The concrete expression of ideology

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Vaneigemappreci...
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Apr 13 2004 18:14
The concrete expression of ideology

'the development of the urban milieu is the capitalist domestication of space'

It is telling that so very few 'revolutionary' currents have failed to even mention urban space in their critique. I suppose this is due in part to our aquisence to the conventions instilled through upbringing and general conditioning, particularly a conditioning within and by the urban environemnt. The urban and suburban environemnt like every other aspect of capitalism is a conscious product of the ruling economic system. It seems an obvious statement but i really wonder how many people actually consciously consider the role of the commodity in shaping the spaces we inhabit.

Every inch of the urban environemnt is designed with our central roles as passive consumer/worker in mind, ease of movement, open spaces for the deployment of troops/resting spaces, architecture which induces submissiveness and dispondancy, palatial and patrolled shopping centres, imposing advertising etc.

Any critique of society in general must include a critique of the urban environment along with every other aspect concrete and abstract of the ruling order of things.

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Jacques Roux
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Apr 13 2004 18:34

Too true.

Sorry to drag this off subject but i was reading 'Leaving the 20th Century" the other day and noticed in the memberlist of the SI in the back there were only 7 women (and 63 men) who were ever involved with the SI. Any idea why that was?

I had always assumed that there were more women involved in 'radical politics' around that time but obviously not in the SI and come to think of it not much of their theorising focused on gender issues...

Lemming
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Apr 13 2004 20:16

I wouldn't say anarchists ignore this issue. Many of us - not just the primitivists - see cities as manifestations of political and economic centralization, and urban life as inherently alienating. I certainly do, and I can think of probably a dozen contemporary anarchist writers who have expressed similar views.

I guess most of us tend not to place 'urbanism' near the top of our shitlist when articulating our critique of authoritarian society to 'ordinary people'. Perhaps we should?

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Apr 13 2004 21:36

Lemming - can you give me any links to authors / articles / books written on the subject? Im kinda interested in this for various reasons and would like to read more smile

Lemming
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Apr 14 2004 00:40

A direct primitivist attack on cities can be found in Kevin Tucker's snappily-titled essay Against Cities. It goes without saying that other primitivists such as John Zerzan and John Filiss also oppose them, but they're not the only ones.

Steve Booth, editor of Green Anarchist (the more liberal version), wrote a novel called City Death.

Autonomedia published a book-length critique of cities the other year called The Cities Of Everyday Life. I haven't read it, so I don't know what conclusions it drew, or if it's any good. AK Press carries a couple of other books; again, I haven't read them.

Bob Black talked a bit about cities and the evolution of the state (as a way of critiquing Murray Bookchin's pro-urban stance) in Anarchy After Leftism.

In his paper Getting Free, James Herod suggests desertion of the cities after the smashing of capital and the state. He recommends preserving Manhattan as a "mausoleum" to the horror of late capitalism smile

Edward Abbey's many rants about "concrete monstrosities" are always good fun.

"Under the paving stones" rhetoric continues to be employed by many others...

blackcladmessenger
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Apr 14 2004 10:39

An old copy of Green Anarchist has 'Against Cities' as it's core and there are quite a few interesting essays in there. One by leigh Starcross comes to mind particuarly. havent been able to find them online though.

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Apr 15 2004 12:17

Totally agree, what we need is a primitivist wasting space in a tent in a muddy feild in norfolk to tell us about the evils of subways.

In fact i think i want to find where the house of that guy wh wrote that is and put billboard adverts and a bus-stop next to it just to piss him off.

john

Lemming
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Apr 15 2004 14:47

What it is with the anarchists on this board that double as anti-anarchist trolls?

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Jacques Roux
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Apr 15 2004 15:27

They just enjoy the comfort of being able to hind behind their computer and snipe at people.

Its a shame but thats how they are. Only people like youreself bringing it up can help solve it... people just need to chill and stop being so high and mighty all the time.

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Apr 15 2004 17:18

What?! C'mon jack you can read a book by whoever just because its interesting, if the author is a fucking screwball doesnt mean your a nazi if you read it...

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Apr 15 2004 17:47

Ok fair enough....

But im still open to reading anything, even if i disagree with it totally at least it helps me understand my own ideas better....

....now where did i put that copy of Mein Kampf......

wink tongue

captainmission
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Apr 15 2004 18:59
Vaneigemappreciationclub wrote:

It is telling that so very few 'revolutionary' currents have failed to even mention urban space in their critique.

really don't think this is true at all. Marx on the dialectic between the town and country? Kropotkin in field factories and workshops? And i think basically anyone living in a urban space is aware of it alienating character, and how its shaped by capitalist forces...

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I guess most of us tend not to place 'urbanism' near the top of our shitlist when articulating our critique of authoritarian society to 'ordinary people'. Perhaps we should?

Think we should, especially, since anarchist largerly inhabit cities. Gentrifications a big issue, especially with alot of people concrened about issues of housing and transport. Alot of anarchist action is already based arround 'spacial' issues anyhow- squatting, reclaiming street...

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an you give me any links to authors / articles / books written on the subject?

could try henri lefebrve the production of space (he's one of the guy the situs ripped off then horribley denounced).

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Apr 15 2004 19:45
Jack wrote:
He's not merely a "screwball", he's a fascist, or at the VERy least, borderline so. Big difference.

And I never implied lemming was a fash, I was just annoyed that someone had just labeled anti-primitivism as anti-anarchist trolling, right after recomending a book written by a fascist.

Jack - Steve Booth is not a fascist. He never has been and never will be.

As someone who campaigned for Steve, and promoted his case when he was one of the Gandalf defendants (as did a range of groups from London Animal Action to Anti-Fascist Action) I can assure you no one would have supported Steve, Robin Webb, Saxon et al if people thought they were fascists.

AlexA
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Apr 15 2004 22:45

Er wasn't Steve Booth the one who supported the sarin gas attacks by religious nuts on the Tokyo underground? And bring out a Green Anarchy with "we are the people sitting next to you on the train, with sarin gas in our pockets and hatred on our minds"? eek

Lemming
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Apr 15 2004 22:48

Hearsay from a decade ago! Why, he must be a fascist!

While you're reviewing your previous use of logic, Jack, you might wish to re-read my post and ask yourself if I recommended Booth's book in the first place. Is it possible, perhaps, that I merely cited it as an example of anti-urban sentiment among contemporary anarchists? Did I indicate that I've even read it?

You might also wish to ask whether I am in fact a primitivist, as you described me. Have I ever self-identified as such? Why do you think I belong in that category?

And - goddammit - you might even wish to re-read the post that I was responding to. Can it be considered a sensible criticism of primitivism? Or is it an ad hominem attack on another anarchist?

Have fun.

AlexA
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Apr 15 2004 22:55
Lemming wrote:
Hearsay from a decade ago! Why, he must be a fascist!

So are you saying it's not true confused

Lemming
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Apr 15 2004 23:08

I'm suggesting that it's not sufficient grounds to label him a fascist.

Regarding the article that you mentioned ("The Irrationalists"), yes, he did write it. "Contemptable bullshit" is how I would describe it. But not "fascist". In any case, Booth has since renounced the article in question, and indeed primitivism.

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Apr 16 2004 05:52
Jack wrote:
Well, I've heard differently from several friends (who I trust beyond all doubt on this) from North West, who encountered him in various campaigns in the early 90's.

Altho admittedly all that I've been told is from about 10 years ago, and things may have changed.

And what did you friends base their opinions on?

A bloke in the pub?

The friend of a friend of a friend?

If that's the best you can do Jack I suggest you withdraw a baseless slur.

Could it be your friends views were based on the infiltration of Searchlight agent provocateur Tim Hepple, into Green Anarchists orbit? Hepple got involved in various left/anarchist groups (whilst still a member of the BNP) and like Booth came from Lancaster.

Green Anarchist exposed Hepple's activities and did lasting damage to the security services/Searchlight in the process. One to us.

To then label Steve a fascist, after all he has been through, is despicable.

I think Steve Booth's views on the Tokyo sarin attacks were appalling, and he has rightly been slaughtered for it for years, but as with Lemmy, I can't see how it makes him a fascist.

As an example, The SWP have failed to condemn the Madrid bomb attacks. That makes them idiots, PC tossers terrified of condemning Muslims, but it does not make them fascists.

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Apr 16 2004 17:11
Jack wrote:

Just one question tho - why was a well know, notorious fascist like Hepple ALLOWED to infiltrate Booth's circle? It's not as if he wasn't well known in the area as a fascist.

Well he also managed to fool the Hunt Sabs Assoc and the local Anti-Poll Tax Union as well, so this was hardly a failing unique to Green Anarchist. Only Green Anarchist worked to turn it into a positive victory for the anti-fascist movement by scoring some real goals against the people who were pulling his strings - Searchlight.

One reason why Hepple was not sussed sooner was the behaviour of a member of Leeds AFA who, when I raised the Hepple affair with him said:

"Oh I was onto Hepple years ago, but I did'nt tell GA because I thought someone in Sheffield was going to do it, and anyway Green Anarchist are all middle class wankers"

Jack - I suggest you (and your "mates") go away and read Searchlight for Beginers by Larry O'Hara, your ignorance on this issue hardly balances with the gravity of the accusations you hurl at Steve Booth.

Vaneigemappreci...
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Apr 17 2004 18:47

''Totally agree, what we need is a primitivist wasting space in a tent in a muddy feild in norfolk to tell us about the evils of subways.''

''In fact i think i want to find where the house of that guy wh wrote that is and put billboard adverts and a bus-stop next to it just to piss him off.''

Theres a difference between a bunch of middle class 'drop outs' sitting in their own piss in some tent wanting to be at one with nature and constructing a critique of space.

Also in reply to that other dude, i think lefebre and the sits had a fairly mutual relationship of ripping each other off, but where the sits may have ripped off lefebres work he plagarised the sits and claimed it as his own with no reference to the sits. Very petty really.

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Apr 17 2004 22:13
Vaneigemappreciationclub wrote:
''Totally agree, what we need is a primitivist wasting space in a tent in a muddy feild in norfolk to tell us about the evils of subways.''

''In fact i think i want to find where the house of that guy wh wrote that is and put billboard adverts and a bus-stop next to it just to piss him off.''

Theres a difference between a bunch of middle class 'drop outs' sitting in their own piss in some tent wanting to be at one with nature and constructing a critique of space.

Quote:

It wasn't aimed at you. I may not think constructing a critique of space is that interesting or revolutionary, but if thats what makes you happy then go for it, my post was aimed at the primmos who took advantage of your post to reccomend their illogical reactionary nonsense.

john

Lemming
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Apr 17 2004 22:59

Such vitriol! Should it not be qualified by some kind of argument, though? A demonstration of exactly what you find "illogical" and "reactionary"? An elaboration of who these evil "primmos" are?

Am I one of them?

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Apr 18 2004 00:40
Lemming wrote:
Such vitriol! Should it not be qualified by some kind of argument, though? A demonstration of exactly what you find "illogical" and "reactionary"? An elaboration of who these evil "primmos" are?

Am I one of them?

I dunno, are you a primitivist?

Not all rpimitivists are as bad as each other, some are simply misguided, but the kind of idiots who think we should stop using agriculture or that Green Anarchist is a good thing are simply not worth our time.

Towards a paleolithic existence

Lets all eat caribou meat...or whatever that stupid article was called

Against cities

Its not just the ideology of extreme primitivism being displayed here that i dislike. Its the constant repitition of articles from this author or that author or THAT zine. Is that anarchism in acytion, really?

I mean is it any suprise that fascism and primitivism have these links which keep croppin up. Look at the two ideolgies, can't you see the similarities, not just in aesthetics and their reactionary nature.

They are two of the most misanthropic ideologies imaginable, both suppose that there is no hope for modern industrial society. Fascisms asnwer is the jackboot, primitivism supposedly decides to just sit around and wait for things to fall apart and for everyone to start dieing, but then some primitivists aren't averse to suing the jackboot aswell.

john

coyote
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Apr 18 2004 10:20

fascism is opposed to modern industrial society?

er...?

perhaps a few third positionist and "blood and soil" freaks, but mainstream fascism surely is pretty damn enthusiastic about industrial society. autobahns? indeed it has been argued that fascism is the/a logical result of an industrial society.

surely "modern industrial society" is synomous with capitalism, its no coincidence that two emerged together. surely you don't have to be a Primitivist to oppose this?

perhaps you are confusing technology with industrialism?

blackcladmessenger
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Apr 18 2004 11:11
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primitivism supposedly decides to just sit around and wait for things to fall apart and for everyone to start dieing,

Sophisticated reading of AP theory there! If your refering to a 'collapsist' tendency then i think that has been discussed at lenght in varous zines and other boards. Most AP'sts i know are up for making revolution/insurrection and cert arent sitting around waiting for people to die. One of the authors i mentioned was Leigh Starcross, whom i have no idea whether she considers herself a primitivist or not. i dont know much about her other that a few articles in GA, the odd thing in Anarchist Studies and that she has been involved in translating italian insurrectionist stuff, coz her name appears in the front of some of the Elephant editions stuff.

roll eyes

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Apr 18 2004 11:45
blackcladmessenger wrote:
Quote:
primitivism supposedly decides to just sit around and wait for things to fall apart and for everyone to start dieing,

Sophisticated reading of AP theory there! If your refering to a 'collapsist' tendency then i think that has been discussed at lenght in varous zines and other boards. Most AP'sts i know are up for making revolution/insurrection and cert arent sitting around waiting for people to die. One of the authors i mentioned was Leigh Starcross, whom i have no idea whether she considers herself a primitivist or not. i dont know much about her other that a few articles in GA, the odd thing in Anarchist Studies and that she has been involved in translating italian insurrectionist stuff, coz her name appears in the front of some of the Elephant editions stuff.

roll eyes

No but when push comes to shove you are just ''collapsists'' (or whatever) because you're not going to convince the human race tpo egt involved ina revolution for which 99% of it has to die in order to make it successful. If according to you we're all headed for technological armageddon anyway, why on earth would i want to voluntary commit suicide twenty years ahead of schedule.

Lets face it you people are just a bunch of weirdos who i wouldn't normally give to shits about except for your irritating idea that your ideas can be considered anarchist.

and bloody hell why are you still recommending GA authors to me?

john

blackcladmessenger
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Apr 18 2004 11:52

I wasnt recommending ANYONE to you! twisted

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Apr 18 2004 11:57
coyote wrote:
fascism is opposed to modern industrial society?

er...?

perhaps a few third positionist and "blood and soil" freaks, but mainstream fascism surely is pretty damn enthusiastic about industrial society. autobahns? indeed it has been argued that fascism is the/a logical result of an industrial society.

surely "modern industrial society" is synomous with capitalism, its no coincidence that two emerged together. surely you don't have to be a Primitivist to oppose this?

perhaps you are confusing technology with industrialism?

i never said they did, read my post again, i said that while they share similar longings, teh level of msianthropy is different and the methodology is different

no most fascists are romanticists who long for some bygone past utopia, they just don't think it is fully achievable. Hitler built autobahns because he wanted to defend germany agaisnt the ''judaeo-bolshevik conspiracy'' or whatever, technology in nazi germany was aimed at warfare

Looking at mein kampf and hitlers plans for the soviet union you can see the reactionary individualiost elemnents in it, hitler wanted to destroy the induistrail soviet union and replace it with his somewhat insane vision of independent farmers, agrarian idyll and other suich bollocks.

Primitivism and fascism are much closer linked than you think. A primmo longs for a romantic idyll and thinks sits possible, a fascist longs for a romantic idyll and thinks its not fully achievable, but uses the jackboot to attempt to enforce their vision with compromise.

Prmitivists are capbale of doing the same, look at that GA colony in south africa, the nazis set up colonies in south africa before they came to power.

Sure thats just one fringe but for me its an example of the bullshit taht is primitivist ideology, but lets be honest the primmos are thankfully never going to have any influence unlike facsism. Primitivism just seems to exist to piss off sane people.

john

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Apr 18 2004 11:59
blackcladmessenger wrote:
I wasnt recommending ANYONE to you! twisted

then why are you continually posting the names of GA authors?

Lemming
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Apr 18 2004 15:29

Whatever "similarities" there are between primitivism and fascism are very superficial:

Fascism often uses anti-industrial rhetoric in order to recruit people to its ideology, which in practice is usually one of industrialism to infinity; primitivists oppose industrialism outright, and none of them romanticises feudalism.

Both fascism and primitivism can perhaps be described as reactionary (in the literal sense) and revolutionary. Of course, the (often mythical) ideals that fascists aim to resurrect are usually very different to whatever inspiration that primitivists might take from hunter-gatherer societies. Furthermore, the anti-statist means and ends that anarcho-primitivists pursue in their struggles bear no similarity whatever to those typically used by fascists.

Fascism, more than anything else, is about "national unity", and the persecution of those deemed not to fit in with this vision. Like most anarchists, anarcho-primitivists tend to see nations as historically and socially constructed abstractions, and oppose concepts of "social unity" perhaps even more vigorously than other anarchists.

While you're slandering primitivists, John, why let other anarchists off the hook? After all, one can make observations of similarly superficial "similarities" between anarchism and fascism. Or, indeed, between any two ideologies.

blackcladmessenger
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Apr 18 2004 15:34

Continuously? I merely responded once to the original post about cities/urbanism etc, with a specific essay that had stuck in my mind. Have you read that essay?

You turned it into a discussion about whether Steve Booth was/is a fascist or not (either way his politics are lame as fuck) and then into a more general rant about primitivism. I brought up Starcross again merely to point out that she was not in fact a 'GA author' anymore than she is an 'Anarchist Studies author' or a collaborator in Insurrectionalist publishing projects.

I see no point in every post on this board being turned into a flame war about primitivism or GA....

So we could get back to Vaneigemappreciationclub's original topic starter which was 'the development of the urban milieu is the capitalist domestication of space' .....