From Propaganda of the Deed to Propagation of the Seed
A core principle of conduct embraced by many anarchists is the notion of direct action—humans engaging directly in political or social acts without seeking recourse through a diluted, indirect pathway. Indirect actions could be categorized as those commonplace processes most of us partake in daily in modern industrial society, where we employ cadres of “middle men” to get our needs met, even at the expense of living in an alienated and hierarchical world.
Where and how we get our food is a realm fertile for direct action that has far too often been overlooked, and the more human efforts are put directly into getting our food in nature—something an anarcho-primitivist strives for—the less need and the less desire we will have to separate ourselves from the natural processes by using modern machinery and agriculture techniques that keep us out of the loop, ultimately keeping nature out of the loop too. Permaculture offers the surest bridges to allow humanity to cross from a concrete and machine besieged existence back into a thriving symbiotic connection to the rest of the living world. The paradeisos—the plentiful, self-perpetuating lush groves of our dreams—can be realized as actual places that we can stumble upon for a filling meal in our recapturing of the nomadic way of life. Our nomadic sensibilities are not irretrievably lost, but we may need to piece together a different game trail to migrate forward, back in time.
Seven Billion Nomads?
An anarcho-primitivist professing the wonders (and wanders) of a nomadic lifestyle might from time to time encounter a stickler who responds: “but there wouldn’t be enough food to support the seven billion humans; do you really think we should allow a mass die-off?” This is an uncomfortable corner for such an anarchist to be painted into—especially if it’s by other anarchists—and it’s a corner where (mental) starvation will eventually occur and a primitivist may quit on the fertile, migratory utopia. Permaculture heroically shines light into the dark forest, growing multifarious roots out of such a trap, the wise path being a generally “zone 4” approach.
It would take far too long, in terms of human lives (and billions of human deaths), to wait for the succession of the modern monocultured forests back to the dynamic, efficient, high yielding places of yesteryear. Anyways, it’s doubtful the succession would privilege human’s food needs, i.e. humans, nor the bottleneck of species they have domesticated for food, could have had the evolutionary time or pressure to be fully equipped with all the appropriate digestive enzymes to enter into a diverse ecosystem and gain nourishment from thousands of different plants. The zone 5 mentality of letting nature do it’s thing must be dropped, and the zone 4 mentality of changing nature in analogous ways to fit human needs must be adopted. Here is a non-exhaustive list of permaculture ideas that primitivists can become familiar with and possibly implement in even a “guerilla gardening” fashion, depending on their accesses to land:
– Since forests are such masters of the hydrologic cycle, turning non-forested land—such as grasslands, deserts, and abused agriculture lands—into diverse food forests would prove the most immediately beneficial for producing a surge in available biomass fit for human consumption.
– Start figuring out foods that can be wildcrafted, “eating the weeds”, and introducing them to the palates of others as well as your own; once someone realizes they can eat lettuces growing wild in the forest, their lenses are changed and they start considering what else they can eat (bark? berries? bugs?).
– Sabotaging trees that are low in what they provide the ecosystem, and favoring and seeding trees that are much more beneficial to human needs and the ecosystem as a whole; this is especially relevant to our monocultured forests that are daily wasting the energy potential granted from the sun.
– I had other ideas when I conceived of this post, but they are currently unavailable; when they occur to me, I will edit them in.