Why farmpunk?

A farmpunk could be described as a neo-agrarian who approaches [agri]culture, community development and/or design with an anarchistic hacker ethos. "Cyber-agrarian" could supplant neo-agrarian, indicating a back-to-the-land perspective that stands apart from past movements because it is heavily informed by conceptual integration in a post-industrial information society (thus "forward to the land" perhaps?) The art and science of modern ecological design—and ultimately, adapting to post-collapse contexts—will be best achieved through the combined arts of cybermancy and geomancy. In other words: the old ways of bushcraft and woodlore can be combined with modern technoscience (merely another form of lore) in open and decentralized ways that go beyond pure anarcho-primitivism. This blog is an example of just that. Throughout, natural ecologies must be seen as the original cybernetic systems.

**What we call for at the farmpunk headquarters**
°Freedom of information
°Ground-up action + top-down perspectives
°Local agricultural systems (adhering to permaculture/biodynamic principles) as the nuclei of economies
°Bioregional autonomy
°Computers are optional but can be used for good—see peer to peer tech, social media for direct popular management of natural or political disasters (e.g. Arab Spring), or the mission of the hacker collective Anonymous
°You

"Municipal liberty is the first and most important [principle] of democratic institutions, since nothing is more natural or worthy of respect then the right which citizens of any settlement have of arranging themselves the affairs of their common life and of resolving as best suits them in the interests and the needs of the locality." - Emilio Zapata

Friday, October 1, 2010

Why you can't just blame religion

A LGBT-themed blog I follow posted this quote by Harvey Milk today and it inspired me to put some thoughts out there, as a queer person who doesn't have a problem with religion per se, and, in fact counts saints, mystics, and spiritual scientist-artists almost exclusively among my greatest influences. There's somethin' we've gotta reconcile here:

"The fact is that more people have been slaughtered in the name of religion than for any other single reason. That, that my friends, is true perversion."

-Harvey Milk

This is such an interesting topic. For some reason this happened to inspire me to comment. Partially because when leaders of movements, especially representing oppressed groups or minorities that we're part of, say things like this - we hear it.

I hear pithy quotes about religion being an instrument of genocide & hate a lot. While I get it, the religion scholar in me cries out in a tiny voice. In short, humans are social animals, like wolves and apes, who necessarily form groups that must cohere to a certain degree in order to survive. Those groups needs rules for ensuring maximum in group cooperation and minimum "cheating" or free-loading; i.e. doing anything to sabotage solidarity and the ability to "act as one". Acting as one unit, on multiple levels has been essential for the evolution and survival of our species, among other higher primates.

It sucks now, I know, when giant populations in the modern world who DON'T necessarily have to worry about their basic survival "act as one". It's sociobiology and group-psychology gone awry. Anyhow, these rule-systems that were formed by our ancient human (and also non-human) ancestors were none other than ethical systems, and many of those systems were codified within a world-view that could be easily transmitted. A religious belief system. In many cases where religion is accused of many of the wrongs of the world or as the "opiate of the masses", "religion" is only the cover for tribalism, ethnocentrism and xenophobia. If not religion, some other belief structure would justify violence, unfortunately. The point is, we can't blame the messenger - religion is a natural phenomenon. That's like blaming math for political deception.

In our country, for example, I wouldn't worry so much about religion in the raw, quotidean form (people going to church, people believing in God). Believe me, you've got bigger fish to fry! The dear dollar as well as and our neo-liberal world view are the REAL opiates of the masses. This does have theological roots, but it's not religion's fault. Religion is a category of human behavior, not a thing you can make go away.