You don’t have to like us, but you do have to deal with us (Or, Why your Anarcho-Stinkpieces are Shit)

Note: Just some angry thoughts, nothing spectacular. I was thinking the other day about all of the hit-jobs written against eco-extremism and decided to throw up some quick thoughts about it.

I’ve been around the tendency for some time now and have dedicated a lot of my time to it so I have seen a fair share of the moral outrage surrounding eco-extremism. And the orchestrated stinkpieces from anarcho-collectives are as old as eco-extremism itself. The collective letting of outrage over transgressions of such sanctified matters as the attacks on the “innocent,” the depravity of violence, the rejection of the glorious revolution, solidarity with the elect classes of the oppressed, blah fucking blah. The editor of Atassa, normally reserved to their work as a memelord and theoretician of matters more dignified than the screeching of anarchists, recently went so far as to put out a piece addressing some of the more frequent and inane questions that have come up surrounding the activities of ITS and eco-extremism as of late, it can be found here (Also I’m reminded of the takedown of that stupid IGD piece). Maldición Eco-extremista was also gracious enough to offer further clarification here.

But Atassa’s refutation of the inane aside, as well as the countless others that ITS and Co. have somehow had the patience to produce, it remains the case that all the noise and fury that anarchists have spit up onto the interwebs in their virtuous fits of vitriol over the last couple of years of eco-extremist activity invariably amount to self-righteous, moralizing piles of shit. It is boring, tiresome, vacuous sound which despite its great show says nothing. I mean, personally these stinkpieces would be just a bit more interesting were it the case that there was at least a shred of critical engagement with what it is that eco-extremism actually asks one to consider. But no, instead we get the old leftist tactic of doubling down in the face of opposition. Progressivism, humanism, and its ilk are like a stupid child with its hands over its ears screaming to keep the sound out, only to scream louder with each contradiction of its delusions. And so we get the same repetitions of the same hopeless progressive left-humanist fantasies that have gone unfulfilled now for more than a hundred years.

But I might ask, be honest with yourselves for a moment. The progressive project lives or dies on those hopes and dreams. It lives on that ever-so human rejection of the beauty of the world that already lies before it. In place of the grand beauty of the whole it sees only a world which is in some way fundamentally and irredeemably fallen. And from this fallen world it conjures stories of a salvation in a dream-world beyond the immanent. A world of human flourishing, equality, peace, love, et al. And it cannot let these dreams go for fear of falling apart entirely. But you see, these progressive dreams and their telos (this goes for anarchists, communists, et al.) cannot survive in a heart which has opened itself to the life beyond the dream-worlds of men and seen the emptiness and vanity of “progress.” It has opened its eyes to see that the tales of the fall and of a better world beyond this one are only a lie. It sees that “the good” is already before us in the earth, in that final indomitable reality, in all its grace but also in all its terrible ferocity, for the light and the dark are one with the life of the whole. As Jeffers has put it, “The world’s God is treacherous and full of unreason; a torturer, but also / The only foundation and the only fountain.”

And so the pessimist, nihilist, inhumanist strains of eco-extremism are the nightmares which haunt those dreams which constitute the foundations of the entire humanist and progressive ideal. The child squirms at the monsters that come in the night, creeping into the shadows of his dreams to terrorize him and rip apart his most cherished fantasies. And he kicks and screams and wakes from his sleep, shivering, into that dark and merciless world in a cold sweat.

And so I would only say to you that you don’t have to like eco-extremism. I get it. It’s uncomfortable to have someone plunge the cold steel of a blade into the heart of your dreams. But your own petty discomforts with eco-extremism aside, I am sorry to tell you that you will still have to deal with us. We aren’t going away. Because we are not merely a gang of violent criminals that destroy and kill in the name of the earth or just a loose collective of edgy writers on the internet. Beyond our own individualities what we represent, what manifests itself through this tendency, is as timeless as the world itself. That eternal darkness, the ineffable, writhing chaos at work in the heart of the world. Men, when they had not forgotten the ways of the earth, had spoken of us since they first told of the world in their stories. In the tales of the darker gods. For we are also one with the gods that bring the fires devouring homes in British Columbia, for we are also one with the gods that bring the creeping oceans set to devour the dwellings of men built in arrogance on top of the old swamps, for we are also one with the gods that bring furious winds which descend from heaven to rip apart the houses of men in great tornadoes.

As individualists in this disgusting Leviathan we are those in the old stories that have made pacts with the dark gods. Seeing the desecration of all that is beautiful to us we have sided with the world-eaters rather than the empty promises of man and his works. And so eco-extremism is more than a thorn in the side of your stupid political projects or a group of “problematic” psychopaths. It is a message from the dark, manifestations of those sinister and primordial energies of the world which are older than even man himself. And so should the sound of the last eco-extremist bomb go quiet, should the last words uttered from out of the tendency be forgotten, you will still have to deal with us. All the noblest proclamations by your anarchist collectives the world over will not save you.

Sokaksin

 

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Rethinking Violence: Against Instrumentalism

I was having a conversation the other day and the topic of bombings came up, much to my excitement I will admit. The conversation eventually wound its way into a discussion on the motivations of bombings and beyond this into a discussion of extremist violence in general. As the conversation unfolded and afterward as the thoughts continued to ferment in my mind I started to see that there is a deeply rooted instrumentalism in our modern attitudes toward violence. How many times have we seen people crying “Why? What was the point of this?” after some shooting, some bombing, etc.? Lamenting the apparent mindlessness of the violence, for it served no conceivable ends. And it seemed to me as I continued to dwell on this point that our deeply rooted instrumentalist perspective is one of the causes of discomfort with regard to the manner in which much of the violence related to eco-extremist action unfolds.

As noted, there is a great degree of discomfort surrounding acts of violence which are not somehow justified by recourse to some larger progressive aim, message, or context within which the violence is cleansed and made pure, baptized and made suitable to our modern sensibilities. We are afraid of violence which is not enacted in the service of a “higher good.” For example you see this commonly in anarchist circles when they engage in LARPing about their glorious anarchist revolution (still waiting on that, btw). Whenever violence is discussed here it is always with a sense of that oh-so particular hyper-civilized squeamishness and apprehension surrounding violence. And so the vulgarity and depravity of violence is only made “pure and good” in their eyes by recourse to its revolutionary necessity in suppressing counter-revolutionary forces or whatever, in its necessity in ushering in the kingdom of solidarity, equality, and whatever other new anarcho-catchphrase will be realized in the revolution.

The reason that eco-extremist violence makes people uncomfortable, or one of many, is that in its blatant disregard for “means-and-ends” calculations it is so vehemently anti-instrumental. A very illuminating example was the bombing of the Codelco official (partly because the extremity of the attack is an even more clear expression of the point). Though as an aside, one could easily find numerous examples in any number of communiques which recount their exploits or in the hronologies published in various issues of Regresión Magazine. But to continue: After such a monumental attack ITS did not release some kind of communique demanding that Landerretche step down as the chair of Codelco. ITS did not release some kind of communique demanding some series of policy changes to make Codelco’s rape of the earth a bit more gentle. Rather the attack on Landerretche is the embodiment of an animus delendi unleashed as a response from the dark abysses of the earth itself. In their own words:

“This attack was not a political act. Politics do not interest us. We are rabidly anti-political individuals. We don’t give a shit about social struggles and their leaders. We shit on the citizenry and the people who are accomplices to the techno-industrial system. We don’t aim to denounce Codelco with this attack. We don’t want them to start using electric trucks or solar panels. We don’t want them to dump slightly less toxic waste. We don’t want them to be socially responsible with regards to the environment. None of that. […] This was an attack of Wild vengeance, in the name of the Earth that dies because of human progress.”– Twenty-First Communique of the Individualists Tending Toward the Wild

Against this progressive, instrumentalist attitude of violence is the anti-instrumentalist release of violent forces, a form of “total-war” channeling the indiscriminate power and violence of the earth itself. Eco-extremist violence (as I have understood and felt an affinity for it) has always had elements of this embodiment, this shamanistic approach of channeling the spirit world and its primordial energies that sets a primal chaos upon the phantasms men have wrought upon the earth. These acts are the messages of the earth sent on the wings of dark angels to remind men of their smallness before that indomitable and primordial abyss, a confrontation with that ever-present wildness which refuses all of mens machinations with the blast of a bomb and torn flesh. Even in its deployment of violent attack against its enemies eco-extremism continues to situate itself vehemently against modern techno-industrial civilization in all of its forms, down to the very form of war itself.

It should be noted that I write this as a person who was once, if not opposed, then at least skeptical of the eco-extremist approach to violence. When I first encountered the work of the tendency my reactions were not unlike some of the responses which questioned the efficacy and purpose of the actions which eco-extremists engaged in, even if I found a deep affinity with the spirit which was motivating the actions. At that point I was coming from a much more orthodox Kaczynskian perspective which approached attack from a much more modern, instrumental, militaristic approach. This seems to be the approach/perspective that colors much of our thoughts on “waging war,” on the purpose and aims of violent attack.

But the eco-extremist position offered and continues to demonstrate a stark counterpoint against our more modern understandings of the place and role of violence and our conceptions of war. The eco-extremist war, unlike that of, say, the more instrumental and militaristic approach of Kaczynski inspired eco-radicals, is the embodiment of a form of primal violence and a state of total-war which mirrors the violence of nature itself. The eco-extremist form of war is a coherent continuation and enactment of their anti-modernism, anti-progressivism, anti-humanism, and the like. Its war spits on the hallowed decrees of law and order which are imposed even on the forms of violence which are seen as acceptable in the eyes of the hyper-civilized. In place of the rules of engagement of men it offers only the natural law, primal violence.

Sokaksin

Oso and the Wild God


The aftermath of the Oso mudslide, three years later. 


At 10:37AM on the morning of March 22, 2014, an unstable hillside about 4 miles east of the town of Oso in Washington state gave way. The slide unleashed an avalanche of mud, trees, and rock which flowed over the North fork of the Stillaguamish River and covered one square mile of the valley beneath the Whitman Bench land terrace which rises 800ft above the valley below. In the earthy wake of the Oso mudslide were 49 destroyed homes, over a hundred missing persons, and what would eventually total 43 dead civilians.

There is some controversy about the degree to which some tangential logging in the area added to the likelihood of the Oso mudslide, but there is also a large degree of agreement that the mudslide was, if not inevitable, perfectly natural. Which is to say that there is no scapegoat to point to, no “cause” about careless “land management” to rally behind. Only the merciless reality of this wild earth and the full display of its power. What happened in Oso was simply an act of wild nature in the purest sense of the term.

Much of the hillside in Oso and the surrounding areas are left over from glacial deposits created as glaciers moved through the area during the last ice age. These hillsides are inherently unstable given their composition. As a result, throughout history and most certainly prior even to the invention of logging, landslides have been a common feature of the landscape, an intrinsic part of the natural processes by which this region has been shaped over countless thousands of years.

As soon as three years after the landslide one sees that things have simply followed the natural course of things. The freshly exposed soil from the slide has given way to the growth of new plant life. The river has settled back into its course as the temporary flood plain that emerged after the slide has settled. The only signs that civilization was ever here are the flagpoles which mark memorial sites and one lone house which has been left abandoned.

I will admit that looking out across the landscape and taking in the aftermath of the mudslide is, humbling, to say the least. It is a reminder of my smallness on the earth. It is a reminder of the indomitable strength of wild nature. It is a reminder of the hubris of man and the ultimate emptiness of all of his idols and his endeavors before the power of the earth.

As Jeffers has put it in his poem Hurt Hawks, The wild God of the world is sometimes merciful to those / That ask mercy, not often to the arrogant.” And there is indeed a certain defiance, an arrogance, a stupidity in building one’s dwellings in the pathways of the fury of the gods. The earth cares little for the aspirations of some ambitious primate and the pretensions of his decadence is rightly met with death and destruction at the hands of wild nature. But this wild nature, this wild earth, this merciless wild god of the world is also the one reality that we have.

Standing before the devastation of Oso is a reminder of that final, insurmountable reality, and of our place in that grand transhuman world. Certainly it is brutal, it is callous, but within and inseparable from this brutality is also beauty, integrity, wholeness. One might even venture to talk of a certain salvation, a deliverance from our condition as hyper-civilized Man, or a remembrance of what it might mean to understand our “humanity,” but conceived as one being among the webs of myriad things, and not in terms of the solipsistic stupidity of modern Man. On the wild god of the world Jeffers again writes:

“The world’s God is treacherous and full of
unreason; a torturer, but also
The only foundation and the only fountain.
Who fights him eats his own flesh and perishes
of hunger; who hides in the grave
To escape him is dead; who enters the Indian
Recession to escape him is dead; who falls in
love with the God is washed clean
Of death desired and of death dreaded”

From, “Birth-Dues”

Sokaksin

Lessons of the Fir and the Glory of the Inhuman

“I cry trying to finish off my domestication, breaking the bonds of useless relationships, launching headlong into a war against civilization and its slaves.” – I and Afterwards I

In the yard of the house where I live there stands the ancient marrow and weather-worn bones of a great Douglas Fir. Prior to the arrival of the logging industry in this region of the United States in the early 20th century there were vast swaths of old-growth forests along the entire coast. By some estimates, as much as half of the forests at that time consisted of these unimaginably complex, ancient places, the likes of which will probably never be beheld again by human eyes. In these forests the Douglas Fir, Western Red Cedar, Sitka Spruce, Hemlock, and others were the towering giants that loomed over the great life of the under-story, rich in plant and animal life. Many of these forests would have been untold thousands of years old and the trees in them many hundreds or even thousands of years old as well.

Walking through the forests where I live one can still find the faintest echoes of this primal life of the forest in the ancient stumps left over from the early logging rounds. Many of the largest remnants have the characteristic notches cut into their sides from the makeshift scaffolding which allowed loggers to climb high enough up these great trees to be able to find a place where their saws could cut. The Douglas Fir in the yard where I live bears these same scars.

But this piece isn’t really about these ancient forests, or really even about the tragedy of what has been lost by their destruction, though it seems to me that it is surely cause for great sadness, among other things. It is mostly a reflection on the personal experience that I have in recognizing, by the presence of that ancient tree, that I too bear the blood of the forest on my hands at the same time as I feel a deep opposition to the world which has spilled the blood of these great places, and how one might understand and respond to this tension from an eco-extremist perspective. Continue reading

“Confronting your Domestication” and “Rewilding”


“Rewilding” at the Fort Mims Massacre


“May I ask how you confront your own domestication?”

I was asked this question a while back by someone that I have crossed paths with and from the outset it has always struck me as an odd question. It seems to be all the rage among anarcho-primitivist circles to talk about “rewilding” oneself, “confronting one’s own domestication,” reclaiming one’s own “wildness,” and on and on and on. These same people set out on extended camping trips with a few of their buddies to rough it on the back acres of some ranch building primitive shelters, hunting and prepping with primitive weapons and tools and generally kindling fires of the little homunculus of the “IR hunter/gatherer” in their heart. Now, I can’t say that I oppose people going out on extended camping trips, learning primitive skills, getting more deeply in touch with the land that they inhabit, or whatever. I spend a large part of my days, every day lately, walking through the forests near my house and in doing so have come to know the several hundred acres that comprise the nearby park intimately in the time that I’ve lived here. So I can’t be and am not one to cast judgement in that regard. What I do take issue with are the delusions about what it would even mean to “rewild,” to reclaim the life-world of primitive peoples (we can’t, full stop) and the correlative tendency among the “rewilding” crowd too fall too deeply into “LARPing primitive” and in doing so forgetting who and where one actually is.

My response to this question when it was posed to me was essentially, “I don’t.” I did not mean this in a passive sense of simply doing nothing, for even my writing is in some small way an attempt to deal with where and what I am, my own domestication and the world which I feel in my heart that I am so deeply opposed to. I meant this “non-doing” more in the sense of accepting who and what one is, where and when one exists on the wheels of time rather than fighting the reality of one’s circumstances by falling into delusions of rekindling or even recreating that unimaginably complex life and world of the primitive. Man does not and could not exist in a vacuum. He is always turned outside himself, is always a part and product of a time and place. And the primitive was as much a part and product of his world as the modern man is a part and product of his. Who were the Niitsitapi but an extension of the great plains, the thunderstorm over the rolling hills, and the buffalo? In Atassa‘s recent translation of the editorial of Regresión Magazine No. 7 this sentiment was expressed in the grieving of a Sioux chief:

“Soon the sun will rise and will no longer see us here, and the dust and our bones will mix on the plains. As in a vision, I see the flame of the bonfires of the great councils die, and the ashes grow white and cold. I no longer see the spirals of smoke rise from our tents. I don’t hear the songs of the women as they prepare the food. The antelope are gone, the lands of the buffalo are empty. Only the howl of the coyote is heard now. The white man’s medicine is stronger than ours. His iron horse now runs on the paths of the buffalo. The whispering spirit (telephone) speaks to us now. We are like birds with broken wings. My heart is frozen. My eyes extinguish.”

The Sioux, and so many countless other peoples witnessed the death of themselves and the death of their world, and this is one and the same. If one wants to talk about “rewilding” in the anarcho-primitivist sense it cannot be honestly talked about without recognizing that the human being is always located in time and space and is always inextricably tied to that time and space. He can often venture beyond it in the abstract but this is a dream world, and all dreams must come to an end. He must come back to the present, for it is the only reality that he has. The past is always gone and done and the future is the airy nothing of speculation. Only the here and the now have reality. And if this is true then the anarcho-primitivist project of “rewilding,” “reclaiming one’s wildness,” or “confronting one’s domestication” is at best a hackneyed attempt to recreate a kind of idealized theater of dead worlds, delusions, daydreams, nonsense. The anarcho-primtivist will raise the ghosts of the great buffalo, bring life back to the bones of the antelope, bring life back to the ashes of the sacred fires of the Sioux. The Kingdom of the Paleolithic risen again. But this is, of course, a dream. The buffalo have long since returned to The Great Spirit, as have the bones of the antelope. The ashes of the sacred fires were long ago taken by the wind, and even the Sioux themselves have become a people of history.

To talk of “rewilding” and its corollaries in the anarcho-primitivist sense, then, is to talk of nonsense. It is not confront the world as it is. It is to escape into dream worlds where the great webs of the earth have not been ravaged by this civilization. If one is to see with clear eyes, one would have to recognize and accept what we are, which will also entail coming to terms with where and when we are. It would mean to recognize and accept that almost every person that exists today is a part and a product of this monstrous techno-industrial civilization which has and continues to spread its choking tendrils across the face of the earth. Domestication is inscribed in our flesh and we live in the ecological wasteland of modernity. It would mean to recognize that the great worlds of the past are dead and that there is no going back to them, nor is there any realistic prospect of them arising again within mine or any reader’s lifetime. As Jeffers notes in The Stars Go Over the Lonely Ocean “The world is in a bad way, my man / And bound to be worse before it mends.” What we have, and all that we have, is this decadent present in all its monstrousness, the continuing, relentless march of the Leviathan over all that is wild and beautiful. It would mean to accept this present with honesty and respond to that present accordingly, in a way which is in accord with the present. Without entertaining dreams and delusions of a brighter tomorrow when the primitive utopia will have been realized.

Of course, such a stance isn’t the “rewilding” of John Zerzan, Kevin Tucker, and the rest of the anarcho-primitivist underlings. This is the spirit of eco-extremism, its clear-eyed nihilism, its savage attack in this decadent present. From the Seventh Communiqué of ITS:

“The wild can wait no longer. Civilization expands indiscriminately at the cost of all that is natural. We won’t stay twiddling our thumbs, looking on passively as modern man rips the Earth apart in search of minerals, burying her under tons of concrete, or piercing through entire hills to construct tunnels. We are at war with civilization and progress, as well as those who improve or support it with their passivity. Whoever!”

 

Sokaksin

Brief Words on the Violence of Heaven

The violence at the heart of the world is part and parcel of the beauty and the life of the whole. This is the way of things. The world cannot be sustained without this darkness, as it could not be without the light, or the endless play of their interpenetration and mutual determination. This is the truth of the world. In such a world that ineffable grace which brings the berries of summer to the bear has also written the eternal drama of the great elk and the wolves. A life from a death, a death for a life. In this web of myriad beings, in their suffering and their fortune, is the way of the earth and the integrity of the whole. It is easy to see the mutual arising of the whole in the blossoming of spring and the activity of the bees, but even the quaking body of the hare in the tight grip of the coyote’s jaws reflects the beauty of the whole. As Jeffers notes in his poem Fire on the Hills, “Beauty is not always lovely…” The blood on the stones, the sun-bleached bones of the deer, the powerful jaws of the great mountain lion perfect for killing, the cackling of the coyote and the death-shrieks of the hare are the divine. The fierce, indiscriminate violence of eco-extremism is the enactment of this primal, divine violence which does and has always worked in the heart of the world.

Eco-extremism is continuously lambasted by limp-wristed ranks of the hyper-civilized for its apparent “psychopathy” because it dares to enact this primal violence against the artificial order of the Leviathan. To the altar of law and order eco-extremism offers desecration and a blood sacrifice to the wild earth. By refusing to toe the line of humanism and progressivism it situates itself in opposition to everything that techno-industrial civilization (and this also means Man himself) stands for. It is in its very essence opposed to this entire rotten edifice from the “grid” to every hyper-civilized citizen who is just as much the manifestation of civilization as the hydro-electric dam which straight-jackets the life of the river. It refuses to place the empty abstraction of “Man” at the pinnacle of being and attacks with savagery all that which cannibalizes the beauty of the whole for the desolate wasteland of modernity. Eco-extremism is the attack of the fierce-eyed wolf against the domesticated cattle. It is the fury of the grizzly bear against he who would wander with insolence in his kingdom. It is the strength of the buffalo and the broken windows and bent metal against the hyper-civilized who have forgotten the strength and fury of this primal darkness and their place in the great webs of the world, webs within which they remain impotent despite the aggrandizement of their own abstractions.

The order of the earth has been forged over eons through this divine violence. This is the way. From out of it arose the merciless beauty of that transhuman world which man and his techno-industrial society seeks to desecrate for himself. Every bomb blast, every drop of spilled blood is a strike from out of that primal kernel of wildness which remains against the delusions and pretensions of modern man, his civilization, and all that he stands for.

Sokaksin

A New Site

Welcome,

This is a new blog set up by one of the publishers of the now defunct La Manta Mojada, an archive which was dedicated to eco-extremist material. The site was erased by the anarchists over at the Blackblogs collective in their attempt to suppress any and all work associated with the tendency of eco-extremism. We ultimately decided to lay the project of LMM to rest primarily because the work on that site became limited to essentially copying and republishing the work that had been done by Atassa. Those working over at Atassa have done incredible work translating and disseminating material from down south, as well as producing some great homegrown material from the eco-extremist perspective in their journal and in the numerous audio reflections posted by the editor of the Atassa journal.

With that background note out of the way, I’ve set up this blog as an outlet for my own personal writing, reflections, etc.. So stay tuned for those pieces.

Sokaksin