Reply to comment by __0 in An Anarchist Archive Analysing the Life & Impact of Ted Kaczynski by TheTedKArchive
I think similar statements he made after he was arrested make it more likely he honestly thought of himself as an anarchist.
That's not to say I necessarily think he was an anarchist or that the way he thought of anarchism is anything like the way I do. For further reading on this issue see: Is the Unabomber an Anarchist?
Before his arrest:
We call ourselves anarchists because we would like, ideally, to break down all society into very small, completely autonomous units. Regrettably, we don’t see any clear road to this goal, so we leave it to the indefinite future. Our more immediate goal, which we think may be attainable at some time during the next several decades, is the destruction of the worldwide industrial system. Through our bombings we hope to promote social instability in industrial society, propagate anti-industrial ideas and give encouragement to those who hate the industrial system.
Man is a social animal, meant to live in groups. But only in SMALL groups, say up to 100 people, in which all members know one another intimately. Man is not meant to live as an insignificant atom in a vast organization, which is the only way he can live in any form of industrialized society.
Leftism is unlikely ever to give up technology, because technology is too valuable a source of collective power.
- The anarchist too seeks power, but he seeks it on an individual or small-group basis; he wants individuals and small groups to be able to control the circumstances of their own lives. He opposes technology because it makes small groups dependent on large organizations.
- This statement refers to our particular brand of anarchism. A wide variety of social attitudes have been called “anarchist,” and it may be that many who consider themselves anarchists would not accept our statement of paragraph 215. It should be noted, by the way, that there is a nonviolent anarchist movement whose members probably would not accept FC as anarchist and certainly would not approve of FC’s violent methods.
After his arrest:
I would like to comment on some statements that were made in reference to the Unabomber’s manifesto in GA 40–41. In an article on pages 21–22, Anti-Authoritarians Anonymous wrote:
"[A] return to undomesticated autonomous ways of living would not be achieved by the removal of industrialism alone. Such removal would still leave domination of nature, subjugation of women, war, religion, the state, and division of labour, to cite some basic social pathologies. It is civilization itself that must be undone to go where Unabomber wants to go."
I agree with much of this. ...
But the removal of civilization itself is a far more difficult proposition, because civilization in its pre-industrial forms does not require an elaborate and highly-organized technological structure. A pre-industrial civilization requires only a relatively simple technology, the most important element of which is agriculture.
How does one prevent people from practicing agriculture? And given that people practice agriculture, how does one prevent them from living in densely-populated communities and forming social hierarchies? It is a very difficult matter and I don’t see any way of accomplishing it.
I am not suggesting that the elimination of civilization should be abandoned as an ideal or as an eventual goal. I merely point out that no one knows of any plausible means of reaching that goal in the foreseeable future. In contrast, the elimination of the industrial system is a plausible goal for the next several decades, and, in a general way, we can see how to go about attaining it. Therefore, the goal on which we should set our sights for the present is the destruction of the industrial system. After that has been accomplished we can think about eliminating civilization.
After the techno-industrial system has been eliminated, people can and should fight injustice wherever they find it. ...
Ok damn i love that second quote … i think what confused me was it was based just an interpretation i had like 5-6 years ago, where i kinda simplified teds takes on things, i think also kind of seeing some of the more problematic stuff in the manifesto, and his pretty anti left take on things, but also as someone who identifies as anarchist leaning, and also not as stongly leaning towards traditional leftism … i kind of understand a bit more that traditional leftism isn’t the only route to social justice etc…
There's certainly a lot to dislike about his political theory too, for example it's an open question whether in Ted's view some forms of racial and religious conflicts should be encouraged in the short-term, so long as they are stresses useful in breaking down the industrial system:
It seems to me, that there are discontented groups that could be very useful if we could, so to speak, recruit them.
Then when the right moment comes, they will be in a position to strike. The thing is that people will tend to be attracted to a movement not only on the basis of agreeing with its ideas, but if they see it as effective, having a clear-cut agenda, cohesive, purposeful and active.
In certain quarters, there is a rejection of modernity, among muslim militants, and I’m wondering what extent it might be useful to our movement to carry on discussions with the Muslim militants and see whether there is sufficient common ground there for any sort of alliance.
If he were simply that, I might be inclined to support him, but my guess is that his motive is less an opposition to modernity than a desire to create an Islamic ‘great power’ that would be able to compete on equal terms with other great powers of the world. If that is true, then he is just another ruthless and power-hungry politician, and I have no use for him …
Concerning the recent terrorist action in Britain: Quite apart from any humanitarian considerations, the radical Islamics' approach seems senseless. They take a hostile stance toward whole nations, such as the US. or Britain, and they indiscriminately kill ordinary citizens of those countries. In doing so they only strengthen the countries in question, because they provide the politicians with what they most need: a feared external enemy to unite the people behind their leaders. The Islamics seem to have forgotten the principle of "divide and conquer": Their best policy would have been to profess friendship for the American, British, etc. people and limit their expressed hostility to the elite groups of those countries, while portraying the ordinary people as victims or dupes of their leaders. (Notice that this is the position that the US. usually adopts toward hostile countries.)
So the terrorists' acts of mass slaughter seem stupid. But there may be an explanation other than stupidity for their actions: The radical Islamic leaders may be less interested in the effect that the bombings have on the US. or the UK. than in their effect within the Islamic world. The leaders' main goal may be to build a strong and fanatical Islamic movement, and for this purpose they may feel that spectacular acts of mass destruction arc more effective than assassinations of single individuals, however important the latter may be. I've found some support for this hypothesis:
“[A] radical remake of the faith is indeed the underlying intention of bin Laden and his followers. Attacking America and its allies is merely a tactic, intended to provoke a backlash strong enough to alert Muslims to the supposed truth of their predicament, and so rally them to purge their faith of all that is alien to its essence. Promoting a clash of civilizations is merely stage one. The more difficult part, as the radicals see it, is convincing fellow Muslims to reject the modern world absolutely (including such aberrations as democracy), topple their own insidiously secularizing quisling governments, and return to the pure path.”
"134. For all of the foregoing reasons, technology is a more powerful social force than the aspiration for freedom. But this statement requires an important qualification. It appears that during the next several decades the industrial-technological system will be undergoing severe stresses due to economic and environmental problems, and especially due to problems of human behavior (alienation, rebellion, hostility, a variety of social and psychological difficulties). We hope that the stresses through which the system is likely to pass will cause it to break down, or at least weaken it sufficiently so that a revolution occurs and is successful, then at that particular moment the aspiration for freedom will have proved more powerful than technology." [Emphasis added.]
"150. As we mentioned in paragraph 134, industrial society seems likely to be entering a period of severe stress, due in part to problems of human behavior and in part to economic and environmental problems. And a considerable proportion of the system's economic and environmental problems result from the way human beings behave. Alienation, low self-esteem, depression, hostility, rebellion; children who won't study, youth gangs, illegal drug use, rape, child abuse , other crimes, unsafe sex, teen pregnancy, population growth, political corruption, race hatred, ethnic rivalry, bitter ideological conflict (i.e., pro-choice vs. pro-life), political extremism, terrorism, sabotage, anti-government groups, hate groups. All these threaten the very survival of the system. The system will be FORCED to use every practical means of controlling human behavior."
As well he is now a kind of Machiavellian vanguardist:
(ii) If a member of the anti-tech organization can find a place on the editorial board of a radical environmentalist periodical (for instance, the Earth First! journal ), he will be able to influence the content of the periodical. If a majority of anti-tech people can be placed on the editorial board, they will be able in effect to take the periodical over, minimize its leftist content, and use it systematically for the propagation of anti-tech ideas. ...
How can anti-tech revolutionaries get themselves into positions of power and influence in radical environmentalist groups? The most important way will be through the moral authority of hard work. In every organization which they seek to capture, the communists are the readiest volunteers, the most devoted committee workers, the most alert and active participants. In many groups, this is in itself sufficient to gain the leadership; it is almost always enough to justify candidacy [for leadership].
The [Communists] in penetrating an organization... become the 'best workers' for whatever goals the organization seeks to attain.
The current political turmoil provides an environment in which a revolutionary movement should be able to gain a foothold. … Present situation looks a lot like situation (19th century) leading up to Russian Revolution, or (pre-1911) to Chinese Revolution. You have all these different factions, mostly goofy and unrealistic, and in disagreement if not in conflict with one another, but all agreeing that the situation is intolerable and that change of the most radical kind is necessary and inevitable. To this mix add one leader of genius.
- Prior to that final struggle, the revolutionaries should not expect to have a majority of people on their side. History is made by active, determined minorities, not by the majority, which seldom has a clear and consistent idea of what it really wants.
When the system becomes sufficiently stressed and unstable, a revolution against technology may be possible. The pattern would be similar to that of the French and Russian Revolutions. French society and Russian society, for several decades prior to their respective revolutions, showed increasing signs of stress and weakness. Meanwhile, ideologies were being developed that offered a new world-view that was quite different from the old one. In the Russian case revolutionaries were actively working to undermine the old order. Then, when the old system was put under sufficient additional stress (by financial crisis in France, by military defeat in Russia) it was swept away by revolution. What we propose is something along the same lines.
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