My Anti-Cull Philosophy part 2
[This is being published in an upcoming pamphlet with the first section, through Forged Books.]
Last night I woke up at 3am, full of thoughts that I am going to seek to communicate here, as a second part to my My Anti-Cull Philosophy. Part of my intention for writing this in this way goes with plans for the first part to go in a collection, with some anti-totalitarian poetry. Unlike the first part, this section has one key idea of focus – the link between cull ideology and totalitarianism.
I consider rebellion against totalitarianism to be the key quality of ontological anarchy, as for me ontological anarchy starts with the positive affirmation that authority doesn’t exist. This in many ways differentiates ontological anarchy from the politics of anarchism, which often surmounts to the negative task of constructing totalitarian totalities, in ways that fit an “anti-authoritarian” ideology. This is not suggesting that no similar desires are shared, such as desiring voluntary association, mutual aid, resisting repression apparatus and so on. Anarchism is not the focus of this piece though – totalitarianism is – so I say this only to affirm that I am discussing totalitarianism in a way that includes anarchism, for the most part, within the totality.
So, what do I mean by totalitarianism? My feelings regarding totalitarianism largely mirror those Quinn described in his excellent book Ishmael. With this, there are two key aspects to totalitarianism. The first of these is the assertion of knowing the right way to live and knowing that that ought to be the only way to live, justifying coercive measures to get others to live how you want them to live. The second aspect follows from the first, as it is the assumed knowledge of who should be allowed to live and who must die. Another area that I agree with Quinn on, which I feel brings together capitalism, socialism, monarchism, liberalism, fascism and anarchism, to be a description of one singular machine, which I feel is fair to simply call “this culture” (but prefer the name Moloch) is that this culture is simply totalitarian agriculture.
So the first aspect of totalitarianism here is that the one right way to live, which all ought to live under, is totalitarian agriculture. The second aspect is that those who don’t conform to this lifestyle, who rebel or differentiate, should be annihilated – annihilation being the central activity of totalitarianism.
That the negative/negating practice of annihilation is central to totalitarianism is obvious when considering well known death camps, such as the Nazis or communist gulags. When expanded to include non-humans, the state of ecological and specicidal annihilation to feed the relentless consumption of the agricultural civilisation I am calling Moloch is clearly an effort in totalitarianism. So, I feel that, when looking at this culture, with feral eyes and a rewilded mind, it can only be seen as a death camp. Witnessing the annihilation of wild animals, the continuing onslaught of dehabitation for the Cause of urbanisation/architecture/development, amidst this “camp”, this temporary totalitarian zone, that generally goes by the name of Britain, I am revolted.
How this relates to the culling of badgers, or any other target of culling, is simply that culling is a mode of annihilation. All totalitarian projects of death-production are efforts in selective-slaughtering, which is what culling is. Culling actualises the second aspect of totalitarianism, the knowledge of who should be allowed to live or die. According to advocates of the cull Cause, badgers ought to die, in the same way that, according to advocates of the Nazi Cause, my Jewish family should die, as should I – disgusting moralism. According to badger cull advocates, the one right way to live is totalitarian agriculture, so badgers, who do not conform to the systems of totalitarian agriculture, ought to die, for contradicting the systems narratives – more disgusting moralism. When conservationists seek to “manage wildlife”, though culling wild animal populations, the Cause that justifies the annihilation always falls back to “preventing their population interfering with the narratives of totalitarian agriculture”, in essence – there might be reasons placed between this and the act, but it remains, as I see it, the foundational justification for conservationist culling efforts.
Culling is the segregation and eradication of undesirables, whether they be badgers, pigeons, boars, rats, ruddy ducks, deer, or whoever else is considered undesirable for the totality – I feel to note how obviously similar this is to efforts in ethnic cleansing. I am horrified by cull ideology, as I am horrified by efforts in systemic slaughter. That any living being is designated a position of “undesirable” revolts me, as I feel inclined towards pan-erotic yes-saying to life. But it isn’t just that a specific individual is being considered undesirable and so worthy of death, which I would be less horrified by – though still feel revolted by the idea that anyone knows who ought to die. The claim within cull ideology is that all individuals who agro-industrialists, conservationists and other cull advocates stereotype as being members of undesirable groups, are justifiable targets for annihilation, as they don’t serve the Cause of totalitarian agriculture, of feeding Moloch.
How do I feel to rebel against cull-culture, against the Moloch machine of industrial slaughter, against totalitarian efforts in annihilation? For me, it begins with affirming, celebrating and caring for that which totalitarianism seeks to feed on first; the individual, the singular, the unique, difference, the ego, the living being, the non-conformist, the endling (which all are, whence we’ve destroyed the collectivism of species being, upon which speciesism is founded upon). This is not done as some Cause, as in seeking to effect so as to produce the right way that things ought to be, but rather as will-to-power/live as striving to Affect, in the same way that an individual will seek to affect another who they see as hurt and wish to help, as they feel love for them.
I have come to describe the activities/activism that I practice as non-localisable localism, but when attending a reading group recently, after I was asked how I feel about the idea of “dropping out” – to which I responded that I can’t claim to have “dropped out” – it was put to me that my non-localisable localism seems very much to be “dropping in”. I thoroughly enjoyed this feedback and have thought about it frequently since attending the group. I do feel as if “drop-in practice” fits my anti-cull direct-action activities, as well as other direct actions I engage in. Dropping in is different from one of the main popular leftist type activist actions, of occupy and occupying. Occupying strikes me as being a form of tiny-temporary-totalitarian-zone forming, which seeks to territorialise an area, through encampment, demonstration, marches, etc., in the service of the Cause. How dropping in differs is that the process involves no territorialisation or propertarian claims of being the rightful owner of an area. Dropping in is about being-there, being-with, caring for individuals, as seeking to Affect, not seeking to Cause. One of the qualities of this practice of caring for living beings, which I feel to mention, is that it is a form of preservationism, seeking to empower will-to-life, rather than attempt to manage or make “sustainable” abusive narratives and relationships. Examples of dropping in include doing sett checks, offering homeless individuals a drink or some food, engaging in rewilding as guerrilla-gardening and returning to care for the area (without seeking to turn the living individuals into a mode of productivity), checking in on neighbours, and other similar examples. Dropping in is not salvation and is not a fix, but it is an approach to caring for other individuals, amidst the horrors of Moloch culture!
There’s a part of me that would love to believe in saving badgers from the cull, or any other living being experiencing abuse through cull practices. Defence and care, through rebellion, feel like all I can honestly offer. I live in a badger cull zone, not far from the boundary of another badger cull zone. I feel affirming that these temporary totalitarian zones are temporary and will eventually dissipate into nothingness. I celebrate that culling is not succeeding in annihilating badgers, as their populations are being recorded as increasing – another example of how totalitarianism is a failure. Affirmation and celebration feel absurd, given how dire the environmental situation is, as mass-extinction/Moloch culture continues its revolting projects of annihilation. But I still feel to affirm and celebrate where life is. Where culls are, I feel to rebel.
I feel that the primal bedrock of anti-cull philosophy is life affirmation, yes-saying to life, as a form of active positivity. I feel that this positivity is actively actualised through all forms of challenge to cull practices and narratives. The phrase “respect existence or expect resistance” nicely sums this up. That this is a positivist philosophy makes sense, given how cull practice is a negative practice of annihilation – basically an effort in dialectics. This differentiation between negativity and positivity strikes me as one of the basic differences between conservationism and preservationism. Conservationism, as a mode of eco-ethic and as a practice, is often one of annihilation, through culling and other forms of “wildlife management” – conservationism also exists, basically, entirely for civilisation/Leviathan/Moloch, as a mode of conservatism regarding “natural resources”. The positivity of preservationist praxis is intensely differentiated from this, due to preservationist actions not being supportive of productivity, not being oriented towards industry, “sustainable” or otherwise, and being pursued out of a desire for wildlife/primal-anarchy. The basic point I am trying to communicate here is that the anti-cull rebellion, as a form of active positivity, is preservationist praxis.
Something I feel to make clear at this point, given the emphasis on positivity that I have thus far brought, is this; positivity is not optimism. As I use the terms, positivity/positivism and optimism are extremely different experiences and ideas. Optimism, in my eyes, is bound to meliorism and the life-renouncing techno-progressivist ideology, which is at the core of civilisation/Leviathan/Moloch, asserting that through enlightenment, interference, management, coercion, construction, annihilation, progress, time, collective-Cause-narratives and productivity, the world can be improved – that civilisation’s optimism has succeeded only in producing global warming and mass extinction is horrifying. Positivity, as I mean it, is ecologically endarkening, politically-and-cosmically-pessimistic, a mode of destruction (in the sense of creation/life being a process of destruction/de-struction/de-construction), actualises mad and absurd affirmations, is individual/egoistical affectivity as well as egoist/individualist as a practice of active Affection, and is presentist/immediatist. Whilst optimists seek to renounce the world and transform life according to their designs and choreographies, positivity (as I mean it) affirms life, with all the horror and joy that includes, whilst caring for the living.
Another point I wish to make clear, given how aspects of what has been written here could be misconstrued as “merely conceptual”; all of this is about activities physically enacted, to resist cull practices. This is not about “armchair activism/theorising” or constructing theories. That this is to some degree a piece of writing on ontology doesn’t mean that this is about abstract or esoteric ideas, that have no direct meaning or applicability. Ontology is about Being and Being, in my experience, is embodied/physical, with ontological-anarchy being a physically-embodied practice of anarchy. Take the practice of care as an example; care, as many possible physically embodied activities, is ontologically a form of positive affirmation.
I don’t know what this essay will do to help resist the badger cull, or challenge other culls. As I write this, it is not the badger cull season and I have not been to check setts for a while. I want for cull-culture and totalitarian agriculture to no longer abuse living beings. I want for captured, caged and repressed individuals to experience wildlife/wild-Being, primal/ontological anarchy.
This has been written as an act of eco-revolt, as I am revolted by culls. Rebellion against the cull is resistance against totalitarian agriculture. I feel that being alive and yes-saying to life, assenting to life, is individualist/egoist, non-conformity, rebellion, refusal, resistance, involution and destruction, in this collectivist totalitarian death camp of Moloch worshippers.
For wild revolt against the cull.
Against wildlife management.
Preservationism as eco-anarchist praxis.
My love to the living!