Warlike: A review of Black and Green Review No. 3
Black and Green Review is a U.S magazine that is the most recent project of John Zerzan and Kevin Tucker. Mr. Zerzan needs no introduction in anti-civ circles as he is, after Uncle Ted (Kaczynski) the best known theorist in the world in this school of thought. Kevin Tucker is less well-known, but he is a writer who works with Zerzan on publications such as Green Anarchy from last decade, but also on his own projects such as Species Traitor which was a magazine along the lines of the current Black and Green Review: more of a book than a magazine with various articles from different authors. As a magazine, Black and Green Review is physically very well made, with various sections of short and long articles, and it is a little over two hundred pages long.
Black and Green Review comes out twice a year from the United States. We are not going to explain how we got a copy on this side of the border but we did and we read it. We are not going to review the whole magazine (or small book) either. We are going to look at the most important articles and offer the eco-extremist point of view, especially from the view of what was ancient Mesoamerica. Even though we have harsh criticisms of this magazine, we appreciate the opportunity to discuss its content.
The first article we will discuss is our favorite (though it is one of the shorter ones) on the topic of the mosquito. Here we translate a bit to share with Spanish-speaking readers some of the quite informative content of this article:
“One fault humankind suffers from is that we don’t see any species as beneficial if we can’t exploit them. This is especially true for a species that causes us great grief. Evolutionary ecologist Dina Fonseca at Rutgers University points this out perfectly as she compares the situation to biting midges in the family Ceratopogonidae, also known to many as No-see-ums. ‘People being bitten by no-see-ums or being infected through them with viruses, protozoa and filarial worms would love to eradicate them,’ she says. But because some ceratopogonids are pollinators of tropical crops such as cacao, ‘that would result in a world without chocolate.’
To end this I want to mention one very obvious point: we created this monster. The disease-carrying mosquito is our Creature and we their Frankenstein. With human caused climate instability comes imbalances throughout the world. Insect populations go up when temperatures rise. Deforestation and the eradication of species and predators lead to ecological changes along with the release of dormant viruses. Collective immunity suffers from human ‘progress’. We all get sick. Mosquitoes are vectors of disease, not the cause. Mosquitoes are just one of the five major modes of disease transmission amplified by globalization. We don’t recognize how reckless we’ve become, blinded by ego and acting as gods we have forgotten that with cause there is effect.”
The explanation of the symbiotic relationship between the mosquito and its environment is an important point, and this shows that U.S. anarcho-primitivism can go beyond its typical anthropocentrism. Perhaps we will translate this whole article sometime in the future and reproduce it in another place.
We also imagine that the interviews with the lawyer for eco-radical activists and an interview with an ex-prisoner would be really helpful to eco-radicals on that side of the border. Our friend, “Halputta Hadjo” has already presented the eco-extremist critique of the interview with the Zerzan-adhering eco-radicals in Canada in his article on the Calusa, and we don’t have anything to add here.
Moving on then to the “major articles” of the magazine, some are worthy of extensive commentary. We begin with the article by “Four Legged-Human” with the title, “The Wind Roars Ferociously: Feral Foundations and the Necessity of Wild Resistance.” The setting of this article is the harsh territories of the northern state of Alaska in the United States. The article attempts to develop the theme of domestication and dependence that creates civilized humans, especially involving domestication in the universal failure of the Left in the modern world. It also aims to present resistance as a process of un-domesticating and fleeing civilization for remote places. In this sense, the anarcho-primitivists seek to imitate the “Arrow People” who still dwell in the Amazonian region, as he writes:
“It has been estimated that today in the last primal vestiges of the Brazilian Amazon exist up to 43 uncontacted tribes. Indios Bravos or The Arrow People. Often characterized as ‘uncontacted,’ the more likely reality is that these Amazonian bands consciously choose to live in isolation and evade interaction precisely due to a deep intergenerational knowledge of the calamitous consequences associated with their ancestors and their neighboring indigenous brethren becoming domesticated and civilized:
‘Willful determination, or rather self-determination… seems to attend all the isolated tribes still roaming the forests of the Amazon… Indigenous groups living in isolation are isolated because they choose to be. It’s not for complete lack of contact, but precisely because previous experiences of contact with the outside world proved so negative.’”
We don’t have much to argue with here with Mr. Four Legs concerning the diagnosis of the problem of domestication and the hyper-civilized. Civilization does make dependent and weak “humanoids” who can’t do without their dependency, which is just another way of saying their slavery to the techno-industrial system. However, his solution for all this, specifically, fleeing to remote places in the north and re-wilding oneself, is something that particularly confused us. He writes:
“Today we have the historical and anthropological knowledge to lead us out of the despair created by 10,000 years of domestication. It is not the time for a ‘sit-in’, it is the time to stand up and walk into the forest, leaving behind all of our domesticated baggage. We must now ultimately become The Arrow People. A feral future represents our only pathway forward. I posit that the resilient feralist rewilders will be the last one’s standing after the massive upheavals to come, able to do so purely because of the strides made on a multigenerational level to undomesticate. I envision the formation of tight-knit feral bands (bandits!) not chained by circumstance but instead fleet-footed occupiers of forests, mountains, and brush impenetrable by the domestic – inhabitants of our own ‘grizzly maze’ in which the domesticated dare not enter. Not only this, but bandits also effective at striking the infrastructure of civilization, doing irreparable damage, and readily disappearing into the shadows only to emerge to strike again and again.”
To tell the truth, this paragraph made us laugh quite a bit. Seriously, this is John Zerzan’s magazine? The dude who clutches his rosary every time he hears about eco-extremist attacks to the south? These guys want to be “bandits,” but the eco-extremists already are, and do they support us in this? On the contrary. All of the evidence that we see from down here leads us to believe that “yanqui” anarcho-primitivists are allergic to the smell of blood. Eco-extremists don’t have such an allergy, that’s for sure.
I don’t know if Mr. Quadruped has never read Revista Regresión, but it would be appropriate to compare some texts from there that came out well before the essay under discussion. For example, in Revista Regresión no. 3 (Spring 2015):
“To resist and negate the life imposed on us from our childhood and to live a simple life as far away as possible from the modern guidelines and cultural schemas is one of the goals that we must concretize in the present. But in order to live the life that we want, removed from the big cities and within the bosom of nature, you sometimes need money, money that we would prefer to rob from wherever we can or to obtain it in the hundreds of criminal forms that are available. We would do this before enslaving ourselves to the life of subordinates that the majority of people lead. To be clear, that’s why the editorial group of this magazine feels sympathy for the appropriation of money for the concrete ends needed for the living of a dignified life. It doesn’t matter who you have to shoot when the money isn’t handed over because, when an employee doesn’t hand over the boss’s money, he doesn’t deserve to live, for he defends like a loyal dog the crumbs of the master. He deserves to be stabbed or to get a bullet in his chest. Also, when a businessman, owner, or executive of a business doesn’t give into the demands of the thief, he deserves the same or something worse.
There is no mercy in these acts. It’s all or nothing. This is the extremism of which we speak without hesitation. If money is needed for whatever extremist individualist end, it will be taken by any means necessary. It should be mentioned that for us, money isn’t everything. We are speaking here as realists. In this world governed by large corporations, there are certain occasions when it is necessary to acquire money to cover certain costs or obtain certain things. For us getting this by working is out of the question. Getting them by fraud, mugging, and thievery is the preferred manner of obtaining what we need. Our ancestors who had their way of life adversely affected by the expansion of civilization, both the Mesoamerican and European, had to act likewise in their times (using predation, theft, deceit, robbery, and/or murder). We are only carrying out the same historical role as inheritors of that savage fierceness.”
Also we cite this text, taken from the editorial of Regresión no. 5 (April 2016):
“I am an eco-extremist and I am at war. I have made shrapnel bombs that I have sent to researchers who work to alter Wild Nature. The positive and negative wires have found each other, the electricity from the battery heated the bulb inside the galvanized nipple filled with dynamite, it made a spark, it exploded, I wounded them, the shrapnel penetrated their bodies, and the smoke from the exploded dynamite reached their lungs, burning them at the same time. Their spilled blood has served to remind them that they are not gods, even though they like to pretend that they are. I don’t regret that I wounded and scared them or any of the consequences. What happened was just one response from Wild Nature speaking through me. I have been in hiding in various cities preparing attacks, conspiring with accomplices, and broadening my range of experience with criminal endeavors. I’ve lit cars on fire indiscriminately, luxury and cheap ones, big ones and small ones, since all of those disgusting machines create the layer of smog that forms over my head. I’ve watched them burn from thick forests. I am familiar with the reactions of their owners, but I don’t care. Nature has given me the ability to get away with it.”
Thus if the Yankees want to learn how to be “bandits,” maybe the eco-extremists can given them advice so that they aren’t held back by civilized humanist values.
On the theme of fleeing to the forest and the like, we remember one correspondence with an eco-extremist friend that made us remember that the context south of the border is much different from the gringos’ situation:
“Here few ‘primitivists’ do what they do over there, namely, buying a piece of land and learning ‘primitive’ survival skills. We have always thought of these attitudes as being cowardly, namely, abandoning civilization without having fought against it. Mexican culture inherited that native attitude of the past. If you don’t respond to an aggression it’s because you’re weak or a sissy. The same happens with ‘primitivists’ who buy a plot of land and instead of going to war they decide to live an alternative lifestyle. But even if you flee from civilization it’s going to catch up with you sooner or later. This happened with that old grouch Uncle Ted. He took off but civilization caught up with him. The same happens over here.
Here however the situation is much more violent. Many wild places are controlled by the assassins of the drug cartels who use the mountains to grow poppies or they hide meth labs in the hills. These beautiful and wild places are under their control and if you step foot in them, they’ll catch you and make you a slave on one of their plantations, along with immigrants who they catch from Central America and the rest. Here it’s a very tumultuous situation.
On the subject of the Zapatista communities, they’re shit and the same thing happens. They are under de facto control of a clandestine indigenous committee, which has little of the actual ‘indigenous’ in it if you get my drift. It’s mostly controlled by pseudo-Marxists and many foreigners.”
We are in complete agreement with our friend here. Fleeing isn’t a real option nor is it something that we want to do. Civilization has insulted Mother Nature, and it will pay, come what may. We certainly support those few indigenous left who are fleeing from civilization, but we’re not them, and it would be stupid to think that we could be them. Better to just stay right here and fight just as we are. We really don’t have another option.
To enter into details on the option of buying and defending a tract of land in Mexico like they do over there in the North, it has to be said that there are economic disadvantages that we face. Anarcho-primitivists over there have a stable First World economy (even if they supposedly reject it). Here an aspiring Mexican anarcho-primitivist who wants to buy some land would be out 60,000 to 100,000 pesos more or less [1 Mexican peso = 50 cents U.S. –trans.], depending on the place. To get that rather large sum of money, the Mexican anarcho-primitivist would have to work (given his rejection of regular salaried employment) in a university cooperative (to give one example) for a net 200 pesos a day for an indeterminate amount of time in order to purchase his piece of land. If, on the other hand, he’s a bit more desperate to buy land in the wild and he decides to work in a factory for eight hours a day alternating night and day shifts, getting 1000 pesos a week, then we’d be talking about getting the money he needs in about two years, if he has no expenses and it all goes to savings. But that’s almost impossible because he’s going to need to pay for rent, bills, food, transportation (possibly), etc. so that two years could easy be doubled at least. Maybe that Mexican anarcho-primitivist got tired of doing all of that for years, and just said, “Fuck it,” and started thugging. Or maybe the anarcho-primitivist in question inherited a house from his grandmother in the middle of the woods and decided to live there, or he went to go work in the United States like the laborers from Michoacan do and bring back those dollars that have a market value of 18 pesos each, and thus he is able to buy his land. Just a few ideas is all…
Otherwise, the anarcho-primitivists up north think that they can become the most badass bandits in history just like that or “in a few generations”. Thus they will be able to survive in one of the harshest climates on Earth (Alaska) and ALSO raid civilization once in a while and come out unharmed. We’re not buying it but good luck we guess. It should be said that Mr. Four Legs describes the Selk’nam (Ona) of Tierra del Fuego as an example of a wild tribe that could survive in one of the harshest environments on the planet, but he neglected to mention that Selk’nam society was based on a rigid patriarchy that was the foundation of their beliefs. Maybe he should mention that to his primitivist feminist comrades who think that patriarchy is always the result of domestication. Just a suggestion…
The funniest thing is that, immediately after this article with aspirations of becoming the next bandits, there is one arguing that anarcho-primitivists need to have aspirations of becoming… MONKS. You can’t make this stuff up! The article is entitled, “The Sacred Sunrise” by Ian Smith. I am not going to get into its arguments because they were pretty dumb and demonstrated a profound ignorance of the real nature of Christian monasticism from its origins to the present. (You see, some eco-extremists do remember their catechism!) For example, he mentions the Rule of St. Benedict but not the most important rule: “ora et labora”, Latin for “pray and work”. Well then, it’s interesting that some anarcho-primitivists think that they can save themselves working in the fields and reciting the Psalter. Perhaps the author doesn’t know either that the great monasteries of the Middle Ages and even of the colonial period here in what was New Spain were owners of large tracts of land, and not just the land, but the people on it to work it, and that made their luxurious life devoted to the “opus Dei” (work of God) possible: the life of “contemplation,” erudition, and the Divine Office? Perhaps he has no idea that the most important virtue in a monastery was obedience? Does that mean that he is obedient to the Abbot St. John (Zerzan) and the Master of Novices, Kevin Tucker? It’s kind of shameful that the editors allowed such stupidity to be published in a serious magazine.
We move on then to a discussion of the essay of the principal editor, Kevin Tucker, on civilization and addiction, “Hooked on a Feeling: The Loss of Community and the Rise of Addiction.” This is the longest essay as far as we could tell and very difficult to summarize in a few paragraphs. The text begins with the description of “kia” or the curing energies that come from the communal dances of the hunter-gatherer nomadic tribes of southern Africa. According to Tucker, sedentism creates the need to resolve conflicts that before had been resolved through nomadic mobility. Little by little the office of shaman emerges, and specialization in the use of plants and ceremonies to resolve the problems of settled life. From there come alcohol, peyote, and the other intoxicants that try to resolve the frustration inherent in domestication. The first objection that comes to mind here is that animals also consume intoxicants and even intentionally get drunk. In some traditions, it is the animals or the plants themselves that “teach” the use of the plants, even their narcotic and hallucinogenic use.
Nevertheless, the theme of “civilization as addiction” is worth considering. As Tucker writes on the role of alcohol in civilized societies:
“Civilization was literally carried on the shoulders and backs of drunks. A religious devotion to production required a degree of inebriation to take root. Agriculture, the necessary fuel of civilization, defines drudgery: monotonous, pain-staking, dull, and unending work.
Humanity would have never lifted its hands for surplus production if it weren’t holding a raised glass.”
According to Tucker, then, humanity should return to the energies of the dance of the nomads for psychological and emotional healing that is based in the community and an egalitarian attitude. It is a question of breaking the addictive “logic” of civilization and of escaping to forge new communities of resistance based on the logic of nomadic hunter-gatherers. The criticism that I have here echoes a sentiment expressed in the words of another eco-extremist in an interview with a certain John Jacobi:
“I asked this because, at every opportunity, you people up north, that is to say, those who have the Anglo-American mentality, whether reformist or not, always want to build ‘movements’. It’s as if the drive to ‘fix everything’ runs through your veins and was in your DNA. Even Wild Nature doesn’t seem to escape it.”
They say in some places that the better is the enemy of the good, and we think Tucker is falling into this error. At least here, it is not a question of defending primitive cultures where they are to be found, but of looking for the “purest” ones on Earth and trying to imitate their modes of life. (It should be commented here, in reference to the Quadruped, that the Selk’nam also had shamans.) We know very well the game that Tucker is playing here: these are the cultures where hierarchy, domestication, civilization, etc. developed through sedentism and the storing of foodstuffs. That much is true. But the process that created the civilization that is destroying life on Earth is not the product of a process of domestication taken out of a particular context. That is to say, the processes that created techno-industrial society. Each domestication has not created the Leviathan that is threatening us and that has enslaved us to itself. The “king” of the Calusa in the sixteenth century or an African farmer in the Niger Delta in the seventeenth century is not at fault for our civilization.
This civilization is a product of a very particular process, almost accidental in a sense, and it would be difficult in our opinion to find the “smoking gun” that resulted in our disgusting society. Thus, it’s really not necessary to judge each group of primitive “savages” according to their “domesticated” characteristics, like having shamans for example. Each society was a product of its environment and the inhabitants’ response to that environment. What we see before us wasn’t an inevitable outcome of an inexorable historical process. It could have been otherwise, and many wild peoples fought to the death to make that the case. But these are all academic questions at this point. What’s lost is lost, but what are left are our most important instincts to attack and defend.
There was also an essay by John Zerzan, but it looked dumb so we didn’t read it.
In any case, our impression from our reading is that the difference between anarcho-primitivists in the north and the eco-extremists in the south lies precisely in the examples of the “primitive” tribes that each chooses to imitate. Anarcho-primitivists are always looking to examples of tribes that lived in inhospitable environments where flight was still an option. These include the Bushmen and Pygmies of southern Africa, the peoples of Alaska, and the Selk’nam (though when they notice that this last tribe was “sexist” and had a hierarchy in the form of shamans, maybe they’ll reconsider it and excommunicate the Selk’nam from the “Communion of Saintly Savages.”) That is to say, those tribes that the anarcho-primitivists choose to imitate are relatively “peaceful” ones where a total war against civilization was either not necessary or not possible. But that’s not our situation.
The eco-extremists, on the other hand, look to historical examples that more closely correspond to our current situation. These include the Teochichimecas before and after the conquest of Mesoamerica, the Yahi of California in the United States, the Seri of the deserts in the deserts of Sonora in Mexico, the Apaches, the Comanches, etc. That is, all of the tribes that have been at war to the death against civilization, the ones that employed indiscriminate attack, raids, terror, and other tactics of total war. The anarcho-primitivists want to act as if we were in a time that was more or less “peaceful” and that we have to first “convince the masses” to make “social change.” According to them, we still have “time” and “hope” left. For the eco-extremist, the time for that option passed a long time ago, assuming that was ever on the table in the first place (which we doubt).
The anarchos will say that this opinion is “nihilistic”, and maybe they’re right. We don’t have a problem with the “nihilist” label. But if we are nihilists, the women and men who threw themselves from the heights as human projectiles against the Spanish during the Mixton War in the state of Zacatecas were also nihilistic; as well as those tribes that preferred to drown themselves in a river rather than being taken into slavery, or the thousands of savage warriors who preferred to fight to the death against the invader. If not being labeled a “nihilist” means having to wait for the “blessing” of the masses before attacking, or it prevents you from attacking so as not to violate the “egalitarian values of nomadic hunter-gatherer tribes” (which don’t exist), or it forces you to concede even before fighting because there is no chance of “winning”… well, in that case, we repeat, we are nihilists, full stop. We don’t have any interest in becoming hippies living in communes in Alaska and pretending at the same to be waging a “war against civilization”. If that’s “primal war” as Kevin Tucker calls it, it’s a lie and anarcho-primitivists should at least admit it.