Before going into that, I'm going to say this: I'm not looking to start debates, and as I've mentioned previously, I find posting highly politicized posts to be nerve wracking. I've decided to keep the comments on this post open for now (depending on the nature of the comments, I *may* choose to close commenting at a later date. I don't think I will, and I don't want to, but I also want to keep that option open in case I find the feedback I'm getting is stressing me too much! Yeah, I know, I'm overly sensitive.), but I ask that you please refrain from attempting to start any big political debates! I feel a need to add a bit extra to this anti-debating thing, that I feel in my last couple of posts I didn't address as much as I should have. I have no problems having my opinions questioned. I do have a problem with my opinions being questioned in a confrontational, adversarial, disrespectful, way. I love talking in person about my views with people whom I know to be open-minded and respectful, and the person I spend the most time having in-depth conversations with is my sister. She's a more analytical thinker than I am, and we complement each other wonderfully in discussions. She'll often point out things I may not have seen, or tell me when something I say doesn't seem thought through very thoroughly. I don't, however, like having those conversations online, where it's often hard to tell how the other person feels. But I seriously digress.
There's a lot of information to be found on green anarchy online, but almost none of it is information for "beginners", just for those who already have a basic understanding of green anarchist philosophies. So I was very happy to find this article, from Green Anarchy magazine, called An Introduction to Anti-Civilization Anarchist Thought and Practice. I warn you, it is quite long, but it's also a wonderful introduction to the types of things that most green anarchists question and think about.
This article covers many different things, including the all important thing, when talking about being anti-civilization, of What Is Civilization?:
"Green anarchists tend to view civilization as the logic, institutions, and physical apparatus of domestication, control, and domination. While different individuals and groups prioritize distinct aspects of civilization (i.e. primitivists typically focus on the question of origins, feminists primarily focus on the roots and manifestations of patriarchy, and insurrectionary anarchists mainly focus on the destruction of contemporary institutions of control), most green anarchists agree that it is the underlying problem or root of oppression, and it needs to be dismantled."And in the section Biocentrism vs. Anthropocentrism, it talks about one of the things I consider to be my core values:
"Biocentrism is a perspective that centers and connects us to the earth and the complex web of life, while anthropocentrism, the dominant world view of western culture, places our primary focus on human society, to the exclusion of the rest of life. A biocentric view does not reject human society, but does move it out of the status of superiority and puts it into balance with all other life forces. It places a priority on a bioregional outlook, one that is deeply connected to the plants, animals, insects, climate, geographic features, and spirit of the place we inhabit. There is no split between ourselves and our environment, so there can be no objectification or otherness to life. Where separation and objectification are at the base of our ability to dominate and control, interconnectedness is a prerequisite for deep nurturing, care, and understanding. Green anarchy strives to move beyond human-centered ideas and decisions into a humble respect for all life and the dynamics of the ecosystems that sustain us."In Division of Labour and Specialization, another important point is brought up, that of how disconnected we are from the mechanics of our own well-being:
"The disconnecting of the ability to care for ourselves and provide for our own needs is a technique of separation and disempowerment perpetuated by civilization. We are more useful to the system, and less useful to ourselves, if we are alienated from our own desires and each other through division of labor and specialization. We are no longer able to go out into the world and provide for ourselves and our loved ones the necessary nourishment and provisions for survival. Instead, we are forced into the production/consumption commodity system to which we are always indebted."It also talks about decentralization, something I think is incredibly important. From Against Mass Society:
"We reject mass society for practical and philosophical reasons. First, we reject the inherent representation necessary for the functioning of situations outside of the realm of direct experience (completely decentralized modes of existence). We do not wish to run society, or organize a different society, we want a completely different frame of reference. We want a world where each group is autonomous and decides on its own terms how to live, with all interactions based on affinity, free and open, and non-coercive. We want a life which we live, not one which is run."Of course, as the author even says in Influences and Solidarity, many green anarchists come to different conclusions on various points from those of the author:
"It is also important to remember that, while many green anarchists draw influence from similar sources, green anarchy is something very personal to each who identify or connect with these ideas and actions."However, I definitely think that this is a very good introduction!
I hope that if you're interested in truly learning about green anarchy, you choose to read the entire article, not just the bits I've included in this post, because those bits really only give you a part of the whole story (hell, they just give you part of the whole story, taken from an article that is itself just a small part of the whole story!). And I hope that it gives you a better understanding of where I'm coming from, as well!
How I ended up considering myself a green anarchist was actually by process of elimination: anything that didn't jive with my core values, I just didn't agree with. I had no faith in politicians or governments, and had been interested in anarchy, in a very vague sense, for years. However, I just always believed everyone around me when they said that it was a load of crap, and so I didn't look into it myself for a while... But when I did, I sure liked it!! However, with most anarchist philosophies, I saw a major flaw: they were concerned entirely with humans and with human society, and didn't really seem to consider the environment or the greater web of life. So when I found green anarchy, it just felt right. Here was something that finally made sense to me!
I also hope that by reading that article, it'll cause you to think about and question some things that you may never have thought of before...
For a currently small but ever growing resource list of interesting stuff on green anarchy and post-leftist anarchy, go to the bottom of my Links and Resources page!