I cannot say that I was too heart-broken to see that the Wildfire Collective (WC) has decided to stop submitting its bulletin to Freedom. I did think of letting the last bulletin go without comment, but the nature of their last contribution provoked me to write.
Why have they decided to stop? They are vague on this, so implying so sort of conspiracy by the new Freedom editors to silence them. Apparently "editorial-infantilism" by "junior editors" seeking "to stamp their own agenda on the paper" is to blame and having made "consistent attempts to sabotage the page have succeeded in our withdrawal."
However, their specific reasons seem to smack of the "infantilism" they accuse the editors of. After all, what do they object to? Censorship? No, they did not like the "layout" of their last article. And why did the editors of Freedom lay it out? Because not only were the WC unable to write anything new, they could not be bothered to lay it out either. And how did the layout "sabotage" it. By including a picture of the world's most famous (fictional) barbarian to illustrate an article which urged the barbarians to "break loose"? Or was it the humorous caption beneath it? Or the word "Hmmm..." in the subtitle?
Is the "primitivist" message really so weak that it cannot survive these minor additions? And does it mean that if the Freedom editors had included a picture of, say, Genghis Khan, and removed "Hmmm...." we would still be getting the Bulletin? For some reason I doubt it.
And what of their last bulletin? Did they take the opportunity to address some of the concerns raised by readers of Freedom about their ideas? No, they did not. For all their talk of debate, WC consistently refused to partake in any. They never once answered the "well-argued criticism" they said they received. We did, of course, get two letters, crammed with the "vitriolic attacks" they accuse their opponents of and which singularly failed to answer the serious criticisms made by others (including myself). After that, silence. So could their decision to stop be related to this, their inability to answer the telling criticisms of their flawed ideology?
As such, it is probably wise that they proclaimed that they did not seek "convert" other anarchists, but rather to "cause a stir and challenge" those with ideas from "1930's anarcho-communism." While I do find it funny when "primitivists" accuse others of living in the past, it says a lot about their politics that they admit that they did not think they could convince other anarchists of its validity. Given the lack of response by WC to criticism, it seems obvious to conclude that while "diehard red and blackers" could meet the "challenge" of "primitivism," the "primitivists" could not meet the challenge of anarcho-communist critiques.
Which probably explains their quickness to smear their opponents. I'm not surprised that they accused the editors of having (sinister sounding) "editorial ambitions." Accusing other anarchists of power seeking is a common refrain by them (they accused me of wanting to become a "politician" because I supported traditional libertarian organisation). Far easier to besmirch the intentions of others than address their criticisms.
All in all, WC proved to be a distinct disappointment. I had hoped for a chance to debate (the limitations of) "primitivism" but, sadly, they avoided that like the plague. I do hope that the "Green and Black Bulletin" will continue without WC. As I said from the start, no modern form of anarchism is complete without being green. Freedom must cover ecological issues and struggles and the Bulletin could be the means of doing that in depth. Freed from the dogma of "primitivism" it could become a valuable feature of Freedom. I hope so.
And who knows, perhaps one day WC will finally get round to addressing the flaws of primitivism myself and others have highlighted in these pages. Hopefully the bulletin will be there for them to (finally!) reply in.