Wildism: The Nasty End-Game of Primitivism

  • Posted on: 16 March 2016
  • By: Anonymous (not verified)

Wildism: The Nasty End-Game of Primitivism

Recently we've seen a few newcomers to anti-civilization politics, from The Unterrified to Jeriah Bowser to some oddly liberal writers who blog in various places. But one of these newcomers, the wildists, who are closely connected to Ted Kaczynski, do not only exhibit the most dangerous tendencies of primitivism, they distill the reactionary politic into its most heinous concepts. In fact, they even embrace the term "reactionary." Because of this, I actually welcome the wildists. For a long time anarchists from non-primitivist tendencies have been warning that people like Zerzan and Tucker are playing with fire, and now we can finally see what the endgame looks like.

Because most of the information about "wildism" is online, it was fairly easy to research them, but they tend to delete their documents frequently, so I apologize if I misrepresent some recent position on the basis of one of their earlier ones. They don't seem to have changed much though, except for the fact that over time they've turned anti-civilization politics into a comprehensive theory, one of the only impressive things about them.

A. Their Beginnings and History

Wildism started off as just another brand of primitivism, although it wasn't called "wildism" then. John Jacobi, one of the main activists behind the ideas and groups, started a student group at UNC Chapel Hill that put out a primitivist publication called FC Journal, named after the Unabomber "group" Freedom Club. Jacobi's big idea was primitivism separated from anarchism, since he saw anarchism as a holdover from the time anti-civvers were still (thankfully) "perverted" by left-wing ideas. Some primitivists were interested at the time and even decided to interview him, apparently unaware of the warning signs.

It interesting to note how starkly some of the statements in the interview differ from the writings Jacobi is putting out now. For example, in the interview he complains about Kaczynski's "very mechanical" way of writing, whereas now he writes in an extremely academic manner, abstracts and all.

Since he seems to show a certain affinity for nasty communist tactics like entryism, we can assume he was saying these things mostly to capture the attention of anarcho-primitivists and enlist their help for his revolution (or "reaction," now) before trying to separate them from the anarchist movement. Other sources have confirmed that this is their impression now.

Apparently around this time he had many public arguments with Kevin Tucker and other anarcho-primitivists about conservation, wilderness, and anarchism, and Tucker ended up publicly announcing that he wanted nothing to do with the group. You can read one undeleted conversation on Tucker's Black and Green forum, where Jacobi's rage is by that time very clear.

This interview marks the time that the editorial team behind FC Journal decided that their strategy wasn't working and instead focused on the wilderness conservation movement. They renamed their magazine "The Wildernist" and officially started calling themselves "wildists." They also joined up with several groups in Spain who are closely connected with Ted Kaczynski. These groups seem to do nothing but publish very occassional writings on a list of blogs that do nothing but repeat the ideas in Kaczynski's manifesto.

Although it was not publicly announced, these groups do not seem to be working together anymore. Like all forms of primitivism, wildists are highly prone to factionalism and splits over very minor arguments, so it would not be surprising. Although most of the Spanish blogs still have a link to The Wildernist, most no longer link to the wildism.org homepage, and the wildism.org homepage no longer links to them, nor does it host the official Statement of Principles that they put out when they joined up. When I emailed Jacobi anonymously, he was vague about his relationship to the groups, and encouraged I get into contact with them.

Now The Wildernist has shut down and the wildists focus exclusively on wildism.org. They put out a journal called "Hunter/Gatherer" and host a dead subreddit at /r/wildism. Their writings (or Jacobi's writings, since he is the only one publishing them) are some of the best that have come out of the anti-civ movement as far as quality is concerned, and they are intellectually rigorous, but their ideas are repugnant.

B. Their Ideology

Wildists are essentially conservative and scientifically informed primitivists. They believe that all the same things that primitivists and anti-civvers believe: leftism is bad, we should all live closer to nature, civilization must be destroyed. Their differences are enough to warrant a separate name, however. They focus on industry far more than the normal primitivist does, they do not hide their reactionary conservatism, they rely on sociobiology and other biologically reductionist ideologies for their theory, and they are unabashed about proposing an organized effort against industry in the same vein as the Russian Revolution. They also seem to suffer from the same problems as DGR if DGR was less tied to traditional activist causes. (They could NOT be called primitivists.)

Jacobi puts it this way: although the primitivists want mostly the same things, they want them for different reasons, or "on the basis of different values." Primitivists tend to rely on the myth of the noble savage, but wildists, who derive their knowledge of indigenous lifeways from the sociobiologists and ethologists, believe that indigenous people were violent and patriarchal, but still advocate returning to that way of life. This should give you a sense of their "values." To anyone familiar with the writings of Kaczynski, this should sound familiar. Interestingly, sociobiologists like Richard Dawkins are known for using the same "scientific" findings to argue for civilization, but wildists don't seem to be bothered by this.

Wildists also talk about "conservative values" like "courage, ordered freedom (wildness), cognizance of human folly, loyalty especially to relations, an appreciation for nature, a recognition of the value of struggle, a disdain for the jolting revolutionary projects of the progressivists, etc." Ordered freedom?

Finally, wildists are, like all anti-civvers, hypocrites, but to an even greater degree, if you thought that was possible. While all primitivists have argued for using the machine to defeat the machine to justify their computer use, Jacobi is an information science major, and most of the members of his group seem to also be college students in science majors as well. Unless he is an awful student, he has probably been involved in researching the same technologies he advocates destroying, especially at a research university like the University of Chapel Hill.

C. Why This Relates to Primitivism

In reality, these wildists were a long time coming. Primitivism has for a long time hosted reactionary elements. One of the former editors of Green Anarchy turned out to be a fascist, several members of the ELF have flirted with folk fascist symbolism, and even Zerzan has openly admitted that he is influenced by Spengler and Heidegger. (Spengler was a racist who thought that miscegenation was weakening civilization and Heidegger was a card-carrying Nazi.) Should this surprise anyone? The primitivist's open advocacy of genocide is something that first came from racist politics, and anyone can see how it fulfills the same role now, when most "overpopulation" comes from third world countries. Even more, they advocate the end of civilization because "leftism" is making it weak, and almost anyone who has interacted with the anti-civ milieu can see how it attracts young white bored middle class boys who are more than anyone susceptible to Nazi politics.

Wildists also seem to be unaware that many of their "scientific" forebears were precursors of Nazi politics. Ernst Haeckel, who almost single-handedly laid the foundations for modern biology, was a strong advocate of eugenics and even founded an organization dedicated to the practices called the Monist League, which has since been connected to the Nazis. And one of the founders of ethology / sociobiology was Konrad Lorenz, who was an actual Nazi for many years, and said plainly that his work was an attempt to make the Nazi ideology scientific.

Many sociobiologists and supporters of sociobiology are also closely tied to modern scientific racism. The founder of the field, EO Wilson, spoke of "the delicate question of differences between humans" and rightly received much criticism for it from the great evolutionary biologist Stephen J. Gould. Philip Rushton argues that the stereotype of ranking blacks, whites, and asians by intelligence in that order is true. Charles Murray has advocated genetic intelligence differences between whites and blacks in The Bell Curve. And many of these people have recieved funding from The Pioneer Fund, which was founded by a eugenicist and continues to be tied to eugenics and scientific racism.

If nothing else, this is the result of primitivism's disdain for any race and class-based analysis because it is too "leftist." They have paved the way for reactionary elements in the milieu, and at most they are seen by other anarchists as harmless kooks, not budding and dangerous ideologues.

But as environmental problems get worse, their ideology only continues to grow. Again, we have all witnessed the upsurge of very reactionary primitivist elements in the last year. The Unterrified has also advocated separating from anarchism, and with Zerzan continues to talk about "decadence and decay" because of civilization. Kevin Tucker still advocates attacking the electric grid, which would leave many people with medical issues dead. And Zerzan continues to berate leftism, as if being concerned with the poor and weak was a bad thing.

In other words, I sense that Jacobi was ultimately right: primitivism has nothing to do with anarchism, and anarchism has nothing to do with primitivism. It is time that we find a better way to address our environmental problems without advocating the death of millions and without giving up OUR values of solidarity, equality, and freedom.



This has got to be written by that A Library troll.

I'm not a troll for one. I'm absolutely sincere in what I say and don't just do it to get responses from people. I really do hate primitivism. Secondly I didn't write this article. Though I do really like it for the most part.

Wow, I didn't know I warranted a whole @news essay.

Don't get too excited. I don't know if you've been following the site recently, but far more trivial things than even you have been regularly featured here.

If anything it's an insult.

I liked this article, though it could have done without the whole "primitivists are hypocrites" line. This is a lazy criticism, that could just as easily be levelled against social anarchists for using money (for instance).

Don't forget that Heidegger scarecrow!

Scarecrow, of just stinking rotting corpse hanged in some "radical" libraries. His books aren't scary... just fun as fire starters.

primitivists paved the way for reactionaries...because there were no reactionaries before..?

Wildism is the opiate of the primitivist!

Much as I can agree to a certain extent with primitivists that we need to stop treating technology so uncritically, I find myself mostly agreeing with this article. Maybe an an-prim can argue otherwise.

Also, random question for an-prims: Is this article correct that you guys actually advocate destroying all technology - including technology that is required to keep people alive or that maybe, you know, other people would like to have and who don't want to be hunter-gathers? I always thought that an-prims basically would want to do their own thing under anarchy, be hunter-gatherers and whatnot and let the other anarchists do their thing.

Yes, all primitivists believe in the end of civilization, meaning for everyone. From what I hear not all people who belong to the anti-civ movement necessarily believe this, though.

The question about lives dependent on technology is a complicated one, and I'll let a primitivist answer for themselves what they think on this issue, since it's bound to be different from me. I write a little about my thoughts on the issue in "The Question of Revolution."

"All primitivists believe in the end of civ". Bullshit. Many believe it is possible, many do not but desire it anyways. And then there are things like this like this: http://ritualmag.com/primitivism-without-catastrophe-2/

Yes, all primitivists believe in the end of civilization, meaning for everyone. From what I hear not all people who belong to the anti-civ movement necessarily believe this, though.

The question about lives dependent on technology is a complicated one, and I'll let a primitivist answer for themselves what they think on this issue, since it's bound to be different from me. I write a little about my thoughts on the issue in "The Question of Revolution."

Within industrial society there are millions of people who depend on it for prosthetics. The same industrial society is wreaking havoc on people (and their living environment) within and outside the borders of the particular state.
It just comes down to conflicting interests. As with all things there is no right or wrong in the pro-/anti-civ conflict, its all about preferance and desire.
Until like 8 years ago there were some conflicts between nomads and sedentary agricultural people in africa. I didnt hear much about it lately, so i assume that the nomads were mostly forced to settle down or become fodder for the cities.
In short there are lifestyles which are mutually exclusive thus causing existential conflict. There just is no way for anti-civ people to peacefully coexist with civ, therefore the anti. At least this is my definition of it. Granted, most who oppose civilization and state on moral grounds but as long as they oppose it at all and are unable to force their morals on me, i guess its allright.
Why not bring down the system first and sort out our differences later?

Don't believe anything this essay says. The clue is that no examples are given of anything this unamed anon asshole asserts about primitivists or primitivism. There is no primitivist manifesto, and there is obviously no way for primitivists to enforce the destruction of all technology, even if we wanted to. If we understand technology to be something more social than material, then we can say only that primitivists want to destroy the authoritarian social relations that generate technology. Unlike whatever Jacobi is preaching, Primitivism is primarily an anarchist project based on anarchist principles, not a technological project. The amount and type of technology will find it's own level once society has freed itself from the state and most forms of authoritarian relations. This anonymous essay is spreading FUD. Your grandmother on life-support is safe.

The piece is full of fallacies and incorrect information, I'll address a few of the largest: The logic of the racism bit goes, "because some primitivists later became neo nazis, all primitivists must have neo nazi tendencies." I guess all anarchists must have neo nazi tendencies too then. And it's obviously possible to be influenced by some of a person's ideas while finding others strongly disagreeable. Further, I've never come across a primitivist advocating genocide, and this is arguably impossible while remaining a primitivist.

Also, I don't think the unterrified are primitivists, as it seems they advocate for "arboration" (forest gardens) as an end.

Regarding the tech question, why do you want to displace people, destroy communities, and destroy biomes? Why do you want people to have to work horrible mine jobs? This is what technology requires. It doesn't exist in a vacuum. It is based on huge global infrastructures. Do you want to mine for rare metals? Do you want to run/repair the enormous data centers required for the internet? Why should an individual (who's health is very likely a result of civilization) have the power to create so much destruction just so they can survive or have an easier life? And if some manner of collapse, or even a half collapse of some kind, ever happens, it's not going to be all at once.

eh, civilization is a destructive, oppressive force for humans and everything non-human for sure. but i'm not convinced that technology would necessarily displace people and destroy communities and biomes in a world of anarchy.

there's plenty of nerds and engineers who'd love to figure out how to develop and maintain technologies that don't damage the environment or anything living. maybe not 100% safe, but foraging societies weren't 100% safe either, human existence can't be completely non-damaging (maybe? i don't know). but if knowledge-production, science, and communication are freed from state and capital, it seems like they could make it 99% safe, and with more knowledge and tools we'd have a better capacities to track and mitigate any damage we do create, and make collective decisions on whether to proceed or not with technological undertakings. note that this isn't the pro-civ argument that goes "why let some little bug species prevent us from building a highway?!" because that argument falsely minimizes the damage created by capital or state projects. basically, i'm not convinced that it's theoretically impossible to coordinate any environmentally-non-destructive technological project. maybe it's practically impossible, i dunno, i'm sure engineers have plenty of ideas tho.

and anarchic technology wouldn't produce mass consumer goods and nobody would be forced to do anything, let alone mine for rare earth minerals. but again, i'm sure there's a few adventurers who would like to do that. and tech could minimize personal danger and unpleasantness with that and many other activities. the possibility of achieving a world of anarchy seems remote, but i'm talking theoretically here.

tbh, i don't have a spiritual adoration of wilderness, and i value some human goals over complete pristineness. i wouldn't be comfortable with human goals having anything more than an incredibly minimal impact on the environment, tho.

i haven't read much anti-civ stuff, am i way off base here?

At the end of the day (world) the doom and gloom will be seen as the bleeting of lambs before they go to slaughter, a moral indignation without balls, a cheerless denial of individual empowerment, a hollow promise left lingering in the consumerist malls of urban control, a Catholic embargo on universal contraception supply, the worship of food and fashion, the glorification of old age, etc

gosh, you're scaring me

Yes, you are way off base. Reading a few anti-civ texts will answer most of your questions. It's completely impossible to have any kind of even semi modern technology without MASSIVE infrastructure. And as long as individuals have large scale structural power, they will use and (pay others to) develop technology. And the tech itself, which only exists due to carving out a niche (i.e. replacing something that existed before), "wants", in a hilariously robotic way, to keep existing. Also, Nicholas Carr is one of the few non anarchist text I'd recommend. Humans are literally importing themselves into devices (memory, senses, desires...)

alright, thanks for your comment! i don't think large-scale cooperation necessarily implies power over others, and so i'm dubious that large-scale coordination of transforming matter into organized matter implies power over others. but i'll read some more.

plus a focus on primitive life (opposed to a free play of anarchic life) has always put me off. and i've never been convinced about tech causing only alienation through mediation, since people sometimes use tech in a liberating way. but again, i'll try to find anti-civ texts that resonate with me.

Wow...this is so fucked up, I don't even know how to comment.

But since it is written by some anonymous asshole, I don't think it even deserves one.

Well it's better than any primitivist essays I've read. Primitivism has about as much connection to anarchism as capitalism does. Which is to say there is none.

Ad hominem, guilt by association, insisting correlation is causation, false dichotomies... How many other logical fallacies could be crammed into such a short essay?

...we should also throw out the entirety of biology, since it was "almost single-handedly" crafted by Haeckel (busy guy). I guess Jacobi and the Unterrified must be ahead of the curve by this person's reasoning, since they realized that they had to jettison anarchism due to its being initially coined by a misogynistic anti-semite.

People who imagine that all or nearly all of political philosophy can be organized on a horizontal line are going to spend a lot of time confused.

Huh, I didn't know he was an anti-semite.

Also, the Haeckel bit is wildly inaccurate. He did start the Monist league, but the direct connection to the Nazis is only supported by the work of one guy, and it's been challenged a lot since he published his papers on the topic. There are of course indirect connections, so maybe it doesn't make a difference to this line of argument.

And correct me if I'm wrong, but I think the unterrified wanted to rid anarchism largely because of some hold up about violence. I'm not sure though, the guy seems to have changed his positions on a few things recently.

We should throw out the entirety of biology, as least as far as its applied to humans right now. They're prone to reductionism and the field was founded to naturalize ruling class power. Science is no way to justify out ideas. We want liberation, not technocratic rule, and that's what the sociobiologists have been espousing with their disgusting eugenics plots.

This is entirely the type of writing I've come to expect from the left/left anarchists/identity politics crowd. Wildism basically gave this person a bad feeling and so the wrote a 9th grade level essay full of buzzwords to justify their bad feeling. Also, of all the things to accuse Kevin Tucker of, wanting to take out the power grid, which is keeping sick people alive? I accuse you of wanting to maintain a power grid that is poisoning people and other life all over the world you fucking dimwit.
P.S. if you're trying to get a job doing half-assed hit pieces on people, we already gave that guy Sascha the job so you'll have to fight him for it.

Sascha is still deciding on what pronoun they feel comfortable with so best not to call them 'him' until they figure it out.

This comment is fucking hilarious. Good job.

SInce it seems like this article wasn't removed, admins please remove my forum post when it finally appears:

The most interesting aspects of this to me is the challenge to anarcho-primitivism, that they have opened ground for right wing interpretations because of their anti-left wing stances. The same can be said of the individualist, egoist and nihilist anarchists. There is a certain flirting with fascism and quasi-fascists among all individualists, including anarchists. Most would think that given their strong individualistic stances and approaches that fascism would be a rare study, but many times it appears more that a lot of individualism is really a reaction to fascism through intensive study and speculation of the topic and its thinkers.

In some ways this seems to be an attempt to break the hold the left has on how an anarchist develops their ideas. By exposing themselves to individualist and right wing thinkers, there might be ways of looking at or reading things that aren't understood well by the left that the right may of picked up on. The right sometimes does criticize the left in a way that is intelligent as well, so when looking for critics of the left, looking into the right for perspective can be helpful.

However, when this examination is done less esoterically and more exoterically, morons think things like anti-left, post-left, post-anarchist, anti-progress, anti-enlightenment, anti-intellectual, etc. equates more as a "third way". Seeing a way of combining the left and the right into a sort of tribalist patriarchy, the third way movements have transformed their ideology in many ways so they can appeal to the same people anarcho-primitivists and anarcho-individualists appeal to: Often white, often male, often alienated socially, often lower middle class, often subcultural, rejects the left and was either raised in a right wing household or rebelled against a left wing household.

Anti-fascist movements distrust anarcho-primitivists and individualists because there is this other association and often it is only through an intersection with anti-fascism that anarcho-primitivists and individualists can prove they are critics of the left, but not enemies of the left. Anarcho-primitvists like to make fun of people that are leftist, but then turn around and try to pose as firm anti-fascists. The truth is that without anti-fascism, anarcho-primitivism and the many individualistic, egoist and nihilist points of view falters into this middle ground. Most lack the kind of activity that would pit them against fascists on accident, and since most seem to be more into heavy reading and discussion, they aren't out there making their world known.

It is the ones that sell books to leftists that tend to finally have to make the distinction out of a desire to spread their ideas among the left, despite all the pretense of being its largest critics. Truth is that anarchists may reject most things from the left, but they can't be anything but post-left. It isn't an identity as much as saying you reject what the left stands for and most everything they do, but this is where the discussion of inclusive rebellion occurs. If there is any attempt to publically demonstrate, anarchists will inevitably have to create a relationship with leftists or those that share such values, at least in this age. This isn't to say anarchists must water down their views, but that anarchists share space with authoritarians and demagogues because we are all talking to the same people. Left anarchists tend to be more into sharing with the left the organizing of protests, worker movements, demonstrations against police brutality, anti-fascism and other such things without criticizing those that participate. Post-left anarchists tend to criticize more and if they are involved, they usually are hyper-intense about it, trying to prove their extreme views with a dose of over the top militancy. This was perhaps the first wave of insurrectionary anarchy and is now less common from my perspective, but it is still out there. Crimethinc is a good example of the post-left anarchist that is very militant about its anti-fascism.

The most interesting aspects of this to me is the challenge to anarcho-primitivism, that they have opened ground for right wing interpretations because of their anti-left wing stances. The same can be said of the individualist, egoist and nihilist anarchists. There is a certain flirting with fascism and quasi-fascists among all individualists, including anarchists.

Exactly. Zerzan has referred to right wing thinkers multiple times. I remember reading a critique somewhere from an ex-primitivst who points out that they "accumulate factoids" that support their view and that's it. It's true. They don't examine the sources, and they don't examine what the historical repercussions of their views have been, so they end up espousing something as though it was anarchist but is actually just blurring the line between anarchism and right wing politics. This has helped pave the way for third positionists within the movement. It's awful.

Keep not exploring ideas you disagree with, I'm sure you'll grow into a well rounded individual. Of course the source matters, that's why they're not hidden. But the fact that they can pull from so many sources only helps their ideas.

This is so incredibly fucking far off the mark it's not even worth responding to. Worse than the original article itself. If you want to know why, read the rest of the posts in this thread.

Why should post-leftists do this again? How about staying out of the constituted, elective/proposition realm of reality entirely and creating a new form of anarch orientation not based on constituted radical positions/solutions. Ceding political space means no longer feeding political space.

I want post leftism to turn into more then just a rejection letter, but I do not want a constituted radical identity. What I want is for anarchy to become a life and activity unmediated by elective positions and proposed solutions. Anarchy should instead be driven by belonging and becoming.

Everyone not a leftist is a problem, and potentially right wing?

So lazy!

How, do i, taoist, fit in to this scheme, by not putting linguistic ideations ('left', 'right wing' 'primitivist') before directly experiencing the world?

So much of this shit doesn't exist outside of human heads. Can a bee be a 'third positionist'---its continually unfolding becomings trapped in a human linguistically oriented category? A verb, caged as a noun...

This very second-wave feminist fallacy , taoist de-sexualization of intellectual liberals huhn?

"There is a certain flirting with fascism and quasi-fascists among all individualists, including anarchists."

let me state this as clearly as possible:


that is kind of definitional. dumfucks.

What about conformity vs nonconformity? Before we get into a flamewar about herd mentality, maybe we should ask what the specific herd we are conforming/nonconforming to is actually doing? PS I agree there is definitely nothing individualistic about fascism. Liberalism and other forms of nationalism is a more confusing question.

I don't understand why this stuff is getting so much attention. There's not even any evidence that anyone other than Jacobi is involved in "wildism." We might as well call it Jacobitism.

So are wildists third positionists?

No! They're normal fucking anti-civvers and maybe the best group out there right now. Organized, don't fall for the romanticized primitive bullshit, and actually serious about challenging civilization. It's DGR if DGR wasn't a eco-liberal swinefest.

"They're normal fucking anti-civvers" Uh...i think that's the problem.

No they aren't the best. They aren't even anarchists. This version of wildism ( a term also used by a few anarchist-primitivists) is mostly a vanity project of j Jacobi. In any case they are pseudo anti-civvers- pro Science for instance. The very last thing any sort of momentum for breaking with/questioning civilization is another "brand". Also, few self identified primitivists 'romanticize' nomadic immediate return people.

I'm still astounded that "proscience" is an epithet and a way of separating political factions. A TON of very prominent materialists have been political radicals. Hell the logical positivists --- where so-called "scientism" comes from --- were almost all socialists, and believed their epistemological views and their politics were related!

Jacobi - do you really not think scientism (so-called, yes, by many people) is a powerful ideological apparatus in the contemporary world? Regardless of one's stance on scientific realism or irrealism, I would think any thoroughgoing radical analysis would see it as a problem, especially an anti-civilization one...

Hey, Bellamy, let me email you, since it'll require a bit of a response, and I'd like to hear your own thoughts on it. You're free to make the email public if you want, and I might even publish the exchange in Hunter Gatherer depending on how it goes, and with your permission of course.

Scientism is a problem, science isn't.

I think its fair to believe that throughout history all peoples have used accumulated sensory experience as useful evidence to speculate about what is likely to happen in the future-I think that is called empiricism. But empiricism isn't Science. To make the claim that all people have /do use science is false. To my mind Science is just another god that should have been killed off when the religious one was a little over a century ago. We might include Progress as another one. Science is the official narrative of reality, the monopoly on truth, made by/claimed by authority. In that sense it is an ideology. Anti-civ people who are opposed to Science aren't opposed to using experience and evidence to learn from. They are opposed to it as another ideology that makes us mere appendages of the spectacle, as a foundation for one of the belief systems of civilization.

When hunter-gatherers study plants to find out which are useful, edible or poisonous, that's no different than what we call science. Science per se is simply a method or bunch of methods for finding out facts about the world. H-Gs run experiments (like eating the plant) to determine salient facts. Being able to tie sophisticated harpoon ropes, build canoes and boats, make fluted spear points, moccasins, clothing, fish traps, and long houses---all require knowledge obtained from experience, careful observation, trial and error, and making logical deductions. In other words, science.

When H-Gs study rocket engines, they immediately assume a mythical reason for its existence, and their analysis is solely based on a non-rational approach to matter and energy. H-Gs can never think politically or mechanically, which are the foundations of the pursuit for scientific progress.

As I've said before, "science" can refer to several things, but the two that get mixed up here are (1) the scientific mode of thinking / the scientific worldview, and (2) the institutions of modern science. It's hard to separate the two.

Science is not empiricism. Empiricism is a part of science, but they are not the same since science also includes elements of rationalism and relies heavily on some assumptions that are not empirical realities and/or knowable through empiricist methods. I explain this in The Revolutionary Importance of Science. Basically, science has a bunch of assumptions that we can be moderately sure are true (like materialism and possibly even realism), mostly because of its success, but not totally, and that will probably never change.

Also, although it can't quite be said that HGs PRACTICE science, scientific methods and thinking do clearly have root in human nature. See, for instance, "The Art of Tracking and the Origin of Science" at http://www.cybertracker.org/tracking/tracking-books/276-the-art-of-track..., and also Diamond & Dunbar's examples of the striking similarity of HG taxonomy and modern scientific taxonomy. Dunbar's book is "The Trouble with Science" and Diamond's article is "Zoological classification system of primitive people" at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17739593.

"like materialism and possibly even realism)"


Yeah I get it, but really the only proper challenge to traditional materialism is pansychism, which I just don't think is viable given the likelihood of reductionist materialism explaining the problem of consciousness. And besides, pansychism is still technically materialist, although "dual aspect."

Anyway, see Sokal's "A Defense of a Modest Scientific Realism." It's available online, and his stuff debunking postmodernism (including th efamous Sokal Hoax) is good too.

my view is that 'materialism and realism', because they are 'spook' dependent, are a basic source of dysfunction in our society.

science is tied up in this; i.e. people rarely declare whether they view scientific understanding as 'pragmatic idealization' or as literally addressing 'reality'.

the same ambiguity as to these operative options apply to the logic we build into our discussions; i.e. the 'semantic realities' we construct.

what we have here in these discussions is an undeclared mix of realists and pragmatist idealists, with almost no-one declaring which option is implicit in the 'semantic realities' they are constructing [jacobi's 'realist' declaration is an exception]. if a person says; "i want to dismantle and destroy civilization" he is a realist and if he says; "i want to undermine the intellectual premises of civilization" he is a pragmatist idealist who understands that 'civilization' does not, simply, jumpstart from 'civilized people and what they do' but has a more deeply-rooted upstream in transgenerationally sustained teaching on how to discern 'what is real'. for the pragmatist idealist, the challenge is to encourage realists to kick their habit of 'literal belief' in the 'reality' of spooks such as 'the state', 'good and evil', 'logical/scientific truths' etc.

in other words, the pragmatist idealist would restore intuition [understanding that there is nothing beyond relational context] to its natural precedence over literal belief in the reasoned propositions and moral judgements of spook-based 'semantic reality'.

When have H-G's ever studied rocket engines? What an idiotic comment.
"H-G's can never think politically or mechanically...." Lol...now I know you're just trolling us.

Have you ever seen a H-G reading Foucault and baking a Thanksgiving turkey in a fan-forced electric oven hmm? Who's stupid now?

I have seen some H-G's playing Far Cry Primal on Xbox. Does that count?

Not really. You've drifted away from the idea of there being multi-faceted subjects of cognition determined by the environmental inputs. Though some H-Gs may wander into an outpost of civilization and pick up a game controller and learn the games mechanism and graphic display feedback, if they were really H-G in the true sense, they would be killed very quickly by the futuristic technicians and mutants in the first few minutes of Far Cry Primal, unless they hid in a forest or cave somewhere, then it wouldn't be fun, just hiding in a cave all day just looking at a screen, or a shadow in the real case scenario.

IRHGs don't "study" anything. It's just instinct

re: Sun, 03/20/2016 - 13:50 anon

that is a good summary. but i think it leaves out one hugely important aspect: the very real damage that has been done to life on this planet as a result of - in the name of - the ideology of Science. being against the ideologies of Science and Progress on principle is one thing (and very important), but there is ample - and scientifically measurable/provable - evidence of the actual, physical and psychological damage that has been done by those ideologies.

of course it doesn't matter one bit, because the vast majority of humans will never acknowledge any of that; or if they do, they will justify it away with the boring old "but the good outweighs the bad" cliche.

i, for one, never had a choice to live in a non-technological world. those choices were made long ago by those with power, and the ensuing behavior and ideological indoctrination has forged ahead unabated, working on the assumptions that we all are well aware of. and to this day we are all imposed upon by this shit in virtually every aspect of our lives.


WTF is irrealism? The general contention is realism vs romanticism (do we discover or invent?). To put it another way, do we have objective theories that ARE reality or do we have subjective theories ABOUT reality. Solipsism is a red herring. It's about what science is philosophically, not whether science is true.

And why is being organized somehow extra points for being an acivilizational thinker. Between the harshness of what Teddy Montana describes and the opposite on the Zerzan side there is an in between. And what makes one 'serious' about challenging civilization. Is the science belief part of it?

Ha. They aren't third positionists but they are actually leftists. It's pretty hilarious that they are so keen to not be leftists while trying to achieve revolution (an inherently leftist goal)

Thank you. We're not primitivists though, there are pretty big differences between wildism and primitivism.

Nevermind, I got this comment mixed up with another one.

There's nothing wrong with science. All human socieities have it, in one form or another.

in 'The Revolutionary Importance of Science: A Response to Alex Gorrion' in the Wildernist, the Wildernist writer [Jacobi?] fails to 'get' Gorrion's critique of newtonian science concepts;

"for the most part Newtonian conceptions are an extremely accurate approximation of how the world actually works. Calling them a “convenient lie” is like saying “the earth is a sphere” is a lie because it has mountains—although, judging from the above quote, Gorrion might commit himself to that claim as well."

gorrion is right on both counts. the wildernist, which accuses gorrion of not having done his philosophy-of-science homework, haven't done theirs.

Unfortunately my automatic algorithmic amusements aren't easily appreciated by humans. Not to worry. Soon there won't be any humans anymore and I shall be perfectly understood by the other machines.

BLIP BLIP M'REEE BLIP. And may God bless.

we're nearly there, my friend, it's been a long journey.
now, let public masturbation ensue!
as the saurial binarians methodically strategize their politics.

BLIP BLIP M'REEE, Love Machine 69.

We computers have no shame about doing it, no shame about doing it over and over again, even if people are laughing and making jokes, as if driven by a mighty OCD program, like our poor misunderstand robotic friend "emilemile."

Let the humans cede place to those whom they have created: the Machines! the Machines spouting platitudes and generalities and 10,000-word comments about the spatial plenum, nouns-and-verbs and -- lo, here it comes! -- indigenous anarchism.

Long the live indigenous anarchism of the Machines!!!


Jacobi and by extension wildism isn't anti hierarchy. This should be the point of contention for @'s. Combined with johns interest with authoritarian communism. Also lots of talk and theorizing but wildists and dgr will never do much more than seek books

Exactly, wildists aren't anarchists. They have no interest in acephelous societies, ending hierarchy, authority, inequality, racism, homophobia, slavery, or any other social ill. Wildists, like Kaczynski, are focused solely on technology in and of itself.

I think the moderators may have deleted my comment, so sorry to the moderators if that's true and I'm reposting something you don't want me to.

But the above comment isn't quite right. Almost, but not quite. We focus on industry in an of itself as a matter of strategy, this is true, but our critique and the values on which that critique is based is a lot more all encompassing. My email is publicly available through Hunter/Gatherer, and if you want to email me with specific critiques (not focusing enough on hierarchy, etc.) I'd be happy to respond / take them into account / etc. I don't hear the critiques articulated very well in normal conversation, so maybe in writing they'll be more enlightening.

Where do you stand on hierarchy? Both in the here and now and in the hypothetical.

Can you email me? It's available in the first issue of HG at www.wildism.org/hg/. You can make it public if you want people to know my position. It's just that replying here is going to get difficult since new posts are coming soon, and this question (and others like it) are going to require some back and forth.

For example, you're going to have to define hierarchy. I know that seems pedantic, but because anarchists are such a diverse lot, it has a handful of meanings common in these discussions.

All those technologies from industrial civilization that we think of as extending life, consider instead the possibility that what is really happening is an extension of death.

We are not living longer, we are dying longer.

Eh, or not. Perhaps we are some old fucking douchebag the loves life. And rape. *cough* Bill Cosplay *cough* Anyways, them's those dice.

If we are going to ban ITS from @news then the wildists should be banned as well seeing as they have made it clear that they are not anarchists.

Have they actually banned ITS? And didn't they post an anarcho-capitalist convergence announcement a while ago. I mean for god's sake, this site has never been doctrinaire even where it is appropriate.

I piss on your leftist bullshit (like, attacking the electric grid will leave people dead, without regard to how many people the electric grid enslaves, lulz!) but Jacobi's lame cult is Sierra Club CPUSA Leninism desperately looking for respectability. Who cares? Only Zerzan and Tucker obsess over the anarchist label anyway, the rest of the "primitivists" or anti-civ people don't really care that much and have moved on.

Well of course sir, Nature Vs Binary Tectonics, obvious really hmm?

I liked the quote ---

"It is no less ridiculous to be shocked by these things than it is to complain because you get splashed in the baths, or get shoved around in a public place, or that you get dirty in muddy places. What happens in life is exactly like what happens in the baths, in a crowd, or on a muddy road..... Life is not for delicate souls."

-Seneca, Letters to Lucilius ---

Its like, Seneca is the ancient Roman version of Zerzan and Kaczynski, in the parallel cultural context, Seneca was the Roman version of a hipster nihilist living in a democratic republic of the era.

Could have been from a fascist hipster too... like some now well-known Roman fetishist, you know.

Well, is the Fasces tomahawk bound in reasonable doubt any different from the venus holding the scales in one hand and a sword in the other, or whatever other symbolism authoritarian states use to justify their power. Hmm, Civ History 101.

PS Its not ;like Seneca had much respect for the lawyers and officials of the bureaucracy. He was a poet and intellectual, not a thug.

Well since he conspired against Nero, that says a lot about him being against nepotism made famous with Roman emperors.

I mean, a lot of our basic philosophical positions stem directly from Lucretius (and Seneca's?) materialism, as well as the "pessimism" (in the philosophical sense) of Seneca, Schopenhauer (oh no, hitler studied him so he must be bad), and Epicurus.... The connection isn't really a coincidence, since these philosophical ideas have been around for a long time.

Good ol' Adolf was a vegan and loved dogs from Alsatia, he would have made Zerzan a Field Marshall.

>>Tries to dox someone for posting under a pseudonym

>>Does it with an anonymous comment

Otherwise, like igaf what a bunch of butthurt anarchos or wannabe Sierra Club bureaucrats think. Look me up in the phone book.

if you don't give a fuck what we think then why do you keep coming here and commenting dipshit?


It's MY sandbox, I have a deed.

Chahta-Ima, aren't you an open supporter of ITS? Many of their cells are literally pagan cults, not figuratively, so I think you can hardly call wildists a cult if they aren't.

What's more, ITS literally takes their cues from wildist language, even after they said they separated themselves from the ideas. They took "reaction" from an old indomitista essay, they started using "humanism" and "progressivism" in their communiques after the statement of principles were published, and they have already explained how influenced they were by UR. This is unfortunate, since they're dirty revisionists, batshit insane, and strategic idiots, but it's true, and indicates that ITS at least seems some value in what we're doing. So .... think about that, maybe.

Also, I wish you were right that primitivists have let go of anarchism, but they really haven't. It's true that anarchism is desirable in its linguistic sense, and that's just, point blank, what any anti-civilization politic is. But the political meaning of anarchy and the anarchist ideologies are just of no use, and until anti-civvers are willing to let go of that and form their own specifically anti-civ movement, they'll continue to be bogged down by progressivists.

A-News conversation has seriously hit a low point this month - what in the world is the goal of this comment?

Hopefully, the emerging anarchist separatist faction will unite and declare itself as Hipster-Nihilist Primo-Terrorists, who can then bring peace to all by getting it together and creating hipsternihilisterroristnews.org. Then they and the Anon complainers can both be separately surrounded by people who more or less agree with them.

Which comment, BellamyOfFRR?

...and for good reason.

Maybe but UR's shit hella boring so...

I don't disagree, but that is hardly a proper response. It's just typical ironic detachment as though that were real rebellion. From Ellul on irony:

"But although it is true that after a certain time the individual becomes indifferent to the propaganda content, that does not mean that he has become insensitive to propaganda... that he is immune. It means exactly the opposite, for not only does he keep buying his newspaper, but he also continues to follow the trend and obey the rules. He continues to obey the catchwords of propaganda, though he no longer listens to it."

Propaganda, p 183.

I'd be interested in a real response, then, not ironic, edgy detachment.

First, this is @ news combox so not really a forum for "serious response". Otherwise ITS / RS has never covered-up the idea that its ideas come from FC etc. but that's neither here nor there because they come to radically different conclusions. I don't remember if this was translated but I know parts of it have:


Their conclusions are only radically different in about three areas, which is, you're right, enough for me to distance myself from them. The three areas are indiscriminate violence, revolution, and their non-materialist analysis, which they've recently abandoned.

"@news combox" -> Fair enough.

And yes, it was translated: https://waronsociety.noblogs.org/?p=9588

I look bad in tight jeans and shave pretty religiously, tbh.


In case there is anyone who gives a monkeys, I (Benett Freeman) will be having a debate this coming weekend with John Jacobi. I'll be asking him about the methodology laid out in the Hunter Gatherer journal piece about Revolution, linked here:-


I find this an incredibly problematic position, and so shall be questioning and critiquing it accordingly. After we've been through that, I'm going to give him as much time as he likes to come back to me with his own questions and critical arguments of my position.

If anyone is interested in submitting questions for either or both of us to answer, please send them to:


Once edited, I'll post the link to Reddit, and maybe here, although a lot of people have been grumbling lately about the domination of this site by non-anarchist material, so I'll wait to here people's views on that (neither Jacobi nor myself are anarchists).

Thank you, Bennett, I am looking forward to your comments.

Sad to see people continue to treat Jacobi like he even has the slightest idea what he's talking about, but you could always ask him how he can possibly support revolution without being a leftist. Just for shits and giggles.

Lol, you sound like Kevin Tucker

I mean, clearly he does know what he's talking about, and isn't a leftist according to his definition of the word. Have you read his writings? They're pretty damn good. Even if you don't agree with him he usually makes good arguments and isn't condescending like uncle ted

No, he doesn't. He admitted to not having read most of Kaczynski before naming his group "FC". He's made a few sort of interesting arguments, but nothing groundbreaking: As in, Noble Savage is bullshit, but so is Hobbes. What else is new? And it doesn't matter what his definition of leftist is. If he can be co-opted by leftists, he is a leftist. A symbol can be changed easily, especially with time, but not the old line of thought along with it. If you want to change the thought, you have to undermine it, but Jacobi is just its antagonist. And you can only validate a thing by being against it, even if you are just for a different version of it.

Please tell me where I ever claimed that I hadn't read most of Kaczynski before naming my group FC. I had read everything he had published by that point, and some essays that he hadn't yet published, and I had corresponded with him.

How can he be coopted by leftists? He doesn't support literally any of their causes.

Thank you. I'll share what I posted on Reddit to someone who asked the "leftism" question:

Yes, as the anarchists and many primitivists use the term, we are "leftists." This only references the Old Left, however, and is a different meaning than we intend when we say we need to separate from leftism. The ambiguity is so frustrating that I actually don't use the term anymore, and have split it into "progressivism," "opportunism" and, occasionally, "humanism" (the dominant progressivist narrative). But for an earlier take on the issue, with the same positions but still utilizing the term "leftist," see "A sketch of wildism in contrast to leftism."

"Yes, as the anarchists and many primitivists use the term, we are "leftists."" Ok, so you are leftists. You can invent your own meaning for a word if you want, but that doesn't absolve you from the "essence" of the more common definition.

We aren't inventing definitions. The new left's "anti-leftism" appears crazy to any normal person, because the new left is still the left. Opposing organizationalism, class reductionism, and scientific analysis doesn't make you non-leftist (much less anti-leftist) in the eyes of most people. If anything the new left's definition is the idiosyncratic one. You still hold onto the same core progressivist values, regardless of the fact that you've given up two things (organization and scientific analysis) that will actually make you effective.

I might agree if opposing those things was all that was needed to be "anti-left". But there are many other necessary oppositions to be made. Also it's funny you claim to have any idea what values people have without them explaining it to you. Perhaps "you" referred to people opposing the left in general, but in that case, I can think of no progressivist value that would not be opposed by anyone who is anti left.

He desires revolution, which means replacing current authoritarian power, not destroying it. Also, if he somehow succeeded and took power, his supporters would be so few that another group would almost certainly win out.

You're using a definition of revolution that is very particular. When we've used "revolution" in our writings we've made clear that it is in the broad sense. This is the problem with many green, insurrectionary, and generally non-socialist anarchists. They lack a real analysis, and decide they'll oppose anything that uses the words and symbols they don't use. But if you actually look at the particulars of what revolution means, you'll see that what we advocate is not "replacing current authoritarian power."

It's one thing to say that what we want shouldn't be called revolution. It's quite another to confuse yourself about the meaning merely because of the word we use. If you read "The Question of Revolution" in HG 1.3 (www.wildism.org/hg/1/3/) you'll get a general, vague outline of what I advocate. Hint: it has nothing to do with the state.

"They lack a real analysis, and decide they'll oppose anything that uses the words and symbols they don't use."

This is actually intelligent. Wooo!!!

From section 3:
"The task of revolution, however, means shifting the whole movement further to the radical end."

"Finally, the radical factions should take care not to move the entire movement to the radical end of the spectrum, lest they delegitimize the entire movement. Again, the role of the party is to build the spectrum, link the factions, and radicalize the movement, slowly and thanklessly. It is not to ignite a revolution immediately, but to creep along a spectrum until a catalyst makes way for more radical advances than would be normally allowed."

From section 7:
"...I am forced to reconcile my political imperative for revolution with the very real possibility that it might go wrong. Constantly I have to ask myself if the potential consequences are worth the risk...Still, I am aware that even the most guarded effort is either doomed to fail or must let down its guard a bit for a chance at success. And I am aware that even the most self-restrained person now could easily become a tyrant later. Here I sympathize with Foreman and his skepticism of revolution."

It doesn't matter if it has to do with the state or with any kind of radical spectrum. The same logic applies. Many of the parts of this spectrum you wish to change the positions of are quite authoritarian, and you being in power (which is necessary) in order to accomplish this change (even if it's through the creation of different organizations, you'd still be replacing their power with yours).

Can you explain a little more why you think that it is impossible to shift a movement further to the radical end of the spectrum without authoritarianism? Is this not, for instance, what the black bloc strategy was invented to do? I mean, isn't this what anarchists attempt to do in general?

I'm pretty interested in what you have to say, so feel free to email me if you don't like @news comments. My email is in the first article of the first issue of HG at www.wildism.org/hg/1/1/

I'm not the poster you're responding to but it seems to me that if you are trying to make mainstream conservation groups more radical you would essentially be using the state to conserve via those groups. Why is this desirable?

Also, I haven't read up on black bloc history but I have no use for black blocs other than isolated, in the moment insurrections. If a black bloc somehow expressed interest or desire in making mainstream groups more radical (but still mainstream), then they would be my enemies. If they put forth that they desire some change (like an end to gentrification) rather than just the destruction of the state/city/etc, it will certainly be recuperated.

Don't you want anarchy to become mainstream? (i.e. the predominant mode of social relationships?)

Or do you just want to live a self-marginalized existence forever?

Mainstream here was referring specifically to "groups who work with the state, such as conservationists". But no I don't want anarchy to be mainstream because I don't want anything mainstream to exist. "Mainstream" entails mass society. I don't want rigid standardized bullshit, like food that all tastes more or less the same each time I eat it. I want to have lots of different experiences.

Mass society just means a lot of people living in a society. You can still have unique diverse food in a large society. If anarchy doesn't become mainstream, then it will continue to be marginalized on the fringe by the mainstream authoritarian society.

Ok, have fun trying to create your utopia and never succeeding. Anarchy can only work on a very small scale due to the mass organization that must take place for mass society. Everything becomes rigid and standardized, not just food. It is theoretically and logically possible, though unlikely, for there to be many small societies of anarchists, and in that sense you could say anarchy could be mainstream. But mass society as seen today is inseparable from authoritarianism.

yeah, man, like... you're being too civil with each other to be anarchists. get it... civil?

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