John Zerzan

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About John Zerzan

John Zerzan (/ˈzɜːrzən/ ZUR-zən; born August 10, 1943) is an American anarchist and primitivist ecophilosopher and author. His works criticize agricultural civilization as inherently oppressive, and advocates drawing upon the ways of life of hunter-gatherers as an inspiration for what a free society should look like. Some subjects of his criticism include domestication, language, symbolic thought (such as mathematics and art) and the concept of time.

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This person has authored 47 documents, with 239,723 words or 1,594,838 characters.

Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1997 ~ (4,714 Words / 26,858 Characters)
A humanities symposium called “Discourse@Networks 200” was held at Stanford University over the course of several months in 1997. The following talk on April 23 represents the only dissent to the prevailing high-tech orientation/appreciation. Thanks for coming. I’ll be your Luddite this afternoon. The token Luddite, so it falls on me to uphold this unpopular or controversial banner. The emphasis will be on breadth rather than depth, and in rather reified terms, owing to time considerations. But I hope it won’t disable whatever cogency there might be to these somewhat general remarks. It seems to me we’re in a barren, impoverished, technicized place and that these characteristics are interrelated. Technology claims that it extends the senses; but this extension, it seems, ends up blunting and atrophying the senses, instead of what this promise claims. Technology today is... (From :

Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- (1,042 Words / 6,919 Characters)
A pervasive sense of loss and unease envelops us, a cultural sadness that can justly be compared to the individual who suffers a personal bereavement. A hyper-technologized late capitalism is steadily effacing the living texture of existence, as the world’s biggest die-off in 50 million years proceeds apace: 50,000 plant and animal species disappear each year (World Wildlife Fund, 1996). Our grieving takes the form of postmodern exhaustion, with its wasting diet of an anxious, ever-shifting relativism, and that attachment to surface that fears connecting with the fact of staggering loss. The fatal emptiness of ironized consumerism is marked by a loss of energy, difficulty in concentrating, feelings of apathy, social withdrawal; precisely those enumerated in the psychological literature of mourning. The falsity of postmodernism consists in its denial of loss, the refusal to mourn. Devoid of hope or vision for the future, the reigning... (From :

Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- (6,462 Words / 42,009 Characters)
Agriculture, the indispensable basis of civilization, was originally encountered as time, language, number and art won out. As the materialization of alienation, agriculture is the triumph of estrangement and the definite divide between culture and nature and humans from each other. Agriculture is the birth of production, complete with its essential features and deformation of life and consciousness. The land itself becomes an instrument of production and the planet’s species its objects. Wild or tame, weeds or crops speak of that duality that cripples the soul of our being, ushering in, relatively quickly, the despotism, war and impoverishment of high civilization over the great length of that earlier oneness with nature. The forced march of civilization, which Adorno recognized in the “assumption of an irrational catastrophe at the beginning of history,” which Freud felt as “something imposed on a resisting majority,” of which Stanley... (From :

Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 2008 ~ (3,070 Words / 21,570 Characters)
The proportion of humanity living in cities has been growing exponentially, along with industrialization. The megalopolis is the latest form of urban “habitat”, increasingly interposing itself between human life and the biosphere. The city is also a barrier between its inmates, a world of strangers. In fact, all cities in world history were founded by strangers and outsiders, settled together in unique, previously unfamiliar environments. It is the dominant culture at its center, its height, its most dominant. Joseph Grange is, sadly, basically correct in saying that it is “par excellence, the place where human values come to their most concrete expression.” (If one pardons the pun, also sadly apt.) Of course, the word “human” receives its fully deformed meaning in the urban context, especially that of today. Everyone can see the modern “flatscape”. in Norberg-Schulz’s terse term , the Nothing Zo... (From :

Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 2009 ~ (802 Words / 5,363 Characters)
Every day it is clearer that the global cancer of capital and technology devours more of life in every sphere. More species, cultures, and ecosystems are under attack, at every level. The cancer of the megamachine is always at work, consuming its host. And if it ever stops expanding, economic alarm bells go off worldwide. This relentless colonization/globalization has ignited resistance everywhere. In this painful twilight struggle, as the crisis deepens, some of this opposition has taken the desperate form of religious fundamentalism. From this desperation arises the ultimate gesture of suicidal violence, hopeless and indefensible on any level. Novelist V.S. Naipal reminds us that “The world is getting more and more out of reach of simple people who have only religion. And the more they depend on religion, which of course solves nothing, the more the world gets out of reach.” But as New York Times Magazine writer Joseph Lelyv... (From :

Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 2014 ~ (4,570 Words / 30,559 Characters)
This is the age of disembodiment, when our sense of separateness from the earth grows and we are meant to forget our animality. But we are animals and we co-evolved, like all animals, in rapport with other bodily forms and aspects of the world. Minds as well as senses arise from embodiment, just as other animals conveyed meaning—until modernity, that is. We are the top of the food chain, which makes us the only animal nobody needs. Hamlet was very much off the mark in calling humans “the beauty of the world, the paragon of animals.” Mark Twain was much closer: “the only animal that blushes. Or needs to.” The life form that is arguably least well adapted to reality, that has weaker chances for survival among the at least 10 million animal (mostly insect) species. Humans are among the very few mammals who will kill their own kind without the provocation of extreme hunger. The human species is unique but so is every oth... (From :

Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- (3,916 Words / 25,194 Characters)
Art is always about “something hidden.” But does it help us connect with that hidden something? I think it moves us away from it. During the first million or so years as reflective beings humans seem to have created no art. As Jameson put it, art had no place in that “unfallen social reality” because there was no need for it. Though tools were fashioned with an astonishing economy of effort and perfection of form, the old cliche about the esthetic impulse as one of the irreducible components of the human mind is invalid. The oldest enduring works of art are hand-prints, produced by pressure or blown pigment — a dramatic token of direct impress on nature. Later in the Upper Paleolithic era, about 30,000 years ago, commenced the rather sudden appearance of the cave art associated with names like Altamira and Lascaux. These images of animals possess an often breathtaking vibrancy and naturalism, though concurrent sculpture, s... (From :

Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- (10,098 Words / 66,091 Characters)
Madonna, “Are We Having Fun Yet?”, supermarket tabloids, Milli Vanilli, virtual reality, “shop ‘till you drop,” PeeWee’s Big Adventure, New Age/computer ‘empowerment’, mega-malls, Talking Heads, comic-strip movies, ‘green’ consumption. A buildup of the resolutely superficial and cynical. Toyota commercial: “New values: saving, caring — all that stuff;” Details magazine: “Style Matters;” “Why Ask Why? Try Bud Dry;” watching television endlessly while mocking it. Incoherence, fragmentation, relativism — up to and including the dismantling of the very notion of meaning (because the record of rationality has been so poor?); embrace of the marginal, while ignoring how easily margins are made fashionable. “The death of the subject” and “the crisis of representation.” Postmodernism. Originally a theme within esthetics, it has colonized “... (From :

Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- (13,364 Words / 87,920 Characters)
A Dialogue on Primitivism: Lawrence Jarach interviews John Zerzan There are many prejudiced caricatures and objections concerning primitivism; for example that its proponents want to go “back to the Stone Age,” or that any move away from industrial capitalism would result in an immediate mass die-off of thousands — if not millions — of humans. These dismissals showcase a lack of seriousness on the part of anti-primitivists, and their refusal to engage in any kind of substantial dialogue around the issues of the origins of capitalism and the various mechanisms of social control and domination. While understandable coming from non-anarchists (who are engaged in promoting one or another form of domination and exploitation), such a knee-jerk reaction from anarchists and antiauthoritarians is cause for concern. Can it really be the case that the issues of industrialization, urbanism, centralized technologies, and the furthering of hierarchical pow... (From :

Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- (9,116 Words / 61,257 Characters)
Division of labor, which has had so much to do with bringing us to the present global crisis, works daily to prevent our understanding the origins of this horrendous present. Mary Lecron Foster surely errs on the side of understatement in allowing that anthropology is today “in danger of serious and damaging fragmentation.” Shanks and Tilley (1987b) voice a rare, related challenge: “The point of archaeology is not merely to interpret the past but to change the manner in which the past is interpreted in the service of social reconstruction in the present.” Of course, the social sciences themselves work against the breadth and depth of vision necessary to such a reconstruction. In terms of human origins and development, the array of splintered fields and sub-fields — anthropology, archaeology, paleontology, ethnology, paleobotany, ethnoanthropology, etc., etc. — mirrors the narrowing, crippling effect that civilization has embodied from it... (From :

Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1998 ~ (823 Words / 5,434 Characters)
Guy Debord-Revolutionary by Len Bracken (Feral House, 2532 Lincoln Blvd., Suite 359, Venice CA 90021, 1997) 267 pp. $14.95 paper In the mid-90s Len Bracken edited and published Extraphile, a very lively and very Debordian magazine. When I heard of his biography of Debord, "the first in any language," I frankly wondered whether it would merit the additional claim, that of being a critical biography. It was my pleasure to discover that Bracken has indeed managed some critical distance from his subject, and has produced a most substantial intellectual biography. It is, it should be noted right off, a treatment of Debord's political/philosophical project, not the story of his personal life. There is very little of the latter; his heavy drinking is refered to only in passing, for example, and his two marriages merely cited. A couple of quibbles: the book does contain a few small errors that I found o... (From :

Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 2011 ~ (3,084 Words / 21,465 Characters)
Is happiness really possible in a time of ruin? Can we somehow flourish, have complete lives? Is joy any longer compatible with the life of today? A deep sense of well-being has become an endangered species. How often does one hear “It is good to be here”? (Matthew 17:4, Luke 9:5, Luke 9:33) or Wordsworth’s reference to “the pleasure which there is in life itself”? Much of the prevailing condition and the dilemma it poses is expressed by Adorno’s observation: “A wrong life cannot be lived rightly.” In this age happiness, if not obsolete, is a test, an opportunity. “To be happy is to be able to become aware of oneself without being frightened.” We seem to be desperate for happiness, as bookshelves, counseling rooms, and talk shows promote endless recipes for contentment. But the well-worn, feel-good bromides from the likes of Oprah, Eckhart Tolle, and the Dalai La... (From :

Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- (540 Words / 3,570 Characters)
Recent developments make an all-encompassing crisis plain to see. Society could scarcely be more bizarrely unhealthy, but is getting even more so all the time. With two million people behind bars, kids as young as two are on behavior control drugs like Ritalin. Sunset magazine carries pages of ads for “boot camps.” “Got an angry child?” “Defiant teen?” A recent national study disclosed that emotional disorders among children have more than doubled in the past 20 years. Homicidal outbursts at school, as deeply shocking as they are, correspond to murderous rampages at work or at Burger King. Meanwhile, the trend toward year-round schooling feeds into the current prospect of a lifetime of more and more hours of work. Last November a U.S. News & World Report survey announced that over 90 percent of students cheat. No surprise, where a similarly high percentage of citizens feel cynicism/no confidence... (From :

Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 2013 ~ (6,218 Words / 45,170 Characters)
Nearly two hundred years ago, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley gave us a classic warning about the hubris of technology’s combat against nature. Her late Gothic novel, Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus , depicts the revenge nature takes upon the presumption of engineering life from the dead. Victor Frankenstein and his creation perish, of course; his “Adam” is as doomed as he is. If this monster cannot be saved by his father/creator, however, today’s cyborg/robot/Artificial Intelligence products do expect to be saved. For those at the forefront of technological innovation today, there will be no return to a previous, monster-free state. From our hyper-tech world we can look back to Mary Shelley’s time and see the prototype, the arrival of modern techno-industrial reality. Between 1800 and 1820, England underwent the strains, storms and challenges of the ascendant Industrial Revolution. We are living with the outcome of th... (From :

Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 2008 ~ (3,962 Words / 28,003 Characters)
Civilization is control and very largely a process of the extension of control. This dynamic exists on multiple levels and has produced a few key transition points of fundamental importance. The Neolithic Revolution of domestication, which established civilization, involved a reorientation of the human mentality. Jacques Cauvin called this level of the initiation of social control "a sort of revolution of symbolism." But this victory of domination proved to be incomplete, its foundations in need of some further shoring up and restructuring. The first major civilizations and empires, in Egypt, China, and Mesopotamia, remained grounded in the consciousness of tribal cultures. Domestication had certainly prevailed – without it, no civilization exists – but the newly dominant perspectives were still intimately related to natural and cosmological cycles. Their total symbolic expressiveness was not yet fully commensurate with the demands of the Iron... (From :

Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- (5,356 Words / 34,664 Characters)
Fairly recent anthropology (e.g. Sahlins, R.B. Lee) has virtually obliterated the long-dominant conception which defined prehistoric humanity in terms of scarcity and brutalization. As if the implications of this are already becoming widely understood, there seems to be a growing sense of that vast epoch as one of wholeness and grace. Our time on earth, characterized by the very opposite of those qualities, is in the deepest need of a reversal of the dialectic that stripped that wholeness from our life as a species. Being alive in nature, before our abstraction from it, must have involved a perception and contact that we can scarcely comprehend from our levels of anguish and alienation. The communication with all of existence must have been an exquisite play of all the senses, reflecting the numberless, nameless varieties of pleasure and emotion once accessible within us. To Levy-Bruhl, Durkheim and others, the cardinal and qualitative difference b... (From :

Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 2008 ~ (1,107 Words / 7,166 Characters)
It isn’t that there’s no energy afoot in the world. On any given day on any continent, one can see anti-government riots; direct actions in support of animal liberation or to protect the earth; concerted efforts to resist the building of dams, superhighways, industrial installations; prison uprisings; spontaneous outbreaks of targeted vandalism by the fed-up and pissed-off; wildcat strikes; and the energy of countless infoshops, zines, primitive skills camps, schools, and gatherings; radical reading groups, Food Not Bombs, etc. The list of oppositional acts and alternative projects is very considerable. What isn’t happening is the Left. Historically, it has failed monumentally. What war, depression or ecocide did it ever prevent? The Left now exists mainly as a fading vehicle of protest in, say, the electoral circuses that fewer and fewer believe in anyway. It hasn’t been a source of inspiration in many decades. It is dying out. (From :

Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- (444 Words / 2,954 Characters)
Alas, still around to some degree, going through the motions and in some cases finding new ways to repackage the same old shit. The eternally superficial liberal-left “progressives” are as transparently averse to liberation as are the few surviving leninoids. The Social Forum, in its “Global” as well as more local forms, is a recent catch-all for leftists, including communists looking for a home in the post-Soviet Union era. At anti-G8 Genoa in 2001, Genoa Social Forum partizans did their best to deliver anarchists to the police and worked hard afterwards to spread lies about the Black Bloc effort in Genoa. At last year’s Global Social Forum in Porto Alegre these statists — or those in charge, anyway — spent their time praising Brazilian president Lula’s leftist regime and having anarchists physically attacked in the streets. Closet “anarchist” Noam Chomsky is one of the main Social Forum lead... (From :

Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 2015 ~ (3,257 Words / 22,154 Characters)
Simple, supremely commonplace. Ever present, this light that is nowhere else and everywhere else. Life-giving, living. It is the aura of each winding day and also a dimension of, a key to our place in nature. No accident that a yearned-for revelation/state/ destination seems always depicted with dramatic light. Present at the origin of life and omnipresent within it. In the 9th century Duns Scotus Erigena declared, “All that is, is light.” Co-extensive with the air we breathe, and yet nothing in our experience is less banal or neutral. We are in it, and it evades our attempts to grasp it. Light is mad. It gathers and scatters and arrives in all guises, according to time, place, and countless other conditions. Light pervades our senses and meanings to an unparalleled degree. We want to be seen in a good light, “I have seen the light,” enlightened rather than benighted. Like the ripening dawn, “it has dawned on me. (From :

Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- (7,887 Words / 52,143 Characters)
Quite a while ago, just before the upheavals of the ’60s-shifts that have not ceased, but have been forced in less direct, less public directions — Marcuse in his One-Dimensional Man, described a populace characterized by flattened personality, satisfied and content. With the pervasive anguish of today, who could be so described? Therein lies a deep, if inchoate critique. Much theorizing has announced the erosion of individuality’s last remnants; but if this were so, if society now consists of the thoroughly homogenized and domesticated, how can there remain the enduring tension which must account for such levels of pain and loss? More and more people I have known have cracked up. It’s going on to a staggering degree, in a context of generalized, severe emotional disease-ease. Marx predicted, erroneously, that a deepening material immiseration would lead to revolt and to capital’s downfall. Might it not be that an increasi... (From :

Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 2004 ~ (2,774 Words / 18,447 Characters)
There now exists only one civilization, a single global domestication machine. Modernity’s continuing efforts to disenchant and instrumentalize the non-cultural, natural world have produced a reality in which there is virtually nothing left outside the system. This trajectory was already visible by the time of the first urbanites. Since those Neolithic times we have moved ever closer to the complete de-realization of nature, culminating in a state of world emergency today. Approaching ruin is the commonplace vista, our obvious non-future. It’s hardly necessary to point out that none of the claims of modernity/Enlightenment (regarding freedom, reason, the individual) are valid. Modernity is inherently globalizing, massifying, standardizing. The self-evident conclusion that an indefinite expansion of productive forces will be fatal deals the final blow to belief in progress. As China’s industrialization efforts go into hyper-drive, we have another... (From :

Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 2003 ~ (987 Words / 6,511 Characters)
“Amid All the Camaraderie is Much Looting this Time.” “Seeing the City Disappear”, Wall Street Journal headline, 15 July 1977 The Journal went on to quote a cop on what he saw, as the great Bastille Day break-out unfolded: “People are going wild in the borough of Brooklyn. They are looting stores by the carload.” Another cop added later: “Stores were ripped open. Others have been leveled. After they looted, they burned.” At about 9:00 p.m. on July 13 the power went out in New York for 24 hours. During that period the complete impotence if the state in our most ‘advanced’ urban space could hardly have been made more transparent. As soon as the lights went out, cheers and shouts and loud music announced the liberation of huge sections of the city. The looting and burning commenced immediately, with wh... (From :

Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1994 ~ (5,757 Words / 37,358 Characters)
Technology Tech-nol-o-gy n. According to Webster’s: industrial or applied science. In reality: the ensemble of division of labor/production/industrialism and its impact on us and on nature. Technology is the sum of mediations between us and the natural world and the sum of those separations mediating us from each other. it is all the drudgery and toxicity required to produce and reproduce the stage of hyper-alienation we live in. It is the texture and the form of domination at any given stage of hierarchy and commodification. Those who still say that technology is “neutral,” “merely a tool,” have not yet begun to consider what is involved. Junger, Adorno and Horkheimer, Ellul and a few others over the past decades — not to mention the crushing, all but unavoidable truth of technology in its global and personal toll — have led to a deeper approach to the topic. Thirty-five years ago the esteemed philosopher Ja... (From :

Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 2003 ~ (2,895 Words / 19,211 Characters)
Agriculture ended a vast period of human existence largely characterized by freedom from work, non-exploitation of nature, considerable gender autonomy and equality, and the absence of organized violence. It takes more from the earth than it puts back and is the foundation of private property. Agriculture encloses, controls, exploits, establishes hierarchy and resentment. Chellis Glendinning described agriculture as the “original trauma” that has devastated the human psyche, social life, and the biosphere. But agriculture/domestication didn’t suddenly appear out of nowhere, 10,000 years ago. Quite possibly, it was the culmination of a very slow acceptance of division of labor or specialization that began in earnest in Upper Paleolithic times, about 40,000 years ago. This process is behind what Horkheimer and Adorno termed “instrumental reason” in their Dialectic of Enlightment. Although still touted as the precondition f... (From :

Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 2013 ~ (2,796 Words / 18,146 Characters)
The digital age is preeminently the ultimate reign of Number. The time of Big Data, computers (e.g. China’s, world’s fastest) that can process 30 quadrillion transactions per second, algorithms that increasingly predict—and control—what happens in society. Standardized testing is another example of the reductive disease of quantification. Number surpasses all other ideas for its combination of impact and implication. Counting means imposing a definition and a control, assigning a number value. It is the foundation for a world in which whatever can be domesticated and controlled can also be commodified. Number is the key to mastery: everything must be measured, quantified. It is not what we can do with number, but what it does to us. Like technology, its intimate ally, number is anything but neutral. It tries to make us forget that there is so much that shouldn’t or can’t be measured. Fifth Estate published my “... (From :

Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- (7,151 Words / 47,706 Characters)
The wrenching and demoralizing character of the crisis we find ourselves in, above all, the growing emptiness of spirit and artificiality of matter, lead us more and to question the most commonplace of “givens.” Time and language begin to arouse suspicions; number, too, no longer seems “neutral.” The glare of alienation in technological civilization is too painfully bright to hide its essence now, and mathematics is the schema of technology. It is also the language of science—how deep we must go, how far back to reveal the “reason” for damaged life? The tangled skein of unnecessary suffering, the strands of domination, are unavoidably being unreeled, by the pressure of an unrelenting present. When we ask, to what sorts of questions is the answer a number, and try to focus on the meaning or the reasons for the emergence of the quantitative, we are once again looking at a decisive moment of our estrangement fr... (From :

Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- (1,749 Words / 11,371 Characters)
“Yeah, the critique is impressive and everything, but just how might we actually get from this ghastly world to some healed, whole existence?” I think we should not doubt that such a journey is possible, nor that the explosion necessary to begin it may be approaching. The thought of the dominant culture has, of course, always told us that alienated life is inescapable. In fact, culture or civilization itself expresses this essential dogma: the civilizing process, as Freud noted, is the forcible trading of a free, natural life for one of unceasing repression. Today culture is in a dispirited, used-up state wherever one looks. More important than the entropy afflicting the logic of culture, however, is what seems to be the active, if inchoate resistance to it. This is the ray of hope that disturbs the otherwise all-too-depressing race we witness to determine whether total alienation or the destruction of the biomass will happen... (From :

Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1999 ~ (6,927 Words / 43,057 Characters)
In March of 1999, I received an open letter from zine publisher Ron Leighton regarding the common question of whether propagating views which question technology through technological means — radio, television, the Internet — involved some type of contradiction. I liked the way he phrased the question, and I especially liked the idea of an open letter to get a variety of views on the topic. Open Letter — Ron Leighton A number of anti-tech writers have expressed the idea, variously stated, that supporting or using government in any way towards anarchist/anti-authoritarian ends is contradictory and invariably indicative of authoritarian/non-anarchist impulses and attitudes, despite any insistent claims to the contrary. Around the time of the publication in mainstream papers of the Unabomber’s views, John Zerzan went on radio to have a dialogue with callers about anarchism/anti-techism... (From :

Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- (6,239 Words / 40,203 Characters)
Serious commentators on the labor upheavals of the Depression years seem to agree that disturbances of all kinds, including the wave of sit-down strikes of 1936 and 1937, were caused by the ‘speed-up’ above all. Dissatisfaction among production workers with their new CIO unions set in early, however, mainly because the unions made no efforts to challenge management’s right to establish whatever kind of work methods and working conditions they saw fit. The 1945 Trends in Collective Bargaining study noted that “by around 1940” the labor leader had joined the business leader as an object of “widespread cynicism” to the American employee. Later in the 1940s C. Wright Mills, in his The New Men of Power: Amenca’s Labor Leaders, described the union’s role thusly: “the integration of union with plant means that the union takes over much of the company’s personnel work, becoming the discipline agent of the... (From :

Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 2010 ~ (39,000 Words / 254,965 Characters)
David Watson: Introduction to the Origins of Primitivism Set One thing I would say and may have already said in my books Beyond Bookchin and Against the Megamachine and my essay “Swamp Fever, Primitivism and the ‘Ideological Vortex’: Farewell to All That” is that I am not opposed at all to some kind of reasoned primitivism. I just distrust all “isms,” and in the case of much of self-proclaimed anarcho-primitivism, the insights of a primitivist view (for example, to be found in Stanley Diamond’s In Search of the Primitive, The Old Ways, much anthropological literature, and the writings and testimonies of native peoples) has become a simplistic, dogmatic, and sometimes fascistic response to problems that demand instead our humanity, compassion, and humility. I admire so-called primitive or original and tribal societies and believe they offer profound answers to what it means to b... (From :

Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- (8,798 Words / 65,885 Characters)
With the Neolithic Age we entered the force field of domestication, leaving—not without a struggle—the free, face-to-face world of band society/community. Ever-larger settlements, more work, the emergence of warfare and the objectification of women were among the hallmarks of the new order, starting about 10,000 years ago. But the new era was unstable, domination far from perfected. Sedentary, agriculture-based life posed unforeseen challenges in social, economic, ideological/political, and spiritual spheres. The move from personalized Paleolithic reciprocity to bulk Neolithic resource acquisition, production and distribution was far from smooth. New modes were needed for domestication to become civilization. The transition from foraging to farming is widely recognized as the most profound revolution in human history. It is the revolution into history, and must have commanded a completely new set of responses to a newly inhabited r... (From :

Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- (3,430 Words / 24,575 Characters)
Civilization, very fundamentally, is the history of the domination of nature and of women. Patriarchy means rule over women and nature. Are the two institutions at base synonymous? Philosophy has mainly ignored the vast realm of suffering that has unfolded since it began, in division of labor, its long course. Hélène Cixous calls the history of philosophy a “chain of fathers.” Women are as absent from it as suffering, and are certainly the closest of kin. Camille Paglia, anti-feminist literary theorist, meditates thusly on civilization and women: “When I see a giant crane passing on a flatbed truck, I pause in awe and reverence, as one would for a church procession. What power of conception: what grandiosity: these cranes tie us to ancient Egypt, where monumental architecture was first imagined and achieved. If civilization had been left in female hands, we would still be living in grass huts.”... (From :

Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1979 ~ (5,409 Words / 34,299 Characters)
Fifth Estate Introduction The following article, an attempt to come to grips with the implications of Karl Marx’s everyday life by long-time FE contributor John Zerzan, has stirred considerable controversy among those of us presently working on the paper and necessitates, we feel, a few brief introductory observations. For some time, the issue of confluence (or lack of it) between the ideas we espouse and the activities of our daily lives has occupied a position of central importance with many of us. In addition to our desires to live lives as coherent as possible with our principles, we have been concerned with the obvious link between the ways in which we relate to others and the world around us and the kind of vision of a liberated existence which we embrace. Thus we seethe importance of John’s article in the fact that it makes explicit the connection between the way in which Marx lived, the theories that his life produced and the way in... (From :

Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1993 ~ (5,899 Words / 42,105 Characters)
In the following article are presented some unusual features of the Ku Klux Klan of the 1920s, the only period in which the KKK was a mass movement. In no way should this essay be interpreted as an endorsement of any aspect of this version of the Klan or of any other parts of Klan activity. Nonetheless, the loathsome nature of the KKK of today should not blind us to what took place within the Klan 70 years ago, in various places and against the wishes and ideology of the Klan itself. In the U.S. at least, racism is certainly one of the most crudely reified phenomena. The Ku Klux Klan of the 1920s is one of the two or three most important — and most ignored — social movements of 20th century America. These two data are the essential preface to this essay. Writing at the beginning of 1924, Stanley Frost accurately surveyed the Klan at the crest of its power: “The Ku Klux Klan has become the most vigorous, active and... (From :

Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- (6,047 Words / 39,483 Characters)
“If we do not ‘come to our senses’ soon, we will have permanently forfeited the chance of constructing any meaningful alternatives to the pseudo-existence which passes for life in our current ‘Civilization of the Image.’” David Howes To what degree can it be said that we are really living? As the substance of culture seems to shrivel and offer less balm to troubled lives, we are led to look more deeply at our barren times. And to the place of culture itself in all this. An anguished Ted Sloan asks , “What is the problem with modernity? Why do modern societies have such a hard time producing adults capable of intimacy, work, enjoyment, and ethical living? Why is it that signs of damaged life are so prevalent?” According to David Morris (l994), “Chronic pain and depression, often linked and occasionally even regarded as a single disorder, constitute an immense cr... (From :

Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 2012 ~ (3,674 Words / 25,066 Characters)
Last remaining lair of unparalleled wildness. Too big to fail? The whole world is being objectified, but Melville reminds us of all that remains. “There you stand, lost in the infinite series of the sea.” What could be more tangible, more of a contrast with being lost in the digital world, where we feel we can never properly come to grips with anything. Oceans are about time more than space, “as if there were a correlation between going deep and going back.” The Deep is solemn; linking, in some way, all that has come before. Last things and first things. “Heaven,” by comparison, is thin and faintly unserious. “Over All the Face of Earth Main Ocean Flowed,” announced the poem by John Milton. Given its 71 percent predominance on this planet, why is our world called Earth instead of Sea? Much of the land, in fact, could be defined as littoral areas where land and s... (From :

Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 2008 ~ (1,568 Words / 11,322 Characters)
Reams of empirical studies and a century or two of social theory have noticed that modernity produces increasingly shallow and instrumental relationships. Where bonds of mutuality, based on face-to-face connection, once survived, we now tend to exist in a depthless, dematerialized technoculture. This is the trajectory of industrial mass society, not transcending itself through technology, but instead becoming ever more fully realized. In this context, it is striking to note that the original usage of “virtual” was as the adjectival form of “virtue”. Virtual reality is not only the creation of a narcissistic subculture; it represents a much wider loss of identity and reality. Its essential goal is the perfect intimacy of human and machine, the eradication of difference between in-person and computer-based interaction. Second Life. Born Again. Both are escape routes from a gravely worsening reality. Both the high-tech and the fund... (From :

Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 2006 ~ (3,221 Words / 20,963 Characters)
The rapidly mounting toll of modern life is worse than we could have imagined. A metamorphosis rushes onward, changing the texture of living, the whole feel of things. In the not-so-distant past this was still only a partial modification; now the Machine converges on us, penetrating more and more to the core of our lives, promising no escape from its logic. The only stable continuity has been that of the body, and that has become vulnerable in unprecedented ways. We now inhabit a culture, according to Furedi , of high anxiety that borders on a state of outright panic. Postmodern discourse suppresses articulations of suffering, a facet of its accommodation to the inevitability of further, systematic desolation. The prominence of chronic degenerative diseases makes a chilling parallel with the permanent erosion of all that is healthy and life-affirming inside industrial culture. That is, maybe the disease can be slowed a bit in its progression, but no overall cu... (From :

Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 2007 ~ (2,857 Words / 19,947 Characters)
Silence used to be, to varying degrees, a means of isolation. Now it is the absence of silence that works to render today’s world empty and isolating. Its reserves have been invaded and depleted. The Machine marches globally forward and silence is the dwindling place where noise has not yet penetrated. Civilization is a conspiracy of noise, designed to cover up the uncomfortable silences. The silence-honoring Wittgenstein understood the loss of our relationship with it. The unsilent present is a time of evaporating attention spans, erosion of critical thinking, and a lessened capacity for deeply felt experiences. Silence, like darkness, is hard to come by; but mind and spirit need its sustenance. Certainly there are many and varied sides to silence. There are imposed or voluntary silences of fear, grief, conformity, complicity (e.g. the AIDS-awareness “Silence=Death” formulation), which are often interrelated states. And natu... (From :

Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- (9,967 Words / 64,462 Characters)
The dimension of time seems to be attracting great notice, to judge from the number of recent movies that focus on it, such as Back to the Future, Terminator, Peggy Sue Got Married, etc. Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time was a best-seller and became, even more surprisingly, a popular film. Remarkable, in addition to the number of books that deal with time, are the larger number which don’t, really, but which feature the word in their titles nonetheless, such as Virginia Spate’s The Color of Time: Claude Monet . Such references have to do, albeit indirectly, with the sudden, panicky awareness of time, the frightening sense of our being tied to it. Time is increasingly a key manifestation of the estrangement and humiliation that characterize modern existence. It illuminates the entire, deformed landscape and will do so ever more harshly until this landscape and all the forces that shape it are chang... (From :

Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1994 ~ (7,899 Words / 50,903 Characters)
The defining of sentiments has always been a preoccupation of religions and governments. But for quite some time music, with its apparent indifference to external reality, has been developing an ideological power of expression hitherto unknown. Originally music was a utility to establish the rhythms of work, the rhythms of dances which were ritual observances. And we know that it was treated as a vital symbolic reinforcement of the “harmony” of ancient Chinese hierarchical society, just as to Plato and Aristotle it embodied key moral functions in the social order. The pythagorean belief that “the whole cosmos is a harmony and a number” leaped from the fact of natural sonic phenomena to an all-encompassing philosophical idealism, and was echoed about a thousand years later by the seventh century encyclopedist lsadore of Seville, who asserted that the universe “is held together by a certain harmony of sounds, and the heavens themselves are made to revo... (From :

Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1987 ~ (4,177 Words / 30,766 Characters)
It wasn’t only radical intellectuals that found themselves unprepared for the end of the 60s. Change was simply no longer in the air and it fell to this intelligentsia, in the 70s increasingly part of the universities they once attacked, to explain “the 60s,” its swirling promise and its demise. Most of the professoriat who had come of age in the struggles before the “Me Decade” Ice Age found no new framework for understanding or reassessing their defeat circa 1970. Herbert Marcuse’s One-Dimensional Man, which appeared just before the upheavals, provided a rather pessimistic picture of consumption- oriented citizens caught in the chains of “repressive tolerance.” With the movements of blacks and other minorities, hippies, anti-war students, and women, he rejoiced and became for a time more sanguine about the prospects for the future. But by the second half of the 70s he had become as grim as the rest of the ra... (From :

Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- (1,151 Words / 7,764 Characters)
Noam Chomsky is probably the most well-known American anarchist, somewhat curious given the fact that he is a liberal-leftist politically, and downright reactionary in his academic specialty, linguistic theory. Chomsky is also, by all accounts, a generous, sincere, tireless activist — which does not, unfortunately, ensure his thinking has liberatory value. Reading through his many books and interviews, one looks in vain for the anarchist, or for any thorough critique. When asked point-blank, “Are governments inherently bad?” his reply (28 January 1988) is no. He is critical of government policies, not government itself, motivated by his “duty as a citizen.” The constant refrain in his work is a plea for democracy: “real democracy,” “real participation,” “active involvement,” and the like. His goal is for “a significant degree of democratization,” not the replacement of politi... (From :

Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 2002 ~ (3,453 Words / 25,820 Characters)
Debord biographer Anselm Giap referred to the puzzle of the present, “where the results of human activity are so antagonistic to humanity itself,” recalling a question posed nearly 50 years ago by Joseph Wood Krutch: “What has become of that opportunity to become more fully human that the ‘control of nature’ was to provide?” The general crisis is rapidly deepening in every sphere of life. On the biospheric level, this reality is so well-known that it could be termed banal, if it weren’t so horrifying. Increasing rates of species extinctions, proliferating dead zones in the world’s oceans, ozone holes, disappearing rainforests, global warming, the pervasive poisoning of air, water, and soil, to name a few realities. A grisly link to the social world is widespread pharmaceutical contamination of watersheds. In this case, destruction of the natural world is driven by massive ali... (From :

Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 2014 ~ (1,137 Words / 7,775 Characters)
"Th-th-th-that's all folks!" Has the human race's grandest achievement--civilization--assured its collapse? It doesn't look good!" Civilizations have come and gone over the past 6,000 years or so. Now, there’s just one—-various cultures, but a single, global civilization. Collapse is in the air. We’ve already seen the failure, if not the collapse, of culture in the West. The Holocaust alone, in the most cultured country (philosophy, music, etc.), revealed culture’s impotence. We have a better idea of what civilization is than we do of what collapse would mean. It’s the standard notion: domestication of plants and animals, soon followed by the early, major civilizations of Mesopotamia and Egypt. Domestication, the ground and thrust of civilization, per se: the ethos of ever-progressing domination of nature and control in general. “Nature has not ordained civilization; quite the contrary,&rd... (From :

Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 2001 ~ (3,337 Words / 20,199 Characters)
After the anti-corporate globalization protests in Seattle took the world by surprise a year and a half ago, a number of mainstream journalists looked to a soft-spoken anarchist theorist from Eugene, Oregon, for answers.Indeed, John Zerzan, whose ideas were very influential with some of theyoung protesters, can now credibly claim the decidedly dubious honor of being America’s most famous anarchist. All the attention has done nothing to soften Zerzan’s view that modern society has subjugated the populace to the point that it no longer even sees the bars of its cage. In this interview, the 57-year-old radical explores the roots of domination, the subtle coercion of the clock, and his hope for a future without progress. Now that the mainstream media have discovered anarchism, there seems to be more and more confusion about what it means. How do you define it? I would say anar... (From :

Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- (1,592 Words / 10,066 Characters)
Among the young there are quite a few examples of a tendency to regress or turn back. Whether or not these phenomena are characteristic of something called “Generation X” we must leave for media to determine; after all, it’s their job to define and make intelligible social reality. That aside, I think there are aspects of regression that are noteworthy/possibly significant, and which need to be put in context. Childhood was once a place of refuge, a secure zone of protection and innocence. For some time, however, as with every other part of life, the commodity and its attendant forms of violence have invaded this sphere. And yet it continues to represent a sort of haven, if some youth fashions are any indication. The waif look and Dr. Seuss-style clothes reflect this yearning to go back to a relatively better time and place. Seeing teens in oversize shirts and sweaters, for example, the sleeves hiding their hands, gives one a pronounced impression... (From :


August 10, 1943 :
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April 23, 2020 ; 6:06:05 PM (America/Los_Angeles) :
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