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Green anarchism

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Green anarchism (or Green anarchy) is a set of related political ideas that are derived from philosophical and social movements such as social ecologists, feminism, egoism, situationism, surrealism, the Luddittes, primitivism, post- and anti-leftists, indigenous, anti-industrialism, pre-civilized people, the feral, and the wild.

Interpretation of the A in the circle with natural elements. Painting for the green anarchism

The green anarchist critique focuses on the institutions of domination that make up society, all grouped under the broad term “civilization”. Such institutions include for example, the state, capitalism, globalization, domestication, patriarchy, science, technology, or work. These institutions, according to green anarchists, are inherently destructive and exploitative (to humans and the environment) – therefore, they cannot be reformed. This movement generally rejects progress through current political lines, favoring direct and autonomous action, sabotage, insurrection, bioregionalism, and reconnecting with the wild to create meaningful change.

There are two main points of contention among green anarchists: civilization and technology.

Green anarchists can be described as anti-civilization anarchists and sometimes anarcho-primitivists, though not all green anarchists and anti-civilization anarchists are primitivists. Likewise, there is a strong critique of technology among green anarchists, though not all reject it entirely.

Civilization is taken to be the totality of institutions (described above) that are responsible for the destruction of human freedom and the environment. Physically, civilization is demarcated by the domestication of plants, animals, and humans (though its beginning have been traced back through time, language, art, and symbolic culture – see John Zerzan). Agriculture created a surplus and the conditions for the rise of these institutions. Before agriculture, humans often lived as autonomous bands of gatherer-hunters without any leadership, authority, division of labor, organized violence, environmental destruction, etc. Essentially, gatherer-hunters are perceived to be part of human anarchist ancestry since all humans practiced that mode of life for around two million years. Civilization is often seen as more of a paradigm than a physical thing, and one that places human beings above and outside of the natural world. This is seen as the first step towards, and justification for, the destruction of nature (humans included).

Technology is seen as a system rather than a specific physical tool. Technology requires the exploitation of the environment through the creation and extraction of resources, and the exploitation of people through labor, work, and slavery, industrialism, specialization and the division of labor. There is no “neutral” form of technology as things are always created in a certain context with certain aims and functions. Green technology is often rejected because it simply keeps the same exploitative system and only changes it on the surface to make it seem environmentally friendly despite the constant level of human and natural exploitation. In place of technology, green anarchists favor living ranging from low use of technology to no use at all, using sustainable and local resources.

Green anarchists are not advocating a return to the stone age or the replication of gatherer-hunter lifestyles; instead they are advocating a deep questioning of the reality humans have been given, and wish to see those questions (namely the questioning of civilization) be put into effective praxis by creating new communities that exist without these institutions of domination while at the same time resisting the current ones in place.

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