Title: Against Civilization: Intro to Russell Means
Subtitle: reprint from FE #304, December 31, 1980
Notes: Fifth Estate #368–369, Spring-Summer, 2005

We were struck immediately by the similarities in the conclusions that Russell Means has reached and our own, in particular, in relation to the question of technology and a critique of Marxism.

We have been speaking as orphans and fragments, searching for roots and a tradition of resistance to civilization anywhere we can find them. We have embarked upon an adventure which began first of all with the criticism of all of our former presuppositions, that is, of Marxism and anarchism, technological progress, modern society, the functions of art and culture, workers’ organizations and self-organization, the existence and function of classes and other questions. We don’t claim to have resolved these fundamental problems, but we have headed in a general direction of rejection of the presuppositions of society in all its forms.

We came to distrust the “political visionaries” as revolutionary leaders, as well as the humanist codes that they mouthed to construct their Republics and their Five Year Plans, and to trust the instincts and the desperation of the little communities that have fought to preserve a way of life which they saw as being destroyed by industrialism and massification.

Means’ point of view is important, because it is a voice, like our own, orphaned in the technological wilderness into which humanity has wandered, and it sounds like our own voices, it reveals our bitterness, our rage, our ambivalences, too, perhaps. But it is also a voice which sounds distant, mythic, like the warbling of a fabulous, alluring bird which sang to us in a dream of our childhood and which we had forgotten but which we can never forget.