anOther Story Of Progress

Uploaded by deadsociety0 on 09.05.2012

anOther Story Of Progress
Postscript for subtitles, manuscript etc.
Felix Silvestris Catus:
This movie is not like any other movie. It's an attempt to break with the story of civilization
and to tell another very different story. One about a culture incompatible with nature.
An independent film production by Thomas Toivonen.
Thomas Toivonen:
Thousands of years have passed, since the emergening of chiefs, tribe-leaders, shamans
and priests. Creating systems of hierarchies and control, based on inequality and violence.
It cuts like a razor through history and it connects with the grim reality of today. Now,
we are living in the most totalitarian, violent and destructive culture that has ever existed.
But the promises of modernity and technology that was said to liberate humanity might be
true. That is, if dead means to be free.
Because most of us are dead. I mean, how alienated can you be and still call yourself alive?
Many would say that this is because of capitalism. But that is a shallow explanation. It goes
much deeper than that, I think.
It goes beyond classism, racism, sexism and all the other atrocities-isms. Either we are
inherently fucked up as a specie and the only logical conclusion would be the vanishing
of the human race. Giving place to more healthy, sustainable creatures.
Or, there is a breaking point, where it all started to go terribly wrong. Creating wounds
in our spirits that has never healed.
And it that case, the questions are: what was it that made us so sick, and how can we
stop the madness, that is killing us all?
Used with permission by filmmaker Ljuba Miltsova
Layla AbdelRahim:
Calling out - to a creature - is not naming it with a specific category and attributes
and purpose. So, if you have a cat and you name the cat, it means that you already entered
into a relationship where you are the one who controls its food. You have the power
to deny it its food. You have the power to train it.
The same with a child, by entering a domesticated mode you get to possess the control of how
and when and what and whether the other eats. So, how do we escape that? Otherwise there’s
no need to name a cat, or a mouse.
You can communicate with an animal in the wilderness without the need to name it. Because,
well, you can communicate like that. By naming it, maybe it becomes easier to represent it,
to distance yourself.
If we don’t have a language right now; for me to show you that I’m talking about a
tree I’ll have to actually take you by the hand and take you to that tree and we touch
the tree and we eat the mangos or whatever.
But now I can tell you there’s mango-trees outside. I can even draw them. I can show
you on the desktop. We can do away with all the trees and represent them on the desktop.
Open the computers like: ”wow, I have trees.”
Thomas Toivonen:
So the problems could be said to have begun with domestication. When we started to separate
ourselves from the world with symbols. But why did we do that? Why did we make the choice
to go from a free existence - living in the present - to slavery and control?
The answer is perhaps that for every generation a bit of the old knowledge was lost. If you
are born into slavery and know nothing else, how can you know what you are missing? But
the organism knows that something is wrong and therefore systematic oppression has to
be a part of the culture and that in itself became normalized. And that age-old conflict
- between control and anarchy - is still going on.
John Zerzan:
I love Paul Shepards statement about all the... connecting it up to the contemporary world
and its future. He’s referring to nanotechnology and genetic engineering and cloning and so
forth. He said it’s all implicit in the first step, by which he meant the first step
to domesticate animals and plants. And the control logic that that turns embodies...
it just keeps playing out. All the rest is just kind of like details.
It’s nothing but more of the same, extended and deepened and that’s what you can get
once you start unless you stop.
Thomas Toivonen:
Stop! To stop this accelerating development that is the foundation of modernity is easier
said than done. Because, we have a global system to fight against. A global system to
overcome, Because, it seems that there are only a few sane people left in an insane world.
We know that what we are doing is killing the planet and yet we continue to do it. Because
we are dependent on the very same system that we are fighting against. Because we are fucking
(From documentary):
Perhaps the most wide-ranging technological failure in mans history was the famous blackout
which struck the New York City area, November 9th, 1965. A massive power-failure that caused
the great city to come to a grinding halt. Contrary to the popular notion that people
panic during emergencies, the simple fact is, they don’t.
During the blackout people stayed calm and helped each other overcome an incredible technological
Thomas Toivonen:
The system, wants to makes us believe, that without the control we would turn into ravaging
beasts. How ironic isn’t it, that the more control that is imposed on us, the crazier
we become. And the answer to that craziness is more control, which in itself feeds our
frustrations and fears.
There are two ways to deal with that; either we withdraw or we act out. We have now come
to a point in history where an increasing number of people are becoming more and more
dysfunctional. The organism cannot function - with that kind of tension - that the system
is required to produce, in order to maintain itself.
For millions of years, we lived in a state of complete anarchy. It is our natural state,
what our bodies are craving for, whether we admit it or not. Anarchy is not chaos, it
is equilibrium. It is the system of control, that is civilization, which is chaos. And
since everything strives for equilibrium, then either we have to be removed of our human
nature or the system has to go.
(Radio show host):
Picture a future where computers are far more intelligent than any living brain. Problem
solving is no longer limited by human thinking and progress begins to exceed the limits of
our imagination. It’s a world where nearly anything might be possible. But is this just
another version of the illusive utopia, a sort of heaven for geeks?
Are we truly about to enter the glorious age of the digital super-mind? In physics, singularities
are points in space where laws break down. In the 1980’s author and mathematician Vernon
Vinge borrowed the term to refer to a point in our future where all bets where off when
it came to predicting new technology.
Philosopher Nick Bostrom heads up the future of humanity institute at the Oxford university
and as he explains, defining the technological singularity depends on who you ask.
Nick Bostrom:
The term technological singularity, has been used in at least three different ways. One
the one hand it can be used to mean just the general process of technological acceleration.
If you plot the development in areas like microprocessors or gene sequencing or even
just the general economy; there’s a general sense that things...
Thomas Toivonen:
Are getting completely out of hand?
Nick Bostrom:
Things seems to be accelerating.
Mikko Virtanen (aka John Smith):
A lot of people have been talking about the collapse of civilization, but do you think
that it’s inevitable or could there be something - like nanotechnology or some other thing
- that could keep that monster going?
I don’t think anything is inevitable in terms of collapse. I mean, I think there are
different ways of looking at it. I think that it’s inevitable in the sense that we are
physical and biological beings and we need things to survive and if we don’t have these
things, or if the infrastructure breaks that doesn’t allow these things to happen, then
there is going to be some kind of collapse.
But I just don’t think that anything is inevitable. I think that... and I think that
part of it is just this block of knowledge that there is just so many variables: the
globalized economy and the infra-structure that it’s hard to understand everything
that is happening. I mean, I’m not an expert in Peak Oil. I’m not an expert in global
shipping. I’m not an expert in all of these things so it’s hard for me to say that this
collapse is inevitable, it will happen at x period of time.
I don’t know what’s going on with technology. I can read and find out what’s being developed
and what they’re publishing information about. I don’t know what isn’t being published;
what technology doesn’t make it to the public. So I think that the question is, and I think
that this has been raised in a lot of anti-civilization books: this issue of what’s going to be
left when something collapses. I think that’s the more important question.
(From documentary):
- Ecological devastation, that is what I’ve witnessed today. The scale of it is unimaginable.
It’s apocalyptic.
- They took out a cancerous tumor. Then, later they operated on my uterus.
- They say there is, but there is no reparation.
- It’s pretty much the worst environmental destruction, oil related environmental destruction,
in history.
- It acted with a truly racist attitude. The North Americans where protected. Their interests
were protected. But they never protected the people or the biodiversity here.
Thomas Toivonen:
Skanska is one of the world’s largest construction companies. They market themselves as green
and sustainable. But in South America, they have been involved in some pretty fucked up
oil business.
Press conference and end-year report for 2008 - Skanska.
The representative of the Waorani people in Amazonian Ecuador are claiming that Skanska
have been poisoning their land, making people sick and been using para-military and military
forces and violence against the native people there. What is your response to that? Are
there any truth in those claims or...
Johan Karlström (CEO Skanska):
First I would say that the code of conduct and the... the... theaaah... these type of
things that you know... that you know... taking care of the environment... and you know....
and-and-and-and the local people. That’s very important for us and that it’s something
that we... we focus on all the time. About the specific situation in Ecuador that you
are relating to and...
Thomas Toivonen:
Here, I was supposed to have a part with an environmental activist talking about the atrocities
that she have seen that Skanska have made themselves guilty of. But she chose not be
in the film. We kind of talked about what do you really want to focus on? Do we want
to focus on going thought elaborated explanations of details that all these companies have made
themselves guilty of?
Because - I mean - if you don’t know, that our lifestyle is based on the exploitation
of these indigenous people and ecosystems and everything like that, then you are probably
living in a deep denial and I don’t think that any film is going to help you to get
out of it. I think you have to experience it yourself. And it might just be possible
that you will - in your life-time - experience what these people have experienced and are
experiencing right now.
So, I chose to not to focus so much on these elaborated details this time. I wanted to
go a little bit deep… deeper. Because, I mean, there’s a lot of films that go through
these kind of things what they have done. Because, everything, our life-style, this
civilization, everything is based on the blood of these people. That’s just the way it
is. You want to see it or you don’t want to see it.
And these people are never going to stop lying. Skanska will never stop lying. Petrobas will
never stop lying. Texaco will never stop lying. They will continue to deny their part in this
because they want to make money. And they don’t really care about human lives.
We can go through endless kind of details and they are just going to deny and deny and
deny. In best case scenario is that now Texaco has to pay some money to these indigenous
people. But they will never get back their land as it was before. Before they destroyed
it completely. That’s just the way it is.
Lot of these ecological and climate catastrophes and recession, economic recession, they affect
people who are most vulnerable in terms of the hierarchy of class and race and gender.
You can even look at it that way.
So I think that it’s important to look at humans in terms of demographics of people
rather than humanity as a whole. I mean, so much of the time people are talking about
humans like this we. Like this six billion people and i don’t think that... that doesn’t
generally work I think to discuss the nuances of issues like climate change and responsibility
and accountability.
When people are just like: ”the human specie is inherently destructive.” That’s just
not true. I mean it’s a small demographic of people who are inherently destructive.
Typically, you could say maybe white rich able bodied males are the most destructive
demographic in all of human history. At least looking at recent human history.
I think that it’s really important to understand that because otherwise people are just going
to make these blanket statements that I think are really dangerous. I mean, I don’t think
that anybody wants a lot of people to die. But at the same time I think the other side
of that is what Derrick Jensen writes about. This idea that we are creatures of flesh and
blood. And the fact is that we live and we die. And there is going to be death as the
result. And there is death right now as the result of this kind of way of organizing human
societies or human civilizations.
Noel Morrin (Senior Vice President, Skanska):
I was in Ecuador in December 2007 to visit this area because the xxx organization made
some accusations as our friend here has just repeated. And I went down specifically to
see what was going on there. The truth is that Skanska has no involvement with any of
these accusations. None of them could be substantiated either by Skanska or in fact Swedwatch.
Did he just say SwedWatch?
... either by Skanska or in fact SwedWatch.
Development on whose terms?
The activity of Skanska in Ecuadorian Amazon.
Thomas Toivonen:
The almost hundred paged report by SwedWatch of Skanskas activities in Ecuadorian Amazon
give witness to, and I quote: "appalling conditions, not at least in terms of health problems,
caused by extensive oil leakage, and the degrading treatment that the local population is often
exposed to." The report continues to reveal that, "[m]any people who normally live as
hunter-gatherers in the rainforest, have now become completely dependent on the charity
of the companies for their survival.
Their human rights are threatened when their traditional lifestyle and livelihood is undermined
and their drinking water is contaminated." It is true that it's not Skanska, "but the
company's customers, who are primarily responsible for the problems that the report describes.
But Skanska is [and was] a key supplier on place and is [and was] participating in the
extraction of oil."
Noel Morrin:
From the extensive work that I did down there, and I visited the locations, and interviewed
a lot of people, there was nothing that we could find through any independent sources
which backed up any of those accusations.
Oil block 16 Yasuni
Ecuador Amazon Rainforest
January 2008 Oil spill caused by the oil company Repsol-YPF
Death, suffering and destruction.
John Zerzan:
You know there's one thing there that I think is a little iffy. I've been in some of the
giant megalopolis-cites of the world and you look at those tower blocks, tower apartments
and imagine that if there was a sudden collapse. You know, those people they don't have a big
back yard or something with maybe vegetables or metrics or something. They might be dead
in a few days.
But on the other hand - I don't know - we have kind of an automatic reaction to say
that the collapse will - maybe this is a little false here - will impinge on the people on
the bottom the most. I'm not so sure, because - maybe it depends of what stage of things
we're talking about - because some of those people still have a connection to the land.
Especially in some countries, some continents, were maybe recently forced of the land and
they would have maybe more survival skills than some of us. More than me i know. So,
maybe they would be more equipped to deal with it, than people that are in comfortable
situations but have no connection to what is growing there or what people used to do
with it. So, that's an open question too.
(From documentary):
The Waorani live in extended family groups: usually a man with his wifes, children and
grandchildren. It's a truly egalitarian society with no chiefs, no sense of rank. Waorani
children enjoy their freedom. They are rarely reprimanded and they spend their days in play.
All this fun prepares them for their lives in the forest. The boys learn to spear. Until
a few decades ago most Waorani men died at the hand of spearing raiders. The memories
of the raiders are still fresh in their minds. So they keep Harpy-Eagles which make good
guard-dogs squeaking the alarm if they spot strangers.
(From documentary):
- As indigenous people we consider the jungle to be our pharmacy. We get our medicinal plants
from it. We also believe it is our school. Our knowledge is born there in the jungle.
Even though we are not reading books, we have trained and prepared. Our ancestors knew the
jungle, how it works. That is knowledge adapted from nature. We also believe it's our market.
In the jungle, we find everything that we could want. If we want animal meat, we hunt
because that's our market. If we want to pick out a fruit we go to our market - the jungle.
When we want a fish, we go to the jungle and catch one. But we don't do this to sell them,
but we do it for the daily sustenance of every family.
These are real effects on us, the effects of one world on another that is very different
from it. We would say that it's primarily a mechanized world. Then it's a world of contamination.
All to say that it hurts the rivers, and these are our life source. We depend on this one
source for survival as indigenous nations. We don't have water lines here. On top of
destroying our environment, the oil extraction harms our culture, our philosophy, our indigenous
- The evangelization of the Huaorani began with Rachel Saint working with Shell Oil,
and later with Texaco. The missionaries gathered all the Huaorani into a reservation near Tonampare.
This left the area free for Texaco to come in.
The Huaorani have always fought against the oil companies. In 20 years I've come 3 times
to collect the bodies of dead workers. They clash and then they withdraw. To avoid a massacre
between the company and the Indians Monsignor Alejandro Labaca went in to make contact ahead
of time. And the Indians reacted as they always do when anyone enters their territory without
warning: they killed him immediately. And this group still keeps out of contact.
- The missionaries said to the companies; "we have civilized them so for a percentage
we can stop the killing and control them."
- We say that they should come and fix this with money. But, I don't think it will ever
be restored to what it was, what it was naturally. But, yes we want them to re-inject the foundation
waters and to do a cleanup. To at least make it adequate to bath and use. But at the heart
of things, that will not redress the jungle or renew the trees. This is why, to us, to
chop down a tree is to kill another person. If we kill a great tree it means killing a
great ancestor who lived a long time.
- The oil runs to the river with the rains spreading over a wide area, killing fish,
animals, even butterflies. So I realized that we, Huaorani, must stop this completely before
there are many other problems, not just with oil but roads, settlers and cars. Then the
Huaorani people understood that we must fight against this.
- I was very bad off. They sen me home because there was no hope for me. But with prayer
and natural medicine I was cured. But I ended up in the street. I had nothing left.
Used with permission by filmmaker Ljuba Miltsova
Layla AbdelRahim:
Anarcho-primitivism, or I'm glad you brought up the indigenous peoples, have lived without
this technology, without oppression and these structures have lived for millions of years.
And still live today where they haven't been exterminated by civilization. So, it's something
that even a hundred years ago, even twenty years ago, there was still Touareg, the nomads.
But with every decade the cancer grows of civilization and so it becomes more and more
So, that is not a matter of just going to the past, it's also looking for who is surviving.
How are they dealing with it and how can we all get over this together? Respecting the
desires of whatever groups, however people want to organize themselves among each-other
with animals or whatever. So, my response, probably John would address that; the leftist
anarchist critique as well, but my response to that is that historically those not only
that anarchist respond to the leftist because that's their genesis but there have been a
lot of bitter betrayals with really serious consequences.
Maria Nikifovora (1885-1919) anarchist "terrorist", Ukraine
Executed by communists 1919
The Russian revolution is a perfect example. They hitched, the communists hitched, or leftists
hitched the ride on the back of the anarchists and then turned around and just killed them
all. And is happening and happening. OK it's not as radical or dramatic but the consequences
for the people who where surrounded and betrayed are really serious. So, they're not as blatant.
So it's something that has been happening and is happening and it's part of the domestication
because the civilizing paragdime structure is so oppressive that, as a leftist who still
believes slightly in the fruits of industrial labor is ultimately domesticated by that hierarchy
and has piece, a slight tiny piece of cake, but still has it. Whereas an anarcho-primitivist
denounced and denounced every bit.
Jeffrey Luers:
Look - plain and simple - the earth can exist without us but we cannot live without her.
There's a lot of very, very screwed up crap that is not going to change unless you make
it. I don't know what I need to tell you to get you off your ass to do something but I
can tell you one thing: if you don't, we're all gonna die, we're all gonna die, we're
all gonna die real soon. Because unless we fix our world, unless we fix our world, unless
you fix your world, we're all doomed.
Mikko Virtanen (aka John Smith):
For example, the indigenous peoples of the world, they just had a gathering recently-ish
in Manilla and they made a declaration against mining-projects in their lands. So, in this
sense the colonialism is still going on and this is what's happening in Scandinavia also,
there's a lot of mining related struggles. This is how like, colonialism is connected.
"A GLOWING FUTURE AHEAD" Ranua mining protest camp
Finnish Lapland
"GET OUT" Nianfors protest camp
uranium prospecting Sweden
Norten Lapland, Sweden
The area between the Messaure power station and Aitik copper mine...
(From Swedish radio):
- Someone has cut down a large numbers of poles like these on the power line from Meaasure
(Hydro Power Station) to new Aitik (copper mine).
- How many poles are we talking about?
- Well, at least in forty different places. So, we are talking about a large number of
poles. And the poles are pretty thick so they have done a pretty thorough job.
(70 fucking poles man.)
- What are the consequences here?
- Two consequences: first, it is dangerous for whoever who has done this and second,
Aitik will suffer from a long term disruption.
- Have there been any threats directed towards Vattenfall (power company) and these poles?
- No, there have not been any threats, or we have no clue as to who this could be.
- What we do know is that this power-line has been tampered with before.
- Have there been threats against the staff working with these power-lines?
- Yes there have been threats against the people working with the power-lines.
- Are you going to take action from Vattenfall to strengthen the surveillance and security
around this power-line, between Messaure and Aitik?
- We are discussing what we can do. This is something that has come up unexpectedly. So,
we are discussing the various possible solutions.
John Zerzan:
It isn't going to far to say that these indigenous struggles - as Kevin Tucker puts it for example
- the radical leftist point of view is the modern struggles are so important. But he
pointed out that the indigenous struggles are not only important to him but they are
more effective. They have been far more effective.
Ana Maria Loz Año:
I can talk about the arrival of the Muriel Mining Corporation.
They entered in January 3rd this year (2009) in the indigenous safeguard ("resguardo")
to start an exploration and mining exploitation. The entrance of the company was preceded by
militarization by the entrance of the National Army. The Army entered in December 28th (2008)
and so the company came with them. Some natives asked them and they said that they [the military
forces] were there because the company would come after.
This company tries to exploit gold, copper and molybdenum. The exploitation area is composed
by 16.000 hectares of land. They've got 9 mining titles delivered to the company by
the Government and...
- Nine what, sorry? (translator)
- Nine mining titles.
- What does it mean? (translator)
- It means that Ingeominas and the Government of Antiquia delivered... the Mining titles
means the space they can exploit. An authorization for certain spaces to be exploited by them.
These nine titles add 16.000 hectares of land. In a project called "Mandé Norte".
- 16.000... (translator)
- Hectares of land.
- They received the authorization to enter these communities by the Colombian Government,
right? (translator)
- Sure, the Government gave them the mining titles but they had to fulfill the requirement
of the previous consultation (consulta previa). The achieve this, they arranged some meetings
in a a place called Carmen de Darien and another one called Murindó. These meetings were basically
held with only a few leaders and not with all the communities living there. And the
past year some of those leaders signed what is called "the protocolization of the previous
- They will send us the message, that they can take what they want, but we'll answer
Thomas Toivonen:
But the people did not approve of this agreement so they decided, inspired by a similar event
in San Marcos - Guatemala, to vote including everyone in the area.
The message was clear: GET OUT!
We are people who are deploying a critique, we're people who don't really have a land
base right now. A lot of people who have these perspectives. Whereas John was talking about
- you know - people are fighting for their land bases, they're fighting for physical
spaces of land and I think that it's a key difference to keep track of.
(From documentary):
Bow and arrow and small knife is all the Chenchus posses to hunt and live. They hunt wild animals
like borg and deer but with the increasing interest in wild-life conservation they are
content to hunt small animals like lizards, rabbits and wild birds.
Their meal is fairly simple and usually consists of gruel made from joar or maize and boiled
or cooked jungle tubas. They mix tamarind fruit with tamarind ash and eat. This is especially
good for pregnant women. They normally eat before setting out to gather food in the morning
and eat again when they return home in the evening. This speaks of the enormous stamina
of the Chenchus who trek on foot through jungle parts all day long.
Their slender build of their bodies is deceptive and express little of their strong and resilient
nature. The Chenchus collect jungle products like roots, fruits, tubas, beedi leaves, mahoa
flowers, honey, gum, tamarind and green leaves. They make a meager income of it by selling
it to traders and government cooperatives. The Chenchus do not care much for money or
material wealth. They have hardly developed any technique of preserving food. Their care
for the future is marginal as they are used to living on a day to day basis.
As a result, they have not cultivated much interest in agriculture. Though at times they
work as forest laborers they mostly prefer to fall back on their native skills to hunt
and gather food. But the inroads of modern development have found their ways to the Chenchu
Today, the forest region no long belongs to the Chenchus. It has been declared as a tiger
reserve sanctuary. The government has been motivating the Chenchus to adapt to agriculture
but has failed. The Chenchus refuse to be displaced from the forest and continue to
live in harmony with the tigers in the sanctuary.
Efe-pygmies – part time hunter-gatherers.
Ituri Rainforest of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Recently, the Ituri Rainforest is being logged at a tremendous rate…
Computer voice:
In the last decade their traditional way of life has been much disturbed as commercial
forestry is cutting deeper and deeper into the diminishing rainforest, restricting and
reducing the food supply for the Efe-pygmies. Since mid-2006 rehabilitation and reconstruction
of roads has enabled logging contractors to enter more easily the forest, what is equal
to the destruction of the national habitat of the Efe-pygmy people.
Thomas Toivonen:
Colonization is the logical consequence of the expansion of civilization. For most of
our history we supported ourselves by hunting and gathering. And we lived in small groups
that didn’t need any moral restrictions, fixed hierarchies and laws. We lived in balance
with our surrounding because our lives depended on it.
With agriculture the population grew. Surplus was created and controlled by strict hierarchies.
It was, according to the American scientist and author Jared Diamond, “in many was a
catastrophe from which we have never recovered.”
With agriculture came social and sexual inequality, diseases and despotism. But the propaganda
of civilization brainwashed people into believing that pre-agricultural existence was nasty,
brutish and short. In Greenland, Scandinavian settlers died out because of this belief.
They refused to adapt to their environment and live as the natives which whom they saw
as inferior.
One of the major control mechanisms was of course Christianity and its nihilistic world
view. To live as the amoralistic and lazy savages was to condemn your immortal soul
to an eternity of suffering. Better then to live a miserable life and die of diseases
and starvation. Details and names of the Gods have shifted throughout the history. But the
underlying morality has been the same: to keep people productive and in line.
And since the old ways of hunter-gathering was forgotten the alternative was starvation.
An example of this was the years of famine between the years of 1866 and 1868 in Finland
known as “suuret nälkävuodet”, the great hunger years. About fifteen percent of the
population died. Today, in the first world, we live on borrowed time.
And that’s what almost every leap in agricultural technology has resulted in intensifying. Green
Revolution agriculture for example has arguably produced more food, but it’s done so by
cheating the cycle of fertility in the soil by amending with pesticides, which then creates
a whole set of other problems.
So, it is basically, it’s actually stealing from the future. Stealing from… for the
short term gain and there’s this long term loss that continues happening. People keep
finding ways to cheat but it’s just a question of time-scale. How productive will it be for
people to starve in the future when there’s no fertility in the soil left to even grow
John Zerzan:
And, of course the social part of it, the millions of small holders driven of the land,
their traditional methods are obliterated, and then their driven into the slums of the
cities and all that, throughout history.
Yeah, I think that’s important to keep in mind to, the social dimensions of the move
of agriculture. Especially industrial agriculture, for instance India, they imported the Green
Revolution agricultural system and it’s just been detrimental to small farmers, local
crops, local varieties. Agriculture is a really – for the lack of a better word – fertile
metaphor to discuss a lot of the problems of society because it’s the replacement
of diversity with mono cultures quite often. This happens on so many levels of society
Mano Farm – Ojai, California
- So anything you want to say about the…
I want to say that this is every farmers nightmare, right here. I think that this culture - as
vague as a term that is - there’s this kind of this irrational fear of weeds and what’s
overgrown, unkempt and not controlled. It’s almost a psychological fear. And I think that
in a lot of ways I’ve internalized that fear of growing up in this society and in
the last nine months or so that I have been doing this project, things have really changed
for me.
I’m definitely not an expert on farming but I definitely don’t have this knee jerk
reaction to quote on quote “weeds” like I used to. I even have a problem calling them
that, really. I guess I prefer the term unwanted because it more points to the human beings
desire, lack of desire or whatever to have something somewhere. So… yeah this is basically
our field overgrown. It will be cleared to cultivate melons and winter Squash and other
So, this kind of moving through this field of overgrown, wanted and unwanted. You’ve
got quinoa here that will reseed vigorously. You’ve got wetch. Bell beans planted on
purpose fixed with nitrogen. Arugula which has gone to seed. Watch out, there’s a gopher.
Arugola, this is a lettuce green that’s gone to seed. This is a field pea, which you
can eat. Pretty tough, because it hasn’t been irrigated very much.
These sunflowers I just threw the seeds out on. And this has been topped down with a Syphe
(?). We’re going to dig three by three mounts right here to grow squash and melons all the
way across this field or as much as we can or want to. Winter squash is so called not
because it’s grown in the winter but because you grow it in the summer and its stores over
the winter. We started planting some trees over here. This is a loquat. I don’t know
if it’s native to this area but it’s definitely naturalized and it doesn’t need very much
irrigation and it makes these apricot looking fruits that are very tart.
This is a hawthorn which I have never seen growing around here. I like hawthorns because
I encountered them a lot where I grew up in Oregon. They create a berry which is… well
the whole tree is medicinal; one of the best circulatory herbs known in the natural world.
So, it makes berries and leaves and flowers that you can all make medicine with.
This is some lettuce that volunteered from the previous farmers. They left some lettuce
around. This is very interesting because I don’t know if it will grow here, but it
was given to us. This is yerba mate which is one of the substances I am addicted to.
So, it’s nice to know it’s growing here because all the yerba mate I drink is imported
from South America.
These are rudabagars. I believe that these are the lorenzion rudabagars. We planted five
different varieties. They are also known as swedes. They are kind of like a turnip. They
are in the cabbage family. They are more nutritious and they grow very, very well in very, very
cold climates. So this is kind of a risky crop to be trying to grow right now as the
spring is coming and warming up but they are so nutritious that I just had to try. This
is a young savoy cabbage. The variety is known as perfection. It’s an heirloom and it basically
makes really, really curly cabbage heads that almost looks like lacina ado cale.
This is fennel, these are both fennels here. This is a florence fennel. It’s a bulbing
fennel that you shop from the bottom pretty much when the bulb gets much larger. Then
you eat the bulb. You can also chop these up as kind of like a spice and put them in
salads and soups and things like that. But right next to it is a bronze fennel which
will basically just get very tall and bushy. These don’t make a bulb like the other ones
does. You just pretty much chop these off and you use them as a culinary herb.
This is a red borg Cole. Basically you eat it like as a stir fry green. You can also
eat it raw. This is a hybridized cole which means that you cannot save the seed. True.
If you let it flower and got to seed it will not make the same thing. You have to recreate
the conditions with other coles to create this cole again and again and again to get
this seed. But it’s beautiful and it’s delicious and it grows well over the autumn
and winter.
These are calendula flowers. They are edible. We were putting them in salad mixes for a
while but a few people kind of didn’t like them because they weren’t used to them.
Mostly, they’re used in herbal medicine as an anti-inflammatory. So, it’s used in
a lot of topical herbal preparations like oils and salves and lip-bombs and things like
that. It helps relieve kind of bruises and strain and things like that, in your muscles.
And you just take the top of the flower like that and just pick it off and you can dry
it or you can use it fresh or you can just pick of the petals and eat it. The more you
pick these things the more they seem to come back. We’ve been picking these for months
and months and months and they just keep giving more flowers.
It’s been really hard to come up with a definition that feels comfortable to me that
delineate tools from technology. I consider this farm to be tool-based but I think that
you could also argue that technology created these tools because we’re buying them from
places like China. I think we have some hand forge tools made from China. I think farming
especially has always been related to technology because it’s related to control.
Basically I’ve never been separated from technologies of control my entire life so
it’s kind of a question supposes that that there is this time when I was farming when
technology wasn’t here. It’s always been here and I think the term sustainability is
kind of absurd because literally everything we’re doing is connected to something that’s
not sustainable. We’re adopting sustainable cultivation practices but we’re using materials
that basically did not come from anywhere near this land base or bio region.
Vandana Shiva:
The Green Revolution, which is really the introduction of chemical agriculture under
forced circumstances to countries like India, was basically created as an antidote to social
change. It was meant to reinforce patterns of inequality, which it did. The smaller peasants
lost their land because they could not afford to keep up with the credit payments, linked
to the Green Revolution.
The intensive water use has left large tracks absolutely decertified. The agricultural diversity
that fed people has been wiped out and yes, the production of rice and wheat has increased
but that is not an absolute increase in food. The production of legumes, of dharts, of channa,
of chickpea, of oil seeds, of mustard has all come down.
Until the last century, the energy for food was derived from the sun through photo synthesis,
either from plants or animals that fed on plants. The only way to increase your food
production was to increase the land to farm on. The need to expand agricultural production
was one of the motive causes behind colonization.
Today, virtually all the productive land on this planet is exploited by agriculture. Nearly
forty percent of all land based photo synthetic capabilities are used by human beings and
the rest of nature is forced to get by with what is left. This is one of the major factors
in species extinction and in ecosystem stress.
With the green revolution agriculture was transformed around the globe. There was a
tremendous increase in the amount of food energy available for human consumption but
the energy for the green revolution was provided by fossil fuels in the form of fertilizers,
natural gas, pesticides, oil and hybrid carbon fuel irrigation. So what do you think is going
to happen when we run out of oil?
But there is also another problem with agriculture: after a while the earth will be so drained
by nutrients that it will be useless to grow on.
(From documentary)
Bygone days were good sir! These days are nothing in comparison. There is a lot of difference
between then and now. In those days even if we ate “mosari” flower, it would lend
us great stamina. Look now, even if we eat white rice people do not seem healthy. It
may be so-called better rice, but does it make us more healthy?
Do you know the mosari that comes from the tree? We cut it and eat it. It has juice in
it. Rice can’t lend us the same stamina. We may eat rice with pulses or with oil, it
serves no purpose. In the past we used to mix some tamarind paste with ash and eat it,
that would keep us filled till the afternoon.
And after that we cut some mosari and ate it, that used to see us through the night.
Children would also do the same. This is how it was in the days bygone. Today the Lambadis
cut the mosari, the Muslims do it and the Madigas too. They go up the tree and search.
Are they greater than the Chenchus?
Layla AbdelRahim:
This is really crucial to understanding the whole process of domestication; the whole
process of civilization is about alienating yourself, clothing yourself from the world
and closing yourself, shutting yourself from the world. And, training yourself in this
unnatural… to find it natural to be unnatural in the world.
I’ll make it clear to you with an example from John Burger. He was an artist and as
he was drawing and drawing and drawing, suddenly he realized every time the artist practiced
drawing, they practice really a nude. So he started thinking: what’s a nude and he realized…
why is a nude a nude and not naked?
And he realized that a nude necessarily is for the observer. It serves the purpose that
you are nude before somebody's gaze, before somebody's eyes. Naked - you are naked in
the world for yourself – you’re not an object for somebody's definition, desire,
purpose. And that ties in really tightly with domestication because domestication is about
imposing a purpose on somebody else.
You gaze at somebody and that somebody becomes your resource. You know that person. You want
to know that person as your resource. So in a way then, gaze, domestication, objectification,
all become part of this violence, that take away your own purpose from the wilderness,
and make you a resource for somebody else. A resource for pleasure, a resource for consumption,
a resource for work.
Another interesting term that ties in with that, and with education, is appropriate.
Appropriate, and appropriate. It’s interesting that the language that we use, the domesticating
language, has the same root for what is decent, is considered to be what has been made property.
How do you train people to become property?
And that’s what parenting and childhood come in because civilization wouldn’t continue
without propagating these ides. Enforcing them on to the flesh, putting a shroud of
death, death of the will, death of your wild purpose, to cover you up from the world. And
with that comes the question of how do we know the world? What do we transmit to our
And with this, we always come back to the same question, the same problem I see – we
cannot ignore it – is the story of the fall. The story of the fall into toil, into agricultural
society, and it comes with knowledge. We hear what is being conveyed to us is named as knowledge.
But when we look closer at it, what is conveyed to us as knowledge is in fact based on alienation.
Thomas Toivonen:
The wolf, is one of the first animals that was domesticated by man and it started as
a collaboration between these two. For the wolf, human ingenuity and the use of weapons
meant a share in greater number of kills and perhaps even an occasional taste of larger
victims such as mammoth. For humans, the wolfs speed and ferocity was equivalent to a new
The similarities in the social structures of wolfs and humans meant that wolf cubs adapted
easily to a life among us. And thus, began the transformation into dogs. Selective breeding
effects a specie quite rapidly. A particular puppy is favored because is barks well, is
unusually friendly or obedient.
This is the dog that is kept and in its turn had puppies. And this is the origin of genetical
engineering: to kill the undesirable and keep the desirable alive. And so, the underlying
ideology of civilization was born.
Sampled voice:
Every one of us must remember to do the same thing. (Repeated seven times.)
LOUKANIKO – Riot Dog Without master nor leach (only friends).
Loved by the people. Feared by the police.
Always in the front.
Syntagma Square/Greek Parliament Athens October 5th – 2011
The people protesting against the greed of the Elite…
protected by the Police.
Excerpt from Egocide By Kevin Tucker
Thomas Toivonen:
“This is the primal war: the refusal of life to be domesticated. It is the refusal
of wildness to become ordered and civilized. It is the spirit that refuses to die.
It is not about a certain people, place or time: it is about life. Those who know that
spirit without mediation have always put up the hardest fight. There was no fight or revolution
for abstract ideals, for some unknown or unknowable place of undefined and questionable freedom
as individuals. The fight was about something felt, something innate. The fight, then, now
and always, is the rage of the spirit of life and wildness. It knows no isolation or mediation.
It grows through the cracks in the sidewalk and the refusal of toxins in our bodies. It
will stop for nothing and it is extremely deadly.
It is within us, anxiously waiting. It cries for the healing of the spirit (rewilding)
and the healing of the body (resistance). Both are one in the same. Our deepest wound
cries for healing. That is a cry for action….
I know this like I know civilization must be destroyed. My spirit knows this. My spirit
feels this. The spirit of all life knows this. It has always known this.
Peregrine – Anatomy of the machine:
Lives synthesized. Ecosystems cast aside.
This logic immortalized, for this air conditioned nightmare.
Under a pile of crushed cars. Under the sky of falling bombs.
Alone in our sanitized homes. We breathe the cancer of Progress.
It's long term suicide. For medicated silicon smiles.
A system built beyond capacity. Temples built with our own blood.
Comprised of slaves to power, it may change faces but it still remains the
The iron lung, a smoking gun, a sealed fate, until we pull the plug.
- Holy fucking hell! Are you fucking kidding me?
It could never, have been sustained. We are the cancer, in this iron cage.
It carries on, because we believe, that we are more than, cogs in this machine.
It pulls the reigns on all our lives. Until we realize, that the grid is the enemy.
Swedish primitivist ARMY S.A.A
In the summer of 2011 Earth Liberation Front vandalized and burned an excavator in a forest
in Södermanland Sweden. According to them, this machine was used to help tearing nature
apart. This was their statement to the forest destroying industries: “that if you come
closer to our territory terror will come in a way you understand it: economic catastrophe.
For the gain of your own future: stay away.”
Later that year in November Animal Liberation Front vandalized three excavators outside
the city of Örebro, Sweden. The windows were crushed on all of them and one of them was
set on fire. They did this for all the animals that get killed by these machines, by clear-cutting
the forest and bushes and building roads. And in the long run, the total suffering that
global warming contribute to.
Press conference Vattenfall 2009
Yellow Army Fraction strikes against Vattenfalls climate hypocrisy.
Bullshit! You're fucking up everything. Stop destroying our earth. Climate justice! Climate
justice! Climate justice. He's talking shit!
Mark Vadasz - Press Officer - Vattenfall
Anonymous: Why do you think they react like this?
Mark Vadasz: Who are you?
Anonymous: I'm an independent yea yea yea bla bla bla... My name is anonymous.
Mark Vadasz: What was your question?
Anonymous: Why do you think they react like this?
Mark Vadasz: I think it's based on a serious commitment.
Anonymous: What do you think this commitment is based on?
Mark Vadasz: I think it's based on a honest concern for the climate.
Anonymous: Because Vattenfall are known to be hypocrites in this case. You are using
coal energy. And there are proofs that it's killing... I mean, look at the climate changes.
You talk about alternative energies but it's just cosmetics.
Mark Vadasz: But we are investing on wind power and renewable...
Security guy: I'm sorry but you have to turn it off now.
Computer voice:
I could go on an endless litany on why Vattenfall as a company is an abomination and a direct
threat to earth. But if you don't get it by now why all these multinational companies,
organizations and institutions whose purpose is to maintain the infrastructure on the expense
of nature, both inner and outer, then there are no amounts of facts that I can provide
you with to make you open your eyes. What it comes down to is a choice: do you want
to see it or not.
COP15 Copenhagen - 2009
Vandana Shiva:
We noticed that we have a climate crisis. Every dimension of contemporary human life
is in crisis. The food systems are in crisis, our economic systems are in crisis, our water
systems are in crisis. There’s nothing that you can look at and says it’s fine.
This multiple crisis is also an interconnected crisis; the crisis in every aspect because
of common roots. And some of those common roots were pointed out, many of those common
roots are further developed in our Knowledge Manifesto. Which says, “the roots are basically,
in the lack of holistic knowledge and a mechanistic world view are at the root of the multiple
crisis humanity faces.” Through our minds we shall be made reductionist, fragmented,
mechanistic – these crisis multiply.
And every solution creates the problems worse, because it comes from that reductionist and
mechanistic mind. The food crisis and the climate crisis is of course intimately related,
it’s not just the case that industrial agriculture is emitting greenhouse gases and ecological
farming can solve forty percent of the climate problem. But it is only ecological farming
that can solve the hunger problem.
We have a billion people without food, we have two billion people suffering from diseases
related to bad food. That means half of humanity is not able to get the nourishment that is
their due and their right because of an industrial system which is nothing more than an impoverishment
of the land and an impoverishment of the farmers. Why would... (applause)
John Zerzan:
Somebody's got go down the mines. You can't have it without the metal and where does the
metal come from? It's nice and shiny and clean as we see it but it isn't in terms of the
smelting and like the thousands of miners in China, right now, every year, that are
sacrificed to industrialize.
It's the same old thing, it doesn't fall down from the sky. It's a dirty business, it kills
people and systematically kills the natural world and the rest of it is just dreaming.
And it's the same old song too about, "well, just more industrialism... I mean just more
technology, more technology. We'll solve it.
Well, there's no evidence, that has not been true. Every single claim to that effect have
shown to be false Excerpt form Anarchy Radio 04-05-2011(
In order to make the wind turbines you'll need some of these, what are called rare earth.
They're not necessarily rare but there's usually lot involved in processing them. And this
is the same kind of thing, for example, Neodymium which is needed in this case specifically
for the magnets in the wind turbines. This is so toxic, there's a picture of a lake here,
a five mile long lake that is incredibly poisoned. Computer voice:
In Baotou, Inner Mongolia, there is a lake with no name, where toxic rare earth elements
are stored for further processing. - You want a green future. You want to go
on a path to a green future, that path starts in a mine. The first step in the supply chain
for the green world is the mine. Computer voice:
Seepage from the lake has poisoned the surrounding farmland, making it impossible to grow anything
there. Green technology (repeated three times)
This is the price Chinese peasants are paying for the low carbon future.
Melissa Chan: Mining rare earth minerals is dirty business.
So dirty in fact that countries with the mineral such as the United States and Australia decided
against digging for it. Computer voice:
The permanent magnets used in a 3 megawatt wind turbine, use 2 tons of neodymium and
other rare earths. Green technology (repeated three times)
Workers, that are wearing no protective clothing, watch over huge vats of acid and other chemicals,
steam rising from rusty pipes, as they stir and bag toxic liquids and powders.
Turning the rare earths elements into compounds and oxides, for further processing into batteries
and magnets. Green technology (repeated three times)
Rare earth elements, it's a term used to describe a group of seventeen metals, much of which
most of us never heard of. China mines most of it for the worlds technology industry,
more than 95 percent. The rest is being mined in the United States, in Estonia, in India,
in Malaysia and in Brazil and South America. Those are just a few of the countries where
the metals can be found. Mining them is not only complex but also costly (costly = incredibly
toxic) so many countries are cautious. This may change, however, as the demands are rising.
They are a key to the production to a long list of modern day technologies, like smartphones,
like electric and hybrid cars, like common computer monitors.
John Zerzan: Too much of the thing is also, I think another
point in this is, the use of technology which again forgets the very source of it, the very
meaning of it. And it's easy for us to do, I mean we're not miners, we're not, you know,
going to do that stuff. But there it is, like my friend in Detroit always says, if you want
all this stuff, whether it's the new stuff or the old stuff, you're going to go down
the mine? And there's this bewildered response and he
says, I'm not going to go down the mine unless you put the gun right against my head. So,
who's going to do it, who you're going to force to do that work because nobody wants
to do it. Who would want to do that if they had a choice. Which undoes the whole thing
right away. I mean, I'm not saying of course there are
some technologies, it's a relative thing. But if you're thinking of keeping the whole
system going or some huge part of it, by photovoltaic cells which are extremely toxic, a horrible
industrial process to make those, these people don't even want to think about that.
And that's just lead to more questions which is, why do you want to keep this thing going?
Alternative or otherwise. One is a little cleaner maybe, but the basic question is,
why do you want to keep this thing going? You're doing the work of the system, you're
trying to find the new energy sources just to keep this rotten, killing machine going.
Basically! NO MAT!!!
Excerpt from (Català/Castellano) Thomas Toivonen
Since October 17th 2009, we are occupying a piece of forest that was meant to host one
of the hundreds of electrical towers that conform the new Very High Voltage (MAT) power
line, and that will eventually interconnect France, Spain and, time will tell, Africa.
The place we now call our home is in an area called Guilleries (Girona), near Sant Hilari
Sacalm village, at about 1000 horrible high and surrounded by mountains in a pretty isolated
environment. We won't accept without fighting yet another
gigantic infrastructure that will solve absolutely nothing. We have to choose which side we're
in: either we stand for western civilization or we fight against it. Some of the "problems"
this MAT line hopes to solve are: to be able to secure electrical power for the tourist
villages of Girona and to avoid electrical blackouts like the one of 2007 in Barcelona.
In the meantime, we're trying to build the foundations of a new world starting right
here and now, reconnecting with the Earth. We are living here with what our instincts
tell us, hurting the empire and making pressure on it. From here, from the forests that have
always hid the rebels, we can still be kind of invisible and feel protected.
So far the occupation has been very successful. A lot of structures have been built. There
have been help from the local people from nearby villages, people from Barcelona and
other cities that show up and help, people that decide to stay for some days (or even
that came to live with us) and bypassers that are curious of what we're doing.
From the forest, a big hug to all people trying to get rid of this capitalist-industrialist
system and who struggles to create a world without any kind of domination!
This is country in which I am living now is little by little invaded by radioactivity...
But these people, the state politicians and company managers, have not an inkling about
the matter. They are really stupid. But we are musicians. The music is limitlessly beautiful.
i think that we have to go on playing the best music in which we believe, simply because
such are the times. Kawol Samarkand - anarchist/musician
2012-04-03 - Japan Written, produced and directed by Thomas Toivonen.
All footage with Layla AbdelRahim used with permission by film-maker Ljuba Miltsova.
Footagwe from Man Farm filmed by Micah Van Hove.
Music by Thomas Toivonen except... Chris Cook - Brother John
Peregrine - Anatomy Of The Machine Kawol Samarkand - Dialog with the guitar # 2
Source of information about Skanska: Swedwatch Report No. 20 and the book En svensk tiger.
Pictures from the Amazon, Ecuador taken by environmental activists...
Appearing in the film: Felix Silvestris Catus
Layla Abdelrahim Cessan (Cat nr 1)
Nisse (Cat nr 2) Mikko Virtanen (aka John Smith)
Cricket John Zerzan
Ana Maria Lozano Vandana Shiva
Loukikanikos (Riot Dog) And many other beautiful creatures longing
for freedom and wildness.
Footage of Butoh dancers used with permission by the dance group Noll Corpus.
Footage used from documentaries:
Latin Pulse - 2009-10-27 Children of the forest - The Chenchu Tribe
Of India Fed up!
Various public domain material from and other places.
@nti-copyright - 2012