BAGR4: Opening Editorial
From Black & Green Review - by Kevin Tucker
That feels like the summation of the world right now: like being in a boiling cauldron and the temperature just keeps escalating.
I’m talking about the climate. I’m talking about society. I’m talking about politics. I’m talking about the economy. I’m talking about ecology. Every facet of the world we face feels like it is on fire. This is literally the case as record-setting wildfires overtake chunks of the map and as constant bombing campaigns continue to devastate others. 2015 was the hottest year on record and 2016 is on track to surpass it.
This is the future unfolding before us: the consequences of industrialized growth and technologized expansion extrapolating the caustic downfall of a globalized civilization. And that is the overwhelming feeling you get every day when you wake up and open your computer or turn on your devices, opening yourself to the flood of seething anger and impotence.
But we do it.
We carry on. We get lost in the sea of reactionary reiterations. We fall into the crushing waves of the mutual assured destruction of our own empathy. We are willing to accept the destruction so long as we are right.
Why? How are we able to do this?
How do we simultaneously bask in the endless cycles of perpetual call-and-response of social media and ignore the world as it becomes only further engulfed in catastrophic and systemic destruction?
We do this because we shut off. The atrocities of civilization are simply too much for our regionally based hunter-gatherer minds to comprehend. This is existence with implications that we were never psychologically prepared for because neither we nor any other being is physically capable of causing them. Not without technology.
This is beyond our realm as empathetic beings, so we stop our minds from going there. This is our mind in survival mode: solely able to address the immediate fight-or-flight impulse, redirected through technological intrusion. We double down. We embody the ethos of accepting reality as it is and fragmenting our experience of life into individual issues. We plant ourselves and we defend that position until the next thing comes along.
We define ourselves by our own acts of active defeatism. We immerse ourselves in the immediacy of technology so we no longer have to keep the totality in our minds. We are just reacting.
Meanwhile, the predictions for the earth are dire. The potential for human extinction looms heavily underneath a perpetual loss of ecosystems and species. The thresholds once considered tipping points for endemic climate shifts are being surpassed.
If we start to unplug, we can see it, but it is no less overwhelming. The New York Times recently released a site that charts the high and low temperatures of 2015 by city against what has been considered the baseline temperatures for each place based on 160-year-old data. It has to be seen to be believed, but, as with nearly every climate change scenario, the worst-case scenario predictions for 2100 are being passed already. Places like Fort Chipeyan in Canada have already had an average temperature increase of 5.8° Celsius.
Methane sinkholes become the new norm. Exaggerated cycles of drought and flooding become the new norm. Increased temperatures have resulted in concentrations of nitrates, hydrogen cyanide, and mycotoxins in cash crops. And have resulted in the thawing of long frozen reindeer carcasses in Russia unleashing anthrax.
Social and political tension is impossible to ignore.
We see in Donald Trump social media personified: exaggerated blasts of reactionary conspiracy, the billionaire acting as the underdog. We see the ignition of the xenophobic and racist underpinnings of civilization come back to the forefront. We see in Hillary Clinton the smiling voracious face of Neoliberal surgical strikes and expansive systemic subjugation sold as policy reform. We see a fanning of flames on liberal blindness to the iron fist of a society built upon violent subjugation of Others. We see people buying into the mythos of democracy: of the notion that any State is sustainable.
We see the blow back as the climate refugees of one nation are corralled in camps, forced back by nations under their own economic and political duress. We see the need for scapegoats and watch as the Westernized identity of the Sacred Individual feels attacked and becomes militarized: as the frustrated and afraid are given access to hyper-technological weaponry and psychological justifications to kill en masse.
Salvation, martyrdom, the elated subjects of a hero’s return, capturing headlines: the suicide bomber, the religious zealot, the soldier, and the mass murderer all share in the flaccid rage of living in a boiling world and feeling as though the promises of civilization have let them down. We are all boiling. And given direction, we will seek revenge on whoever is possible. Be it the ex-military cop gunning down unarmed black people in the streets or the suicide bomber seeking vilification beyond this world by killing as many within it as possible.
When we open ourselves to the depth of this reality, it becomes impossible. It is beyond comprehension, beyond our threshold for pain and empathy. It is easy to opt back in: to get lost on social media, to bury ourselves in our Self.
It is easy to become lost in distraction.
As sad as that option is, it makes sense. Against the reality that we surely face, any bit of hope stands against the most uphill battle imaginable.
The problem we face is that distraction remains an option.
We have no choice here. The reality that is unfolding before us is real. It is our home, this earth, being destroyed. It is those that we love, those we hate, those we wish we could not love being lost in an unrepentant mirage of distraction. It is our own fate intertwined with the fate of all life on this planet.
We started Black and Green Review not because it would be the catalyst to save the world, but because we need to start somewhere. We need to stake our ground and attack from that position. It isn’t enough to continually react and respond while staying prepped for the next round of continual arguments on the same subjects forever through every cycle of the News Feed.
As John Zerzan stated in the Opening Editorial of BAGR 3, we wanted to carry on the debates and discussions that Green Anarchy, Green Anarchist, and Species Traitor had taken part in. Those were discussions that spilled far beyond the microcosm of anarchist debate and circles. They had grown and found their way to filter into society at large.
And in their absence, that trajectory atrophied. Through sites like Anarchist News, it became insular. The cheerleaders for insurrection-for-insurrection’s sake faded as the attention shifted towards the comfort afforded the critics. Anarchism has never been absent of the philosophical hollowness of eternal dissection of lingo, nor strayed far from the politics of negation. But these are the aspects that the internet and social media amplified.
And they grew.
This trajectory has led anarchists into the cul-de-sac of nihilistic terrorism and egoist soul searching. In that trajectory, anarcho-primitivism is a lightning rod for having the audacity to stand for something: to have staked our claim on seeing a world that is worth fighting for and defending. To want to build communities of resistance, support those that are and have been resisting civilization’s advances and to refuse the domestication process as it seeks to tear us from the wildness that runs through all life.
We began BAGR in part to expand and challenge those discussions alongside others. There is merit among them, but the problem is that there is no end point, nothing worth acting upon. The politics of negation are discussion for the sake of discussion. They are about carving out the perfect anti-ideological ideology. To set out the perfect anti-moralistic moralism and to carry out the pure will of the Individual.
Dedicated to finding and chasing out the boogey-men of impure thought, there are only two options: to celebrate in discussion as praxis, as stated by one of its advocates, “to laugh at the futility of it all”, or to embrace the absurdity of unthinking acts of terror under the guise of “eco-extremism” while leaning further and further towards eco-fascism.
If we are to accept that there is no hope, that there isn’t even a sliver of chance that we can divert or lessen the catastrophic conclusion of civilization’s collapse, then we have nothing to offer but another noun to justify our particular brand of online voraciousness.
I have no time for those discussions.
I have two daughters. I have two daughters that I will, above all else, do anything to protect and to provide for. I have two daughters whose fates are intertwined with the fate of all wildness. I have two daughters who have no future on a dead planet.
I have no false assumptions or heroic ambition to save the world, but if I’m not even fucking trying to do anything about all of this, then what am I worth? What am I worth to the world to just waste away finding new ways to demonize the grounds that I am standing upon, the grounds I have placed my stake in: the grounds that I will always fight for?
All of the editors and contributors of this project have poured themselves into this. And we have gotten untold support from others who resonate with our simple call to action: for a wild resistance, for a passionate resistance.
We are not, nor have we ever been, satisfied with vilifying ourselves for a spot within anarchist history. We are driven by a hatred of civilization. Driven by a vile contempt for the consequences of domestication. We are motivated by the nomadic hunter-gatherer within our bodies and minds that yearns to embrace the wildness.
We see that within generations of communities, that there is hope. That there is that sliver of chance that this world will not be destroyed and that life may continue on. We take solace in the world our grandchildren’s grandchildren may one day inhabit where our lives and our struggles are forgotten memories.
This resistance, like wildness, exists far beyond us. We aren’t leading the call: we have just seen the cracks and have sought to continue pursuing them.
It would be easy to look at what we have done and to remain cynical: to continue the negation of critics and to wonder
what any exploration based in ecology, anthropology, history or questions of technology could possibly have upon the world civilization has created. In the end, it may not matter at all.
But that is where we split.
We want discussion, but if it serves no end, then it serves nothing. With civilization, we have had everything taken from us. We are left with reflections and mirrors of its history. We are left with the scars of our elder’s own subjugation to the false future of empire building. We are left with their emptiness.
But these are tools. They are a part of piecing together and deepening our understanding of how domestication begins, how it functions which, paired with building relationships beyond reification and beyond abstraction, we find the cracks. We find the pressure points, the bottlenecks.
It is through this search that we find what has been taken from us and we take it back.
For us, there is no other option. There is no appeal to endless discussions that have long ago dismissed the idea of purpose. There is nothing to be gained from that.
This discussion speaks to the soul of every domesticated being. And that is whom we are speaking to. We know our enemy. We have found its weaknesses and we will continue to search for more vulnerabilities.
We aren’t interested in distractions and cycles: for discussions without end.
We seek to do everything within our power to further push civilization beyond the brink. We seek to protect and fight for the world that we love.
And we remain absolutely unapologetic to that end.
We are in one of the most unique moments in history: to be at the end of this dying civilization. We face a world of uncertainty and we have the knowledge of how our ancestors had adapted for that. When distraction no longer remains an option, will you look back and wonder why you didn’t do everything in your power to make the most of it?