Title: How I Brought Down Civilization
Topic: anti-civ
Source: Retrieved on August 26, 2009 from crimethinc.hyperphp.com
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A question I am often asked is “What makes you think you can take down civilization?” My response is pretty simple and consists of two parts — the first part is that I am still relatively (compared to many others) able-bodied and able-minded and the second part is that my past experiences demonstrate that I have the capacity to take down civilization.

Suppose you live on the edge of an unfathomably large spring full of fresh clean water, and that you have in your possession an empty pot and some pasta. Suppose then that you’d like to make some pasta, so you have to boil some fresh clean water, but your pot is only large enough to hold a miniscule percentage of the water at your disposal. Since you can not boil all of the water away in its entirety does that mean you cannot boil water? What do you say if somebody comes and asks “What makes you think that you can boil water? You might say that the answer comes in two parts...

I think obviously the same applies to civilization. The term “civilization” is a little like the term “water”, the words themselves don’t imply completeness or totality; only the existence of an undefined portion. I don’t need to have the expertise I’d need to engineer a supervirus in order to bring down or end civilization. I don’t need a big magic button to push. What I need is the concrete context of a physical time and place, as well as the willingness to commit actions I know need to be done. I have taken down civilization many times before, ended it even. That’s why I’m so sure I can end civilization in the future, right now or at any time I’m willing to invest the time. I really do have the physical capacity, and the knowledge and know-how to do this.

The reason I’m writing this is that in the anti-civ community recently I have seen the question asked over and over again “why should I throw my life away doing something that could potentially make no difference?” I’m not asking anybody to throw their life away. If you want to make pasta, you’ve got to invest a few minutes of your life boiling the water. Is that throwing your life away? You’re only wasting your life if you would rather not have pasta if that meant you had to boil water. If you do want pasta, then boiling water is an investment in your future, and the future of whoever else might benefit from that pasta.

I used to get caught up with a lot of the same questions I get asked so frequently by members outside the anti-civ community and even by a lot of anti-civ sympathizers. I used to wonder “why should I try anything at all if it’s not going to bring down civilization in its entirety?” But then I realized that my goal was a bit too lofty in order for me to put practical solutions into practice with my limited experience and expertise. I started thinking about how I would define the end of civilization, and that’s when I found my answer — context.

In order to measure my success in bringing down civilization I’ve got to measure my impacts on a specific place during a specific period of time. The next day I decided that the time was NOW and went hunting for a specific place. It had to be a good and civilized place, so that I could be sure I was liberating the place, and not colonizing it further with my modifications. It didn’t take long for me to find it. Off of a side road in a small town I found what must have at one time been a parking lot among old abandoned factory buildings. There I found mother nature leading the charge as usual. No civilized human being cared about this piece of land and I think that liberating it was probably even legal — if not it was not illegal enough for anyone to bother reprimanding me. I suppose I could have been written a ticket of some kind if someone was really irritated. Of course I was a little nervous committing my first act as an anti-civ warrior, but in the context of that time and place I could not lose. There it was; stretched out over the ground before me was civilization, in all its evil glory, holding the dying landbase hostage under a blanket pavement. The situation put civilization totally at my mercy whilst I myself was relatively invulnerable. The place was here and the time was now.

The parking lot was big and the area covered by the old abandoned factory buildings surrounding it was even bigger. This was my first time and I did not want to bite off more than I could chew. I decided that an approximately six by six foot plot would be a good start for now. There were weeds poking out of the pavement in some places, and small trees towering out of the pavement in others. It seemed almost like the assaulted landbase beneath was winning the battle without my help. I thought for a moment that maybe it wouldn’t be worth my time to do this, since the landbase itself was clearly capable of overtaking the civilization which burdened it. I almost turned back and then I realize that this wasn’t about the six by six foot plot of pavement that I was about to tear up, it was a question of identity. Am I part of the landbase or am I separate from it, that was the question. If the landbase can handle it on it’s own and I am part of the landbase then any work I do is just me doing my part as a part of the landbase. Why should I give this particular morsel of civilization a pass now, just when I’ve got it totally at my mercy in a situation where I myself am relatively invincible? I didn’t have anything better to do at the time; if I had decided it wasn’t worth the time I would not have gone out and blown up a dam...I would have hopped back on my bike and headed home or gone for a walk; or done something equally useless. I would have chosen to identify myself with civilization as opposed to the landbase.

So instead I searched for a six by six plot that was relatively unbroken by the weeds and trees, and I pried up all the pavement and dumped it atop of a pre-existing pile of rubble. It took about 20 minutes, the pavement was already pretty weak and crumbled in most places. I felt proud as I worked and when I completed that spot I looked around at the rest of the living things that were reconquering the area — of which I was now one. Then it hit me...I had just dismantled civilization. I was not at all tired or exerted and I had not seen a human being there at all as I worked. I decided to stay a little longer and work a little more. Before I knew it the sun was setting and the pile of rubble was twice as big as it had been before I got there and started adding to it. Without picking the stem itself, I plucked all the little parachute seeds off of several dandelions and spread them around about the area I had just liberated. The next day I returned with dill seeds also, and got back to work. Since that time I think I’ve liberated space enough to park 15 cars or so at that area, plus I’ve gotten comfortable enough to do lots of other work. That’s why when somebody asks me, “What makes you think you can dismantle civilization?” I tell them: “Two things; Past experience and the fact that I’m still relatively able-bodied. It’s easier than you think.”

And never once have I felt like I’ve been throwing my life away by doing things like this. In fact I’ve always felt like I’ve been investing in my future and that of the landbase. I’ve been becoming more skilled and more mentally capable of taking action, and more experienced taking actions safely and anonymously. Every time I do something like this I make the world a better place and make myself a better warrior. I am making a difference, regardless of what anybody says. If you don’t believe me then go check out the old abandoned parking lot I’ve been working on. The other day I witnessed a small burrow of some kind in the tough compacted soil that would still be underneath of concrete if it weren’t for me. I witnessed the replacement of civilization by wild nature. This is not a waste of my life and no matter how big the actions get, if I am ever spending the remainder of my life in a prison cell somewhere, I don’t see how I could look back on my actions as a waste of my life. Even if I’m sentenced to life in prison, my life will not be over. As long as I still have life left in me I will fight. I refuse to resign my own life, if they really want it they’re going to have to take it from me. That will take more than locking me up in a box. I won’t fold this hand, it may be the only one I’m ever dealt and I’m already all in; just like everyone else.