Transcripts to Layla AbdelRahim radio interview: Anarcho-Primitivism: Civilization, Symbolic Culture, and Rewilding

Anarcho-Primitivism: Civilization, Symbolic Culture, and Rewilding

Revolutionary Left Radio, Jul 24, 2017

Dr. Layla AbdelRahim is an anthropologist, author, Revolutionary, and anarcho-primitivist thinker who urges us to examine civilization, its premises, its psychology, its pathologies, and its manifestations (including capitalism). She sits down with Brett to discuss the philosophy of anarcho-primitivism and debunks myths that many leftists have about the tendency and the philosophy that goes with it. It’s not a call to dismantle everything with no concern for who it hurts; rather it offers a way *forward* by insisting on an analysis that goes deeper than capitalism, and cuts to the core of our civilization, our evolutionary history, and our psyches. This is a must-listen episode!

Topics Include: Civilization, language, anthropology, symbolic culture, the use of language, the agricultural revolution, Marxism, the concept of “rewilding”, meditation, train journeys across Russia, going into nature, and much more!!!

Interview Transcript

Host: …Layla would you like to introduce yourself and say a little bit about your background? Continue reading “Transcripts to Layla AbdelRahim radio interview: Anarcho-Primitivism: Civilization, Symbolic Culture, and Rewilding”

To love a swamp,

To love a swamp, however, is to love what is muted and marginal, what exists in the shadows, what shoulders its way out of mud and scurries along the damp edges of what is most commonly praised. And sometimes its invisibility is a blessing. Swamps and bogs are places of transition and wild growth, breeding grounds, experimental labs where organisms and ideas have the luxury of being out of the spotlight, where the imagination can mutate and mate, send tendrils into and out of the water.

Barbara Hurd, from Stirring the Mud: On Swamps, Bogs, and Human Imagination

Attachment Pain

Since a 2008 stay with indigenous Chirikayen people in southeast Venezuela, Ria Montana has mused the correlation between human attachment and environmental context. This is her latest muse.

Recently young adults from various distant cities have blatantly told me they “don’t like people” and plan to “live alone” their entire lives. Just go to work because they must for food and shelter, and come home to mainly occupy themselves with electronic devices. If they end up having a life partner or family of their own, it is something they plan to tolerate, not enjoy. If this will be the way of the next generation, a good moniker may be Techno Hermits. Not that they could sustain themselves as hermits. Quite the opposite, they report that they are averse to a life close with nature. They are aware that the only reason they could withstand the intensity of social withdrawal is their faux relationships from compulsory work, superficial family and friends, and screen media. Our species appears to be at the apex of separation from nature and each other. We have had a series of separation catalysts going as far back as our sapiens origins, perhaps farther still; for example, long before separation hierarchy via settled agricultural life there was separation hierarchy via weaponry and even controlled fire. This latest technology catalyst has me wondering, What is the driver thrusting our separation sprint down what feels like civilization’s final stretch?

Screen media may be paving the way by offering a substitute sense of attachment. No matter how pseudo- it is, we intentionally walk into the trap. While we are yet to find a method to de-nature ourselves entirely out of our primal need for connection with life, electronic technology is posing this perverse challenge. But if that’s the pulling force, what’s the pushing force? Even the closest relationships have an essence of tension and void. Humans are replacing people with pets. We now shop online, products delivered and dropped at doors, no need for human contact at all. Loneliness in the presence of others. Anxiety in nature. Alas, all this newfangled savor neurosis has unforgiving impact. Have we adapted with civilization into an oxymoronic creature capable of declaring “I like animals more than people,” while domesticating and consuming animals and encroaching upon and killing off entire wildlife species at an unprecedented rate? Listening to humans tell their stories and knowing my own, simply put, today’s civilized culture is in a death spiral of pain. For many if not most, screens are Brave New World soma, offering a way to cope, an escape from this baneful existence. Continue reading “Attachment Pain”

Fire In A Untame Place 


I am a fire in an untamed place

Light and heat to nurture the grace

Like a badger caged in the night

You might thrash and bite out of freight

But you feel through these feet

My roots run deep

A tree to shelter from the storm

A fire to keep warm

But I won’t dissipate into ash

If I go you know I’m coming back

The eternal return of the whisper of the wood

In these concrete landscape you know we stand where forests stood

I’m sat in a tree by a river

Who knows what boundlessness will deliver

In this place of signs without symbols

With no identicals or anything to resemble

Each gust of wind is unique

So abandon the bleak

Because you are the wind and the fire and the rain and the roots of the tree

Born condemned to be free

Immersed in the world…

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Anarcho-Primitivism: Civilization, Symbolic Culture, and Rewilding

 Dr. Layla AbdelRahim is an anthropologist, author, Revolutionary, and anarcho-primitivist thinker who urges us to examine civilization, its premises, its psychology, its pathologies, and its manifestions (including capitalism). She sits down with Brett to discuss the philosophy of anarcho-primitivism and debunks myths that many leftists have about the tendency and the philosophy that goes with it. It’s not a call to dismantle everything with no concern for who it hurts; rather it offers a way *forward* by insisting on an analysis that goes deeper than capitalism, and cuts to the core of our civilization, our evolutionary history, and our psyches. This is a must-listen episode!

Topics Include: Civilization, language, anthropology, symbolic culture, the use of language, the agricultural revolution, Marxism, the concept of “rewilding”, meditation, train journies across Russia, going into nature, and much more!!!


Links to Layla’s websites, where you can find her books and writings:

Layla’s Work

Layla on FB

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BITING BACK! A Radical Response to Non-Vegan Anarchists

5 August 2017, by Anonymous 

While there are certainly a number of radicals who recognize the oppression of non-human animals and are fighting against it, we continue to see non-human animals offered as food items at many radical potlucks, bookfairs, and other anarchist gatherings. We believe this is a hierarchical form of oppression worthy of a much needed anarchist critique.

This short essay will attempt to address some of the most common anarchist objections to veganism. We aim to inspire a praxis of insurrectionary anarchy and eco-defense by asserting a position against speciesism and the objectification of non-human animals.


Insurrectionary anarchy: Insurrectionary anarchy is a way of conceptualizing anarchism within our present moment. Rather than waiting around for a revolutionary moment in the future, the insurrectionary anarchist recognizes that the revolutionary fight is happening here and now. There will be no grandiose revolution to wait around for. Insurrectionary anarchism is focused on action. We want to create a better world in our present moment while attacking what holds us back from realizing that world. We aim to put an end to the state, capitalism, and all internal and external power structures which maintain this society.

Anthropocentrism: The moralist belief that human beings are the most significant entity on earth.

Speciesism: Speciesism, like many other isms, is based on a line of thinking which views certain unchosen traits as inherently superior over others. Racists think they are superior because of their race, sexists think they are superior because of their sex, speciesists think they are superior because of their species. Speciesism arises out of an anthropocentric view of the world in which an individual holds the belief that the human is the most important animal and therefore has the right to subjugate other animals based on species.

Veganism: The avoidance, as much as possible, of cruelty to and consumption of non-human animals and products derived from them for food, clothing, and entertainment. Vegans view all animals (human and non-human alike) as beings with their own desires and potential for freedom.

Radical veganism is a logical extension of anarchist thought which recognizes the situations faced by all beings under attack by oppression, not only the human. Veganism in this respect proposes the constant reflection and deconstruction of personal positions, behaviors, and actions in the forever changing relationships between individuals, the world around us, and the dominating systems imposed onto us.

Here are 4 common objections to veganism presented by anarchists.

1. Imposing veganism is a colonial practice because killing and eating meat is an essential aspect of many indigenous communities. i.e. “Killing and eating animals is not the problem, a colonized relationship to killing and eating animals is the problem.”

This is a common position we have seen many anarchists take. Interestingly enough, we find it is most often evoked as a response by white anarchists assuming a position as an “ally” to indigenous people. Many anarchists believe they are somehow speaking on behalf of indigenous people or seeking to further the traditions of indigenous people. This simplistic use of identity politics is nothing new. One need not look far to realize that there are a great number of indigenous people who are vegan today as well as a number of indigenous people whose customs never centered on consuming animals. There is no monolithic indigenous culture to evoke and therefore the gesture is meaningless. There are only multitudes of indigenous people with their own beliefs and customs. Attempting to justify hunting and/or non-human animal consumption by romanticizing Indigenous people only plays a role in homogenizing the experiences of all indigenous peoples.

2. I oppose factory farming but there is nothing wrong with killing animals outside of capitalism. i.e. “Killing and eating animals is not the problem, killing and eating animals under capitalism is the problem.”

This objection to veganism assumes that under capitalism factory farming is the only harmful experience attributed to non-human animals. While yes, slaughterhouses look better up in flames, at the core of speciesism is a hierarchical relationship between human and non-human animals (which is reflected in their everyday use for entertainment, pharmaceutical testing, and fashion trends involving their skin and fur) which justifies their oppression beyond just capitalism. Since the social relationship to non-human animals has been heavily shaped by capitalism, they are viewed as manufactured commodities rather than living beings capable of experiencing pain and suffering. While the elimination of capitalism and factory farming will end the institutionalized manifestations of speciesism, only an elimination of human supremacy on a personal level will create new relationships with non-human animals-relationships based on respect for their right to bodily autonomy and freedom from human domination.

3. Veganism is only a consumer activity and not inherently anti-capitalist. Boycotts don’t change anything. i.e. “There is no ethical consumption under capitalism.”

All too often this objection comes from a perspective that mistakenly assumes liberal veganism represents veganism as a whole. On an organized level, radical vegan groups and cells like the ALF, Animal Liberation Brigade, Animal Rights Milita etc. have destroyed hundreds of thousands of dollars in property and terrorized the state into creating the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act. On an individual level, veganism is an attack on the day to day speciesist power structure, a power structure invisibilized by social normalcy.

Anyone who has attended enough anarchist gatherings that excluded vegan food knows how quickly discussions/arguments over speciesism and non-human animal oppression disrupts the atmospheric peace surrounding the consumption of animal flesh and secretions. While it seems tempting to dismiss veganism as merely a consumer activity, veganism challenges the oppressive hierarchy (speciesism) in radical spaces by acting as a wrench in the gears of speciesist conformity. By existing as such, dialog is created which brings the issue of non-human animal oppression to the surface and calls for an extended examination of internalized oppressive tendencies and behavior.

Speciesism is normalized through individual participation in a broader social program that objectifies non-human animals and places them below humans as commodities to consume. Taking part in this process of objectification normalizes the existence of oppressive thinking and ideology in anarchist spaces. It is an incomplete observation to say veganism is only concerned with food; it opens new avenues of thinking in terms of our relationship to non-human animals, while challenging a socially constructed hierarchy of human supremacy that normalizes our consumption of them.

4. I’m not contributing to animal oppression because I only steal or dumpster animal products.

While this might satisfy some liberal vegans, it still does not get at what the core of the issue with consuming animals is. While only stealing or dumpstering animal products might mean you are not contributing monetarily to animal oppression, it still validates the notion of human supremacy by normalizing the social activity of consuming non-human animals. By stating “its ok if it’s not bought and otherwise would be wasted” people who dumspter animal products reduce veganism to a boycott strategy relate to their surroundings. Simply put, dumpstering animal products undermines the necessity for developing personal non-hierarchical relationships with non-human animals which destroy their assigned commodity status.

Veganism is not merely a dietary choice, but a challenge to the dominant anthropocentric narrative. It is not about purchasing different products but cultivating new relationships with non-human animals which are not based on hierarchies and oppression. While there are still anarchists who feel waiting for the collapse of capitalism and supporting the ALF is a sufficient enough approach to anti-speciesism, many of us recognize the social and dietary framework which enables speciesism and the need for its total destruction.

Anarchists are quick to recognize that racism, sexism, and homophobia will not simply go away upon the collapse of capitalism and they must be fought here and now. These same anarchists, however, are often unwilling to apply this logic to speciesism. If we want total freedom, we must cultivate new relationships in our everyday lives. This means fighting oppression on every line, including the line of species. Refusing to do so is not coherent with anarchist and autonomist practices.

We are not asking for bigger cages but the destruction of all cages along with the ways of thinking that create them. Towards anarchy through individual and collective negation of this society and all its internalized roles, in solidarity with the wild against the prison world of human supremacy: vegan anarchy means attack everywhere!

Māori Women Educators’ Pedagogy


Image result for Māori Women



Whakapapa……………..the genealogical descent of all living thing


…The time that I came to ask him for some kōrero, he actually did bring out his little table, which was just for his whakapapa book. The family I was born into were steeped in things Māori and how things had to be. At the age of 7, one of our old grand-uncles took him [Liz’s uncle] and must have stayed out in the bush somewhere for a couple of weeks. He slept through the day. But then in the night when everything was all still, he would get him up and they would whakapapa. He taught him all the whakapapa and then brought him back.

Rose: We’re descended from the ancient people, as well as those tīpuna who came from the islands. A beautiful people, peace loving people, vegetarian, our ancient people were not cannibals…