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Anarcho-primitivism is an anarchist critique of the origins and progress of civilization.
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- Can humans exist without some people ruling and others being ruled? The founders of political science did not think so. "I put for a general inclination of mankind, a perpetual and restless desire for power after power, that ceaseth only in death," declared Thomas Hobbes. Because of this innate lust for power, Hobbes thought that life before (or after) the state was a "war of every man against every man"—"solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short." Was Hobbes right? Do humans have an unquenchable desire for power that, in the absence of a strong ruler, inevitably leads to a war of all against all? To judge from surviving examples of bands and villages, for the greater part of prehistory our kind got along quite well without so much as a paramount chief, let alone the all-powerful English leviathan King and Mortal God, whom Hobbes believed was needed for maintaining law and order among his fractious countrymen.
- Marvin Harris, Our Kind: Who We Are, Where We Came From, Where We Are Going (1989)
- If we once — and for so long — lived in balance with nature and each other, we should be able to do so again. The catastrophe that’s overtaking us has deep roots, but our previous state of natural anarchy reaches much further into our shared history.
- John Zerzan, "Whose Future?", from the book Take My Advice : Letters to the Next Generation from People Who Know a Thing or Two (2007) by James L. Harmon
- Never before have people been so infantalized, made so dependent on the machine for everything; as the earth rapidly approaches its extinction due to technology, our souls are shrunk and flattened by its pervasive rule. Any sense of wholeness and freedom can only return by the undoing of the massive division of labour at the heart of technological progress. This is the liberatory project in all its depth.
- John Zerzan, Future Primitive and Other Essays (1994)
- There's been a revolution in the fields of anthropology and archaeology over the past thirty years, and increasingly people are coming to understand that life before agriculture and domestication — of animals and ourselves — was in fact largely one of leisure, intimacy with nature, sensual wisdom, gender equality, and health.
- John Zerzan, Running on Emptiness: The Pathology of Civilization (2002)