Letter to the editor of Alternative Green from S. E. Parker. Printed in Issue 14 (Spring 1996). Richard Hunt (1933-2012) founded Alternative Green after leaving the editorial collective of Green Anarchist. Many thanks to Matt G. for bringing the letter to our attention and transcribing it.
Dear Mr. Hunt,
It is good to find a publication like Alternative Green whose contributors do not have to observe the current political correctitudes. However, I must say that your “goal” of regressing to a pre-agricultural existence is one of the most unattractive utopias that I have come across. I have no desire to place myself under a form of “social control” that is so far-reaching that it makes modern dictatorships appear “liberal”.
Because in primitive societies there are no separate organs such as the States, that does not mean in the least that government does not exist. It does, but it operates horizontally by means of custom and taboo rather than vertically by means of statute law. Dissidents are dealt with as ruthlessly as the unwanted young and old.
Your view of how formal governments came into being I found unconvincing. No doubt some formal governments, usually those of invaders, have been “imposed by the sword” and it is true that the sword is one of the means of enforcing their laws, but the fact cannot be ignored that the vast majority of people have shown no wish to dispense with such governments and that the propaganda of anarchists urging them to do so has fallen on deaf ears.
It would seem that one of the main reasons why formal structures of government have remained in being is that the changes that gave rise to them were seen as an improvement upon the primitive societies that preceded them. In other words people preferred to be governed formally instead of informally. It is difficult, otherwise, to explain why tiny minorities were, and are, capable of holding sway over vast majorities.
Yours sincerely, S. E. Parker. (address withheld)
Yes, but all other utopias depend on the exploitation of the periphery. (Ed.)