S C A R L E T I N A: babykillingprimitivistdemon: Pro-collapse people really confuse me....
Pro-collapse people really confuse me. Like, you’re disgusted with industrial civilization and the death and destruction it brings…but you want to kill off nearly everybody just to bring it down in a sudden crash? Huh? That’s some ecofascist shit right there.
Yeah, and it’s bullshit to conflate acknowledging the unweaving of our industrially imposed material conditions (a necessary effect of any sort of revolutionary scenario) with the systematic elimination of people. Seriously, put down the Chomsky for a minute and enter 2013.
No one’s talking about systematic elimination of anyone. The position as I understand it is essentially a recognition of the fact that nothing can live on an ecologically exhausted planet, and further, that as this basic fact continues to be ignored, those who will suffer most and first will be those who have always been suffering most and first at the hands of civilization all along: the poor, the marginalized, and especially the indigenous — as the land is ravaged, so are the people who live closest to it (a contemporary example: as easy oil runs out, industrial capitalism has turned to sources like the tar sands in Alberta, which is as we speak leading to astounding cancer rates among the First Nations people there.) As the sea level rises, those who will be hit hardest and first will be the indigenous people living on the coastlines. “Systematic elimination” isn’t an idea that “eco-fascist” primmies toy with—it’s a present reality that is the direct result of living in blatant antagonism of our habitat (more broadly, ourselves, to sum up the human effects of life in civilization). Primitivists aren’t just detached college students who don’t give a fuck about people and want to kill off the humans — by and large, they’re those who see and deeply feel the current situation of intense human suffering and death and are moved by compassion (as well as a sense of collective self-preservation) to get to the source of the problem.
Which is precisely where we find ourselves: what is the root of the problem — civilization or capitalism? If it’s capitalism, then you’re right to recognize the “unweaving of our industrially imposed material conditions” as a condition for revolutionary change. But if it’s civilization, then what is that a revolutionary change to? To a different arrangement of human-centric production that will ultimately still have to face questions of ecological sustainability? It would indeed be better to face these questions democratically rather than as we do now (ignoring reality, at the expense of the poor and the indigenous), which is why I continue to be an active Marxist even though I’m also civ-skeptic.
But here’s the point: Marxism takes for granted that (communist) civilization can be sustainable (fair enough, given the time period in which it arose). All I would say is, let’s seriously evaluate that question, and then go from there, whatever we find that answer to be (I’m still struggling with and researching that question myself, starting with Jared Diamond’s Collapse). It is easy to dismiss both ‘traditional’ leftism and primitivism from the vantage point of the opposing set of assumptions. Well, let’s not assume. Whether you’re a commie or a primmie, don’t start with your theoretical goals of a communist or primitivist ideal and then backtrack to defend the implicit assumptions of your theoretical framework (i.e., whether civilization is sustainable or not). As opposed to Marxist materialism, nothing could be more idealistic. Let’s instead start with that question and then determine, from an honest evaluation of the material reality, what steps to take.
tl;dr: Don’t use the first horror that raising the question brings to mind as a reason to ignore the question; in this case, the horror (of “systematic elimination”) is complete and utter nonsense anyway.