What the Hell is Anarcho-Primitivism?

What the hell is Anarcho-Primitivism? Anarcho-Primitivism is an anarchist critique and philosophy that emphasizes environmentalism, rewilding, primitivism, and criticizes technological advancement.

There were, arguably, two main colossal shifts in human evolution that led us to the modern age.

  1. Early humans began cooking food which allowed for rapid brain evolution
  2. The birth of agriculture

The Neolithic Revolution marked a pivotal turning point for humankind. Humans, on a large scale, started to abandon the hunting and gathering age, which began 1.8 million years ago for Homo erectus and 0.2 million years ago for Homo sapiens.

Anarcho-primitivism argues that this shift from hunting and gathering to farming and agriculture was ultimately responsible for the rise of social stratification, explosive fecundity rates, overpopulation, disease, coercion, corruption, power disbalance, & the exploitation of people, animals and nature.

Although I do not endorse Anarcho-Primitivism, there is some legitimacy to these claims, objectively speaking.

For example:

The Black Death or ‘Black Plague’, reduced the world’s population in the late 14th century from an estimated 450 million people to about 350 million people.

The bacterium ‘Yersinia Pestis‘ is believed to have been the culprit of the plague, originating in Central Asia and spreading through Europe via trade routes along the silk road; likely from oriental rat fleas.

Trade routes, cities, towns, farming villages, government, etc. are all feats of human achievement that can be linked back to the neolithic revolution, or ‘the agricultural revolution’.

Anarcho-Primitivists argue, essentially, that our rapid progress was a glitch that should have never occurred.  Our progress, they argue, directly affects the condition of our species; which, according to Anarcho-Primitivists, is declining, per capita, as a result of our progress.

The objective and solution offered by Anarcho-Primitivism is essentially taking steps to rewind the human cassette tape back to before the agricultural revolution.

It is thus theorized that a return to primitivism would weed out the atrocities of modern warfare, mass genocide, overpopulation, exploitation and all of the “ills” of the modern age.

I was talking to a small group of Anarcho-Primitivists in Wasatch National Forest Utah years ago, and in response to my assertion that ‘it wouldn’t work’, I was met with the simple reply: “It worked for hundreds of thousands of years.”

Although I do not subscribe to ‘Anarcho-Primitivism’, I do think it’s an interesting philosophy that provokes thought in regards to who we are as a species and a civilization, and what the future may hold for us.

(This is Part 1 of our ‘What the Hell?’ Series where we attempt to summarize and explain different political philosophies.)

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