Note that the site is in archived, read-only mode. You can browse and read, but posting is disabled.
Welcome to Anarchy101 Q&A, where you can ask questions and receive answers about anarchism, from anarchists.

Note that the site is in archived, read-only mode. You can browse and read, but posting is disabled.


+5 votes
This is purely a hypothetical scenario, but say primitivists wanted to lead a hunter gatherer lifestyle while other Anarchists wished to form different types of communities, how would they be able to do so without obstructing the other's chosen life-way?  A primitivist might view an agricultural settlement as something that is infringing on their ability to live a "wild" existence; and at the same time wouldn't it be oppressive to make people who do not wish to live as hunter gatherers, to do so?
I doubt red anarchists and green anarchists will ever resolve this, and in my experience neither side tends to even perceive the other as actually anarchist. In any case, I wanted to comment with a critique of the question: the null hypothesis dictates that burden of proof is on someone claiming something is anarchic/anarchist to demonstrate how, rather than on skeptics. Primitivists such as myself are skeptical of such phenomena as permanent settlements and annual monocropping and underground mining and subsistence importation and industrialization for a lot of reasons, and the burden of proof rests on those proposing them to explicate each element's compatibility with anarchy. Therefore we cannot simply say "isn't limiting people to______ oppressive?" without examining the potential of the specific proposal. This statement might help explain what I mean: "wouldn't it be oppressive to make people who do not wish to live as non-rulers do so?" Limitation does not inherently mean oppression.

1 Answer

+3 votes
I think this situation from the Spanish Revolution might provide a nice answer to some which could be said came from real practice and not from my intelectual anarchist theorectical genious. I mostly say i am neither a "green anarchist" with a green and black flag nor a red anarchist with a red and black flag but mostly a full black flag anarchist without adjectives who supports synthesis anarchism:

From the wikipedia article "Anarcho-naturism"

"This ecological tendency in spanish anarchism was strong enough as to call the attention of the CNT–FAI in Spain. So Daniel Guérin in Anarchism: From Theory to Practice reports how "Spanish anarcho-syndicalism had long been concerned to safeguard the autonomy of what it called "affinity groups." There were many adepts of naturism and vegetarianism among its members, especially among the poor peasants of the south. Both these ways of living were considered suitable for the transformation of the human being in preparation for a libertarian society. At the Saragossa congress the members did not forget to consider the fate of groups of naturists and nudists, "unsuited to industrialization." As these groups would be unable to supply all their own needs, the congress anticipated that their delegates to the meetings of the confederation of communes would be able to negotiate special economic agreements with the other agricultural and industrial communes. On the eve of a vast, bloody, social transformation, the CNT did not think it foolish to try to meet the infinitely varied aspirations of individual human beings."

So neither primitivists can force us non primitivists to go hunter gathering and abandon agriculture nor can we force them to rely on  things like automatic transportation, alternative energies, cities, towns, various technologies, or language (sorry but Zerzan talk againts language so i am not really making fun of them or something) and other things. Even today there are many hunting and gathering tribes and even uncontacted peoples in the Amazon Jungle, so in an anarchist society they will have a more confortable life with less pressure.
by (3.3k points)
Let's say a hypothetical anarcho-syndicalist federation employs technologies requiring precious metals (e.g. silver) or conductive metals (e.g. copper) or fossil fuels (e.g. petroleum) or rare earth elements such as Cerium, Europium, Yttrium, Neodymium, Praseodymium, Dysprosium, Terbium, and Lanthanum for a hybrid electric car's UV cut glass, glass and mirrors polishing powders, LCD screen, component sensors, hybrid electric motor and generator, headlight glass, 25+ electric motors throughout vehicle, catalytic converter, hybrid NiMH battery, diesel fuel additive, etc.

Now, where do they get these materials from? How do they access the landbases in which to mine them (and who mines them)? Where does the pollution go, who bears the burden of leftover cyanide waste for gold mining and leftover sulfuric acid waste for copper mining? Do they simply inherit processes of colonial exploitation at the expense of indigenous populations dispossessed by the capitalist state? What if humans refuse to allow the mining to take place, either from prior inhabitation, or in solidarity with the integrity and biodiversity of the landbase and its species?
well, this is part of the reason why us anarcho-communists have an important difference with mutualism, bakuninist collectivism and anarchosyndicalism. Anarcho-communists think large productive enterprises shouldn´t be the property of workers collectives as these previously mentioned positions tend to think but that they should be communal property. As such an organized communal council should decide on such projects and so environmental, workers and consumer concerns will be adressed by those most directly affected who are of course those living in the commune. Also projects will come out of communal need and not out of profit motives which can also exist in workers cooperatives as owners. Large scale projects could be built by associations of more than one commune and so in this way a specific operation will have to pass the communal council approval.

So under this system I don´t really see syndicalism having too much power at the expense of consumers and the environment.  But also it is possible that workers organizations will not exist since the workers will tend to be also the consumers and the people living in the commune. And so you sound like a person who knows a lot about chemistry and pollution. So one should expect people like you being a sort of green tendency within the communal council who could inform the people of the commune on possible effects on human bodies and the environment of a specific productive project.

But as far as your specific example, it sounds too advanced and complex. From my point of view under an anarcho-communist arragement I expect an important simplification and reduction of productive projects since consumerist pressures coming from capitalist interest will be gone and so people will tend to want to produce collectively only the most nessesary things and the arrangement as Kropotkin suggested, will tend towards reducing working hours and expanding individual free time. As such technological advancement, since it will not respond anymore to capitalist and nation state interests, will tend to become more humanistic and environmental friendly. In this way anarcho-communism, because of its specific social arrangement in my view can only be a degrowth position. This is the case not because anarcho-communists are nice green ecologists but because it puts collective production in the hands of a commune and away from capitalists bourgioises and distant nation-state bureaucrats and even rejects possible profit seeking workers collectives. Even a quasi-marxist ex trotskist platformist like Wayne Price has suggested that anarcho-communism will tend towards coming more in agreement with the bioregion. This debate Price had with neo-collectivist Michael Albert shows this well and touches on the issue of biorregionalism.

But of course there could be imports and exchange of products between communes and networks or federations of communes. The spanish anarchist communes in 1936 used an exchange system currency for this specific purpose of inter communal trade.