venerdì 4 aprile 2014

Interview: Peregrine and Seeds In Barren Fields

Peregrine is a death-metal band from Pennsylvania (U.S.A.), the concept of this band is basically centred on anarcho primitivism, anti-civ ideologies and anarchism.  The singer, Kevin Tucker, is  

a writer and speaker, he is the editor of Species Traitor, an insurrectionary anarcho-primitivist journal, an editor and contributor to Green Anarchy magazine, and co-founder of the Black and Green Network. Black and Green Press and FC Press put out a book of Tucker's writings in April 2010 called For Wildness and Anarchy.
Peregrine released a 2song demo in 2007, The Agrarian Curse in 2008, a split benefit for the prisoners of the Green Scare with Auryn in 2009 under the record label Fuck City of Andy Hurley (Fall Out Boy´s drummer) and a split with Seeds In Barren Fields in 2011.
Their music is influenced by bands like Napalm Death, Misery Index, Man Must Die and by crustpunk.

Seeds In Barren Fields is an environmentalist blackened crust band from Gothenburg, Sweden. As every band from Sweden, these guys know how to play good music, and put commitment and devotion in their attitude. I remember i organized once a gig for the other two bands of the singer Jens (Spiknykter fastcore and Lose The Life youthcrew hardcore), and he was a really nice guy and really into it (with a tasty book-distro including stuff about Palestinian resistance, which i appreciate even more, since the audience was made up mostly by antideutsche). They released a Demo in 2009, a split with Peregrine in 2010, Sounding The Siren Songs in Vain in 2011 where they made a cover of "Destroy the Machines" from Earth Crisis, a split with Marnost in 2012, and Replaced by Static Death , where the drummer has been replaced by a drum machine. Their sound is a mix of Catharsis, neocrust, black metal and melodic death. Best track is for sure Leviathan, and the last song of Sounding the Siren Song In Vain "I natten den kalla och klara", characterized by the combination of Jens black metal voice and the clear melodic singing of a female voice, just purely awesome!!!
Make yourself a favor and listen to these bands..

I wanted to make a double interview with Peregrine(Kevin Tucker) and Seeds In Barren Fields( Jens and Svante), since they made a split together, share same anti-civ ideas somehow, and because they are both fucking great!.

1. For Kt, Jens and Svante: Give a brief introduction of your bands and their histories, and i would like to know which bands/authors/speakers inspired Seeds In Barren Fields´ music and beliefs.

Kevin: The idea of Peregrine had been floating around for quite some time. I wrote the song Starvation's Servants way back in 1999! But Peregrine really goes back to 2006 when my partner and I were moving to Athens, GA and Clem Adams (guitars/vocals, now of Savagist) and I started coming up with some ideas and developing a feel. It went on from there.
The Agrarian Curse period also had Brian Switzer on drums and Daniel Shroyer on bass (also now in Savagist), we put out the CD, played a bunch of shows. Brian left and then we found Tim Rowlands (drums) who is a musical genius, he played drums on the Green Scare benefit and we toured a bit more. He's the man behind Woccon, which is really epic doomy-death metal and one of my favorite bands out there right now.

In 2009, I moved back to Pennsylvania and brought on a much crustier crew; Steve Kirk on guitar, Jordan Villella on drums, and Jared Ondovchik on bass. That was the first full on anarchist line up, which was always a nice perk. We only recorded the one song for the Seeds in Barren Fields split 7", but there were a lot of shows and tours. Steve and I ended up moving for work in 2011 and only played a couple of benefit shows since.
My twin daughters were born in 2012 which has slowed things down even more. As a live band, Peregrine is effectively on hold, although I'd really like to do at least one or two benefit shows per year. But I am still working on some material with Tim and another LP is very slowly coming together.

Jens:As a teenager I was immensely inspired by the Crimethinc way of thinking and the bands that came out of that clique. Most notably Catharsis and The Spectacle. For a long time I tried to balance between vegan straight edge influences like Earth Crisis and Maroon on one hand and more openly anarchist crust bands on the other. Gather was one of the bands that managed to bridge that gap. However, Crimethinc got me into anarchism for real and after some years of anarchist thinking it became more and more apparent to me that an egalitarian and sustainable society isn’t compatible with Western civilization. Ishmael by Daniel Quinn played a key role for me here as it has for so many others. It also came out of a firm belief in animal liberation. The more I thought about it, the more I couldn’t imagine a world where animals could live freely as long as humans insisted on living the way we do. The mere infrastructure of civilization serves as a prison to all animals. After a while I got into Derrick Jensen, John Zerzan and started to expand my ideas on primitivism. It was a challenging notion to try to form a utopia inside my head, to imagine that there was an innate goodness in humyns that could be restored. Nowadays I’m not sure if there is a utopia, and if there is I’m uncertain that it would include humynkind. In later years Trial has been a big inspiration to me, and Greg Bennick as a front person is also extremely inspiring. I had the opportunity to see him with Between Earth and Sky last summer. His way of addressing the audience and speaking about issues that affect us all as humyn beings is fascinating.
Svante: Seeds in Barren Fields were born somewhere around 2006-2007 in an attempt to further merge crust and darker hardcore with black and death metal. We somehow saw some kind of connection between bands such as Undying, Catharsis, His hero is gone and Abnegation and bands such as Fall of the Bastards, Wolves in the Throne Room, Sacrilege gbg etc etc. I guess all members drew different yet somehow important influences to the table. Like Jens said, some of us, were drawn to crimethinc.- ideas and aesthetics (it probably saved me from getting stuck in some kind of “syndicalist-dream of revolution/pro-civ” limbo) and from there further critique developed. I can´t really remember what sent me in the AP-direction, but Kevin Tucker and Species traitor was surely one important factor. Along with Zerzan, Shepard etc. From there on I guess we just wrote songs that somehow mirrored the way we actually feel, pretty disconnected and out of step (influenced from the crash between modern life and vague dreams of something other), yet somewhere along the line picking up a more collected idea of why that is so.

2. For Kevin: I really enjoyed all your records, i remember you once wrote in your website that you were going to produce a benefit split with the band Masakari, what happened ?

Thanks for that.
Unfortunately the only reason that hasn't happened is because we just weren't able to get another song completed and recorded. I'm pretty bummed that didn't happen, Masakari have been one of my favorite bands and those dudes are all really down. Now that they're broken up it's definitely off the table.

3. For Kevin, Jens and Svante: You made a split together, how and why did you choose each other?

Kevin: I'm really impressed with what Seeds are doing. I think in some ways we're two sides of the same coin: when anarchist crusters go metal. I've been in touch with Svante for years and it just seems like things came together really well for the record, but then there were a bunch of bumps in the road.
I'm unfortunately not happy with how our recording came out. It also took almost a year for us to get any copies of the record, so we never even got to play a show with them. No fault of Seeds, but it felt crazy because we rushed the recording a bit and then it turned out to take so long to get the records that it makes it more obvious we should have taken more time to rethink it all.
Svante: Uh, hmm, can’t really remember how we came in contact. I think we shared the same friends and wrote to each other at some time. I most certainly ordered a bunch of stuff from the black and green distro. I think I just asked Kevin if he was interested in doing a split. They accepted. For me it was a no brainer to “accept” working with Peregrine. I already loved that band and as mentioned earlier, I was largely influenced from Species traitor.

4. For Kevin, Jens and Svante: Both bands are influenced by death metal and black metal, but your attitudes are deeply rooted in the anarchist hardcore/crust scene, what is the response of both hardcore and metal communities?

Kevin: It's a little hard to gauge all of it since we came out at an odd time. Myspace was huge and then slipping away, zines were dying, scenes were changing, being on the road got incredibly expensive, the anarchist basis of any music scene was fading, distros were dropping off, and on and on. I think any barometer for what was going on that I personally had at the time was dead and dying when we really started to get albums out there and playing a lot of shows. We never went at this for fame or anything, but we haven't sold a ton of records or anything. The real shame in that is that I put all of that money into earth and animal liberation prisoner support. Even now our bandcamp page is linked directly to either Marie Mason or Eric McDavid's support group. I put our stuff out for free, so I'm not expecting much, but coming up in an era of benefit records, I just hope folks would do the right thing and pass the money on. 
 Regardless, I can say how we were received based on shows and things like that. The one thing that always blew me away was the reaction that I would get when I would talk between most songs. The politics of Peregrine are obviously very central for me. There were times were we ended up playing on whatever local shows or something like that and most folks were drunk or getting there when we played. So there have been a few times when I held back on the banter a bit, but it was always the metal heads that would press me about it. They loved it. That's always kind of the case, these folks who are pissed off, but not ideologically bound any particular way have no real dog in the fight. There's no classical anarchist ideology hiding there or anything so they were just open to it and something clicked. That kept me motivated.
We did have a bit of a hardcore following. There was some trepidation there since a lot of XVX kids have been staunchly opposed to my ideas and work since I haven't been vegan for a decade now. But that following was there even though none of us really came from hardcore.
 That created a pretty funny crossover because we'd bring out metal heads and hardcore kids. There aren't a ton of breakdowns in Peregrine stuff, but there are just enough that hardcore kids would mosh a bit when we played. One of my favorite reactions was right before we played and the metal folks would just look around confused wondering why the hardcore kids were taking their pants off and it was all basketball shorts. I got a kick out of that. I will say that I was always disappointed about the crust world. I came from a time when you knew that crust punks were anarchists. That's a romantic overstatement for sure, but it was really an aggressive and driven scene. I'm not sure when it happened, but somewhere between when I used to go to shows a lot and then came back to it with Peregrine, that all changed. Who we were and what we stood for mattered much less than the fact that we didn't look like die hard crust punks and we weren't playing D beats.

The crust world pretty much completely ignored us aside from other metal heads that came from that world.  from that same world and it still meant something more to all of us. I think both of the first albums got fair to negative reviews in Profane Existence. 
Can't win them all.

Jens: I think that we’ve had more response abroad than in Sweden. Unfortunately we don’t play that many shows and we haven’t been able to build a very big following. If that is because of our opinions or because we have one foot in metal and the other in punk I’m not sure.
Svante: Guess people into metal quite often find us too much punk (or weird and crappy?) while hardcore and punk-kids at least seem to understand a little more where we´re coming from. Let´s face it, not many people are into us or find our take on things that overwhelmingly important. That’s fine and maybe understandable, but, I know that for myself and for a few people here and there this is kind of one of the few life lines there is in a pretty questionable existence. Sad as it may be that’s all I need to know (ie fuck the popularity contest).

5.For Jens and Svante: Your band is earthcentric and inspired by anarcho-primitivist theories, and at the same time you are all vegans (which i really appreciate), how do you see veganism in a primitivist gatherer-hunter world?
Jens:We are not all vegans but a majority of us are. As a vegan and strong defender of animal liberation I like to think that a world is possible where I don’t have to kill anyone to survive. It has however been a long time since I had a clear utopian picture in my mind and our morals will always be influenced by our surroundings. In our current society veganism might seem like the right thing to do. However I couldn’t blame anyone who chooses to eat meat out of the dumpsters or who eat roadkills. The fact that I find meat eating gross after ten years as a vegan cannot be considered a moral statement and in some ways a freegan way of relating to food might be more moral than consuming lots of industrially produced vegan foods. However I think it might be risky to place too much weight on our individual moral choices while thinking about how to change the world. We must think of ourselves as collectives (and maybe as animals craving freedom) rather than as consumers on a market. To me veganism above all has a symbolic value of refusal. By living vegan I refuse to take part in the industries that raise, torture and kill other animals. I do however recognize that veganism is a privilege that might be very hard to obtain (at least in Sweden) without industrial food production and global trade. Once these industries have been destroyed a new moral needs to be formed. I want to believe that humyns are capable of living in a respectful relationship with the world around us, that we can give up our bodies for the greater good as we consume the bodies (plant or animal) of others. To speculate in detail on what humyns will eat once our privileges against the rest of the Earths creatures have been taken away is more or less impossible. I do however believe that regardless if these rewilded humyns eat other animals or not a world without industrial civilization will be the most beneficial for all animals.
Svante: I don’t see veganism happening in a primitivist hunter-gatherer society. It´s valid as a short term reaction (within the walls of western civilization) to industrial society, domestication and hyper-anthropocentric values and deeds. It´s worth is first and foremost in changing the way we think and act against the non humyn world. A good start. Not an end in itself. I absolutely loath the vegan attitude of being free from bloody hands or having found the final solution. We all partake in life and in some way or another we inflict harm or restraint on others. That’s quite unavoidable. But there are degrees in that hell. I´d prefer it if that´s the starting point of the discussion as to keeps minds open and less ruled by dogma.

6. For Jens and Kevin: What is your opinion about Deep Green Resistance, Endgame by Derrick Jensen and his alleged transphobia and authoritarianism?
Kevin: This is a big one, so I'll try and touch on it all without getting completely into it.
Endgame: This is the last book Derrick wrote that I largely like. You can see that he started to go off the deep end a bit at times, but it's obvious now that some of Derrick's craziness was always there. I mean in "Language" he's making claims that his chickens practically sacrificed themselves to him, "Culture" is about him jerking off to internet porn, "Endgame" is definitely a peak in many ways, but then you see glimpses of DGR around the corner. At this point, "Welcome to the Machine" is still my favorite book of his, but after "Endgame" it all goes down hill quickly.
I know Endgame means a lot to many people, but none of those ideas were new. Derrick is a writer, not a thinker. Having 3 or 4 books of interviews is a tribute to that. In fact, the only argument he's made where I think there's some real originality in content and approach is his stuff about pacifism in Endgame. All of that is excellent. But then it becomes completely ironic since he's a "revolutionary" who calls the cops and FBI. Lierre Keith recently spoke at a conference and had a wall of pigs escorting her. It's hard to take them seriously, but I guess when they're "pro-violence" maybe they're not so opposed to the violence that cops bring.
There's nothing alleged about his transphobia and authoritarianism, it's simply a fact. They've embraced it and used it as a counterpoint that, in their words, anarchists are failures because they lack structure and obedience. In Derrick's words, we're all mean and hateful (again, too ironic to ignore from a revolutionary, right?). But he's just a very, very fragile megalomaniac. John Zerzan and I called him out about it in 2008, when we still considered him a friend, but he just went the other way with it. Him and everyone else in his DGR crew create these really contrived positions to justify their authority and "respect". It's always, "writer, farmer, activist" and then some other key point to try and drive their value home. They're basically turning from pushing ideas to pushing themselves and you get a cult of personality around it.
That's something punks and anarchists have been aware of forever and, largely, don't give much room for. But Derrick really sees himself as beyond reproach and has created this cult following to make justifications for otherwise insane thoughts and actions. The stuff about transfolk is just abhorrent, but they're not critical enough to try and use the positioning of a certain type of radical feminism and not toss aside the crazy aspects of it.
This is where oppression politics just become completely insane. What you have here is one group thinking it takes away from their struggle by supporting another. That's insane. If you've read any of this stuff, Derrick's books included, you'll recognize that civilization has fucked us all up. So why withdraw support for trans-struggles?
And it needs to be pointed out that this isn't just some thought or position. The groups that they have aligned with, like Gender Identity Watch, are doing things like posting names and addresses online of transfolk. It's putting it lightly to say that's fucked up. And after 20 years as an anarchist, it makes it so hard to swallow that this is what supposed "radicals" are doing.
And then Derrick and other DGR folks are talking about how we're just using all this effort to call them out for being authoritarian. And here you have it, they're not just authoritarian in ideology and form, they're authoritarian in practice. They worth with the cops and FBI while pushing for extremely radical acts. That's dangerous.
And that brings me to DGR. Here's the thing about Derrick (Lierre is a joke to me, I don't know where Derrick dug up this unthinking self-published novelist, but nothing to see here. Aric, even after having left the group, wrote a really shitty quasi-survivalist pocket book before being brought on.). He's not coming from a radical background. In fact, he is so open about not only having gone to the Colorado School of Mines, but being a devout Neo-Con into his twenties (at the very least). He got into the ecologists, he thought he found a niche with anarcho-primitivism and latched on. He has absolutely ZERO sense of anarchist or radical history and critique. Never has, never will.
He (and DGR by extension) just grabbed onto all of this revolutionary stuff and had no idea about any of it. So they end up supporting all of these Maoist groups, talking positively about "liberation armies" that are blowing up oil pipelines into the Niger Delta, talking about having field commanders and regiments, just crazy abhorrent stuff that anyone with a radical thought in their mind already knew about.
 But then they do it under the guise of "we're the only ones doing action". Yet there's nothing! It's a forum and a newswire, backed up with a TON of very personal information and signed affidavits from anyone who stands behind them. That's a threat. No one, absolutely no one, should be going after well meaning folk and then just building up government databases with all of their personal information. And the only solid action? Sell Derrick's books. It's like Maoists selling their newspapers. Just paying their revolutionary tithe. 
I'm skimming here, but the main thing is that we (myself and other APs) always wondered aloud how Derrick got away with saying the things he's said. He's talking to hackers, activists, and all this in his books that are saying things that we and our friends were being dragged into Grand Juries, prisons, court rooms, and all of this aren't even saying. He isn't a journalist, so he has no inherent protection of sources. So we were thankful that someone could kind of speak less between the lines, but then this is where it all went. And I think on so many levels, he is a threat because he's collecting all of this information about individuals.
That's the sole reason why I don't just laugh him off. Let's be honest, he's insane. He's written a book about his dreams (that one is nuts!), feeding his dogs his shit, jerking off to internet porn, a first person novel where he's a clairvoyant fighting evil, he talks about having sex with trees, calls himself Tecumseh, and then rails against transfolk who are struggling. All of that is a drop in the bucket, but he's managed to find a way to skim a niche in a way that is really dangerous and self-serving.
I absolutely do not trust him and no one should.
Jens: I can’t really say that I know too much about this. I’ve come to understand that Jensen might not be the brilliant anarchist I thought he was when I first came in touch with his ideas but I haven’t been following the debate (or beef) between him and for example Kevin Tucker.
As for the allegations of transphobia I was absolutely clueless up until now. I had to google it and only found time to read one article that had some quotes from Lierre Kieth concerning trans issues. First of all I don’t think any of us can or should take a position where we judge the experiences of others, especially not when it comes to complex and intimate feelings like gender.
That said I think there is some point to the radically feminist idea that gender is a socially constructed category with huge ramifications of power surrounding it. But as long as we live in a society that has gender categories there will also be people who feel they have been wrongly categorized. To not acknowledge the plight of these people to me seem very unfair. I would not want to defend Jensen or Kieth in any way and some of the arguments I found online while answering this interview seem quite dumb. I would not trust the author of “The Vegetarian Myth” to make any kind of convincing argument.

7. For Jens and Kevin: Is there a specific struggle we should carry on to bring civilization to an end? if yes what? anticapitalist? neoluddist or earthcentric in general? And has this struggle the duty to be primary everywhere, or it has some exceptions for a few countries?(see Palestinian resistance against Israel imperialism)

Kevin: There isn't one specific struggle that can really bring civilization to an end. We're talking about civilization directly and domestication more broadly, so it's a pretty huge undertaking. There are some pretty powerful things that could be done, but there's some pretty powerful people who would lock myself or just about anyone up for pointing them out.
The nature of discussion has changed over the years. We never had it easy, but we certainly had it easier. I think Will Potter from Green is the New Red has really done a great job of showing how this change over from persecuting action versus persecuting thought has occurred, but that's the reality we're left with and the consequences are pretty clear. So ambiguity is necessity.
That said, things are getting way worse, and I think social media has really had a lot to do with it. The staying power of just about anything has decreased significantly and that is directly tied to having access to a constant stream of updates and news at all times. I'm not entirely how to address the new challenges that social media has brought on, aside from just unplugging from it, but that doesn't address the larger issue in that most people have and use social media sites.
The important change here is that we're seeing this massive and furiously fast change over to even more destructive resources. Hydrofracking natural gas, deeper underwater oil drilling, tar sands, mountain top removal; this is the kind of thing that happens in a world where cheap oil has run it's course. All of these extraction methods are new and the threat that they pose is exponentially worse. I know other anarchists have continued calling out the rising resistance to fracking as single issue. No doubt it mostly is, but when your single issue has to do with devastating water locally because we are out of resources, well, that's a pretty good single issue for people to start with. It's inherently damning civilization.

As far as the other causes that you mentioned, it's hard to really "get behind" some of them, because the movements dealing with those issues aren't coming or headed in the same direction. The issues that they represent are no doubt real; anticapitalist resistance, the devastating effects of technology, colonial/imperial hold overs, etc. It all needs to be understood in context and it can be easy to jump into a struggle and then get sucked into the ideology of those most organized against it.
I'm not waiving Palestinian flags, but Zionism is a big issue for me. Growing up Jewish, I had the divine right of Israel shoved down my throat. As with all of civilization, the given justification for actions are hardly ever the practical ones: Israel is a Western puppet colony in the Middle East with nuclear power. It all comes back to the same point: what you see in Palestine is colonialism and that's driven by an insatiable need for resources.
Civilization is the issue.
Electricity is the issue.
There's no political answer there until you remove the systems which make politics possible.

There is a flipside though. Rewilding is a struggle. I'm not talking about survivalism, I'm speaking about reconnecting with the wildness within and around you. Not simply understanding wilderness, but connecting with that universal impulse that brings us all together and is suppressed everywhere.
Wildness isn't an ideology. It's not philosophy. It's not theory. It exists. The domestication process is what tries to keep it under wraps, but every time you see a weed or feel this struggle to just cope with the day to day banality/brutality of civilized life, that's a crack in the veneer.
Rewilding isn't just about taking the time to be outdoors or learning self sufficiency; it's about struggling against domestication, it's about trying to step out of this cycle and find another way. I think that's central to the struggle against civilization. You need that context.
It's important to see that the nature of indigenous resistance is universally different than the nature of revolutionary struggle. I've spent years looking at this and trying to understand it, but, like most realizations that you get through rewilding, it's because they weren't fighting for an idea, they were fighting for a reality that they knew, lived, and loved. There is no perfect or utopia world that they were in, but there's a world that functions and fulfills. That doesn't mean it's easy, but it's just a civilized fantasy that it should be easy. That reality exists for all of us, it's just a matter of being ready to observe and being ready to let go this really rationally derived existence that we live in. The one that helps us rationalize our complicity in a way of life that systematically destroys the existence of life as a whole.

Jens: I don’t think that there is any one way out of civilization. So no, any struggle that can take anarchoprimitivist forms can also contribute to the downfall of society. Presently I don’t see it as very likely however. A face-down crash of civilization seems the most likely to me.

8. For Kevin and Jens: Do you have some affinities with ecofeminist theories? what 's your opinion about the idea that re-stabilizing the ancient matriarchal order, could help us to reconnect with Mother Earth? 
Kevin: My critique of agriculture came from ecofeminism. I wouldn't be a primitivist without it. Susan Griffin's "Woman and Nature" remains one of my favorite books.
I do think that there has been a lot of work within the ecofeminist world that has moved along significantly. Carolyn Merchant was writing over a decade ago that some of the fertility cult ideas that were supposed to go back over 10,000 years were faulty. This idea about an earlier matriarchal civilization has been pretty universally discredited. It came from an obvious need to correct the patriarchal mythos that saturates civilization, but it's not doing anyone favors if it's not true.
So I don't believe in re-stabilizing it, because I don't think that order really existed, or at least not with the prevalence that was previously attributed to it.
Ultimately, the world that I believe will eventually reemerge is not the one that is patriarchal or matriarchal, but the one that eliminates gender/sex based values.

Jens: Anarchism without feminism wouldn’t be any anarchism at all. In the end our goal must be to destroy all institutions of power to establish a truly egalitarian society. Maybe a matriarchy could be a step towards this new world but it cannot be the final goal. I think patriarchy is contributing hugely to maintaining the capitalist world order and that the categorization of humans into genders serve to build walls between us as humyns. That collective community along with living in the world without the safety nets of civilization is in my opinion what will bring us back into connection with the rest of the world. If we don’t have feminism in our toolbox the society we form will not be egalitarian and therefore not anarchist.
I don’t subscribe to any belief that there is an essential connection between womyn and the earth. I believe that we have associated men with culture and womyn with nature since men have been valued above womyn in the same way as culture has been valued above nature. Patriarchal civilization has been trying to exploit the reproductive capacities of womyn just like we’ve been trying to control natures reproduction.

9. For Kevin and Jens: Do you think that humans of today have instinctual primitive skills to survive the collapse of civilization? If not, will it be a good way to decrease human population and implement the old "natural selection" and "the survival of the fittest"?

Kevin: We are all born nomadic gatherer-hunters. That is the world that we evolved for. Domestication doesn't erase, it suppresses and supplants. That's why I talk about rewilding. Our impulses are there, but they are recontextualized and redirected.
I fully believe that we are capable of moving beyond these binds and I fully advocate taking those steps.
I also fully believe this isn't a matter of survival, but thriving. Survivalism and rewilding are innately different things and I can't stress that enough.
I don't believe in putting any grand intention on "what is to be". We really just don't have that level of control. Civilization is collapsing and as members of civilization, our day to day lives are ensuring that civilization will collapse sooner than later. I think we should take that as a positive thing and embrace it.
But talking about "what is to be" is a dangerous move. That's where you end up talking about decreasing the human population and it's all downhill from there. As Brian Fagan put it, we've created a situation whereby only 10% of the human population may survive. That's a pretty frightening reality, but there is nothing certain in this world. Having all the skills, knowledge and ability says nothing about what may happen to you as the collapse. You can learn to improve your odds in any situation, but there's no point in pretending we would have the control to a create and maintain any scheme or plan for what is to come, because it's out of our hands and likely should be.

Jens: No, I don’t think humyns have the instinctual skills to survive a collapse of civilization. I do however think a collapse is unavoidable but not that it would be a good way to decrease human population. The collapse is not something that will happen overnight and that will strike like a zombie infection in a movie. I would like to argue that the collapse has already begun. It works slowly and strikes towards the weakest. Maybe we will see an escalation as consequences of our Western way of life starts to accumulate but in large part I think the collapse will be silent, taking out one species or habitat at a time.
Civilization has allowed humans to step outside the boundaries of the natural world when it comes to tapping energy, producing food etc. It has also allowed us to escape the grasps of “natural selection” and it will continue to do so as long as there are scraps of civilization. The wealthy and powerful will cling to their power with any methods they can muster. This is why I think that the final stages of civilization will be a horrible time as deprived masses are kept in check by a wealthy elite. In the end the powerful will not be able to defend their positions any longer and society may finally fall. Hopefully there will still be anarchists around when this happens so we can start organizing a society build on respect and equality. Survival of the fittest will hopefully in these times mean “survival of those who exercise mutual aid”. I like the ideas of Kropotkin in this respect. If there is anything that can save humynkind it would be to cultivate our capacity to actually work together in co-operation.
A better way of decreasing the human population would be to go the way of VHEMT and simply stop breeding new humans.

10. For Kevin: I am vegan, so i was really interested In "Open cages and closed minds: veganism as ultra domestication" in this article, you made a good point about the current disgusting green-capitalist ideas between vegans (peta, laws for animals, domestication etc), but i did not agree with some of your sentences, for example your aversion towards animal sanctuaries: "Now these sanctuaries are supposed to be a safe haven, a place where animals can go to live out the rest of their lives safely and securely. They are supposed to be freed. I worked at one of these sanctuaries and can honestly say that there is little to nothing that has improved about their lives, with only a few exceptions. In reality they are moved from one fenced in area to another, being given more room only when those animals come from a factory farm or extreme abuse case. They are fed the same food that they would be getting in a factory farm, producing the same methane, and their lives are still dictated by human desires. Except this time around, those humans are bringing them into more of a petting zoo for the vegan ego than a place where they are given proper respect." Don´t you think that animals born in captivity (like pigs from slaughterhouses or rats from laboratories), would find impossible to reconnect with wild nature from one day to another?

Kevin: Absolutely not. Our domestication process is not too dissimilar from the domestication of animals. The only difference is that we come to perpetuate our own domestication, whereas theirs is almost always by force.
Have you been around a domesticated hog? I've been tossed numerous times and just about all of that was in trying to keep them in their pens at the farm sanctuary. It didn't matter that they were in a vegan petting zoo, they knew what they wanted and tried to get it daily. Feral hogs are extremely common. It doesn't matter what situation they come from, the impulse is always there.
My experiences with domesticated animals have only increased throughout the years and it's made me more and more irate about the situation I've seen on vegan sanctuaries. On well run grass-fed/pastured beef farms, you can see how cattle act in a herd. That is a natural function, that is their community. But that herding impulse is strong and even if cattle are brought in from different farms, if they're allowed space to live in a pattern that is similar to their wild relatives, they will act that way. That's not what happened at the sanctuary and that's because it was run like a petting zoo for egos, not to replicate or allow their natural rhythms. And they were fed grains which made the situation worse.
To add to the irony, the ideas at that sanctuary and others that I've had experiences with, there is a staunchly anti-predator slant. While I hope no animal is forced to suffer needlessly, I am always more concerned with the integrity of wild animals than domesticated ones. As such, anti-predator thought and action is anti-wildness. Makes it hard to pretend that the best interest of the animals is really in mind.
The particular sanctuary where I worked had a horrid sense of cleanliness and would make a huge mess of the feed and took zero interest in containing the surplus. Naturally, there were a ton of rats. When it became "an issue", they brought in exterminators. We were also doing insane things like trying to keep Cornish Cross chickens alive. They're actually considered an industrial product, not a breed, because they grow so quickly that their breasts will slowly crush their lungs after their legs give out from their weight. We were putting them down everyday. We should have just left the barn doors open and let the foxes feast, but the foxes were seen as an issue. So instead they were spreading all of these toxins and the carcasses were going to the dump constantly.
That kind of thought is extremely pervasive throughout the sanctuary world and it comes, in part, from vegan ideology and thinking that vegans are innately more connected to or in a place to speak for what an animal would want, but that's just not true. There's too much ego there and the follow through is disgusting.

11. For Kevin and Jens: Ted Kaczynski made a critique to anarcho primitivism in "The Truth About Primitive Life". In this article he tried to demolish the green anarchist movement and the idea that all primitive tribes were somehow anarchists, egalitarian, peaceful, and used 28 hours a week for foraging and hunting. what is your opinion?

Kevin : Ted and I went back and forth about this for years. The important thing about Ted to remember is that he "dropped out" of society after being in the university world during the 60s. The baseline of radicalism was Marxist/Maoist thought. Ted carried that single vision idea for revolutionary movements with him.
What his critiques of the AP critique came down to was essentially that talking about "primitive life" was a distraction from the single vision goal of a revolution against technology. I don't agree with either end of his argument, but the facts he touts are even more ridiculous. If you want to find anthropological arguments that discredit the valid research on the lives of nomadic gatherer-hunters, it's most certainly there. The history of civilization is replete with instances of memory being controlled by the colonizers. That's part of the domesticating process: the elimination of alternative realities. Would you go to work every day to a job you hate if you didn't think you had to?
I think there is a point within the drivel. I think we would be doing a complete disservice to gatherer-hunters everywhere if we went on pretending that they lived utopian lives. They don't and that's not the point that we've tried to get across. The point is that their lives are qualitatively freer and more fulfilling than life within civilization. But we're still the same people and there's no point in trying to hold individuals above others. What is telling is form and function within nomadic gatherer-hunter societies. That is where the great divide is.
So I don't put much weight into it. I think most of the sources that Ted uses are flawed. In fact, my falling out with Ted was over him blatantly abusing quotes to show the opposite argument of what the original text implied. I think he was getting fed a lot of shit by other people when he was in jail, but it supported his arguments and he went with it.
I see the point, but I think it's also a point based off of not understanding the critique.

I will say that he was 100% right about Derrick. He was the first I knew to point out that by placing the weight of his arguments in his own victimization, that they would fall with him. And they have. Kudos on that one, Ted.

Jens: I don’t know If I have an opinion since I haven’t read this text either. I think it would be quite naïve to believe that there is a material state that automatically makes all humans good. I think that a world without Western Civilization is simply the first step that needs to be overcome in order for humynkind to live in peace with the world and themselves.

12. For Kevin: when we talk about hunting, i think there is a thin line that separetes mere natural survival, from armed supremacy. in one of your articles you talked about "traps". what is your opinion about hunt sabotage?

Kevin: I'm not so sure that I would say the line is that thin. I think there's a clear line between subsistence and sport hunting. The actual methods might seem like a grey area, but the nature of subsistence hunting is to want to take the animal that you kill or injure. So if someone is using more technology because they don't want to just seriously wound an animal, it's better for the animal that they do that.
I think there is a telling issue with veganism that there is so much weight put on the actual kill rather than the life lived. I'm not saying that death should be a drawn out process or anything, but it is what it is. And I don't think vegans are in a better position than a hunter to say what is really going on. Derrick, it should go without saying, is full of shit, no animal (aside from really damaged humans) wants to die. They can accept death differently, but, again, that's not to be put into words. There's a lot of emotion and complication that comes with killing and it shouldn't be reduced to a simple moralistic issue.
But when it comes to sabotage, it's not a blanket thing for me. If you're talking about sabotage in regards to hunting deer, it's not simple. I find sport hunting abhorrent. That's cut and dry, but most people hunting deer aren't doing it for sport. It doesn't mean that they have some great relationship with wildness, that coin has two sides as well, but it's more complicated.
On the other hand, I'm opposed to hunting predators, canned hunts and extermination runs. The classic examples are the wild horses and bison killed by the Bureau of Land Management, wolves killed by aerial exterminators, canned fox and game hunts, things like that, are ripe for sabotage and I fully support it.

13 For Kevin and Jens: Last question - One of my favorite books is An Unnatural Order by Jim Mason, he is not ap as far as i know, but he makes really good points about agriculture and how this plague changed totally the equilibrium of gatherers-hunters. My question about matriarchal order came from the curiosity that this book aroused me. In his best seller, Mason quotes athropologists like Nancy Tanner, Henry Sharp, Robin Fox, Joseph Campbell, Paul Shepard etc and explains how primitive women had a much more important role than men in their tribes, first because the 80% of the food came from the work of women, second because the mistery of creation and pregnancy brought men to consider women as divinities and with the time they became the symbol of nature(marija gimbutas talked about it for example).
These circumstances created a big sense of inferiority for centuries and centuries in the spirit of primitive men, therefore agriculture was an inner answer (with sedentarism, and growing population) to the "power" of women, so domestication of nature became domestication of women. This thesis is supported by the comparisons made by different anthropologists, who showed how women have been treated and what were their roles in both gatherer-hunter and agricultural societies.
Your opinion?

Kevin: I haven't read Jim Mason since the hardline revival propped it up. I think there's some truth in that book, but there's a lot that I don't agree with and think is based on faulted logic and dated information.
The issue here isn't about the importance of women's work, it's been established that gatherer-hunter societies value all "work", but the old ideas of a "hunter elite" are just so far gone at this point. But Mason is using dated material and the ecofeminists have largely moved beyond it. The anthropologists that you mentioned are primarily coming from evolutionary biology which was a bit late to the game when it came to the era of anthropological "correction" during the 80s. Paul Shepard is a naturalist and he's been a huge influence on my own work, but there's a clear swing in his thinking and his later work is far more on point than his earlier work. Joseph Campbell was concerned about myths and he died in 1987. So we're talking about work that was largely done in by the mid-80s and it went on to make some pretty outrageous, unsubstantial claims. Things like saying there were matriarchal, agrarian civilizations going back 20-25,000 years. It was overcompensation and exaggerating evidence, but there wasn't anything to really back it up.
So, I'm familiar with these ideas, but they're widely discredited and I think the implications that someone like Jim Mason would take from them were wrong.

Jens: As I wrote earlier I believe that there are many parallels between the domestication of womyn and the earth. I believe that patriarchy has its roots in the first agricultural societies where womyn became a part of the home while men worked the fields and became social actors in the cities. I don’t know if I believe that agriculture was a direct reaction towards the position of women in pre-agricultural societies but I think it definitely tipped the scales.


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