Organic radicalism

A new website has been set up presenting a very deep, holistic and revolutionary political ideology called “organic radicalism”. I certainly identify with this way of thinking and here I reproduce the (very accurate!) summary of my own writing from the orgrad site.

Paul Cudenec is a contemporary anarchist writer who very much fits into the organic radical tradition.

He has been particularly influenced by Gustav LandauerPeter Kropotkin and Herbert Read, with René Guénon also being a frequently quoted source.

Cudenec said in a 2013 interview that he is inspired by a kind of primal anarchism, an “Ur-anarchism” that underlies the contemporary political movement. (1)

At the root of Cudenec’s ideology is a fundamental brand of what could be termed anarcho-communism: opposition to private property, the wage economy and all forms of authority.

In the 2015 essay ‘Capitalism is built on violence and lies’, he described the network of structures that have been built up to justify and perpetuate the capitalist system: “Capitalism hides behind a state, which physically imposes the capitalist system on the people. The state hides behind the idea of ‘legality’, having created a legal system which declares the state to be legal!” (2)

This back-to-basics anarchism is combined with a deep green critique of industrialism,  inspired by John Zerzan and Derrick Jensen, among others.

Cudenec regards industrialism as simply an extension of capitalism and incompatible with a free anarchist society.

He stresses constantly the fact that human beings are part of nature and follows Kropotkin in seeing the organic structure of life, including human thought and culture, as being the soil from which a possible future anarchist society would grow.

Individuals are part of social organisms called communities. Communities all form part of the human species, which is itself part of the planetary organism. And everything is contained within The Universe, which Cudenec regards as transcending the subjective illusion of time.

He explained in his 2016 collection of essays, Nature, Essence and Anarchy: “In a metaphorical way, The Universe descends into us in order to act through us and through our being.

“It descends in the sense of passing from an abstract level to a physical one, which is often described as the passing from a ‘higher’ to a ‘lower’ level, but without any sense of inferiority or superiority since we are considering different modes-of-being of one and the same entity.

“The necessary subjectivity with which we lead our lives is also the necessary subjectivity with which The Universe takes on a real form and becomes both present and active in its own self-shaping.

“Thus, in a way, we are doubly present in our own subjective experience. Firstly, we are there as our individual selves leading our own individual lives. Secondly, we are there as manifestations of The Universe, of which we all form a living and active part.

“There is no contradiction between these two forms of presence – they are two aspects of the one reality, two sides of the same coin”. (3)

Cudenec’s spirituality is anything but passive. For him, the individual, as part of a greater whole, bears a heavy responsibility to act on the behalf of that whole.

The title of his 2010 essay ‘Antibodies: Life, Death and Resistance in the Psyche of the Superorganism’, referred to the idea that the planetary organism can best defend itself against industrial capitalism by means of aware and active human beings.

Cudenec wrote: “The whole point of nature giving us personal freedom and individuality is to give us the choice as to whether we want to go along with the status quo, accept the direction our species or planetary superorganism is taking, or whether we want to try and change it. We, as human beings, can act as the antennae which sense danger, the control mechanisms which prevent disaster for the whole”. (4)

In his 2013 book The Anarchist Revelation: Being What We’re Meant To Be, he explained that individuals had to make themselves available for the revolutionary task at hand, overcoming their narrow self-interest through a form of internal alchemy.

In a passage summarising his argument, he wrote: “The Anarchist Revelation shows us that this is not how things are meant to be; this is not how we are all meant to live – and it inspires us to put things right.

“It inspires us to fly free over the barriers erected around us, riding the winds of human passion and yearning. It inspires us to see that the state is a destroyer of life, not a necessity for it, and thus to kick over the whole house of cards of authority and control.

“It inspires us to draw on the energy flowing through ourselves, to find our dharma and to be guided by the ‘original instructions’ and natural laws of organic self-governing society.

“It inspires us to plug ourselves back into the collective unconscious, into the heart of nature and to know that if we don’t stop civilization from murdering the planet, nothing else matters”. (5)

Cudenec sets out to synthesise the various elements of his thinking and present them as a coherent whole. In doing so, he claims not to be inventing some new ideology, but to be rediscovering the age-old Ur-anarchism which originally inspired him.

Zerzan described The Anarchist Revelation as “the least pessimistic book I can remember reading” (6) and a life-affirming belief in the possibility of revolutionary change forms an essential part of Cudenec’s philosophy.

Cudenec said in the 2013 interview: “Anarchism is the political label we give to a massive underground river of suppressed thinking that is flowing under the streets of our materialist capitalist civilization, waiting to rise up and sweep away its factories, prisons and city halls. Ultimately, it’s the life-force itself and as such it’s unstoppable”. (7)

Cudenec’s other books include Forms of Freedom (2015) and The Green One (2017).

1. Paul Cudenec, Antibodies, anarchangels and other essays (Sussex: Winter Oak Press, 2013), p. 119.
2. network23.org/paulcudenec/2015/09/20/capitalism-is-built-on-violence-and-lies
3. Paul Cudenec, Nature, Essence and Anarchy (Sussex: Winter Oak Press, 2016), pp. 158-59.
4. Cudenec, Antibodies, anarchangels and other essays, p. 43.
5. Paul Cudenec, The Anarchist Revelation: Being What We’re Meant To Be (Sussex; Winter Oak Press, 2013), pp. 123-24.
6. John Zerzan, Why Hope? The Stand Against Civilization (Port Townsend, WA: Feral House, 2015), p. 135.
7. Cudenec, Antibodies, anarchangels and other essays, p. 119.

About Paul Cudenec 144 Articles
Paul Cudenec is the author of The Anarchist Revelation; Antibodies, Anarchangels & Other Essays; The Stifled Soul of Humankind; Forms of Freedom; The Fakir of Florence; Nature, Essence & Anarchy and The Green One. All of these have been published by Winter Oak Press - www.winteroak.org.uk. He is also a member of Shoal Collective, a cooperative of independent writers and researchers, writing for social justice and a world beyond capitalism. He has contributed to publications such as Red Pepper, Green Anarchist and The Morning Star. His work has been described as "mind-expanding and well-written" by Permaculture magazine.

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