Video taken from the South Devon Animal Rights Facebook page.
Through his infamous blog Urban Scout and his project Rewild Portland, Peter Michael Bauer has become a prominent force within radical environmentalist culture, both online and offline.
Following the previous post featuring his 2012 talk on rewilding, we conducted an interview with him to get some of his current thoughts and hear about his current projects –
How did you first come to align yourself with anti-civ thought?
“When I was 16 I read Ishmael by Daniel Quinn, and though later I learned his intention was not necessarily to create “anti-civ” thought, I have a hard time understanding how it would lead to anything else. I immediately dropped out of high school and ran away from home to learn ancestral skills from a school on the other side of the country. Later I went on to read some Jensen and Zerzan (and all the contributors to Green Anarchy magazine like Kevin Tucker, Red Wolf Returns, etc.).”
What does rewilding mean to you?
“For me, it means returning to a lifeway that sits within the ecology of a place. It’s hard to say exactly, because it requires clearly defining or redefining what it means to be wild. There are so many connotations to that idea that the word rewilding is never going to actually be able to mean what it means. We really need a better word, but it’s the best we’ve got at the moment. I look to immediate-return gatherer-hunters for inspiration in what could be thought of as the most free or “wild” people. So in a sense, it’s returning to that way of life, or if that isn’t possible, a new way that functions in the same kind of way.
I also see it as a kind of torch. Because we are all captives yet aren’t meant to be, we carry the torch of freedom inside ourselves, and keep it alive by passing it from one generation to the next. It’s more than just an idea, it’s a deep feeling that says “This isn’t the way things are supposed to be.” So it’s kind of like a thousand-year escape plan. Or perhaps, hunkering in a bunker and planning what we will do and how we will live when the tornado (civilization) has passed. We can’t exactly live that way now (though we can do things to mitigate the pain that comes along with civilization), but we are striving in the direction of freedom and autonomy. Keeping our eye on the prize.”
Were there any specific life events that drew you to anti-civ thought?
“Ironically, playing the video game Sid Meier’s Civilization as a child really brought the forefront of civilization’s mythology to the surface of my consciousness. There are only two ways to win that game: colonization or genocide. So later in life when I began to learn about prehistory and civilized thought, it all made sense almost immediately. I think also having Star Wars and “The Force” as a sort of mythology and religion as a child made me want to connect on a deeper level with nature, and the experiences I had doing so gave me an empathy for the natural world, which led me to want to make the world a better place. So while those experiences don’t have direct connection to anti-civ thought, they made me interpret the ideas in a different way because I saw civilization as a force that was destructive to the natural world that I loved.”
Are there any books, writers, or philosophers you’d suggest to someone who is entering anti-civ discussions?
“I mean, I think the three classic big names are Quinn, Zerzan, and Jensen. I don’t really know what to suggest anymore, though, honestly. For me it’s more about geeking out and being in the milieu and following along with everyone. I think the Black and Green Review is a great way of following along with where a lot of contributors to the ideas in the movement are going. Because there is a diversity of writers, some fresh to the ideas and others more seasoned, it makes for a good dialogue. The main thing I would suggest is staying off the internet as much as possible and trying to have conversations and discussions around a campfire, or in coffee shops, living rooms, etc.—with people in real life.”
How did Rewild Portland come to be?
“Well, I realized there is no such thing as a hunter-gatherer, singular. If I was ever going to actually rewild, I needed to encourage enough people to join me so that we would have a culture. Then I realized that part of the reason that is difficult is because the current culture doesn’t allow alternative cultures to exist. So Rewild Portland was my attempt at bridging that divide: working the system to create a different one. Setting up the ideas and lifeways on a large enough scale so that when civilization goes down, this other story will be ready to take up. So long as civilization maintains a monopoly on violence, rewilding can’t happen in a real, meaningful way. Sure, you could probably go live in the forest with a handful of people without being arrested (if you are white), but that’s not really a culture, is it? I’m not into rewilding just myself. In fact, I think that is a misnomer. I’m working in the realm of what one might call “systemic rewilding.” Although 10 years ago, before all this “rewild yourself” self-help branding existed, that’s just what rewilding meant. Rewild Portland is basically groundwork for whatever comes next.”
What do you think is the best route for anti-civ activists to go down in response to the mass extinction event currently underway?
“I don’t think there is one right route for anyone. I don’t like to give prescriptions. One of my favorite and most frustrating things about Daniel Quinn is that he doesn’t present any solutions. He says something to the tune of, “I’m like the surgeon general. He didn’t say, ‘Stop smoking.’ He said, ‘Smoking causes cancer.’” I think when you leave it open-ended like that, you create many more solutions to a problem than if you give the one you think is right. What I really think is that everyone should follow their heart and their passions and do what they feel they need to do. There is often a drive to feel like what you are doing is the “most effective,” but the reality is that there really isn’t one thing that will be the most effective. Anyone who says they have figured that out should be seriously questioned.”
Has your outlook or activities changed much since Donald Trump took office?
“I think everyone in any activist community has taken notice of the “fascist creep.” So many white supremacists have come out of hiding and we’re all like, “Oh. Shit.” I mean, we kinda knew they were there…but it’s making us realize how important it is to engage in a dialogue against it, while figuring out what need it seems to be filling for white men. The only way to combat it is really to fill that need with something else. So, that’s what we have to figure out, and that’s what it’s making me think about.”
You’ve recently rereleased your book Rewild or Die. What do you want your readers to get from reading the book?
“The main point of that book was to introduce people to the ideas of rewilding and take them down the rabbit hole as fast and as briefly as possible, in order to inspire them to go back and go deeper on their own. I wanted to show people that rewilding is a lens through which you can view anything. It’s a systemic journey of culture change, not a self-help plan, not simply a back-to-nature commune. Of course, since its writing in 2008, there have been many people who have taken on that term as a self-help plan, which is both funny and maddening to me. That’s probably fine because it will bring more people to the deeper and more meaningful rewilding movement in general. But seeing all that, I realized there wasn’t really a resource out there specifically under the banner of “rewilding” doing that, so I rereleased it in hopes that more people would go beyond the self-centered version to a more holistic one.”
Does Urban Scout still survive in any way, shape, or form and will he ever be as big a part of your life as he has been over the years?
“There are parts of Urban Scout that I love and parts that I hate. Things I still think I did that were genius, and things I think were a huge mistake. If he ever makes an appearance again, it will be more of a “roast” than a celebration. I still love Rewild or Die, warts and all. However, I’m way more in love with the work that I am doing now in my rewilding philosophy classes because it is real, face-to-face human interaction and discussion of the ideas. Those classes and all of those people are informing the next book on rewilding that I am writing, and I couldn’t be more excited about it for that reason. It’s like, so many minds working together to create this thing. I’ve always considered myself a catalyst, not a guru (though part of Urban Scout’s shtick was feigned celebrity, which confused and angered a lot of people—for good reason), and so in this work I feel more like a court reporter, which is I think the best place for a catalyst to be.”
Are there any interesting projects on the horizon for you?
“We have the first-ever North American Rewilding Conference coming up in October. Honestly I’m so busy with everything that I haven’t quite delved into it yet. Watch for developments in May. I like to start things small and grow very slowly. I learned that from the oak tree. The conference will be an Open Space conference, where there are no expert presentations. Everyone comes together at the very beginning on the first day and creates the topics of discussion for the entire conference. It’s a nonhierarchical, organic, and community-driven way of organizing a conference. I imagine it will be like my rewilding philosophy classes, only way more amazing, with more people.”
In this Ted Talk Onkuri Majumdar reveals what she has learnt through her anti-trafficking work.
Taken from the Human Liberation is Animal Liberation blog –
Capitalism is based on a system in which property owners make the smallest investments possible to produce items sold at the highest possible price. Hidden within this framework is the exploitation of the labourer; labourers are paid the lowest feasible wage to increase the capital (wealth) of the property owner. The labourer is exploited by the property owner because they produce value that they do not receive; for example, the property owner steals from the worker who is paid $1.00 a day to produce jeans that are sold for $200.
As in the case of human labourers, property owners exploit animals to make maximal profits. Under the current capitalist system, animals are caged, mutilated, isolated, and abused because such activities are profitable. The biological and psychological needs of the animal are disregarded if they reduce the capital gained by the property owner.12
However, unlike non-slave human labourers, animals are considered property. While value is stolen from human labourers by the property owners, in the case of animals, it is their very life that is stolen; they are either imprisoned to produce a specific commodity (i.e., milk and eggs) or they become the commodity (i.e., meat).12 Defined as property, the needs and wants of an animal will always be considered subordinate to the needs and wants of humans. This is shown explicitly in the law, in which the interests of humans, which are often trivial, are almost always chosen over the interests of animals, which are often a case of life or death.13
The capitalist system, and the drive for increasing profits, intensifies the exploitation experienced by both human and nonhuman animals. Under the capitalist system, the interests of some (the worker, the animal) can be overshadowed by the interests of others (the property owner). The liberation of all animals, human and nonhuman, will not be achieved without fighting against this exploitative system.
Photo taken from National Geographic
In Chinese factory farms, the Angora bunny rabbit suffers the bars of cages, after having its fur ripped violently off their bodies.
This video, provided by PETA, shows the shocking ordeal these innocents undergo for the mass production of their fur.
The Hunt Saboteurs are a voluntary-organisation on the frontline of ecological defence in the British Isles. Communique From Devon Hunt Saboteurs 25.03.17 “Another easy day for us with the Eggesford Hunt, who met at Kelland Barton in Lapford. Blue skies and warm weather all day, even despite the north-easterly wind. This meant there was next […]
The Hunt Saboteurs are a voluntary-organisation on the frontline of ecological defence in the British Isles.
Communique From Devon Hunt Saboteurs 25.03.17
“Another easy day for us with the Eggesford Hunt, who met at Kelland Barton in Lapford. Blue skies and warm weather all day, even despite the north-easterly wind. This meant there was next to no scent and hounds were only heard in cry once all day.
From the meet the hunt went east into the valley before turning back and heading towards Edgerley House, where they hold their opening meet each season. Here a foot team was already waiting for them and watched from a good vantage point as Gary cast hounds out in the valley between Edgerley and Fursdon. They moved on towards Cleavehanger and then north in direction of Park Wood. Sab teams in front and behind the hunt kept sight of them throughout as they carried on in direction of Burrowcleave Wood. Unbeknownst to the hunt, hounds put up a fox. Sabs covered the scent and hounds never got onto it.
The hunt headed back towards Park Wood and south in direction of Coleridge Barton, with hounds being cast through small coverts and along hedges on the way. Sabs followed them as the hunt held up cars on the main road whilst they rode back towards Cleavehanger. Here hounds were once again cast out. Sabs watching from three vantage points witnessed them break out of a covert in full cry, heading in a line towards Cleavehanger. However, just as sabs were about to intervene, hounds lost the scent. From here Gary made his way back towards the meet, via the coverts east of Furdson and through a field full of very young lambs…
Gary didn’t seem to have much of a plan today, and there was a lot of going around in circles. Sabs were with him throughout, taking up positions in front and behind of the hunt. The lack of scent and constant sab presence was evidently bothering Gary and in the early afternoon he lost his temper after our sabs declined his request that they open a gate for him! However, the hunt did pack up by 3pm. Another nice early finish for us!
We’d like to thank everyone who has recently donated to our Land Rover repairs fundraiser. We had to get major work done on the engine which cost us in excess of £1000. If you can help us recover some of the cost, it would be much appreciated. Without our vehicles, we can’t sab. https://ko-fi.com/devchs
Communique From Nottingham Hunt Saboteurs 25.03.17
Today we joined several other groups to scupper the Woodland Pytchley’s plans.
Shaun Stacey’s stewards did their best to send sabs home by committing 3 assaults, but each group retained their composure, refused to lower themselves to Stacey’s level and stuck to the huntsman and hounds.
Eventually the police couldn’t ignore the thugs’ actions any more and arrested Stacey, while the many sab groups kept a watchful eye on the hunt from roads and in the field.
The huntsman trotted back to his kennels before 4pm while Stacey was being processed in the local cop shop. Videos of his assaults are on their way to police, watch this space.
Communique From Dorset Hunt Saboteurs 25.03.17
“Hit Report Saturday 25th March 2017
Joined by our friends from South West Sabs and a hunt monitor we decided to pay a visit to the Portman Hunt today for their last Saturday meet of this season. The meet was at Smugglers Mead in Stepleton and after setting off the hunt headed along Smugglers Lane in the direction of Everley Down.
For the duration of the morning the huntsman stayed on the western side of Boynes Lane paying visits to Ball Pit Coppice, Preston Wood and Rolfs Wood. With two landy’s out today, working with the monitor and foot sabs breaking into two and sometimes four teams we were able to keep track of the hunt all day. They spent well over an hour in the Happy Valley and Furzehill area and we suspect this was due to that fact there is only one footpath leading through the middle. This did not deter foot sabs though who did a marvellous job of patrolling the foot path from each end.
After lunch there was the usual change of horses and this happened on the road outside Hill Farm under the watchful eyes of the sabs. When re mounted on his fresh steed the huntsman took the hounds across the road in the direction of Lime Pit Coppice.
For the duration of the afternoon the huntsman kept to the eastern side of Boynes Lane. Drawing through Heth Coppice, Boynes Coppice, Shales Coppice and Ashy Coppice then headed down to Rough Ground. Whilst searching Rough Ground the hounds picked up and there was a flurry of activity. With foot sabs either side and one of the Landy’s on the yellow road south of Rough Ground we kept them in our sights. At this point one of the teams of foot sabs observed the hounds with what appeared to be fresh blood, we have footage of this which we will be reviewing and releasing separately. The police had been called by one of the Landy’s and one of them was a Wildlife Crime Officer who was very interested in what was happening and we were grateful to have him around.
A hound and a horse had extremely close shaves with motor vehicles on the road today at seperate times, both escaping serious injuries by a gnats whisker ! There was another incident when a horse got caught in barbed wire and a foot sab had to try and free the horses leg, sadly despite this happening riders behind continued to jump the fence without a care in the world or seemingly for their horses.
We also found several hounds running along the road South of Shales Coppice, there was a man chatting to two females riding bikes and following the hunt and they caught the first hound. We stopped to tell them that there was another one further down the road but despite saying thank you they made no effort at all to go and get it ….. shortly after we spotted the third one !
The hunt packed up around 4.30pm. Thank fully this season is about to finish but our work will continue with sett surveying over the coming months. If you want to join us please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Massive thanks to our monitor for his help and a big thank you to the WCO from Blandford and his colleagues for their assistance today.”
Animal welfare, ecological welfare and human welfare are intimately connected; they’re fundamentally inseparable. And so long as people stand by and allow acts of cruelty, like those of fox-hunters, to pass us by unchallenged/unresisted, the welfare of the environment we live in and are part of will continue to diminish.
“Compassion for animals is intimately associated with goodness of character, and it may be confidently asserted that he who is cruel to animals cannot be a good man.” Arthur Schopenhauer
A search of thousands of British Beaches has found that almost three quarters of them are littered with lentil sized plastic pellets, known as nurdles.
These pellets are used as a raw material in the production of plastic products.
They soak up chemical pollutants from their surroundings and release them into animals who eat them, such as fish and birds.