An Open Invitation
A habitat is a territory that provides sources of water and food as well as reliable sources of materials for shelter and heat. Typically it is where you first made love, learned to swim, caught your first fish, and perhaps even fought a battle against a belligerent neighboring group. Practically everybody in your community knows the names of the flora and fauna of your habitat, where the berries are, when the birds leave and return. Most inhabitants feel a kinship with the totality of your habitat, not only its flora and fauna, but its weather patterns, rocks, streams and mountains, its unique smells and sounds and the various combinations of them that make the singular music of your home.
Urban civilization obviously won’t fail because of the actions of a minority of eco-activists and indigenous traditionalists. However it is possible that a majority of those repulsed by the destructive basis of civilization will become anti-authoritarian fighters dedicated to creating a world of ecological communities, each success along the way a revitalising inspiration. If enough of the population participates a critical point will be reached where the drive of our collective push toward kinship with our surroundings will become unstoppable.
Revolution is not everywhere or nowhere. Any region can be liberated through a succession of actions, events and strategies based on the conditions unique to it, as the grip of civilization in that area weakens through its own volition or through the efforts of its inhabitants. It would benefit these liberated regions to form alliances or meld in some way, but they might not choose to do so.
It is up to each of us to look for the weak points and the vital points of our opponent’s armor within our geographical area and to strike them. It is not true that until all humans are free none are free. But it is true that none are free until all are free within the same place. And it is enraging and sad that some might enjoy freedom and authentic community while others don’t. It is this sense of solidarity with others, our refusal to be atomized, that compels us to spread our freedom.
Civilization didn’t succeed everywhere at once, so its undoing might only occur to varying degrees in different places at different times. In any case the process of domestication is an ongoing one. Once it succeeds in colonizing any given area civilization isn’t inherently permanent. Its continuance relies on our belief in its superiority, our submission to its authority and on our failure to have successful insurgencies.
Unfortunately civilization is a march toward death. Just to ensure that some diversity of life will endure the brakes must soon be put on the mega machines seemingly unstoppable, out-of-control locomotive of catastrophes.
The captivity of the civilized must be kept up on a daily basis otherwise we’d be constantly organizing and revolting. Coercive authority relies on entertainment (tourism, drugs, television, etc.), ideologies (Marxism, religion, science, etc.) propaganda (schools, mass media, etc.) and repression to keep us dumb and scared. Many of us who recognize that something is deeply wrong don’t fight back primarily, I believe, because of feelings of isolation and poverty as well as fear of retribution from the repressive apparatus of political power (police, military, courts, jails, etc.).
While the rule of capital and centralized power might seem omniscient, they actually aren’t. There is a totality of domination but the totality is not yet dominated. There are many psychic and geographical blind spots, openings, frontiers where the sentinels and soldiers are few or at least fewer. We can take advantage of these. Our struggle for individual and collective freedom isn’t pointless or hopeless or so overwhelming as to make total surrender appear reasonable and inevitable.
For instance, because so much of our captivity relies on internalized cops, on the daily reproduction of social misery by our own compliance with the various roles expected of us (worker, citizen, soldier, intellectual, consumer, activist, artist, man, woman, etc.), the weakest point in our opponents armor is probably our ability to refuse fulfilling these expectations of predictable behavior. It is through withdrawal from scripted roles and cultural constructs that we will get to know our neighbors and comrades, indeed ourselves, in a more honest light, revealing our true complexity as individuals. and thereby be more able to create the communities of resistance that would be helpful in order to form the bases of our offensives. It also means attempting to collectively withdraw from our participation in the institutions and behaviours of capitalist civilization: entertainment, schooling, dependence on welfare states, wage work rather than subsistence skills and self-reliance, electoralism and other forms of representation, etc.