Post-Civ is a movement with its roots in Green Anarchism. Post-Civs envision ways to survive the collapses brought on by industrialism and prosper in the new conditions that are unfolding during and after these collapses.
Post-Civ Anarchism criticizes Anarcho-Primitivism but expands on some of those ideas, rejects others and envisions a society where we don't move backwards (e.g. returning to our hunter-gatherer past) but instead make a forward mode beyond civilization — practicing sustainable methods of subsistence (from hunting-gathering through horticulture to permaculture and others), "learning what it means to be sustainable in a dying world."
We (re)use whatever is left of the old civilization, we dig into junkyards, dumpsters and take bike frames, wheelchairs, axeheads, screwdrivers, lens polishing tools, etc, and give them a new life. Finding new uses for discarded items whenever possible instead of manufacturing new waste.
Post-civilization is about scavenging the ruins, physical and cultural. Post-civilization is about taking what is appropriate from all of history and pre-history. It’s about an organic method of growth, where we can apply philosophies and structures and technologies and cultures as best suits any given situation.
It’s about the anarchist urban hunter-gatherer squatting the ruins of the city living side-by-side with the micro-hydro engineer who has rigged the water running through the sewers to power her gristmill. It’s about the permaculturalist who collects camera lenses to build solar cookers. It’s about the living food-forests that we’ll turn our towns into.
It’s about never laboring again. (In this case, we are defining labor as “unnecessary, un-enjoyable work”). Frankly, it’s about destroying civilization and saving the world and living a life of adventure and fulfillment.
We don’t need a hell of a lot of political theory. Here’s a stab at it regardless. Post-civilized thought is based on three simple premises:
- This civilization is, from its foundation, unsustainable. It probably cannot be salvaged, and, what’s more, it would be undesirable to do so.
- It is neither possible, nor desirable, to return to a pre-civilized state of being.
- It is therefore desirable to imagine and enact a post-civilized culture.
Premise 1: We Hate Civilization
When we’re discussing civilization, we’re discussing the entirety of the modern world’s organizational structures and approaches to culture. We’re talking about the legal and societal codes that dictate “proper” behavior. We’re talking about the centralizing and expanding urges of political and economic empire. (If you’re the type who likes definitions, we’ve got a specific one for you in the back.)
Premise 2: We’re Not Primitivists
We’re not primitivists: primitivists reject technology. We reject the inappropriate use of technology. Primitivists reject agriculture: we’re not afraid of horticulture, but we reject monoculture (and other stupid methods of feeding ourselves, like setting 6 billion people loose in the woods to hunt and gather). Primitivists reject science. We just refuse to worship it.
Primitivists have done a good job of exploring the problems with civilization, and for this we commend them. But on the whole, their critique is un-nuanced.
What’s more, the societal structure they envision, tribalism, can be quite socially conservative: what many tribes lacked in codified law they made up for in rigid “customs,” and one generation is born into the near-exact way of life as their predecessors.
We cannot, en masse, return to a pre-civilized way of life. And honestly, many of us don’t want to. We refuse to blanketly reject everything that civilization has brought us. Let us look forward, not backwards.
Premise 3: What We’re For
It’s like recycling, but for everything! Bottles and houses and ideas alike! We are for the present, the thrashing endgame of civilization, as one of the most invigorating and worthwhile times to be alive. We cannot help but look forward to civilization’s end, whether it be slow and withering or quick and catastrophic. We look forward to rebuilding and repairing some houses and we look forward to razing others. We are for incorporating some models of organization and abandoning others, reacting to our circumstances.
In the here and now, we learn survival skills: skinning and tanning and wire-stripping, archery and gunpowder-making. Herbalism, acupuncture, yes, but we also study the application of antibiotics (used with restraint!). We permaculture and we rewild and we scavenge the urban and rural landscapes alike, learning what it is to be sustainable in a dying world. We tear up our lawns and leave only gardens. One day, we’re going to tear up the pavement (that cement will make nice fill for new structures!) and leave only bike paths.
And, you know what? We’re not afraid of a little specialization. Skills like food growing and distribution are shared, but it’s a good thing that some people study lens grinding while others study wheelchair repair.
There are enough things already made to enable a non-growth-based economy to last for a pretty long time. There are plenty of bike frames and tin roofs and shoes and chairs and ball bearings: we’ll never need a factory-line again. The metal is already mined... we just need to dig it out of the junkyards and junkfood stores and put it to more creative use.
We are for an ecologically-focused green anarchism and we are for mutual aid, free association, and self-determination.