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+2 votes
Disclaimer: I am not an an-prim, and in fact I am far from one, though I do agree with an-prims to some extent on critiquing the role technology plays in human society. I'm going to try to not sound like a dismissive asshole or someone who is deliberately misrepresenting primitivism.

That being said, one thing I've always wondered about an-prims is how they view people outside the primitivist "scene" for lack of a better word. The critique I hear all the time for example is that primtivists would let a huge portion of the population die who depend on medical technologies to stay alive, because they just want to destroy all civilization and technology no matter what. That sounds to me like a hyperbolic characterization of primitivists and seems like it would defy some basic anarchist principles. So more generally speaking, I guess what I'm asking is: Do primitivists expect everyone under anarchy to give up technology and become hunter-gatherers? Would people who didn't want to become hunter-gatherers be forced in some way to give up technology anyways? Would primitivists be breaking into my house and smashing my computers?

Again, I know that this sounds like an unfair characterization of primitivism and like it would violate some basic anarchist principles, but I really know very little about primitivism so I'm just being upfront about my questions. I've always thought that under anarchy, primitivists would want the freedom to go be hunter-gatherers and would militantly defend the destruction of the environment - all things I'm down with as long as people like me are also allowed to do our own thing (of course without forcing technology onto primitivists, or anyone else for that matter, as happens very often in our society). Or is there an inherent, possibly insurmountable tension between the primitivist position and non-primitivists that would ultimately mean one side would have to win out in the end?

To add to that: Do you think that there is any potential for cooperation and dialogue - I'm talking especially in terms of theory, since we both want to destroy the State and capitalism and hierarchy and so on - between primitivists and techie type anarchists? Does primitivism have anything to offer us techie types? Though I should add to that, that cyber-anarchism or whatever label you'd want to call it has to itself bring something to the table, since the tech world is dominated mostly by "anarcho"-capitalists and lolbertarians. The only thing close to a techie anarchism that I know of is "anarcho-transhumanism", whose theory seems to consist mostly of a single website steeped in Old Left ideas, and Deus Ex game manuals.
by (610 points)

plus enough characters to post...

' of them is that capitalism is inefficient and destructive whenever it gets in the way of profits'

I know your post is over two years old but in relation to technology and profits I think if the profit motive didn't exist, we would be manufacturing products that were more durable and long lasting. Things could be designed so that any improvements could be easily incorporated into existing products rather than marketing new models. Also I imagine products may be designed so that they can be easily repaired and recycled.
i programmed computers for 25 years and i don't have a cellphone i can relate, nihilist
overall, modern technology is pretty mystifying, and trying to play around with it can be pretty fun and inspirational. Of course, as funky said in an earlier thread, they can be grasped...what we call a "computer" is really a series of on-and-off switches combined with several other types of technology depending on the purpose. The sad thing about the whole thing is that "technology" in the sense that we know it is actually making it more and more difficult to live without it, and unlike what ted kaczinsky thought there's really nothing to be done about that. For example, when all the rivers are poisoned...

There was also a good article in the berkely anarchists reading group about how corporations are already a form of technology in the legal sense (as in, they are "artificial intelligence", they give workers a great roadblock against the state and the general ethical concerns about corporate practice). This is why i tend to roll my eyes when primitivists start talking about "technology", humans have always been cyborgs and technological slavery really was something set in place a very long time ago.
i generally agree with your point, nihilist.

technology, like capitalism, is self-perpetuating. but i disagree that humans have always been cyborgs. hierarchy as an accepted way of organizing human life had massive impact on the lives of most humans from millenia ago, while technology has only had serious impact since well into the industrial revolution. the level of "technological slavery" we see today is only a few decades old.

but that doesn't really matter at this point. human life is what it is. we all have choices, though those choices seem to diminish with each new technological development and its unquestioned imposition on us through legal, financial, forceful and other means.

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