Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Prims and Anti-Civs

Courtesy of radicalarchives, via the anarchist academics mailing list, comes the 'Origins of Primitivism' documents from Fifth Estate (1977-1988). Of course 'primitivism' is not something I agree with, although I did kind of admire its gung-ho anti-everything elan, especially when it came to language (after all Barthes did say the language-system was structurally fascist). It's strangely reminiscent of Douglas Adams's Hitchiker's Guide:
'Many were increasingly of the opinion that they'd all made a big mistake in coming down from the trees in the first place. And some said that even the trees had been a bad move, and that no one should ever have left the oceans.'
You may wish to consult this, on Zerzan, as a rather devastating critique.
That said, easy point scoring is just that and some of the questions raised about 'civilisational' forms and experiences of alternative modes of organisation had resonances for my old hippie soul (Hugh Brody's Maps and Dreams has some remarkable passages on the 'non-organisation' 'organisation' of a hunting trip by Beaver indians in British Columbia that made me realise just how capitalist in time-habits I really am...)


Unknown said...

Dr. Noys,

An interesting anti-civilizational text that doesn't commit some of the more overtly essentialist points of Zerzan's analysis (though it is shocking to what degree the text ignores its own humanistic-subject position) is the Dark Horse Uncivilization project

Anonymous said...

Zerzan and the entire West Coast anarcho-primitivist crowd are symptomatic of the widespread decline of Leftist political and social thought, even when it comes to anarchism. It's romantic anti-capitalism, purely regressive. Disgusting stuff, reall.

Anonymous said...


Benjamin said...

John, a second flag of darkmountain - due to 'personal' reasons I'm a little sceptical of the whole thing.
Ross - I agree, I'm certainly never agreeing with Zerzan et al, but I do find something interesting symptomatically about their pursuit of concepts to a (bad ) end