We Have Found a Solution To the Development Problem
“Once upon a time there was a continent covered with beautiful pristine wilderness, where giant trees towered over lush mountainsides and rivers ran wild and free through deserts, where raptors soared and beavers labored at their pursuits and people lived in harmony with wild nature, accomplishing every task they needed to accomplish on a daily basis using only stones, bones and wood, walking gently on the Earth. Then came the explorers, conquerors, missionaries, soldiers, merchants and immigrants with their advanced technology, guns, and government. The wild life that had existed for millennia started dying, killed by a disease brought by alien versions of progress, arrogant visions of manifest destiny and a runaway utilitarian science.
In just 500 years, almost all the giant trees have been clear-cut and chemicals now poison the rivers; the eagle has faced extinction and the beaver’s work has been supplanted by the Army Corps of Engineers. And how have the people fared? What one concludes is most likely dependent on how well one is faring economically, emotionally and physically in this competitive technological world and the level of privilege one is afforded by the system. But for those who feel a deep connection to, a love and longing for, the wilderness and the wildness that once was, for the millions now crowded in cities, poor and oppressed, unable to find a clear target for their rage because the system is virtually omnipotent, these people are not faring well. All around us, as a result of human greed and a lack of respect for all life, wild nature and Mother Earth’s creatures are suffering. These beings are the victims of industrial society.
Cutting the bloody cord, that’s what we feel, the delirious exhilaration of independence, a rebirth backward in time and into primeval liberty, into freedom in the most simple, literal, primitive meaning of the word, the only meaning that really counts. The freedom, for example, to commit murder and get away with it scot-free, with no other burden than the jaunty halo of conscience.
My God! I’m thinking, what incredible shit we put up with most of our lives — the domestic routine, the stupid and useless and degrading jobs, the insufferable arrogance of elected officials, the crafty cheating and the slimy advertising of the businessmen, the tedious wars in which we kill our buddies instead of our real enemies back home in the capital, the foul, diseased and hideous cities and towns we live in, the constant petty tyranny of the automatic washers, the automobiles and TV machines and telephones — ! ah Christ!,... what intolerable garbage and what utterly useless crap we bury ourselves in day by day, while patiently enduring at the same time the creeping strangulation of the clean white collar and the rich but modest four-in-hand garrote!
Such are my thoughts — you wouldn’t call them thoughts would you? — such are my feelings, a mixture of revulsion and delight, as we float away on the river, leaving behind for a while all that we most heartily and joyfully detest. That’s what the first taste of the wild does to a [hu]man, after having been penned up for too long in the city. No wonder the Authorities are so anxious to smother the wilderness under asphalt and reservoirs. They know what they are doing. Play safe. Ski only in a clockwise direction. Let’s all have fun together.”
— Edward Abbey, Desert Solitaire, 1968
“I read Edward Abbey in mid-eighties and that was one of the things that gave me the idea that, ‘yeah, there are other people out there that have the same attitudes that I do.’ I read The Monkeywrench Gang, I think it was. But what first motivated me wasn’t anything I read. I just got mad seeing the machines ripping up the woods and so forth...”
— Dr. Theodore Kaczynski, in an interview with the Earth First! Journal, Administrative Maximum Facility Prison, Florence, Colorado, USA, June 1999.
Everyday the onslaught of development continues. Development kills plants and animals, denudes hillsides, disrupts natural water ways causing flowing streams to run dry. It causes topsoil erosion and compaction, reducing the earths natural fertility and soil health. It covers wild, free, beautiful places in concrete and asphalt. It transforms land once free to be roamed and explored by all into property (which has always been stolen from native people who lived in harmony with the earth), surrounded by walls and fences. The places we live are largely storage units for all the crap we buy, it’s an artificial environment that perpetuates our alienation and isolation.
Development replaces the wildness with the domesticated, ancient woods with institutions of control: school, police dept., church, prisons, mental asylums, etc. It dominates and ruins nature, which we depend on for living. It takes an interesting, varied, diverse world and makes it into a homogenized, flat, urban shithole — the same as every other with the same corporate businesses (Mc Death, Murder King, Mallwart, Starfucks, etc.). It excludes those who are not fortunate enough to be wealthy and those not interested in being wage slaves so they can purchase a lifeless box to live in. It destroys lands full of life, flowers, butterflies, rabbits, etc. and puts in boring cookie-cutter “homes” made from toxic paints, dead trees, industrial metals and other pollutive products which is the cause of much disease due to toxic out gassings from chemical products. It causes gentrification, running the poor and simple living (more sustainable) off the lands due to higher land values and costs. It forcefully eradicates and moves out indigenous peoples. Development is without reverence for life. It is the sick capitalist making a few bucks off of destruction, exploitation, and biocide.
Development takes the pristine and creates highly mediated environments with smog spewing vehicles, stop-and-go movement in accord to traffic lights. Development blocks out the spectacular array of stars with streetlights. It impairs our views of the heavens with all the toxic emissions in the air. Development is part of the civilizing process. It destroys the nature in our hearts, our connection with the land. There is nothing remotely inspiring about strip malls and prefab gated communities; other than the thought of blowing them up. Our surroundings have become so standardized and monotonous that it has dulled our minds. There is little real community in the reality that the developed world creates, it results in the hundreds of sullen, hollow faces, you encounter everyday on the sidewalk.
With the social, mental, spiritual and environmental crisis we face, the city will not be a habitable place. Clean water is running out, wars over depleting oil reserves are constant, climatic shifts, mass species extinction, oceans dying, etc. It’s all going to shit and when it does don’t count on food being available at the super market or the electricity working. Civilization will not last much longer, quite possibly within our lifetimes it will begin to collapse. It is imperative that we reconnect with the land, grow food, hunt, gather, make shelters, make clothes, etc. Look to the indigenous people for guidance and ideas.
Development is an attack on life. Yours and the ones you love. It pollutes the water you drink, poisons the food you eat and the air you breath (“Every cancer is a homicide” — The Coup). Cancer and many other diseases are a by-product of development/civilization. Therefore the destruction of bulldozers (and other heavy machinery), the burning of track “homes” under construction, smashing windows at a construction companies offices are all acts of self-defense. They are acts to protect the wild and free. Acts that protect an ecologically balanced future, where we can live happy healthy lives. If we fail to act we are surely doomed. So gather your strength and courage, we’ve got a world at stake and the fate of all.