“The destruction that brings an eagle from heaven is better than mercy.”
“Each Apache decides for himself whether or not he fights. We are a free people. We do not force men to fight as the Mexicans do. Forced military service produces slaves, not warriors.”
-“Grandfather”, quoted in, In the Days of Victorio: Recollections of a Warm Springs Apache, by Eve Ball and James Kaywaykla
The context of this quote is of interest as it is uttered in a meeting of Apache leaders concerning whether or not they should continue resistance against the invading white man or succumb to the powerful invading force. With hindsight, one could state that such a stance is foolish: had the Apache stood as a “united front” instead of the diverse bands that they had always been, they could have had a shot at victory, or so the reasoning goes. Instead, their inability to adapt their social organization to new conditions led directly to their downfall. In the face of a society of interchangeable citizens constituting a massive unified Leviathan, the Apache continued to be the untame, indomitable people of before. And they paid the ultimate price for it: defeat, humiliation, exile, and in many cases, premature death.
But perhaps, even then, the ends do not justify the means. Or rather, the “ends” are really the “means” projected and amplified into a monstrous and logical conclusion. Even if the Apache chiefs had conscripted every warrior and forced them to fight, even if some of the warriors hadn’t run off and become scouts hunting their own people for the white army, even if they could have held off the U.S. Army for a few more years, they would not have done so as Apaches, or as the people that they always were. Here it would be something akin to, “in order to save the city, we had to destroy it”. Or better, in order to prevent the city from being planted in the land of the Apache, they had to become the city in civilized reasoning. And they knew what that meant: slavery in one form or another. They accepted the consequences of their refusal, even if they had second thoughts about it.
We can apply the lessons here to our own situation. Many “green anarchist” or “green post-leftist” groups like Deep Green Resistance and the like very much have a “militaristic” or “militant” attitude toward “dismantling” or “destroying” civilization. There are even “pro-Unabomber” groups in existence that dream of a “revolution” against “techno-industrial society”. But what if, as Grandfather says above, in their efforts to fight slavery, they are just making more slaves? Is this not the essence of the leftist / revolutionary project: one last “slavery”, one last “martyrdom” that will end all slaveries and martyrdoms? Just one more great big push and we will establish the place where there is neither sorrow, nor sighing, nor anymore pain. Leviathan has dreamed this dream before, a myriad of times now, and people have thrown themselves against the wheels of Progress in order to make it a reality. They are still dead, and we are nowhere closer to freedom.
Still, there are others, such as John Zerzan, who think that to “give up” defending the world that civilization has wrought is akin to nihilism and despair. “Hope”, so the reasoning goes, would be finding a way to “let everyone off easy”, of avoiding all negative consequences of the end of a way of life that has been nothing but negative consequences for those who have opposed it (such as our Apaches here). The Requiem sung for a world built on the massive graveyard of other dead worlds must be a pastoral and peaceful one, so we are told, lest we succumb to revenge and hatred, lest we sin against the “Enlightenment” values that somehow escaped being fully domesticated, even when everything else is (mirabile visu!)
But what if this urge to save the world, this urge to “overthrow tyranny” no matter what the cost, this itch to “fight for a better world” is just another hamster wheel, another yoke to be put on us, to solve problems that we didn’t create, and to sacrifice ourselves for a better world which we will never see (funny how that works)? What if the genius of domesticated civilization has been to harness our hostility into making it better, commodifying our radicalism, and perpetuating civilized values in self-proclaimed enemies like a virus in an unsuspecting host? Why not just keep our principles, like the defeated Apache did, and let the chips fall where they may? What if we just realize that, as animals, we don’t know what the future will bring, the only resistance that we have is resistance in the now, and the cares of tomorrow will take care of themselves? Indeed, we simply have no power over tomorrow, just as we have no power to resurrect the past. If we did, we wouldn’t be animals, and the revolutionist / leftist / technocrat would be right.
Mexican ecoextremists are embodying these ideas as in the following passage, which I have translated from a recent work of theirs:
We fully realize that we are civilized human beings. We have found ourselves within this system and we use the means that it provides us to express a tendency opposed to it, with all of its contradictions, knowing full well that we have long been contaminated by civilization. But even as the domesticated animals that we are, we still remember our instincts. We have lived more time as a species in caves than in cities. We are not totally alienated, which is why we attack.
The distinguishing feature of RS in this conversation is that we say that there is no better tomorrow. There is no changing this world into a more just one. That can never exist within the bounds of the technological system that has encompassed the entire planet. All that we can expect is a decadent tomorrow, gray and turbulent. All that exists is the now, the present. That’s why we are not betting on the “revolution” so hoped for in leftist circles. Even if that seems exaggerated, that’s just how it is. Resistance against the technological system must be extremist in the here and now, not waiting for any changes in objective conditions. It should have no “long term goals”. It should be carried out right now by individuals who take on the role of warriors under their own direction, accepting their own inconsistencies and contradictions. It should be suicidal. We don’t aim to overthrow the system. We don’t want followers. What we want is individualist war waged by various factions against the system that domesticates and subjugates us.
Our cry to Wild Nature will always be the same until our own violent extermination:
“And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come… and the time when thou shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth.” (Revelation 11:17)
Perhaps the only truly free response, the only one that escapes the cycle of domestication, is one that states firmly that this world is not worth saving, that its days are numbered, and the sooner the evil falls, the better. Sometimes damnation in Christian eschatology is not merely a punishment, but it is what is best for the soul saturated in iniquity. This world must fall, and nothing will likely replace it, nothing that we can foresee anyway. The only real praxis, then, is one of rejection and not of rebuilding: one of the heroic animal facing off against the civilized juggernaut of slavery and fear.