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See also Primitivism (art movement)

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Primitivism or anarcho-primitivism is an analysis of the origins and progress of civilization. According to anarcho-primitivists the shift in the relationship to food from procurement by gathering and hunting to production through agriculture and the subsequent sedentary, surplus based life-way leads to an increase in the complexity of the society. Anthropology has given us a look at these changes over time. With increasing complexity of food production came increasing complexity of social organization characterized by more and more hierarchy and coercion.

For 99% of the existence of the Homo genus humans lived in small nomadic groups who depended on wild foods and natural materials like wood, bone, hide and stone for all of their needs. These band societies are politically, economically, and in gender relations egalitarian. They are organized without hierarchy or coercion. They are for lack of another term anarchistic.

Gradually and almost imperceptibly there was a change in the relationship between humans and their food. This was a shift from gathering and hunting, to horticulture, then to agriculture, and then to modern industrial agriculture. As these infrastructural changes took place they lead to changes in the political and economic structures of the societies. These changes were from effectively leaderless egalitarian bands, to groups lead by headmen, then by chiefs, and with the origin of the state by kings and in modern times by presidents, parliaments, and dictators.

Primitivists advocate for the destruction of civilization. They oppose all its aspects including specialization of tasks or division of labor and the technological system.

Many recognize that there is no "going back" and see their position as a honest assessment of our genetic, ecological heritage as one species among many and a desire to see that put into practice.

The primitivist movement has connections to radical environmentalism.

Primitivism has been notably advocated by John Zerzan, and to some extent by Theodore Kaczynski (the Unabomber) and Derrick Jensen.

During the 1990s the UK magazine Green Anarchist aligned itself with the primitivist movement, although there are many who would describe themselves as 'green anarchists' who would not see themselves as subscribing to this philosophy.

The magazine Green Anarchy was started by one of the founders of Green Anarchist. Green Anarchy is published in Eugene, Oregon. One of the editors is John Zerzan.

Primitivism can also refer to any philosophy which seeks to return to the roots of a larger movement, such as Muslims and Christians who seek to return to the first few centuries of Islam or Christianity.

See also

Suggested reading

External links

  • A Primitivist Primer: what is anarcho-primitivism?
  • Coalition Against Civilization
  • Black and Green Network
  • Green Anarchy

Last updated: 02-07-2005 03:10:41
Last updated: 05-03-2005 17:50:55