Toward Savagery: Recent Developments in Eco-Extremist Thought in Mexico

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by Abe Cabrera


In 2011, a group calling itself “Individuals Tending Toward the Wild” (Individualidades Tendiendo a lo Salvaje—ITS) began a string of eco-terrorist attacks in Mexico. These attacks ranged from mail bombs sent to various research institutions around the country to the assassination of a biotechnology researcher in Cuernavaca, Morelos. With each attempted bombing or action, ITS published communiqués explaining the reasoning behind their attacks, and used the attacks as “propaganda of the deed” to propagate their ideas. In 2014, after a series of polemics and self-critiques, ITS allegedly joined forces with other allied groups in Mexico and changed its name to “Wild Reaction” (Reacción Salvaje—RS). This latter group characterized itself as a group of “nihilist saboteurs, incendiary nomads, individualist delinquents, anarcho-terrorists, politically and morally incorrect critics,”[1] among others. Since its rechristening, RS has claimed responsibility for bombing a telethon as well as for recent unrest during demonstrations against the government in Mexico City.

There is no way of knowing the number or size of ITS/RS, its origins to the outside observer seem obscure, and their influences appear undefined. In their communiqués there are many citations of Theodore Kaczynski (a.k.a. “the Unabomber” or “Freedom Club”), as well as passing references to Max Stirner and various anarcho-primitivist thinkers. Their method of action and preference for communiqués also take obvious cues from Kaczynski. Throughout their writings, however, the individuals of ITS/RS are insistent that they represent no one but themselves both ethically and ideologically. As expressed in the first ITS communiqué:

If we were to put names to the war against civilization as in those who advocate “revolution,” the “revolutionaries,” or “pseudo-revolutionaries,” we would be falling into the same error as those Marxists when they exclude people as “counter-revolutionary.” Also, we would be falling into the same religious dogmatism as that of leftist schemes; where God is Wild Nature; the Messiah is Ted Kaczynski; the Bible is the Unabomber Manifesto, the Apostles are Zerzan, Feral Faun, Jesus Sepulveda, among others; the long-awaited Paradise is the collapse of civilization; the illumined or preachers are the “revolutionaries,” maintained by the blind faith that one day the “Revolution” will come. The disciples will be those who are “potentially revolutionary,” the crusades or the missions will be to take the word to circles involved in green or anarchists struggles (where they will find “potential revolutionaries”); and the atheists or sects those of us who don’t believe in their dogmas, nor do we accept their ideas as coherent with present reality.[2]

The purpose of this paper is to analyze the ideological trajectory of ITS/RS and to attempt to link it to broader intellectual and historical currents. In this analysis, I intend to map this group’s development at the ideological level, showing change and continuity within their ideas as reflected in militant action. I believe that the story of ITS/RS is one of an ideological escape from leftist anarchist tendencies, which included rhetoric taken from insurrectionist anarchism and animal liberation struggles , through a deepening critique of the anti-technological ideology of Theodore Kaczynski. This departure included an intense polemic in opposition to Kaczynski’s idea of revolution against the “techno-industrial system”. Instead, ITS/RS has favored an individualist egoist critique of mass action informed by insight from their own anthropological investigations of hunter-gatherer life in the Mexican context. I will argue that they have arrived at a “post-political” approach to their extreme terrorist actions, seeking to revert to an indigenous savagery found in Mexico’s long history of civilization and resistance. Finally, I will assess RS’s current ideological tendencies against the historical record and anthropological research. In my opinion, ITS/RS’s ideological development is an innovative approach to anti-civilization thought, though it is attached to vestigial romanticism and exaggerated rhetoric that often cloud its message.

Out of Leftism, Into the Wild

In ITS’s seventh communiqué, published on February 22, 2012, it states the following:

Following themes of an anarchist character, publicly we accept that we committed the error in previous communiqués (specifically the first, second, and fourth) when we mentioned subjects that we did not personally know about, but that at that time we considered potential allies. During that time, ITS was very much influenced by liberationist currents (animal and earth liberation) and by insurrectionalists, which were in the beginning an integral part of our ideological development, but now we have left these behind, and as one can read above, we have turned ourselves into something different.

One of the Mexican organizations popularizing ITS/RS materials is Ediciones Aborigen. This organization has published many ITS/RS communiqués, as well as related research materials often in collaboration with ITS/RS.[3] In one edition of the Ediciones Aborigen magazine,[4] Palabras Nocivas, Ediciones Aborigen describes its own history; notably, how this publishing endeavor came out of the dissolution of a previous journal, Rabia y Acción. This is a defunct insurrectionalist journal that had previously covered animal and earth liberation struggles throughout Mexico and elsewhere. The tenth issue of this journal, published in 2012, announced its dissolution, stating that the authors now opposed their former orientation toward animal and earth rights actions. They came to regard these actions as “reductionist”, “a psychological escape”, and “sentimentalist.”[5] The authors also expressed support of Kaczynski’s contention that the struggle against the “techno-industrial system” is the only one that matters. They also republished an essay from 2003 entitled, “Stirner, the Unique, the Egoist, and the Savage,” where the author states the following: “The real man, not the civilized one, the savage has been sacrificed for the greater glory of domination on the civilizing pyre, along with the rest of the wild animals and the planet itself.”

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