Eco-anarchism argues that small eco-villages (of no more than a few hundred people) are a scale of human living preferable to civilization, and that infrastructure and political systems should be re-organized to ensure that these are created. In general, eco-anarchists reject the notion of humanity as above or superior to the rest of the natural world, and assert that social organizations must be designed to work with natural forces, rather than against.
It combines older trends towards primitivism, tribalism, bioregional democracy, feminism (as eco-feminism), pacifism, secession and intentional community.
One of the most influential pieces of eco-anarchist literature is Ishmael, by Daniel Quinn, which relates conversations between a man and a gorilla. This is typical of eco-anarchist literature, in which such concepts as Great Ape personhood and bioregional democracy are often taken for granted, as pre-requisites to a more peaceful society. This book won the Turner Tomorrow contest, created by Ted Turner, which rewarded an author who came up with a new solution to environmental problems through fiction. This sponsorship and peaceful coexistence strategy makes some other anarchist movements suspicious, as they reject collaboration with groups they see as enemies. Other authors espousing eco-anarchism include Derrick Jensen, Murray Bookchin, and John Zerzan. Since Ishmael, Daniel Quinn has written several more books that present a more explicitly anarchist viewpoint. Their collective focus is on hierarchical and economic factors as the key to our ecological and social crises. Quinn denies any identification with anarchism. On his website Q&A page (at www.ishmael.com) he states,"I've made it abundantly clear that I admire the functionality of tribal societies - and they're certainly not anarchies."
What differentiates the eco-anarchist from the primitivist is this focus on the village and its social capital, as opposed to technology and its acceptance or rejection. What differentiates the eco-anarchist from the big-G "Green" or small-g "green" anarchist is that the focus is strictly on ecological integrity and decentralization, with no import of rules from larger bodies into the ecoregion, or into the eco-village itself.
Some eco-anarchists consider the village, or the tribe, to be a preferred unit of human life, as opposed to the family or kin group. Assumptions about family are considered to be more important to eco-anarchists than assumptions about work roles. The eco-anarchist philosophy can be explained as an interpretation of anthropological and biological truths. Jared Diamond, an evolutionary biologist, wrote "The Worst Mistake in the History of the Human Race," an article discussing the various ways in which the development of agriculture actually made life worse compared to a hunting-gathering culture. The eco-anarchist usually holds "primitive" social organizations such as bands or tribes in high regard, not for some Noble Savage concept of spiritual superiority, but because these social organizations appear to work better than civilization.
Some eco-anarchist sympathizers work on elder care issues and are involved in the Eden Alternative and Kallimos movements to create villages that include many generations of people, including elders who need care, their extended families, and the professional medical staff who care for elders and children. Both movements were founded by Dr. William Thomas , and have so far been largely a North American movement. This is seen as a way to fund eco-villages and reconcile the use of modern medical technologies with small scale living.
Last updated: 10-17-2005 15:49:51