his booklet is an excerpt from a larger book project which is in the works, called “In the Wake: A Collective Manual-in-Progress for Outliving Civiliza-tion.” is project, and my writings and life in general,are based on the premise that industrial civilization isdestroying the world and exploiting and murdering theinhabitants of the world. I believe that industrial civi-lization is not capable of doing anything else, whateverpolitical party (or corporation, or American-installedmilitary dictator) is “in charge”.I want to help to create communities which are equi-table, ecological, and sustainable. I also believe that wecan’t do this within the machinery of industrial civiliza-tion. More to the point, that machinery is insatiable,imperialistic, and in the end, suicidal. Civilization isdestroying itself along with the world.is introduction is necessarily brief, but I encourageyou to look at some of the resources at the end of thisintroduction to learn more about the assumptions thisbook is based on.
Let me be speciﬁc about what I mean by industrialcivilization. For many people, the word civilization callsto mind words like “reﬁned, safe, convenient, modern,advanced, polite, enlightened and sophisticated.” Of course, these words are the words that civilized peopleuse to describe themselves. For example, if you look up the word “Christian” in the thesaurus, you will ﬁnd words like “fair, good, high-principled, honourable,humane, noble, right, virtuous” and other words thatChristians might use to describe themselves, but whichhardly apply to the Crusades, the Witch-Burnings, orother such atrocities carried out by self-described Chris-tians.For a more unbiased deﬁnition of civilization, we canconsider historian Lewis Mumford’s use of the wordcivilization “to denote the group of institutions that ﬁrsttook form under kingship. Its chief features, constant invarying proportions throughout history, are the centrali-zation of political power, the separation of classes, thelifetime division of labor, the mechanization of produc-tion, the magniﬁcation of military power, the economicexploitation of the weak, and the universal introductionof slavery and forced labor for both industrial and mili-tary purposes.”
Anthropologist Stanley Diamond cuts to the chase, andsays simply that “Civilization originates in conquestabroad and repression at home.”
By “industrial”, I mean a society that is dependent onmachines for the basics of life. A society that needstractors to grow food, trucks to transport it, factories tosynthesize fertilizers, and so on, is an industrial society. A society where people participate in the growing of theirown food and other basics by hand would not be indus-trial.Put the two concepts together and you get industrialcivilization. is is a society with an extreme disparity of power, and where machines are built, and humansmechanized, in order to serve the needs of those inpower. Since those in power want, essentially, to becomemore powerful, society is caught in the claws of powerfulpeople who constantly seek to accelerate and extend theexploitation of human beings and the natural world. Wecan see the eﬀects of this in the intense global destruc-tion of the living world.at the world is being destroyed probably isn’t newsto you. You’ve probably heard that 90% of the ﬁsh inthe ocean have been killed in the past 50 years, andthat those remaining are signiﬁcantly smaller.
You’veprobably heard that the oceans are in a state of ecologi-cal collapse. And that phytoplankton, the basis of thebiosphere, has decreased in global population by 6% ina mere two decades, and by as much as 30% in someareas. Populations of krill, the tiny animals just abovephytoplankton on the ocean food chain, are down by 80% in three decades.
You’ve probably read in the newsthat global warming will kill up to 37% of all species onearth by 2050
(and you’ve probably noticed that theestimates of these casualties from global warming seemto increase just about every week). In essence, you’veprobably noticed, even if you only read the corporate-owned newspapers, that the world is being ever more