a people’s history of civilization

Feminist Primitivism

jzThe American anarchist, primitivist philosopher, and author John Zerzan critiques agriculture-based civilization as inherently oppressive and advocates drawing upon the life of hunter-gatherers as an inspiration for what free society should look like. Subjects of his criticism include domestication, language, symbolic thought, and the concept of time.

This book includes sixteen essays ranging from the beginning of civilization to today’s general crisis. Zerzan provides a critical perspective about civilization.

A People’s History of Civilization includes chapters about:
Patriarchy
The City and its Inmates
War Enters the Picture
The Bronze Age
The Axial Age
The Crisis of Late Antiquity
Revolt and Heresy
Modernity Takes Charge
Who Killed Ned Ludd
Cultural Luddism
Industrialism and Resistance
Decadence
WWI
Civilization’s Pathological Endgame

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Carnist logic is oft applied with bias.

For example, it screeches how ethical consumer veganism is a self-deceptive construct of civilization.

Yet it promotes buying from small, local, humane farms, or modern humans doing gardening or permaculture or inventing food forests, with excusing regard for those schemes’ modern human impact. Some of these promotions rely on growing and harvesting human bred animals, while others involve using weapons to hunt animals modern humans have selected to remain in existence.

So which is it? Do anthropocentric schemes only not apply when they involve changing diet and ways of co-existence with other animals? Is consumerist reasoning only worth engaging in when it gives one an ethical excuse to eat birds, fish, and mammals?

No two ways about it.

oral traditions continue on: acorn

oak

Question to Tom:

do you leach acorns? round my parts indigenous folks stored acorns in hollowed out cedar trunks. kinda like a frig. but is there a natural way to leach tanins that is not as daunting as long ago?

Tom’s answer:

But understand—-different species need to be treated differently—- The tannin content varies. The Apache tribe depended on the gambel oak acorns for a staple. While they were considered a vicious people— They became VERY UPSET When they were pushed off their land into areas where the gambel oak did NOT grow. They feared starvation with the loss of their customary food. The Apache ladies would harvest the acorns and bury them in a creek—under sand and rocks. They would dig them up a year later when they buried the NEW crop. But the leaching need not be so tedious. I used canyon live oak acorns indigenous to the Sierra. I was doing a caretaking thing at the time and living in a dumpy trailer. I kept hearing thunk, thud, as the acorns landed on the metal trailer house roof. I did some research and was delighted that those acorns are quick and easy to leach. The harvest was EASY! I just scooped the acorns off’n the roof. I made crackers from the ground up leached out mast. WOW! The smell—the flavor—the CONCEPT—eating the fruits of the mighty oak! Better yet—-I had a generous stash of pinon nuts. So I made pinon nut butter. Let me tell ya—I was doing a forestry maint. trip in a sequoia preserve—-AND I have NEVER eaten a more substantial food than acorn crackers smeared with pinon butter. Just a few of them would get me through the day WITH ENERGY TO SPARE! I felt as strong as an oak tree, too! The garry oaks indigenous to the NW are supposedly NOT THE BEST choice of acorns?? Haven’t tried them yet. So brushy around here and they rot away so fast. There are other oaks in parks here—-I will have to bicycle around and see what I can come up with. Must be thousands of tons of neglected acorns! A major UNtapped food source!”…different species need to be treated differently—-

The tannin content varies.

The Apache tribe depended on the gambel oak acorns for a staple.

While they were considered a vicious people—

They became VERY UPSET

When they were pushed off their land into areas where the gambel oak did NOT grow.

They feared starvation with the loss of their customary food.

The Apache ladies would harvest the acorns and bury them in a creek—under sand and rocks. They would dig them up a year later when they buried the NEW crop.

But the leaching need not be so tedious. I used canyon live oak acorns indigenous to the Sierra. I was doing a caretaking thing at the time and living in a dumpy trailer.

I kept hearing thunk, thud, as the acorns landed on the metal trailer house roof. I did some research and was delighted that those acorns are quick and easy to leach. The harvest was EASY! I just scooped the acorns off’n the roof.

I made crackers from the ground up leached out mast. WOW! The smell—the flavor—the CONCEPT—eating the fruits of the mighty oak! Better yet—-I had a generous stash of pinon nuts. So I made pinon nut butter.

Let me tell ya—I was doing a forestry maint. trip in a sequoia preserve—-AND

I have NEVER eaten a more substantial food than acorn crackers smeared with pinon butter. Just a few of them would get me through the day WITH ENERGY TO SPARE!

I felt as strong as an oak tree, too!

The garry oaks indigenous to the NW are supposedly NOT THE BEST choice of acorns??

Haven’t tried them yet. So brushy around here and they rot away so fast. There are other oaks in parks here—-I will have to bicycle around and see what I can come up with.

Must be thousands of tons of neglected acorns! A major UNtapped food source!

 

Dog Versus Wildlife

hunting dog

c1894 Hunting Bird Dog Chasing Rabbit

Endeavors to restore local forests have opened my eyes to Earth’s ultimatum of the day — domesticate or rewild– as shown in this case, the domesticated dog vs wildlife. Urban natural spaces are mostly perceived as places for dogs to be wild and free at best, as dog dump ground at worst. Focusing on true wild life, I see habitat harm in action. Their paws compacting native seedlings and disturbing soil, creating a condition favoring invasive seeds to set and sprout. Their noises, scents, and even just their presence alarming mammals and flushing brush birds, decreasing fauna diversity. Their feces and urine tainting the land and creeks, in the end polluting ocean habitation. Finally, it was their mauling of a forest’s sole remaining fox (see Animal Control Officer’s Report), and reading Lee Hall’s On Their Own Terms: Animal Liberation for the 21st Century, that motivates this essay.

May this serve as a calling to those who love and tend to dogs to reflect on their relationship and refocus concern to nature. Why them? Because they are the ones who tune in with empathy, who do not hesitate when compassion demands action, who sacrifice with eternal loyalty. Those are the qualities needed if a diversity of animal lives is to remain viable, even for entire species to exist. But an expanded mindset does not come easy. There is always a quandary. A barrier to overcome. A predicament. A hard choice that, in this case, is no less than life or death. Here a change in mind begins with a confrontation on the domesticated dog that challenges the core of what it means to be human. To domesticate is to dominate is to master another. No matter how compassionately it’s done, in the end perpetual states of this kind of control have regrettable outcomes. That outcome is approaching.

Accompanying the bloating abundance of domesticated dogs is the burst of businesses heaping ample attention onto them. Lesser but parallel attention is paid to waning wildlife. Where is discussion of domesticated dogs’ effect on wildlife decline? Does this candid conversation topic ring too taboo for mainstream discourse? There are professional studies in professional journals on specific species impacted by dogs, but the degree of overall impact remains unstudied and unknown. Still, a literature review confirms commonsense: human bred pet and feral dogs are degrading and displacing wildlife habitats, including that of their own free relations. (see resources)

While Earth’s ill-health has distended into conventional thought, contributing causes and consequences continue to broaden in scope. Most recent concern is launching into how human food procurement impacts Earth’s ecosystems, particularly animal agriculture. With a breech across the mainstream taboo of criticizing the custom of pets, a study revealed up to 30% of farmed animal ‘products’ are fed to pets in the US. (see Environmental Impact of Food Consumption by Dogs and Cats) While animal agriculture is targeted as the prime culprit, agriculture itself is beginning to come under scrutiny. Hall reminds fellow vegans that all farming displaces wildlife habitats. (p. 65)

The ‘dog in the family’ lifeway leading to ‘dog in the park’ conflicts is the ‘canary in the mine’. Domesticating animals serves as a litmus test on our aptitude to end our reign of destruction if not even to save ourselves. If we cannot reverse our ‘dominion over wild’ mindset, we are doomed to dominate bioregions across Earth to death.

Domesticated Human Mindset on its Domesticated Dog Continue reading

3 cases for indigenous veganism

Vegan Primitivist

 

Writings by feminist scholar Margaret Robinson describe Mi’kmaq legends and their relationship with animals as was one of dependence, not dominion. According to Mi’kmaq legends, human beings are intimately connected with the animal world and only survival can justify the killing of animals. These legends depict animals as having an independent life, with their own purpose, far away from simply existing for human consumption. Robinson contrasts this with the white hunter, whose view of animals requires population control, turning slaughter into a service. Many of the Mi’kmaq legends come with their own set of problems, such as the gendering of food production. Even the Mi’kmaq word for food is the same for beaver, embodying the meat-heavy food culture. However, within the legends the nonhuman animals are always characterized as independent peoples who have rights, wills and freedoms. As Robinson rightly points out, “if animal consent is required to…

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