Anarcho-capitalism and anarcho-industrialism

  • Posted on: 17 July 2015
  • By: Anonymous (not verified)

From Network23 - by Paul Cudenec

One of the most annoying terms in the political dictionary is “anarcho-capitalism”.

It’s annoying because it describes something that does not exist, cannot exist. I know there are people out there who claim to be “anarcho-capitalists” but this no more means that anarcho-capitalism exists than my claiming to be a unicorn would prove that unicorns actually do exist.

Their use of the word “anarchism” in conjunction with “capitalism” betrays a fundamental lack of understanding of what anarchism is. Anarchism is intrinsically opposed to all the “values” that lie behind capitalism, not least private property and a money-based society.

People who call themselves “anarcho-capitalists” are simply libertarian capitalists. Why don’t they just call themselves that and leave anarchism alone?

I have a similar reaction to the related issue of anarchism and industrialism. To me it is obvious that the two are irreconcilable. Anarchism is intrinsically opposed to all the “values” that lie behind industrialism, not least the exploitation of mass labour for profit and the levels of social coercion required to make such a society function.

But the moment you start to challenge industrial society in anarchist circles, you are likely to find yourself under ideological attack.

Technology is not the problem, it’s all about who controls it, you are told. So fracking would suddenly be fine if Cuadrilla was a workers’ co-operative? Chemical plants would miraculously stop polluting the planet if they were managed by collectives of anarcho-syndicalists?

It’s not just about who industry is controlled by, but about what it does, what it is!

I find it hard to believe that anyone’s idea of a future anarchist society could include factories of any kind. Who would be working in them if we didn’t live in a capitalist society where people desperately need to earn money to survive? Why would anyone work in a factory if they didn’t have to? In an anarchist society, what kind of social, economic or physical compulsion could be applied to make people work in factories if, as seems likely, they didn’t particularly want to?

Why do anarcho-industrialists think that factories came into existence in the first place? To help the workers? To make life better for all of us? Because we collectively needed the mass production of the things that factories make?

Or was it so that a small group of entrepreneurs could make profit out of them? Isn’t industrial society entirely a product of capitalism? Why would anyone who opposed capitalism support the physical infrastructure that makes it possible?
factory_workers

In the UK, it’s common for anyone who declares themselves an opponent of industrial society to be labelled a “primitivist”. It is considered a particular sin to express anti-industrial sentiments without branding yourself a “primitivist” by way of self-exclusion from the anarchist fold – this means you are committing the heresy of “conflating anarchism with primitivism”.

Let’s be clear – the actual conflation here is between anti-industrialism and primitivism. They are not identical. While all primitivists must necessarily be anti-industrial, every anti-industrialist does not necessarily have to be a primitivist.

It is no coincidence, I suspect, that anarcho-primitivism as a term originated in the USA, where the transition from “primitive” pre-colonial society to modern industrial society was relatively fast and traumatic.

In Europe and Asia, that change has taken a lot longer, and there are many kinds of historical forms of social organisation that are neither primitive nor industrial.

I can see the strength in the primitivist argument that all these intermediary stages are part of the process that led to contemporary industrial society. From this perspective, seeking permanence and stability in one of these pre-industrial stages would be something like arguing that a man falling off a cliff will be fine as long as he stops half way down.

But, despite that, the possible future anarchist society that I hold in my heart tends to look more like the Middle Ages than the Stone Age. We wouldn’t be lumbered with all that feudalism, misogyny and religious intolerance, of course, because this wouldn’t be the actual Middle Ages we were living in, but a free post-industrial society with a similarly low level of industrialisation.

Inspiration from the Middle Ages is not at all unknown among anarchists. Peter Kropotkin, Gustav Landauer and, more recently, Herbert Read are all good examples. William Morris, who today looks more like an anarchist than a socialist, was another idealist who despised the industrial society imposed on humanity by the capitalist system.

In France there is currently a powerful anti-industrial current in the wider anarchist movement which is not dismissed as “primitivist”.

So what about the UK today? We seem to have an anarchist movement that pays lip service to environmental issues, takes part in environmental struggles, and yet does not dare to challenge the actual existence of the industrial system.

This is probably just a reflection of our society as a whole. We in Britain have been industrialised for so many generations now that we are no longer even aware of what has happened to us.

But aren’t anarchists supposed to be different? Aren’t we supposed to cut through the crap which is spoon-fed to us by capitalist society and challenge the deepest, most ingrained assumptions by which this exploitative system maintains its control?

Can’t we stand up and say that in an anarchist society there would be no more factories, motorways or airports, just as we are happy to say there would be no armies, police or prisons?

If we can’t, then what exactly is this anarchist vision which sustains and motivates us? What a strange world it would be, in which newly-freed slaves voluntarily kept going the machinery that had exploited and tormented them, poisoned their air, their water and their soil?

Anarcho-industrialism, it seems to me, is just as much an oxymoron as the self-contradictory nonsense of so-called “anarcho-capitalism”. Neither of them makes any sense at all.

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Comments

This is part of my problem with the left, including those who are on the revolutionary left. They claim capitalism is the sole cause of harm to the environment, and assume they'll be able to carry on with an industrial society after their revolution.

Or when they get awkwardly silent when you ask them: "Are all indigenous folks expected to become industrial workers then?"

When i do get an answer, what do you think it is?

The answer is that you are a doofus, and some people can build shit without fucking everying up for other people. You can go play in the sand box, we can go explore space. Totally possible when we aren't wasting resources on market forces. Especially when we are free to make our own decisions, instead of forced into fighting each other by corporate interests and the state.

This is Noam Chomsky. I'm here with Stephen Hawking feeding him Belgian beer through a straw, and we both approve this message and see the world as nothing but resource for the final Ascension of post-Man toward the Stars our destination.

In Progress,
Noam Chomsky

yea, lots of anarchists dont know how to do shit, and many others have lots of skills in diy ways. not to discount the diy skills at all but those things being the spectrum of general anarchist ability it seems that anarchists with more specialized skills are precieved as somewhat less anarchistffz9ai6.
also i generally think this author doesnt understand the difference between technology and application. people are always going to be interested in the things around them, are going to analyze them, interact with them and manipulate them and the greedy and self centered will always look to exploit resources and thechnology to their advantage.

A doofus because indigenous folks are expected to go to work in factories and give up their land to for the industrial socialization of all?

Okay, guilty as charged: not being a racist ass leftist like you.

Play isn't confined to a sandbox, nor is it a perjorative.

PS, i work, and am part of a union. So you sound like even more of a fool whose fantasies are nothing but prisons for others

Balkanization of The US is workable if low IQ people are herded into unneeded space. The shrewd and intelligent will easily survive by installation of a new government.

People who boast about their I.Q. are losers

Stephen hawking

In terms of NA anarchists, one also has to understand the power that pro-industrial 'intellectuals' like Chomsky have. After all, celebrity university profs have a captive audience and that audience is largely made up of those with tidy, un-calloused hands which have probably never even shaken the hand of a factory or farm worker...much like Chomsky himself. Let's face it: bourgie college kids who read this crap have no interest in doing factory work, either. Being an 'anarchist' focused on the issues of a century ago is far easier than looking at the effects of one's own way of life in the present.

You either have no idea what "captive audience" means or no idea what Noam Chomsky does.

Let's vote on it, fellow worker, at that meeting after a 12 hour shift making hybrid cars, k?

I'm not a leftist or a workerist or a voter but I am laughing at you for using fancy phrases you don't actually know the meaning of to try to sound smarter on the fucking anews comments section.

and laugh a bit hardier...at yourself too. The pressures of so-called 'society' make all of us a captive audience by degrees. Bourgie collitch kids definitely seem pretty captivated to me...particularly to bourgie values which put them in an upscale collitch in the first place. ;-)

If you think going to college makes you "bourgie" your class analysis is as shitty as your use of terminology.

necessarily bourgie? Dumbfuck, read. MIT most definitely ain't yer avritch collitch. Were you born this morning, or does your own bourgie predilections get the best of you on @news?

Chomsky doesn't teach at MIT anymore, and when he did, he taught linguistics, not anarchists politics, you dolt. You have no idea what you're talking about.

Also serious LOL at the idea that NA anarchists are inhibited by the power of Chomsky's popularity. In fact, Chomsky's popular mostly with non-anarchists, and the power of his influence stems from the intellectual standing of his audience, the ideas they are already primed to understand, not the other way around.

It's breath-taking news to hear that Chumpsky is retired...except it's not. Who cares what he taught at MIT? Yes, I'm familiar with his linguistics (which are currently being challenged in a major way by Daniel Everett's work). The point was, and is, oh a-nuanced anonymous commenter, is that Chumpsky is a celebrity who didn't practice what he preaches (still) in the hierarchical institution known as a university, and an uppity (that is, socially stratified, bourgie) university known as MIT. If you don't think that his students didn't read his work, or that his political theorizing didn't enter the classroom, you are indeed a naive nit-wit extraordinaire.

"In fact, Chomsky's popular mostly with non-anarchists,"

But, that's fitting since Chumpsky ain't an anarchist except in perhaps in his own head and very young adults...emotionally as well as in body.

Yep, Chumpskys not a real anarchist, like the pope is not a real christian. People's critical thinking levels are way down, you know, they worship politicians and celebrities like gods, the vacuum in their souls is filled with crass idols, materialism rather than metaphysical contemplations dominates their every moment.

I've linked this video before primarily relating to the Piraha, but here is Chomsky's idiocy on full display.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=fcOuBggle4Y

That's cute that you read a (pretty disappointing) Bob Black essay, but I can assure you that Chomsky's followers in linguistics, as misguided as they are, don't give two shits about his political work.

It's true that I'm arguing over minor details and ignoring your major point, though. I don't really disagree with your major point but when you're throwing out obviously BS assertions like the idea that Chomsky is hurting the NA anarchist scene by preaching leftist politics to his captive audience of linguistics students at MIT, I have to make fun of you.

I guess you haven't been to /r/anarchism?

Several @'s in my area you can't say a bad word about lord chompsky to. Not allowed. And when you do, it's "well fuck your and your Zerzan," whether you read Z or not. This doesn't hurt when you don't have people you revere, or look up to like leaders. Go ahead and critique anyone i've read, i'm not like you and your precious noam.

Sadly these folks do have a lot of influence in the area...

Why the fuck would I go to a reddit page dedicated to anarchism? If you are pained at the "influence" such people have, and yet you deliberately seek out and spend time in such a stinking corner or the internet, you must either like torturing yourself, or otherwise enjoy defining yourself primarily in your opposition to leftists. Either way, it's like complaining about how much the Christians control the discourse at the church you attend: not incorrect, but rather pitiful.

(same commenter) In conclusion, Chomsky's good for one thing: historical accounts of American foreign policy and right-wing social restructuring domestically. There isn't an anarchist writer who does that better than Chomsky (unfortunately.) If you need that kind of work, for any reason, I actually would suggest you check out some of his books. But otherwise, he and his followers are practically irrelevant to anarchists, and the tendency of anarchists to bitch about him like he's somehow oppressing them or deflating the milieu's power is just a glaring symbol of the anarchist milieu's willful impotency.

I said he doesn't teach there. Google the definition of professor emeritus.

Yep I'd like a dollar for every spadeful of dirt digging trenches and every commodity I've had pass on the conveyor belt, and for every crack in the skin of the palms of my hands, rather than the minimum wage I received.

Your assertion that current industrial processes cannot operate in the absence of capitalism and state power is absolutely correct, and pretty much indisputable.

But your subsequent assertion that industry itself is therefore incompatible with anarchism is a lot weaker. For one thing, you don't even define industry. The closest you get is arguing that "factories" cannot exist in an anarchist society. But what constitutes a factory? What distinguishes industry from other modes of production?

By failing to consider these questions, all you end up actually saying is that you hate some undefined modes of production, but that you suspect some other anarchists secretly love them.

My thoughts exactly. Whats the difference between a small factory and a metal workshop or a bakery for that matter. I like to eat bread and I know a baker who knows a miller who knows a farmer. Sounds like industry and economy to me, but not exactly incompatible with anarchy either.

For example Sloanist and Fordist factory models, which is how products are made today are DEFINITELY not compatible with an anarchic system(s).

Distributed models on the other hand might be. My view on these things, stemming from Black's ideas in TAOW, would be to create a SITUATION of production as opposed to a STRUCTURE of production, cause when you have the latter you inevitably have some mix of forced labor and compulsory production which necessarily involves some kind of law of value.

The tertiary stage of capitalism, during the early 20th century, since the feudalistic system was confirmed as expired and extinct, which all the 19th century political domino drama and wars were all about, monarchists and republican rivalries, the emergence of humanism in the common discourse, the reshuffling of assets and capital on the global colonialist map of dominance, yes, the world wars which filled factories and graves in the millions, duped the masses into believing in the god of mass production, yes, all squandered and laid to waste after the brief avant-garde intellectual revolution of the 1920s, a second world war to drive the proles further into submission to the all powerful state military machine, yes, Bob Black knew the reality, and the only solution to the capitalist hegemony was to abolish work, and to acquire a model of creative sustainable labor which was voluntary, and also the extinguishing of title to land, thus freeing the multitudes to homesteading on vacant lands.

things move with a relational gravity field converting potential energy to kinetic energy (as in water from snowmelt in the mountains. work is done in the process but there is no 'local author' responsible for the work done. 'local force' is a device used to simplify mathematical models. to call a human a 'worker' or 'labourer' is to impute to him 'independent existence' equipped with the local power to initiate force and work. this is intellectual idealization that is far from the physical reality of our natural experience. it is the synthetic product of treating humans as noun-subjects and having them inflect verbs; e.g. 'Farmer John produces wheat'. Western civilization removes the sacredness of a human as a relational form within the transformation relational activity continuum, by breaking him out as an independent machine that is the local jumpstart author of 'work'.

'capitalism' and 'industrialism' are likewise synthetic concepts that are not the author of anything, other than intellectual idealization that is far removed from the physical reality of our natural experience.

"Work is what we do to survive, play is everything else"

Ok emile, but just because someone is a baker or a miller or a farmer doesn't mean that they are not also a lover, a friend, a fisher, a reader ... Getting good at something usually means spending a fair amount of time doing that something. Creating enough of something to actually satisfy real needs (like wheat or flour or bread) often involves spending a fair amount of time within a given week expending energy. That does not mean that the given activity cannot be enjoyed or enrich one's life, especially when it is done with friends and the pressures of survival based on money or profit based production quotas are removed. On top of all that, spending five years being a farmer, a miller or a baker and then moving on to something completely different could be an interesting way to develop and realize one's capacities. While I understand the reasons some comrades have for refusing work within a capitalist context, the rhetorical and ideological criticism of all "work" falls a bit short when it runs up against the world we actually live in and the actual needs we have (like not being hungry all the damn time).

darwinism depicts man and 'organism' in general as independent whose behaviours are purportedly driven by a 'survival instinct' that associates with life seen as a 'struggle with nature'. in fact, the instinct for survival is purportedly hard-wired into the basic genetic material.

this is a dualist view in which man is not only 'separate from nature' but having to fight against nature's attempt to kill him.

of course there are non-dualist views as well, wherein man is included in nature [indigenous anarchism, modern physics views (nietzsche, emerson, schroedinger, mach)] wherein the evolutionary force in nature, generally, is an inbuilt desire to 'take in the world'.

nietzsche claims that the world is "will to power and nothing besides" ('Will to Power' 1067, 'Beyond Good and Evil', 36). as with the storm cell in the atmosphere, outside-inward orchestrating [sink] is the source of inside-outward asserting [source]. as Emerson puts it, the 'genius of nature' not only inductively shapes the behaviours of the organism, it engenders the organism.

this view is one in which 'situationism' [orchestrating 'sink'] is in a natural primacy over 'intentionism' [asserting 'source'] although the two are in fact 'one' (a relational dynamic unum with conjugate 'sink' and 'source' aspects, as in the circular flow of a convection cell]. we experience this as being animated by the potentials in nature that we are each uniquely, situationally included in. when the relational dynamics inspire us [when nature calls to us] to 'rise to the occasion', this is what nietzsche is referring to as 'the will to power'. our asserting behaviour in the short term and our long term development are 'secondary' to the outside-inward pulling 'will to power' that shapes our development and behaviour.

'darwinism' is too constrained a model, dimensionally, to acknowledge the natural precedence of outside-inward orchestrating/organizing influence, because darwinism assumes the 'independence' of the organism; i.e. it assumes that one can define 'organism' without reference to 'a greater dynamic', namely, the relational dynamic in which the 'organism' is a relational form (a 'swirl').

all of this 'outside-inward development and behaviour orchestrating influence' that is in the nietzschean-schroedingerian view of man and organism is purged from the darwinist model by the assumption of dualism,... the intellectual splitting apart of 'inhabitant' and 'habitat' and then being forced to explain the development and behaviour of the 'organism/inhabitant' as if it 'really were' an 'independent system' and thus animated fully and solely by its own internal components and processes (genes-and-genesis, neural systems and CNS-directed movements), ... all of which is a secondary, 'all-hitting, no-fielding' INTELLECTUAL DEPICTION of the more realistic 'hitting-fielding' relational dynamics that characterize the physical reality of our natural experience.

darwinism, like simple mainstream science in general, follows the intellectual idealizations coming from noun-subject ---verb---predicate constructs. this is where we get the notion of 'work'.

first, subject-predicate language-and-grammar depicts man as an independent system that resides, operates and interacts as if in an absolute space and absolute time reference frame. this starting assumption hides the fact that the organism is a relational feature within a transforming relational activity continuum, ... and, having synthetically [thanks to the intellectual idealizations of language-and-grammar] gotten rid of all animating forces other than those that can be attributed to internal components and processes, ... we are then forced to explain man-as-and-independent-machine/system's 'survival' in term of his power to 'work'; i.e. to jumpstart his own productive output.

in this darwinist bs view [intellectually idealized subject-predicate language-and-grammar view], man is reduced from an agent of transformation within the transforming relational activity continuum, to a free-floating, independent system, notionally with its own jumpstart productive authoring powers aka 'capacity to do work'.

darwinism depicts man and organism as a powerboater, fully equipped for one-sided, all-hitting, no-fielding evolution (reproduction with [random chance] variation) whose only interest is in feeding himself, to quell hunger and to survive, and to 'fornicate/reproduce/proliferate', putting this oversimplistic [but Western civilized man's view of who he himself si] at odds with relational models that acknowledge outside-inward orchestrating/shaping influence.

the point is that only in the overly-simple, intellectually idealized model of man as an independently-existing darwinist machine does 'work' imply 'worker' as the 'author of work'. the storm-cell Katrina is depicted as the author of destructive action, only because of the subject-verb-predicate constructs of noun-and-verb Indo-European/Scientific language-and-grammar. the miller's water-wheel is not the source of power/work, the solar powered earth-to-sky water cycle is the source.

you say;

"the rhetorical and ideological criticism of all "work" falls a bit short when it runs up against the world we actually live in and the actual needs we have (like not being hungry all the damn time)."

relational forms (feature in the flow-continuum) such as the storm-cell feed on thermal energy which is the source of its relational form and behaviour. the same for the biological cell. only when we use language and intellection to impose the idealization of independent 'being' on the relational form do we split apart the 'sink' (input) and 'source' (output) which are conjugate aspects of a circular 'unum' within the energy-charged relational spatial plenum. once we use 'being' to split apart the inhabitant-form from the flow-habitat, ... we introduce the intellectual deception that it is the 'form' that is the authoring source of 'inputting' and 'outputting' rather than the energy-charged relational spatial plenum which not only inhabits the organism but engenders it.

the intellectually idealized concept of 'a need to eat' and thus 'a need to work to provide food for oneself and one's family in order to survive' is not coming from the physical reality of our natural experience, it is coming from human intellectual idealizing. the indigenous anarchist view of the human self is;

1. a relational feature within the interdependent matrix that is the world or 'web-of-life'. 'sink' and 'source' are the conjugate influences that constitute the relational feature. man is one of these features.

Western civilized man sees himself as an 'independent being' and only when we intellectually idealize 'man' in this way do we come up with the concept that man has 'needs' that explain his actions of 'working to provide himself and his family with food'. in other words, 'needs' and 'work' are artefacts of imposing 'being' on relational forms. the storm cell's behaviour is not authored by the storm's 'need' for thermal energy and thus its movements wherein it forages for thermal energy to sustain and build its strength.

while the indigenous anarchist's view of self is as a feature within the relational flow-continuum, ... Western civ man sees himself as

2. an 'independent being' that 'has needs' and has to 'work' to satisfy 'his needs' [the machine model of the self].

so, take your pick; ... do you want to understand humans as;

(a) 'independent beings' that reside, operate and interact within a habitat that is notionally independent of the inhabitants that reside, operate and interact within it [i.e. the proverbial 'absolute space' and 'absolute time' reference frame]. in this 'operative reality', man is his own full and sole author of his own development and behaviour, ... or;

(b) relational forms within a transforming relational activity continuum aka 'strands within a mutually interdependent web-of-life [relational matrix].

the (b) choice defines a very different worldview from the (a) choice. 'work' as the fulfillment of 'need' arises only in the (a) choice of view of self [as an 'independent being' whose 'survival' derives, notionally, from putting his own internal components and processes to 'work', during his residing, operating and acting in a habitat that he views as 'independent' of the inhabitant-beings that reside, operate and interact within it.

in short, your 'real world' of 'beings' with 'needs' that they must 'work' to fulfill is NOT the physically real world of our experience. it is an intellectually idealized 'operative reality' based on language-and-grammar subject-verb-predicate constructs.

So when my tummy grumbles and I get all hangry, you're telling me I should just stop using grammar and I'll get full?

Very nice and true comment. Also, any other posts following this purporting to be from me are actually by an impersonator, cheers.

This article is oppressive to me and my fellow unicorns, who are invisibilized and erased out of the uber-narrative of society. We are reduced to bigoted caricatures and marginalized as some sort of mythic beasts to be sought after and seen only in mystical glades.

We will be silenced no more.

Me and my bicuious girlfriend were looking for a unicorn a couple years back, but were led to believe that they were mythical because we sure couldn't find one

i've often wondered if the mystical glades are the only place in which we can be seen. remember that civil-society is oppressive and causes blindness. better that we stay out, merhinks

Anarchists who believe in self-management without widespread deconstruction of the economic infrastructure are not thinking their ideas through. When you don't take decentralization into the economy, we are left with an industrial machine which creates dependence and exploitation between communities, no matter how self-managed they may be. In order to facilitate the exchange of large amounts of goods, and capital, essentially, you need to have large bureaucracies which become a type of state. Destroying capitalism means destroying its lifeblood, commodities, which are only possible in a system of mass production. So, anarchism is only compatible with low-scale productive centers that are centered around a community and a local economy.

Right on. When people replace 'commodity' with 'resource' in their speech/writing, it seems to me they still hold to the same world quantifying scheme as the capitalists. In applying a more friendly sounding euphemism, they tend to believe in a more friendly view of the world upon which to practice their industrialism. Nothing will change, except maybe it will implode faster.

yeah, i said it. you think i give a fuck? cuz i don't. FUCK "anarcho" capitalism". i'll be as redundant as i want, ain't invisible hand ruling my life BOZO

This is essentially a post WW1/2 restoration ideological expression. It has no existence outside of that context.

I've been keeping tabs on its development among millennials and I am more or less observing its decline. You are beginning to see it splinter off into either a more consistent libertarian position(mutualist directions) or a conservative traditionalist/nationalist direction(the republicans are no longer taking drugs).

As it stands, and as precarity returns, ancap ideology does not have much time left on the political-economic ideological stage. Essentially the Tuckerite/Proudhonian tendencies will return to that political niche. Particularly with the whole Blockchain crypto currency thing which does appear to make mutualist/distributist economics potentially applicable.

ehh... you don't know what you're talking about once you get to "industrialism". Maybe you should refine your critique and address the arguments for a technological society instead of just making claims that industry causes x inherently. Personally I feel like technology and anarchism are inseparable so maybe you should just hang with some anti-civ folx and leave the rest of us to our thing.

Paul writes from the UK, and as far as I know it is a different context going on in Europe as to the US. More of a peasant critique of Industrialised Society, where the industrial logic and modality is what is opposed. I don't see how your stance is any less linear or vague and that a false dichotomy is created. What you say about tech and @-ism sounds like a truism to me, but offer little thought on the relational activity of @-ism.

YES!! Thank you for writing this. Ive felt so left out of a lot of Left circles and discussions, locally and online, because people dont realize that capitalist critiques also involve critiques of industrializatio. And people get really confused when I voice concern over industry.

Also people see technology as our key to liberation. That if we keep factories, or make all factories mechanized, we dont have to do any work and people can be free to be Anarchists. But there is still industrialization. Theres still potential pollution and large quantities of resources needed to make factories, products and the robots.

You'd be hard pressed to find a social anarchist who's ideal vision of a libertarian socialist society's technology is what we have now but without the state and capitalist economic relations.

From Kropotkin through to Bookchin there's been a tendency in anarchist thought that stressed the decentralisation of technology and development along lines that allowed it to be human-scale, ecological, and always under the direct control of its users; enabling the artisanisation of the work process, restoring art and craft to production (much like in Morris's News from Nowhere). In this sense, it was anti-industrialist if what we've had since the birth of capitalism is what industrialism is defined as.

But this was also a vision that involved the automation of needless toil and a high degree of cybernation.

So the author's alternative (medieval level technologies) means: no internet, no automation of toil, no telephones, no electricity, and presumably no medicine and people dying needlessly at 30 from preventable ailments. Sorry, no thanks.

Perhaps what the author had in mind was more the mode of organization? I.e the commons, communes(villages) etc. Should we, for the sake of the argument, adopt a similar way of life, I hardly think we would scrap all so called "progress" in the process. Cleanliness and surviving infancy is after all what constitutes the rise in life-expectancy (which doesn't mean that people died at 30 in the middle ages). Drudgery is also not a given in this sort of life, it is after all possible to subside in leisure (scrap the plough sort of)..

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