culture: it's killing the planet. Amongst other things. Alas, few will
find other viable, less ecocidal options for accelerated, long-distance
travel. We of course encourage anyone who's able to walk, ride a
bicycle, etc., but in acknowledging the inevitability of motorized
travel to Wild Roots Feral Futures, we have a ride share board on our community forum site. Please use it! (Note post dates, as some may have yet to be cleaned out from years past.)
Until we're "driving through the wilderness across over grown freeways on our species' last tank of gas"...
Wild Roots Feral Futures is very excited to announce a 2.5-day Street Medic training at this year's WRFF, taught by members of Chicago Action Medical (CAM), Mutual Aid Street Medics (MASM), and Finger Lakes Action Medics (FLAME).
National first aid systems in most of the world came out of the medical corps of popular and liberation movements in the 1950s and 1960s. This was also true in the United States, where street medics were operating and training in Mississippi and New York City at least four years before Maryland established the first statewide EMS program.
Street medics are an international informal community who have provided medical support during the last half-century of protests, direct actions, uprisings, and militarized natural disaster aftermaths. Becoming a member of the street medic community involves completing a 20-28 hour training, working at an action as the buddy of an experienced street medic, and maintaining relationships with the street medic community.
Students who attend this training are expected to attend all of it. The training covers (1) street medic field operations and prevention, (2) emergency response, (3) patient assessment and first aid, (4) community health work, and (5) operating in unsafe scenes. Scenarios, skills stations, and critical thinking exercises are based on recent experiences of street medics in backcountry and urban situations.
All students will get non-latex gloves and a 70pp street medic handbook, and may purchase a basic first aid kit.
• June 19-21: 20-hour street medic training.
• June 23: 3-hour Intro to herbal remedies for base camp and blockade.
• June 23: 2-hour Wildcrafting high-desert medicine for common camp maladies.
GRACE KELLER is an internationally-recognized street medic trainer and a member of Chicago Action Medical. She trained as a street medic in 2001 and apprenticed as a street clinician in 2002-2003. She has spent the years since volunteering as a front-line health worker, clinician, educator, and health systems designer in urban, rural, and backwoods environments.
Ms. Keller grew up among pokeweeds, corn fields, and ramps in a parsonage beside a country church in the south. She began formal study of clinical herbalism in 2005 in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. As a survivor of psychiatric abuse and former assistant director of a peer-run, recovery-based state mental health agency, she takes a strong interest in how complex social situations and trauma can be addressed by lay health workers.
BECCA PISER works as a registered nurse. She was trained as a street medic in 2002 and is active in Mutual Aid Street Medics and Philly Street Medic Collective as a medic and trainer. Becca is a founding member of Peoples Medical Relief, providing medical relief and recovery work with survivors of hurricane Sandy in New York.
Becca has challenged medic trainers across the Eastern and Central US to update their trainings to meet current realities, and helped develop new curricula for training street medics, affinity group medics, and community first-aiders. Becca started two prison arts programs and is working on starting a third.
GREG is a street medic, herbalist, Wilderness EMT, bicycle mechanic, farmworker, Reiki practitioner, and community builder. When he is not summit hopping he spends his time in Ithaca, NY, where he organizes with FLAME (Finger Lakes Action Medics and Educators) and the Ithaca freeskool.
Greg offered ongoing herbal support at Occupy Wall Street and other protests, has helped maintain campaign health at longer forest actions and encampments. Most recently, he organized medical care for the 50,000 person Forward on Climate rally in Washington, DC and the Earth First! Climbers Guild's week-long climb training which took place in the snow-covered Finger Lakes National Forest.
Wild Roots Feral Futures
is an informal, completely free and non-commercial, and loosely
organized event operating on (less than a) shoe-string budget, formed
entirely off of donated, scavenged, or liberated supplies and sustained
through 100% volunteer effort.
This year, we are once again reaching out to the greater community in an appeal for funding donations. All
proceeds go directly to acquiring essential collective supplies and
food, as well as reimbursing trainers, speakers, teachers, performers,
medics, and others who are traveling long distances to provide us with
their services, knowledge, skills, and expertise.
records & expense reports will be openly reviewed on the ground at
Wild Roots Feral Futures by the organizers' collective and any other
attendees/participants interested in such transparency and
(exact location to be determined) Greetings from the occupied Nuchu (Ute) territories of Turtle Island, colonially known as the "American Southwest"!
We are very happy to announce that, for the 5th year running, the Wild
Roots Feral Futures (WRFF) eco-defense, direct action, and rewilding
encampment will take place in the forests of Southwest Colorado this
coming June, 2013. WRFF is an informal, completely free and
non-commercial, and loosely organized camp-out operating on (less than
a) shoe-string budget, formed entirely off of donated, scavenged, or
liberated supplies and sustained through 100% volunteer effort. Though
we foster a collective communality and pool resources, we encourage
total self-sufficiency (which we find to be the very source and
foundation of true mutual sharing and abundance).
We would like
to invite groups and individuals engaged in struggles against the
destruction of the Earth (and indeed all interconnected forms of
oppression) to join us and share your stories, lessons, skills, and
whatever else you may have to offer. In this spirit we would like to
reach out to local environmental groups, coalitions, and alliances
everywhere, as well as more readily recognizable groups like Earth
First!, Rising Tide North America, and others to come collaborate on the
future of radical environmentalism and eco-defense in our bio-regions
We would also like to reach out to groups like EF!,
RTNA, and the Ruckus Society (as well as other groups and individuals)
in search of trainers and workshop facilitators who are willing to
dedicate themselves to attending Wild Roots Feral Futures and sharing
their skills and knowledge (in a setting that lacks the financial
infrastructure to compensate them as they may have come to expect from
other, more well-funded groups and events). We are specifically seeking
direct action, blockade, tri-pod, and tree climbing/sitting trainers (as
well as gear/supplies).
Regarding the rewilding and ancestral
earth skills component of WRFF, we would like to extend a similar
invitation to folks with skills, knowledge, talent, or specialization in
these areas to join us in the facilitation of workshops and skill
shares such as fire making, shelter building, edible and medicinal
plants, stalking awareness, tool & implement making, etc. We are
also seeking folks with less "ancestral" outdoor survival skills such as
orienteering and navigation, etc.
Daily camp life, along with
workshops, skill shares, great food, friends, and music, will also
include the volunteer labor necessary to camp maintenance. In past years
we've experiences a bit of resistance to requests for basic work
volunteers, so we are making a point of it now to ask you to come
prepared to pitch in and contribute to the work load. We encourage folks
who would like to plug in further to show up a few days before the
official start of the event to begin set-up and stay a few days after
the official end to help clean up.
Site scouting will continue
until mid-May, at which point scouts and other organizers will
rendezvous, report-back their scouting recon, and come to a consensus
regarding a site location (though we encourage and intend to foster the
spread of this event beyond the region that initially spawned it,
Southwest Colorado has once again been isolated as the event location
region simply because no other communities stepped up with a solid and
dedicated proposal to organize and host the event in their own area). We
are also planning on choosing a secondary, back-up site location as a
contingency plan for various potential scenarios. Email us for more info
on getting involved with scouting and site selection processes.
For the sake of comprehensiveness, we are including below our original
call-out as used in years past, which is a living document, changing and
evolving as we ourselves learn and grow:
We are looking for
folks of all sorts to join us and help facilitate workshops, conflict
resolution and management, direct action and medic trainings, wild food
walks, and much more! We will be focusing on many things, including but
by no means limited to anarchist theory and praxis, unpacking privilege,
decolonization, rewilding, ancestral skills, indigenous solidarity,
direct action, forest defense, earth liberation, animal liberation,
security culture, civil disobedience, hand to hand combat, survival
skills, evasion tactics, green anarchism, anti-civ, post-civ, star
watching and navigation, maps and orienteering, shelter building,
permaculture, and whatever YOU care to bring and provide. But we need
everyone's help to make this as safe, positive, and productive a space
as it can be. Our own knowledge, skills, and capacities are limited. We
need YOUR help!
Roles we REALLY need filled:
Kitchen! (last year's informal kitchen was supported by Durango Food Not
Bombs and upheld communally by event participants, but this year we are
once again reaching out to the likes of Seeds of Peace and Everybody's
Kitchen in hopes they'll provide kitchen support this time around)
• CRAM team (conflict resolution and management: we need people of
diverse gender/sexual orientations who know how to give support to
survivors of sexual assault and to people with PTSD)*
• Medics! (especially WFRs, WEMTs, & EMTs of diverse gender/sexual orientations)
• Child care! (We will have a kids space and support parents in participating in communal child care)
*There is a need for both womyn (cis and trans), queers, and trans folk
on both the CRAM and Medic teams because many people in our communities
aren't going to trust men, cis people, or heteros with their health or
to help with conflicts. We do not expect womyn (cis and trans), queers,
and trans folk to do the support work, but seek to create and maintain a
safe and welcoming space that allows for plenty of room for it.
We at the Wild Roots Feral Futures organizers collective feel that
white dominated spaces & racism within our communities are a
significant problem, & feel the need to confront that. Due to the
legacy of racism within our communities of resistance we will be holding
workshops on white privilege, settler privilege, & cultural
We also feel that cis-hetero, male dominated
spaces and hetropatriarchy within our communities are equally
problematic, and will also be holding workshops on patriarchy and
We would like to put out a request for workshops
on white privilege, hetero privilege, cis privilege, and male privilege.
We recognize that it's not the job of those of us oppressed by white
supremacy and heteropatriarchy to facilitate those workshops. We don't
expect oppressed people to attend, but you are welcome to. While it is
not the responsibility or duty of queers, POC (People of Color), and
other oppressed and marginalized people to assist white, cis-hetero, and
privileged people unpack, deconstruct, and confront their own
privilege, these processes will be open to all.
We intend to
create clinic space with some privacy provided for patient care so that
the bodies of trans people (and also cis womyn) aren't on display during
vulnerable moments. We will also be implementing a safe(r) space policy
to keep perpetrators of sexual/physical assault out of our community
and support survivors by respecting any processes of accountability they
Womyn (cis and trans), queers, and trans folk have
full support of the Wild Roots Feral Futures organizers collective to
establish safer spaces for themselves, including spaces that are only
for people who are oppressed by sexism, people who are queer, and people
who are trans. We recognize the need for those spaces because no matter
how much we work on our privilege, as recovering hetropatriarchists
still in the process of mental and psychological decolonization and
recovery, we're still going to be bringing heteropatriarchy into the
space (hopefully unconsciously and unintentionally, which does little to
change its effects).
We also intend to create family/child
friendly space that includes multigenerational workshops and activities
appropriate (and fun!) for kids.
Camp guidelines (in progress):
We seek to create safe(r) space for all, including families and children, the sober, and those who identify as GLBTQ.
Please do not make assumptions about an individual’s gender, and if you
feel unsure, do not be afraid to ask what someone’s preferred gender
pronoun is. If you use the incorrect gender pronoun, you will be
corrected, but it is not something to be ashamed of. We have all been
raised within a gender binary culture and breaking free of these false
binaries is a process of learning and growing for all. It is also
appropriate to introduce your preferred gender pronoun when first
introducing yourself to new people, if you feel the desire.
WRFF organzers' collective recognizes the dynamics of accessibility and
ableism as a form of societal oppression in our culture, and strive to
select sites with maximum accessibility, considering the context of an
event located in forest and wilderness areas. Due to natural
circumstances and the lay of the land (rocky trails on steep hills,
etc.), ableism and “disability” may hinder accessibility for some to the
inner reaches of the gathering. This is a reality of the natural world
that is beyond our ability or desire to alter or control. We will,
however, make very effort to help folks of differing abilities get their
gear into the woods. Please contact us or ask an event organizers if
you or someone in your group needs assistance hauling gear. Together as a
community we're able to do anything!
We expect everyone to
observe good security culture. If you are unfamiliar with security
culture, check out our security culture workshop(s), check the zine
library for security culture literature, or just ask an event organizer
for a basic overview. Basically, don’t talk about your or someone else’s
involvement in illegal activity, and don’t make jokes, because even
jokes can be used in court as evidence against you. Keep in mind that
ANYONE could be an infiltrator or informant. While we must act
accordingly, it is also important to not let this reality sow seeds of
distrust and suspicion within our communities that leads to
self-repressive restrictions on our ability to form and build
relationships with one another as human beings and creatures of this
Earth. Following good security culture allows us to interact and build
relationships without placing ourselves in unnecessary and risky
situations because of potential surveillance.
When it comes to physical intimacy and sexual contact, ASK FIRST! No Compromise In Defense of Consent!
For more on consent, attend our consent workshop(s) or inquire with event organizers.
Violence, physical assault, emotional assault, and/or sexual assault
will NOT be tolerated under any circumstances and anyone who engages in
such assault will be asked to leave. In instances of assault we will
trust and believe the survivor and respect any processes of
accountability they initiate.
For more information on how our
communities deal with assault and accountability, check out our conflict
de-escalation/resolution workshop(s) or inquire with event organizers.
In attempting to manifest the world we desire, we will pursue
non-coercive means of conflict resolution and non-coercive processes of
accountability. Decisions affecting the group will be made horizontally
through the utilization of consensus process. If you are unfamiliar with
consensus process, check out consensus workshops.
We seek to
create a temporary autonomous zone which functions as an egalitarian
community. In this spirit of cooperation and mutual aid, we request that
people attending the gathering sign up for work shifts such as cooking
meals, cleaning the kitchen and washing dishes after meals, digging
latrines, doing supply/water runs, security & welcoming, etc. A
shift sign-up sheet will circulate at communal meals.
that people establish communal fires in the various neighborhoods within
the gathering and refrain from making personal fires. Communal latrines
will also be constructed in the various villages and we ask that people
refrain from digging personal cat holes. This will minimize our overall
impact on the land.
Drugs and alcohol are discouraged, but a
rowdy fire/area will be established, where we request the partying be
restricted. NO illegal drugs, please. All other space, including
celebratory and ceremonial space, should be considered sober space. Your
personal space is, of course, your personal space, and you may do what
you wish within it. Please respect others. For safety reasons, we
request total sobriety when attending workshops and trainings. Unlike
many similar gatherings, a space IS being designated for partying. This
is more than you will find at most gatherings of this sort. So let’s
have some fun!
Dogs increase our impact on the land and local
wildlife, and are thus discouraged, though we understand and accept the
fact many human beings and their canine companions are inseparable, and
they will undoubtedly remain a part of our rewilded and feral futures
upon this planet. We request that if you bring your dog, you keep it on a
leash. If your dog attacks wildlife, other dogs, or human beings, you
will be asked to leave the gathering. Please bury your dog shit!
Stay tuned for more information as it becomes available. Also see the
information from last year as much of it will remain applicable this
year as well, though there are also many changes in store to make this
year's gathering a much wilder experience than last year's. See you in
☆someone with a pickup truck with one of those giant water tanks!
• tent • sleeping bag • hammocks • food & water • water filter (*highly* suggested) • toilet paper • adequate clothing for hot days, cold nights, rain, etc. • your own bowl, cup, utensils, etc. • flashlight/headlamp & extra batteries • sunscreen and bug repellent if you use it • swimsuit & towel (there are swimming holes & hot springs! who wants to skinny dip?) • musical instruments • your knowledge, wisdom, and skills • your friends!
Communal items (to share or donate):
• tools (like shovels for digging shitters and hatchets/axes/saws for cutting up fire wood) • food and water (a communal kitchen will form) • kitchen gear (large pots, pans, water containers, etc.) • extra tents, easy-ups, etc. (the larger the better) • tarps and rope • hammocks, hacky-sacks, frisbees, etc. • climbing gear (harnesses, ropes, etc.) for tree climbing/sitting trainings • First Aid gear! • random primitive skills supplies (you know better than we do!) • arts and crafts supplies (think of the children!) • radical environmental, primitive, and rewilding literature • local plant and animal identification guides, etc. • local topographical maps • your knowledge, wisdom, and skills • your friends!
Things NOT to bring:
• firearms and other weapons (there's a difference between a TOOL and a WEAPON) • parasitic or predatory human beings • a bad attitude (including racism, sexism, classism, heteronormativity, homophobia, speciesism, ageism, ableism, etc.) • law enforcement, police, and/or feddies • a wire (we will be holding mandatory naked security culture workshops. No just kidding, only with your consent!)
This was my first year attending the Feral Futures gathering. I was originally a bit skeptical of it but in going to the gathering was really impressed with it and how it went. Held in the Weminuche Wilderness in the San Juan Mountains in Southwest Colorado, the location was perfect. The Pine River was in close distance to our camp, providing us with water for bathing, drinking and just enjoying. Ponderosa Pines, Douglas Fir and Quaking Aspen trees made up the forest with a diversity of plants that provided for food and medicine. The connection to this place was quickly felt for myself, as wilderness broke down and wildness came forth.
The amount of people who came quickly rose as the days passed, and I found that in no time at all what it began to feel like wasn't just a random gathering of people but a group of people working to create community and anarchy, however temporarily. And although it was a glimpse, it seemed to provide a wonderful example of how people can come together in the right setting and treat each other as equals and friends. What really was great was having conversations with people actually engaged with no cellphones or other distractions to take away their focus, something so rare now.
There was a large focus on healing as Wylden Freeborne has mentioned elsewhere; overcoming all of the damage that has been inflicted upon us by domestication and Western Civilization. I thought this was a really important part of the gathering that seemed to flow throughout it constantly.
There was no one taking charge at Feral Futures, and the anarchic nature of the event was definitely apparent. Problems were dealt with as they came up, with not too many being present. There was an issue of sobriety and intoxication and the creation of "sober" fires and "rowdy" fires, with the solution being to focus on the circle at the sober fire being sober, and people having to step outside of it to drink or smoke. Perhaps there could have been a better way come up with to balance the needs of those folks that didn't want to be around intoxication and those who have no issues with it, but the fact that at least some considerations were taken was nice.
There were a lot of great workshops, including workshops on consent, direct action, and discussions on invisibility disabilities and the green scare amongst others. I personally was really interested in the radical parenting workshop despite not being a parent myself, but beyond the discussion, what was really interesting was the actual radical parenting that some folks were engaged in at the gathering and how the children differed from children raised in a non-radical civilized parenting style. I was also really interested in the rewilding workshop which had a group of us sitting around discussing what rewilding has meant for us, our experiences, challenges,and such. A really great conversation.
Unfortunately, events such as Feral Futures are just short lived experiences that are outside of what is happening in civilization where all the destruction continues. There was no forgetting this at the gathering, to everyone's credit, this didn't just turn out to be a party in the woods with a celebration that we're at the end of it and it's time to party. While this system is collapsing, that doesn't take away from the everyday destruction and violence that it is inflicting as long as it continues to collapse, and that the question of what to do to resist that is really important. What Feral Futures does do though is provide a wonderful example of how despite all the fucked up things this culture does to us, we still do have the potential to be as humans, and to come together in positive ways.
"The end of their days; is the beginning of our lives. Freed from self-imposed restraints the wanderers will re-arise" —Peregrine
have sat down several times to try to write this report-back from Wild
Roots Feral Futures 2012 and have found that putting such experiences
into an essay while sitting in front of a computer is fairly difficult.
To try to represent our time together in written word and place the
experiences we had in the woods of Occupied Ute Territory (in a part now
called southern “Colorado”) into the context of an article to be read
on the internet by those of us living in techno-industrial society is
quite a challenge, and so I begin by conceding that my efforts to
describe my experiences are severely limited, more so even than the
usual limitations offered by the written word.
having to miss last year’s gathering as a result of my own poor
planning I swore to myself that I would make it to Wild Roots Feral
Futures 2012, so when offered the opportunity to travel with a group of
anarchists heading there from Oregon I jumped on it. After about a week
on the road, I arrived at the trailhead pretty exhausted and drained.
The hike in, though long and hot, forced me out of my head space and
into my heart space by the time I got to the encampment and met up with
others in attendance. Upon arrival I was met with a calming, loving,
caring, and generous presence. It was as if people had checked a lot of
their baggage at the trailhead. Politics and ideology faded into the
background and real, communal, lived experience took a turn at the wheel
in a way that is rare in so-called radical spaces. It didn’t matter if
someone was an old school Earth Firster!, DGR, anarcho-primitivist,
hillbilly, or hippy. We were there to learn, to grow together, and to
build a community (albeit a temporary one) and when that is really the
goal, politics, economics, and ideologies have to return to their
rightful place in the theoretical and the abstract.
I was so
overjoyed to discover the heavy emphasis our temporary community chose
to place on personal, communal, and ecological healing. While primitive
skills and eco-defense are definitely essential to the pursuit of
anarchy (not to mention the survival of our species and many others)
healing must hold a prominent place of importance in our lives and in
our communities. We are constantly traumatized, triggered, and
retraumatized by life in civilization. Through the profoundly anti-life
and anti-community institutions of civilization, our natural and healthy
social relationships are destroyed and rebuilt. What was once natural,
wild, organic, free, and anarchistic becomes organized and ordered.
However, Mother Earth’s natural tendency and our individual bodies’
natural tendency is towards restoration and healing. All we have to do
in most cases is to stop engaging in activities that are destructive to
ourselves and to our Mother and the healing process can begin
immediately. It is largely because we continue to inflict wounds upon
ourselves and our Mother through civilized living that we find her and
ourselves in a state of disease and pain.
pleasant surprise, and certainly closely related, was the emphasis on
spirituality that so many brought. Traditionally, radical circles have
been dominated by the same stale, lifeless, scientific fundamentalist
atheism. The folks at this gathering, however, brought many different
spiritual (though not religious, at least not that I encountered and if
there were any religious folks they didn’t impose it upon anyone else)
beliefs to the table. Some were more pagan, some more
animistic/shamanic, but nearly all having a personal spirituality
influenced by many different beliefs and/or traditions mixed with their
own personal experience. Ceremonies were more or less general and
allowed for people to engage or not engage as they chose. If someone was
actively seeking something to be offended by, they could find it or
manufacture it because spirituality is so personal and because the
dominant culture says that if someone else is freely expressing a
spirituality that is different from yours then they are oppressing or
dominating you in some way. For true seekers, however, space was
definitely created where each person could engage or not engage
according to their own heart and consciousness.For me,
personally, a moment that really stood out was when I had the
opportunity to co-facilitate a discussion about invisible disabilities.
As a result of scheduling and the fire ban that came into effect during
our time there, the discussion ended up being held around some glow
stick and head lanterns. I had originally worried that the darkness and
the inability to see who we were talking to might be a trigger for some,
or at least detrimental, but it turned out to be a blessing in
disguise. The dim light allowed people to open up and make themselves
vulnerable in a way that might have been impossible were we all able to
look one another in the eye or stare at the speaker. At one point I
invited everyone who identified as having an invisible disability to
stand and raise a fist with me. It was so empowering to see all of those
with conditions including PTSD, fibromyalgia, traumatic head injuries,
learning disabilities, and more share their experiences, their anguish,
their struggles, and their strength with the rest of the group.
incredible the change that simply living a different way can bring to
one's heart and spirit. I heard a saying once "If you want it bad enough
you'll find a way, if not you'll find an excuse." I began to realize
that my life was a series of excuses. I want my life to be like a group
of 70-year old white men! No buts! Before heading to feral futures this
year, a lot of what I believed only existed to me in the abstract.
However, actually laying my hands on wildness, immersing myself in it,
living in anarchy, swimming naked in wild water, dancing around and
jumping the fire (an old european pagan ritual, the idea is that your
demons can not follow you through the fire) to the pounding of drums,
and living in a community of humans and non-humans alike attempting to
reconnect to our Earth Mother and Sky Father in such a profound way...
one simply can not walk away from such an experience unchanged. When I
needed water, I went to the river. When I needed to shit I dug a hole. I
didn't go to a faucet or a toilet where I would abuse water, my
relative, by fowling her up with my waste and making her carry it to a
cesspool. I didn't wipe my ass with slaughtered rainforest trees. I
didn't carry a phone or a computer. I had a profound meeting with a wild
moose. I ate bugs right from the ground or from my own body as they
crawled on me. The simple act of pulling an ant off of your leg and
eating it is really quite the experience.
the short time we were there, we began to develop a relationship with
that land base. Because the Pine River was where we got our water, we
didn’t want to dirty her up and pollute her. She put us to bed at night
as she flowed over the rocks in the riverbed. She cleaned us off and
offered communal recreation during our group swimming times. She kept
our bodies hydrated with her crystal clear body. Many of us used local
plants and herbs to heal wounds. Some successfully treated allergies by
eating local plants. This is a relationship one can not have with a
washroom, grocery store, or pharmacy. This is reconnection.
One of the
most surprising things for me was the ease with which this temporary
community came together and the cohesiveness of that community.
Community life was relaxed and pleasant, often with banjo or guitar
music, friendly conversation, and laughter wafting through the air along
with the sounds of the dogs who were in attendance running and playing
together. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the community was able
to address specific needs for specific groups and individuals without
getting into the Oppression Olympics or identity reductionism. Though it
is often presented as being nearly impossible to build such a
community, we did it. Granted it was only for a short time, but from
what I experienced I truly believe that it is both possible and
necessary to keep what we were building there alive and not allow it to
die at the close of a gathering, but help it to grow and spread.
found that I am a completely different person in the wilderness. When I
am not listening constantly to electrical hum, when I don't have to
hear cars driving by or the air conditioner kicking on or the
refrigerator running but instead hear the rush of the river, the call of
the birds, the wind rustling through the trees... then and there I am
myself. I am human. I feel parts of myself that I have rarely or never
felt. I hear the forest and her children speaking to me in tones no
longer silenced by the leviathan. The change I experienced, however, was
not something that only changed while I was in the woods. I walked out a
very different person that I was when I walked in. My time there made
living in civilization intolerable to me.
Each of the
technological devices and civilized norms that we are sold as
conveniences and ways of staying connected are in reality chains that
weigh us down and keep us isolated. To me it is no longer a matter of
"lifestyle choice" but a literal fight against the forces of
domestication and civilization for my life, my humanity, my existence.
For so long I have been complicit, albeit perhaps as a squeaky wheel,
but the squeaky wheel is still part of a functioning machine. We must
find other ways of life while dismantling this civilized way of death.
It is no longer enough for me to be merely a dissident, a squeaky wheel.
Our Earth Mother and all of our relatives are already engaged in
active, direct resistance and they need warriors fighting in solidarity
with them. If I am not one of those warriors then I am simply walking
dead. Without community, without my connection to my Earth Mother, my
Sky Father, and all my relations, I am simply a shell, a drone, a cog in
a death machine bent on genocide, specicide, ecocide, and ultimately
omnicide. This I can take no more. Give me wildness or give me death.