Monday, August 21, 2006

my newest essay, uncut

Dedicated to Alan Ginsburg

To recap: circumstances are desperate on all fronts , nevertheless there is animosity amongst freedom-loving people of different persuasions. If deep ecologists, indigenists, permaculturalists, unionists, trans-humanists, and all other stripes of libertarians get each others’ backs instead of biting them, we’ll get more good done. If ever there was time for myopic antagonism, it ran out longer ago than history and myth records. IT’S HIGH TIME WE COOPERATE AND GET THIS REVOLUTION ROLLING.
I remember watching an interview with John Zerzan in which he said something along the lines of “There are two kinds of anarchists in Eugene: the kind that get the anti-civilization critique, and the one that doesn’t.” In the same way, there are people everywhere dividing the world into multiple demographics, with themselves always being in one- “There are two kinds of people: …”, anarchists or not. Ha, see what I mean! And yes, the anti-civ crowd is definitely culpable in this regard. To go back to Johnny Z (for the second and last time), he plugs Jesus Sepulveda’s The Garden of Peculiarities, while Sepulveda is very clear about keeping clear of ideology. Makes me wonder- do some anti-civ folks think they don’t have an ideology? Seems like a lot of us do.
Yeah, I dig a lot of the anti-civ stuff, including the inclination to smash machines, live life wildly with spontaneous bouts of joyous romping, unconstrained by human constructs. I also get the unpopular parts of the analysis, well typified in an essay by Tamarack Song. In “Armageddon Looms” he forecasted a collapse scenario in which most humans die, ‘cept those that have consciously reintegrated themselves, or were born into, a subsistence role in their ecosystems.
The people in the cities would die first. Even the Food Not Bombers and the Bicycle Punks would be doomed- their dumpsters would dry up, the pigeons would all be eaten, and they’d run out of patches for their tires, ‘parently. The Nazi survivalists in their bunkers would die once their supplies ran out.
So when people ask me about my strictly coded beliefs in this area (okay, just a couple friends and my mom have asked) I say, “Yeah, I’m not really a primitivist… not really down with genocide.” Tongue in cheek, but killing off mad people who depend on energy in their current state of life by widely orchestrated industrial sabotage just doesn’t give me a hard on anymore. On the flip side, though, a lot of people, myself included, dig the Spiritual, Physical, Mental exuberantly lived days you lead when you get into nature. Anyone who purports a love of freedom, from the bloodthirsty Shuar of Amazonia’s yesteryear to the people reading this, will let the abo(riginal) kids get their kicks. To the rest of the anarchist community: provided we aren’t fucking with your projects, why take our lifeways to the intellectual chopping board and try to gut us in front of everybody. Maybe there’s something COOL and SATISFYING about going abo, OR WE WOULDN’T BE FUCKING DOING IT? Try it and see. Maybe abo lifeways will surprise. DON’T KNOCK MY HUSTLE.
The 2006 summer issue of Green Anarchy, in its introduction, says something like “Summer is the season to take flight, but not in a Scientific, rational kind of way.” Time for all us fools to listen up, now. Two points: 1) I have had more than one First Nation/Amerindian elder tell me that back in the day, they used fly (like Supergirl) and communicate across great distances- again, using only their… what? Well, I don’t fucking know, I don’t do it on a regular basis, but sure as hell not using any technology. How ‘bout that techies, can you dig it? Point 2) If you’re stiflin’, you’re triflin’. Why should anyone in the “Reclaim. Rewild. Resist.” Movements keep the tinkerers from tinkering? The builders from building? If/When collapse is brought about/happens and centralized governments lose their grip on society, there’ll be even more opportunities for the techies to eat up and live out their fantasies on. I know I want to die in a hang glider crash- or else get eaten by a giant catfish. Maybe a combination of the two?
Late in the essay, I intentionally reveal my purpose: I want cooperation across the rifts between techies, abos and others in these anti-authoritarian movements we’re in.
Apparently surfing in another channel, not actually, how about those permaculture cats? Organic gardening like it’s gonna save the world or something. When I see a parking lot and a lawn, or a huge copper mine in Indonesia that puts out 1/5 of that state’s GNP, I doubt it seriously. But hey, we know it can feed people.
Look at the family Skunk (or was it Laurel?) stayed with in the anarcho-primitivist classic, Fire and Ice. They bought almost nothing, and it was only three or four people on a deforested mountaintop growing rye and eating chickens’ eggs. You still doubt, well check out this video ( about Geoff Lawton in Jordan. People turned a salty desert in the once and future Fertile Crescent into a food forest in less than a year, using nothing on site in the way of tech besides a frames; plant nurseries; digging implements; and a few pipes for temporary irrigation. Not too shabby. It’s a big skillset you need to pull something like that off- how plants, fungi, animals, astral bodies, soil, and other forces work together over long periods. It’s one of those areas that there is always a lot more to learn, like with tracking or computers or kung fu or the healing arts- but it’s not esoteric, anyone can learn. If enough of the desertified areas of the world were permacultured into food forests, many animals would repopulate every niche- detrivores, pollinators, insectivores, herbivores, & carnivores , not to mention the other beings and forces that science ignores.
Los Llanos is a wet desert of South America. Its soil is toxic, it’s Guahibo tribespeople are newly downtrodden and colonized by government-sponsored settler ranches. More recently it became home to Gaviotas , a community of visionary appropriate technology engineers. They developed revolutionary water pumps that could draw clean water from deep down, using windmills painstakingly brought from the idea to manufacture, tailored to the winds of Los Llanos. The engineers were calorically supported in good part by the onsite organic gardens & fish from nearby rivers. They began working with the Guahibo, in an agreement whereby the Gaviotans collected Guahibo traditional healing practices in exchange for a host of allies in their struggle to maintain decent traditional lifestyles in the midst of a recently enclosed commons. Their fruitful mutual aid between techies and abos is unusual, but it isn’t the only Gaviotan point of interest for this conversation.
Eventually the grants that brought the engineers and their raw materials dried up. Most of them left for other jobs that could pay, and Gaviotas directed its economy in a more orthodox capitalist direction to sustain the ongoing projects (the collaborative hospital, the windmill and solar collector factory, the music classes, etc). Soon after, residents noticed that the pine trees they had sowed as a source of resinous sap, used widely in many industrial processes, had begun inviting jungle out from the riparian corridors & into Los Llanos, where it hadn’t been for eons. The number of species living on the transformed Llanos swelled, its ecosystem became robust and the Guahibo had far more forest to forage from.

1 comment:

hakim baker said...

Gaviotas is awesome.

That video is awesome. It almost made me cry. "You can fix all the world's problems, in a garden."


hakim baker