End humanity to end domination?
On the misanthropic current in anarchic environments
As a result of the recent explosive attack carried out by ITS at a bus stop in Chile, seeking to kill humans, we publish an article from #3 of the magazine Kalinov Most (October 2018). For more information it is also possible to read: Misanthropic Wild Trends: Other expressions of authoritarianism and sacred thought (Kalinov Most # 1 October 2017).
“Humans are a disease. They are the cancer of this planet.
They are a plague. And we are the only cure.”
(Agent Smith- The Matrix)
Previously we already outlined a critique (1) of the ecoextremist tendency and of several of its derivatives, particularly its authoritarian characteristics and its defence of a sacred quasi-religious thought that, as anti-authoritarians, produces so much disgust in us.
The preparation of that article sought to focus mainly on those aspects that seemed key to us to deepen the exposure of the reproduction of what we deeply despise, but without a doubt, it was not the only thing that has been written. Simultaneously, from different territories, there has been continuing reflections and critiques specifically against ecoextremism (2) in its different versions. Writings that, far from seeking to show a good, positive or citizenist anarchism, seek to sharpen the exercise of offensive anarchic praxis.
In this text we will look in depth at another aspect that we can identify in this same trend, but to be honest, it also exceeds it by far. We will not focus on any specific group, magazine, web page, publication or promotional acronym, but rather on a way of understanding and referring to this world. We are talking about the misanthropic tendency and its derivatives.
It is no less true that at the time of addressing these issues, a sense of absurdity invades us in the very exercise of expressing on paper and systematizing that series of ideas, visions or feelings that are against humanity and the human being (3). In any case, we will try as we consider the misanthropic fringe relevant, due to the innumerable tensions generated within anarchic spaces and the expansion of this approach as supposedly radical.
It is necessary to verify the wide – but not profound – diffusion of this tendency represented, mainly, in common slogans such as: Human Plague, Human Garbage or Anti-Human. These expressions are possible to observe in speeches, texts, music, slogans, street graffiti, murals, attitudes, comments, among many other things. In addition to the diffusion of the phraseology in question, it is possible to observe a certain logic of contempt for any subject alien to the misanthropes, as well as a disproportion when exercising violence, simply citing only the “human” condition of the adversary as an argument to increase the scale of confrontation, expressions that can be observed both in everyday situations and in indiscriminate attacks.
Misanthropy has found some acceptance in some of the anti-authoritarian spaces in Chile, Mexico, Argentina and Spain, to mention a few places. From this space we seek to contribute to the discussion and deepen the theme, overcoming their positions and aesthetics of pretend radicalism that expands in the midst of the lack of reflection and with their scant project which makes digestible speeches as if to sell the latest fashionable merchandise. Our motives are not hidden: we seek to translate these words into a contribution to the destruction of this world, the attack on all authority and the qualification of our denials.
MISANTHROPY?: WHAT? WHERE? WHEN?
To avoid confusion and seeking to clarify the point that interests us, it is worth noting that we do not refer in any case to the criticism of technology, civilization, rejection of speciesism or anthropocentrism. When we refer to misanthropic tendencies, we need to pause to explain their definition from the simple to the complex.
Misanthropy can be defined etymologically from the Greek “Miso”: “I hate”, and “Anthropos”: “Man, human being”. This explanation, although it gives us an important clue, needs to be deepened since the words and their meanings have a trajectory, use, re-appropriation and appropriation by those who use it. The misanthropic tendencies do not refer to the rejection of specific individuals, to sectors, positions, attitudes, dynamics of individuals or stages of humanity, but to the human being as a whole. Humanity in its totality and with each of its expressions, is understood as something despicable that merits complete rejection and denial.
Far from being a bad script from a low-budget film about extraterrestrials, the daydreams in which misanthropy is expressed are related to the extermination and destruction of humanity. At present, we can find references to these positions within anarchic environments, where they are seeking to deliver a false “boost”; no longer posing the fight against the State, the authorities or domination as a whole, but rather against humanity itself. This supposed radicalism is plagued by common place ideas that not only never deepen, but these ideas are shared and coincide within the analysis of historic reactionaries. These misanthropic expressions may be completely irrelevant, despite of their supposed growth and/or null development, but even so we can not deny the continuous references that are made in several circles of ‘comrades’ that, without greater depth or, even, comprehension, merely repeat poses and slogans, which enable the reproductive positions of the authorities that we fight to continue.
RECYCLING THE LOGIC OF DOMINATION AND AUTHORITY
These misanthropic expressions have ended up recycling the methods of the most classic authoritarians. For centuries, Thomas Hobbes has been one of the cornerstone authors to legitimize figures of authority, and the State or Society itself. Hobbes coined the well-known reasoning that “Man is the wolf of man” [homo homini lupus], to speak of a supposed intrinsically harmful human nature which is in conflict with all. Faced with this scenario, it would be essential to create an institution that allows the arbitration of the permanent hostilities of human beings and individuals. This is how the State rises as part of the great social contract.
The most conservative and classic discourses are rhythmically repeated by misanthropes, “human nature” is harmful and harmful in itself. Sharing the diagnosis gives a return to the solution, it is no longer necessary for a State to form Society, but the only possible and desirable solution is the destruction of humanity to end “all evil”.
By essentializing and naturalizing behaviours, they seek to totalize through moral conceptions and legitimize any position. This fallacy has been used continuously to build or raise different “projects” of Society or, in this case, of the extermination of a species. That the human being is bad or good, is simply a philosophical myth to seek to build projects, structures or designs, becoming the placebo and justifying any act.
The totalizing expressions about humanity by the misanthropes are reiterated from different arguments fitting perfectly with what was proclaimed by Thomas Malthus. The diagnosis seems to be shared again with those icons of authoritarianism. The infamous Malthusian theory, is based on a supposed equation that has penetrated strongly into so-called “common sense”, where it’s believed that the growth of the human population would only bring about impoverishment, leading to early extinction in misery. Malthus, like Nostradamus, even came to indicate the date for the extinction of mankind as 1880 by the devastation of resources.
Logic may surprise us because of how familiar it sounds with misanthropic groups and their related expressions, but, at the time, Malthus proposed avoiding the end of humanity by fighting overpopulation, urging different States to take measures on birth control.
Birth control by the State, has had its most brutal expressions with the forced sterilization of women at different historical moments across the planet, a cross between patriarchy, Malthusianism and domination seems to be perfect. Just to name some periods of that brutality we can find the campaign launched by Alberto Fuijimori in Peru, where thousands of indigenous women were forcibly sterilized at the end of the 1990’s or in the different regions of Africa, where it has been a recurring measure forced on women with huge media and government campaigns. The logic is the same: to sterilize the poor to fight the poverty of humanity. The anti-humans will celebrate: fewer people, less humans who will populate the earth. But the Malthusian premises conceal and prevent the understanding of a relevant and obvious fact, or rather they divorce it from logic: the poisoning of the environment, the misery, the looting and depredation of “resources” are not exclusively related to the growth of the human population (a consequence of the advance of civilization), but above all, relate to its distribution (4). It is only this that can explain the amount of goods and food supplies that are destroyed every day, which bounce and accumulate to maintain a growing demand with a low supply, a fundamental factor of the financial market.
The similarity of the argumentative logic between the misanthropic positions with those of Malthus seems obvious to us, even when they generate different conclusions. In order to maintain humanity and its resources, it is necessary to reduce and control the poorest population. That is, for the well-being of the Earth, the destruction of humanity is necessary, since it -in essence- damages it.
It seems that misanthropic practices do a disservice to this way of understanding the world: the problem is reduced to the number of humans. But not only birth control can be used as a mechanism of domination to manage the human population, also the great wars [WW1 & 2] that have been studied and understood -in addition to conflicts of interests, territories or dominion by the States-,as a way to maintain control of the population that, as another tradable merchandise in the market, can be destroyed in wars, leading to accumulation reactivating the economy and the productive processes.
The same expressions, functions and logic can be found in Social Darwinism or in Eugenics. The human species is seen from a perspective of a totality that has to be managed, molded, destroyed or projected upon by those who are see themselves outside it, above it; they are to define what is good, not only for the individual, their environment, or ‘society’, but for the entire species or the planet.
Up to here, we have been able to see how the misanthropic positions have been nourished according to two kinds of ideas. On the one hand, assigning the human race and its “nature” as the source of all possible evil and, on the other hand, the inherent damage the species causes to its environment. It is from there that a rejection of the concept of humanity arises, a rejection that is generally more rhetorical than real, but that sometimes has its repercussions in real practices that range from indiscriminate attack or absolute contempt for any subject or expression outside the circle right now.
Tracing the paths of these supposedly new and extreme misanthropic positions, we have been able to find bizarre groups that for years have been promulgating in their delirium the same common places. This is how “The Church of Euthanasia” or the “MEHV” (5) have developed innumerable campaigns and “activism”, sharing several approaches to current misanthropic tendencies. Not very different from the number of religious sects that, imbued with messianic delusions, place themselves as the saviours of the Earth, unleashing mass suicides or indiscriminate attacks on “humans”. These considerations would only be anecdotal if they did not have direct implications about how we think today of the struggle, the combat, the confrontation and, above all, where we aim for with our attacks. The anti-human misanthropes give all indications where they are aiming, such as with their celebration of hurricanes, storms, tsunamis, famines or school shootings. We would not be surprised by the exaltation of the infamous Carl Panzram, murderer, rapist and serial torturer during 1920s in the USA, who acknowledged that his dozens of victims were randomly chosen: “It only mattered that they were human beings (….) I hate the entire human race. I enjoy killing and raping people”, he would say in his autobiography. Undoubtedly, there is nothing revolutionary, or concerning liberation or of the destruction of authority that gives us these expressions, but they belong to misanthropy and the rejection of human beings.
FOR THE PERMANENT NEED TO SHARPEN OUR DENIALS
To believe in immovable, permanent, perpetual dogmas for the destruction of domination is, simply put, to build new walls and structured schemata that, as a straitjacket, begin to tighten only when we move.
Given this premise, we face the urgent reality of making our criticism permanent, without remaining tranquil with the old slogans and models of struggle, but also rescuing our experience. We are not interested in falling into the “consumption” of any idea of certain radical aesthetics. To believe that misanthropic positions are radical for their aspirations is simply to ignore the meaning of radicalism, which says to point to the root of the problem. Then, this single question begins to be absurd. Is human “Nature” the root of domination? In order to free ourselves from authority and the relations of authority, is the extinction of the human race desirable? We reject misanthropic accounts for different reasons, in addition to the strong flavour that it has from authoritarian behaviour from different historical periods, we believe that placing a confrontational stance based on a biological component makes us fall into an aberrant determinism, far superior to those we had already discarded. To delve more specifically: the worker is not revolutionary per se; neither women, nor immigrants, nor black people – so neither is the human the target or the oppressor in and of itself, but rather the social conditions in which they have developed and the decision of each individual, sector or groups that make it up, that occupy a place in society and in the network of power: they either maintain or deny it. Biological determinism can only produce our maximum rejection because they restrict in analysis the will of the individual to a basic, clumsy and simplistic mechanism, which prevents understanding the complex functioning of authoritarianism and, at the same time, restricts any possibility of fighting, of confronting and attacking the world of the powerful.
Placing a critique of the human being as a species is naturalizing it with certain characteristics, totalizing all individuals and completely eliminating their will, their decision, their individual initiative and the possibility of rupture that they may have. But we also have a fundamental paradox, which we wish to deal with seriously in order to overcome the classic reaction that, on more than one occasion, it has been heard: “That they should commit suicide if they are so anti-human”.
The paradox in question relates to answering the following question: From where do misanthropic positions develop? Who raises them? We do not refer to alleged conspiracy theories that observe the tentacles of the police everywhere, but, theoretically, these positions of rejection of the human being that are so alienated from their own human condition, placing themselves as judge or arbitrator in the conflict. Ridiculously evident is the fact that those who developed these misanthropic positions are human beings. Well then, how can such a paradox be explained? How is it possible to develop? We believe that understanding that there are human and non-human animals allows us to position ourselves in a different way to the environment and other living beings, where we are all animals, but the misanthropic positions do not refer to these understandings, but maintain that it is the human animal that has to disappear. The only theoretical / philosophical juggling that can be wielded then, is the argument of authority, where, to elaborate these positions, it is a necessity to alienate oneself from the intrinsic evil that they see in the human being, in order to feel outside and alien to this reality. This alienation from a biological condition is, then, a quasi-religious way of assuming authority against developing criticism. Some currents within the misanthropic positions decide to add the qualifier “civilized human”, trying, supposedly, to locate the specific characteristics that are rejected, but they promptly reiterate their totalities against “humans” and, similarly, repeat the same logics that we questioned previously.
In these moments, it is urgent that our criticism be permanent, always seeking to sharpen our denial of what exists, overcoming the apparent radicalism, the novelties that seek to be offered in the new supermarket of trendy fashions, in order to understand and deepen the knowledge of domination and the ways to attack it.
FOR A DESTRUCTIVE PRAXIS
The continuous references to wild nature, to animals, are not foreign to us, we have used them and we continue to use them more than once, in literary or other references, but it is very different to distinguish a binomial of “human = bad” / “animal = good”, and from there situates a political practice of struggle.
For us, the search to automate the relationships, the experiences, the normalization and schematization of these, the prosecution and degradation of life to merely a repetition, does not generate any essence of the human being, as the practice has shown us when we have observed different indigenous peoples, when we observe the different possibilities that have arisen throughout history in the ways of relating, the creation of uncertain new worlds, the experience and affinity which is developed in the same revolt and conflict, at different times, places and people, that reminds and shows us that creative capacity rests in our hands and not in a repetitive supposedly “natural” condition.
Mikhail Bakunin pointed out several years ago that “The State is the negation of humanity” (6), that structure and institution where authority crystallizes with political control over the lives of individuals, it is what seeks to attack and asphyxiate any human trait or expression. For us, and with the corresponding extension of domination, the State can only be understood as only one expression of domination and not its only form.
We can see different edges that overlap in the co-formation of power relations, several comrades have placed civilization as another key edge to understanding the articulation of domination. Since the 1970s, Theodore Kaczynski already pointed to the techno-industrial society as the construction of the miseries for humanity and not to humanity itself as the enemy to attack. “The Industrial Revolution and its consequences have been a disaster for the human race. The life expectancy of those of us who live in “advanced” countries has greatly increased, but it has destabilized society, made life impossible, has subjected human beings to indignities, has led to the spread of psychological suffering (physical suffering in the third world also) and has inflicted severe damage on the natural world.” (7).
Is the overpopulation of humanity and its consequent environmental devastation a problem intrinsic to the human species? Clearly the formation of large cities, the development of technology, science, the logic of progress are constituent elements of civilization and a way of life that devours all, allowing and encouraging environmental devastation, considering the earth and the planet as resources to accumulate and hoard. Cities, as constructions, as geopolitical places, are born, developed and strengthened in order to make domination more efficient and achieve greater profits in its administration, hence our criticism of urban planning must be destructive in its entirety. But it is necessary to emphasize that the problem is not overpopulation, but that it is only a consequence of a system of life that produces and reproduces it. In this sense, the decision of anti-natalist comrades and their legitimate control over their bodies are always valid as fundamental aspects for the recovery of control over our lives, positions diametrically different from enforced sterilization and birth control by the State. Here it is not a cult of life nor a Renaissance humanism, but of sharpening our criticism to identify not only what oppresses us and its logic, but also our ability to fight it and not reproduce it.
It is in this same sense that it is relevant to mention and maybe somewhat foolish, that it is not a matter of situating oneself in the “universal brotherhood”, or fraternity with any subject, but to re-evaluate the decisions and positions of the individual and not some biological and moral valuation of supposed “nature”.
Only then can we understand ‘citizens’ and their thinking as subjects with a specific and concrete position in defence of this world. Our rejection of their logic comes precisely to their positions, not to their “species”, which would be the equivalent to putting ourselves in a very different place.
It is then that we see that the dams, the electrical lines, the toxic metropolises invading every corner of the earth, the horizons full of buildings, the roads breaking into every distant place, the psychiatric cells, prisons and zoos, the madness and alienation of our own lives, the torture of animals in laboratories, the devastation of the earth, the normality of cemeteries, the suffocating reality of shit, the logic of progress and science that places us as the central species, are neither inherent nor “natural” to humanity, but that they are clear and concrete expressions of domination, authority and the exercise of power. The attack, then, becomes not only necessary but urgent to demolish this world.
Are we talking about promises and building a future? For from nihilism there is a considerable contribution in this sense, where it is no longer about presenting projects of future worlds, hopes and / or alternatives to offer. The anarchic conflict is born from the negation and confrontation of this world, from its opposition, complete and absolute rejection, without necessarily offering a patented alternative proposal, but it also confirms an undeniable fact, that what we are sure of is that in our hands there is always the creative / destructive capacity to forge new relationships and possible worlds; from the rest, only the unknown awaits us and what will come!
- Misanthropic wild tendencies: other expressions of authoritarianism and sacred thought. Kalinov Most # 1, October 2017, pp 35-40
2. Against Eco-Extremism: Mirror image of Civilization & Religion.
3. The references that we make regarding “humanity” for us are related to the set of human beings and not to any abstraction of the concept that places it as a totalizing and homogenizing entity over individuals and their particularities. We do not seek to raise one illusion over another.
4. It is necessary to recognize the real and evident increase of the human population on the earth, but environmental depredation and looting would be more related to the system of ‘life’ and social order that artificially extends ageing, fears diseases and deaths, rather than simply the number of inhabitants on the planet. To believe in a direct relationship between individuals and consumption of resources is to start from the basis that the system meets the needs of all subjects that populate the earth without seeing the hoarding and accumulation, fundamental elements of our reality. On the other hand, it is essential to place the focus upon industrialization, its unbridled and infinite consumption, which sees it necessary to devastate the earth in order to maintain the frantic and absurd rhythm of current ‘life’.
5. Movement for Voluntary Human Extinction
6. Bakunin, Mikhail. 1997. God and the State. Spain: El Viejo Topo, p. 68
7. Kaczynski, Theodore. The industrial society and its future., Thesis # 1.