Deep Ecology?

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WeTheYouth
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Aug 6 2004 21:10
Deep Ecology?

I have read a bit about this, and was wondering could anyone lay a good definition of it? I know Bookchin described the founders of deep ecology as fascists, but i have been reading Heiders book called Anarchism: Left,Right and green, and she brought it up but never went into any depth, anywhere i else i could look?

Mike Harman
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Aug 7 2004 04:13

This is the library page of the Institute for Social Ecology, has some of Bookchin's writing about it, and more importantly, some of his writing about Social Ecology, which you should check out if you haven't (although it seems like you may have done).

http://www.social-ecology.org/staticpages/index.php?page=library&topic=online_library

Vaneigemappreci...
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Aug 7 2004 17:44

deep ecology-considering nature as having a virtue and inherent value in itself as opposed simply in relation to humans, eg a bee has value and goodness not because it produces honey but because it is a living being.

brizzul
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Aug 8 2004 00:51

That social ecology web site is patronising.

Just one quote:

>No one, least of all myself, would want to prevent anarchists from >entering factories, sharing the problems of workers, and hopefully >winning them to libertarian ideals

Does no one *ever* work for a living on the left? "Sharing the problems of workers" what is it he does- Chairman of ICI?

And it's not just factories that matter: warehouses, depots, offices, nightclubs, coffee shops, pubs, job agencies, homelesss shelters, farms, 24 hr garages, service stations, train stations, airports, banks etc, etc. They are all factories with workers and bosses as far as we are concerned. All these places can go on strike and bitch slap their bosses into next week.

It's amazing that anarchosyndicalists are constantly being attacked for fetishizing "the" working class as if working people are an object studied through a telescope from orbit. If anarchists aren't encouraging resistance from the people they are with most of the time (our neihbours and our workmates) what are we doing?

Sure I can see the oppression in the chopping down of forests but I'm not going to walk up to a rubber plant and tell it to throw off it's chains. For resistance to take place it's up to the peasants (workers) in forest villages (neighbours) to do it not the forest itself.

Mike Harman
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Aug 8 2004 05:13

Brizzul, I know next to nothing about the Institute for Social Ecology, I was linking to it because it's got a decent selection of Bookchin's articles on it, and for that reason only. I don't know the writing of any of the other people on the site, and some of it may well be patronising, but I don't think Bookchin himself can be blamed for unthinking criticism of anarcho-syndicalism. His main view seems to be that anarcho-syndicalism applies very well to a society in which a sizeable section of the population is factory workers, but that "industrial proletariat is everywhere destined, by virtue of technological innovation, to become a small minority of the population. It will not do to try to theoretically fabricate a "proletariat" out of clerical, service, and professional "workers" who, in many if not most cases, will not acquire the class consciousness that identified and gave a historical standing to the authentic proletarian." http://www.social-ecology.org/article.php?story=20031118095526728

Here's a couple of definitions of factories:

wordiq.com - A factory (previously manufactory) is a large industrial building where goods or products are manufactured

hyperdictionary.com - [n] a plant consisting of buildings with facilities for manufacturing

The whole point of the word is that it deals with manufacture, with the making of things. It's therefore qualitatively different from a workplace that isn't involved in making things. So why confuse the issue and describe both as factories? It blurs the meaning of the term to the point where it's useless. The nature of work has fundamentally changed in the past 150 years due to a constant technological revolution. For a start, not all those places can "go on strike and bitch slap their bosses into next week" some of them are staffed almost exclusively by temps, who'd be replaced potentially within hours with no legal recourse. If you're talking about a general strike, you need a serious way to encourage its occurrence: simply because everyone could one day collectively decide to strike doesn't mean that they will.

Most people who work (and plenty don't, some students, the unemployed, some parents of both sexes, the old - Bookchin's around 80, do you expect him to be sitting on the production line?), have similar relationships to capital as did factory workers decades ago, but they don't have the same relationship to production. An admin temp often generates more surplus value for their employer, has far less rights, often worse pay, than a factory worker, but their view of work is fundamentally different, and reducing everyone who works to a uniform "workerness" does nothing to address the very different nature of the work they're engaged in.

What everyone does have in common is their locality, the area in which they live, and if they're lucky, work as well. Bookchin's point is that it's easier to point out the effects of capital on our total and immediate environment (including work) than it is to explain it in purely economic terms. Plenty of people are very happy to have a large percentage of their productive (or entirely unproductive, useless, or even negative) activity taken by their boss, since they depend on it for food, shelter etc. What they're not happy about is the fact that the food they have access to is full of chemicals, their journey to work is noxious, their housing is overpriced and dangerous, the stuff they can afford to buy falls apart in five minutes etc. etc. Acknowledging that capital affects every aspect of our daily lives, not just while we work, has got fuck all to do with telling forests to rise up. That argument may well have been made by some primitivist (while hugging a tree perhaps?), but it's something that Bookchin's spent much of the past thirty years trying to argue against, emphasising the distinction between his ideas and that hippy mysticism; trying to conflate the two viewpoints is absurd.

"Sure I can see the oppression in the chopping down of forests but I'm not going to walk up to a rubber plant and tell it to throw off it's chains. or resistance to take place it's up to the peasants (workers) in forest villages (neighbours) to do it not the forest itself."

Where's the trees from that forest going to? What goods are going to be manufactured from them? Who's going to make those goods, transport and consume them? Who's going to feed the local peasants employed by the timber trade if they give up their only means of income?

Transferring the responsibility of ending deforestation onto poor third world communities is pretty similar to saying that the only agent of revolutionary change is the industrial proletariat, and that about half of them live in China, so it's up to China to start the international revolution. The responsiblity for change can't be transferred to tiny minorities or remote locations, it has to reside in the immediate. If we can't gain control of our own localities, how can we expect other people in even more fragile circumstances to do the same?

brizzul
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Aug 8 2004 23:27

Phew there's a hell of a lot to respond to here

Mike Harman wrote:
It will not do to try to theoretically fabricate a "proletariat" out of clerical, service, and professional "workers" who, in many if not most cases, will not acquire the class consciousness that identified and gave a historical standing to the authentic proletarian."

Who's fabricating? I never used the word proletarian anyway, I used the words working class and working people.

Service workers like bus and train drivers, nurses, cleaners and dinner ladies are nearly always working class. Clerical workers like secretaries, call center agents and ticket office workers are nearly always working class. I didn't make that up go and talk to some and find out. Everyone has class consciousness but I don't understand why this gave factory workers "a historical standing to the authentic proletarian". I assume because they were so well organised it gave them a place in history. But then so were transport workers and they aren't proletarian by your definition. In fact transport workers who are *not* producers have played a major role in labour history.

More to the point what about dockers and labourers?

Mike Harman wrote:

Here's a couple of definitions of factories:

wordiq.com - A factory (previously manufactory) is a large industrial building where goods or products are manufactured

hyperdictionary.com - [n] a plant consisting of buildings with facilities for manufacturing

Oh good you are quoting a dictionary to me. OK I concede the point an office isn't a factory, but what they do have is clocking in, shift work, bosses, heirarchy and misery of all kinds. It is still industry and though clerical not even remotely professional for the vast majority of staff.

Mike Harman wrote:

The whole point of the word is that it deals with manufacture, with the making of things. It's therefore qualitatively different from a workplace that isn't involved in making things.

In the same way as geese and ducks are qualitatively different but they both have webbed feet and swim in canals. What i'm saying is they seem different but they aren't. Management use exactly the same staff control techniques in both (read more about teamworking, for example) which implies the same class war is being waged in both.

Mike Harman wrote:

For a start, not all those places can "go on strike and bitch slap their bosses into next week" some of them are staffed almost exclusively by temps, who'd be replaced potentially within hours with no legal recourse.

Which means those temps:

a) have the same legal rights as all workers in the heyday of syndicalism where *only* direct action could improve their day to day conditions.

b) have marginally only a few less rights than other "permanent" workers. Believe me if they want to get rid of you they *will* get rid of you unless you are a pregnant woman or have strong union backing. And even then....

I have absolutely no idea why you think factory workers have a different consciousness than any other working class people. All work is shit unless you are highly trained and have a decision making power. Fabricating conservatory doors is not going to make me go "god bless for the industrial proletariat", nor is calling people up to sell them.

I will say also currently anarchosyndicalists are organising places like mcdonalds, hospitals, call centres, docks and transport without agonising about what is and what isn't proletarian.

I've got to get up for work in 5 hours so I'm sorry I'm not answering all your comments at the mo.

Mike Harman
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Aug 9 2004 05:30

Brizzul,

The first quote wasn't my words, it was Bookchin's. Looking at my post, it was in quotation marks but wasn't separated from the rest of the text. I note that you didn't use proletariat, and don't think I used it myself, but I thought that passage explained Bookchin's attitude towards syndicalism, your criticism of which I was responding to. Quite a lot of people on this board use proletariat as an interchangeable term with working class or workers, and I think these terms need to be used carefully if they're to retain any meaning whatsoever, not to say that you're guilty of this yourself.

I don't think factory workers necessarily have a different consciousness to anyone else (although I think they probably did have a very different consciousness to everyone else when Marx was writing). I agree that transport, at the end of the day, controls whether goods get out of the factory/into the city or not, and to a lesser extent, whether workers get to work or not. They do play a different role in the production process though, even though it's an important one.

The point I'm making is not how well these groups are organised, or whether their workplaces are run in a similar way to a call centre/office/McDonald's. It's that a factory makes stuff, transport workers move it, and call centres sell insurance, or try to get you to change your long-distance phone service.

There are other essential services and jobs, I'm not trying to say that factory workers are the only people who do anything useful, or that a call-centre can never be useful, but a big majority of workers don't do anything useful at all, or very little. Plenty of factory workers are producing useless shit - how about the Franklin Mint factory? And plenty of useful jobs involve plenty of unnecessary paperwork, so only a portion of the work being done is actually providing that useful service or product.

How much transportation is moving people, food and goods around to areas where they can be produced for minimal labour expenditure? Pretty much anyone who works in a hospital has to do a lot of unnecessary paperwork, including nurses, doctors, OTs etc. etc. not to mention the amount of time they now spend treating illnesses caught in hospital - something like 10% of people who go into hospital contract diseases while there, not to mention the number of people in psychiatric hospitals who's condition is made significantly worse by staying in what are often dirty, overcrowded conditions - I've worked in three and if someone had locked me up in one of the wards for a month, I might well have required the services of the hospital afterwards.

My friend Gary Sisco used this example on another forum -

"If people would stop to think about how much labor and energy is burned up by paper work (which concept has to include also the labor and energy used by all from the logger who dropped the tree on through the entire process of transport and manufacture and transport again and etc, never mind the entire disposal process and subsequent issues), normally for next to no reason (junk mail, for example, like the continuous barrage of "privacy statements" everyone receives, which explain in reality why nothing is private, to make matters even more absurd)."

The jobs may all be as shitty, but the point is that some activities are necessary to provide goods and services and some aren't, and most jobs fall into the second category, as do parts of most jobs in the first category.

Revolutionary anarcho-syndicalism must have as its eventual goal the occupation and seizure of the means of production and the self-management, co-ordination, and eventual transformation of them by the workers. Otherwise it'd merely be reformism - better wages, better hours etc.

In 1890, or 1930, nearly every job had some kind of tangible use value - it was producing a good or a service that was needed. The vast improvements in technology since then mean that the majority of jobs are not producing goods or services, and that many of those goods or services are useless or possibly harmful in some sense. Seizing those workplaces, unless their use could be immediately transformed, has no real use that I can ascertain. I can't think of many uses for offices for example - many people have computers and phones at home, and there's vast numbers of internet cafés (at least in East London) for those who don't, so what would you use them for? Certainly there'd be no need for a massive percentage of offices, so why not leave them empty or use them as crash accommodation - different to seizing a factory no? Those places represent capital, but to occupy them and then run them under worker councils would be completely irrational to me.

If you can locate the process of consciousness raising within localities and communities (including workplaces), rather than just within workplaces, then there's much less chance of it becoming reformism. Bookchin's main reason for concentrating on this is his view that the effect of Capitalism on our environment or ecology affects everyone, and they're more likely to become motivated by this than by entirely economic arguments. It doesn't exclude the importance of work, but it doesn't rely on it completely for raising consciousness.

"Everyone has class consciousness". Do you really think so?

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pingtiao
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Aug 9 2004 09:25

Excellent thread so far guys.

Very interesting points raised by catch concerning the effectiveness and oppropriateness of anarcho-synicalist tactics in age dominated by useless work. I'm interested in how a/s theory deals with this. It must have been pushed forwards over the last 80 years, so how does it see effective transformation occurring now?

What tactics are now valid?

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JoeMaguire
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Aug 9 2004 12:44

The best short description of Deep Ecology is an Eco-centric philoshophy, which doesnt place mankind at the centre of the universe. It was termed by Norwegian Arne Naess, who believed most ecological movements were shallow in their immediate goals, hence deep.

EF! are the best example of practicioners of Deep Ecology.

captainmission
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Aug 9 2004 12:54
october_lost wrote:
EF! are the best example of practicioners of Deep Ecology.

not sure that's true. USA EF! and to a lesser extent australian EF! might have quite a heavy deep ecology/ bio-centric influence, but it's pretty much absent from EF! in the UK. Having just got back from the EF! gathering can't really say that deep ecology was a particluarly noticable topic of conversation.

and as for the practice of deep ecology? there's not really any consensus to what that is. Deep ecologists vary politically from authoritarian statist (no immigration, population control), to liberal capitalists, to social anarchist.

Jon
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Aug 29 2004 18:23

Try some green-anarchist and primitivist literature. Primitivism is a very interesting ideology.

here is a link to some info: http://www.insurgentdesire.org.uk/primprimer.htm

star green black

Jon
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Aug 30 2004 15:33

relax mate, its interesting reading.

perhaps you could tell me why you dissagree instead of just calling it a "crock of shit"? then maybe we can have an intelligent conversation... smile

im all for people reading different ideologies. for example, i would personally not ban links to fascist stuff. some is very interesting (that is not to say i like it or sponsor it mind) and i would prefer to develop a critique of it rather than just ignore it.

star green black

Wayne
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Aug 30 2004 15:38

You get him, I can't be arsed.

Jon
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Aug 30 2004 17:05

Sorry my psychic powers were not working today, i didnt know it had been discussed in other threads! wink

Im new to this forum and havnt a clue what you folks have already discussed.

Ill go read them now!

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Steven.
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Aug 31 2004 17:45
Jon wrote:
im all for people reading different ideologies. for example, i would personally not ban links to fascist stuff.

Direct links are banned to fascist sites cos site owners can see where people link from, and would then start coming on the boards.

There are some long threads about it in the archives - the bottom forum. Also a long piece thoroughly debunking it on the newswire

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cantdocartwheels
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Sep 8 2004 12:40

cry

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cantdocartwheels
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Sep 8 2004 13:09

[bullshit] well i think primitivism is an ideology that should truly be treated with respect in terms of its analysis [/bullshit]

Read this you crustie scum

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Sep 11 2004 10:41

With the hate towards primitivists, do folks here mean that people who do the fantastic Do or Die journal and earth first!ers are "crusty scums" and "croc of shite"

or

do you mean the american version of it, like Zerzan and Green Anarchy mag?

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JDMF
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Sep 11 2004 14:50
revol68 wrote:
earth first aren't primmies nor is do or die.

alright, because i heard the guy who does the DoD to say that he is a primitivist.

Lemming
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Sep 11 2004 17:35

Do Or Die, for the last few issues at least, carried a number of articles from a primitivist point of view (including a glowing review of one of Zerzan's books). Its politics are (were?) staunchly green anarchist, a term which includes - but is not the sole preserve of - primitivists.

Wayne
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Sep 11 2004 21:21

That's because DOD has no coherent politics and publishes a lot of shite. They have carried some decent stuff but how seriously can you take a periodical that has repeatedly listed the unabomber as a prisoner to support?

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pingtiao
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Sep 13 2004 00:47

agreed.

fucking ace journal: pretty, large breadth of stuff,some ace articles, some good politics, some utter shit. It is hardly like a publication of a Federation,though is it? There is no real sense of coherent politics-just articles that some might find interesting and can be used to further a position.

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Steven.
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Sep 13 2004 08:53

er, while I don't agree with all the content, DoD does fucking rock and I think is a superior quality of publication than any of the feds manage...

(Hmmm well I spose DA does have features of comparable quality, and Organise has historical stuff as good)

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Sep 13 2004 11:35

green anarchy is great too. although for similar reasons as why fantasy and science fiction is great. or the lyrics of most king crimson songs are great. plus what other magazine has lists of random acts of violence carried out throughout the world? black bloc

obviously, if you're going to be fussy and rate it in terms of theoretical coherence or even logic, it is a steaming pile of monkey shit...

Quote:
There is no real sense of coherent politics-just articles that some might find interesting

which to me, for a theoretical journal (rather than an item of propaganda or whatever), is a much better format. i like reading stuff i don't agree with, it helps solidify your own thoughts.

Quote:
DoD does fucking rock and I think is a superior quality of publication than any of the feds manage...

on the other hand, do or die is, er, dead, whereas, though i can't be arsed to read them anymore (cos i got bored of reading stuff i agree with the whole time that isn't livened up with ridiculously over the top action reports like, say, barricada used to be) i think the feds are still publishing away. so in a few years, dod will be hopelessly dated, though still have the prettiest front cover of any political publication ever...

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JDMF
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Sep 13 2004 13:55

GT, get the last one though, the first third of the jourbal/book is one of the best shit written in ages.

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pingtiao
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Sep 13 2004 15:20

no it isn't

some of it is quite good, but then there is some hysterically exagerrated crap in that article too

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Sep 14 2004 01:36
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get the last one though

i did, that's the one i mean. beautiful cover (unless your art-appreciating glands have been damaged by too much shit french beer like revol68), lots of interesting articles which while reading i was thinking "yeah!", but on reflection i realised was not actually logical. unfortunately green anarchists are about the only anarchists writing with any passion nowadays (being a cynical rude fucker like revol68 or wayne does NOT make you passionate, it make you... a cynical rude fucker), but that doesn't detract from the fact that most of their conclusions are nuts, even if the topics they cover a well researched and different from what you get in other stuff. i mean, i love do or die, it is one of the best journals ever, but that's because it makes you think rather than necessarily because of what it actually says.

Quote:
it did print an awful load of oul' shite

bit like you with a really good printer and better sense of aesthetics then?

shellls
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Sep 14 2004 11:09

I think the last issue of Do or Die is great, its massive, good value, great range of stuff, critical, cuts through loads of boring lefty shit. Its really well produced, well researched, and a lot of effort went into it.

Most anarchist journals are so tedious, peddling a one 'true' ideological line, i could write the articles myself once i've read the title, they are that predictable.

As for Do or Die not being 'Logical' !

The people producing it are really commited militants, involved with good campaigns true to their (anarcho-primitivist) principles. (Solidarity South Pacific, Stop Bayer, etc) and its just sad to see them dismissed out of hand by comrades!

I hardly every bother coming to this site anymore, and people i know can't be bothered with it either, because of the lack of space for discussion without some kneejerk prick screaming 'primmo' .

Green Anarchy USA has had some brilliant articles recently, surveillance, symbology, great direct action listings from around the world, i can't think of one UK Anarcho magazine that rivals it in terms of style, content or consistancy. The new UK autonomist/anti-capitalist zine- 325- is wicked tho.

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pingtiao
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Sep 14 2004 16:46

primmie

shellls
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Sep 14 2004 20:59

yawn

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pingtiao
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Sep 14 2004 21:07

yawning is oppressive