Would Human Extinction Be a Tragedy?

Pertinente artigo de Todd May, um professor de filosofia da Clemson University. Publicado no The New York Times o texto de May planteia a possibilidade da extinção da espécie humana como um fenômeno benéfico ao planeta em face a inimaginável destruição que a humanidade tem causado a terra.

An overgrown lot along Highway 13 near the town of Haleyville, Ala.Credit…William Widmer for The New York Times

There are stirrings of discussion these days in philosophical circles about the prospect of human extinction. This should not be surprising, given the increasingly threatening predations of climate change. In reflecting on this question, I want to suggest an answer to a single question, one that hardly covers the whole philosophical territory but is an important aspect of it. Would human extinction be a tragedy?

To get a bead on this question, let me distinguish it from a couple of other related questions. I’m not asking whether the experience of humans coming to an end would be a bad thing. (In these pages, Samuel Scheffler has given us an important reason to think that it would be.) I am also not asking whether human beings as a species deserve to die out. That is an important question, but would involve different considerations. Those questions, and others like them, need to be addressed if we are to come to a full moral assessment of the prospect of our demise. Yet what I am asking here is simply whether it would be a tragedy if the planet no longer contained human beings. And the answer I am going to give might seem puzzling at first. I want to suggest, at least tentatively, both that it would be a tragedy and that it might just be a good thing.

To make that claim less puzzling, let me say a word about tragedy. In theater, the tragic character is often someone who commits a wrong, usually a significant one, but with whom we feel sympathy in their descent. Here Sophocles’s Oedipus, Shakespeare’s Lear, and Arthur Miller’s Willy Loman might stand as examples. In this case, the tragic character is humanity. It is humanity that is committing a wrong, a wrong whose elimination would likely require the elimination of the species, but with whom we might be sympathetic nonetheless for reasons I discuss in a moment.

To make that case, let me start with a claim that I think will be at once depressing and, upon reflection, uncontroversial. Human beings are destroying large parts of the inhabitable earth and causing unimaginable suffering to many of the animals that inhabit it. This is happening through at least three means. First, human contribution to climate change is devastating ecosystems, as the recent article on Yellowstone Park in The Times exemplifies. Second, increasing human population is encroaching on ecosystems that would otherwise be intact. Third, factory farming fosters the creation of millions upon millions of animals for whom it offers nothing but suffering and misery before slaughtering them in often barbaric ways. There is no reason to think that those practices are going to diminish any time soon. Quite the opposite. Humanity, then, is the source of devastation of the lives of conscious animals on a scale that is difficult to comprehend.

To be sure, nature itself is hardly a Valhalla of peace and harmony. Animals kill other animals regularly, often in ways that we (although not they) would consider cruel. But there is no other creature in nature whose predatory behavior is remotely as deep or as widespread as the behavior we display toward what the philosopher Christine Korsgaard aptly calls “our fellow creatures” in a sensitive book of the same name.

If this were all to the story there would be no tragedy. The elimination of the human species would be a good thing, full stop. But there is more to the story. Human beings bring things to the planet that other animals cannot. For example, we bring an advanced level of reason that can experience wonder at the world in a way that is foreign to most if not all other animals. We create art of various kinds: literature, music and painting among them. We engage in sciences that seek to understand the universe and our place in it. Were our species to go extinct, all of that would be lost.

Now there might be those on the more jaded side who would argue that if we went extinct there would be no loss, because there would be no one for whom it would be a loss not to have access to those things. I think this objection misunderstands our relation to these practices. We appreciate and often participate in such practices because we believe they are good to be involved in, because we find them to be worthwhile. It is the goodness of the practices and the experiences that draw us. Therefore, it would be a loss to the world if those practices and experiences ceased to exist.

One could press the objection here by saying that it would only be a loss from a human viewpoint, and that that viewpoint would no longer exist if we went extinct. This is true. But this entire set of reflections is taking place from a human viewpoint. We cannot ask the questions we are asking here without situating them within the human practice of philosophy. Even to ask the question of whether it would be a tragedy if humans were to disappear from the face of the planet requires a normative framework that is restricted to human beings.

Let’s turn, then, and take the question from the other side, the side of those who think that human extinction would be both a tragedy and overall a bad thing. Doesn’t the existence of those practices outweigh the harm we bring to the environment and the animals within it? Don’t they justify the continued existence of our species, even granting the suffering we bring to so many nonhuman lives?

To address that question, let us ask another one. How many human lives would it be worth sacrificing to preserve the existence of Shakespeare’s works? If we were required to engage in human sacrifice in order to save his works from eradication, how many humans would be too many? For my own part, I think the answer is one. One human life would be too many (or, to prevent quibbling, one innocent human life), at least to my mind. Whatever the number, though, it is going to be quite low.

Or suppose a terrorist planted a bomb in the Louvre and the first responders had to choose between saving several people in the museum and saving the art. How many of us would seriously consider saving the art?

So, then, how much suffering and death of nonhuman life would we be willing to countenance to save Shakespeare, our sciences and so forth? Unless we believe there is such a profound moral gap between the status of human and nonhuman animals, whatever reasonable answer we come up with will be well surpassed by the harm and suffering we inflict upon animals. There is just too much torment wreaked upon too many animals and too certain a prospect that this is going to continue and probably increase; it would overwhelm anything we might place on the other side of the ledger. Moreover, those among us who believe that there is such a gap should perhaps become more familiar with the richness of lives of many of our conscious fellow creatures. Our own science is revealing that richness to us, ironically giving us a reason to eliminate it along with our own continued existence.

One might ask here whether, given this view, it would also be a good thing for those of us who are currently here to end our lives in order to prevent further animal suffering. Although I do not have a final answer to this question, we should recognize that the case of future humans is very different from the case of currently existing humans. To demand of currently existing humans that they should end their lives would introduce significant suffering among those who have much to lose by dying. In contrast, preventing future humans from existing does not introduce such suffering, since those human beings will not exist and therefore not have lives to sacrifice. The two situations, then, are not analogous.

It may well be, then, that the extinction of humanity would make the world better off and yet would be a tragedy. I don’t want to say this for sure, since the issue is quite complex. But it certainly seems a live possibility, and that by itself disturbs me.

There is one more tragic aspect to all of this. In many dramatic tragedies, the suffering of the protagonist is brought about through his or her own actions. It is Oedipus’s killing of his father that starts the train of events that leads to his tragic realization; and it is Lear’s highhandedness toward his daughter Cordelia that leads to his demise. It may also turn out that it is through our own actions that we human beings bring about our extinction, or at least something near it, contributing through our practices to our own tragic end.

Todd May is a professor of philosophy at Clemson University and the author of, most recently, “A Fragile Life: Accepting Our Vulnerability.” He is a philosophical adviser for the television show, “The Good Place.” (https://twitter.com/nbcthegoodplace)

Now in print: “Modern Ethics in 77 Arguments,” and “The Stone Reader: Modern Philosophy in 133 Arguments,” with essays from the series, edited by Peter Catapano and Simon Critchley, published by Liveright Books.

Withered Green Anarchism

Withered Green Anarchism é um articulado texto crítico ao “anarquismo verde” escrito por Lyokha para a publicação francesa La Mauvaise Herbe vol.17 no.2.

“No one cares about them anymore around here, why don’t you just let them wither away in impertinence?” asked a good friend who identifies as an anarcho-primitivist.

Anecdotal perhaps, but I couldn’t help but remember a very successful event on radical ecology which I attended not so long ago. It was a well-prepared conference, by an anarchist who knew his shit. To a crowded room of young enthusiastic radical students, during a segment devoted to anarcho-primitivism, the whole discourse on equality, direct democracy, and even the 15-hour-workweek-which-feels-like-play-anyway was conveniently served. [1] At least he didn’t start talking about telepathy or telescopic vision. I remember it made such a good impression that a coordinator from the College where the event was taking place approached the Mauvaise Herbe, who were on place distributing publications, to see if they would eventually come share their positive message with the youths. They gave her a few Mauvaise Herbe to read and I think she changed her mind.

But it’s true that we don’t hear much about the Green Anarchists around here. Yet, in my conversations and in what I often hear from the “anti-civ” discourse, here as much as elsewhere, are the same reflexes I know all too well, the same references, the same premises, and the same ends. The humanistic-hedonistic discourse on primitive life has become mainstream in the milieu. In complacency, the speculations of some have become facts for others. Anarchists in general have never strayed too far from progressivism, they feel at home, at ease with it. Those who have chosen to deviate from it through their words and actions have always come up against the churches guiding the paths of “struggle”. It’s almost come to a point where one should profess their faith with each statement, each action.

For many now, in these moments of clashes, to put the rhetoric of social cohesion into question is to revel in “fascism”. While the anarcho-cybercops of the insurrectionally righteous make calls for witch hunts, it is to all their Inquisition that I dedicate these provocations.

Green is the new red

“This ideological view of our past has been radically overturned in recent decades, through the work of academics like Richard Lee and Marshall Sahlins. A nearly complete reversal in anthropological orthodoxy has come about, with important implications. Now we can see that life before domestication/agriculture was in fact largely one of leisure, intimacy with nature, sensual wisdom, sexual equality, and health. This was our human nature, for a couple of million years, prior to enslavement by priests, kings, and bosses.” -John Zerzan, A Future Primitive

We are of an era disillusioned with the promises of progress. It did not bring the promised utopia. Progressives are no longer necessarily those who had promised us that “the machine will work for man!”, those who more than a century ago had already announced the same “leisure, intimacy with nature, sensual wisdom, sexual equality and health” thanks to human and technical development… they are now rather those who are worried about the crises it generated, those who follow the newswire of the unfolding apocalypse – the ecological disaster and the planetary civilization in total decadence.

But some still won’t lose hope in humanity, and the possibility that provided a new universal consciousness, it can impel a culture of resistance of nomadic hunter-gatherers who will carry all the humanism that 20th century anarchism has inherited!

And, it is in this sense that an essential work of the anarcho-primitivist canon like A Future Primitive is an exercise in seduction, with its critique of civilization and praises of primitive life geared towards pleasing those humanistic sensitivities left disappointed by the consequences of modernity.

Therefore, it draws most abundantly from the anthropological works of a certain period when attempts were made to break the myth of a brutal primitive life with bold statements on leisure and egalitarian aspects, more attractive to the modern civilized – works from anthropologists who wanted their field to fuel social debates.

In an essay dealing with the legacy of Marshall Sahlins’ acclaimed work quoted by Zerzan, The Original Affluent Society, anthropologist Nurit Bird-David reminds us that “The general interest in it no doubt reflected our symbolic and ideological needs and our (Western) construction of the prehistoric past. […] Intended to provoke as well as to document, the essay soared beyond conventional scientific discourse, appealing directly to Western fantasies about work, happiness, and freedom.” [2]

For many of those who identify with anarcho-primitivism or with a certain Green Anarchism, the life of nomadic hunter-gatherers of the paleolithic represents anarchism as lived by humans for millennia. Some will even call it Primal Anarchy. In this original utopia, this anarchist Garden of Eden, they see our true “human nature”. Thus, in their propaganda, to an audience inclined towards anarchism, with its progressive-humanistic values, they praise primitive life according to how anarchistic it appears.

This selective reading of anthropology has become widespread among anarcho-primitivists and has influenced many other anarchists (including stirnerians and nihilists). It reduces primitive life to generalizations about presumed essential traits – egalitarian, collectivist, anti-oppressive, hedonistic, ecological and anarchistic traits. The relevance of primitive life becomes its representation of these values.

Wild behaviors who do not fit-in are either dismissed as unimportant when they are not simply ignored, or they are treated with much suspicion, assimilated to the effects and consequences of civilization (syncretism, encroachment, misinterpretation by the civilized, etc.), while behaviors that sit well with progressive values never receive the same questioning or suspicion, let alone those values ​​themselves. The result is an interpretation of the hunter-gatherer way of life as a model of progressive society par excellence, with the immediate-return hunter-gatherer as its purest representative.

In socialist tradition, indigenous cultures have no importance other than folkloric recuperation, since they are all reduced to their proletarian aspects: socialist adventures in Latin America have left us a clear testimony of this. Where the proletarian experience lacked, it was instated with great strides of progress, in the name of humanism, finishing off already decimated indigenous cultures to integrate them into the great brotherhood of men. Is it not somewhat in this tradition that today many anarchists of various tendencies project their ideology on the ways of the ancients by presenting them as anarchistic, as practitioners or examples of anarchism? We can pick and choose what suits the current narrative and the anarchist steamroller can run over the rest. How civilized.

What we can learn from anthropology and archeology about the life of groups of nomadic hunter-gatherers over time is that it seems far from homogeneous. If we want to find progressive behaviors, like the ones I named, we will find some. If one wants to look for behaviors of a completely opposite spectrum, one will also find them: ideologues will find what they’re looking for.

But it’s precisely this variability that seems relevant to me. The wild calls into question the entire narrative on human nature, all our domestication. This includes all the more our humanist inclinations essential in impelling the necessary social progress for the continuation of development.

Humans in relationship with an infinity of factors and tangents, over thousands of years – an infinity of lived situations, and therefore, a diversity of reactions, adaptations, ways of conceiving and acting. These characteristics make it difficult to simply transpose the ways of one group to another. For a way of being to be reproducible from one group to another, it is better to replace the variables by a homogeneous and controlled environment, and this is what progress does.

If in primitive life we like to see the reflection of values which are familiar to us, such as cooperation, collectivism, equality, love of neighbor, sharing, and tolerance, values we have been taught since childhood, should we not ask ourselves where they lead us in our current situation? Context changes everything.

This idyllic representation of primitive life is especially misleading since the collapse of civilization is far from being the same as the paleolithic period. Earth is already no longer the one where nomadic hunter-gatherers flourished, and who knows in what inhuman state it could become during a collapse of civilization and thereafter.

Even with the bait of utopia, to what extent would those who want the good of humanity be able to desire and act upon the collapse of civilization, possibly precipitating this humanity towards the abyss?

“We Have Seen the World We Want to Live In, and It Is Worth Fighting For” [3]

“Anarcho-primitivism is an allegiance to a specific human adaptation to life on this planet, a way of life which all known evidence shows us has endured sustainably and in intimate relationship with wild ecology for eons longer than any other. With this objective knowledge in hand, anarcho-primitivists will maintain our human agency and use it to take the types of actions we deem most effective and to simultaneously create the types of societies WE WANT to create. That is our prerogative.” -Choloa Tlacotin, A Letter to: “Halputta Hadjo”

Above all, it is the prerogative of the hypercivilized.

It is indeed the deeply civilized who, from the comfort of abstraction, can, in the blink of an eye, draw inspiration from James Woodburn’s principles of egalitarian hunter-gatherers as a rule of life; then, admire the warrior peoples who waged war against the civilized in North America; and finally, to marvel at the endurance that humans have been able to develop in difficult conditions, “like the Ona [Selk’nam]” in the Firelands. [4] They are agents of progress those who believe they can isolate what suits them in the database so to construct their ideal world worth fight for. Don’t come and present this to me as undomestication or whatever other bullshit.

Man has dedicated all the power of progress to try and control his destiny, and he still hasn’t succeeded. Anarchists, being the stubborn civilized they are, believe they can control the result of their actions by the will they put into them. Yet many of them know well that things do not always go according to plan (social strikes ending in general elections, things that explode at the wrong moment, etc.). Throughout history, all those who tried to create the society they wanted have failed, but the super anarchists will surely succeed…

But after all their efforts, would it be possible for example, that a few generations later the descendants of the anarcho-primitivists – rewilded children, hunter-gatherers rooted in the harsh landscapes of the predicted downfall of civilization – also become as resolutely patriarchal as the Selk’nam, whose cosmovision established very explicitly a division of the sexes and the spiritual and social domination of women by men? [5] (but this small detail that the Green Anarchists omitted in their publication, of a people for whom they expressed admiration and whose loss they lamented, it probably would’ve gone down badly with the Anarchist Book Fair.)

In any case, those with children should know there’s no guarantee they listen to our warnings. And anyway, I have the impression that the hypothetical wild children of the future primitive probably wouldn’t give a shit about the moralizing rhetoric of an old civilized ideologue who knows fuck all about their daily lives.

Hope, it’s better than nothing?

Hope has become quite a popular concept among Green Anarchists in recent years. Zerzan has dedicated one of his last books to it, Why Hope? The Stand Against Civilization, and with his disciples and collaborators, in their Black and Green Review publication, they have devoted constant attention to oppose their hope to what they consider an endemic nihilism contaminating anarchists.

In his editorial of Black and Green Review 4, Kevin Tucker tells us with a straight face how the absence of a journal published by the Green Anarchists “has led anarchists into the cul-de-sac of nihilistic terrorism and egoist soul searching. In that trajectory, anarcho-primitivism is a lightning rod for having the audacity to stand for something: to have staked our claim on seeing a world that is worth fighting for and defending. To want to build communities of resistance, support those that are and have been resisting civilization’s advances and to refuse the domestication process as it seeks to tear us from the wildness that runs through all life.”

For them, young Padawan, the despair these nihilists foment leads either to conformist navel-gazing, or to criticize or attack anyone and anything: their words and actions lead to nothing… And hope is better than nothing! …Is it not?

If it worked well for Christians, for Obama, and for the rebels in Star Wars, why not for the anarcho-primitivists of Oregon too?!

Not convinced to vote for hope? At the end of an interview with The Telegraph proudly posted on his website during the promotion of Why Hope?, Zerzan shares with us what so inspires him:

“Strangely, this is a good time to be an anarcho-primitivist,” says Zerzan. “We’ve never had more technology than now, and it’s coming out faster than ever. But that’s exactly why I think people will start pushing back. They are beginning to see that technology doesn’t deliver on its promises. So I’m hopeful. I’m very hopeful.”

To which the interviewer concedes:

“I too dislike technology sometimes. Like when my internet doesn’t load up quickly enough. And I’m generally convinced I’d be happier without being constantly connected, although I never seem to do much about it.” [6]

Surely, it’s because she hasn’t read the latest Black and Green Review yet.

And throughout Why Hope?, it is always that same answer: it is in the advent of a rewilding anti-civ mass movement, prepared for the imminent fall of civilization to which it will participate, that one must have hope for and invest themselves in with others.

“It won’t be easy but if a growing number becomes involved in such a move the ways and means can be found. I think that a growing number may be feeling the need for such a new direction.

We will figure out our paths when our goals can be seen and discussed. As we find each other, the necessary public conversation will begin and the effort to go forward together may ensue. No guarantees, but worth the liberating journey!” -John Zerzan, Why Hope?

That’s some solid shit right there. Anyone willing to bring down the whole power grid because Zerzan has some kinda good feeling, and we’ll see what happens?

But a movement carried by common sense and the hope of being the future of liberated humanity? How original! Nothing to reinvest Leviathan…

And if there was no fall of civilization? Let’s say there is never a transition to a primitive way of life, neither voluntarily nor by force of circumstances, that civilization overcomes what we believe to be insurmountable and transcends. There are firms, labs, universities and legions of ambitious nerds around the world working on exponential breakthroughs to meet the challenges of progress in the name of humanity. But yes, the triumph of progress is hypothetical, just as is a primitive future… and hope is nothing more than a question of faith.

“But if we are willing to make that perceptional change, to learn to embrace the coming age of nomadism, to see beyond ourselves and to empower ourselves through taking part in something much larger and more magnificent than our own lives, then we have the world to gain from it.” -Kevin Tucker, Means and Ends, Black and Green Review 4

Is the survival of humanity or of all life on Earth what generates and motivates my desire to see civilization annihilated (even if, among hypothetical scenarios, it is possible that civilization drags the entire biosphere with it in its fall)?

Does my disgust for civilization depend on a hypothetical future?

It is the everyday life, the overwhelming and suffocating presence of a humanized world, which disgusts me and weighs on me, and I do not feel any need to justify this feeling and this instinct by catastrophist theories or higher interests. Call me a rotten nihilist!

The world does not need a new liberatory ideology as much as it needs to get rid of what makes it possible to transmit an ideology on a large scale… unless it is one which corrupts the minds of the civilized causing them to spiral down into such disruption, such antisocial disorder, such self-destructiveness, that global stability and ultimately the very functioning of society is seriously jeopardized.

Death to civilization and to all human progress!



[1] This referenced number of working hours originated from speculative studies in the early anthropological works of Richard Lee and Marshall Sahlins. Since then, the data from these studies has been contested in the field, and Richard Lee himself has long recognized some of its flaws. The current general consensus towards hunter-gatherers is an average 30 to 40 hour workweek, but there`s still much debate about what should be considered work.

See: Elizabeth Cashdan, Hunters and Gatherers: Economic Behavior in Bands;Richard Lee, The Dobe !Kung; David Kaplan, The Darker Side of the “Original Affluent Society”.

[2] Nurit Bird-David, Beyond “The Original Affluent Society.” Current Anthropology 33:25-47

[3] A sentence which Green Anarchist like to use in their writings. Although, while they’re fighting for their world against civilization, if someone gets hurt it wasn’t their intention, ok?

[4] Four Legged Human, The Commodification of Wildness and its Consequences, Black and Green Review 1
Four Legged Human, The Wind Roars Ferociously, Feral Foundations and the Necessity of Wild Resistance, Black and Green Review 4

Green Anarchist denounce without hesitating those who draw inspiration from non-egalitarian societies in their confrontation with civilization if they haven’t pledged allegiance to their ideology. See Choloa Tlacotin, A Letter to: “Halputta Hadjo”. But a Green Anarchist, thanks to his superior knowledge and his greater intentions, can pick and choose whatever he pleases in the anthropological database.

[5] Anne Chapman, Economic and Social Structure of the Selk’nam Society
Anne Chapman, The Moon-Woman in Selk’nam Society

[6] As technology swamps our lives, the next Unabombers are waiting for their moment, Jamie Bartlett, The Telegraph, May 13th, 2014

Paper On Decolonial Violence and Eco-Extremism For 2018 ASN Conference

Paper On Decolonial Violence and Eco-Extremism For 2018 ASN Conference é um artigo escrito por Julian Langer do blog Eco-Revolt e Feral Culture que foi apresentado em 13 de Setembro de 2018 durante a Anarchist Studies Network Conference, na Universidade de Loughborough. Neste denso texto o autor aborda a posição moralizante da esquerda (incluindo os anarquistas) em torno da “violência” que é abordada amplamente e como o eco-extremismo ultrapassa esta barreira.

On September the 13th I presented this paper at the Anarchist Studies Network Conference, at Loughborough University. This was written to be spoken and I haven’t edited it to make it any more readable.
Pessimist political theorist Jacques Camatte, whose writings after his years of being a Marxist theoretician influenced anarchist discourse at the time – in particular the anarcho­primitivist wing – stated in his work Against Domestication that – “There are others who believe they can fight against violence by putting forward remedies against aggressiveness, and so on. These people all subscribe, in a general way, to the proposition that each problem presupposes its own particular scientific solution. They are therefore essentially passive, since they take the view that the human being is a simple object to be manipulated. They are also completely unequipped to create new interhuman relationships (which is something they have in common with the adversaries of science); they are unable to see that a scientific solution is a capitalist solution, because it eliminates humans and lays open the prospect of a totally controlled society.”

It seems abundantly obvious that we live amidst a great deal of violence and that violence and the need to end it is the dominant theme within the narrative we are located within. The violence of rape culture; the violence of racial and colonial oppression; the violence of ISIS, Islamists and the international forces against them; the violence of Russia, North Korea and the USA; the violence of school shootings in America; the violence of mass stabbings from gangs in London; of bombs, cars, guns, knives and penises. Many acts of violence are spoken of less; the violence of animal traps; the violence of chainsaws; the violence of dehabitation to develop an area, or to grow industrial monocultures of crops, to feed a growing population.

Within radical discourse, particularly that of the anarchist tradition, we generally have somewhat of a strained relationship with violence. My wish here is to identify a theme within our discussions which often gets over looked – this theme is one regarding interiorisation and exterioisation, under the gaze of an big-­Other. I will focus this within contemporary discourse around decolonial, anti-­colonial and eco­-extremist activities. This will also involve, in the later part of this paper, an ontological assertion, regarding what violence actually is.

Last year the Chilean indigenous anti­-colonial organisation Fight Of The Rebel Territory, in a single action, burned down 29 logging vehicles. Between January andMay 2016 the group committed 30 similar acts of property damage, in defence of the land they live upon, the forests and the wildlife. Similarly, MEND, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, an armed militant organisation of loose cells engaged in guerrilla warfare against oil companies, have blown up pipelines, attacked oil fields and kidnapped oil workers, as part of their anti­-colonial activities.

As voices for the English speaking radical environmentalist and anti­-colonial milieus, groups like Earth First! and Deep Green Resistance have spoken out in support for these groups, and others like them, seeking to legitimise them, within the context of radical discourse. This involves undergoing a process that Deleuze and Guattari called territorialisation, where a process of interiorisation brings these groups into the structure of particular machine. This brings these groups into the space of moral­ acceptablity, within a left­-wing oriented moral framework. From this, these actions, the activities of these groups, and similar others, become part of the narrative of left­ wing radical politics, regarding the progress of civilisation and history. They become characters within the chapters preceding the “revolution” and, in a similar way to that being described by Camatte in the quote I stated earlier, they are viewed as passive objects to be scientifically manipulated. As characters within the metadrama they reside within, they are allocated an identity that functions entirely as a symbolic signifier for an Other, who stands as the parental superego, granting their struggles as legitimate, like God determining who is going to heaven, or rather who will not be thrown into the gulag, even the anarchist one, after the revolution – interiorised – and who will be cast into hell, or the gulag, again, even the gulag
constructed by anarchists – exteriorised.

This is also the case in decolonial struggles that aren’t necessarily connected to eco-radical struggles, such as the Palestinian struggle against the violences of Israel, where unarmed protestors are painted as “innocent” by pacifist Leftist organisations that use their struggle as a platform for their own, with the implication being that armed Palestinians, such as Hamas, are legitimate targets for statist colonial violence.

While the organisations leaders, who might be educated in the western philosophies of Marxism, anarchist, etc., might embrace this ideological trajectory, I think that, in actuality, outside of this interiorisation, those individuals who are actively engaged in the actions of these organisations and similar ones; they do not care about progress, history, capitalism or any of that. They care about the forests, lands, wildlife, rivers and world that they are immersed in and live as Extensions of.

This machinic enframing functions, in the way Heidegger describes regarding technology and enframing, whereby, as objects, symbols and characters of a technological description, they fit within the mode of human existence stated before, that of the lef-t­wing ideological narrative, dehumanised, inanimate and un­-animal.

Now I want to turn to something that might seem in many ways entirely opposite, but I argue stems from the same narrative I have been describing here. To do this though, I’m going to do a short bit of history.

Ted Kaczynski’s 17 ­year bombing campaign is arguably the most successful campaign of its type. As the Unabomber, Kaczynski sent 16 bombs, to various locations within the USA. It was only after the publication of his manifesto, Industrial Society and its Future, that his motivations became clear and he captured. The work is a brilliantly articulated critique of technological society, which includes a critique of Leftism, which I will not go into here, as it is not necessary for this and would take up too much space. I only acknowledge it for its relevance for what I am about to go into.

Kaczynski’s influence, regarding the anti­-colonial space, is particularly noteworthy, regarding the post­-anarchist nihilist­-terrorist movement called Eco-­Extremism. Growing out of dark­net nihilist­-anarchist anti­-civ discussions, and almost entirely located within Southern and Central America, from indigenous anti­-civ individuals, with only a few cells within Europe, this movement is one that has actively sought to exteriorise themselves from the left­-wing narrative and machine.

In their anti­progressive anti­meliorist activities, the group which is the most vocal proponent of Eco-­Extremism, Individualists Tending Towards the Wild (translated from Spanish), ITS (as the S stands for savagery), focused their early activities on, like Kaczynski, bombing university institutions, such as nano-­technology laboratories; before moving onto their famed, through moral disgust, indiscriminate killings, in the name of Wild Nature.

In case you are unfamiliar with the group, I’d like to state here quotations from their earlier communiqués –

1. “Civilization is collapsing and a new world will be born, through the efforts of anti­civilization warriors? Please! Let us see the truth, plant our feet on the ground and let leftism and illusions fly from our minds. The revolution has never existed, nor have revolutionaries; those who view themselves as “potential revolutionaries”and seek a “radical anti­technology shift” are truly being idealistic and irrational because none of that exists, in this dying world only Individual Autonomy exists and it is for this that we fight.”

2. “A world without domestication, with a system stopped by the work of the “revolutionaries,” with Wild Nature born from the ashes of the old technological regime and the human species (what remains) returned to the wild, is completely illusory and dreamy.”

3. “ITS shows its true face, we go to the central point, the fierce defense of Wild Nature (including human); we do not negotiate, we carry out our task with the necessary materials, without compassion and accepting the responsibility of the act. Our instincts make us do it, since (as we have said before) we are in favor of natural violence against civilized destruction.”

The response ITS has received has been one of active exteriorisation on the part of leftists and moral-­anarchists. The left­-anarchist publication Its Going Down in particular spoke out against ITS, noticeably following their 29th communiqué, where they claimed responsibility for the murder of a woman in a forest, and have demonised anarchists and westerners who include Eco­-Extremism within discussions. Its Going Down struck ITS with the label of Eco­-Fascism in one of their condemnations of the group, in an obvious attempt to morally demonise them, excluding them from the community of groups and organisations deemed acceptable within anarchist morality. This is, like with MEND and Fight of the Rebel Territory, done under the gaze of a parental superego Other, repressing that which is deemed morally unacceptable, from a position of moral authority, as God. This is an example of what Camatte described, where the leftist condemners of ITS and Eco-­Extremism treat Eco­-Extremists, those interested in Eco-­Extremism and their own sympathisers and supporters, as objects for scientific manipulation, in a capitalistic move to control, to territorialise.

The Eco­Extremist journal Regresion Magazine makes a noticeable attempt to exteriorise itself, in both its name and its contents. It describes itself as the antonym to progress, as the antithetical regressive force, placing its strategy as one of active Marxist style dualistic dialectics. The magazine is one that claims to actively not want to be read or be trying to find readers, but makes itself available to read online by anyone. It is actively saying “we are not one of you” and “we are not a part of this”, in a very similar way to how Leftists seek to exteriorise Eco-­Extremism. From these examples I have presented, I have looked to identify that, in both positive and negative moral framings, through both interiorising and exteriorising within the narrative of progress, revolution and history, the leftist relationship towards anti­-colonial and decolonial radical and extremist projects is one whose machinic structure is functionally and ideologically colonialist and racist. The left does not accept or condemn the actions of indigenous and anti­-civ groups simply on their own terms, but layers it with the symbology of its own ideological design. As well as this, the decolonial movement has become so much a part of the Leftist machine, that, in the case of Eco­Extremists, indigenous peoples are moving away from the struggle.

At this point I feel to move to somewhere slightly different to where we have been for the bulk of this, though not straying too far away. I frame this in geographical place, rather than historical time, because what I am moving to is neither historically progressive nor reactionary, or regressive, whichever term you prefer, but metaphysically presentist, in an egoist and phenomenologically immediatist sense. Karl Popper stated in his work The Open Society and Its Enemies, where he critiques the teleological historicism of Hegel, Marx and similar thinkers as being fundamentally totalitarian, “History has no meaning”– a proposition undoubtedly disagreeable to anyone who embraces Leftist political positions, but this is the sentiment I wish to move forward from.

This is the matter of destruction, which I will later differentiate from violence. Now, when I look outwards from myself at what post-­anarchist discourse and action means now, in this present moment, as we find ourselves in systematic crisis, ecological collapse and amidst so much violence, it seems to me that we can really only being talking about ontology. I am not meaning that we are talking about and can only talk about vague and abstract concepts, but rather that at the root of our discourses and that if we are honest about our discussions we are talking about psycho­ontics, social­ontics, eco­-ontics, about Realities and about the Real – I am delving here, through bringing ontics in alongside ontology, into the world of Things (capital T) and reification (using the term equally in the sense meant by good old Commie Marx and the sense of the fallacy of concretism, also know as hypostatization).

These ontological discussions might often be framed within Symbolic theatres of ideologies, interiorising and exteriorising, in processes of territorialisation. But underneath this clothing, the bare­naked flesh of our discourse, lives and selves, isontological. We are, in many ways, all practicing ontological anarchists.

From this, I make this assertion, that the ontological anarchist project is one of active destruction, in the Heideggerian sense (with the k replacing the c) – I like to borrow Discordian philosopher Robert Anton Wilson’s term guerrilla ontology for this. As Heidegger found, destruction is a presentist task and doesn’t fit into normal categories of positive­negative, being nihilistically amoral and not positioned within the past. Being non­dualistically positive or negative, destruction here is a radically monist force, in the way collectivist­-anarchist Bakunin suggests when he stated “the passion for destruction is also a creative passion”– immediate; unlike the gnostic traditions of left­-wing revolutionary ideology, where both theory and practice retain an esoteric dualism, towards objects that can be manipulated scientifically.

Even more than as an anti­political practice, I assert that the actual objectless creative­destruction of Being is the process of becoming that is happening always. Civilisation and history, in this sense, are attempts to halt this process and create, through Symbolic reification, a social ontology of structured-­absolute space – the construction of territories, of objects with interiors and exteriors, of nature and the space that is outside of nature (civilisation), of sets and categories; a theatre of phantasms, technologically inauthentic, in the sense Heidegger argues, attempting to repress the relationality of Being, as temporally extended unfoldings, or rather the happening of life as the open space of possibility. Civilisation, in order to continue the machinery of its functioning, must restrict, through colonisation, morality, etc., the open space of possibility, through interiorisation and exteriorisation aimed towards a totalitarian narrative, with one directed pathway.

Now, in one sense what I, as someone from the anti­-civ world, am saying here is that we should do away with sets, categories, territories, interiors, exteriors, inclusion, exclusion, objects, symbols and other technological phantasms, but this seems unlikely at this present time to lead to much. So, alongside this, I wish to make another assertion for us as individuals, or rather as singularities, involved in the decolonial and anti­-colonial projects of deterritorialisation; that we radically embrace the notion of monism­as­pluralism; not to interiorise the cartography of radical space in a new way to the one we now do. Rather, to leave the situation as messy and to not judge the mess through moral condemnation, and not fit events within the structures of left­-wing ideology, but to leave it all in the open space of possibility. Perhaps this could be considered the eco­anarchist equivalent of Bergson’s liberal notion of the open society – though also, perhaps not. If, though, we are dealing with ontological processes, I suggest we consider our perceptions ofreality, as space and time, in the way the mathematician Poincare suggests in his philosophy of geometry; as having been born out of intuitions, which became tied to normative conventions rather than facts.

This is obviously a very uncomfortable idea I am asserting, as it leaves open basically everything, but if we are going to decolonised the structurally racist psychic­space of anti­colonial politics, then we are left with this space of discomfort, where we are having to acknowledge without morally categorising, in an anti­political sense.

Finally, I also wish to make an ontical assertion here, for the purposes of discourse, that much of what gets categorised as violence by anti­-colonial and eco­radical groups is not violence, with violence being a reified object of civilisation, signifying violation. Rather what is often in this way categorised as violence is actually an embrace of wild non­ontical acosmic ontological creative­destruction. Violation, in this way, seems to be the basic machinic functioning of civilisation – flipping ITS’s assertion of nature being violent and civilisation being destructive. The object of civilisation is the object of violence. This is not to seek to legitimise those actions I am describing as destructive rather than violent, but to differentiate for the purposes of post­-anarchist praxis.

To violate is to interrupt the flow of a space and to create a blockage, like a dam blocking a river, like a military coming to interrupt the everyday life of a community, like a penis forcing its way into somewhere through rape. Destruction is a creative aspect of the actualising­becoming­temporal processes of space that is Being. Destruction is the opening up of space.

To decolonise is to destroy the colonial production­narrative that is this culture. Lets deterritorialise, without reterritorialising, and not judge what grows out of the open space. Lets leave things open and not treat the world as an object for our manipulation. Lets not try to be God and lets destroy totalitarianism. Lets live free from interiors and exteriors, from inclusion and exclusion. Lets actually do no borders and no boundaries, and be anarchists embracing anarchy. Poincare said “Geometry is not true, it is advantageous”, but this does not go far enough – geometry isn’t true, but it can be adventurous!

This goes further than just the decolonial space obviously, as it includes the spaces of anti­patriarchy, radical environmentalism and anti­state theory and practice, as these also could do with deconstructing their territories and embrace the ontological notion of monism = pluralism – but there is not space in this essay to include thesestruggles.

I’d like to end this with this quote from autonomous-­Marxist philosopher Agamben – “What had to remain in the collective unconscious as a monstrous hybrid of human and animal, divided between the forest and the city – the werewolf – is, therefore, in its origin the figure of the man who has been banned from the city. That such a man is defined as a wolf­-man and not simply as a wolf … is decisive here. The life of the bandit, like that of the sacred man, is not a piece of animal nature without any relation to law and the city. It is, rather, a threshold of indistinction and of passage be­tween animal and man, physis and nomos, exclusion and inclusion: the life of the bandit is the life of the loup garou, the werewolf, who is precisely neither man nor beast, and who dwells paradoxically within both while belonging to neither.”

Children of Ted: The Unlikely New Generation of Unabomber Acolytes

Escrito por John H. Richardson e publicado na revista quinzenal novaiorquina New York Magazine, Children of Ted: The Unlikely New Generation of Unabomber Acolytes é um interessante artigo sobre a trajetória do teórico Selvagista John Jacobi, mas acima de tudo, o texto passa por pensamentos primitivistas primários, indo do anti-industrialismo de Ted Kaczynski à teoria eco-extremista de Individualistas Tendendo ao Selvagem (ITS).

Two decades after his last deadly act of ecoterrorism, the Unabomber has become an unlikely prophet to a new generation of acolytes.

When John Jacobi stepped to the altar of his Pentecostal church and the gift of tongues seized him, his mother heard prophecies — just a child and already blessed, she said. Someday, surely, her angelic blond boy would bring a light to the world, and maybe she wasn’t wrong. His quest began early. When he was 5, the Alabama child-welfare workers decided that his mother’s boyfriend — a drug dealer named Rock who had a red carpet leading to his trailer and plaster lions standing guard at the door — wasn’t providing a suitable environment for John and his sisters and little brother. Before they knew it, they were living with their father, an Army officer stationed in Fayetteville, North Carolina. But two years later, when he was posted to Iraq, the social workers shipped the kids back to Alabama, where they stayed until their mother hanged herself from a tree in the yard. John was 14. In the tumultuous years that followed, he lost his faith, wrote mournful poems, took an interest in news reports about a lively new protest movement called Occupy Wall Street, and ran away from the home of the latest relative who’d taken him in — just for a night, but that was enough. As soon as he graduated from high school, he quit his job at McDonald’s, bought some camping gear, and set out in search of a better world.

When a young American lights out for the territories in the second decade of the 21st century, where does he go? For John Jacobi, the answer was Chapel Hill, North Carolina — Occupy had gotten him interested in anarchists, and he’d heard they were active there. He was camping out with the chickens in the backyard of their communal headquarters a few months later when a crusty old anarchist with dreadlocks and a piercing gaze handed him a dog-eared book called Industrial Society and Its Future. The author was FC, whoever that was. Jacobi glanced at the first line: “The Industrial Revolution and its consequences have been a disaster for the human race.”

This guy sure gets to the point, he thought. He skimmed down the paragraph. Industrial society has caused “widespread psychological suffering” and “severe damage to the natural world”? Made life more comfortable in rich countries but miserable in the Third World? That sounded right to him. He found a quiet nook and read on.

The book was written in 232 numbered sections, like an instruction manual for some immense tool. There were two main themes. First, we’ve become so dependent on technology that the real decisions about our lives are made by unseen forces like corporations and market flows. Our lives are “modified to fit the needs of this system,” and the diseases of modern life are the result: “Boredom, demoralization, low self-esteem, inferiority feelings, defeatism, depression, anxiety, guilt, frustration, hostility, spouse or child abuse, insatiable hedonism, abnormal sexual behavior, sleep disorders, eating disorders, etc.” Jacobi had experienced most of those himself.

The second point was that technology’s dark momentum can’t be stopped. With each improvement, the graceful schooner that sails our shorelines becomes the hulking megatanker that takes our jobs. The car’s a blast bouncing along at the reckless speed of 20 mph, but pretty soon we’re buying insurance, producing our license and registration if we fail to obey posted signs, and cursing when one of those charming behavior-modification devices in orange envelopes shows up on our windshields. We doze off while exploring a fun new thing called social media and wake up to big data, fake news, and Total Information Awareness.

All true, Jacobi thought. Who the hell wrote this thing?

The clue arrived in section No. 96: “In order to get our message before the public with some chance of making a lasting impression, we’ve had to kill people,” the mystery author wrote.

Kaczynski at the time of his arrest, in 1996. Photo: Donaldson Collection/Getty Images

“Kill people” — Jacobi realized that he was reading the words of the Unabomber, Ted Kaczynski, the hermit who sent mail bombs to scientists, executives, and computer experts beginning in 1978. FC stood for Freedom Club, the pseudonym Kaczynski used to take credit for his attacks. He said he’d stop if the newspapers published his manifesto, and they did, which is how he got caught, in 1995 — his brother recognized his prose style and reported him to the FBI. Jacobi flipped back to the first page, section No. 4: “We therefore advocate a revolution against the industrial system.”

The first time he read that passage, Jacobi had just nodded along. Talking about revolution was the anarchist version of praising the baby Jesus, invoked so frequently it faded into background noise. But Kaczynski meant it. He was a genius who went to Harvard at 16 and made breakthroughs in something called “boundary functions” in his 20s. He joined the mathematics department at UC Berkeley when he was 25, the youngest hire in the university’s then-99-year history. And he did try to escape the world he could no longer bear by moving to Montana. He lived in peace without electricity or running water until the day when, maddened by the invasion of cars and chain saws and people, he hiked to his favorite wild place for some relief and found a road cut through it. “You just can’t imagine how upset I was,” he told an interviewer in 1999. “From that point on, I decided that, rather than trying to acquire further wilderness skills, I would work on getting back at the system. Revenge.” In the next 17 years, he killed three people and wounded 23 more.

Jacobi didn’t know most of those details yet, but he couldn’t find any holes in Kaczynski’s logic. He said straight-out that ordinary human beings would never charge the barricades, shouting, “Destroy our way of life! Plunge us into a desperate struggle for survival!” They’d probably just stagger along, patching holes and destroying the planet, which meant “a small core of deeply committed people” would have to do the job themselves (section No. 189). Kaczynski even offered tactical advice in an essay titled “Hit Where It Hurts,” published a few years after he began his life sentence in a federal “supermax” prison in Colorado: Forget the small targets and attack critical infrastructure like electric grids and communication networks. Take down a few of those at the right time and the ripples would spread rapidly, crashing the global economic system and giving the planet a breather: No more CO2 pumped into the atmosphere, no more iPhones tracking our every move, no more robots taking our jobs.

Kaczynski was just as unsentimental about the downsides. Sure, decades or centuries after the collapse, we might crawl out of the rubble and get back to a simpler, freer way of life, without money or debt, in harmony with nature instead of trying to fight it. But before that happened, there was likely to be “great suffering” — violent clashes over resources, mass starvation, the rise of warlords. The way Kaczynski saw it, though, the longer we go like we’re going, the worse things will get. At the time his manifesto was published, many people reading it probably hadn’t heard of global warming and most certainly weren’t worried about it. Reading it in 2014 was a very different experience.

The shock that went through Jacobi in that moment — you could call it his “Kaczynski Moment” — made the idea of destroying civilization real. And if Kaczynski was right, wouldn’t he have some responsibility to do something, to sabotage one of those electric grids?

His answer was yes, which was almost as alarming as discovering an unexpected kinship with a serial killer — even when you’re sure that morality is just a social construct that keeps us docile in our shearing pens, it turns out setting off a chain of events that could kill a lot of people can raise a few qualms.

“But by then,” Jacobi says, “I was already hooked.”

Jacobi in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Photo: Colby Katz

Quietly, often secretly, whether they gather it from the air of this anxious era or directly from the source like Jacobi did, more and more people have been having Kaczynski Moments. Books and webzines with names like Against Civilization, FeralCulture, Unsettling America, and the Ludd-Kaczynski Institute of Technology have been spreading versions of his message across social-media forums from Reddit to Facebook for at least a decade, some attracting more than 100,000 followers. They cluster around a youthful nickname, “anti-civ,” some drawing their ideas directly from Kaczynski, others from movements like deep ecology, anarchy, primitivism, and nihilism, mixing them into new strains. Although they all believe industrial civilization is in a death spiral, most aren’t trying to hurry it along. One exception is Deep Green Resistance, an activist network inspired by a 2011 book of the same name that includes contributions from one of Kaczynski’s frequent correspondents, Derrick Jensen. The group’s openly stated goal, like Kaczynski’s, is the destruction of civilization and a return to preagricultural ways of life.

So far, most of the violence has happened outside of the United States. Although the FBI declined to comment on the topic, the 2017 report on domestic terrorism by the Congressional Research Service cited just a handful of minor attacks on “symbols of Western civilization” in the past ten years, a period of relative calm most credit to Operation Backfire, the FBI crackdown on radical environmental efforts in the mid-aughts. But in Latin America and Europe, terrorist groups with florid names like Conspiracy of Cells of Fire and Wild Indomitables have been bombing government buildings and assassinating technologists for almost a decade. The most ominous example is Individualidades Tendiendo a lo Salvaje, or ITS (usually translated as Individuals Tending Toward the Wild), a loose association of terrorist groups started by Mexican Kaczynski devotees who decided that his plan to take down the system was outdated because the environment was being decimated so fast and government surveillance technology had gotten so robust. Instead, ITS would return to its guru’s old modus operandi: revenge. The group set off bombs at the National Ecology Institute in Mexico, a Federal Electricity Commission office, two banks, and a university. It now claims cells across Latin America, and in January 2017, the Chilean offshoot delivered a gift-wrapped bomb to Oscar Landerretche, the chairman of the world’s largest copper mine, who suffered minor injuries. The group explained its motives in a defiant media release: “The pretentious Landerretche deserved to die for his offenses against Earth.”

In the larger world, where no respectable person would praise Kaczynski without denouncing his crimes, little Kaczynski Moments have been popping up in the most unexpected places — the Fox News website, for example, which ran a piece by Keith Ablow called “Was the Unabomber Correct?” in 2013. After summarizing some of Kaczynski’s dark predictions about the steady erosion of individual autonomy in a world where the tools and systems that create prosperity are too complex for any normal person to understand, Ablow — Fox’s “expert on psychiatry” — came to the conclusion that Kaczynski was “precisely correct in many of his ideas” and even something of a prophet. “Watching the development of Facebook heighten the narcissism of tens of millions of people, turning them into mini reality-TV versions of themselves,” he wrote. “I would bet he knows, with even more certainty, that he was onto something.”

That same year, in the leading environmentalist journal Orion, a “recovering environmentalist” named Paul Kingsnorth — who’d stunned his fellow activists in 2008 by announcing that he’d lost hope — published an essay about the disturbing experience of reading Kaczynski’s manifesto for the first time. If he ended up agreeing with Kaczynski, “I’m worried that it may change my life,” he confessed. “Not just in the ways I’ve already changed it (getting rid of my telly, not owning a credit card, avoiding smartphones and e-readers and sat-navs, growing at least some of my own food, learning practical skills, fleeing the city, etc.) but properly, deeply.”

By 2017, Kaczynski was making inroads with the conservative intelligentsia — in the journal First Things, home base for neocons like Midge Decter and theologians like Michael Novak, deputy editor Elliot Milco described his reaction to the manifesto in an article called “Searching for Ted Kaczynski”: “What I found in the text, and in letters written by Kaczynski since his incarceration, was a man with a large number of astute (even prophetic) insights into American political life and culture. Much of his thinking would be at home in the pages of First Things.” A year later, Foreign Policy published “The Next Wave of Extremism Will Be Green,” an editorial written by Jamie Bartlett, a British journalist who tracks the anti-civ movement. He estimated that a “few thousand” Americans were already prepared to commit acts of destruction. Citing examples such as the Standing Rock pipeline protests in 2017, Bartlett wrote, “The necessary conditions for the radicalization of climate activism are all in place. Some groups are already showing signs of making the transition.”

The fear of technology seems to grow every day. Tech tycoons build bug-out estates in New Zealand, smartphone executives refuse to let their kids use smartphones, data miners find ways to hide their own data. We entertain ourselves with I Am Legend, The Road, V for Vendetta, and Avatar while our kids watch Wall-E or FernGully: The Last Rainforest. An eight-part docudrama called Manhunt: The Unabomber was a hit when it premiered on the Discovery Channel in 2017 and a “super hit” when Netflix rereleased it last summer, says Elliott Halpern, the producer Netflix commissioned to make another film focusing on Kaczynski’s “ideas and legacy.” “Obviously,” Halpern says, “he predicted a lot of stuff.”

And wouldn’t you know it, Kaczynski’s papers have become one of the most popular attractions at the University of Michigan’s Labadie Collection, an archive of original documents from movements of “social unrest.” Kaczynski’s archivist, Julie Herrada, couldn’t say much about the people who visit — the archive has a policy against characterizing its clientele — but she did offer a word in their defense. “Nobody seems crazy.”

Two years ago, I started trading letters with Kaczynski. His responses are relentlessly methodical and laced with footnotes, but he seems to have a droll side, too. “Thank you for your undated letter postmarked 6/11/18, but you wrote the address so sloppily that I’m surprised the letter reached me …” “Thank you for your letter of 8/6/18, which I received on 8/16/18. It looks like a more elaborate and better developed, but otherwise typical, example of the type of brown-nosing that journalists send to a ‘mark’ to get him to cooperate.” Questions that revealed unfamiliarity with his work were poorly received. “It seems that most big-time journalists are incapable of understanding what they read and incapable of transmitting facts accurately. They are frustrated fiction-writers, not fact-oriented people.” I tried to warm him up with samples of my brilliant prose. “Dear John, Johnny, Jack, Mr. Richardson, or whatever,” he began, before informing me that my writing reminded him of something the editor of another magazine told the social critic Paul Goodman, as recounted in Goodman’s book Growing Up Absurd: “ ‘If you mean to tell me,” an editor said to me, “that Esquire tries to have articles on serious issues and treats them in such a way that nothing can come of it, who can deny it?’ ” (Kaczynski’s characteristically scrupulous footnote adds a caveat, “Quoted from memory.”) His response to a question about his political preferences was extra dry: “It’s certainly an oversimplification to say that the struggle between left & right in America today is a struggle between the neurotics and the sociopaths (left = neurotics, right = sociopaths = criminal types),” he said, “but there is nevertheless a good deal of truth in that statement.”

But the jokes came to an abrupt stop when I asked for his take on America’s descent into immobilizing partisan warfare. “The political situation is complex and could be discussed endlessly, but for now I will only say this,” he answered. “The current political turmoil provides an environment in which a revolutionary movement should be able to gain a foothold.” He returned to the point later with more enthusiasm: “Present situation looks a lot like situation (19th century) leading up to Russian Revolution, or (pre-1911) to Chinese Revolution. You have all these different factions, mostly goofy and unrealistic, and in disagreement if not in conflict with one another, but all agreeing that the situation is intolerable and that change of the most radical kind is necessary and inevitable. To this mix add one leader of genius.”

Kaczynski was Karl Marx in modern flesh, yearning for his Lenin. In my next letter, I asked if any candidates had approached him. His answer was an impatient no — obviously any revolutionary stupid enough to write to him would be too stupid to lead a revolution. “Wait, I just thought of an exception: John Jacobi. But he’s a screwball — bad judgment — unreliable — a problem rather than a help.”

The Kaczynski moment dislocates. Suddenly, everyone seems to be living in a dream world. Why are they talking about binge TV and the latest political outrage when we’re turning the goddamn atmosphere into a vast tanker of Zyklon B? Was he right? Were we all gelded and put in harnesses without even knowing it? Is this just a simulation of life, not life itself?

People have moments like that under normal conditions, of course. Sigmund Freud wrote a famous essay about them way back in 1929, Civilization and Its Discontents. A few unsettled souls will always quit that bank job and sail to Tahiti, and the stoic middle will always suck it up. But Jacobi couldn’t accept those options. Staggered by the shock of his Kaczynski Moment but intent on rising to the challenge, he began corresponding with the great man himself, hitchhiked the 644 miles from Chapel Hill to Ann Arbor to read the Kaczynski archives, tracked down his followers all around the world, and collected an impressive (and potentially incriminating) cache of material on ITS along the way. He even published essays about them in an alarmingly terror-friendly print journal named Atassa. But his biggest influence was a mysterious Spanish radical theorist known only by the pseudonym he used to translate Kaczynski’s manifesto into Spanish, Último Reducto. Recommended by Kaczynski himself, who even supplied an email address, Reducto gave Jacobi a daunting reading list and some editorial advice on his early essays, which inspired another series of TV-movie twists in Jacobi’s turbulent life. Frustrated by the limits of his knowledge, he applied to the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, to study some more, received a full scholarship and a small stipend, and buckled down for two years of intense scholarship. Then he quit and hit the road again. “I think the homeless are a better model than ecologically minded university students,” he told me. “They’re already living outside of the structures of society.”

Four years into this bizarre pilgrimage, Jacobi is something of an underground figure himself — the ubiquitous, eccentric, freakishly intellectual kid who became the Zelig of ecoextremism. Right now, he’s about to skin his first rat. Barefoot and shirtless, with an old wool blanket draped over his shoulders, long sun-streaked hair and gleaming blue eyes, he hurries down a rocky mountain trail toward a stone-age village of wattle-and-daub huts, softening his voice to finish his thought. “Ted was a good start. But Ted is not the endgame.”

He stops there. The village ahead is the home of a “primitive skills” school called Wild Roots. Blissfully untainted by modern conveniences like indoor toilets and hot showers, it’s also free of charge. It has just three rules, and only one that will get us kicked out. “I don’t want to be associated with that name,” Wild Roots’ de facto leader told us when I mentioned Kaczynski. “I don’t want my name associated with that name,” he added. “I really don’t want to be associated with that name.”

Jacobi arrives at the open-air workshop, covered by a tin roof, where the dirtiest Americans I’ve ever seen are learning how to weave cordage from bark, start friction fires, skin animals. The only surprise is the lives they led before: a computer analyst for a military-intelligence contractor, a Ph.D. candidate in engineering, a classical violinist, two schoolteachers, and a rotating cast of college students the older members call the “pre-postapocalypse generation.” Before he became the community blacksmith, the engineering student was testing batteries for ecofriendly cars. “It was a fucking hoax,” he says now. “It wasn’t going to make any difference.” At his coal-fired forge, pounding out simple tools with a hammer and anvil, he feels much more useful. “I can’t make my own axes yet, but I made most of the handles on those tools, I make all my own punches and chisels. I made an adze. I can make knives.”

Freshly killed this morning, five dead rats lie on a pine board. They’re for practice before trying to skin larger game. Jacobi bends down for a closer look, selects a rat, ties a string to its twiggy leg, and hangs it from a rafter. He picks up a razor. “You wanna leave the cartilage in the ear,” his teacher says. “Then cut just above the white line and you’ll get the eyes off.”

A few feet away, a young woman who fled an elite women’s college in Boston pounds a wooden staff into a bucket to pulverize hemlock bark to make tannin to tan the bear hide she has soaking in the stream — a mixture of mashed hemlock and brain tissue is best, she says, though eggs can substitute if you can’t get fresh brain.

Jacobi works the razor carefully. The eyes fall into the dirt.

“I’m surprised you haven’t skinned a rat before,” I say.

“Yeah, me too,” he replies.

He is, after all, the founder of The Wildernist and Hunter/Gatherer, two of the more radical web journals in the personal “rewilding” movement. The moderates at places like ReWild University talk of “rewilding your taste buds” and getting in “rockin’ fit shape.” “We don’t have to demonize our culture or attempt to hide from it,” ReWild University’s website enthuses. Jacobi has no interest in padding the walls of the cage — as he put it in an essay titled “Taking Rewilding Seriously,” “You can’t rewild an animal in a zoo.”

He’s not an idiot; he knows the zoo is pretty much everywhere at this point. He explained this in the philosophical book he wrote at 22, Repent to the Primitive: “My focus on the Hunter/Gatherer is based on a tradition in political philosophy that considers the natural state of man before moving on to an analysis of the civilized state of man. This is the tradition of Hobbes, Rousseau, Locke, Hume, Paine.” His plan is to ace his primitive skills, then test living wild for an extended time in the deepest forest he can find.

So why did it take him so long to get out of the zoo?

“I thought sabotage was more important,” he says.

But this isn’t the place to talk about that — he doesn’t want to break Wild Roots’ rules. Jacobi goes silent and works his razor down the rat’s body, pulling the skin down like a sock.

When he’s finished, he leads the way back into the woods, naming the plants: pokeberry, sourwood, rhododendron, dog hobble, tulip poplar, hemlock. The one with orange flowers is a lily that will garnish his dinner tonight. “If you want, I can get some for you,” he offers.

Then he returns to the forbidden topic. “I could never do anything like that,” he says firmly — unless he could, which is also a possibility. “I don’t have any moral qualms with violence,” he says. “I would go to jail, but for what?”

For what? The first time I talked to him, he told me he had dreams of being the leader Kaczynski wanted.

“I am being a little evasive,” he admits. His other reason for going to college, he says, was to plant the anti-civ seed in the future lawyers and scientists gathered there — “people who will defend you, people who have access to computer networks” — and also, speaking purely speculatively, who could serve as “the material for a terrorist criminal network.”

“Did you convince anybody?” I ask.

“I don’t know. I always told them not to tell me.”

“So you wanted to be the Lenin?”

“Yeah, I wanted to be Lenin.”

But let’s face it, he says, the revolution’s never going to happen. Probably. Maybe. That’s why he’s heading into the woods. “I want to come out in a few years and be like Jesus,” he jokes, “working miracles with plants.”

Isn’t he doing exactly what Lenin did during his exile in Europe, though? Honing his message, building a network, weighing tactical options, and creating a mystique. Is he practicing “security culture,” the activist term for covering your tracks? “Are you hiding the truth? Are you secretly plotting with your hard-core cadre?”

He smiles. “I wouldn’t be a very good revolutionary if I told you I was doing that.”

At the last minute, Abe Cabrera changed our rendezvous point from a restaurant in New Orleans to an alligator-filled swamp an hour away. This wasn’t a surprise. Jacobi had given me Cabrera’s email address, identifying him as the North American contact for ITS, which Cabrera immediately denied. His interest in ITS was purely academic, he insisted, an outgrowth of his studies in liberation theology. “However,” he added, “to say that I don’t have any contact with them may or may not be true.”

Now he’s leading me into the swamp, literally, talking about an ITS bomb attack on the head of the Department of Physical and Mathematical Sciences at the University of Chile in 2011. “Is that a fair target?” he asks. “For Uncle Ted, it would have been, so I guess that’s the standard.” He chuckles.

He’s short, round, bald, full of nervous energy, wild theories, and awkward tics — if “Terrorist Spokesman” doesn’t work out for him, he’s a shoo-in for “Mad Scientist in a B-Movie.” Giant ferns and carpets of moss appear and disappear as he leads the way into the swamp, where the elephantine roots of cypress trees stand in the eerie stillness of the water like dinosaurs.

He started checking out ITS after he heard some rumors about a new cell starting up in Torreón, his grandparents’ birthplace in Mexico, he says, but the group didn’t really catch his interest until it changed its name from Individuals Tending Toward the Wild to Wild Reaction. Why? Because healthy animals don’t have “tendencies” when they confront an enemy. As one Wild Reaction member put it in the inevitable postattack communiqué, another example of the purple prose poetry that has become the group’s signature: “I place the device, and it transforms me into a coyote thirsting for revenge.”

Cabrera calls this “radical animism,” a phrase that conjures the specter of nature itself rising up in revolt. Somehow that notion wove together all the dizzying twists his life had taken — the years as the child of migrant laborers in the vegetable fields of California’s Imperial Valley, his flirtation with “super-duper Marxism” at UC Berkeley, the leap of faith that put him in an “ultraconservative, ultra-Catholic” order, and the loss of faith that surprised him at the birth of his child. “Most people say, ‘I held my kid for the first time and I realized God exists.’ I held my kid the first time and I said, ‘You know what? God is bullshit.’ ” People were great in small doses but deadly in large ones, even the beautiful little girl cradled in his arms. There were no fundamental ethical values. It all came down to numbers. If that was God’s plan, the whole thing was about as spiritually “meaningful as a marshmallow,” Cabrera says.

John Jacobi is a big part of this story, he adds. They connected on Facebook after a search for examples of radical animism led him to Hunter/Gatherer. They both contributed to the journal Atassa, which was dedicated on the first page to the premise that “civilization should be fought” and that the example of Ted Kaczynski “is what that fighting looks like.” In the premier edition, Jacobi made the prudent decision to write in a detached tone. Cabrera’s essay bogs down in turgid scholarship before breaking free with a flourish of suspiciously familiar prose poetry: “Ecoextremists believe that this world is garbage. They understand progress as industrial slavery, and they fight like cornered wild animals since they know that there is no escape.”

Cabrera weaves in and out of corners like a prisoner looking for an escape route, so it’s hard to know why he chose a magazine reporter for his most incendiary confession: “Here’s the super-official version I haven’t told anybody — I am the unofficial voice-slash-theoretician of ecoextremism. I translated all 30 communiqués. I translated one last night.”

Abe Cabrera: Abracadabra.

Yes, he knows this puts him dangerously close to violating the laws against material contributions to terrorism. He read the Patriot Act. That’s why he leads a double life, even a triple life. Nobody at work knows, nobody from his past knows, even his wife doesn’t know. He certainly doesn’t want his kids to know. He doesn’t even want to tell them about climate change. Math homework, piano lessons, gymnastics, he’s “knee-deep in all that stuff.” He punches the clock. “What else am I gonna do? I love my kids,” he says. “I hope for their future, even though they have no future.”

His mood sinks, reminding me of Jacobi. Shifts in perspective seem to be part of this world. Puma hunted here before the Europeans came, Cabrera says, staring into the swamp. Bears and alligators, too, things that could kill you. The cypress used to be three times as thick. When you look around, you see how much everything has suffered.

But we’re not in this mess because of greed or nihilism; we’re in it because we love our children so much we made too many of them. And we’re just so good at dominating things, all that is left is to lash out in a “wild reaction,” Cabrera says. That’s why he sympathizes with ITS. “It’s like, ‘Be the psychopathic destruction you want to see in the world’, ” he says, tossing out one last mordant chuckle in place of a good-bye.

Kaczynski is annoyed with me. “Do not write me anything more about ITS,” he said. “You could get me in trouble that way.” He went on: “What is bad about an article like the one I expect you to write is that it may help make the anti-tech movement into another part of the spectacle (along with Trump, the ‘metoo movement,’ neo-Nazis, antifa, etc.) that keeps people entertained and therefore thoughtless.”

ITS, he says, is the very reason he cut Jacobi off. Even after Kaczynski told him the warden was dying for a reason to reduce his contacts with the outside world, the kid kept sending him news about them. He ended his letter to me with a controlled burst of fury. “A hypothesis: ITS is instigated by some country’s security services — probably Mexico. Their real task is to spread hopelessness, because where there is no hope there is no serious resistance.”

Wait … Ted Kaczynski is hopeful? The Ted Kaczynski who wants to destroy civilization? The idea seems ridiculous right up to the moment it spins around and becomes reasonable. What better evidence could you find than the unceasing stream of tactical and strategic advice that he’s sent from his prison cell for almost 20 years, after all. He’s hopeful that civilization can be taken down in time to save some of the planet. I guess I just couldn’t imagine how anyone could ever manage to rally a group of ecorevolutionaries large enough to do the job.

“If you’ve read my Anti-Tech Revolution, then you haven’t understood it,” he scolds. “All you have to do is disable some key components of the system so that the whole thing collapses.” I do remember the “small core of deeply committed people” and “Hit Where It Hurts,” but it’s still hard to fathom. “How long does it take to do that?” Kaczynski demands. “A year? A month? A week?”

On paper, Deep Green Resistance meets most of his requirements. The original core group spent five years holding conferences and private meetings to hone its message and build consensus, then publicized it effectively with its book, which speculates about tactical alternatives to stop the “planet from burning to a cinder”: “If selective disruption doesn’t work soon enough, some resisters may conclude that all-out disruption is needed” and launch “coordinated actions on a large scale” against key targets. DGR now has as many as 200,000 members, according to the group’s co-founder — a soft-spoken 30-year-old named Max Wilbert — who could shave off his Mephistophelian goatee and disappear into any crowd. Two hundred thousand may not sound like much when Beyoncé has 1 million-plus Instagram followers, but it’s not shabby in a world where lovers cry out pseudonyms during sex. And Fidel had only 19 in the jungles of Cuba, as Kaczynski likes to point out.

Jacobi says DGR was hobbled by a doctrinal war over “TERFs,” an acronym I had to look up — it’s short for “trans-exclusionary radical feminists” — so this summer they’re rallying the troops with a crash course in “resistance training” at a private retreat outside Yellowstone National Park in Montana. “This training is aimed at activists who are tired of ineffective actions,” the promotional flyer says. “Topics will include hard and soft blockades, hit-and-run tactics, police interactions, legal repercussions, operational security, terrain advantages and more.”

At the Avis counter at the Bozeman airport, my phone dings. It’s an email from the organizers of the event, saying a guy named Matt needs a ride. I find him standing by the curb. He’s in his early 30s, dressed in conventional clothes, short hair, no visible tattoos, the kind of person you’d send to check out a visitor from the media. When we get on the road and have a chance to talk, he says he’s a middle-school social-studies teacher. He’s sympathetic to the urge to escalate, but he’d prefer to destroy civilization by nonviolent means, possibly by “decoupling” from the modern world, town by town and state by state.

But if that’s true, why is he here?

“See for yourself,” he said.

We reach the camp in the late afternoon and set up our tents next to a big yurt. A mountain rises behind us, another mountain stands ahead; a narrow lake fills the canyon between them as the famous Big Sky, blushing at the advances of the night, justifies its association with the sublime. “Nature is the only place where you feel awe,” Jacobi told me after the leaves rustled at Wild Roots, and right now it feels true.

An hour later, the group gathers in the yurt outfitted with a plywood floor, sofas, and folding chairs: one student activist from UC Irvine, two Native American veterans of the Standing Rock pipeline protests, three radical lawyers, a shy working-class kid from Mississippi, a former abortion-clinic volunteer, and a few people who didn’t want to be identified or quoted in any way. The session starts with a warning about loose lips and a lecture on DGR’s “nonnegotiable guidelines” for men — hold back, listen, agree or disagree respectfully, avoid male-centered words, and follow the lead of women.

By that time, I’d already committed my first microaggression. The cook asked why I was standing in the kitchen doorway, and I answered, “Just supervising.” Her sex had nothing to do with it, I swear — I was waiting to wash my hands and, frankly, her question seemed a bit hostile. But the woman who followed me out the door to dress me down said that refusing to accept her criticism was another microaggression.

The first speaker turns the mood around. His name is Sakej Ward, and he did a tour in Afghanistan with the U.S. Joint Airborne and a few years in the Canadian military. He’s also a full-blooded member of the Wolf Clan of British Columbia and the Mi’kmaq of northern Maine with two degrees in political science, impressive muscles bulging through a T-shirt from some karate club, and one of those flat, wide Mohawks you see on outlaw bikers.
Unfortunately, he put his entire presentation off the record, so all I can tell you is that the theme was Native American warrior societies. Later he tells me the societies died out with the buffalo and the open range. They revived sporadically in the last quarter of the 20th century, but returned in earnest at events like Standing Rock. “It’s a question of ‘Are they there yet?’ We’ve been fighting this war for 500 years. But climate change is creating an atmosphere where it can happen.”

For the next two days, we get training in computer security and old activist techniques like using “lockboxes” to chain yourself to bulldozers and fences — given almost apologetically, like a class in 1950s home cooking. In another session, Ward takes us to a field and lines us up single file. Imagine you’re on a military patrol, he says, turning his back and holding his left hand out to the side, elbow at 90 degrees and palm forward. “Freeze!,” he barks.

We freeze.

“That’s the best way to conceal yourself from the enemy,” he tells us. He runs through basic Army-patrol semiotics. For “enemy,” you make a pistol with your hand and turn it thumbs-down. “Danger area” is a diagonal slash. After showing us a dozen signs, he stops. “Why am I making all the signs with my left hand?”

No one knows.

He turns around to face us with his finger pointed down the barrel of an invisible gun. “Because you always have to have a finger in control of your weapon,” he says.

The trainees are pumped afterward. “You can take out transformers with a .50 caliber,” one man says.

“But you don’t just want to do one,” says another. “You want four-man teams taking out ten transformers. That would bring the whole system to a halt.”

Kaczynski would be fairly pleased with this so far, I think. Ward is certainly a plausible contender for the Lenin role. Wilbert might be too. “We talk about ‘cascading catastrophic effects,’ ” he tells us in one of the last yurt meetings, summing up DGR’s grand strategy. “A large percent of the nation’s oil supply is processed in a facility in Louisiana, for example. If that was taken down, it would have cascading effects all over the world.”

But then the DGR women called us together for a lecture on patriarchy, which has to be destroyed at the same time as civilization. Also, men who voluntarily assume gendered aspects of female identity should never be allowed in female-sovereign spaces — and don’t call them TERFs unless you want a speech on microaggression.

Matt listens from the fringes in a hoodie and mirrored glasses, looking exactly like the famous police sketch of the Unabomber. I’m pretty sure he’s trolling them. Maybe he’s remembering the same Kaczynski quote I am: “Take measures to exclude all leftists, as well as the assorted neurotics, lazies, incompetents, charlatans, and persons deficient in self-control who are drawn to resistance movements in America today.”

At the farewell dinner, one of the more mysterious trainees finally speaks up. With long, wild hair, a floppy wilderness hat, pants tucked into waterproof boots, a wary expression, and an actual hermit’s cabin in Montana, he projects the anti-civ vibe with impressive authenticity. He was involved in some risky stuff during the Cove Mallard logging protests in Idaho in the mid-1990s, he says, but he retreated after the FBI brought him in for questioning. Lately, though, he’s been getting the feeling that things are starting to change, and now he’s sure of it. “I’ve been in a coma for 20 years,” he says. “I want to thank you guys for being here when I woke up.” One of the radical lawyers wraps up with a lyrical tribute to the leaders of Ireland’s legendary 1916 rebellion. He waxes about Thomas MacDonagh, the schoolteacher who led the Dublin brigade and whistled as he was led to the firing squad.

On the drive back to the airport, I ask Matt if he’s really a middle-school teacher. He answers with a question: What is your real interest in this thing?

I mention John Jacobi. “I know him,” he says. “We’ve traded a few emails.”

Of course he does. He’s another serious young man with gears turning behind his eyes.

“Can you imagine actually doing something like that?” I ask.

“Well,” he answers, drawing out the pause, “Thomas MacDonagh was a schoolteacher.”

The next time I talk to John Jacobi, he’s back in Chapel Hill living with a friend and feeling shaky. Things were getting strange at Wild Roots, he says — nobody could cooperate, there were personal conflicts. And, well, there was an incident with molly. It’s been a hard four years. First he lost Jesus and anarchy. Then Kaczynski and Último Reducto dumped him, which was really painful, though he understood why. “I’ve been unreliable,” he says woefully. To make matters worse, an ITS member called Los Hijos del Mencho denounced him by name online: The trouble with Jacobi was his “reluctance to support indiscriminate attacks” because of his sentimental attachment to humanity.

Jacobi is considering the possibility that his troubled past may have affected his judgment. He still believes in the revolution, he says, but he’s not sure what he’d do if somebody gave him a magic bottle of Civ-Away. He’d probably use it. Or maybe not.

I check in a couple of weeks later. He’s working in a fish store and thinking of going back to school. Maybe he can get a job in forest conservation. He’d like to have a kid someday.

He brings up Paul Kingsnorth, the “recovering environmentalist” who got rattled by Kaczynski’s manifesto in 2012. Kingsnorth’s answer to our global existential crisis was mourning, reflection, and the search for “the hope beyond hope.” The group he co-founded to help people with that task, a mixture of therapy group and think tank called Dark Mountain, now has more than 50 chapters worldwide. “I’m coming to terms with the fact that it might very well be true that there’s not much you can do,” Jacobi says, “but I’m having a real hard time just letting go with a hopeless sigh.”

In his Kaczynski essay, Kingsnorth, who has since moved to Ireland to homeschool his kids and write novels, put his finger on the problem. It was the hidden side effect of the Kaczynski Moment: paralysis. “I am still embedded, at least partly because I can’t work out where to jump, or what to land on, or whether you can ever get away by jumping, or simply because I’m frightened to close my eyes and walk over the edge.” To the people who end up in that suspended state now and then, lying in bed at four in the morning imagining the worst, here’s Kingsnorth’s advice: “You can’t think about it every day. I don’t. You’ll go mad!”

It’s winter now and Jacobi’s back on the road, sleeping in bushes and scavenging for food, looking for his place to land. Sometimes I wonder if he makes these journeys into the forest because of the way his mother ended her life — maybe he’s searching for the wild beasts and ministering angels she heard when he fell to his knees and spoke the language of God. Psychologists call that magical thinking. Medication and counseling are more effective treatments for trauma, they say. But maybe the dream of magic is the magic, the dream that makes the dream come true, and maybe grief is a gift too, a check on our human arrogance. Doesn’t every crisis summon the healers it needs?

In the poems Jacobi wrote after his mother hanged herself, she turned into a tree and sprouted leaves.

Nanotechnology: Armed resistance

Nanotechnology: Armed Resistance é um artigo publicado pela revista científica Nature que aborda as primeiras ações terroristas do grupo Individualistas Tendendo ao Selvagem (ITS) em 2011. Na época a organização eco-terrorista se dedicou a atacar a comunidade científica engajada na exploração da nanotecnologia, especialmente investigadores da Tec de Monterrey no México.

Você pode ler o artigo completo no próprio site ou pode acessá-lo logo abaixo.

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[EN – PDF] Ash and Ruin (Subversive nihilist periodical) (Todas as Edições – All Editions)

Ash and Ruin (Subversive nihilist periodical) é uma publicação sem periodicidade definida disponibilizada na web dedicada fomentar estudos, análises e críticas contra a civilização e a era moderna.

Atualmente está em sua primeira edição.



I have written and compiled the following texts purely for my own satisfaction, as a manifestation of my conscious desire for the diffusion of iconoclastic and heretical publications and also as a way to unravel my own thoughts more clearly and attempt to articulate them in a manner that is reflective of my chaotic nature.

In this issue there are various different writings which appealed to me, as well as personal reflections, poems, rants, etc., etc. I have not asked any permissions for the texts which are not mine, but included and sourced these texts either because they articulated an analysis worthy of my consideration and reflection, or simply because they made me smile upon reading them. I have particularly included claims of responsibility from groups and individuals from many different territories across the world, who have placed the march of technoindustrial progress and I feel even more importantly its “humanist” and anthropocentric values in their lines of fire.

The thought of others joining in the incendiary celebration of our own selfrealisation, and carrying out their own sacrilegious deeds of refusal, spreading wildfire to the cities, desecrating every sacred idol, destroying machines and maiming and terrorizing those who are responsible for inflicting all of this modern crap onto us will always bring a smile to my face. It is to this end that I share these writings, to subvert, desecrate, provoke and agitate.

Though I digress on some of the perspectives presented in the texts of others which I have chosen to include in this publication, it would be completely absurd for me to make any changes to their words and to articulate my opinions fully on each minor discrepancy would take more time and consideration than I would care to spare for the purposes of this first issue of Ash and Ruin (Though personal reflections on these topics may be offered in future issues).

I spit on the church of “political correctness” and the creeds of any dogmatic moralists. It has never been in my interests to tend to the needs of the herd, nor to make anything more “appropriate” or appealing to those incapable of critical, independent thought and reflection.

I detest “the community” and all of the naive optimism it breeds and I reject all other delusional fairy tales that serve only to distract one from the realisation of their ego in the present.

As an individualist and a nihilist, I am motivated by my own will for life, not haunted by the phantoms of any purpose or cause and I will make it clear now that I only represent myself.

Total liberation is my own war, a war that I have fought for years, against every cage, every civilisation, every society, every creed, every ideology and morality.

It is a matter of fulfilling my creative-destructive desires. It is misanthropic. It is existentialist. It is striving against all domestication. It is my vengeance for all the years that this prison-society has stolen from me, my vengeance for the destruction and pollution of the natural environment, my vengeance for the nonhumans whose lives I respect more than the life of any

My total liberation means total war!
War to the bitter end!
– A

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