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Rewilding: A Primer for a Balanced Existence Amid the Ruins of Civilization

From "Back to Basics, Volume Three: A Primer for a Balanced Existence Amid the Ruins of Civilization"
in Green Anarchy #16/Spring 2004


We are often asked what our vision of society looks like, what kind of world we are fighting for, or how we would like to live. As anarchists, it is important to always keep this question open. While we can certainly agree on some basic things we are against: domination, hierarchy, control, government, representation, etc., what we are for is endless. This primer is an accumulation of our collectives' observations, experiences, and some suggestions on how one could reconnect with wildness and to becoming feral. We come from the dirty chaotic moving earth, not sterile white stagnant boxes... and this is our journey home.
Rewilding

From "Back to Basics, Volume Three: A Primer for a Balanced Existence Amid the Ruins of Civilization"
in Green Anarchy #16/Spring 2004


We are often asked what our vision of society looks like, what kind of world we are fighting for, or how we would like to live. As anarchists, it is important to always keep this question open. While we can certainly agree on some basic things we are against: domination, hierarchy, control, government, representation, etc., what we are for is endless. This primer is an accumulation of our collectives' observations, experiences, and some suggestions on how one could reconnect with wildness and to becoming feral. We come from the dirty chaotic moving earth, not sterile white stagnant boxes... and this is our journey home.


REWILING is a process that is going on all around us, all the time. It's going on in our heads, our bodies, our communities, and any forest or river that is recovering from damage. It's the most irrefutable physical fact that we are capable of observing: the reversion to wild form, uncontrolled by the domesticating grip of (a portion of) one species. The old Earth First! Slogan, "Nature Bites Back", forms the basis of a philosophy of rewilding, in the anti-civilization context. This is not necessarily an exaltation of the coming ecological disasters, but rather, an unmediated reaction to something that seems inevitable, and a stern warning to our decadent culture. Of course, nature already IS biting back, on so many fronts — most dramatically in a way that threatens the most basic needs of our species: food and medicine. The pharmaceutical industry has been profiting off of us for decades, and it only gets more and more lucrative, as we get more and more sick (bodily and mentally) from our poisoned habitats, and our toxic culture. The assaultive approach taken by western science to "combat" disease only provokes the diseased organism to fight back, rendering drugs useless, thus maintaining the need for new drugs. New anti-depressants, new antibiotics, etc...this is a reaction of wildness, regardless of its form as mammal or a virus—trying to re-establish equilibrium. Same goes for industrial agriculture and its militaristic techniques which demand more production and faster yield. It upsets the balance of ecosystems by taking more than giving back, strangling native plant communities, stifling biodiversity, and even more detrimentally: preventing mass amounts of organisms from their ability to re-establish that balance. Not to dwell too long on the miserable factoids we all dread.

Rewilding is as much affirmation as reaction. It's the unmediated adventure we dream about and talk of romantically, the original source from which all adventure springs forth. The trust and receptiveness to let what happens may, combined with a hyper-awareness of and synchronicity with physical surroundings, and a lifetime of learning while watching and doing, is the daily attitude of the forager. In complex, industrial society these fundamental conditions are obliterated. Fear, alienation, and objectification through dissection and compartmentalization form the conditions of a psychic plague that leaves us weak and dependent. Rewilding is a rebellion against that sickness-an acknowledgement, to self and each other, of realness. It is a demand to be free to be guided by that original source. The journey it takes us on is unpredictable and wild, and always seeks to maintain balance between creation and destruction, order and chaos; between that which decomposes, and that which makes a seed sprout.

Anarcho-primitivism provides a foundation for us to understand how people have lived in the past, and what changes in these life ways may have led to social problems. It isn't meant to be a prescription for a return to a stone-age existence, though some of us seek that existence more completely. Of course, our interpretations of that existence are subjective-there is little physical evidence of social relationships remaining from the time before agriculture. We do believe that there is much to be learned from the pre-agricultural peoples who exist now in the world, about truly knowing a place and depending on it for your survival. The perspectives that come from living closely with the rest of nature, unmediated by complex technologies or fixed social arrangements, question the basic philosophical foundations of most "advanced" (read: patriarchal, monotheistic) cultures. As the pressures of the global economy and all its homogenizing institutions assimilate and displace earth-based populations, their traditions and knowledge rapidly fall into disuse. The loss of these life ways is directly linked to the destruction of their foraging, hunting and migration grounds by mining, oil and other development, to provide the industrial world with the conveniences we all take for granted. To question and move away from reliance on those conveniences is a way of confronting the trend. In this context, traditional knowledge is key to the survival of human communities. Part of a rewilding process can also be to confront those entities that directly threaten the survival of earth-based populations, and thus the survival of their traditional life ways.

On a practical level, rewilding involves both accessing our present situations, and looking back to what has been done before by people. By developing blends of old traditions and new adaptations that are suited to our habitats and all the complexities of modern life, we can reclaim our wildness little by little. Some of us may decide to go as far as we can in eliminating the conveniences and comforts of modern life, and simplifying our existence. Some may strive for self-sufficiency and appropriate technology, preferring more complex food, fiber and medicine systems than our forager ancestors. Others of us incorporate some of that simplicity, while still maintaining a foot in modern culture, including resistance movements within it. Others may wish to learn methods to help us survive the oncoming collapses of ecological and economic systems, and to lessen our dependency on profit-motivated institutions and all the mental control that comes with them. The surest way to protect earth-based life ways, or "earthskills", is to practice them and pass them along as we move through this alienated modern life. Just as we can propagate endangered native plants in the ecosystems from which they have been displaced or re-introduce wolves into areas from which they have been extirpated, we can reclaim our species' lost knowledge of living with the earth.

Now, back to from where we came...



GREEN ANARCHY #16/Spring 2004 is NOW OUT!

An Anti-Civilization Quarterly Journal of Theory and Action


Features:

"Nostalgia" by Sky Hiatt, "What I Wish I Had Said September 12, 2001" by an anonymous nihilist, "Theses On Anarchism After Post-Modernism" by Bob Black, "Reclaiming the Tao Te Ching for Anarchy", "Patriarchy, Civilization, and the Origins of Gender" by John Zerzan, "The Witch and the Wildness" by Kevin Tucker, "Biotechnology: Public and Private" by Rene Riesel, "Lights, Camera, Action!" by The Grievous Amalgam, "The Revolutionary Imperative of Going Native" by Rob Los Ricos, "Insurrection in Australia" by Dave Antagonism, "The Animal in the Dark Tower" by Ran Prieur, "Everything that Plummets Must Converge" by Dan Todd, "Let the Olympic Games Die in the Land They Were Born" by Greek Anarchists, "Summits, Counter-Summits, and Social War" by Wolfi Landstreicher, "The Future Is Unwritten (let us keep it that way)" by anonymous autonomist, "News from the Balcony" with Waldorf and Statler, "The Garden of Peculiarities" (fragment 8) by Jesus Sepúlveda, a report on the 2004 BASTARD conference, "The Nihilist Dictionary: Niceism", "Feral Visions" gathering info, earth liberation actions, indigenous and campesino resistance, prisoner uprisings, anarchist resistance, anti-capitalist/anti-government actions, "Symptoms of State Meltdown", political prisoner listings, state repression news, reviews, letters, and more!


Issue #16 also contains "Back To Basics volume three: The Rewilding Primer" by Green Anarchy and the Wildroots Collective, which features: "The Journey from 'Civilized' to 'Primitive' Living" by RedWolfReturns, "The Question of Cultivation" by Wildroots, "This Is Anarcha-Herbalism" by Laura Luddite, "The Feral Fury Unleashed" by Gimili, "Intuition as a Crucial Part of Rewilding" by ardilla, introductions to various earthskills, a look at bioregionalism and native plants, rewilding references, and more.


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Satire, just some comic relief 29.Apr.2004 06:24

joker

Rewilding UN version. Genetically engineering super size predators that have more rights and protections under this world government than the people.

Taken to its logical conclusion viruses and bacteria need to be included in this Rewilding Project. While we are still feeling romantic about reintroducing wild predatory creatures into our domesticated society what about dinosaurs they deserve a second chance...oops we know how that one turns out, not so good.

Feral formaldehyde 29.Apr.2004 19:36

silverhair

I know a guy down the road that has a pet lioness and i'd bet that he'd sell her to you cheap... now that she's killed and eaten his horse.