[Read the Spanish translation.]
As was explained in the editorial for the sixth issue of Hunter/Gatherer, an interesting tendency is developing in Mexico that has had unsettling implications for me, other wildists, and those who have influenced us, like the indomitistas. Because this dialogue is utterly incomprehensible without background on this tendency and other related tendencies, I strongly recommend readers turn to the editorial first.
Also, one should note that the following discussion is not with an individual who has engaged in actions US citizens would usually regard as illegal. Rather, he is a propagandist who runs a website dedicated to publishing the communiques of the groups in question, as well as explaining the ideas and values that motivate them. Technically, because Mexico does not have free speech laws, this is illegal for him, which explains why he writes that eco-extremism is synonymous with criminality. However, because the US has free speech laws, among other reasons, the following is legally protected. My lawyer has confirmed that this is the case.
Finally, readers should note that after re-reading this dialogue, I did become convinced of one thing MictlanTepetli said: revolution should not be the aim of wildness-centered eco-radicals. You may read my thoughts on the matter in “Revisiting Revolution.”
2 Opening Statements
2.1 John Jacobi
For three reasons, I have decided to engage in this debate with a sympathizer of Individualidades Tendiendo a lo Salvaje and their positions, which they call “eco-extremism.”
First, I hope to gain a better understanding of ITS from someone who is more familiar than I am with the events as they unfold in Mexico. They also obviously have a better understanding because I cannot read ITS’ communiques and Spanish-language texts very easily.
Second, I hope to clarify my own positions in relation to ITS. This is especially important because they and their sympathizers have used much of the same language, ideas, and references as we at The Wildist Institute [now Wild Will]. In fact, one of our former collaborators, Ultimo Reducto, is now known as a major ideological influence on the group, as well as Ted Kaczynski. (Neither UR nor Kaczynski support ITS or The Wildist Institute.) It is important, then, to reveal diverging opinions, especially regarding strategy, through this discussion with MictlanTepetli. Of course, MictlanTepetli can only represent himself and what he thinks or knows ITS to believe, but given obvious legal problems that would come with communicating with an actual member of ITS, this is the best option available. Besides, MictlanTepetli’s opinions do not seem to differ very much from ITS’, according to some associates of mine who speak Spanish.
Third and finally, I hope to critique what I find to be dangerous, unhelpful, or nonsensical positions within the eco-extremist ideology. This is especially important because ITS’ groups continue to grow, and many other non-terrorists have begun advocating the tendency. This is not entirely a problem, since ITS and the eco-extremists’ beliefs are not far off the mark, at least when some of their more intelligent cells communicate them. However, I am skeptical or plainly cannot support five elements of their ideology: (1) their stance on revolution; (2) their stance on indiscriminate violence; (3) their stance on terrorism; (4) and their stance on scientific understanding and/or their “paganism.”
Regarding revolution, the term has been the source of much confusion and it would be better off for individuals to shed the ideas they have associated with the word completely. Very simply, the question is whether conditions are such that (1) an anti-industrial movement can be formed; (2) an anti-industrial movement can significantly aid the collapse of industry. I believe that this is possible and desirable if it is possible. Therefore, I advocate “revolution,” although I tend to characterize it as a “reaction” since it is anti-progressive. I will explain more of the specifics of this position later on.
Regarding their stance on indiscriminate violence, I think it is abhorrent and unstrategic. And regarding their stance on terrorism [which, follow START, I define broadly], I mostly think it unstrategic. There is one exception to each of these: In the case of terrorism, I think that it is wise to take out the power of the word “terrorist,” which the state tries to pin on any rebellious group nowadays. Therefore, when I say I do not advocate terrorism, I mean a very specific thing, which ITS is doing, and which I will explain more later. In principle I do not mind if eco-extremists accept the “terrorist” label as a way to remove its power. Second, it seems that ITS and eco-extremists may mean something particular by “indiscriminate violence.” At least so far as I can tell from my limited understanding, it seems like they are not advocating bombing non-technicians randomly. It seems instead that they are saying once they have decided on a target, they do not care about who gets in the way—they have to execute the attack with singlemindedness, and regard for casualties in that instance would hamper their ability to do that. While I remain ambivalent about such things, it is clear that this is not outright insane, just as it is not insane for military men to execute their attacks with singlemindedness while in a warzone. If this is what eco-extremists mean, then I am mostly concerned with their inadequate means of expressing this. Of course, that is their own problem, but I will clarify the meanings in this debate so that I am not associated with their reckless means of expression.
Regarding their stance on “paganism,” I can only say that I do not quite understand it. It seems like play-acting, and clearly is not the most effective way to go about achieving a political goal.
In contrast to ITS and eco-extremists, I and the wildists have three core elements of our ideology: (1) a scientific materialist worldview, including its nihilist consequences; (2) a critique of progress; (3) the imperative to rewild. The latter comes with some ideas about an anti-industrial reaction. In short, we believe that it is possible to engage in immediate rewilding that simultaneously builds a movement capable of disrupting industry beyond repair, if such a thing becomes possible. We also believe that this is worth engaging in even if industry only collapses in a specific locality, and we do not think that a movement is useless if it fails to disrupt industry globally. I will explain the reasons for this in my discussion with MictlanTepetli about revolution.
Thanks to MictlanTepetli for engaging in this debate; thanks to Chahta-Ima for translating and facilitating communication; and thanks to the readers who suggested that it was important to clarify the differences between wildists and the eco-extremists.
I have decided to continue this conversation with John Jacobi in order to spread and clarify some points that are unsettling to some concerning Eco-extremism. Jacobi belongs to the self-described, “Wildist” project, which is not very well-known in Spanish-speaking countries (due to most of the texts being in English without Spanish translation.) This is one of the reasons that this conversation should take place.
My first reaction to the opening Wildist text that Jacobi has submitted is the following:
Eco-extremism is to be understood as violent tendency defended by individualists who have left behind the usual hang-ups coming out of “anti-civ,” “primitivist,” or “eco-anarchist” ideologies. This tendency goes against all moral codes of modern society and advocates extreme defense of Wild Nature. We understand “Wild Nature” here to be any environment (endangered or not), but it also encompasses the most primitive roots of being, which are resisting domestication.
It energetically opposes and rejects modernity, human progress, civilization in its totality, scientific advances, etc.
Eco-extremism is a practice more than a theory. It is way more than a ton of paralytic words trapped in a discourse, or the lack of movement that stews in itself due to the immobility of “eco-modernist currents.
Eco-extremists use terrorism to spread their ideas, sabotage to put into practice their critical thoughts against civilization, the technological system, its science, its values, and progress. It utilizes organized and/or coordinated attack to make clear its complete rejection of the civilized mode of life.
The eco-extremist attacks with actions because he has his feet firmly planted on the ground, and he has realized that he still has the warrior spirit of his ancestors running through his veins. His ancestors were savages with their bows and arrows and an ancient interrelationship with the Earth. They caused significant problems to the Mesoamerican and Western civilizations. Both were not welcome in their territories where they roamed as proud nomadic hunter-gatherers.
The individualist who advocates eco-extremism wants and wills to see this civilization burn as the ancient warriors saw in their fierce victories against the invader. That is why their attacks are a continuance of those attacks and are indiscriminate. In their attacks, they don’t distinguish between blacks and whites, men or women, etc. because for the eco-extremist they are all hyper-civilized beings who tend towards progress and in one form or another contribute to the devastation of Wild Nature; to the loss of those roots and characteristics that distinguished us when we developed as just another animal in the forests, deserts, coasts, and/or jungles.
Jacobi has proposed me a conversation where we will address themes such as individualism, “revolution”, indiscriminate violence, terrorism, and paganism. We begin by breaking down these topics:
Individualism: Eco-extremists and those of us who defend this tendency are individualists since we reject the collectivist humanism that mass society defends. We understand that from an objective perspective we are owners and responsible for our own lives and actions. For we do not want other people to manipulate us according to their own will, thus domesticating us.
As individualists we understand that we are social beings, and we don’t eschew unity with other individualists in order to advance our concrete objectives.
All of this is within the parameters of philosophical egoism, defended quite vigorously by the nihilists of the Russian region in the 19thcentury, and retrieved from the dustbin of history by Eco-extremism.
-Revolution: Eco-extremists reject the idea of revolution since this always tends to deform itself and it has always helped to maintain the idea of modern human progress.
The concept has been used for an unending series of causes or political doctrines as an end for its theoretical presuppositions. The “revolution” is a prostitute who sells herself to the highest bidder; it can be used by opposing sides of the same struggle. It is an abused ghost that enters the mouths and pens of intellectuals and militants of whichever struggle. It gives itself over to many misunderstandings and deviations. That’s why the eco-extremists don’t seek it, nor do they strive for it, nor does it hold their interest.
Eco-extremism has rejected the term “revolution” as an end or a means. In our view, we have stopped being utopians and dreaming of a “better tomorrow.”
What eco-extremists make use of are reactions. They attack and write on controversial themes, taking the unpopular and politically incorrect side. This is to get reactions out of people, either rejection on the part of the majority who read them, or sympathy among the few who understand them.
Eco-extremism, more than wanting a quantitative leap, devotes itself to quality. It doesn’t concern itself with pleasing the masses. It doesn’t care to draw the sympathy of revolutionaries. It doesn’t seek to bring about something that doesn’t exist.
The acts and words of eco-extremist groups tend to be direct with many shades of pessimist realism that is dominant in our day.
As for the “anti-industrial movement” I would like to ask Jacobi: What are the ends that are to be sought in the forming of this movement? Are you able to ensure that those ends will work? Why do you people in the United States always talk about a “movement against X” at every opportunity? Is that the strategy you are always going to follow?
-Indiscriminate Violence: When eco-extremist groups defend indiscriminate violence, they are speaking of what Regresión Magazine spoke of some months back in an essay entitled, “Indiscriminate Attacks? What the Fuck’s Wrong with You?!” in which the following is found:
Putting a bomb in a bum’s cardboard box or lighting a street vendor’s cart on fire is not what we are talking about when we mention indiscriminate attacks’. Indiscriminate attacks are when we place a bomb in a specific place, a factory, a university, a particular house, a car, or institution where our human or inanimate target can be found, without regard as to whether an explosive can harm bystanders. Indiscriminate Attack is setting fire to a place of symbolic significance without worrying about whether “innocent people” will get hurt, in order to strike out at Human Progress.
That is basically what we understand by those types of attacks, and it seems that this is a topic that causes quite a bit of controversy and anger in “radical” circles.
For example, many “insurrectionary”, “neo-nihilist,” “eco-,” etc. anarchists get angry when they find that eco-extremist groups don’t care if “innocent bystanders” get killed in an attack. They are disturbed and scared by such attitudes, since they know eco-extremists are willing to do whatever it takes to carry out their attacks.
The double morality of anarchists is very clear here, since they know that anyone with a basic knowledge of the history of anarchism is aware of the many anarchists who have used indiscriminate violence to achieve their objectives. At that time, they targeted kings, the bourgeoisie, and the clergy. We speak here of figures such as Felice Orsini, Ravachol, Émile Henry, Mateo Morral, Paulino Scarfó, Severino Di Giovanni, Mario Buda, etc. as well as nihilist-terrorist organizations such as Narodnaya Volya.
Eco-extremists are just honest in what they do and what they will do. They issue a warning since in some of their attacks some “innocent bystanders” have been hurt.
The rejection of indiscriminate discourse has left some stumped. It causes negative reactions, and draws a line in the sand between those who support eco-extremist groups and those who adamantly reject them.
There are a myriad of examples today of armed groups (anarchists, communists, etc.) carrying out attacks or bombings in banks without the intention of hurting anyone. But in some cases this hasn’t worked and some unintended people were killed or injured in their operations. Of course, they are on the side of “the people,” and they say that they are concerned about “collateral damage”. But when it happens, they either beg for forgiveness or they deny being the authors of the attack. Eco-extremists don’t do that. Eco-extremists are honest and warn that they won’t stop because of anyone or anything in attacking their target. Why carry out half-measures? Why should we appear to be “revolutionaries” with the best intentions if that’s not really what we are? Why should we abide by a double morality? Better to be direct, cut to the chase, and take responsibility for our actions regardless of what happens.
Now more than ever, we live in the era of humanism, “good intentions,” progress, and the rejection of violence. But Islamic terrorism has also taken an important role in our time, one characterized by violence. The public is terrified by the war waged by the “sons of Allah”, which is a response to the war against their lands and beliefs. And even though speaking on this topic would fill up pages, I’ll be brief and state that I think that radical Islamists have every “right” to terrorize decadent Europeans in their comfort zones. On the other hand, I can see that behind this “holy war” there are specific economic interests at play. That which we are experiencing now is a war as in other centuries with religious connotations.
Continuing on this topic, of course this society really rejects terrorism. Eco-extremists understand this situation as a historical condition. That’s why we’ve come to the defense of this term, for it is completely opposed to the humanist values that modern society currently defends.
This is because if we can think back to the ancient wars that our ancestors fought, before and after the invasion of the colonizers, we would realize that Terrorism has always been present, only under other names. The Spanish didn’t call those natives who fiercely opposed them terrorists, they called them “savages”. The Holy Inquisition didn’t call those who spit on their white idols terrorists, they called them “pagans.” The British didn’t call the natives who joined together to expel them from their lands terrorists, they called them, “hostile Indians.” In any case, in the modern era whenever there is violent resistance, armed confrontation, or defensive extremism, it’s called Terrorism. That’s why eco-extremists defend the use of that term.
Here it would be appropriate to say that, if our intention was to create a “movement against civilization,” or “against the technological-industrial system,” we would indeed be concerned that this term would “not be strategic.” But since we don’t aim to have hundreds of followers, to form a civil association, or to work within the legal framework, we don’t give a rat’s ass about being strategic when we defend the term Terrorism, that much is true.
-Paganism: The eco-extremist has solid pagan beliefs in respect to his life and interactions with Wild Nature. He firmly rejects Christianity or any other religion. He revives from the past the deities associated with the Earth, with the plants, animals, the Universe, etc.
The eco-extremist is convinced that living in the modern age where science aims to explain everything, that aspect of vital importance already lacks meaning. Because of this, certain aspects of native beliefs have been lost. Today the great religions or science have positioned themselves over this notable aspect within the human being.
Pagan beliefs do not aim to aspire to position themselves within the category of “political objectives”. This is not a subject that we want to use to attract more followers. It’s more a personal thing.
We want to recover the most important practices that our ancestors had such as the War against the Alien, which is closely associated with the practices of extremist defense, sabotage, terrorism, indiscriminate attacks, etc. Also, we include here the consumption of native plants, curing ourselves with traditional medicine, firmly rejecting allopathic medicine, getting closer to Nature, etc. And within all that we seek to create for ourselves our own cosmological beliefs, for even if we know that we are civilized humans, we cling to our most primitive and wildest roots which we aim to recover in the present.
3.1 John Jacobi
I considered whether or not wildists could be religious, and I determined that this is possible, but it is possible only in the same way that scientists can be religious. That is, many scientists believe in God, and that does not matter so long as they do not try to justify their scientific work with some “Divine revelation” or something like that.
In fact, deeply religious people (either pagan or Christian or whatever) have good reasons for being against industrial society. Many see value in religion and disdain the secularists’ constant attempts to eradicate it, which is necessary in industrial society (as historical trends suggest). Furthermore, although there are secular reasons for opposing industrial technologies as well, religious opposition is often much more powerful because of its irrational and emotional appeal. For instance, religious opposition to biotechnology is a lot more difficult to counter than secular opposition to biotechnology.
That said, we should be realistic, so I’ll add a few caveats.
First, most religions are progressive and not in line with fundamental wildist values, so Christians, for example, are unlikely to be wildists. Still, clearly even Christianity is compatible with anti-progressivism to some extent, as is clear by the high number of Catholics in the traditionalist conservative movement.
Second, I still think that ITS and others (maybe you, Mictlan?) are just play-acting. Do you actually believe that there are sun deities and water deities, or that there are animal spirits, or whatever? I doubt it. I don’t mind this in a metaphorical sense. In fact, I write in “The Foundations of Wildist Ethics,” section III.B about some of my ideas about religious experience in the context of materialism (and it comes very close to some pagan and/or “pantheist” ideas). But I still can’t help but think that you and other eco-extremists are simply advocating “paganism” in order to fulfill a primitive aesthetic, much like anarchist punks wear patches and get goofy hairstyles in order fulfill an urban radical aesthetic. It’s fine, and in most cases it’s harmless, but it’s useless and in some cases can be harmful, so in general I discourage it.
That brings me to my third point. I personally would prefer that wildists were strict materialists and maintained views somewhere on the spectrum between atheistic and deistic, simply because that signals to me that when it comes to making decisions, we’ll probably be on a similar page. I can’t be sure of that with so-called “pagans.” What if a river spirit tells them to vote a certain way?
In conclusion, I guess “paganism” is not actually contradictory, but I’m skeptical of it, and wouldn’t encourage it. Nevertheless, I would probably work with and, through a vote, approve the membership of religious wildists into my cadre.
I’ll begin this new point on the theme of paganism by stating the following: I, MictanTepelti, in defending paganism, am doing it from a personal perspective. The individualists who identify with eco-extremism can either worship nature apart from the sense of the great religions or not. When I talk about paganism I’m talking strictly about my personal beliefs. I’m not stating that it’s a mandatory belief among all eco-extremists. I would just like to make that clear.
I agree that religious persons may have good reasons to be against the techno-industrial system, but I think very few religious people really oppose this system and civilization in general. The vast majority of those who claim to follow a religion are hypocrites or idiots, and they are only looking for a higher power for when they have personal problems. Religion from time immemorial has been the impetus for many bloody wars and conflicts. One clear example of this was the Cristero War in Mexico (1926-1929).
I have always believed that human beings are religious by nature, and it’s necessary to believe in something. This inclination has been used by the great religions for exploitation and to brainwash people. Either way, there are a handful of groups that maintain their primordial beliefs intact. Examples of these are the uncontacted natives from different parts of the world, from the Amazon to Africa to Australia, etc.
I think it is odd that you denigrate those of us who defend paganism, saying that we do it to maintain a “primitive aesthetic”. I know it’s hard to accept that in this world of lies and falsehoods, there still exist people who are ready to cast off the most vehement vices of civilization and return to our indigenous roots, no matter what the cost. For example, I come from a family with indigenous roots: my great-grandfather when he was still alive venerated the deer before he went hunting in the mountains. My great-grandmother made great use of natural medicines that came from the Earth to cure various illnesses. She gave these wild medicines growing at various seasons of the year a touch of mysticism. The fact that you attribute my paganism simply to a desire to have a “primitive aesthetic,” like I was one of those punks with a bunch of patches, is something that I find rather insulting. You or no one else knows my personal journey, and you should know that the beliefs that I have rediscovered from history, my family history, deserve respect.
Sure, I’m a civilized person living in the modern, technological, and industrial world. It’s hard for me to separate myself from the teachings that the schools indoctrinated me with when I was young. It’s hard for me to reject the idea that rain (for example) comes from a process within the hydrological cycle. Or that a river is just water, or that fire is a mere grouping of incandescent molecules. Or that the explosives that ITS utilizes are the product of an exothermic reaction. For before I believed in the “Spirits of the Earth” (for lack of a better term) I was also an atheistic materialist who based my beliefs more in the scientific method than animism. But that all changed when I had a very personal experience with a fox, a deer, and a pair of vultures in the semi-desert hills of northern Mexico.
So to reiterate, I am a civilized human being, but I’m over that. I prefer to recover my past as a Teochichimeca and to fight for it with tooth and claw. And even though I am well aware that I am not capable of a complete return to that worldview, it’s in this manner that my opposition to the techno-industrial system and modern civilization are fostered.
In the end, I understand that Wildist materialists like you pay more attention to the physical realm and the spiritual realm doesn’t appeal to you. We’re after all in the Scientific Age where there is an explanation for everything, an age when reason is weighted more than the teachings of our ancestors. Today a book by a “good author” is more valid than the teachings of our elders. We live in an age of severe amnesia in which progressive evolution denigrates and condemns savage behaviors and the beliefs that at one time were essential to our species.
I understand that it’s hard for you to accept, that defending paganism is swimming against the current. But this is about recovering our past in opposition to all that we have been taught since we were children, no matter what the cost.
3.3 John Jacobi
I never said definitively that eco-extremists defend paganism in order to fulfill a “primitive aesthetic.” I said I suspected this, but nothing more. As your response has demonstrated, some of you actually do take it seriously, and I rescind my speculation.
It is irrelevant whether you find my analysis insulting or disrespectful. This is a war, and I do not know you personally. You have made a prescient and touching point about your own beliefs, and I accept that as valid. But I will not hide the fact that I find paganism to be nonsense, personally. At most, I will not be intentionally inflammatory toward you and your beliefs because I do respect your bravery in fighting this war against wild nature, and because I do not think it is wise to burn bridges between two individuals who clearly hold so many threatened values in common.
Once again, I do not understand how you can “reject” physics or other such things. Clearly these things are at least mostly accurate, or else they wouldn’t work as well as they do. And I suspect that if you truly “reject” them, meaning you do not accept them as true at all, you may turn out to be like the indigenous people who believed in “Ghost Shirts.” Consider an excerpt from a letter I responded to when I was editor of The Wildernist:
I’m always reminded of the story of the Ghost Dance, which was a religious movement that some Native Indians adopted in the late 1800s. It stemmed from a prophecy by the messianic spiritual leader Wovoka, who preached that if the “Ghost Dance” was done just right, the spirits of the dead would fight on behalf of the Natives and make the colonists leave. Part of this was a belief that the dancers had “ghost shirts” that would protect them from bullets. I’ve heard a radical environmentalist actually say—actually say—that this was an example of their spiritual superiority, their “oneness with the Earth.” Apparently she hadn’t heard the end of the story, because in 1890 soldiers opened fire on Natives at Wounded Knee, and the ghost shirts did not, in fact, protect the two hundred plus individuals who died that day. The only “oneness with the Earth” they ended up experiencing was the oneness of their corpses with ashes and dust.
The moral of the story isn’t, “Ha! Look at those ignorant Natives.” To the contrary, Wovoka-ish mysticism has played out plenty enough times throughout history for us to know that humans just seem to be prone to these sorts of things. The moral of the story is, however, that radical environmentalist talk of “the inarticulable,” “oneness with Nature” and other such gobbley-gook is very likely or at least prone to becoming yet another example. So far I’ve seen no other tools able to combat this better than science and reason.
I have nothing more substantial to say about this topic. Your beliefs are fine, provided you accept the exceptions I gave in my previous letter. I only bring this up because I want to see eco-radicals everywhere rewild in the most effective way possible. I don’t care if this means “revolution” or whatever, so long as they actually care enough for wild nature to be effective in defending it. This is only a logical outgrowth of valuing wildness anyway.
I agree that it is not pertinent to this conversation to consider your thoughts as insulting to my pagan beliefs. However, I think that there should be a minimum of respect for what each of us believes and defends in order to have a good faith conversation. I think there should be more tact than what you demonstrated when you started speculating and assuming things, but I’ll count that as water under the bridge and continue…
Your example of Natives who died thinking that the “ghost shirts” would protect them from the bullets of the whites is interesting, though in truth my rejection of modern physics or science is not as absolute as I have let on here. It is rather a partial rejection, for as I wrote in my previous response, “even though I am conscious of not being able to commit to a TOTAL regression, it is in this manner that my opposition to the techno-industrial system and modern civilization is fostered.”
As I was saying, I cannot eliminate completely the scientism that has been taught to me from an early age. But I can reject it in fits and starts, preferring at the same time to recover my roots by being a modern human who cherishes the teachings of my ancestors.
Obviously if a shaman instructed me to risk my life by confronting a bunch of armed men confiding only in the protection of the spirit of my dead ancestors, I’m pretty sure that I wouldn’t do it. Or maybe I’d find a way to do it in a manner in which I wouldn’t be risking my life in the process.
3.5 John Jacobi
You say that if a shaman told you to do something obviously wrong, you probably wouldn’t follow it. But doesn’t this suggest that you are actually a materialist and that you regard materialism as a better way of resisting the attempts of others who use delusions to hold power over you? I am a spiritual person myself. As a materialist I regard the Cosmos with awe and through reason and unreason alike commune with it, studying the process of creation through evolutionary theory, hiking through stone skeletons of the earth, washing in the river blood of the earth, etc. But ultimately I do not posit the existence of anything other than what is material–that is beautiful enough!–and I do not regard shamans or any sort of master as an infallible source of knowledge. Instead I think empirical investigation, logic, and other scientific ways of knowing the world have shown themselves to be superior ways of knowing the world, whether they are present in primitive cultures or industrial ones. And they are present in primitive cultures.
See Jared Diamond’s “Zoological classification system of a primitive people“, in which Diamond shows a “nearly one-to-one correspondence between Fore [taxonomy] and species as recognized by European taxonomists.”
See also Louis Liebenberg’s “The Art of Tracking: The Origin of Science“, in which Liebenberg illustrates how scientific reasoning can be traced to the methods hunter/gatherers used to track and hunt animals.
This is, at least, my own belief. You need not reply if you do not want to. I simply wanted to make clear that by accepting scientific materialism I do not disregard spirituality or irrationality. These things are important to me because I love the WHOLE human, not just some parts. But I would much rather receive spiritual fulfillment from what I regard as true beliefs, cruel or not, traditional or not. Again, I write about these things in “The Foundations of Wildist Ethics,” section III.B.
I end with a quote from Edward Abbey:
Belief? What do I believe in? I believe in sun. In rock. In the dogma of the sun and the doctrine of the rock. I believe in blood, fire, woman, rivers, eagles, storm, drums, flutes, banjos, and broom-tailed horses…
I am glad to know that you don’t place scientific reasoning above spirituality and irrationality. I know of few materialists who do this. Many seem to be programmed like a machine to spit out answers using an artificial rationality imposed on them by modern thought.
You know, today it is very difficult to find real shamans. In Mexico the indigenous peoples who are true “knowledgeable men,” don’t reveal themselves. They zealously hide their teachings, and if they share them, it’s only with a certain people. These are relatively few in number. The majority of “shamans” in Mexico are charlatans, dishonest people who use pseudo-spiritualism to get money, fame, or other material goods. You have to be smart, know your way around things, and observant to sniff out the frauds. Unfortunately, many who are drawn to animist beliefs are easily fooled by these con-artists. That’s how things are on this side, anyway.
I think that the spiritualist and the materialist will always be at odds since both look to reason: one to divine reason, the other to scientific reason. Some materialists ask: How can you believe in a god who you don’t see? The spiritualists respond in similar fashion: How do you believe in the Higgs boson, which you don’t see either?
I think that here it would be better to strike a balance and not disregard one side or the other totally, as I have written previously. I am a modern human being and I can’t think like my ancestors. I can’t believe anymore that water falls from the sky as a “gift from the gods”. I know that the water falls from the sky as a result of the hydrological process, even if I would prefer not to know that and remain with the beliefs of my ancestors. Unfortunately I cannot do that.
Thus trying to strike a balance is the only path left for me…
4 Indiscriminate Attack
4.1 John Jacobi
I would like to give the reasons that wildists are concerned with proper terminology. Oftentimes people dismiss these discussions as mere semantic debates, and sometimes they are, but proper terminology is important in some cases, and I think that it will be a recurring issue in our discussion about eco-extremism. We wildists have three reasons we emphasize proper terminology:
- Without proper terminology, we cannot accurately communicate our views to the public. Obviously you are concerned with this too, or else you wouldn’t be having this discussion with me; and ITS and the other terrorist cells are also clearly concerned with this, since they frequently release texts and communiques.
- If we don’t use proper and consistent terminology, we do not only confuse the public; we confuse our own members too. This degrades unity of action, since individuals who think that they can work with other wildists actually believe and want very different things. Clarification, critique, and honesty is an important way to mitigate that problem.
- When we have proper terminology, we can spend less time clarifying agitating semantic issues and more time on issues that are more important. For instance, I used to use the term “leftist,” but this just confused the public and members, because they thought I was referring to the political left in conventional politics, when I was really referring to two separate tendencies: progressivism (especially humanism) and opportunism. Now that I simply say “progressivism,” “humanism,” or “opportunism,” people understand what I am saying more easily, and members are able to avoid useless debates that plagued us for a long time.
That in mind, I have two main things to say about indiscriminate violence, but I want to address only the quote by Regresion magazine right now. Ignoring the part about innocence, I understand this quote to mean this: when a group of eco-terrorists decide on a target, they will carry out their goal even if some people get in the way. In other words, terrorist cells of eco-extremists are not going to attack schools or random crowds, but once they decide that they are going to attack a certain infrastructural target or a technocrat, they must singlemindedly pursue the target regardless of the consequences at that point.
If that is what eco-extremists understand Regresion to be saying, then I can at least understand the position. In the military, a group of men engaged in active warfare cannot waver. They must make a decision and during an operation carry out the decision. They will of course not shoot civilians just to do so; but if a civilian attempts to stop them, they have to do something or else risk failure. Furthermore, military structure and training is designed specifically so that their men do not feel too badly about engaging in these actions. If they did feel too badly, they would not be able to achieve the goals. You wrote that this is simply the reality of armed conflict, and that is true, and you are right that people ought to be honest about that (which is a separate question of whether they should engage in it).
But the problem here is, again, terminology. If eco-extremists argue that terrorist cells should not be concerned with occasional collateral damage when pursuing a “specific place” or target, then they are not being indiscriminate—they are pursuing a specific target. Furthermore, if ITS is not going to bomb a school or random crowd, and instead focuses on technocrats and industrial infrastructure, then they are discriminating. It seems that ITS and other cells are actually saying that attacks must be executed singlemindedly, and that they should not have to feel intense remorse over casualties that are to be expected. This is at least a respectable position, and does not engage in the “politicking” that some underground cells in previous revolutionaries engage in. They say, for instance, that they care intensely for the harmed. This is rarely true, and they only say it to save face. Do you think that the military man is intensely remorseful for the drone strike he ordered? This is the character of armed conflict. But when you and other eco-extremists say you advocate “Indiscriminate Attack,” it sounds like you are prescribing indiscriminateness, which does little to nothing to defend wild nature.
I understand quite well what you are talking about concerning terminology. And yes, up to a certain point some eco-extremists have wanted to try to clarify things when we issue a communiqué or analysis so that our position isn’t misunderstood. On the other hand, we have witnessed that, many times, even when we are very clear about our terminology, there are always stupid people who will never understand it. That’s why our texts and communiqués are addressed to a certain sector of the public in particular, mainly, those intelligent readers who are familiar with the themes that we discuss. Sure, the words of eco-extremists have been widely published in conventional venues, but that doesn’t mean that the discussion is meant for the majority of people. Eco-extremism doesn’t aim to change minds. It doesn’t pretend to influence the consciousness of the masses. The communiqués and texts are a shot in the dark; they are for those few who are willing to take them up.
On the other hand, some eco-extremists have found it necessary to clarify certain terms since it was an essential part of our new identity as a tendency. We have never denied that the essay, “Industrial Society and Its Future” has been an important part of our formation into what we are now. For that reason, in the past we used such terms as “leftists,” “power process,” “feelings of inferiority,” “liberty and autonomy,” etc. that in the present we have omitted or changed for other words so that we distinguish ourselves from the “indomitistas” of Kaczynski.
Leaving behind the theme of terminology, I will clarify some questions that have to do with indiscriminate attacks by bringing up some examples:
Some centuries ago, specifically between 1550 and 1600, in the region now known as Mexico, one of the greatest conflicts of natives against European invaders was fought. This was carried out by the warlike hunter-gatherer nomads who dwelled in the region now known as the “Gran Chichimeca.” They put up a ferocious resistance to any effort at domestication and subjugation. These ethnic groups fought neighboring tribes just as much as they fought against the great Mesoamerican civilizations such as those of the Mexica and Tarascos. The recently arrived Western civilization was not an exception in that sense.
Many of the attacks that were carried out by the wild Teochichimecas were against the caravans that were going to or returning from Zacatecas, the place where the Europeans had found silver that they obtained out of the great mines there.
The Teochichimecas ambushed the caravans and killed everyone with extreme violence. So much was this the case that even the mention of these nomadic warriors made the invaders shake with fright. No one was spared in the attack; they killed women, men, slaves, mulattoes, young women, soldiers, even the horses were not spared. This is a good model of what indiscriminate attack means within the eco-extremist tendency.
In this example, the objective that the Teochichimecas had was, without a doubt, to return the blows that the Europeans had inflicted with more force, revenging themselves for the offenses committed against them. The other objective was to expel the Europeans from their lands and return the silver to the Earth. The latter cannot be merely read about in books that discuss the “Chichimeca War” but also a few of the old people on the roads of Zacatecas tell of how, “naked men attacked the wagons that carried the silver and buried it in the hostile surroundings so that the whites would never find it.”
The objective was then to strike out against the invaders, and whoever was near the whites was also attacked with the same fury. In this day and age it is the eco-extremist groups who do likewise. For example, on August 28th, 2011, ITS members entered the National Genome and Biotechnology Laboratory in the municipality of Irapuato, Guanajuato, the security of the world renowned lab of the Center of Advanced Investigations (Cinvestav) having been violated by that group. According to the press, an explosive device made of dynamite was left there which the Mexican army was able to deactivate before it exploded. In its January 28th, 2012 communiqué, ITS wrote that the attack was directed against any investigator or employee who worked in the laboratory. This was an indiscriminate attack without question, since even though the explosive was left in a place that was widely associated with biotechnology, the blast could have harmed not only scientists, but also any janitor, security guard, or any other person not associated with research there. ITS acted like the Teochichimecas; it sought to strike without regard for bystanders.
Another example of indiscriminate attack was when a package-bomb exploded in the hands of the Vice President of the Pro-GMO Alliance (an organization headed by Monsanto Mexico), the cattleman Mari Valdés, who was gravely injured along with his secretary, on November 19th, 2015. The Eco-Extremist Circle of Attack and Sabotage claimed responsibility for this attack. In it, not only did the target Valdés come out wounded, but his defenseless secretary as well, who more than likely has little to do with the large corporations that carry out the genetic modification of plants. This is also considered by eco-extremists to be an example of indiscriminate attack, for, as is evident, one attacks a specific target without regard for collateral damage, which is different from the idea of a “random attack”.
On October 26th, 2015, the “Indiscriminate Group” (GI) abandoned an explosive in the station of the Metro Chilpancingo in Mexico City at rush hour. In their communiqué the eco-extremist group indicated that their target was the transportation system and all that it represented (environmental destruction, the urban commute of the masses, progress, etc.) The bomb was located by the police who removed it from the station and deactivated it, thus frustrating the attack. This is another example of indiscriminate attack, which caused disgust among many people, including those who claim to be against the values of the system. But GI acted without reservation, justifying the attack that sought to strike out against the public mass transit system without consideration of if they killed or wounded “innocents”. Everyone there were members of a society complicit with the destruction of Wild Nature, including human nature.
It is thus the case that, striking out in this manner, the acts of eco-extremist groups subvert the values of the techno-industrial system which teaches humanism, progress, solidarity, philanthropy, etc. Eco-extremists act out in a manner that is totally contrary to the moral rules that allow contemporary civilization to stay afloat. We defend the total rejection of humanism, for we lean towards terrorism against hyper-civilized people (modern misanthropy). We strike out against progress with Regression. We don’t express solidarity with anyone unless they form part of our circle of accomplices. And we don’t preach pious sentiment, as we encourage individualists to satisfy their darkest instincts, with criminality, indiscriminate attack, and chaos; all of this aimed against the Alien and all that seeks to domesticate us.
“What eco-extremists do is to be sincere in what they do or will do. They issue a warning since in their attacks some bystanders have been affected.”
What I wish to say here is that ITS and eco-extremist groups do not preoccupy themselves with giving warnings when they are preparing an attack. I am saying ITS and the other groups warn that, in the event of indiscriminate attack, the common person should not try to play the hero because they’ll come out hurt. They should ignore the person placing the explosive somewhere or they’ll come out hurt. Modern Mexican society is immersed in an atmosphere of fear or indifference; we wish this to be the case as well when eco-extremists are carrying out their business…
4.3 John Jacobi
You say, “habrá siempre gente necia que nunca las comprenderán.” Amen. Wildists also write as accurately as possible but still do not expect more than an elite to understand, and an even smaller elite to sympathize.
I also agree with nearly everything else you say about eco-extremist attitudes toward terminology.
Regarding “Indiscriminate Attack.” One example was particularly clarifying to me, namely, the example of the Teochichimecas attacking caravans. You are right that this is not the “singleminded attack” that I had described earlier, although it also cannot be called “indiscriminate attack” since even the teochichimecas did not just attack anyone—they attacked specific people, specific caravans, etc. It is somewhere on the spectrum between “singleminded attack” and “indiscriminate attack.” I still do not support and will never support actions that actually are indiscriminate, and I do not and will never support the term “indiscriminate,” because it means, according to dictionaries, “done at random or without careful judgment,” and in reality I only support activism that is calculated to be effective for making the world a wilder place. Nevertheless, that is all I will say about terminology, since I now understand what you mean because of your example.
I have several responses to this, but before I outline my counter-arguments, let me outline what I understand to be the eco-extremists’ justifications:
- ITS and other terror cells attack in this manner because the teochichimecas did it.
- ITS and other terror cells attack in this manner because they are not humanists or even progressivists.
- ITS and other terror cells attack in this manner because of their overall strategy, which is similar to the teochichimecas. You wrote that the strategy was basically to scare Europeans away by being more violent.
- Finally, eco-extremists apparently believe that “innocence” is a relevant concept and do not believe anyone (or any industrial human?) to be “innocent,” which they say justifies “indiscriminate attack.” Out of all of the arguments, this one contains the most logical fallacies, so I need special confirmation that this is what you and other eco-extremists are arguing, at least as far as you know.
After you confirm that these are the four core arguments for “indiscriminate attack” I will begin responding why wildists believe differently, if you do believe these arguments.
Continuing with the theme of indiscriminate attack: if we’re going to stick to the dictionary definition in particular, as in the word, “indiscriminate,” you’ll encounter this definition: “That which does not distinguish between particular persons or things, nor establish differences between them,” So I’m sticking with what the dictionary says. But as eco-extremism is a tendency that subverts all, it’s not surprising that you’re confusing “indiscriminate attack” with “random attack.”
I affirm, negate, and clarify the following:
- ITS and other eco-extremist groups attack not only because of the spirit of the Teochichimecas. The reasons behind their attacks are many, ranging from what we have indicated here, to those that seek to defend Wild Nature in an egoist manner, mere revenge, or seeking to destabilize certain institutions in the present.
- ITS and other eco-extremists groups attack in this manner because they are neither reformists nor progessivists nor humanists nor politically correct. That is quite certain.
- ITS and other cells utilize Teochichimeca tactics, but also urban guerilla strategies, experimentation with armed struggle, practice of criminal activities such as armed robbery, psychological terrorism, etc. in order to reach their ends. One of the primary of these is the extreme defense of wild nature through terrorism against scientists, humanists, engineers, clergy, miners, businessmen, etc.
- Though some may be more culpable than others, ITS and eco-extremist groups assert that all who conform to this society and who contribute to it in one way or another (us included) are guilty for what it does, and no one then is INNOCENT. If you contribute to this society or conform to it, you are not innocent.
4.5 John Jacobi
Regarding the point on “indiscriminate attack,” I remain solidly convinced that “indiscriminate” is not a proper term and does not properly communicate what you are trying to say. I will never condone the terminology, and I stand firm with that position. You write, ” it’s not surprising that you’re confusing ‘indiscriminate attack’ with ‘random attack.'” The problem is that most individuals understand “indiscriminate attack” to mean “random attack,” and because of this it produces all manner of confusion and many distracting debates that could have otherwise been avoided. This is obvious from the backlash that ITS and other terror cells have received (although that is partly due to the filthy humanist philosophy many “radicals” hold); but it is also clear in many of my discussions with people who agree completely with my values and what I suspect to be your own, or at least what you claim as your own.
The problem they and I have is that if people understand “indiscriminate” to mean “random,” then they will not think that you actually care about wild nature, nor do you care about rewilding in the most effective way possible. Instead, they will think that people who advocate “random attack” merely want to kill, or have something wrong with them. Furthermore, even your definition of “indiscriminate” leaves this impression, because eco-terror cells DO discriminate between who they attack and don’t, for surely they would not intentionally harm another eco-radical, surely they would not bomb a place “just because,” surely you would not attack primitive peoples. This problem is exacerbated by the language in communiques by ITS, which sometimes speak as though everyone is a target, when at the very least I think they restrict their attacks to the civilized.
This misunderstanding is a problem precisely because it applies to the indomitable spirits who are also seeking to defend wild nature and perhaps link up with others to make their resistance more powerful. I want to work with those individuals, so I do not want to scare them away by giving them the impression that I really care about violence and attacking rather than wild nature and rewilding. All this applies regardless of what eco-extremists actually mean by “indiscriminate attack.” It is enough that the majority of people understand eco-extremists to mean “random attack,” and this is largely the fault of eco-extremists themselves. I’ll say nothing more about terminology on this point.
I appreciate your concern that causes you to dwell on how eco-extremists should revise the term so that it is “more understandable to the public.” Nevertheless I will continue to defend this term, as I feel most of the other eco-extremists do and probably will.
In that regard, I would like to make it very clear that:
- Eco-extremism as a tendency breaks with the stereotypes of other radical armed or direct action groups in that eco-extremism is itself a provocation and a subversion of civilized humanist values that govern our present society.
- Eco-extremism gets many reactions, most of them negative. If then we continue to use the term “indiscriminate attack” it is to continue to highlight the provocative tone of our rhetoric, which is our signature.
- The intelligent reader of the texts, communiques, publications, and messages taking responsibility for an attack will note that indiscriminate attack as executed by ITS and other groups is absolutely not a random attack.
- Eco-extremism explains its actions, and even though it is backed up by words, it is a tendency that emphasizes acts over any given terminology.
- Eco-extremism does not aim to be a movement. I am informed by third parties that, even though we’re not interested, many times things that ITS and the other groups do generate lively polemic within the “primitivist”, anarchist, and wildist milieus. But in reality we’re not overly concerned with how others see us. We lose little sleep over whether people understand our reasoning or not. Only the indiscriminate terrorist of eco-extremist inclination will understand the acts and words of another indiscriminate terrorist of eco-extremist inclination. And I’m fine with that. Eco-extremism is showing signs of expansion into other countries by what we’ve seen recently. This is real evidence that we are growing larger.
4.7 John Jacobi
You write that I am concerned with how the public understands the concept of indiscriminate attack. This is true to a limited degree, but my main concern is with how other eco-extremists and eco-radicals understand the concept of indiscriminate attack. You write, for instance, that intelligent readers will understand the meaning of the phrase, but intelligent readers may not be the only ones inspired to act. This is especially true when the language of the communiques is so messy, reckless, and open to misinterpretation.
You point out that it is permitted by our non-humanist moral foundations. As an example you point out the savage character of the Teochichimeca attacks on Christian civilizers and you note the way the Amazonian tribes who have recently been threatened attack all who threaten their way of life. Indeed, your example of the Teochichimecas attacking caravans was such a good one because it illustrated that THAT is how people sometimes behave when they are allowed to live as natural humans and are not bound by humanist philosophies. It is true that if industrial society collapsed, even in only a small region, the humans who live there would slowly regain their wild spirits and would likely regard neighboring bands or tribes instrumentally. They may not attack just to attack, and they may even have a working coalition, but if need be they will enter into war and be brutal. One of the most striking examples of this is the Yanomami people.
I recognize this point as valid.
However, I have some remaining qualms with the concept of indiscriminate attack as the eco-extremists mean it.
4.7.1 Suicidal Conflict
We live in the present, and in the present the primary concern for those who love the wild is (presumably) rewilding in the most effective manner. Even if our values do not allow explicit condemnation of the eco-extremist principle, it also does not explicitly condone it nor does it make it an imperative (as you know). As such, whether to engage in such action is entirely a question of (a) individual character and decisions and (b) strategy. Since (a) is so varied between individuals, I will not speak on it except to say that I am repulsed by some of what you implicitly or explicitly condone by indiscriminate attack. But I can only determine my own behavior, of course. Regarding, (b), I can’t give any specific suggestions because it may create some legal problems for me. It is enough to say that I do not think indiscriminate attack is a very good idea. If your enemy is much stronger than you, than it makes sense to prod him with a stick to wear him out, but if you prod too hard too quickly then the enemy will stamp you out completely. This is always a risk, but “live wild or die” does not mean that I DESIRE to die; death is not my GOAL, and I will not ask for it. Death is just the price I am willing to pay.
4.7.2 A Major Discrimination
There is at least one discrimination that is important: those who fight against civilization and those who do not. Forget what I think about those who do not fight against civilization; I think I have explained enough my general stance on the issue. However, obviously I and other wildists do not support hurting those who have joined us in our war against industry. Reading some communiques, it seems that ITS and other eco-extremists make this distinction as well. For example,
In communique 5 (2016), “We consider as enemies all those who contribute to the systematic process of domestication and alienation: the scientists, the engineers, the investigators, the physicists, the executives, the humanists, and (why not?), affirming the principle of indiscriminate attack, society itself and all that it entails. Why society? Because it tends toward progress, technological and industrial. It contributes to the consolidation and advance of civilization. We can think of all who form part of society as being mere sheep who do what they are told and that’s it, but for us it’s not that simple. People obey because they want to. If they had a choice and, if it were up to them, they would love to live like those accursed millionaires, but they rot in their poverty as the perennially faithful servants of the system that enslaves us as domestic animals.”
In communique 4 (2016), “ITS does not yield before the accepted morality, and knows that you are either with Technology, or you are at war against it. The former will die as well as those on the fence.”
This in mind, indiscriminate attack poses at least two problems. First, how can anyone possibly tell who is and is not fighting, passive, or on the fence in the context of “indiscriminate attack”? If an eco-terrorist sets off a bomb in a graduate computer science class, how do they know that members of that class are not translating communiques or essays, hacking industrial companies’ computers, etc.? Now, I have made no comment about the terrorist tactics themselves, and will not. But assuming that they will be practiced regardless, I recognize the limitations inherent in the tactics. I recognize that there would always be some kind of trade-off. But “indiscriminate attack” drastically increases the chances that eco-radicals would kill one of their own.
I obviously speak from personal context. I am an information science major, and I believe that hackers and cyberpunks can do a lot to aid the current destabilization of industrial society. For instance, jihadists, anarchist terrorists, eco-terrorists, African insurgents, and many others are currently forcing governments to conduct mass surveillance, and this upsets citizens—but only if they know. The cyberpunks, who actually often have eco-radical and anarchist sympathies, are letting the citizens know through leaks, hacks, and journalism, which creates a riotous climate more favorable to eco-radicals. This is why I am myself a cyberpunk and why I am strongly supportive of the movement. This is also why I and others are confused by eco-extremist rhetoric: do eco-extremists mean that anyone who does not fight civilization with bombs, arson, and terrorism risk death? Are there not other ways to rewild?
To be clear, I do not say the above because I am afraid of death. By attending university, a research university no less, and by majoring in information science, I openly acknowledge that I am in THE warzone. Universities are, of course, one of the primary sites of struggle for eco-radicals–I’ve said this over and over, and I know that I am at risk.
However, forget terrorism for a moment, whatever the status of those tactics. Consider the possibility that there are four or five student wildists at each of a few universities. That is more than enough to conduct sophisticated, non-terroristic action that is nonetheless highly effective. For instance, students know the university much better than any outside radical ever could; they are better connected; they have more access; etc. Furthermore, when students revolt, the media is usually favorable to them and the police can’t be as harsh for fear of backlash. In these circumstances, eco-radicals can take advantage of chaos because the strategic advantages are almost entirely given to them, the students. Furthermore, even if this does not result in material demands, it trains the eco-radicals so they can better take advantage of future situations. Through action NOW we prepare for the future later, and we are better equipped to take advantage of any opportunity that may arise. There is actually no other way to properly prepare. And of course material demands will NEVER be achieved without a “tactical spectrum.”
With this tactic some groups could be (1) possibly WAY more effective than isolated terrorists; (2) better guarded against repression so they can continue to act; (3) trained for the future without relying on the future; (4) better able to avoid the risk of hurting or maiming one of their own.
I am not trying to convince you to embark on certain tactics. I am only explaining the wildist approach and some of the reasons indiscriminate attack makes no sense to me as a strategic policy.
Consider also the repercussions of indiscriminateness as practiced by salafi jihadists:
While the downplaying of its elitist, Salafi rhetoric has softened the blow of these recantations to some extent, Al-Qaeda has been put in an untenable position with respect to one issue. Al-Qaeda has been forced to defend itself against charges that its actions lead to the death of countless innocent Muslims. Whether Al-Qaeda uses allegations of apostasy to justify these deaths ideologically; whether it argues pragmatically that the ends justify the means; or whether Al-Qaeda genuinely tries to minimize Muslim fatalities is irrelevant. Declining opinion polls in the Muslim world reflect the indisputable fact that Al-Qaeda has failed to redeem Islam, but has succeeded in killing innocent Muslims in large numbers. Despite its many adaptations, this is Al-Qaeda’s major weakness, and it remains an enduring weakness of the global jihad that the West should continue to expose.
Now, I recognize that you say that you are not trying to recruit people, and for the most part I strongly agree with you. We should not make our values and goals more palatable just for larger numbers. But remember again that I am interested in the most effective attack against industry that we are capable of, assuming that at a minimum this means effective rewilding by individuals and small groups. This means, for instance, that attacking people “on the fence” does not really make any sense. At worst that sort of rhetoric could even weaken the attack against industry by unnecessarily alienating individuals who were once you and I.
Furthermore, lest you forget how provocative the eco-extremist rhetoric has been, note these quotes from the most recent ITS communiques:
From communique 5 (2016), “Nothing, absolutely nothing guarantees that bystanders will not get hurt. In fact, our attacks are designed to cause the greatest amount of harm possible. And if more lives are taken in these attacks than we anticipated beforehand, so much the better. We can say this without hesitation or guilt because we are totally convinced of what we think and the life we have chosen, and we have shown this with concrete actions. Before any obstacle we know how to act. All possible “collateral damage” is not a “calculation error” and it is not “the price of the struggle”. It is a choice: a conscious and desired CHOICE.”
From communique 1 (2016), “It fills us with joy when tornadoes destroy urban areas, as well as when storms flood and endanger defenseless citizens.”
This does nothing to communicate a love for the wild; it does nothing to communicate the importance of radical defense; all it does is make people (including me, a fellow eco-radical!) suspect that some of the eco-extremists in ITS are sociopaths and that they are just opportunistically using eco-defense as a way to justify their violence. By now I realize that this is not the case with many eco-extremists, but the point remains.
4.7.3 Our Capacity for Empathy
Even if we aren’t humanists, we are still capable of feeling empathy. Obviously, this can be rebutted by saying that we are in war, and that is true, and I recognize the necessity of a purist defense of wild nature and all that that entails. But as a person who loves the WHOLE human, I do hope to discourage the distortion of human nature that occurs within all radical movements, a distortion that makes man forget the side of his spirit that is not a warrior, but that is simple and wants simple things. To do this, in my discussions with young wildists I frequently quote a video game I used to play called “Knights of the Old Republic II.” In it, one character says, “The jedi… the Sith… you don’t get it, do you? To the galaxy they’re the same thing: just men and women with too much power, squabbling over religion, while the rest of us burn.” Ultimately I believe in my cause; I believe in Reaction. But this quote makes me look at my commitments critically. I hope it helps you do this too.
In sum: overwhelmingly my biggest issue with indiscriminate attack and much eco-extremist rhetoric is the way it divides fellow eco-radicals who share nearly all of your values and by the way that it fails to remind that there is a difference between a civilized bystander and an eco-radical bystander.
Finally, question: In “Ataques Indiscriminados? Pero que chingados les pasa!” Regresion writes, “As we stated above, anyone can disagree with the indiscriminate eco-extremism that we advocate. For example, the so-called “Paulino Scarfó Revolutionary Cell” has done so in February of this year when it indirectly mentioned the ITS attack in Chile.” Does this mean that some eco-extremists do not necessarily support indiscriminate attack? I don’t know who the Paulino Scarfo Revolutionary Cell is. Either way, I think you can regard me as an eco-radical who questions the validity of “indiscriminate attack” and definitely dislikes the terminology.
On the second point I would like to state the following:
I would like to reiterate and emphasize here that the contexts in which various struggles in defense of Wild Nature develop are different for each case. That’s the case in Mexico from state to state within the country, and just as much the case in the United States.
When you place special emphasis on the danger of placing bombs knowing that maybe the eco-extremists themselves would come out dead or injured, or other eco-radicals or people who share the same goal of the destabilization of civilization or the techno-industrial system, you are being too much of a catastrophist, as it’s hard for us to take such scenarios seriously. Indeed, I’ll go so far as to say that they are near impossible.
In ITS’s history (taking the oldest eco-extremist group as an example), there has never been the case of an eco-extremist, eco-radical, or similar person who has been wounded or killed in an attack. Even though this would be on the minds of eco-extremist groups who have carried out an attack at some point, I’m sure that if one day this were to happen, they would be upset by it but that wouldn’t stop them. It would be unfortunate, they’d probably be saddened by it as much as if a comrade were imprisoned for his extremist activities. But that’s the price that they are willing to pay.
You propose the example of if a bomb were left in a computer science class, perhaps there would be people present there who would be willing to translate communiqués or essays; or who are hackers. I’ll tell you that this would never be the case in Mexico. That is, the vast majority of people who study that particular course in engineering don’t have a clue about this stuff. Perhaps the people who could get hurt are leftist activists who don’t have a compelling critique of technology and civilization. Mexican leftist activists generally are progressivists and rebellious in their youth, but when they grow up and get jobs they forget about their rebellion. So it wouldn’t be a problem for eco-extremists if an explosion maims or kills these people.
Maybe in the United States computer science classrooms have a good number of eco-radicals or hackers who are working for the destabilization of civilization. If there were any eco-extremists in the United States you would have something to worry about in that regard as universities are a frequent eco-extremist target. But to date I don’t know of any eco-extremists operating in the United States. It’s all a matter of context. If somehow eco-extremists emerged in the United States, either as an individual or in various groups, I would imagine that they would be careful in targeting the universities to not injure people who are likeminded. They would have to be more selective in their attacks and less out in the open.
In the United States lately I’ve seen that “rewilding” has gone viral. There are now many television programs about survivalism or “primitivism”. I understand that more people are radicalized by the day in your country, that many people are drawn to this profound critique of the techno-industrial system and this is becoming a movement. And from that I believe comes your concern that eco-extremists be more careful in their attacks. But in Mexico this isn’t the case, and it doesn’t seem to be the case in South America either.
The times in Mexico when universities have been attacked, eco-extremists groups have chosen their target well, focused on something specific, did their homework, and attacked with calculation. Those who come out hurt are either the intended targets or some university worker, and that’s it. Thus there is no reason here to think that some eco-extremist was either killed or wounded here, let alone anyone who desired the destabilization of civilization.
ITS from 2011 to 2014 attacked nine university campuses, some even were attacked twice. The casualties from those bombings were four persons, with only one fatality. In none of these occasions were activists or anarchists or communists hurt, not to mention any eco-radicals or “passive” eco-extremists. Here I must emphasize that eco-extremism is synonymous with illegality. ALL eco-extremists end up breaking the law or thumbing their nose at authority. Some do this by detonating explosives, others by aligning with common criminality, some by transporting explosives or illegal materials, some by publishing blogs on these events, other by editing the magazines reporting them, still others by translating communiques taking responsibility for them. That is all to say, ALL eco-extremists are part of the same Mafia, all contribute to the criminal enterprise that strikes out against the normal functioning of civilization. That’s why a “passive” eco-extremist can’t exist, since once an individualist calls himself an “eco-extremist,” he becomes an illegalist individualist.
Next I would like to clarify that when I mention that I am working and striving for rewilding I am only speaking of MY OWN rewilding and the rewilding of my group. I would give anything to see the system collapse and for the planet to be free again from all civilized bondage. But I can’t since I am an eco-extremist and for this reason I believe that the future doesn’t exist and all that is left for me is this piece of shit in which I am stranded and I’m well aware that I am not the Earth’s savior. The only thing that I can save is my own life and the way I associate with my affinity group. I am Wild Nature, as well as my group that holds on to idea of not letting our wild instincts die. They took everything away from us, even a place where we can freely dwell. They took away our wild places, our ancestral lands, and buried them under cement. Thus I and my group are the only Wild Nature, and re-wilding is what we aspire towards. Sure, there are eco-extremists who have their own place of Wild Nature that they defend and that is their work. And the truth of the matter is that it would be an error to give one absolute meaning to eco-extremism. As you may know, within eco-extremism there are many current of thought, some more radical than others, although we all unite under the same principles that I mentioned in my first interactions with you.
On this theme we have to keep in mind context. For example, eco-extremists who live a nomadic life generally have places where they can go when the climate changes, that is, they have a place to defend. In that case they are interested in the re-wilding of those places and distancing themselves from civilization. However, they do this through violent and illegal methods, and not through negotiation. Eco-extremists like myself live in disgusting cities: we don’t have such places where we can live freely, one that needs to be defended or re-wilded. We get by how we can and we act according to our abilities but always in illegality. Of course, if the opportunity presents itself and we find a sector of the city destroyed by civil war or similar catastrophe, we would be committed to re-wilding that place, that goes without saying.
Here the same cause unites us: the nomadic eco-extremist groups who defend their territory (without publicly claiming responsibility for it) and those who concern themselves with the rewilding of those places, like us. We eco-extremists of the city carry out criminal activities and we claim responsibility for them, which is our manner of fostering our own rewilding, having always before us Wild Nature.
Continuing on the second point, you mention the indiscriminate attacks of Al Qaeda in which many jihadists have fallen in combat. Let’s keep in mind that, for them, to die in an attack that they carry out or one carried out by those of the same tendency is a blessing in their religion. For if their strategy of indiscriminate attack were weak, the group would have ceased to exist a long time ago. Instead it has positioned itself to be one of the biggest terrorist threats in history. I’m sure that if the Islamic State is defeated, Al Qaeda will still be around, for it has stronger support than the Islamic State, and it is still carrying out indiscriminate attacks.
Eco-extremist rhetoric is clear and, in fact, it is part of a strategy much more profound than that of some “mere sociopaths who use the the radical ecological banner as a cover for their violence,” so some might see it.
The strategy of eco-extremist groups is classified under the so-called “war on nerves” or “psychological terrorism,” where eco-extremists demonstrate that they don’t care about anyone in the attacks that they carry out.
This is a message to the authorities, large corporations, and the other targets of these groups, since the majority of people who read these communiques are the intelligentsia of Mexico, Chile, or Argentina (countries where eco-extremism has an active presence). In this they want to put these corporations on alert in order to create an atmosphere of fear and destabilization in these circles. An example of this was in the first communique of Reacción Salvaje where they included photos of two masked men holding pistols and a machine gun [see “Some Context for Issue Six”]. The content of the communique was clear, and the message of many groups joining together into one was ominous, but the photos were the “cherry on top” so to speak. What would those two people be up to showing off their guns like that? The communique was published in August 2014, and in it the group, Reacción Salvaje, warned of possible terrorist attacks. Due to this, intelligence experts augmented police patrols on two specific dates: September 16th and October 2nd.
For September 16th of that year, during the military parade in the center of the Mexican capital, there was a large security operation in place, and even the baby carriages were searched (which made all the whiny human rights activists complain). All of this was due to the threat of RS and other groups involved in organized criminal activity. Even though there wasn’t an attack on the parade, people were very nervous. Psychological terrorism worked in that case.
In October, during the turbulent demonstration that is held every year to commemorate the massacre of students in Tlatelolco in 1968, a rather large police operation was carried out to neutralize any threat that might emerge, though there were a few attempts at violent confrontations with the police. Nothing out of the ordinary took place, however. Nevertheless, the concern among authorities was obvious, as counterinsurgency experts thought that RS and its factions would take advantage of the upheaval to carry out their attacks. They were noticeably very nervous and paranoid in that regard.
Apparently the authorities came to believe that the threats from RS were false, until November 20th came along and a demonstration took place in the Mexican capital condemning the massacre of the students at Ayotzinapa. The tumult began, violence flared up, the police held their fire while rocks were thrown by various groups of protesters: anarchists, communists, and among them, two RS factions that infiltrated the demonstration. The infiltration did not have the aim to demand justice or express solidarity with the people or anything like that. RS wanted to provoke a mortal confrontation with the political order, using the rage of the people for the purpose of destabilization. The emblematic door of the National Palace was the objective. If the demonstrators stormed the National Palace, the police would have fired on them, and the conflict would have resulted in a massacre or civil war. Two RS factions claimed responsibility for this attempt a couple of days afterward. Unfortunately they were not successful in their objective, but destabilization resulted nonetheless.
In the communique signed by “By Blood and Fire Faction” and the “War Dance Faction” of RS, it stated the following:
The disturbances in front of the emblematic National Palace were not an isolated incident. They were the result of the political, economic, and social crisis which the country is in. These actions made the federal government tremble, which has since yesterday whined through the mass media its prostituted message of a “state of tolerance.” It wants to plant in the heads of curious populace the evil of the situation, and by that, exhort it to reject these types of acts.
For us these confrontations in these conditions are useful for heightening the tensions that are derived from the weakening of the political sphere. One of our objectives is to incite violent tensions so that the police open fire on the citizenry, with the citizenry deciding to defend themselves against them, making the conflict more acute. The aim of all this is destabilization. The nefarious members of the security cabinet and the yapping press spread the rumor in September that we were going to attempt an attack on Independence Day (September 16th) or during the October 2nd march. Their mistaken prediction was only a glimpse of the paranoia caused by the publishing of our August 14th communique. This even though everyone knows that in the demonstrations around the disappearance of those aforementioned students, guerilla and anarchist organizations are always present, and they always end in riots and property damage. We state here that RS terrorists also participated, because when the crisis gets bad, it’s always better to try to make it worse…
As we have written previously, RS is not a group that ‘understands’ or ‘respects’ the masses . We don’t participate in their demonstrations to express “solidarity”, nor to demand ‘peace’ or ‘justice’. The RS factions want to work to see this civilization in flames and collapsing due to the problems of its individual members. And it that means we have to infiltrate demonstrations with sticks, explosives, fire, and even guns, let it be clear that we’ll do just that. For the destabilization of the rotten techno-industrial system!
The threat was carried out, the war on the nerves as a strategy worked and psychological terrorism was the result. This is a perhaps a good example of the strategy of eco-extremist rhetoric.
This is also the case with ITS communiques. This group is based on war on the nerves. When they issue these communiques, they want to destabilize and cause worry among those in charge of maintaining the status quo. This in spite of the fact that many reject ITS or understand the meaning of these messages differently.
For many, ITS postures like a group of psychopaths or insane people, though I am sure that this isn’t the case. On very few occasions they have spoken on their reasoning behind the communiques, and few have understood them.
With regard to point 3 we recognize that some eco-extremist groups do not mention the term “indiscriminate attack”, perhaps because they don’t agree with it or simply because they would prefer not to use that term.
5 Teochichimecas and the Past
5.1 John Jacobi
I gather that not every eco-extremist finds the Teochichimecas to be relevant, since I assume at least some of them have nothing to do with those primitive peoples, having other ancestors. So this mostly applies only to the eco-extremist cells who do speak often of the Teochichimecas.
It often sounds as though these eco-extremists are trying to one or more of these things, all of which have problems: (i) MIMIC the past, (ii) RESTORE the past, (iii) JUSTIFY the present with the past. I make the following critique because I think that the eco-extremist argument is strong even without referring to the past in those three ways, and all those three things do is weaken their arguments. Furthermore, of a group that speaks so much about the importance of the present, it does not make a whole lot of sense to try to restore or mimic the past.
Regarding (i), I provide a quote from Gordon McCormick’s “Terrorist Decision Making” in the Annual Review of Political Science:
It is also evident that terrorist organizations often inherit or adopt a preexisting “script” or theory of victory rather than design a program that is tailored to their specific requirements or operational and strategic objectives. Many terrorists, in this respect, belong to “a tradition of historical action”. The (interpreted) experiences of their predecessors not only demonstrate that action is possible but can also provide terrorists with a set of procedures, tactics, and rules of thumb for carrying out their own campaigns. Historical precedents can be attractive guides. For those who wish to replace an incumbent regime but have no prior experience overthrowing governments, which is typically the case, an historical model can provide an immediate (if prepackaged) recipe for action. The problem this poses for rational decision making is not that such precedents are used as strategic aids, per se, but that they are often adopted uncritically. To the degree this is true, a group’s concept of operations is less a product of a strategic calculus than of a historical legacy, which may or may not be appropriate to the circumstances at hand.
This essay is also useful in explaining the differences between many of the ideas eco-extremists have espoused and some of my own positions. It also explains a phenomenon I suspect some ITS cells are experiencing, where terror cells become progressively more extreme, even unreasonably so, simply because they are so isolated and forced to live in unnatural, paranoid conditions (because if they didn’t the prevailing power would smash them).
Regarding (ii), I offer several quotes supporting my impression:
- You write, “I prefer to recover my past as a Teochichimeca”
- You write, “this is about recovering our past”
- The fifth communique of ITS (2015) writes, “With pagan pride we recover this spirit in the present, as well as all of the wisdom, tenacity, and commitment of those primitive and anonymous lives. We revive them in the present attack against civilization.”
And several others. But I am not seeking to restore the past in any way. I wish to restore _wildness_, and for that the past is only an indicator, because it is often only in the past that the level of wildness I want existed. For instance, we can know a little about natural human behavior by looking at natural humans, but this often requires some knowledge of the past. To give a scientific example, consider the practices of evolutionary psychology and its attempts to discern the ancestral, adapted environment.
Note that I do not invalidate an alternative reading of the above quotes: I understand the personal attempt to restore aspects of your own lineage. But that is personal and has little to do with most others. I’d much rather speak simply of the value of wildness and my quest to rewild.
The final point (iii) is a deduction from some of what eco-extremists have written about the past and my readings on terrorist groups. It seems as though “because the Teochichimecas” did it functions as a logical justification. But it is obviously a non sequitur. I do not discount its profound power as an emotional motivator, an important irrational element to resistance, which cannot be neglected. But, in this case at least, the two do not overlap, and it is not valid to say that what eco-extremists do is okay because the Teochichimecas did it. Because those people lived in a different time, they were less concerned about rewilding and more concerned about protecting their own people from outside attack. The latter may be an element of wildist groups’ resistance, but the purpose, the reason behind our Reaction is because we value wildness and seek to restore it.
On the Teochichimecas, the majority of Mexican eco-extremist groups base themselves in their ancestors (Guachichiles, Tepehuanes, Irristilas, Raramuris, Zacatecos, etc.), for they are historical references that inspire war and bravery as well as fill us with pride. Similarly, the eco-extremists of South America don’t have Teochichimecas as their cultural reference, but rather the Selknam, Haush, Yamana, and Alakalufs, ancestors who were just as worthy of admiration and just as warlike.
Though I think it is erroneous on your part to say that we want to be just like them by imitating the past (i).
I, MictlanTepelti, am very supportive of an idea of individual and group rewilding that can be carried out in the present, and not just as something to aspire to, or dream about, or desire in a future that we may or may not see. But for this I think we have to have some idea of who our ancestors were, and from this knowledge, begin to have experiences that back up those references. If we wanted to imitate the past, eco-extremism would have never been made public, and I wouldn’t be responding to you from a computer. Instead I would be living naked and defiant in the northern regions of what was formerly known as Mesoamerica.
The eco-extremists and I don’t want to “restore the past” (ii). We merely want to learn all that can be learned from it and take up the things that we can and employ them in the present. It’s clear that we don’t live in those times, and in many cases things of the past are no longer recoverable. But we will try to recover them little by little.
Some weeks ago on the blog, Maldicion Ecoextremista, a news article was published concerning the Ka’apor [Daily Mail link] tribe in the Brazilian Amazon. The tribe was being threatened by legal and illegal loggers who come into their territory and destroy their ecosystems. The war that this tribe has carried out for some time now has been extremist, which means that it escalates by the day. Humanist organizations such as Greenpeace have offered to “help” the Ka’apor by installing video surveillance and motion detectors in the trees around the tribe’s territory to intervene in the conflict and pacify the natives. What happened was precisely the opposite: the Ka’apor being a warlike tribe and monitoring their territory found the loggers and escalated the conflict. Just as in this example, eco-extremist groups use the technologies that they have at hand to detonate bombs, commit arson, and assassinate various targets as a means to carry out their war. If they insisted, as you imply, at “restoring the past” perhaps their weapons would be the bow and arrow, atlatl, and lance instead.
“To justify the present with the past” (iii), doesn’t sound so farfetched, even though I don’t share this view entirely since the main reason for what we do is not “because the Teochichimecas did it.” I reiterate what I have stated previously:
ITS and other eco-extremist groups attack not only because of the spirit of the Teochichimecas. The reasons behind their attacks are many, ranging from what we have indicated here, to those that seek to defend Wild Nature in an egoist manner, mere revenge, or seeking to destabilize certain institutions in the present.
6 Rewilding and Reaction
6.1 John Jacobi
Here is a basic wildist position [which I have changed my mind about]:
I advocate rewilding because I am anti-progressivist and value wild nature. We agree on these points. I think we would also agree that rewilding is a religious act. Rewilding is the wildist jihad: we seek to burn the idols of civilization, the great edifices of Progress and technocratic arrogance.
I also seek to defend and restore wild nature in the most effective way possible. I recognize that many indomitable spirits who would be attracted to wildism would have to remain working as individuals or in very small groups simply because of their anti-social character. But then, if they really care for wild nature, they should seek to rewild in the most effective way possible as individuals or in small groups. In other words, I do not think that every wildist is going to be suited to group work.
However, where possible, group work is helpful because it is a more effective way for individuals to act. For instance, some primitive peoples formed coalitions in order to more effectively combat the civilized. Thus, the big question for wildists is how they can organize themselves in a way that does not betray their values and also enacts the maximum amount of damage.
The maximum amount of damage possible can take many forms. I do believe that wholesale industrial collapse is possible, and I think that it is possible to build a movement capable of doing this if the opportunity arises. Furthermore, I think that “building” a movement with this goal REQUIRES action in the present, rewilding in the present, and does not equate to mere “waiting.” Finally, even if we act with this goal in mind, our present actions can AND SHOULD achieve things themselves. I seek to rewild in the most effective way possible now with an eye toward greater damage should that become possible.
In one critique of the editor of Ediciones Isumatag, a former associate of mine, some eco-extremists argued that the only successful global revolution was the industrial one, and that other revolutions have been confined to restricted regions. However, this critique is not very strong. It is precisely because industrial infrastructure spans the entire globe that a collapse of industrial infrastructure could be global. Furthermore, even if collapse did only happen in a restricted region, that would be good enough! Think about the nature that will have been made wild, the places freed for wild animals everywhere! And if you actually read the history of, for example, the French Revolution, even though it occurred in only one country, it effected many nations, including those across the ocean, and it probably changed the trajectory of world history. For instance, the revolutionary and insurgent Simon Bolivar was inspired by the ideals of the French Revolution and brought them to many places in South America. I can imagine wildist ideals spreading in a similar internationalist fashion.
Finally, you ask about a “party.” I do mean a political party, but this is a party unlike others; it is a “combat party.” It is not a bureaucracy, and it will be very small. I wish not to speak too much about it just yet, however, because it would be better for me to speak about that particular thing after I have written my essay on it. For now it should be sufficient to say that the party we wildists are forming has a very specific role and I recognize the role of other kinds of organization within the movement. The wildists who work with the party are doing very particular things in order to make our overall Reaction more effective.
Probably “party” is not a very good word, and I’ll admit I do not like it very much. However, it communicates the general character and purpose of the coalition to people who are not very familiar with our politics, and that is useful for various reasons.
In terms of rewilding, I am in agreement that those who truly respect and love Wild Nature are those who work individually or in small groups on their own initiative. Although one of the problems that Wildists will have to confront perhaps is that of organization, or rather, getting together people who are truly concerned for the Earth and coordinate their acts (whatever they may be). If memory serves, in the United States there is an impressive number of ecologically-inclined groups that simply can’t work together on the whole.
Years ago I had a conversation with a person who was advocating the creation of an “anti-industrial movement” the aim of which was the “collapse of civilization”. My criticism of his views indicated a number of problems that have occurred in historic examples of political movements in general, the primary ones being:
- Organization (as discussed above).
- Splits within groups that certainly will occur in the process of organizing, which no doubt hinders the efforts of founders of movements. Indeed, the Wildists were working hand in hand at one point with the Spanish “indomistas” (Último Reducto, etc.) if I remember correctly, but that collaboration broke apart. Perhaps you can tell me what happened. Was that the first split of the future movement? Don’t you think that’s a little soon to start having divisions of this type, even before the movement even gets off the ground?
- The threat that an above-ground movement that has the aim of driving the “collapse” of civilization (even if only in one small region, granted) could be a serious one. This isn’t a game played by idealistic kids. This can set off alarms among those who are pledged to defend the structures of civilization at all costs. The great world powers and large industries will not sit idly by knowing that such a movement has come into existence, one which aims to topple everything that they have worked so hard to establish. In that situation, is it a good idea to have an active movement that is above-ground? Or would it be better to go underground? If it’s above-ground, the members of that movement risk being arrested, and that their plans to inflict the greatest amount of destruction possible against the techno-industrial system will have all been for naught. If it’s an underground movement, perhaps there would be opportunities to dodge various consequences that characterize open warfare, such as arrests, torture, disappearances, having to go into hiding, etc. Though work in such a movement might go more slowly in the underground branch? What are your thoughts on that, Jacobi?
I still agree with the idea developed by Reacción Salvaje in their criticism of “Ediciones Isumatag” that the only revolution that has really been worthy of the name has been the Industrial Revolution, the one that has triumphed until the present day. All of the other revolutions have been regime changes that have either gone either in a “liberal” or “totalitarian” direction. At the end of the day, it’s the same difference.
Though I am also in agreement that a “drastic change” in one region of the planet could have global consequences, I would like to know how this would be brought about. The “indomitista” followers of Kaczynski advocate the same thing, though they have never got into details as to how they would bring it about. Is there a difference between what the Wildists advocate and what the “indomitistas” advocate?
6.3 John Jacobi
First, let me clarify the meanings of rewilding and reaction, which I botched in my earlier email. I believe that we can view conservation as a large circle, rewilding within that, and reaction within that. These terms note the progression of the struggle of indomitable spirits, men and women who cannot live without wild things. At first they sought to conserve what was left, but did not go far enough and were not able to achieve enough. Now we have begun to rewild, but this signals that we must move from a mere conservative attitude to a totally reactionary one. Thus, reaction is the most extreme, purist defense of wild nature possible; it is total, uncompromising rewilding. As I write in the upcoming document for our organization:
…But when any movement hoping to conserve some precious and sacred thing must by necessity turn its eyes toward restoration, it must also note that the time for more radical action may be near. This is the state of our world: we’ve moved beyond simple conservation and, seeing our efforts destroyed by industry and its effects, have begun to engage in the restorationist act of rewilding. But simple defense is not enough, and it is clear that what is needed is a full and wild reaction to the Industrial Revolution.
At the very least, wildists advocate that individuals and cadres rewild in the most effective way possible. If this is all our resistance ever amounts to, so be it. But we at The Wildist Institute believe that more effective action is possible, and I will be outlining and justifying our ideas in the next few issues of Hunter/Gatherer. This means addressing the three questions you outlined, especially the question of organization.
I will have more to say about this soon, after I have finished my essay, “Organization.” For now I will remind you that we start with the assumption of individuals and small groups. Everything else is built on top of that and I will spend time thoroughly justifying it. But for now, absolutely the most important thing for coordination between groups is a unified ideology. For wildists, this consists of the three elements I spoke of earlier: (1) belief in the material world and the use of Reason to understand it; (2) criticism of all forms of progressivism; (3) belief in the value of wildness and the associated imperative to rewild. Nearly everything else is extra, perhaps to add local flavor or to communicate idiosyncracies of wildist individuals (like your paganism or my materialist spirituality).
Also important is communications and propaganda. But these present some practical problems because we do not want to be too heavily dependent on the internet. As I said, I will write more on this soon.
In a soon-to-be-published interview with The Fifth Column, a journalist asked me how I think we can prevent factionalism and promote unity. I said this:
Factionalism between who? Environmentalists, anti-civvers, conservationists? I think we can agree that if differences are stark, factionalism can actually be quite helpful. The “big tent” approach might help for temporary goals or reformist movements, but for radical political movements a unified small population is arguably better than a broad but disunified one. So I don’t exactly work against factionalism. I’m fine with breaking off from a larger movement if a handful of us disagree on a few fundamental, unresolvable points.
I do not think factionalism is inherently bad. In fact, the Bolsheviks were highly factionalistic but took down a whole nation. And salafi jihadists are EXTREMELY factionalistic, yet are the dominant terroristic force today.
This is possible because I am not trying to build a movement that consists entirely of wildists. All that is required is a small group of wildists who are able to utilize mass revolt for their ends, trained in mob psychology, trained in networking, trained in infiltration and espionage. There need not be unity between the whole environmentalist movement–that will never happen.
As for my relationship with the indomitistas, I will not get into the specifics. Suffice it to say that I broke apart mostly so that I could act autonomously, because I had some disagreements with UR in particular. Nevertheless, I consider them to be in the same category of eco-radicalism as me, because they espouse the three central tenets of wildism. Unless they exacerbate disunity between us by issuing out a critique or so forth, I have nothing bad to say about them, other than the fact that I disagree with some aspects of their strategy. See below for differences between us.
I am aboveground because what I think is most helpful and necessary to advance wildism can be done aboveground. I am not interested in bombs and terrorism, and I can do what I need to do publicly. However, if at any point the government decides to no longer follow its free speech laws or something like that, I am prepared to continue my work underground; or I am prepared to go to prison; or I am prepared to die. I am serious about the slogan, “live wild or die.” In fact, it is necessary for membership in the aforementioned party that members are prepared to go underground at any moment, if the government decides to make our work illegal (as will happen if we become strong).
I am aware that if ITS ever comes to the US, if the ELF is ever revived, if FC ever returns, if Earth First! is ever restored, if eco-radicals begin to incite the revival preached by John Muir, I will be a target. I am prepared to accept the consequences. This is war, MictlanTepetli. We do what we need to, and you can be sure that I will not easily be caged. Remember:
I am the indomitable spirit who with nature
destroys the idols of man’s hubris…
I am wild nature, which resists domination
and which will prevail in the end
But in the present I am prepared to
live wild or die [from Chiaroscuro’s “All who fashion idols”]
That said, there are at least some historical examples of split aboveground and belowground factions. PETA funded the ALF for many years. Earth First! functioned as a face for eco-radicalism while both FC and ELF were carrying out their acts of eco-terrorism. Sinn Feinn is an aboveground face for the IRA. The list goes on and on. Consider how you are a semi-aboveground propagandist for eco-extremists who are completely underground.
Moving on to your comments, you say that every revolution has just resulted in a totalitarian or liberal regime change. But even apart from the fact that you are forgetting wholesale collapses, the point is this: even if rewilding across a whole region leaves room for a few totalitarian leaders, they will not have the technical ability to control as much as the previous regime. Look at current examples: Egypt, Syria, Somalia, and so forth all suffered extreme disruption so that now it is (1) very difficult for autocrats to control the region; (2) very difficult to industrialize those regions; (3) very difficult for industrial mega-powers to surveil the region. (I’ll also note that some of these countries now have some of the lowest carbon emissions in the world because of the turmoil war and revolution has wrought to industrial production.) And on top of all that, the instability is enough for salafi jihadists to use the areas as base for even stronger, even more effective attacks to further their jihad. And I’ll note that even with jihadist factionalism, even with all the things going against the jihadists in general, they are a global movement.
Finally, you ask about differences between wildists and indomitistas. I think the differences are these:
- Wildists are more likely to tolerate the messiness that comes with radical politics. The indomitistas are too pedantic. They do not realize that radical resistance is multifaceted and involves seedy characters, less than ideal circumstances, etc.
- Wildists are more willing and better equipped at doing what needs to be done. Indomitistas are smothered by their culture of critique and counter-critique. This is not to say anything against critique, but it is not sufficient. We have to actively train wildists to be effective rewilders.
- Wildists advocate a “ladder method,” where each action builds up to a greater action. As I’ve said before, if our resistance amounts to individual and small group action, then so be it. But I think it can be more than that. I think it can be coordinated to at least a marginally greater degree, and I’m willing to do this. Indomitistas tend to think that we can make a giant step all at once, and it sometimes appears as though they’ll accept nothing less than that great step. But that is simply not how effective revolt works. We start weak and we become strong in the process of rewilding; we do not silently build strength in the background and THEN rewild. Rewilding itself TEACHES and TRAINS and individual.
In reference to the point on organization, I don’t have much to say. Only that I hope to read your essay soon on this subject in order to clear up some doubts that I still have.
On factionalism, it seems interesting for me to know your position when confronted with this situation. Many people consider splits within groups to be bad, as some once large groups grow smaller and weaker due to splits, while others come out of them having advanced and found better courses of action. Something like the latter happened with ITS: the group joined forces with others to create Reacción Salvaje in 2014. After a year of activity, however, they separated and split into various eco-extremist groups, although ITS went on to become international. RS was thus a learning experience for the new groups that went through the dissolution and split.
On illegality it’s good to know that you are prepared to go into hiding should the conditions require it. Few people would state that they would be obligated to do such a thing, and thus your project gives me great encouragement after clearing some initial doubts. I now consider it a sincere and serious effort for the defense of Wild Nature and rewilding.
Returning to the theme of revolution, if we take the regions of conflict that you mention as examples (Egypt, Syria, Somalia, etc.) I would agree that those regions are very difficult for their respective governments to control. They are places where industrial development has stalled and where the Big Powers really can’t have control over everything. But these regions can only be considered very specific examples, as none of them are inside the United States. I state this because the contexts are quite different, and the main question then becomes for me: Are the Wildists only looking to contribute to the collapse of civilization in one small region of United States? Or are they perhaps looking to focus on another place where there are more possibilities to experiment with rewilding and reversing industrialization?
On this subject as well I also think that it’s clear, for example, that the uprising against the Gaddafi dictatorship (within the Arab Spring) in Libya was considered a revolution, though it changed nothing other than one government for another. Since 2011 that country has been in a crisis, and as you indicate, there are cities that still haven’t been rebuilt. Industry has also stalled completely, but all of this isn’t due solely to the failed revolutions and uprisings, but also to the civil war that has wrecked that country. Other factors at play include the destabilization of the economy, the taking of cities and strategic roads by the Islamic State and the Libyan army, the rampant corruption, capital flight, etc. These are factors that one can’t dismiss as inconsequential as they provide context to the whole situation. This should all be kept in mind when proposing examples for what destabilizing civilization looks like, especially when discussing the collapse of a certain region and its subsequent rewilding.
Also, I am satisfied with your description of the differences between Wildists and “indomitistas”, and thus have nothing more to say on that topic.
6.5 John Jacobi
“Of course, if the opportunity presents itself and we find a sector of the city destroyed by civil war or similar catastrophe, we would be committed to re-wilding that place, that goes without saying.”
Exactly, and as you point out later on in your letter, those opportunities are given by circumstances far outside of the control of eco-radicals. The point is to be prepared for them, and I said before, you prepare through PRESENT action, through acting in accordance with your values now. Who is more prepared to take advantage of a crowd forming: the person who has merely spoken about doing it or the person who has done it before and learned some lessons?
“Are the Wildists only looking to contribute to the collapse of civilization in one small region of United States? Or are they perhaps looking to focus on another place where there are more possibilities to experiment with rewilding and reversing industrialization?”
Wildists at the moment are in various places in the US, Germany, and the UK. There was a person in China, but we lost contact. There are a handful of students who have adopted the label and many more who are paying attention. In all, we are very small and much too weak to contribute to collapse in small regions of the US. As I write in my essay, “Organization,” if we can ever do that, it is an undefinable time in the future.
For now, our goals are these:
- globalize the wildist ideology (1. materialist worldview, including its egoistic, nihilistic, and spiritual consequences; 2. the critique of progress, including social progressivism; 3. the imperative to rewild)
- link various groups together so that their actions benefit one another
- contribute to destabilization and tension in the course of globalizing the ideology
To achieve 1 and 3, we are and will be focusing on places that are “sites of convergence” for many industries. Universities are an example of this. At universities there is much research and there are many important people relating to genetic engineering, artificial intelligence, computing, and other such things. They are, as one writer put it, “the core of the science and technology system” in the US.
Also to achieve 1 and 3, we will be working more directly for wilderness designation.
And while doing the above, we will also be achieving 2, because we are going to be pushing The Rewilding Program. If many groups, moderate and radical and extremist, are citing The Rewilding Program as a demand, then we can at least give the moderates “some bite” and achieve some good things regarding defense of wild nature.
Also, I think that the current Rewilding Program extends into Canada and Mexico, so the whole continent is covered by it. For wildists outside of this continent, they could decide to formulate their own program, which would provide them with a means of uniting themselves, achieving things, and benefiting their eco-radical brethren.
The hope is that by globalizing the ideology, even if governments succeed in weakening us, the ideas will be waiting in many places for other indomitable spirits to take it up. And if we can succeed in foiling the government’s attempts in some places, we can look to doing even more. This is all covered in my essay, so I will wait to hear your thoughts on it before saying anything else.
The present is all that exists. The future is uncertain and full of unknowns. Eco-extremists grasp that we are epically fucked. There’s nothing left to build, hope is dead, the only thing left to do is confront the decadent present with acts and words that subvert it, and destroy the values and morality that uphold civilization, that’s all.
When we began this conversation, I asked:
Why is it that everyone in the U.S. tries to advocate at every opportunity a movement against [X]? Is that always the plan: “Let’s build a movement”?
I asked this because, at every opportunity, you people up north, that is to say, those who have the Anglo-American mentality, whether reformist or not, always want to build “movements”. It’s as if the drive to “fix everything” runs through your veins and was in your DNA. Even Wild Nature doesn’t seem to escape it.
Since Kaczynski proposed that wrong-headed idea of a future “revolution against the techno-industrial system,” many have followed that idea, with many nuances of course, to the point that many have already drawn out the final stages of that movement of the masses in their heads, one that is sure of itself and unwavering. Both Wildists and “indomitistas” bet on success in an uncertain future, in a movement that has been established firmly in theory but has yet to be proven by the trial by fire of practice. It’s satisfying to put a touch of complexity into the conspiracy that will lead to the collapse of civilization. Sure, I can admit that, but it still seems that it has too much in common with the same old tired and worn strategies.
We eco-extremists have come to understand that we’re not the “saviors of the Earth”. That’s there’s nothing more to understand here: the War is in the here and now, and to follow a strategy only positions us as one group among many in the history of guerilla groups, subversives, rebels, etc. I assure you that we aren’t just another group.
I am certain that I and my people fight for a very unique cause, a War that only a few understand. In this we don’t aspire to “something greater,” nor to anything that can save us from the danger that our hostile attitude to this shitty system brings.
FC said in this essay, “Industrial Society and Its Future”: “A new kind of society cannot be designed on paper. That is, you cannot plan out a new form of society in advance, then set it up and expect it to function as it was designed to do.”
These words also address the idea of a future “anti-industrial movement”. You can’t theoretically plan the collapse of civilization, and then implement it and expect it to go according to plan. In this I am not implying that you in particular would like the plan to go off without a hitch. But I would like to reiterate that the time one devotes to making such a movement could be totally wasted or not, and that the new account is an uncertain question.
As I wrote in my past correspondence, I am pleased to know that there are people out there who are willing to die for Wild Nature. And as I have read these exchanges as a dialogue of equals, I believe you to be sincere about your beliefs. But leaving behind such praises, the eco-extremist doesn’t bet on future movements, nor does he play at being “the Savior of the Earth,” for reasons already given.
And I never said that not having faith in a future is a strategy…
6.7 John Jacobi
First, I suspect that a conversation about the future and the present is needed, given that this seems to be an important, though perhaps minor, point of difference between the two eco-radical tendencies. Like the other topics covered in this exchange, it seems that we begin on a similar philosophical basis: I am a pessimist and a nihilist, for instance. However, what we interpret to be the implications of those ideas seems to differ. Perhaps in the next few months I will issue out an essay on my thoughts regarding this aspect of eco-extremism.
Second, you say that you see a tendency among North Americans to always want to build a “movement” out of a grievance. This may certainly be true, but it is not distinctly North American. As you know, the indomitistas in Spain say the same thing; as do many cypherpunks in Germany, politicals in France, politicals in Russia, and so forth. Instead of being a distinctly North American thing, I suspect that it is a product of humanist collectivism, the tendency for those indoctrinated into its ideology to think that “we are all in this together.”
I think we agree on this point. What I don’t think you realize, reading my last letter, is that I am not a fan of “movements.” I sometimes use the word simply because I know of nothing else to describe what I have in mind, but I do not wish to encourage indiscriminate solidarity like some vile technician. An individual is bound to nothing other than himself and his material condition — from there we can form coalitions, but always these things are secondary and subordinate to the individual’s will. The point of my essay in “Organization” is to express a possible way forward on this basis. The problem is that nothing like that has ever done before, except perhaps the natives who formed coalitions against colonists, but that was a much different time, with very different conditions. So what I have proposed may not work, but as an individual I pursue it as something effective I can do now, especially since the present work that entails, and every probable step of the way, benefits defense of wild nature by protecting wildlands and, if individuals choose to do so, monkeywrenching.
So I do not only measure effectiveness by the immediate material harm I cause to industrial infrastructure, through fire or bombs. I do not dismiss these things in all instances, but in my own heart I find it also acceptable to do what is necessary to preserve the few wildlands we have left, to use those wildlands, and to look at the tens of hundreds of wild creatures who would not still be here without that work. This is my starting point. This is why I speak less of fire or attack and more about wilderness and the other creatures on whom I materially depend in the wild world I love.
And I am perhaps more willing than you and other eco-extremists to look toward the future. I do not find your philosophy to be coherent, actually, and doubt you follow it in the way you have expressed it; we need to consider the future, or else we would have died, evolutionarily weeded out. But what the eco-extremists are doing — and I appreciate it because it is needed — is that they are pointing out that there is a limit to what we can trade off in the present for the future. We cannot just keep saying “maybe one day.” There is a time for more immediate defense and attack, more drastic action, a more purist approach. This is, indeed, the meaning of Reaction. Of course, there is still a trade-off. But I am unwilling to embark on any “ten-year plan” that is not okay with what it is doing every moment it is doing it. There will be no three-year sacrifice of drudgery for some greater future goal — promising that has been a primary tool of the technical system in order to placate conservationists for just long enough until they disappear, burn out, or die.
Instead, wildists propose a course of action that we can be proud of every moment, that we can say, even if it doesn’t go anywhere, we know we have done good. We keep future potentials in mind, sure, but there is no expectation that they will arrive. We only acknowledge the future because if we have to choose between a present course of action that definitely won’t go anywhere and another PRESENT course of action that could go somewhere, we will choose the latter. But we will not sacrifice the present for that potential future. That is my whole point: look at what we can do now, I say, like wildlands conservation, monkeywrenching, and simply enjoying the wild ourselves and pursue these things if your nature wills it. Do not wait for some messiah. There may be no messiah — perhaps even if we achieve what we want!
You can build arcadia,
fortify it with stones and good intentions
but even there, I will be. [from Chiaroscuro’s “Even in Arcadia”]
Finally, we will not save nature. That is stupid and hubristic. If anything is saved, it will be because of nature itself. I could of course say this in a more eloquent and philosophical way, but I suspect you will understand and agree.
I am wild nature, powerful and cruel;
your work will never compare to mine. [ibid.]
And with that, I will give my final statement.
7 Final Statements
7.1 John Jacobi
While I cannot condone eco-extremism, neither can I condemn it, and my final thoughts on the tendency are these:
- I strongly disagree with some of the terminology eco-extremists use to communicate their ideas, and, related, I am also ambivalent about some aspects of its character as expressed in the terrorist communiques.
- I respect the fact that MictlanTepelti, at least, helped me understand a few aspects of eco-extremism that I was sure I would find idiotic and dismiss immediately.
- I recognize that eco-extremism is obviously relevant, touching a chord among those already sympathetic to anti-civilization politics, and posing a real challenge to techno-industrial society, as is evidenced by the way its tendency has grown from the first release of the ITS communique.
- I now understand that many moves ITS and other terrorist cells within the eco-extremist tendency have made are not the blunders or unjustified acts I perceived them to be as a native English speaker, a foreigner, and an observer with pre-conceived ideas. Instead, nearly all of these acts have been carefully thought out, which is compelling, even if I continue to disagree with the reasoning underpinning their justification.
- I must admit that eco-extremism is achieving precisely the thing that I have said should be the main concern of the currently weak anti-civilization movement. Namely, eco-extremism is globalizing an anti-civilization ideology, which is again evidenced by the tendency’s growth. I am still unsure as to how aligned with wildist ideas the tendency is, and as such I cannot yet say whether I would mind being associated with it. However, a great aspect of both the eco-extremist and wildist approach is its individualism: each individual and cadre is to rewild in the most effective way they see fit, and they–and they alone–are responsible for their own actions. I cannot control what the eco-extremists do, but so long as they are acting according to the values implicit in rewilding, namely, the veneration of wildness and a disdain for the idols of civilization, rather than perverted motivations like self-aggrandizement and a fetishization of criminality, I can say that I am confident that the wild reaction against industrial society will continue in the right direction — backwards, of course.
- I do not think that the methods the eco-extremists use are applicable to all anti-civilizationists, and I think MictlanTepelti agrees. The conditions of those near the equator are in the coming years going to necessarily call for more violence and, because of instability wrought primarily by climate change, allow for more superficially combative behavior. This is not to say that the eco-extremists are doing the correct thing (and I suspect, personally, that at least some of what they are doing is misguided), but it DOES mean that regardless of what the equatorial struggle looks like, those further north and south MUST engage in tactics suited to their own conditions. As stated already, this is up to the individuals and the cadres to decide and the combat party to coordinate.
Finally, I very much thank MictlanTepelti for both his willingness to speak to me on these matters and his continued fight against industrial society.
I am going to conclude my part in this conversation, but first I wanted to thank Jacobi for his time and efforts in these ideological and personal exchanges. I also would like to thank Chahta-Ima for his translation efforts, as at the beginning of these conversations there were many misunderstandings due to the absence of an adept translator.
Eco-extremism has taken an important place within the ideological currents that are opposed to and critical of civilization and the techno-industrial system, although not intentionally, sure.
From the beginning, we’ve noted that within these schools of thought there are certain positions that are predominant. From what we can see on this side of the border anyway, important theorists such as John Zerzan, Kevin Tucker, etc. have dismissed eco-extremism or outright ignored it. They and their acolytes cast aspersions on ITS and eco-extremist groups in their publications and on their radio programs whenever their names or actions come up. They can’t take the chance of anything putting into question the “hope for a future primitive” lest their donations go down and they no longer get invited to chic conferences and speaking engagements. Their primitivism is eminently marketable, it appeals to the hipsters, the business start-up mentality, the people who want to re-wild any given product because nature sells. It thus remains progressive, a greening of leftism, but it’s just another fraud, another TV commercial peddling “rebellion against the system,” this time as homesteading and a prolonged camping trip.
Sure, they still mouth platitudes about lighting stuff on fire and destroying things, but they never do anything about it. We know very well the circumstances of the Green Scare from last decade. Regresión wrote about it in its most current issue. But they turn around and condemn eco-extremist action and pretend to tell them how to do things from the safety from their side of the border… And then they have to gall to talk shit and censor or ignore eco-extremist articles and communiques. But never mind that, we suppose. The extreme defense of Wild Nature doesn’t need them to get the message out, least of all to deaf and dumb self-proclaimed anarchists who get frazzled when someone speaks too harshly and not according to their leftist script.
All that smacks of violence, terrorism, etc. is verboten for them. They don’t come right out and just say it, of course, but their actions speak louder than words. I can imagine them stating to the FBI something along the lines of: “We’re not the violent ones, we have hope for a beautiful future. The terrorists are those horrible eco-extremists, don’t look at us.” But eco-extremism is here to stay, regardless of what people think,
Within the predominant positions that one finds in the United States, it seems like you also find some followers of “Industrial Society and Its Future,” the essay by Ted Kaczynski (also known as “Freedom Club”). There seem to be more Spaniards than people in the U.S. who follow this tendency, and they are known as “indomitistas”. We’ve written enough about them, and Reacción Salvaje has polemicized against them in particular in their work, “Some answers concerning the present and NOT the future.”
Earth First is another predominant tendency but at this point I’ll withhold my criticism…
So within the context of these tendencies, here emerges “Wildism” that claims not to be progressivist but also has the same strategy: “building a movement.” Jacobi, here I would like to point out that we are talking about U.S and not European critics. When I wrote that you North Americans always want to try to fix things by constructing a movement, I include you in that statement. You stated that the Spanish “indomitistas” have the same idea, and to that I respond, Yes, that’s true, but they copied their main ideas from someone in the U.S: Kaczynski.
So if you don’t want to be lumped into the same category as the indomitistas, the followers of Zerzan and the rest of that gang, you should probably reconsider using the term “movement”, just as you have started using “reaction” instead of “revolution,” to use one example.
In regards to the subject of the future, I continue to assert the same thing, and indeed eco-extremism is based on the loss of faith in the future. So I repeat, everything is fucked, and the present leads us to believe that the future is gray and filled with horrors. Eco-extremism doesn’t seek to build a movement, nor does it await a total societal collapse, nor the arrival of a Messiah. It doesn’t propose plans or methods nor do we have a favorite book on which we base all of our actions, and we aren’t checking the statistics contained therein. The eco-extremist strikes according to wherever he finds himself, in the here and now, since he understands that the future doesn’t exist, hope is dead, and the only thing left to do is resist according to our most primitive roots. Our ancestors did likewise, and even though they knew that they would die defending themselves from the foreigner who brought civilization and modernity, they didn’t surrender. Thus, like them, eco-extremists have understood all of this loud and clear and that is how we act.
Our war is politically incorrect, extremist, and at the same time suicidal because it doesn’t pretend to be a war that can be won. We’re not an army, nor do we want to be one. We know that we don’t stand a chance in the face of the Monster of Progress. We know that we will die, but we’ll either go down fighting or in the best case scenario use guile to prolong the war as long as possible.
Eco-extremism expands, few understand it, even fewer carry it out, others plug their ears when we come around, even try ignore us, but they know that we’re there.
I end with two quotes, the first taken from Chahta-Ima’s essay, “Ishi and the War Against Civilization,” which I recommend, and the second taken from Nechayevshchina Editorial House in its text, “La mutilazione della parola ‘inocente’”:
Eco-extremism will have no end because it is the savage attack, the “natural disaster”, the desire to let the fire burn and to dance around it.
…the era of good feelings has ended, and of shit being exchanged for gold, and what has begun is the era of individuals who confront the whole of society.