui
Fa sorridere oggi l'aggettivo feminist accompagnato da cooperative,communitarian,spontaneus,wild. Questi aggettivi sono mutuamente esclusivi se inquadrati in un'ottica tanto femminista quanto maschilista. La selva dei differenti femminismi (e dei corrispettivi maschilismi - fra loro antitetici) già testimonia il fallimento fondazionale del programma pro o anti femminista. Per fortuna oggi è almeno chiaro cosa debba intendersi per identità (e relativa antropologia) di genere. Ma c'è sempre chi chiude occhi e cuore.
Come matematico taoista non posso abbracciare estremismi quali il primitivismo emotivo.

"What kind of future is envisaged by anarcho-primitivists?
Anarcho-primitivist journal "Anarchy; A Journal of Desire Armed" envisions a future that is 'radically cooperative & communitarian, ecological and feminist, spontaneous and wild,' and this might be the closest you'll get to a description! There's no blueprint, no proscriptive pattern, although it's important to stress that the envisioned future is not 'primitive' in any stereotypical sense. As the Fifth Estate said in 1979: 'Let us anticipate the critics who would accuse us of wanting to go "back to the caves" or of mere posturing on our part - i.e., enjoying the comforts of civilization all the while being its hardiest critics. We are not posing the Stone Age as a model for our Utopia[,] nor are we suggesting a return to gathering and hunting as a means for our livelihood.' As a corrective to this common misconception, it's important to stress that that the future envisioned by anarcho-primitivism is sui generis - it is without precedent. Although primitive cultures provide intimations of the future, and that future may well incorporate elements derived from those cultures, an anarcho-primitivist world would likely be quite different from previous forms of anarchy.
How does anarcho-primitivism view technology?
John Zerzan defines technology as 'the ensemble of division of labor/production/industrialism and its impact on us and on nature. Technology is the sum of mediations between us and the natural world and the sum of those separations mediating us from each other. It is all the drudgery and toxicity required to produce and reproduce the stage of hyper-alienation we languish in. It is the texture and the form of domination at any given stage of hierarchy and domination.' Opposition to technology thus plays an important role in anarcho-primitivist practice. However, Fredy Perlman says that 'technology is nothing but the Leviathan's armory,' its 'claws and fangs.' Anarcho-primitivists are thus opposed to technology, but there is some debate over how central technology is to domination in civilization.
A distinction should be drawn between tools (or implements) and technology. Perlman shows that primitive peoples develop all kinds of tools and implements, but not technologies: 'The material objects, the canes and canoes, the digging sticks and walls, were things a single individual could make, or they were things, like a wall, that required the cooperation of many on a single occasion .... Most of the implements are ancient, and the [material] surpluses [these implements supposedly made possible] have been ripe since the first dawn, but they did not give rise to impersonal institutions. People, living beings, give rise to both.' Tools are creations on a localised, small-scale, the products of either individuals or small groups on specific occasions. As such, they do not give rise to systems of control and coercion.
Technology, on the other hand, is the product of large-scale interlocking systems of extraction, production, distribution and consumption, and such systems gain their own momentum and dynamic. As such, they demand structures of control and obedience on a mass scale - what Perlman calls impersonal institutions. As the Fifth Estate pointed out in 1981: 'Technology is not a simple tool which can be used in any way we like. It is a form of social organization, a set of social relations. It has its own laws. If we are to engage in its use, we must accept its authority. The enormous size, complex interconnections and stratification of tasks which make up modern technological systems make authoritarian command necessary and independent, individual decision-making impossible.'
Anarcho-primitivism is an anti-systemic current: it opposes all systems, institutions, abstractions, the artificial, the synthetic, and the machine, because they embody power relations. Anarcho-primitivists thus oppose technology or the technological system, but not the use of tools and implements in the senses indicated here. As to whether any technological forms will be appropriate in an anarcho-primitivist world, there is debate over this issue. The Fifth Estate remarked in 1979 that: 'Reduced to its most basic elements, discussions about the future sensibly should be predicated on what we desire socially and from that determine what technology is possible. All of us desire central heating, flush toilets, and electric lighting, but not at the expense of our humanity. Maybe they are all possible together, but maybe not.'
What about medicine?
Ultimately, anarcho-primitivism is all about healing - healing the rifts that have opened up within individuals, between people, and between people and nature, the rifts that have opened up through civilization, through power, including the State, Capital, and technology. The German philosopher Nietzsche said that pain, and the way it is dealt with, should be at the heart of any free society, and in this respect, he is right. Individuals, communities and the Earth itself have been maimed to one degree or another by the power relations characteristic of civilization. People have been psychologically maimed but also physically assaulted by illness and disease. This isn't to suggest that anarcho-primitivism can abolish pain, illness and disease! However, research has revealed that many diseases are the results of civilized living conditions, and if these conditions were abolished, then certain types of pain, illness and disease could disappear.
As for the remainder, a world which places pain at its centre would be vigorous in its pursuit of assuaging it by finding ways of curing illness and disease. In this sense, anarcho-primitivism is very concerned with medicine. However, the alienating high-tech, pharmaceutical-centred form of medicine practised in the West is not the only form of medicine possible. The question of what medicine might consist of in an anarcho-primitivist future depends, as in the Fifth Estate comment on technology above, on what is possible and what people desire, without compromising the lifeways of free individuals in ecologically-centred free communities. As on all other questions, there is no dogmatic answer to this issue.
What about population?
A controversial issue, largely because there isn't a consensus among anarcho-primitivists on this topic. Some people argue that population reduction wouldn't be necessary; others argue that it would on ecological grounds and/or to sustain the kind of lifeways envisaged by anarcho-primitivists. George Bradford, in How Deep is Deep Ecology?, argues that women's control over reproduction would lead to a fall in population rate. The personal view of the present writer is that population would need to be reduced, but this would occur through natural wastage - i.e., when people died, not all of them would be replaced, and thus the overall population rate would fall and eventually stabilise. Anarchists have long argued that in a free world, social, economic and psychological pressures toward excessive reproduction would be removed. There would just be too many other interesting things going on to engage people's time! Feminists have argued that women, freed of gender constraints and the family structure, would not be defined by their reproductive capacities as in patriarchal societies, and this would result in lower population levels too. So population would be likely to fall, willy-nilly. After all, as Perlman makes plain, population growth is purely a product of civilization: 'a steady increase in human numbers [is] as persistent as the Leviathan itself. This phenomenon seems to exist only among Leviathanized human beings. Animals as well as human communities in the state of nature do not proliferate their own kind to the point of pushing all others off the field.' So there's really no reason to suppose that human population shouldn't stabilise once Leviathanic social relations are abolished and communitarian harmony is restored.
Ignore the weird fantasies spread by some commentators hostile to anarcho-primitivism who suggest that the population levels envisaged by anarcho-primitivists would have to be achieved by mass die-offs or nazi-style death camps. These are just smear tactics. The commitment of anarcho-primitivists to the abolition of all power relations, including the State with all its administrative and military apparatus, and any kind of party or organization, means that such orchestrated slaughter remains an impossibility as well as just plain horrendous.
How might an anarcho-primitivist future be brought about?
The sixty-four thousand dollar question! (to use a thoroughly suspect metaphor!) There are no hard-and-fast rules here, no blueprint. The glib answer - seen by some as a cop-out - is that forms of struggle emerge in the course of insurgency. This is true, but not necessarily very helpful! The fact is that anarcho-primitivism is not a power-seeking ideology. It doesn't seek to capture the State, take over factories, win converts, create political organizations, or order people about. Instead, it wants people to become free individuals living in free communities which are interdependent with one another and with the biosphere they inhabit. It wants, then, a total transformation, a transformation of identity, ways of life, ways of being, and ways of communicating. This means that the tried and tested means of power-seeking ideologies just aren't relevant to the anarcho-primitivist project, which seeks to abolish all forms of power. So new forms of action and being, forms appropriate to and commensurate with the anarcho-primitivist project, need to be developed. This is an ongoing process and so there's no easy answer to the question: What is to be done?
At present, many agree that communities of resistance are an important element in the anarcho-primitivist project. The word 'community' is bandied about these days in all kinds of absurd ways (e.g., the business community), precisely because most genuine communities have been destroyed by Capital and the State. Some think that if traditional communities, frequently sources of resistance to power, have been destroyed, then the creation of communities of resistance - communities formed by individuals with resistance as their common focus - are a way to recreate bases for action. An old anarchist idea is that the new world must be created within the shell of the old. This means that when civilization collapses - through its own volition, through our efforts, or a combination of the two - there will be an alternative waiting to take its place. This is really necessary as, in the absence of positive alternatives, the social disruption caused by collapse could easily create the psychological insecurity and social vacuum in which fascism and other totalitarian dictatorships could flourish. For the present writer, this means that anarcho-primitivists need to develop communities of resistance - microcosms (as much as they can be) of the future to come - both in cities and outside. These need to act as bases for action (particularly direct action), but also as sites for the creation of new ways of thinking, behaving, communicating, being, and so on, as well as new sets of ethics - in short, a whole new liberatory culture. They need to become places where people can discover their true desires and pleasures, and through the good old anarchist idea of the exemplary deed, show others by example that alternative ways of life are possible.
However, there are many other possibilities that need exploring. The kind of world envisaged by anarcho-primitivism is one unprecedented in human experience in terms of the degree and types of freedom anticipated ... so there can't be any limits on the forms of resistance and insurgency that might develop. The kind of vast transformations envisaged will need all kinds of innovative thought and activity."

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