Los hijos del Mencho
Against the World-Builders: Eco-extremists respond to critics
D. Black Seed no. 5: With frenemies like these…
Eco-extremists and aligned theorists writing in the English language have contributed little regarding recent polemics against our Tendency. This is a wise decision since, for those who hate us, our words only inflame their hatred all the more and, while we don’t mind being hated, we would rather focus our energies elsewhere. Our enemies seem to thrive on finding opponents they are unable to defeat (Nazis, the Republican Party, civilization, etc.) so accumulating a few more enemies can make it seem like they are getting somewhere., We neither need nor desire their parasitic attention.
Unfortunately for us, aligned parties have asked us to respond, and to that end we have produced this essay. Herein we seek to inform on certain controversial topics that Anglophone readers may have missed in an environment of social media and twenty-four hour distraction. We do this both for those interested in what we write, but also for those who hate us. If that much emotional investment is going to be placed in events that occur outside of one’s immediate sphere, it might as well be for the right reasons.
We will primarily address the essay, “Of Indiscriminate Attacks & Wild Reactions,” from the Olympia-based “edelweiss pirates.” We will also touch on criticisms expressed in Black Seed 5, as well as in other communiqués and call-outs issued in the last six months or so as needed. Our aim is not to make ourselves, the Individualists Tending Toward the Wild (ITS), eco-extremism or nihilist terrorism appear better than they have been portrayed as this would be a fool’s errand, and not at all honest. We don’t fear being despised, and we understand that people want to kill us. You should want to kill us, because you are our enemy, and we don’t even like ourselves that much. You can call us edgy but, honestly, that’s one of the nicer things you can say about us.
So to begin...
After the release of the 29th Communiqué of the Indiscriminate Group Tending Toward the Wild (GITS) in May of last year and a cell of the Individualists Tending Toward the Wild (ITS) claiming responsibility for homicides and the attempted bombing of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), the international insurrectionary anarchist community, as well as the social anarchist Scott Campbell, have issued counter-communiqué after counter-communiqué opposing eco-extremism, and ITS in particular. Most of these were rather short until the release of a long 50 page essay on the Anarchist Library website and later Anarchist News entitled, “Of Indiscriminate Attacks & Wild Reactions: An Anti-civ Anarchist Engages with ITS and Atassa, Their Defenders and Their False Critics.” (Henceforth, OIAWR) Upon first examination (at least to the uninformed reader) the essay seemed rather comprehensive and well-prepared. However, due to the number of targets it attempts to hit as seen in its lengthy title, engagement with eco-extremists texts and rhetoric is rather minimal within the development of the essay. Most of the accusations are thus inaccurate and a product of the author(s)’ rather active imagination when it comes to the current political situation.
The author(s)’ main claims against their opponents can be summarized in the following points:
The eco-extremist journal, Atassa, is a pro-rape publication;
ITS’s misanthropy is a convenient cover for its misogyny since it now primarily targets women and society’s most helpless;
ITS attacks anarchists and should not be tolerated in anarchist circles;
Little Black Cart (LBC), Atassa’s publisher, is directly responsible for spreading this pro-rape misogynist rhetoric in the anarchist community in the United States due to an irresponsible drive to stir up conversation for its own sake;
In the end, ITS, Atassa, and, by extension, LBC, are proto-fascist forces that seek to give comfort to the enemy as an unwitting Fifth Column within the fight against oppression and domination.
We will address each accusation in what follows.
After an introductory section, OIAWR enters into a tendentious reading of two central essays of the first issue of the journal, Atassa: Readings in Eco-Extremism. Generally, the author(s)’ method of reading could best be termed as a “hermeneutic of suspicion”. Ramon Elani’s essay, “Return of the Warrior”, is denigrated as a bad reading of a questionable author, Pierre Clastres, with judgments made against the cited scholarship that are little better than unwarranted ad hominem:
In addition to whatever patriarchy was found on his travels, it’s fairly obvious in reading Clastres that he himself is some kind of male chauvinist, in the good French intellectual style, who occasionally starts blathering on about the ideas of gender and sexuality that he supposedly locates in the cosmology and customs of the people with whom he lived, but without ever really offering the reader any reason to believe that this is how these people understand themselves, or that any of their material practices confirm the sexism Clastres seems so eager to confirm
Citation needed but of course none is forthcoming. In the anarcho-primitivist social justice world of the edelweiss pirates, an accusation is all that is needed to prove guilt, and then one moves on to the next slander. Anything that conforms to their “necessary” morality, inherited from Christianity, is a primordial re-wilded desire for egalitarianism, and everything that doesn’t is a plot by bad misogynist colonizer anthropologists, or something to that effect:
I can’t think of any self-interested or dubious motive for why these observers would remark with horror, can you? Maybe it’s because they had a vested interest in making indigenous peoples look like warlike apes to justify their civilizing colonial ventures. Maybe underlying that was a perceptual bias, that spiritual illness that inheres in the very culture we claim to be trying to fight.
OIAWR hits its stride with the accusation that in describing the crime of rape in primitive warfare, women as spoils of war, Elani endorses this behavior. Again, the pirates accuse:
After reiterating that primitive war is a means of preventing radical inequality, we learn that “This is the complexity of primitive society: there are enemies and there are allies [...] Such alliances are created and maintained primarily through the exchange of women, who are also accumulated as spoils of war. This paradox, the exchange of women in securing alliances and the capture of women in war, illustrates, for Clastres the disdain toward exchange economy. Why should we trade for women when we can simply go get some for ourselves: “the risk [of war] is considerable (injury, death) but so are the benefits: they are total, the women are free.”
If these bits of pedagogy and rape culture sound suspiciously rather like modern compulsions, imperatives, and fantasies to the critically-minded reader, you should know that Elani agrees with you...
We will leave Elani’s essay for now and turn to the pirates’ reading of the titular essay of the journal, Abe Cabrera’s “Atassa: Lessons of the Creek War (1813-1814)”. In their brief treatment of this essay (which establishes, along with Elani’s contribution, the putative “pro-rape” tenor of the project), they focus on one scene of the lengthy essay: the massacre of the white inhabitants of Fort Mims by the Red Stick Creeks:
The section of the essay that follows shortly on the heels of this quotation is “The Massacre at Fort Mims as Re-Wilding,” in which one of the bloodiest attacks of the Creeks is related. Cabrera is certain to assure us: “What followed was a slaughter of exceptional brutality, but well in keeping with the ethos of Creek vengeance in war,” and quotes a number of white His-storians and anthropologists (who seemingly don’t all agree on the precise extent to which this behavior was precedented among the Creek) about the “purifying blaze” that would now rid the nation of the apostate Creeks. Throughout the piece, Cabrera is certain to demarcate the concepts and the actions that are admirable and in keeping with an ancient wisdom. This mostly takes the form of a kind of inverted Noble Savage proposition that always and in all cases upholds whatever brutality was done by the Creeks of 200 years ago and posits such acts and principles as eternal, salutary, and Wild.
When Cabrera arrives at discussing the fate of the women at Fort Mims, his laudatory tone and narrative is utterly unbroken. With an incipient giddiness consonant with everything he’s written up to now, he quotes at length about the gratuitous mass rape that took place at Fort Mims. Not a word of contextualization of the horrors of civilized war, or of war at all, is proffered. After this-- his crown-jewel block quotation—he begins the next paragraph, “Far from being acts of gratuitous or extraordinary violence, what occurred at Fort Mims was well within the cultural and spiritual logic of traditional Creek culture.” To prove his point, he quotes another white historian at length.
Here is the ideological underpinning being offered by their US boosters for the femicidal actions claimed by ITS. Here is the “indiscriminate attack” being refined, in print as in thought. Here is Rape-as-Re-Wilding.
Again, we must point out here the “hermeneutic of suspicion”. In spite of being an essay that aims to be well-documented, the pirates feel that they can discredit all of the “His-storians” and white scholars without it seems having done any research of their own, or citing any counter-narratives describing the same events. But here it is worth citing in full the passage that so scandalized the authors of OIAWR:
A special fate was reserved for the women. The Indians stripped them naked, scalped both head and nether parts, then raped some with fence rails and clubbed all to death like small game. Those unfortunate enough to be pregnant had their bellies slit open. Then the glistening fetus was snatched out, cord still attached, and laid, still living, carefully by the mother’s side in horrible tableaux—in the case of Mrs. Summerlin’s twins, on both sides of her. The indomitable Nancy Bailey met a similar end. When approached by an Indian who asked who her family was, she reportedly pointed to a body sprawled nearby and boldly exclaimed, ‘I am the sister of that great man you have murdered there.’ At which the enraged Indians clubbed her to the ground, slit open her belly, yanked out her intestines, and threw them onto the ground around her.
While a gruesome sight to be sure, this was not the only atrocity that the Red Sticks committed at Fort Mims. Right above the cited text, the “Atassa” author describes a small boy being clubbed to death and bodies being dismembered and held aloft as trophies of war, a custom among some of the Shawnee warriors present at the massacre. One wonders why child murder and dismemberment left the pirates so unfazed, but brutal rapes with fence rails were a bridge too far.
And of course, the “white historian” cited at length after this passage appears to be nothing but an exploiter who wants to spread calumny and detraction against poor indigenous people, because that is the only reason white His-torians exist.
Dr. Shuck-Hall has directed [Christopher Newport University’s] public history program for almost a decade. Her book-length analyses of Southeastern Indians were published by both the University of Nebraska Press and the University of Oklahoma Press. She assisted tribal advocates to secure claims to ancestral lands, and undertook museum curatorial assignments for Southeastern Indian tribes.
It appears here that the edelweiss pirates were too preoccupied with their invective to do a simple Google search, but we suppose that’s forgivable if the object of one’s polemic is so vile and lacking in human decency.
One wonders what the pirates think indigenous warfare was actually like, uninformed by Christian admonitions to “turn the other cheek” (which Christian soldiers did not even follow) and where scalping and torturous death were widely reported in the context of war. The Creeks were a remnant of the Mississippian cultures, and in places like Cahokia human sacrifices are widely believed to have taken place. It is odd that the pirates did not blame agriculture and sedentism for all of the bad things done at Fort Mims like every other primitivist. It is rather foolish then to cast doubt on heavily documented historical events, especially if one presents no counter-narrative in its place.
And Abe Cabrera isn’t white. One could state that white authors are “cleansed” of their whiteness if he cites them.
We leave the pirates’ yellow journalist exegesis and lay our cards on the table. First and foremost, eco-extremists don’t have any prescriptive counsels for any human at all in our context. None. We don’t care if people rape, murder, kill, commit infanticide, etc. etc. We do not believe that condemning behaviors, issuing trigger or content warnings, or admonitions from hindsight are of any use, or even desirable. Ramon Elani and Abe Cabrera’s matter-of-fact descriptions of previous atrocities are neither “laudatory” nor “salutary”. Some confusion might lie in the fact that they feel no need to judge two hundred year old events through the prism of modern egalitarianism or morality. Atassa is no more a “pro-rape” journal than it is a “pro-infanticide” or “pro-horse theft” journal, as these are also crimes described in its pages. One could here suspect that mentioning “rape” hits the “right buttons,” and is the pirates’ attempt to jump on the “fake news” bandwagon of 2017. In this case, accuracy suffers when marketing is one’s ultimate goal.
If the pirates had so desired, they could have easily found other damning evidence of eco-extremism being soft on sexual violence. Here we will cite one example as the pirates do not seem to have performed even cursory research on the topic. It comes from a work during the Wild Reaction phase of eco-extremism called, “They took their time already: Wild Reaction responds to Destroy the Prisons”:
“Before this comment RS [Wild Reaction] answers that if DP take themselves for community connoisseurs, we hope they know that the people of the hills in Mexico, since hundreds of years ago, are used to lifestyles that are frowned upon by the city dwellers sick with Western culture, certain ways of life that are perceived as ‘brutal’. For example, to exchange a woman for a cow or a swine, is common among natives, it is part of their customs, their way of life, and is something normal, while for Western moralists (including some anarchists) it is something unworthy, they get all worked up and cry to the heavens when they hear about this. Generally anarchists of the feminist type are those who most make a scandal about it. RS doesn’t see it as a bad thing, RS respects the development and customs of the country people, this is why we express ourselves in favor of power relations in such communities because it is not our concern to try and change them. We emphasize, it is not that we are ‘machistas’ but honestly we don’t set ourselves against this kind of native attitudes. This is what we think, even though it will infuriate the anarchists that we talk in this way, oh well.”
There is absolutely nothing prescriptive about eco-extremism. There is only an extreme pessimism concerning human thought and action, so it is no surprise to us if some indios in the hills of Mexico still give away their daughters for the price of a cow. We do not expect humans to be just or reasonable in this or any other context. Eco-extremism has no inclination to tell uncivilized societies how they should behave, we don’t believe in “The Fall,” good guys vs. bad guys, etc. If that sort of talk was ever appropriate, it isn’t anymore. We have no inclination to be Lawgivers to this or any other society, past or present. Our pursuit is attack on this society, this reality, and we do not feel the need to go back two-hundred years to call out injustices that most people have forgotten.
Do eco-extremists then advocate that women simply accept their rapes? To the extent that we care about those in affinity, there are two ideas at play here: 1. To renounce the idea that women (or anyone else) are victims who need to be protected by hyper-civilized society and 2. That all vengeance and retribution be carried out amorally and individualistically, as “societal solutions” and shaming are mere frauds. As some female eco-extremists have stated (yes, they exist):
The Western view is for one to look upon oneself as a woman as a victim of everyone and everything. It forces you to focus on dumb struggles which only distract from the true problem: Civilization. The system benefits when we look for the guilty amongst ourselves, and when we turn our anger on men, immigrants, the justice system, the state, the speciesists, etc. Thus, going along with all of the ephemeral struggles makes us part of the herd, but of a black herd: the supposedly “rebel” one, which one realizes is not even the case.
I have not wanted to remain thus. I have accepted my existence as a woman, and I have declared war without quarter on civilization, and not on a model of a system of domination called “patriarchy”. The eco-extremism that I defend is not focused on gender. I have wounded both men and women equally since this war is against civilization as a whole. Though the gender of the target is not important, at the same time I realize that as an individualist my condition as a woman in what I have done. Maybe I don’t recognize it publicly for strategic reasons, but I do with those in affinity.
She acknowledges, at least tacitly, the role the subjugation of women played in the emergence of civilization. The point is that it is no longer important, or rather, it would be important if one expects a “better” society to emerge out of the rubble of the current hyper-civilized techno-industrial civilization. As we don’t expect this, and as we think it is absurd to try to engineer a society based on spotty anthropological information, talking about abolishing patriarchy is about as useful as talking about terraforming the Moon or colonizing Mars. We will not waste our energy trying to achieve it.
Is there an eco-extremist approach to rape in particular? One eco-extremist spoke on the topic on an Internet radio program called, “Radio Primate”. At around the forty-five minute mark, he stated something along the lines of the following:
“If I say that I oppose rape, what good would it do?... If someone, even if they are old or young, a neighbor, relative, etc. raped you, instead of condemning rape, or victimizing yourself, why don’t you look for that person, and in an intelligent manner, get a knife, or even a gun, look that person in the eye, and, again, in an intelligent manner, kill them. Why are we going to declare ourselves in favor of or in opposition to civilizing activities? If someone did something like that to you, take justice into your own hands. Do what has to be done and that’s it… If you, individualist, were a victim of this sort of civilizing activity, look for the person who harmed you and make them pay, so that their blood is splattered everywhere and your hands are stained with their blood. And be happy that you did it… and don’t be ashamed. When you’re doing it, enjoy it, without regrets, your will be done…”
One might say that’s “ableist” or psychopathic, we cannot imagine anything more cathartic. What good are endless analyses of the past and present versus vengeance in the here and now?
The “rape apologist” accusation is just a marketing ploy. The eco-extremist, echoing an anarchist of yesteryear, could retort that they could never be rape apologists because they are too busy advocating for (and working for, in their own way) the extinction of the human species. They are innocent of that minor charge as they are busy working on a greater project (even if, admittedly, they could never bring it about themselves).
Of course, to paraphrase Joseph Stalin, one rape is a tragedy, and the extinction of the human race is merely a statistic.
That accusation refuted, we move on.
This is somewhat related to rape, but deserving of its own section. The premise is that misanthropy is merely a cover for oppressing the most vulnerable and downtrodden sector of society, insinuating that ITS and other eco-extremists target women and oppressed people disproportionately. We quote the pirates:
Why is it so often that those who claim to be “pessimistic about all human endeavors” seem bound to express this alleged pessimism most potently as a hatred of women? One wonders at how deeply the misogyny runs in those for whom rape is not part of the reason for their pessimism, their alleged misanthropy, but instead is their stock response to the despair, a check in their own plus column, the form taken by their revenge upon “the world.”
It’s not just that they claim to hate humans but never kill themselves or each other. It’s not just that they dress up “the indiscriminate attack” in the clothes of a serious theoretical proposition as cover for the fact that they increasingly only attack women, faggots and pussies. It’s not only that they profess their hatred for anarchists while eagerly claiming a lineage with Severino Di Giovanni, the Italian anarchist and anti-fascist transplant to Argentina of a century ago, who indeed placed bombs with little regard for the possibility of collateral damage, but never randomly, always targeting the powerful.
Meanwhile, ITS is so bad at war, so bad at being the nomadic, cannibal warriors of their own deranged imaginations that all they can muster is collateral damage, the “indiscriminate attack,” being their attempt to maintain their aura or nimbus of being the Most Down while actually camouflaging their own letting off the hook of those most responsible (impotence may be to embarrassing of a word to admit). To call their recent claims emblematic of an attack on low-hanging fruit may be understatement to the point of absurdity, an insult added to the injury done to their “random” targets.
Hyper-masculinized and/or indiscriminate violence, exalted as means and end, coupled with a mythic spiritual ideal is in line with proto-fascism, especially that of ex-anarchists who take their aim primarily or exclusively at "reds," egalitarians, queers, women, etc.
This one is pretty easy to address. We list here all of the attacks by ITS in the last calendar year (2017) and tally how many women, “faggots” etc. they’ve killed or injured. We can then assess how “misogynist” and “bad at war” they are.
21st Communique (January): a bomb sent to the Head of Codelco, Oscar Landerretche, one of the largest mining companies in the world, in Santiago, Chile. He suffered minor injuries to his hands due to the trajectory of the blast, though his mother-in-law, maid, and three year old daughter were also in the room, though uninjured.
22nd Communique (February): bombs placed in churches and a biotech company in Torreon, Mexico. No one was injured.
24th Communique (February): a bomb placed on a bus in Mexico State, Mexico. No injuries.
25th Communique (March): The assassination of the Vicerector of the Technological Institute of Advanced Studies, Luis Arturo Torres Garcia.
27th Communique (April): Firing on infrastructure in Mexico State, Mexico. No known injuries.
28th Communique (April): The placing of an exploding envelope on a park bench in Torreon, Mexico. A girl found it, it exploded, but the media reported that no one was injured.
29th Communique (May): The deaths of two hikers in Mexico State (male and female), the placing of an explosive device at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), and the death of Lesvy Berlin Osorio.
30th Communique (May): a bomb planted on a bus in Santiago, Chile, which did not explode.
32nd Communique (July): a bomb planted at a church in Mexico State, Mexico. The sacristan of the church picked it up and it exploded, wounding him.
34th Communique (July): another explosive envelope left on a park bench in Torreon, Mexico. It is not known what happened to the envelope.
35th Communique (August): two more explosives left in two churches in Mexico State, Mexico. No known injuries.
36th Communique (August): a tractor trailer set on fire in Mexico State. No known injuries.
37th Communique (August): an incendiary device placed on a bus in Santiago, Chile, which started a fire and consumed the vehicle. No known injuries.
40th Communique (September): placing a bomb in front of a physics and astronomy building at the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina, addressed to the director of that department, Dr. Gloria Dubner. The bomb was found and disposed of by the bomb squad. No known injuries.
41st Communique (October): a bomb placed in another church in Mexico State, Mexico. No known injuries.
42nd Communique (October): the murder of two male pilgrims carrying a St. Jude statue in the state of Queretaro in Mexico.
43rd Communique (November): attempted bombings of bus lines in Santiago, Chile. No known injuries.
44th Communique (December): the sabotaging and destruction of power lines in the state of Nuevo Leon in Mexico.
45th Communique (December): an attempted mail bomb that exploded in a major processing center in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Two male workers sustained minor injuries.
So let us break down the total deaths, injuries, etc. that ITS has claimed responsibility for and see if they are targeting (in the pirates’ words) “women, faggots, and pussies”. Now, I don’t see any hate crimes against homosexuals here, so that’s off the list. Women? Of course, there is the Great Martyr Lesvy Berlin Osorio of UNAM fame (whose boyfriend is being tried for her murder, just for everyone’s general information), but also the female hiker who no one talks about (Because she was hiking with her boyfriend who was also killed? What sort of headline-grabber is that?) That’s two women, versus the university administrator, the male hiker, and the two Catholic male pilgrims. Add to that the CODELCO chief (where the bomb exploded in his kitchen) and the maimed Catholic sacristan, and we still don’t see a war on women. There is the bomb sent to Dr. Dubner, but was she off-limits for being a woman, or fair game due to her position within the university? And the poor random girl who picked up the envelope. Still, no misogynist war in sight.
What we do see, overall, is a war against companies and infrastructure (CEOs, university administrators, construction equipment, infrastructure, vehicles, etc.) as well as against such institutions as the Catholic Church (Have anarchists buried the hatchet with the Papists yet? We must have not gotten the memo.) While the “random attacks” against the “most vulnerable” makes a great talking point for enemies and “frenemies” of eco-extremism alike, that’s clearly not what is going on here. Most of the eco-extremist’s targets are also being attacked by insurrectionary anarchists in the same regions of the world, only the methodology is different. Any attack that eco-extremists carry out requires planning, scoping out the location, and exceptional measures so as to not get caught. For the most part, their targets are carefully selected not out of any moral considerations, but merely because of logistics. The two major considerations are “Can I do it?” and “Can I get away with it?”
But what of the poor “vulnerable” people who were attacked or died? Lesvy Berlin was walking in front of the engineering department of the university. Perhaps their intention was to leave a dead body in front of a center of techno-industrial progress: hardly a random choice of venue. The two hikers: well, they explain themselves there, and we will discuss this below. The vice-rector: do I really have to describe that one to anarchists? And the head of a mining company? How about the sacristan and the two pilgrims carrying a statue? So Catholics are now off limits to anarchists, I suppose. Durruti would be proud of today’s insurrectionaries for sticking up for the poor innocent believers.
So these attacks and casualties are far from “random”. They are most definitely not leaving the powerful alone, but they aren’t sparing the “vulnerable” either (whose complacency keeps the “powerful” in power). It is tempting to make sloppy generalizations due to deeply felt antagonism, but this feeling does not make these generalizations accurate.
Individualist eco-extremism refuses to “call-out” or mandate a particular action. If one person wants to sabotage some power lines, and they can get away with it, fine, that is their individual prerogative. If someone wants to randomly kill someone, as enemies of the human race, eco-extremists would never oppose or condemn that. There are no coordinated attacks, no meetings where individualists hash out and have struggle sessions about “correct strategy”. The correct strategy is: will someone get hurt or killed; will something be destroyed; and can I get away with it? It’s that simple. If you don’t think X is a good idea, do Y instead.
So with the true nature of eco-extremist actions in the recent past established, we can move on to the next accusation.
C. Attacking anarchists
This accusation is true. I will let Scott Campbell summarize:
OkupaChe is an autonomous space for a variety of collectives and individuals that for years has been under threat and attacks from the police and university administration. On December 14, after a growing push for the eviction of the okupa, there was to be a large student assembly with OkupaChe as the first item on the agenda. At some point during the night before the assembly, an explosive device was left outside the doorway of the auditorium. It was described as a package made up of flammable material and nails, powerful enough to have started a fire and wounded people at the space as well as passers-by. Initially thought to be part of the push to evict OkupaChe, in March an ITS group mentioned “an annoying device that we left in the mousetrap called che.” In the more recent statement, ITS elaborates further, regurgitating without irony the government’s talking points about the space:
[D]id you know that one of our groups placed a bomb at the “Che Squat”? That was done mainly because they were defaming us and we shit on those anarcho-rock star ex-con politicians and drug addicts who hang out there, because the auditorium is supposedly so legendary: a symbol of “autonomy” and the “combative” student movement of the ‘90’s.
So along with their tirades and death threats against individual anarchists, one can see that they have actually attempted to kill or injure anarchists en masse and cause damage to anarchist spaces. In preparation for this article, I reached out to anarchists in Mexico to attempt to document other ITS threats. They indicated that numerous threats from ITS have been directed against anarchist individuals and projects, but no one felt comfortable going on the record.
In replying to Mexican anarchists in particular, ITS wrote the following in its Thirty-Third Communiqué:
We ask ourselves, are not the people who the federal government sent to infiltrate your anarchist spaces more important than ITS, who aren’t in those spaces? And speaking of, did you know that one of our groups placed a bomb at the “Che Squat”? That was done mainly because they were defaming us and we shit on those anarcho-rock star ex-con politicians and drug addicts who hang out there, because the auditorium is supposedly so legendary: a symbol of “autonomy” and the “combative” student movement of the ‘90’s. Now it’s just a den of slimy journalists, a place where the Cisen and Mexico City Investigative Police plant their informers to gather information no matter how irrelevant. From there the press has gathered names, nicknames, photos, addresses, etc. of “comrades” in 2014 after various “slaps,” from there you get the Pegasus malware that infected the personal cellphones of anarchists that year and at that site. Let it be noted that we are not saying this to portray ourselves as “defenders of anarchists,” of course not, that ITS group placed the bomb at that squat because inside was a person who was trying to pass himself off as one of us. He foolishly deceived a bunch of young anarchists and dazzled them with his guns, with his threats, his made-up stories, and supposed connections with us to gain popularity and be “that guy”. With that bomb we got him out of the scene and we started to hunt him. Only with the help of anarchists who he had deceived (who you should try to “eliminate” instead of posturing as the “new people who will deal with ITS,” which is apparently now in style). That person returned to his police barracks and we lost track of him. This isn’t a lie, you can investigate it with your sources and you will see that it’s not part of our “pathological lying.” Ha!
Since this event, there has been much back and forth, mostly one sided in terms of actual harm done against either side. In the 39th Communiqué, ITS in Chile stated that it tipped off the family of a person murdered by the anarchists some years back, apparently the victim of a botched incendiary attack:
So now that it is all the style to threaten an anarchist war against the Eco-extremist Mafia, snitching included, we gave some clues about these nuns to the friends and family (some of them criminals) of Sergio Landskron, so that they’ll know who to shoot and stab to get even. They’re looking in freed squats around the site of the indiscriminate attack and they’ll know who took their son-uncle-brother from them. They’re squats full of shitheads who have gotten out of the explosives game because of this anarcho-Christian sin, but we know that they have this hidden sin on their chest and it won’t be forgotten anytime soon.
Do the moralists consider this snitching too? It’s all the same to us, it’s not for nothing that we are egoists, criminals, and amoral. But let it be known, what we have just stated is just one demonstration that we know quite well those behind certain things, we know where the campaign in Chile against eco-extremism comes from. We thus state that if they continue with this pathetic campaign they shouldn’t be surprised when we respond.
Eco-extremists have also insinuated that there is a link between the beating of an anarchist in the University City in Mexico City and ITS, though no direct responsibility is taken for this attack. In the 44th Communiqué, which takes responsibility for the destruction of an electrical tower, ITS mentions this most recent violent incident against an anarchist, ITS explains:
These kids, have they forgotten from where anarchist groups in Mexico have gotten their explosives from 2015 onward? If they forgot, we remind them than in many cases these explosives have been acquired from the aforementioned eco-extremists with the intent of causing more destruction without regard for the political differences that divide us. We aren’t going to name those groups with “anti-authoritarian” leanings that have bought explosives from our contacts so that they wouldn’t have to put their asses on the line. They know full well who they are. Why is it that (with the exception of old insurrectionary groups) none of these “new” groups of anarchists say shit against the eco-extremists?
Here we recall that, while the initial polemic against ITS by old members of the FAI / CCF in Mexico issued a vigorous condemnation, it did not deny a former collaboration:
Although ITS were one of the few clusters with which we did not directly coordinate when undertaking joint actions, we were in solidarity with them, in the same way that some of the comrades that made up our affinity groups obtained monetary resources for them to solve specific difficulties when requested. That has been (and is) the basis of practical co-ordination between the new anarchic insurrectionalism and eco-anarchism.
To think that there is an absolute wall between anarchists and eco-extremists in the countries where eco-extremists operate is a bit silly, especially since overlap between these groups has been documented. In places of relative peace and legality (i.e. most of the places from where condemnations of eco-extremism come), people can afford to morally pick sides according to unsullied principles. In the realm of illegality and violence, one’s allies and enemies are not as clear. We are speculating of course. To expect that people involved in that way of life will take as authoritative the words of anarchists far away in comfortable situations seems a bit delusional, especially if just for the crime of planting a bomb at an “anarchist” squat named after Che Guevara (an authoritarian Marxist). And as for subsequent actions, we are not sure what anarchists expect from the eco-extremists: that they are supposed to treat them with kid gloves because they’re “comrades”? The anarchists have already made clear that this isn’t the case, so they shouldn’t be surprised when people who like attacking human beings start attacking them.
To us it seems that a particular group of “Third World” anarchists are asking “First World” anarchists to come to their rescue. An interesting spectacle but we don’t see how this goes anywhere. This is a family feud and not one side deciding to “go fascist”. Perhaps some anarchists on the ground can’t afford to be as moral as Scott Campbell, the pirates, the veterans of the CCF, or others. We end this section with an excerpt from an eco-extremist text entitled, “The Anarchist Myth”:
Who knows, maybe new generations of anarchists will know how to turn this decadence around and take other paths, more dangerous for the existent. We don’t know one way or the other and, contrary to what many people think, we would be glad if this happened since more tension, more attacks, more bombings and fires, assassinations and alterations of normality of any kind; in short, extremist and destructive criminal activity (of whatever kind) adds chaos and destabilization to a declining civilization.
Intermezzo: An exegesis of the GITS / ITS 29th Communique
In order to proceed further, we have to address the red herring of “ITS Before the 29th Communiqué” vs. “ITS After the 29th Communiqué”. Like most hyper-civilized, even those interested in eco-extremism had a hard time moving past the death and destruction reported in that communiqué and their significance. There was no schism in these events, and if one is perceived, it was due mainly to the difference in rhetoric / reasoning behind the actions as reported in that communiqué. To give a more faithful interpretation of events, we will of course have to enter the realm of speculation, but we think the following is a more accurate interpretation of events.
In addressing the 29th Communiqué, we must keep in mind that eco-extremism is not a doctrine or even an ideology. It is a tendency: that means that it mainly indicates the inclinations of its adherents and not their actual positions. For example, eco-extremists have been characterized as “religious fundamentalists,” when certain members of the Tendency have been explicit that they do NOT have any religious beliefs or spiritual practices. The nihilist terrorist tendency in Europe does not seem to have any religious inclinations at all, or even explicitly ecological ones for that matter. This is a broad tent, but instead of an ideological position holding these groups and individuals together, the binding position is one of attack: violent, indiscriminate, and misanthropic. Beyond that, it is up to each eco-extremist / nihilist individualist to determine their reasons for doing things.
In that sense, the 29th Communiqué does not come from the “mainstream” of eco-extremism, at least in Latin America where it is most active. Though co-signed by an ITS cell, the main author of the communiqué was the Grupo Indiscriminado Tendiendo a lo Salvaje (GITS), the Indiscriminate Group Tending Toward the Wild. While it is safe to assume that there is a solid strategic union between ITS and GITS, their reasoning and actions have been somewhat different, as have been their results.
GITS surfaced first last year as the Grupúsculo Indiscriminado or Indiscriminate Faction that claimed responsibility in early 2016 for the murder of a computer science student in Mexico State. The police caught the supposed assailants of this attack and sentenced them in 2017, though the Indiscriminate Faction stated that they were the real culprits. They were also part of coordinated actions with ITS in 2016 and early 2017, including bombings and sabotaging a rail system in Mexico State. In the 18th Communiqué, they issued the following ominous threat:
We’d like to state to all those people who are attracted by “natural beauty” that you too are in our sights. Just like the list of scientists, the list of “forest lovers” who we will attack is quite long. Don’t be surprised if one day while you’re out camping the “Devil” shows up. This time you won’t be offered as a sacrifice, you’ll just be fertilizer for the trees. “The coyotes descended from the mountain, now they return to them.”
In a communiqué in March 2017, the Indiscriminate Faction announced its merger with an ITS group to form GITS. In this communiqué, they took an explicitly extinctionist line regarding humans, renouncing terms such as “wild nature” and making explicit that their reasons for omnicidal attack were completely secular:
Our position now is to attack the human being, killing and mutilating, now that the human being is the principal culprit for the changes that Planet Earth has suffered. Among these are the changes in the biogeochemical cycles that the planet has suffered in the last few years. These include cycles of N, P, C, CH4, H2O. We don’t deny that the whole system is in constant change but this change has accelerated considerably after the Industrial Revolution (we don’t have to go into detail here, whoever wants can study this, whoever doesn’t can call us crazy.) Why do we say this? Many leftists, ecologists, anarchists, hipsters, pseudo-intellectuals, and the rest spit out the same thing: “the human feels like god in modifying natural systems.” We speak here of the use of GMOs, which industry paints a rosy picture of. “They do it for the good of humanity,” so that there can be better quality, more productivity, where they can’t produce or there is a lack of production of this or that crop. So why is it so bad to isolate a specific protein in “X” species and put in a bacteria (Thermophilus aquaticus) to synthesize the protein? At the end of the day it doesn’t seem too “bad,” since the human being consumes proteins, synthesizes proteins, and requires essential amino acids. Maybe the use of GMOs isn’t so bad to additionally benefit “X” species… Wait, what about the biogeochemical cycle of N? What about the nitrates and nitrites of the Earth? You already have an example of how the biogeochemical cycle is altered and the consequences that come with it. Anyone with knowledge of the above would tell us we’re right. They would stoop down and say that we (humans) are a danger for the Planet Earth. Others will call us crazy. But the changes are there, more evident than ever. Some hope that so-called “wild nature” will end it all, others hope to enjoy life, others struggle for equality of the human being, and the vast majority lives as a mass on the planet…
While this was the first explicitly extinctionist text in the eco-extremist canon, the position has been adopted by most in the Tendency as far as we can tell. Nevertheless, few eco-extremist groups are keen on scientific reasoning, and some even criticize it.
A couple of months after the release of the 18th Communiqué the murders of the two hikers and Lesvy Berlin Osorio took place, as well an attempted bombing of the UNAM. At the risk of satisfying no one, we will point out a few things:
There is a reiteration of the scientific reasoning for their attack at the beginning of the essay;
The murder of the two hikers was predicted by GITS’ predecessor some months earlier, so that might make the story of GITS “settling” for the hikers instead of illegal loggers not as plausible;
Taking responsibility for the Berlin Osorio murder is almost an afterthought at the end of the communiqué.
This is not to say that the communiqué is not telling the truth, but Berlin Osorio’s boyfriend was arrested for her murder and is currently being tried for it (as was the case with computer science student). Again, we do not know for sure, but these are the only two actions that an eco-extremist group has taken responsibility for internationally where others were caught and charged with the crimes. (It should be pointed out that the murder of the hikers remains unsolved.)
What unsettled many about the 29th Communiqué was its randomness and seemingly absurd justifications for the discussed actions. We should remember that the groups that carried out these attacks envisioned them well in advance, and the venues were not at all random. Also, in comparison with all of the other eco-extremist actions in 2017, these remain a bit of an outlier. Most other attacks have been against biotechnologists, executives, academics, etc. There have also been a disproportionate number of attacks on the Catholic Church and its faithful. As we saw above, to think that the 29th Communiqué was some sort of “watershed” moment does not conform to the character of most attacks carried out in the last calendar year.
D. Black Seed no. 5: With frenemies like these…
Eco-extremism haunted the latest issue of the LBC paper, Black Seed, published last year. While there were some articles that mentioned eco-extremist themes in a positive light and would not have been entirely out of place in Atassa or similar publications ( with honorable mentions to “Murder of the Civilized” and the “Erotic Life of Stones”), there are two articles in particular that were explicitly critical of eco-extremism, namely Bellamy Fitzpatricks’ “Revolutionary Dissonance: Why Eco-extremism Matters for Those Who Most Hate It,” and “Eco-extremism or Extinctionism” by John Jacobi. While OIAWR offered its own critique of Black Seed, we will ignore it in this section because their criticism amounted to little more than upbraiding the Black Seed writers for not being moral enough in their critiques.
Fitzpatrick’s article was balanced in places, but its critique seems to be little more than nihilist one-upmanship. Also, in spite of having footnotes, his reading of eco-extremist texts is careless to the point of negligence. For example, his main critical section is entitled, “Ajajema’s Holy Warriors,” and later in his essay he characterizes the events of the 29th Communiqué as “‘sociopathic’ people who have killed hikers and an intoxicated woman in the name of an unfamiliar, long-dead god.” Only, as we have seen above, that is NOT why GITS allegedly killed those people. Their reasoning is actually more along the lines of his own when he speaks of cyanobacteria. Indeed, there have been eco-extremists or individualists who have been explicit about their own lack of religious motivations in carrying out their attacks:
Here in Europe there are also groups of nihilist terrorists, individualistic criminals and extremist misanthropes who are alive and kicking, and we remind you again that some of these groups were until a while ago close to you and your rotten environment, we know who is who and where they hang out each other, violence and the attack for us is not something new, but a practice that has become an extension of our own being, since it has been part of our life for years already… we do not have “pagan gods” what we have are weapons, explosives and information… So watch your words, your internet bravery can be expensive in real life.
So alright, maybe that is a minor slip-up. And maybe we can state instead that ITS sent a bomb to the CEO of one of the largest mining companies in the world in the name of a “long-dead” god, which is a sensible conclusion because the Ajajema journal most likely is published out of Chile and not Mexico. We have seen that some eco-extremists are “spiritual”, and some are not. But never does a personal belief within eco-extremism become an exclusionary confessional barrier. The enemy is the human, and the reason to attack is entirely your own.
In condemning theology, Fitzpatrick ignores the critique that eco-extremism has of such humanist concepts as “liberation,” which he un-reflexively accepts and takes for granted in his essay. For example, he cites an article on the Wandering Cannibals blog but only in passing. Allow us then to cite a selection relevant to this conversation:
For the eco-extremist, indiscriminate attack against the hyper-civilized is a cultic offering to the Unknowable which breaks the anthropocentric ambition of techno-industrial society. It is an attack on the supposed stability and bliss that law and order seeks to bestow on its adherents, a blood offering to Wild Nature. It is a religious act, not a political one, even if religion is understood very loosely here (as it had been before the emergence of modern Western civilization). It is a blow to the ascetic ambitions for a better tomorrow of both priest and scientist. It is the affirmation that only the Inhuman can defeat the idea of Human Power as Its Own End, only it can break apart all ambition for control and artificiality. The shedding of the blood of the hyper-civilized is a prophetic act that foreshadows the final destiny of techno-industrial society, and perhaps of humans themselves: a descent into Chaos, that fecundity that births and destroys beings without measure, and of which techno-industrial civilization is only a farcical imitation.
And if we can beg the reader’s indulgence, we will cite another passage from an article on this blog that is pertinent to the conversation:
Perhaps the real ethical problem behind indiscriminate attack isn’t one of assigning guilt, but of discerning if innocence even exists in this context. Seven billion people don’t live their lives being innocent or guilty of anything. Their default mode is “minding their own business”. They’re fodder, they know not what they do. At that level, their lives are mostly devoid of discernible ethical content. And even in situations where people “care”, they often rob Peter to pay Paul: they live part of their life unethically to sustain an ethical veneer elsewhere in their lives. The bottom line is: if you don’t want that forest cut, or that ocean floor drilled, or that river polluted, you don’t have to look far to see who is at fault. You are, your friends are, those you love are. Or do you and they eat only air and live in thatched huts made from the branches of native trees? Or do you treat yourself with local plants when you are sick, or check your email using only a wooden bow drill? If (by your actions, not your words) you don’t care about Wild Nature, why should it care about you? Why should anyone?
Human life is not and can never be heroic, ethical, noble, or anything else it aims to be. You can expect little from it, and it is not eternal. Those who continue to defend humanism only wish to circle the wagons and defend Human Power as its own end by any means necessary, but they are defending the material means by which that species supremacy is upheld. The eco-extremist has come to the conclusion that the only way to attack Human Supremacy is to attack humans in any capacity in which they are capable. They do this not out of some inverted sense of morality, but out of the realization that morality is impossible, or rather, it cannot do what it says it does: sift the wheat from the chaff, the sheep from the goats, and the innocent from the guilty. Their attack is a refusal of the premise that the human ideal can govern life on a universal ethical level. It is a launching out into the Inhuman in the Name of the Unknowable, with little expectation in terms of human achievement.
So while it is of passing interest that Fitzpatrick compares humans to cyanobacteria in terms of ethical responsibility and moral weight, what better way to take the argument a step further than killing some humans for no other reason than it’s Tuesday or cloudy outside? If human beings really aren’t that significant, then killing a few of them should be no big deal, right? And of course, eco-extremists admit every time they mention human extinction that their efforts are rather insignificant in terms of bringing it about. The problem is ultimately quantitative and not qualitative: it is not one of innocence or guilt, but one of mere existing and taking up space. Whether Fitzpatrick wants “liberation” for a particular group or his own circle of friends is neither here nor there in this regard. As the eco-extremist writer Zupay states in his “Reflections on Freedom”:
We cannot state it emphatically enough: freedom is an illusion. Nature is not our mother, she is “cruel,” “merciless”, and yes, “oppressive”. Or at least that is how the hyper-civilized would see it. But for us, all this merely is, and what has always been. We don’t tremble at the movement of the tectonic plates, or when the tsunami makes a particular eco-system disappear. Nor are we taken aback when a crocodile eats its young or a tribe of savages strangles its babies. We got rid of our civilized prejudices, we killed our moral being. We blew to pieces those who sought to domesticate our bodies and minds. We accept reality, we look our truth in the eyes and we are NOT afraid.
And as we have stated above, perhaps to Fitzpatrick’s relief, eco-extremism isn’t prescriptive. It doesn’t tell him or anyone else what to do. It has no plan for him other than being another hyper-civilized for whom it has no reason to care about. All the same, Fitzpatrick seems to think that the eco-extremist way of life entails living “ascetically and dangerously”, which is out of the question for him. Rest assured, the mentality of the eco-extremist is more like that of a criminal, and, dare I say it, a serial killer, and less like that of a monk or a Bolshevik. Yes, it is dangerous, but no more dangerous than for anyone else who decides to live a double life. There is difficulty in it, but all “normal” people live double lives at work, in their homes, and certainly out in public. So it is no more “ascetical” than what most people experience in their normal lives on average.
As for the whole “not getting caught,” one can think that here is the rub. Fitzpatrick thinks that since their activity is “dangerous,” of course eco-extremists must be fanatics on par with Che Guevara and Vladimir Lenin, displaying the same revolutionary “trappings.” What he forgets is the actual joy of harming and killing one’s enemy: a particular pleasure that we hyper-civilized don’t often experience, or if we do (say in the context of modern warfare or “revolutionary” violence) we are asked to feel guilty about it. As the last article of Regresión no. 7 stated:
I recommend to the individualists who are ready to take a life to choose their target wisely, commend themselves to their ancestors, sharpen their knives, and be cold at the moment of committing the deed. They should also enjoy it: nothing compares to the moment when you hear the last breath of a hyper-civilized person and seeing the blood spurt forth from the body of your victim. Let us decide the fate of the lives of others with guile, remembering the acts of previous murderous warriors!
If we are going to be truly amoral and nihilistic, perhaps the acts of eco-extremists carry no more ethical weight than stamp collecting or taking up the accordion. After all, humans basically have the same metaphysical significance as cyanobacteria and stones. Why make a big deal out of humans killing other humans, especially if they seem to be able to get away with it? All human activity requires effort, from killing people with bombs to creating a permaculture homestead somewhere in the countryside. That doesn’t make any of it “ascetical”.
John Jacobi’s essay in Black Seed no. 5 is a public repudiation of his dialogue with eco-extremism due to its embrace of extinctionism. Though Jacobi has had very public relations and even sympathetic exchanges with eco-extremism, up to writing a rather informative article in Atassa no. 1 concerning eco-extremism’s ideological pedigree, he now feels the need to break ties since eco-extremism has lapsed too far into theological and nihilistic inclinations. This newfound aversion to eco-extremism brings up the question: if eco-extremists were not extinctionist before, what were they? Did they hope that a certain group of humans would be able to make it out of civilization and start anew? If so, Jacobi’s reticence to endorse indiscriminate attack would be justified: if you accidentally kill one of the Chosen with enough of a “Wild Will” to make it out of civilization, are you not diminishing the chances of ultimate victory, i.e. a fully feral, wild humanity? Clearly, eco-extremists have never thought this. Their hopelessness and pessimism toward all of hyper-civilized humanity (i.e. the only humanity left for all intents and purposes) has never been in doubt. The hypothetical positing of a “small group of people who are willing to embrace the wild,” does not bring such a group into being, and neither does the existence of the peoples of such places like the Amazon or the Andaman Islands whose entire existence is due to the “conservationist” impulse to “leave them alone”. The exception proves the rule, and if techno-industrial civilization and the rule of law collapsed tomorrow, such isolated peoples would no longer be protected.
The real issue with Jacobi has always been his intransigent belief in the human as a closed system, no matter how much recourse to “the wild” he has at times. He can’t but spout such Enlightenment dogma as “the source of human values is human beings themselves,” as if all “humans” have been equal throughout history, as if to predicate “human” in both the civilized and uncivilized resolves the issue at the level of first principles. As if the object of human cognition continues to be the continuation of the actually existing human genome, even if only within the circle of those who have an adequate affinity with the “Wild Will.” But even if eco-extremists posit a “human nature” that is corrupted by industrial society, they neither posit a clear idea of its essence, nor a way to “fix” that nature by creating an “outside” of civilization. Such an “outside” does not exist, and there is no feral future, nor is one possible.
So to Jacobi’s question, whether eco-extremists carry out their action because of their hatred of humanity or their love of the wild, they would reply that this is not an “either/or” dilemma. One can, and probably should, have both points as motivation. There is no natural “outside” that the hyper-civilized can take refuge in, as we are all products of civilization itself. But as techno-industrial civilization is neither a well-defined nor stable phenomenon, the ultimate object of hatred is the idea of human power and control as their own end, which can only be countered by attacking the human as both product and agent of that control. In this sense, extinction is like a wish more than a practical program: it is like the anarchists who wish for a “society without domination,” though they know that this is probably not attainable. There will probably be homo sapiens well into the distant future, but one can act as if they should simply not exist.
In the end, this difference between Jacobi and the eco-extremists may be scholastic, at least on the surface. In terms of action, Jacobi and other wayward disciples of Theodore Kaczynski will continue to go about seeking the right theory and conditions under which to act, sinking deeper into ineffectiveness and sectarian bickering. Individualists, on the other hand, will act in the here and now, within the only life that Wild Nature has bequeathed to us, with the imperfect tools that we have both theoretically and practically. Though the embrace of human extinction may be more of a provocation than a real possibility, it does more starkly define what is important in our context, and what is secondary.
We return to OIAWR to address the issue of fascism and eco-extremism’s supposed role in political discourse in the United States and beyond. Even if eco-extremists eschew political action and intentions in their attacks, the pirates attempt to graft eco-extremists into the leftist narrative (though the places that OIAWR most speaks about in this regard are not places where actual eco-extremists are active). If the eco-extremists wish to be excluded from that narrative, it’s too late: for the pirates, individualists are already useful stooges of the reaction, patriarchy, 4chan, and a host of other ominous enemies.
The pirates assert that, pace Scott Campbell, there is no “eco-fascism,” but this is far from letting eco-extremists off the hook. Eco-extremists obviously do not share many of the essential characteristics of fascism, which they define succinctly as “populist ultra-nationalism fixated upon the rebirth (following a period of perceived degeneration or decay) of the Nation or the People as conceived, usually, as a racial entity.” Nevertheless, like a pestilence in the air, eco-extremists have caught the fascist contagion, and are already proto-fascists. This small secretive cabal of individuals is doing the work of the State by attacking anarchists and giving the anti-civ movement and ideology a bad name. Or to put it in the pirates’ words:
...The fact of the ever-shifting content of the ITS ideology bespeaks a political opportunism that is indeed reminiscent of the early italian fascists and their figurehead Mussolini, whose superficial, chameleon-like qualities as a theoretician were among his hallmarks. One can imagine current ITS positions, like prior ones, being thrown over in short order in favor of more fascistic ones. The resemblance could conceivably prove to be something more than incidental.
So the fact that eco-extremism is a developing Tendency and not a defined ideology means it’s a loose cannon without principles just waiting to go fascist at any moment. Not only this, but they give “comfort to the enemy,” and that enemy could readily sympathize with the ethos of eco-extremism at some point:
Similarly, we can imagine new combinations for our enemies, the formation of an equivalent bridge or web connecting the opportunistic apocalyptic ramblings of the ITS to a more explicit fascist populism. We can imagine new ranks of fascists inspired or informed by their own homegrown supervillains. We can even imagine (quite easily) white nazis who think these homicidal subversives are pretty cool, potential allies even if they are Mexicans, or insurrectionary white boys gleefully seizing upon these role models to gloss over or christen their own lack of commitment to fighting against rape culture. It is the formation of such a bridge that must be prevented. It is the beginnings of this formation that we may be glimpsing in the recent turns of this situation.
So the accusation stands: if ITS and those who dialogue with it aren’t “eco-fascists”, they might as well be. Their lack of commitment to the humanist egalitarian values that the pirates defend means that, “if they are not with us, they’re against us.” These “suspicions” and “imaginings” must be taken seriously by the whole anarchist, anti-authoritarian, and radical community because the OIAWR authors have studied the issue and have come to the conclusion that, mirabile visu, the anti-civilization and anti-fascist agendas are one in the same. The best way to fight civilization is to double-down on fighting for egalitarianism (which for the pirates is practically an Eternal Dogma written in the heavens via cherry-picked anthropological data), against patriarchy, transphobia, and the whole host of Neo-Christian talking points that enshrine the Victim as the Supreme Object of veneration. They can call ITS and LBC “proto-fascists” because they know history, and they know these groups better than the groups know themselves (in spite of their getting very basic facts wrong).
We counter such a specious reading of what eco-extremism means in the current moment by pointing out the pirates’ true tactic: throwing a lot of things at eco-extremism and hoping something sticks. Rape apologists? That’s clearly not a thing. Misogyny? Eco-extremists hate all humans equally, and attack on that basis. Proto-fascists? Well, they share some characteristics if you use your imagination and squint rather vigorously… ITS is like the new Freikorps ready to stick another rifle butt in Rosa Luxemburg’s head. Never mind that the circumstances in which fascism arose in the 20th century, with rising working class militancy and increased labor actions shaking the capitalist system, look nothing like what “fascism” is today, at least in the United States: social lepers live-action role playing in the streets and hitting each other with sticks. This is still fascism, trust us. (So say the pirates.)
If this accusation is clearly not sticking to eco-extremism either, what is eco-extremism on the social level? Really, not much. Nor does it aim to be much. ITS has stated the following concerning the possible grafting of ex-leftist cadres with some training in arms into the criminal element:
The FARC have also given up their arms (and the ELN is on the same path). Even though some groups are determined to continue in the jungle as they have for decades, the organization itself has signed a peace accord with the Colombian government. This has generated different reactions. Some members of the paramilitary groups (that fought to the death against the FARC) have dedicated themselves to hunting down ex-guerrillas, now disarmed and mere vulnerable civilians.
On the other side are the ex-guerrillas who refuse to give up their arms. They don’t want to be easy prey, and even though they know the “revolution” failed, they can’t really return to civilian life after so many years of war. So they contract themselves out as mercenaries for strong criminal groups like the PCC (Primeiro Comando da Capital, a criminal organization with its origin in Brazil but with strong presence in Paraguay and Argentina, which is dedicated to drug and arms trafficking.) This was seen in the “Robbery of the Century” in Paraguay in April of this year, where different decentralized groups lit various cars on fire to serve as a distraction for the main mission. At the same time, the principal body of heavily-armed commandos detonated a large explosive that blew apart one of the walls of a transport company, and after a firefight the bandits entered the company and robbed ten million dollars. On top of this, they had the nerve to escape on a boat that passed through the Itaipu Reserve in Brazil. This act, totally different from the usual methods of the PCC, could not be realized without military expertise, and without the technical and strategic help of the ex-guerrillas of the FARC now working for the PCC.
For some time these types of criminal actions have pleased us more than the acts of political guerrillas. This is sufficient to allow us to say with pleasure that the era of “revolution” has passed and the only thing left is to commit oneself to the individualist struggle for survival, leaving behind weak and disgusting humanist values.
It is thus either extreme negligence or opportunistic intellectual sloth that leads the pirates to think that ITS will “break bad” (or “break worse”?) and become a bunch of brown Mexican Nazis, along with the entire editorial board of Little Black Cart passing over into fascism (Little Brown Cart? They wouldn’t even have to change the acronym). The Enlightenment / secular Christian prejudices of the pirates can’t possibly fathom the chaotic future before us, thus they have to resort to labels from early last century to assess social phenomena that have little to no resemblance to those of the past. ITS aren’t a bunch of ex-anarchists tending toward fascism, but rather ex-radicals tending toward anti-social criminality. Maybe one could make the argument Karl Marx makes in The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon concerning the lumpenproletariat being a fertile breeding ground for reaction, but why then single out the eco-extremists who make up a minuscule blip when compared to the vast numbers of slum dwellers in Latin America who are low-hanging fruit in terms of recruitment into criminal gangs? Will the pirates begin policing them as well?
Perhaps ITS is cannon fodder for the reaction, a front for reactionary / police forces in the countries in which they operate. But if this small, individualistic terrorist project in the periphery of capitalist civilization is somehow part of the vanguard of the neo-Fascist wave, I would say that fascism could certainly do a lot better. Not that individualist eco-extremists are incompetent: they have evaded capture so far to the point that perhaps some government actors still think they don’t exist, or are not a priority (which is not the case for the high priests of the CCF, et al. who think ITS is some sort of cancerous menace) Rather, in terms of societal change, they have made no impact outside of their own pleasure at attacking people. Very little “strategy” is involved, at least from the point of view of accomplishing some transcendent interpersonal goal. A group of dangerous and somewhat competent individuals a neo-fascist menace does not make.
But if we are going to armchair psychoanalyze eco-extremists from behind computer screens, as the pirates and others have done, it is appropriate that we return the favor, especially since OIAWR is so explicit concerning the beautiful vision of hope that it advocates. Namely, its view of anti-civ primitivism is that of a deeper critique of this society whereas previous versions of green anarchism “failed a lot of people”. In attacking hierarchy in the name of equality, this critique must pick up allies in the feminist and anti-colonial struggle, engaging with such new trends as Afro-pessimism that seek to uncover the chains that previous green anarchism has left on oppressed peoples in their quest for total liberation. Within this process, eco-extremism and LBC’s nihilism are temptations in the desert, the sin of despair against the Egalitarian Holy Ghost. And as we know from catechism class, the sins against the Holy Ghost cannot be forgiven in this life or in the next.
The urgency that the pirates believe is needed for their agenda is clear in their disappointment that others don’t see things as they do:
At a time when hard-hitting and practical analyses of both civilization and fascism could serve as direly-needed interventions in post-election discourse and on-the-ground struggles marked by the talking points of corporate media, alt-right, white nationalists, tankies, social ecologists, and syndicalists, they think a crucial use of their access to resources is to clearcut another field in order to publish their 35th title on egoism.
As the world burns to cinder and bleeds out from the wounds inflicted by civilization, and as white nationalists enjoy a resurgence on the way down, consolidating power, influence, and initiative, the nihilists believe that one of the most pressing issues of our time is the precise contour of the religiosity of conventional primitivist thought. This religiosity is evidenced primarily by a belief that a qualitatively better life could be had by humans which would necessarily accord with some aspects of our deep past, but most importantly it is revealed by a refusal to endorse the femicidal rape theology of ITS and Atassa.
If those who deviate fail to fall into line concerning “what is to be done?”, shame them and name call, just as Stalinists called those outside of their sphere “social fascists” in the “original antifa”. The time to strike is now! Or so the pirates declare. The wind is at our back and the masses are open to the anti-civ Gospel:
We, too, remember the words of Tecumseh and the burning of forts. We remember the visions and sacrifices of the members of the MOVE organization who took aim at their enemies manifested as Science, Medicine, and Technology, who fought for a wild and untrammeled existence right in the heart of the un-living beast, advocating for a life based on hunting and gathering. We recall the positive reviews of anti-civilization literature written by Mumia Abu-Jamal, Howard Zinn, and others who set us on our path of resistance. We share the love and the rage of those for whom white power and fascism are faces of the absolute enemy.
So it’s all one love, one cause, one struggle… except for the Fight for 15 or Medicare for all or free college education, or every other leftist cause that the pirates, with their penchant for anthropological texts and anti-tech rhetoric, simply cannot endorse. But they have gotten “positive reviews”. The Great Primitivist Awakening is probably just around the corner.
And of course, there is the question of racism:
Anarchists are not the first nor the most intimately knowledgeable of the problem to identify white supremacy as the key to power on this continent. If any of our enemies can be defeated, it will not be without defeating this enemy as well. As the lynchpin to the rotten schema of civil society, there is a corresponding panoply of social institutions and cultural scripts at work day and night to make matters of race and whiteness invisible and uninteresting, obscure and menacing. As the elephant who has lived in the room with us since birth, it is the issue nobody wants to talk about.
Whether intentionally or not, there is a certain antiseptic critique of identity politics to be found in the post-left and nihilism that is consonant with this imperative, consigning matters of race, white supremacy, and fascism to secondary importance at best, perhaps affording them the stock response of silently collapsing them into a general critique of hierarchy.
As non-white people, perhaps people who have been “victims” of racism in the U.S. context, our lack of faith in anti-racist politics is not due to failing to acknowledge racism as a problem in our lives. It is, rather, an acknowledgement of the complete failure of anti-racist politics to be anything other than reformism in favor of a small sector of already middle class individuals within an “oppressed community,” as well as a tool for smooth talkers who can work their way into the academic or government bureaucracy. At least this is what we have seen with our own eyes, in Ethnic Studies Departments and other places where this dreck is peddled. The endgame of the anti-racist critique is the neoliberal Barack Obama, the endgame of anti-sexist politics is the greedy imperialist harpy Hillary Clinton. There is no way to separate the meat from the fat on that decaying, maggot-strewn carcass of New Left politics. So we have walked away from it.
Subverting the culture of civilization doesn’t mean never trying unprecedented things. If certain social innovations can be seen as species-wide or species-effective experiments (like, say, those that involve pronoun usage, gender presentation, or other retooling of the conventions of language and custom), there is no more reason to oppose them than there is to curse the first tree dwelling shrew’s descent to the forest floor, or the first following of the game into unknown territory.
With this passage, it is appropriate to discuss why anti-civ and nihilist readers might still distrust the pirates at the end of the text. It is precisely due to where this confluence of antifa and anti-civ politics leads: the conviction that the fascist menace appeared ex nihilo on November 9th, 2016, when half the country determined that a white nationalist coup was just around the corner, and every single “decent’ person in this country entertained the possibility that a riot might be in order.
Except some of us have seen this film before know and how it ends. We remember that the largest marches in history failed to prevent the invasion and sacking of Iraq, which brought about such horrible fascist things as the Islamic State. We remember the “General Strike” of May 2006 when many Latino and other immigrants marched in the streets for their right to remain in the United States, only to be given the same President Obama who deported more people than his predecessor in the office. We remember all sort of “promising” social movements that arose when the Democratic Party was not in power, the universal disdain for the “Idiot” missing from a village in Texas, etc. etc. We remember liberals turning into radicals overnight, only to turn back into liberals once they performed the mandatory kabuki theater motions of the “Lesser of Two Evils,” again leaving radicals holding the bag of fanaticism and irrelevance.
That is not to say that things are not as bad as the pirates say they are. Really, the glaring omission from their essay is their failure to engage anything that a particular author actually wrote, even though they send much “exquisite venom” his way elsewhere. For example, in their invective against Black Seed, they fail to mention that another “rape apologist” wrote an essay for that publication. Perhaps this was an oversight; perhaps they were not impressed with the essay. But at this juncture, a passage from that essay, “The Catalog of Horrors,” can shed some light on the pirates’ possible motives:
The categorical imperative is simple in this case: give people the information, all the information, and they will act on it. This is what birthed the Green Movement, anarchist or not. Show the people how much the environment is hurting, how much civilization hurts people, how awful civilized life is, and they will wake up and oppose it. Ideologues cite trends such as increased recycling, emissions regulations, electric cars, and the like, as examples that this approach works. Just a few more campaigns to enlighten and inform, and maybe, just maybe, we’ll save the Earth and destroy civilization. Just one more issue of the Catalog of Horrors will finally get people to rise up, never mind that this tactic seems to date to the dawn of civilization itself.
I don’t completely blame the average person for going about their day while the world falls deeper and deeper into environmental crisis. But I don’t let them off the hook either. The leftist wants to have things both ways: he or she wants to place all power in “the People,” yet blame all ills on a tiny minority that the People could easily defeat. Which one is it then? Could it be that people aren’t the knowledge machines that modern activism expects them to be, that they just want to get through the day and not be bothered with questions above their pay grade? Could it be that not everyone can be bitten with the bug of concern for the Future, that such a preoccupation is by no means universal? Could it be that even those who are driven to make a better Future for their children have only a dim and partial conception of what that could possibly look like?
Here then we can make our definitive judgment on OIAWR: it is an intellectually lazy interpretation of eco-extremism veiled in grad student verbosity. With the quote that ended the last section, their motivation appears to be to “sheep dog” wayward anarchists and nihilists back into the fold, or rather, back into the vicious cycle of the leftwing of Capital. “YOU MUST CARE! YOU MUST BE MORAL! YOU MUST WORSHIP THE VICTIM!” The “rape” and “misogyny” emphases aim to appeal to the common human desire to save the “damsel in distress”. It’s the pitch of the snake oil salesman or weight loss guru of the magical result despite all odds: “Yes, things look bad, but there’s still hope. DON’T YOU WANT A BETTER WORLD?!!!!” It’s “green anarchism 2.0: This time, it’s different.” We are reminded of the vicious cycle of the racket that Jacques Camatte once described in his essay, “On Organization”:
In its external relations, the political gang tends to mask the existence of the clique, since it must seduce in order to recruit. It adorns itself in a veil of modesty so as to increase its power. When the gang appeals to external elements through journals, reviews, and leaflets, it thinks that it has to speak on the level of the mass in order to be understood. It talks about the immediate because it wants to mediate. Considering everyone outside the gang an imbecile, it feels obliged to publish banalities and bullshit so as to successfully seduce them. In the end, it seduces itself by its own bullshit and it is thereby absorbed by the surrounding milieu. However, another gang will take its place, and its first theoretical wailings will consist of attributing every misdeed and mistake to those who have preceded it, looking in this way for a new language so as to begin again the grand practice of seduction; in order to seduce, it has to appear to be different from the others…. The inability to confront theoretical questions independently leads the individual to take refuge behind the authority of another member, who becomes, objectively, a leader, or behind the group entity, which becomes a gang. In his relations with people outside the group the individual uses his membership to exclude others and to differentiate himself from them, if only – in the final analysis – so as to guard himself against recognition of his own theoretical weaknesses. To belong in order to exclude, that is the internal dynamic of the gang; which is founded on an opposition, admitted or not, between the exterior and the interior of the group. Even an informal group deteriorates into a political racket, the classic case of theory becoming ideology.
The edelweiss pirate, the primitivist, the “nihilist” poser, etc. cannot live without their safety blanket of Enlightenment humanist values, and even though they espouse principles that undermine those values, they have recourse to claiming to possess a “grown-up” critique as opposed to the new kids in town who are just out to be edgy. The thoughtful reader may still be taken aback by the moralizing fatwas of insurrectionary anarchists who are themselves demonized as “terrorists” by government agencies and most normal people. “Aren’t you guys supposed to question everything?” These neo-Christian humanists masquerading as “anarchists” have to jam the square peg of eco-extremism into the round hole of an illusory rising fascism, but no one really buys it. “Why not just call them crazy psychopathic misanthropes?” Indeed, that is what we are, but it just doesn’t have the same ring to it as “misogynist rape apologists.”
Besides, letting misanthropy come to the forefront, even in its most illegalist and anti-social form, might reveal the self-hatred at the core of each hyper-civilized person in terms of their own meaningless life. It is best to not lead them down that rabbit hole, they just might surprise us. It would then be harder to recruit them into a racket or commune or whatever mysterious scheme anarchists happen to be running this week.
If the pirates had read the titular essay of Atassa no. 1 with better intentions, they may have noticed the very first paragraph:
It has been over 150 years since Karl Marx in The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon reflected on how events occur in history, as it were, twice: the first time as tragedy, the second as farce. Yet it is arguable that to differentiate between the two (tragedy and farce), one has to assume that history tends toward a particular direction. An event that is similar to a past event, so the logic goes, somehow failed to learn “the lessons” of its unpleasant predecessor. This idea makes assumptions concerning humans in a particular context acting in groups: that they have agency, that they have complete transparency in realizing what they are doing, that certain lessons can be learned after the fact, etc. If, on the other hand, we appreciate the blindness and resolve needed for heroism in an endeavor, any act can appear to be foolishness to the observer looking on in hindsight. All that the actors see in the middle of things is necessity. Our struggle may not be one of “learning the lessons” and breaking the cycle of tragedy and farce. It may simply be an issue of returning to the “heroism” of tragedy. That is to say, perhaps we must return to the tragic as an escape from progress: to realize that things must be thus, and it is our own reaction that is most important when faced with an inevitable outcome. It’s an issue of whether we fight or lay down our arms because we are blind to an elusive “future.”
The pirates cannot admit the tragedy at the heart of human endeavors, especially collective ones. If they did, the gig would be up, the Emperor would have not clothes, they would have no carrot to use on the hyper-civilized along with their stick of inter-group stigma. Hopelessness is reactionary, hope is revolutionary, and the condemnations will continue until morale improves.
Eco-extremists are not the friends of humanity. We don’t want to save you, and we don’t really care if you live or die (honestly we would prefer that you weren’t here.) All the same, we’re doing you the solid favor of pointing out the humanist trap that the edelweiss pirates are placing for you to get you back into the cage of hyper-civilized political logic. Eco-extremists would do what they do in a fascist society, a bourgeois democratic society, a communist society, an anarchist society, and so on and so forth. We don’t care about your political calculations or prejudices, the “social significance” of this murder or that bomb doesn’t matter to us. The point is that those who carried out these things enjoyed themselves, and the only social significance is in transgressing those humanist Christian values that would condemn those who assert “MY will be done.” You can consider that fascist, egoist, civilized, it doesn’t matter to us. Your elections don’t matter, your victims don’t matter, and your social justice doesn’t matter. We have no faith that you could destroy civilization, or even pose a threat to it. We have no faith in your collective solutions, or visions of a brighter future. If you built your impossible “other world,” we would want to burn it down as well.
It’s okay to have lost, to be a loser even. We weren’t given very much to work with in the first place, and deceiving ourselves otherwise does no one any favors. The issue now is: do you want to go out in a dignified manner, do you want to make it interesting at least, or are you going to stick to the script that made us lose in the first place? There is no use complaining, and you can’t withdraw from the game now. Your move.
-Los hijos del Mencho (Fracción anti-pirata)
 All references from OIAWR are taken from the version on Anarchist Library: https://theanarchistlibrary.org/library/edelweiss-pirates-of-indiscriminate-attacks-wild-reactions
 “Eco-extremism and the woman part 1” Found here: http://maldicionecoextremista.altervista.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/Revista-Extinci%C3%B3n-1.pdf
 Cf. http://www.excelsior.com.mx/comunidad/2017/07/26/1177661
 http://maldicionecoextremista.altervista.org/mexico-cuadragesimo-cuarto-comunicado-its-grupo-7-se-posiciona/ (our translation)
 Cf. http://maldicionecoextremista.altervista.org/chile-la-ciudadania-espero-que-le-explosen-infinitas-bombas/
 For example, Jeremias Torres’ “Notes on extinctionist violence”, found here, in Spanish: http://maldicionecoextremista.altervista.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/Textos-Pensamientos-de-un-ecoextremista.pdf
 “Apostles and Heretics”
 For more on this position, cf. “On Wildism and Eco-extremism”, found at this link: https://ia801902.us.archive.org/20/items/AtltlachinolliEcoExtremistDialogues/Atltlachinolli%3A%20Eco-extremist%20Dialogues.pdf
 For a discussion of this topic, see Bill Finlayson’s work: https://www.academia.edu/2024993/The_Complex_Hunter-gatherer_and_the_Transition_to_Farming
 Cf. http://regresando.altervista.org/n-5-en/
 Except for the rape-y parts that probably didn’t even happen - our note.