An Interview with Reacción Salvaje / Wild Reaction (Mexico)
Published by: Revista Regresión
Note from Revista Regresión (Regression Magazine): This interview with Wild Reaction (Reacción Salvaje: RS) ended right after its last communiqué (August 14, 2015) and we waited until now (October 2015) to publish it in the fourth issue of the magazine, Regresión. We would like to thank everyone who made this collaboration possible. The editors of this magazine have great respect for the opinions of all of the interlocutors in this interview.
Even so, we must mention that we here at Regresión have great affinity to the practices and actions of what had at one time been RS, and to the groups that have derived from it. R.
A clarification by Xapiri Thepe (XT): This interview was done via the Internet, without contact with any of the members of the now defunct group Reacción Salvaje, with Revista Regresión acting as a go-between. Contact was made via the no longer updated website El Tlatol, which relayed our questions to the members of RS. Thus, the portal Xaipiri Thepe does not necessarily condone any of the positions exposited by the now defunct group. This interview is only meant to document what had been their positions, so it is not our intention to advocate or write apologetics for violence, nor for the actions that we disagree with. This is to say that there is absolutely no group affiliation, sympathy or affinity between Xaipiri Thepe and RS.
Xaipiri Thepe (XT): This conversation took place electronically through the magazine Regresión and the website El Tlatol. Through these sources we asked for the opportunity to have this conversation via email, and this should not be interpreted as assent to or sympathy with the positions of RS. That out of the way, we would like to ask: In February the magazine, “Destroy the Prisons”, strongly critiqued your radical ecological positions. What do you have to say regarding the criticism of this anti-prison magazine? What criticism do you have of prison abolitionism? What is your position regarding this sort of abolitionism as an alternative to depriving people of liberty?
RS: First of all, we would like to thank Revista Regresión and the folks at El Tlatol for organizing this conversation, as well as for providing a forum in which we can give a response to those who desire to converse with us. Many of these ideas have already been expressed in a previous communiqué, “They Took Long Enough: Reacción Salvaje responds to Destroy the Prisons”, concerning the criticisms that these people expressed. We think that’s our final word, and we don’t want to dwell much more on the same points addressed elsewhere, so we will focus on the last questions. And that would be the abolition of prisons, correct?
XT: Yes, prison abolitionism.
RS: Well, to begin replying to that point, we would have to ask a series of other questions first, such as: How would this abolition be carried out? Would it be regional, international, universal, or other? Perhaps in that last question we are being facetious, as any person who is serious and realistic on this subject will realize beforehand that this is merely a childish fantasy and idealized utopianism. The jails will not be abolished if civilization continues, that’s obvious. But just to be clear, we are not saying by this that these people should struggle for the destruction of civilization instead. That would be falling into the same unrealistic trap.
Human jails were made to contain those whose impulses, reactions, and instincts made them incapable of living in society in a peaceful way. The technological system has an essential role to play in the penitentiary structure. There would be many more prison breaks if not for the security cameras, motion detectors, drones, electric fences, etc. One could thus quickly conclude that the object of one’s critique should not be prisons per se, but the giant technological corporations that ensure that prison really is a detention facility for those who are dangerous to the system.
Civilized life, sedentarism, to live with an abnormally large number of unknown people cooped up in the city, the frustrations, the artificial needs, the seeking of upward mobility, “stress”, junk food that poisons the blood, and many other things are actions that merit a reaction. Some people manifest this reaction by disregarding the legal structures and seeking out illegal activities. But this all comes back to the principle of causality, to action / reaction. If you live in civilization, no doubt that you will be affected by this way of life. Although we have to say that we too detest human prisons, the physical place as well as the domineering people who work there and the quarrelsome prisoners. They’re awful places. But when we talk about prisons we just don’t mean human prisoners and jails, but also all other types of prisons and cages. Another question that we can bring up here: What prisons are we talking about abolishing? Many times those who call themselves “anti-prison anarchists” are only committed, in some cases, to rejecting and attacking the prisons that hold their comrades. But they feel animosity for rehabilitation centers because these go against their principles since they limit the “freedom” for which they fight so adamantly. Many vegans, freegans, animal liberationists, ecologists and others would agree that prisons are not just these places, but also cages where they keep animals captive, be it in circuses, laboratories, universities, and nurseries.
Those who oppose formal education would agree with us that you can’t just talk about prison, we shouldn’t just mention jail cells, but also classrooms.
Those who oppose salaried labor would be in agreement that not only should the jails, the prison cells, the cages, and the schools be condemned, but also factories. And we can also point out here those who oppose psychiatrists, asylums, vices, and maybe even our own minds. But also the totality of these things, the Great Cage itself: civilization.
I once saw a cartoon of a famous cartoonist very well known in Mexico about a man who came and went to work every day and somehow tolerated his asphyxiating daily routine. But suddenly he realized that he had wings, so he spread them and began to fly. He flew over the cars stuck in traffic, and over the crowds of people, showing them that he could go wherever he liked with his wings. Smiling he flew higher and higher, feeling truly free, shedding his suitcase and his clothes. But then suddenly he hit a fence and fell. He wanted to fly higher than the rest, thinking that there were no more fences that could hold him down but he found out the hard way that there were. That’s the Great Cage we know as civilization. So the lesson is: anyone who thinks that they are totally free only does so because they haven’t yet flown high enough to hit the bars of the Great Cage. Many anti-prison anarchists, but not all, suppose that, like the man in the cartoon, getting their buddies out of jail will make them free, and that’s where the struggle ends. Many perhaps think that the prisons are the main objective, but hopefully one day they will also notice the Great Cage itself.
XT: In some of your writings you critique the positions of Kaczynski. You deny his importance yet you acknowledge him as a predecessor to your own work. Do you think that you are being unfair in not granting him a prominent place in the anti-technology movement? Aside from the contexts being obviously different, what would you say is the main difference between your position and that of the imprisoned mathematician?
RS: We gave credit where credit was due when it was appropriate. Many groups that joined RS took much from Dr. Kaczynski and they stated so publicly. This was no big deal until 2012 when the editorial group, Último Reducto, began to criticize us, and so we started to realize that we didn’t really agree with the idea of a revolution against the techno-industrial system and other things. Thus, we devised our own ideas in this regard. As we said, we always acknowledge Freedom Club’s work and the analysis of Uncle Ted, but later we had to reject them, and that’s when we stopped talking about them. But if you ask us now if he had an influence on us, of course we’d admit it. The main difference between what Kaczynski and his acolytes propose and our own position is rather simple: we don’t wait for a “Great World Crisis” to start attacking the physical and moral structures of the techno-industrial system. We attack now because the future is uncertain. You can’t create a strategy based on assumptions, thinking that all will go according to plan and with assured victory. We stopped believing in that once we grasped the enormity of the system itself, its components and its vast reach on this planet and even outside of it. If civilization collapses tomorrow, or within 30 to 50 years, we’ll know that we waged a necessary war against it from our own individuality. It’s funny, but they call us “anarchists” within the “anti-civ” movement of the early 21st century, just as they called the first people who didn’t wait for the “right” conditions to plant bombs and assassinate people “anarchists” in the 19th century. These people had serious difficulties with“legal” anarchists who wanted to wait for “revolution”, as they were often rejected by the latter as apolitical criminals. In making a comparison between us and theorists who wait for an “anti-tech” revolution, the analogy seems to stick. This is what our published words and deeds seem to be indicating.
The second difference is that we have modeled ourselves and are inspired by the resistance of primitive nomadic hunter-gatherers. Those who currently constitute RS still have in our blood the warrior spirit of our ancestors. Of course, it’s obvious to us that we are civilized individuals, but we still heed the call of the wild, and we give ourselves over to the attack on all that is unnatural. This compared to the theories of Uncle Ted which failed to go farther than a comparison between techno-industrial and previous ancient societies. Basically it’s something very similar, but we have focused on what we have in our own context here, in ancient Mesoamerica.
XT: In the United States there are radical ecologists who support a “post-apocalyptic” hypothesis. Their analysis is based on the idea that techno-industrial society has reached its peak, and its fall is inevitable. Richard Duncan has spoken of “Olduvai theory” which posits that our current industrial civilization can only have a maximum life of one hundred years starting from 1930, placing its end around 2030. The transition seems to have started in 2007 when world per capita energy production began to shrink due to falling rates of fossil fuel energy extraction, while at the same time demand increases due to the increase in population. This will cause a catastrophic economic and social collapse in the coming years, and little by little the human population will be reduced back to numbers seen in previous times. If Duncan’s hypothesis is correct, why act now instead of just waiting? And at the moment of acting, aren’t you just presenting yourselves as some sort of vanguard?
RS: Personally we don’t know how long the structures that support civilization on its decadent path will last. We can read much concerning various existing theories but still we’ll be left waiting for the appointed prophetic year in which maybe it’ll all end. But either way, all that the learned can propose are theories.
The here and now denotes all that is evil. People rot because they are content with conformism, a herd mentality, and technological “advances”. There are the technological advances invading our lives more and more and the ever-worsening economy. There are social explosions taking place everywhere you turn. Artificial reality consumes us, and it looks like things will explode sooner or later. As individualists we have decided to take the rest of our lives into our own hands and not wait for the crisis to happen. Why? Because we are already living it. We don’t want to wait because Nature encourages us to return the blows that it has received right now.
We’ll share a story with you. One night in August 2011, a section of the group Its broke into the Cinvestav of Irapuato, Guanajuato. We jumped the fence and we scaled the roof of the National Genome and Biotechnology Laboratory. From above we could see the guard at his post, speaking on the phone while we watched him hooded from the darkness. We walked to the place where they did tests. I was surprised to find in one of the rooms a large plant that was hooked up to cables so that various computers could monitor it. The only thing that I felt at that moment was disgust and the immense desire to destroy everything in that place. I saw the real manner in which technology tries to subjugate wild nature. Technology tries to obtain more information from nature under the scientific yoke, subjugating it and making it artificial. Do you think we can just sit back and wait until everything is in place for the system to fall, even when we see these horrid indicators among us even now? NO. And what if that supposed collapse doesn’t happen in 2030? We’ll put our faith in some other convincing theorist who asks that we wait until 2100? NOT THIS EITHER.
As for what you say concerning a vanguard, we don’t think we are or ever will be one. We have been a realist alternative to those who look to us, but our intention is not to guide on the straight and narrow those who consider themselves critical of the technological system. We have explained our motives from the beginning only because it seemed appropriate for us to do so, and that’s it. We don’t want to create a movement or anything like that. The only vanguard that exists here are the sincere acts of people who value nature and who have decided to take the extremist defense of wild nature to its logical conclusion. That’s all. There is no group behind any of this, or leading it.
XT: There are groups in the Southern Cone that seem to be echoing many of the same positions. Don’t you think they are franchising your ideas down there?
RS: Not at all. If those people are publishing our ideas, they have reasons that only they know. And as you say, what we are defending here is an open PROPOSITION for those who would like to take it up. Intelligent people who would like to take up some of our ideas and methods, if they are sincere, will always be looked upon in a good light by the various factions of RS.
XT: The historian Eric Hobsbawn considered the Luddite Movement as a form of “collective negotiation by uprising”, a tactic that had been used since the Restoration in Great Britain. This was the case since mass demonstrations were impractical due to the layout of factories throughout the country. Don’t you think that this anti-technological militancy serves as an overture to enact reforms favoring economic deceleration that the State must enact if it wants to continue to govern? Aren’t you doing the work of the State for it even if unwillingly?
RS: We can see today that there are growing criticisms of technology coming from many sources. There are many people who are starting to realize that the current system is rotten. So the inevitable question arises: Is this a beneficial development for the war against the technological system? If the criticisms entail refusing to negotiate with the system, this would be positive indeed. But looking at the situation we realize that the majority of criticisms of technology have a reformist slant to them. For example, they’ll say things like, “technology is making us less social and limiting interpersonal contact, it’s good if we limit its use,” “sedentary life in civilization causes a lot of health problems, we should work out more,” “we’re surrounded by artificiality and I can’t stand life in the city, let’s go live in the country,” “garbage is polluting the oceans, we should buy more environmentally-friendly products,” “technology isn’t the problem, it’s how you use it, etc,” These supposed criticisms are over negotiable things, and one could even consider them proposed measures that allow the reform of the system, as well as its strengthening and growth. But what if instead we said things like, “technology is the problem, let’s light some tech company on fire with everyone inside,” “civilization is dangerously expanding and destroying what’s left of nature in its path in the process, let’s assassinate the chief engineer of a major project,” “this idiotic society has laws that allow the machine to keep running, these are part of the problem, let’s go ahead and detonate an explosive in a public place of symbolic importance,” etc. These kinds of extremist criticisms are non-negotiable, and these are the ones we adhere to. Thus, in responding to your question, we find it difficult to believe that the system can use these ideas and praxis for reformist ends, or that these result in a means by which the system can propagate itself.
XT: To go up against the massive plot that is contemporary society is a titanic task. There are elevated chances that you could lose your life or end up in a jail cell for the rest of your lives. Why then assume defeatism as the final course of action? Don’t you see that this is akin to martyrdom?
RS: Pessimism seized us when the scales dropped from our eyes and we realized that it would be impossible to destroy the entire technological system from our individualist perspective. We do not aspire to its total destruction. This would entail convincing and leading the stupid masses at some point. We would rather work for destabilization. We would like it if the entire technological system would fall, but that’s something that we are not capable of carrying out. Último Reducto has painted us as defeatists, but we would say that this is in the eye of the beholder. We are pessimistic toward the point of view that a select group of persons can help to destroy the system through their actions, which is Último Reducto’s position. But we are not pessimists because we have surrendered. We will keep doing what we do as long as our strength and circumstances permit us to do so.
And that’s because there’s no other real thing to aspire to. We’d be fooling ourselves if we said that we are going to bring the whole megamachine down. That’s not what we want to do. We aren’t martyrs either. We’re only embarked on a mission of self-defense, to defend nature from that which opposes it, without concerning ourselves with what is to be won in the future. Nothing that could potentially happen interests us. The extremist war against the technological system should be disinterested, without expecting a positive outcome, nourished by sincere acts of reverence for and in defense of wild nature. That’s what guides us. Responding to threats is a biological need of warriors, and we behave accordingly.
XT: Wouldn’t it be better to publicly debate this position with different societal actors and let the people decide what will be their fate?
RS: The people would take the path that most suits them, namely the path of least resistance, while positions that criticize civilization are on the table so that they can decide whether to adhere to them or not. Our position is like a coin tossed in the air over this table. Whoever considers himself capable and with the right amount of guile to take it up will do so. We don’t want our tendency to be the “most coherent” among others. It’s the position we defend and that’s it.
XT: There is an issue of the U.S. magazine Green Anarchy that does a comparative study between primitivists in a group in Oregon and the agrarian communist experiment of Pol Pot in Cambodia which is entitled, “Did the Khmer Rouge practice primitivism?” Don’t you think that there is a certain continuity between your positions and those of the Khmer Rouge, with the obvious exception of the latter trying to construct a State? What would be the difference between your positions and the forced agrarian policies and primitivism that drove the Communist Party of Kampuchea at that time?
RS: What the leader of the Khmer Rouge led in Cambodia in those years was a Maoist dictatorship. It was communalism inspired by the ancient agrarian modes of life of the Khmers, the original people of that country. What most calls our attention in that period was the collapse of the infrastructure of civilization. Money ceased to exist, the schools and the markets closed, and thus they sought to transform the country into a self-sufficient extreme agrarian state. But in order for all of the country to cooperate in this endeavor and impose this way of life, large sectors of the population had to be forced to do so.
We don’t know how anyone can see continuity between our position and theirs. It wasn’t even primitivism, to tell the truth, if by “primitivism” we mean to take up again a form of life close to that of our hunter-gatherer nomadic ancestors, and not the way of life of the peasantry before the Industrial Revolution. A major difference between RS and Pol Pot is that we don’t want to force anyone to return to ancient lifeways. The people are stupid and they love to live in their modern shit. Only those few who reject civilization and go to live isolated on the mountain should be respected. We do NOT advocate communal life either before or after the collapse of the system.
XT: Kevin Tucker is another member of the inner circle of the English-speaking primitivists. He advocates a position called, “primal war”. This is a carbon copy of “social war”, posited by Johann Most and has spread among informal groups. Does your positing the warlike character of the Teochichimecas and Chichimecas, as well as your descriptions of the Mixton War, seek historical precedent for your acts? Is there any connection between Tucker’s positions and your own?
RS: To be honest we haven’t read much on Tucker’s positions, we only know that he is one of Zerzan’s colleagues, and that he was harassed by the FBI on the suspicion that he knew something about the actions of ALF/ELF. Either way, considering this question we would like to take the opportunity to clarify something that hasn’t been properly understood or something that perhaps we haven’t communicated clearly enough.
We in RS recognize and remember the Mixton and Chichimeca Wars as historical references SOLELY for the purpose of showing examples of group defense of ancient lifeways, beliefs, and places on the part of savage warriors. And some may think that, in mentioning these wars, we want to repeat these historical events in the 21st century. Maybe some thought erroneously that we really do advocate ethnic indigenous people rising up as one, or rather that they rebel and reenact what had previously been done, but that’s not the case either.
In studying these savage uprisings specifically, we felt that we had a historical foundation that linked us to the genuine extremist defense of wild nature in these areas. You could see that the indigenous Teochichimecas here did not surrender either to indigenous Mesoamerican civilization or the European one. They kept their fighting spirit, they defended their primitive origins and by extension their beliefs tied deeply to nature, which were considered pagan and thus punished by the Catholic Church. They were known for their “cruelty”, their indiscriminate attacks against soldiers, allied Indians, blacks, mulattoes, women, children, etc. Their nomadic or semi-nomadic life made them difficult to pin down, and the craggy mountains were their best hiding places. Nature hid them before and after the battle, their relationship with nature was totally developed in places like deserts, forests, or semi-deserts which the Spanish said no one could possibly survive in. We have learned about these things both from archeological and anthropological research, as well as from the elders of certain ethnic groups that still live up in the highlands, and these things fill us with pride, and we claim them as our inspiration. The souls of our worthy ancestors have seized our minds and bodies, and it is now time, today, to continue the conflict against civilization and all that would subjugate us.
XT: So social war is the same as primal war?
RS: Social war is a term embedded in and taken up by many insurrectionary anarchists, which is very much in fashion now. We in RS are in an individualist war, planned, unbound, and executed by us against a variety of targets that are at the same time real and/or represent modernity, technology, civilization, artificiality, progressivism, and humanism. The terms seem the same, you have read about the call to primal war and posit that there is a similarity between this and social war, and I guess in that you may be right. I can’t give a concrete response regarding something that we have not proposed and wouldn’t even know the details of.
XT: In a similar vein, in some of your writings we have read you criticizing anarchists for their hope for a future free society, but you give a millenarist character to wild nature. You demonstrate this in such archeological studies as “The Place of the Seven Caves” (Chicomoztok): aren’t you falling into the exact same error that you criticize? What’s the difference? Aren’t both sides pursuing an idyllic world which neither has experienced? Isn’t it a remnant of Christianity to seek redemption in an ideal world?
RS: We don’t believe in or have faith in a future society. We don’t hope to see that “Armageddon” where nature will destroy the evil of civilization. We don’t believe in any of this. If this were not the case, we would be in no position to criticize the anarchists who believe in a “better” future, since we would be advocating the same thing with some noticeable differences.
We don’t know if there will be a global collapse of the system one day. The experts say that there will be, but we cannot know for certain. It could be the case and nature will rise from the ruins. But it could be that the system is always one step ahead of things, and could become self-sufficient and repair itself with ease. As we said, we don’t know the future. We would like to, but the reality is otherwise. Chicomoztok is only a look to the past, in the codex in which we can see and interpret graphically the life that our ancestors led. We see how they used friction to create fire. We see how various tribes gathered in their respective caves. We see the fruits that they gathered, the fauna that lived around them, the hunt, their clothing, skins, jewelry, feathers, etc. There are even symbols of war. There are many symbols in that codex that seemed important and thus we adopted them, for it is a sort of window into the life of our ancestors when communing with nature.
It’s a mythical and unknowable place, so why do many of our factions sign that they are supposedly writing from Chicomoztok? When they sign their communiqués that way, it’s to mock the authorities since they can’t find us and we are in a place that doesn’t have an exact location, you see?
To clarify things, we cite here the opening of the introduction to our work, “The Place of the Seven Caves”, which we recommend be read in its entirety:
“In Wild Reaction, we understand Chicomoztok as that place isolated from civilization, the destination of many diverse savage nomad tribes, which represent the wild and full life that our ancestors enjoyed before they were convinced to adopt sedentary life.:
It is a look to the past which tends toward regression, and to that which we have been losing little by little.
It symbolizes our adherence to our primitive past and by extension to the extreme defense of wild nature, the first fire that initiates individual and group conflict against that which represents artificiality and progress.”
Many investigators have attempted to find that place called “the Seven Caves,” but until now it has been lost in a region that centuries ago constituted what is now known as the “Gran Chichimeca.” That’s a dark and shadowy place in which hides a savage essence, in which dwells a story never told before, the memory of innumerable lives, adventures and conflicts which the winter took away along with the ashes of the indigenous Teochichimecas. This is the place that the factions of RS remember in a pagan manner while we hide in plain sight, or in secrecy and terrorist anonymity.
XT: On this and returning to the publication Green Anarchy, historian John Zerzan is one of the important figures in primitivism. His positions on the negative dialectic though daring don’t lose any impeccability in their construction. What is your opinion of this historian, focusing on his positions and not on his life? What is your opinion concerning the use of language and arithmetic as tools for inter-species domination? Do you consider any of these arguments viable?
RS: In the past years, Zerzan has become one of the most “radical” theorists in U.S. primitivist circles. For us, however, he is a romantic, an optimist, and politically correct in the worst sense of the term. His positions have caused quite a stir and resulted in outright condemnation from some, especially those touching upon the theme of language. Just recently in an interview with the magazine, Vice, he said the following to a question concerning language and domination:
“I have to say this is the most speculative thing that I’ve written about. I’m not abandoning the argument, and I try to make a case for questioning symbolic activity, even including language, but it’s much more clear in terms of time, and numbers, and art. What makes it so speculative is that no one knows when speech started. There’s no way to prove it.”
As you can see, Zerzan isn’t really even sure of what he had posited many years ago.
We aren’t anthropologists who specialize in the theme of linguistics, and to tell the truth we aren’t familiar with that debate. It seems to us to be a bit petty, to be honest. Even so, we recently wrote something on this topic in an essay entitled, “Nietzsche and the actuality of his criticism of scientism”:
“The modern human is obligated to live in society, having to contend closely with his fellow man. From this through language comes law that upholds the social order, so that man may live in peace within society without entering into conflict with others. This arrangement necessitates such concepts as ‘truth’ and the ‘lie’. These designations concerning truth and falsehood are invented by rational man and are ascribed with certain validity, though they are merely anthropomorphic fantasies.”
Language in this (post)modern age has brought forth in anthropomorphic reason a scientism that tends towards artificial human progress, and for sure this attacks wild nature. The other variants of this postmodernism such as those found in art, language, arithmetic, etc. are the result of the complexity of civilization. They are tools which the system uses to make sense of all those things for which it does not have an exact or reasonable answer. These tools are only phantoms since in real life, or rather in the realm of nature, they don’t exist. Anthropomorphic thinking is nothing to the universe, but even so humans seek to falsely place themselves at the center of all things.
XT: In Mexico, do groups exists that choose voluntary isolation as happens in Amazonas and whose existence are on the margins of Western society, which is awfully close to some of the propositions of anarchism?
RS: The only groups that we are aware of that live in isolation are the Raramuris and the Wixarika, even if these are few. They inhabit the deserts and semi-deserts of northwest Mexico, even though we don’t doubt that there are others. These groups live a very simple life, they are semi-nomadic and they gather their food in the arid northern lands of ancient Mesoamerica as their Teochichimeca ancestors did. They hunt some animals and even have very unique beliefs, though it bears mentioning that these are often mixed with Catholicism. Nevertheless, it is inspiring to know that they have maintained the same perception of things that their remote and primitive ancestors had.
And quickly comparing their lives with the anarchism you are asking about, I see few similarities. First of all, there is in these ethnic groups an authority figure that the rest of the people follow, though not merely as an unjust authority. It could be the strongest or bravest man or the shaman. But it’s not up for dispute that there is an authority figure. That’s one thing that many anarchists don’t approve of: those who refuse any authority that seeks to govern since in their mind it might try to “impose” something on them.
Secondly, the people in these groups have a specific role to carry out, they have hierarchy. It may be that men have to work more in the hunting season, or it could be that women work more in the times of nomadic gathering. Or it could be that both work equally in the time of harvest if as semi-nomads they have planted something. This is all to say that there is no equality. The division of labor is considered acceptable and the role that each individual carries out is what makes the group stable and without major conflicts. These are their customs, this is how they have survived from time immemorial, Thus, one cannot say that their life is similar to anarchism since one of the qualities of the latter is equality, and this is not compatible with the lives of these indigenous groups.
Thirdly, anarchism pushes atheism, that is, not positing gods or divinities that exist above an individual. In contrast, these groups of semi-nomads (as we indicated) have a firm belief in natural divinities and spirits that are much more powerful than they are. Making gods or believing in a spiritual authority from which all emanates is something totally contrary to anarchism, or am I wrong?
Fourthly, it is the case that these societies do not have a state or police force. They are too small for someone to control them like that or for someone to assume that sort of responsibility. There are no judges either, but if the occasion arises that someone must be punished, the elders are the ones who carry it out or who indicate what would be the suitable punishment for the evil doer according to their traditions and customs. And while no one gets imprisoned, there are punishments.
Fifthly, one of the premises of anarchism is that we are all equal, that we should all have the same opportunities, and free association is one of the pillars of the construction of a “new tomorrow”. From our ecoextremist point of view, all of this is absurd. Equality does not exist, we are all different and we don’t all have the same opportunities. We accept free association not to build a new and better world, but in order to develop ourselves individually within our circle of allies and not with strange or unknown people. Anarchism’s position is very humanist and falls within the suffocating parameters of being Western. These values indicate a tendency toward progress within the human being, and thus toward the progress of civilization, even if it is one that is “freer,” “more just,” “more compassionate,” etc. All of this is still garbage. We should point out that this is our opinion concerning anarchism; anarchy, well, that’s a different story. This is how it was described by one of the most representative theorists of this anarchic tendency, Gustavo Rodriguez, when he stated the following in an interview:
“We don’t believe in miracles, even less in ‘utopian societies’. Thus, we don’t busy ourselves in trying to ‘improve’ the image of that intangible product known as ‘Utopia’. We are convinced that ‘anarchist society’ won’t suddenly materialize first thing tomorrow. To be honest, we are pretty sure that it will never materialize. But this doesn’t bother us in the least.”
“For us Anarchy is not only possible but it materializes in an ephemeral manner every time there is a successful expropriation. It is constituted in those little moments in which the night is illuminated by refractory flames. It is confirmed in every jail break, it is verified by every instance of physical elimination of our enemies.”
Although we digress a bit from the main subject at hand, I will continue. The main point is that these isolated societies do not have a moral code similar to that of anarchism. So as stated in the second point they do not have equal opportunity, and that is something that is incompatible with what anarchism proposes. I think that if you wanted to find a good comparison with another system that aligns better with the positions, values, and practice of anarchism, you would need to have recourse to the communities of free spirits, hippies, peasants, and others who have went off by themselves to live a more autonomous or sustainable life. But with the small societies in voluntary isolation there’s really no comparison there. Though, after discussing all of that, my own question would be: what does anarchism refer to then? For there seem to be infinite meanings and interpretations over which even the anarchists themselves have little control.
XT: It’s interesting that you bring up concerning the groups of voluntary isolation in Mexico, but what do you think of the anti-development theories of Miguel Amorós?
RS: Amorós’s anti-development propositions are interesting in terms of the megamachine, not only describing its economic aspects but also its civilizing elements. They describe quite well what modern progress has ended in, perverting ecosystems and how it is that population growth has invaded our natural surroundings.
However, we must state that there are things that didn’t really convince us in Amorós’s book, “Anti-development perspectives” in which he stated: “the salvation of our age depends upon the generalization of [anti-developmentalism] as a determined form of consciousness.”
“Salvation of our age?” Maybe the above-mentioned theorist believes that one day in the distant future, when his ideas are “generalized”, the survivors will somehow “save” the age from harmful development, which seems to fall again into the vague category of “revolution”. And we’re not just speaking off the cuff here. The “friend” of the Friends of Ludd proposes a “new type of revolution”.
It should be repeated that his critique is good and in that regard it draws attention to the idea that he hints at when writing against work and consumption, a necessary negation considering his anti-development ideas. What we are not in agreement with is when he proposes a perennial imaginary scenario about a possible “revolution”.
Is it possible for the critique to remain in motion, the negation of all that exists, and the drive that incites the individualist to take the reins of his own life, stealing it and appropriating it, without wanting something more transcendent, like a “revolution”?
XT: Almorós’s position for you is useful but you disagree adamantly concerning the positing of a future that undoubtedly implies a “revolution” of a new type. One thing we’ve never read about is your opinion on how other sectors of society are affected. You have no opinion on sexual preference, disabled people, indigenous people in struggle, political prisoners, etc. Don’t you think tha,t in focusing your criticisms on technological development, you are leaving behind a myriad of conflicts and submitting to the technological mindset at the same time in that you are becoming “specialists” in a manner of speaking which is of value to contemporary society?
RS: That’s a good question. Hold on to your hat because you are definitely not going to like our answer.
On “indigenous people in struggle,” as you have written, we have addressed this to the “Destroy the Prisons” group: We recognize the resistance of the Purepechas in defending and dying for the forests of Michoacán. We admire the rebellious Huichols who oppose with all of their might the development of mines in San Luis Potosí. We support the Chichimecas who resist the Christianizing of their native beliefs in Guanajuato. We back up the Mixtecos who reject at all costs the medicine of the city and prefer to continue to keep healing themselves with plants that they gather in the mountains of Oaxaca at the risk of being regarded as witches. We support the decision of the Kilwa who prefer extinction to being absorbed by Western life. We exalt the resistance that distinguishes some Raramuris as semi-nomads detached from civilization in the deserts of Chihuahua. The struggle against progress and in defense of the Earth encompasses indigenous people who resist in their homelands, as well as civilized people in the cities committing acts of sabotage and terrorism against that same progress. For the struggle in defense of Nature is not one alone. The strategy, contexts, situations, and risks all vary.
As for “political prisoners”, there’s not much to say. If we don’t share their political positions and activism, we find no reason to defend them. Those who are in the can for those activities have their own circle of supporters, those people can take care of them while in prison. It should be pointed out that RS does not have anyone imprisoned for anything related directly to our activities, and truth be told we’re proud to be able to say that. For those jealous anarchists who we know full well criticize us, we ask: how many people in prison does RS have? None. How many imprisoned anarchists are there? A lot. That speaks much to how careful we are in terms of security, and that in the face of a recent series of actions and robberies that we carried out (Note: this refers to the counteroffensive of April 2015). We’ve always come out unscathed from these due to our boldness and discretion. This isn’t arrogance, it’s the reality. People who can accept that, great, but those who can’t can continue with their sniveling and sterile criticism.
Some time ago, the Nocturnal Hunter Faction of RS detonated an explosive at the Mexican Telethon Foundation, over there in the municipality of Tlalnepantla in the State of Mexico. The butane pipe explosive exploded in the entrance of that place destroying the glass that protected a bunch of wheelchairs for kids, leaving them all burned. In its communiqué, the faction stated the following:
“The ‘Teletón Foundation’, is also an agency along with the two most prestigious universities in Mexico (UNAM and ITESM), in charge of the development of technological and scientific innovation with therapeutic purposes, to say, together they completely adhere to the idea of civilized progress, to make sure this system follows its course. Surely many will ask: And what harm is caused by the existence of these types of charities for disabled people? Perhaps the questioners have not taken into account that the system always dresses as a “well intentioned nun” to continue perpetuating itself. Complete technology will always have the same purpose in whichever of its forms, whether therapeutic or weaponizing, educational or of massive destruction, medicinal or poisonous. And that purpose is to continue existing over wild nature, because of this our attack.
Without more explanations: We are not Christians, nor do we characterize nobility, we do not seek nor defend charity from anyone or with anyone!”
Based on this attack many “Zerzanians” branded us as cruel, inhuman, even to the point of comparing us to ISIS, something that instead of bothering us, made us laugh out loud. And that’s because many “gringo primitivists” over there are so politically correct, so romanticist when it comes to their embedded image of the “noble savage”, that they are deeply scandalized when “Mexican” critics of the technological system do these sorts of things. We couldn’t care less about disabled people. Like persons without disabilities, they form part of the same complex system, and we attack their institutions regardless of if they are missing limbs or if they are sick or not. Yeah we did it, and we’ll keep doing it, regardless of what people think. Sexual orientation is a big thing now, the defenders of the rights of homosexuals and the rest of those people. They’ve won their struggle that they’ve been waging for years now and they can marry legally like everyone else. They can have jobs and even top level jobs, they can get medical attention if they are infected after some wild party, they can adopt kids, etc. Their struggle has meant that they can now integrate into society (with all of its prejudice) and be another cog in the machine. The same is the case for other previously vulnerable groups: feminists wanted gender equality, now they can be exploited by employers just like their husbands, fathers, and sons. Blacks can now hold important positions even in government (just like that bloodthirsty Obama!) which they were excluded from just 50 years ago; now they form part of the dirty system. It’s the same thing that happens with these disabled people. If we put in the same room an average man, a black man, a woman, a disabled person, a gay man, and an animal rights activist, you will see that they all have distinct personalities, thoughts, morals, abilities, etc. but one thing unites them. Every one of them has a role to play in society, and that’s to uphold the integrity of the system and make sure that it keeps on going. For us they are perhaps different but perhaps not, for we see one general rule followed here, and that is the HUMAN (such as it is) expressly contributes to the destruction of wild nature. His civilization is destroying all in its path, his technology is turning everything more and more mechanical and his science subjugates that which is natural and turns it artificial. We don’t focus on the problems of people, or on the problems of one sector in particular. I think that there are people who see, worry about, and fight on behalf of lesser causes, such as obtaining “rights”, new laws, reforms, support for oppressed groups, etc. That’s their specialty, not ours. We focus on the technological system, on civilization, for this is the root of all evils that besiege us as a species, the rest are symptoms of the real problem.
XT: In truth we have to agree to disagree (strongly) on these last points, from the way you tackle them to your opinion about oppressed groups. But let’s switch gears a bit and talk about the current low intensity war in Mexico centered around narcotrafficking. The escape of Chapo Guzman is clearly indicative of the complicity of some authorities with those elements. What’s your opinion on narcotrafficking?
RS: You know, Mexico is a steaming pile of shit. It’s conflicted, corrupt, and prostituted to the highest bidder, treacherous, run down, and even though there are people who say that there are “good things” about it, we see more bad things than good to be honest. Really we can’t even know if there person who was imprisoned in that maximum security prison and who escaped was actually Chapo Guzman, or an impostor. That’s for starters. Lies piled upon lies are daily fare here. Personally, I don’t trust anything that the media blabbers about, every one of them is blowing shit out of their ass. That there is a low intensity war going on, that’s for sure. But you can speak of this just not in terms of narcotrafficking, there are also groups, politicians, private interests, etc.
Drug trafficking continues because people consume a great quantity of narcotics, since city life has totally corrupted our species. They seek happiness in certain substances that only cause health problems. It’s a profitable business: as long as there are addicts, business is booming. But you know what? You’re going to say that I sound like a broken record, but the problem isn’t the addicts or the dealers, not the hired guns who kill defending their turf, nor the chemists who make the product, nor the politicians who permit the whole business, nor the drug lords who get rich off it all. The problem is civilization itself. And as long as the Great Cage exists, all of these problems, from narcotrafficking to corruption to prostitution to human and organ trafficking to pediophilia to rape and all of the other horrible things that we all know as those immersed in artificial reality will continue to exist as well.
Yes, it’s sad that entire families have to abandon their homes because of violence. It’s outrageous that one of your family members ends up being killed in the crossfire between drug cartel assassins and the Marines. It’s disturbing that the situation that we are living in Mexico is getting worse and more and more cynical by the day. But narcotrafficking and all of the things that go with it have only one cause, and that is civilization.
XT: That is an interesting point. To close, Mexico is living through a turbulent period, with an important social mobilization taking place. How do you see the future of this place? Are we getting close to a popular uprising?
RS: For a while we’ve been hearing about there being a popular uprising. There was one supposedly in Oaxaca in 2006, or a couple of years ago there was talk among experts of the right conditions for one in Michoacán. Even though this latter one was a bit different from what happened in Oaxaca, confrontation there died down gradually as the defense units started working with the government, whatever. They said 2010 would be the year, then 2012. After the disappearance of the students of Ayotzinapa there was a tense atmosphere in Guerrero as well as in the center and southern regions of the country. But what has happened up until now? Business as usual, injustices and massacres as in the past forty years. Repression of protesters and the indignant response to this repression… like a vicious circle, a circle in which the State comes out the winner. A large scale popular uprising? Yeah, whatever.
More to the point, two RS factions saw an opportunity to unleash a wave of violence and to inflict direct damage at the heart of Mexico City. On November 20th of last year, on the anniversary of the Mexican “Revolution”, there was a demonstration demanding justice for the 43 students who disappeared in Guerrero. Tensions were high and confrontation was a given. The “Blood and Flame” and “War Dance” Factions of RS were in attendance, with every intention of instigating a confrontation between police and protesters. Members of these factions stated that they saw plain clothes police agent provocateurs infiltrating the anarchist Black Bloc. RS infiltrated their ranks and began the provocation. There was a moment where, if the momentum had continued, the people would have taken the National Palace, at which point the military police would have opened fire on those folks. That would have been the precise moment to return fire and escalate the conflict, deepening the war against civilization. We should clarify that, as always, RS doesn’t take all of the credit, there were many hooded folks and common people in various groups who were in the thick of it, that’s true. Even though what the factions wanted at that moment didn’t come to pass, the disturbance worried the government greatly.
In their communiqué, the factions stated:
“One of our objectives on the path to destabilization is to provoke violent confrontations so that guards open fire against the citizenry and the latter decide to defend themselves, thus escalating the conflict. ‘For when the crisis becomes more acute, it’s better to push it along and make it worse…’
As we have written previously, RS is not a group that either ‘understands’ or ‘respects’ the masses. We don’t participate in demonstrations to express “solidarity”, not to ask for ‘peace’ and ‘justice’. The RS factions want to escalate them and see this system and this civilization burn and fall due to the problems of those who constitute it.”
XT: This seems like it will be the last RS communiqué after its self-dissolution, as was proclaimed in its August communiqué. This then is the swan song and the last words of the unburied corpse. Though we disagree with their tactics and we distance ourselves from their actions, we appreciate the efforts of the people at Revista Regresión as well as those of the now defunct blog Tlatol for making this electronic conversation possible.
This entry was posted on Thursday, October 29th, 2015 at 10:10 pm and is filed under Interviews.