Wandering Thoughts




What is the nature of an anarchist critique of civilization? If civilization corresponds to the institutional framework of enslavement, as an overview of history seems to indicate, this is no small question. Due to this correspondence, there have been anarchists calling civilization into question for nearly as long as there have been individuals calling themselves anarchists. The resurgence of a conscious critique of civilization among anarchists in the late 1970s opened a whole new field for theoretical exploration. It is unfortunate that so much of it got channeled in a primitivist direction. This sadly reduced the richness of theoretical possibilities opened by this questioning.
For me, the most basic aspect of the critique of civilization comes back to the reality of civilization as a network of institutions of enslavement. My insurgence against civilization, thus, begins with my own refusal to be a slave. From there I seek accomplices who are living their own refusal of enslavement and the institutions through which it is enforced. There is no definitive place outside of this civilization that is my destiny. All such definitive destinies--whether in the form of a future utopia or a past Eden--too readily become slave-masters themselves. Rather I can say that I am always headed elsewhere, an elsewhere that I carry with me in my refusal to live as a slave.
The essays in this section reflect my own attempts to develop a continuing critique of civilization that is my own, is free of ideological trappings and is a constant exploration of the elsewhere of self-possession lived in the here and now. They are especially critical of ideological critiques of civilization that, by placing an ideal above me, would seek to re-enslave me.