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The Last of the Wildmen

Started by AnarchistNews.org, April 11, 2013, 08:00:05 am

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AnarchistNews.org

The Last of the Wildmen

Recent reports* of the arrests of so-called "wildmen," lone individuals hiding out amongst the wilderness and raiding the excess encampments of the civilization they decided to flee, have captured the attention of local media outlets. Who are these people, have such people always existed, why did they think it preferable to live alone in the woods rather than within the social constructs of the United States, and what does it say about the US that they seem to be getting caught now? These seemingly inconsequential stories of lone hermits, so desperate to evade our society, even at great hardship (what does this say about our society?), contain lessons for us to consider as their reactions to their situations hold a mirror to our reality as a civilization.


*refs:

"Maine hermit living in wild for 27 years arrested" http://www.boston.com/news/local/maine/2013/04/10/maine-hermit-living-wo...

"Survivalist surrenders to lawmen in Utah mountains" http://news.yahoo.com/survivalist-surrenders-lawmen-utah-mountains-07230...


The life of the refugee, of the escapee, of the guerilla warrior, the maroon, the runaway, the fugitive, the sufferers of Drapetomania has been a feature of human existence since it's very beginning. A tribal member unhappy with the social relations in his tribe gathers others of like mind, and sets up their own village a few miles away. Perhaps the defining difference of today's runaways would be the individuality of their escape. This feature reflects the atomization of our social relationships in modern society.


The increasing role of surveillance, which limits and encloses of spaces of opacity, of refuges, of Croatans, of Indian Country is also revealed in the way these wildmen were captured. Their capture exposes the extent and expansion of technologies of control and surveillance: cameras, drones, electronic monitoring, helicopters, and the expansion of the surveillance institutions such as the CIA** and NSA. And like those runaways hunted before them, these men were hunted down for their refusal to respect the central idea of our society of separation, the demand to respect the sanctity of private property above one's own ability to eat or survive the winter cold. They were quite literally arrested for refusing to die.


** see: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/14/magazine/raymond-davis-pakistan.html?p...


Even more that Zerzan's favorite example of the insanity our society breeds, the mass shooting, these recently revealed fugitives from civilized control, analogs to whom have no doubt always existed just beyond the lights of our campfires, streetlights, and interstates, show us just how unbearable this shithole we've created has become for some. The gulags of our overflowing prisons, where rape is a part of rehabilitation, where the excess laborers of our roboticizing age are warehoused until death, a system where the racism and sexism reproduced by our social institutions turns us into warring tribes of desperate debt slaves, fighting over the crumbs the Wall Street oligarchs deign to release to us.


The corporation that made $300 million in profits last year supports the police force who arrests these escapees for stealing some scraps of food. The system has become a monster, the system has gone from it's beginnings as a method of improving human lives to a method to enslave human beings to improve company profits.


In the end, though, the other lesson of the existence of these wildmen is that such a thing is still possible, that control is not total, that though drones may fly overhead, and spies may infiltrate organizations or listen in on our conversations, and more human beings than ever are held captive in prison cages like animals, there are spaces, increasingly small they may be, where avoiding the fascists who work for GDP growth, for increasing profits, for private property, control, and dominion over every thing and every one, is still possible.


Much like the Indians who fled across the Great Plains, the ex-slave maroons who hid in the swamps, the tribes who still reside in Upland Southeast Asia and Papua New Guinea, the pirates who escaped to the sea, the anarchists who may rest unharassed in the lawless homes, farms, or towns across the world, even in the center of the global capitalist fascist empire, the United States, it is possible to evade the control of the masters who fear nothing more than their loss of that control.


To all those who have ever run free, and all those who continue their determination to do so, the lesson of these arrests should be for you to know you in your heart that are not alone.


If the anarchist project is not to create and expand these spaces where the refugees of this horrid machine of death that is our civilization, than what is it? Our spaces may not be utopias or anywhere near perfect, but the most important thing is to make sure that they continue to exist.


Until every cop is just a useless bully, and every heart yearning to be free can have the scaffolding necessary to climb to the peak of their desire for freedom, stay a wildman or wildwoman in your heart. Let it be your guide.


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